Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant Review
Xbox 360 | Wii | PS2 | DS | PSP
Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant box art
System: PSP, DS, X360, PS2, Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Radical Entertainment / Virtuos 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Activision Blizzard 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 21, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Crash does a lot of running, jumping, and punching throughout his quest. If a platformer can nail these mechanics, then it's already more than halfway toward a great game. However, it's in these basic fundamentals that Mind Over Mutant falters. One hang-up is the framerate – it never is stable, continually slowing down and then only slightly ramping back up. This results in a delay between your button presses and Crash's actions. Not only does this interaction feel sluggish, it spells death plenty of times – usually in the form of a missed jump. The lag in play is compounded by a weird decision to use the analog nub for two of Crash's critical moves: the spin attack and high jump. You have to twirl the nub in a circle several times before he can initiate these moves; it comes off as awkward, making it hard to perform game essentials. Why couldn't the developer map those moves to a two button combination? It would have definitely toned down control frustration.

Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant screenshot

Attempting to play off its platform deficiencies, Mind Over Mutant allows Crash to “jack” Titans. Once “jacked,” Crash can ride these beasts around levels. All of them have special abilities, like freezing water, allowing for safe passage. Some of these Titans actually add to the gameplay – such as the orb-looking creature that can perform telekinesis. Others feel unnecessary, merely adding brute strength and look like they've been taken from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tokka and Rahzar school of design.

Sonic has gold rings, Mario has coins, and Crash is all about the mojo. Whenever you hit certain levels of mojo collection, Crash is rewarded with either new moves or stat upgrades, such as increased strength. This mojo leveling system carries over to the Titans Crash controls as well. It's an interesting idea, but falls flat. Collecting plain old stuff was tedious back in the heyday of 3D platformers (the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation era), so merely attaching a new reward to it doesn't make it any more interesting.

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Two things happen when a series has been going for as long as Crash: they either settle into a groove, giving gamers one successful title after another, or fall into a rut, diluting a once fruitful pool of creativity. With Crash: Mind Over Mutant, Radical Entrainment has shown that it can deliver the goods in the cutscene department, but this is a review of a game, not a non-interactive cartoon. Crash, a once center stage mascot, plays like an exhausted hero of yesteryear, and it may be time for him to take some time off the video game scene to recollect his once keen gaming senses.

By Jason Lauritzen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
2.5
Graphics
The cutscenes are well done and there are some colorful sets and characters on display. Too bad it's all punctuated by terrible load times and a framerate that never seems to reach a stable zone.
2.0
Control
Some of Crash's moves – like the spin attack and high jump – are harder than necessary to execute. There's a delay between button presses and basic movement, a big no-no for a platformer; you'll restart areas simply because the response time isn't what it should be.
4.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The star of the show: Mind Over Mutant boasts some of the best voice acting heard in some time. It's nice that you rarely hear enemies repeat the same dialogue. However, the score doesn't live up to this same caliber.
1.8
Play Value
At the end of the day a platformer comes down to “feel” is it plain fun to play? Unfortunately, in Mind Over Mutant's case, the answer is a definite no. Between the false freedom of the world design and the tedious gameplay, Crash isn't what he used to be.
2.4
Overall Rating - Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Mutant in your Pocket!: Not only does Crash gain the ability to control his enemies when he jacks them, now he can store his favorite monsters in his pocket, upgrade them, and utilize their powers when they are most advantageous.
  • "Free-Romping" World Design: Wumpa Island becomes a "free-romping" environment, allowing players to travel and explore through intersecting worlds, with different gameplay options available depending on what creature you've brought along for the ride.
  • Co-Op Play: Your co-op partner is Crash's sister, Coco, playable for the first time in the cooperative mode. Not only does Coco make the game that much more inviting to pick up and play, she also brings with her a new tactile "treasure hunt" ability.


  • Screenshots / Images
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