Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant Review
Xbox 360 | Wii | PS2 | DS | PSP
Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant box art
System: X360, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Radical Entertainment 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Activision 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 7, 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

Also jarring is the drop in graphics quality, especially for those watching on HDTVs; as soon as the cartoons disappear, "jaggies" pop up everywhere (though they're not as pronounced as they are in many other PS2 games), and the objects and landscapes aren't very detailed. Nothing is so bad as to ruin the experience, and the water and explosion effects are decent, though.

Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant screenshot

The plot is that Crash's friends Coco and Crunch have bought masks that were widely marketed as gadgets that could do everything from text message to make French fries. In reality, the masks were a product of Doctor Neo Cortex, who uses them to control minds via "bad mojo." Crash has to fight his way through all sorts of terrain, controlling all sorts of monsters, to defeat the doctor and foil the plan.

It's mainly the cartoons that advance this story, but there's also a lot of voiceover work during gameplay. Aku Aku, a talking wooden mask, gives you guidance through some of the harder techniques and puzzles, and combined, the characters have some 8,500 lines of dialogue. Thanks to the mostly high quality of the writing and acting, it's always at least mildly amusing to play this game, presuming you don't mind losing yourself in a kids' tale.

These little pleasures make it relatively painless to play this game for extended periods of time, and even make it worth putting up with the repetitive and sometimes annoying music. It takes about eight hours to win on the medium ("Tricky") difficulty setting, not counting the side missions and the plenty of quirks you can unearth. (If you set the controller down for long enough, for example, Crash might start making fart noises with his hand and armpit.)

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The save system is another function that makes Mind Over Mutant such a joy to play, and here's where it takes cues from Halo. In that classic first-person shooter, you hit checkpoints frequently, and, as a result, never have to beat the same parts over and over again. Mind Over Mutant uses a similar system: there are plenty of (invisible) checkpoints, and so long as you don't turn the console off, you always return to the last one when you die. You have unlimited lives. In addition, save points are sprinkled liberally throughout the world, rarely more than a few checkpoints away. When it's time to put the game down, it's almost always possible to reach a save point quickly. Some puzzles and bosses are plenty challenging, but whenever you fail, you get to start right at that puzzle or boss again.

One last note: throughout the game, a series of mostly forgivable annoyances pop up. The most egregious is the camera, which can't be adjusted and occasionally makes various tasks, especially jumping ones, harder than they need to be. Another problem is that there's no way to warp between the various locations, so you spend a lot of your time backtracking. (These two problems are even worse than the sum of their badness: when backtracking, the camera doesn't switch to stay behind Crash, so sometimes you have to move toward the bottom of the screen, and can run into enemies you couldn't even see a split second ago.) Invisible walls, while necessary in a world as open as this game's, are overused.

Set these complaints aside, though, because overall, Crash: Mind Over Mutant is a solid platformer. It's fun to play and addictive, and its charming spirit easily overcomes its numerous problems.

By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.7
Graphics
The cartoon cutscenes look terrific, but the objects and landscapes aren't very detailed, and there's quite a bit of aliasing on HDTVs.
4.2
Control
They're plenty responsive, but lose the interactive nature of the Wii version.
3.9
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Terrific voiceover work and decent sound effects, but the music is too repetitive.
4.2
Play Value
This is a lot of fun to play, and it features three difficulty levels and numerous side missions.
4.0
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Not only can Crash 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.
  • Wumpa Island has a free-romping design that allows players to travel and explore through intersecting worlds, with different gameplay options available depending on what creature you've brought along for the ride.
  • Your co-op partner is Crash's sister, Coco, playable for the first time in the cooperative mode. She brings with her a new tactile treasure hunt ability.
  • Crash has agile dodge and counter moves, and can now dig underground as real-life bandicoots do. Crash can also climb vertical surfaces and jump side-to-side to connected areas.


  • Screenshots / Images
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