Bring back the Dogs!
I'm sure some of you will remember back in the days of the original Sony Playstation. Back then, the only real choice for consoles was the PSone or the Nintendo 64. As I never had a N64, I spent many an hour on that PSone. I have played a lot of titles on it, some of which have stayed with me for ages, immortalised as being some of the best ones I had ever played. Others, well, weren't that good.
Back then, there was a few game series that I counted on to bring the gaming goodness without fail. Ace Combat, Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot. My mother was actually a rather large fan of the Crash series, and so I ended up owning all 5 of Crash's PSone exploits. After playing, and subsequently beating them, I formed a lot of respect towards Naughty Dog. I saw how Crash began to lose his luster after Crash Bash and I had always hoped that this was just a temporary thing. I was confident that Crash would bounce right back.
Now, after playing Crash Twinsanity, all hope for the Crash name has been lost. I may never trust another Crash game as long as I live.
I suppose I should kick off with what the game is basically. Some evil parrots have come to N. Sanity Island from another dimension and have threatened to destroy it and steal Cortex's brain. Crash and Cortex team up to beat them. That's the entire story. Yeah, there's not much there.
Then there's the visuals. Although they are shiny and all that, I have seen jerky animations, clipping problems, doors that spontaneously appear from nowhere, missing textures and an assortment of other visual screwups that really shatter any feeling of believability. This game was rushed, and they don't even attempt to hide it. What's more, the HUD looks like someone's attached stickers to my TV.
That may be because it's aimed at kids, which brings me to my other problem: it's too hard. I have never really struggled with a Crash game before. Sure, I've gotten my fair share of Game Overs, but with Twinsanity this is a lot more annoying as they sometimes spread out autosave checkpoints over a vast distance. One particular section that springs to mind is the N. Gin battleship.
That could be their way of adjusting the amount of play time though as the game is incredibly short. If you know what you're doing, you can finish the game in 2-4 hours. Granted, this is for completing the story only, and does not account for gem collection, but it's still too short.
Which brings me to my next point: what they've done to the classic Crash formula. One of the highlights of the old Crash games was how they hid some of the secrets. From warp pads on the top of steel boxes painted to look like nitro crates to having to jump to your seemingly painful death, the game always rewarded stupid behaviour. That is one feature sorely missing in Twinsanity. Heck, they've even turned the gems from being rewards to being mere collectables. There are 6 in each level, which range from being in your direct path to being put in a place where they are easily overlooked. This is simply unforgivable. Gems are supposed to be rewards for doing the near impossible or the near insane, but now they're simply ways to unlock extras.
If you think that's the only way they've butchered the formula, then think again. Nitros have not avoided this appaling system, and are now far, far too powerful. Having an Aku Aku mask (or Uka Uka, if you're in one of the Cortex or Nina sections) will not save you from a Nitro explosion. Having 2 will not help. Heck, being temporarily invincible by holding 3 masks at the same time will not save you from a Nitro. One of the fun parts of the earlier Crash games was running through Nitro crates with three Aku Akus, watching them blow up without a scratch on Crash, but now that's all gone down the tubes.
That actually brings me to my next complaint. I have always loved the music from Crash Bandicoot games. In particular, I really enjoyed the music that played when you had three Aku Aku masks. Unfortunately, that music has gone, leaving you with the wide array of background music that ranges from "Turn it off, turn it off" to "Barely bearable" and a couple of "Fairly decent" tracks.
In summary, I find Crash Twinsanity to be an insult to the previously amazing Crash series. After having played this game, I have become very skeptical of any future Crash games, and wishing for Naughty Dog to take back the reigns and put the series back on track.