|System: X360, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Radical Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Vivendi Games||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|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Crash Bandicoot is an icon in the gaming world. Perhaps not as notable as Mario and maybe a bit more memorable than Spyro, Crash Bandicoot is an instantly recognizable character that many people have grown attached to over the years. His return to the world of console games has been bittersweet for many, as changing developers and consoles have altered the Crash experience considerably. However, if you were a fan of the original PlayStation Crash Bandicoot titles, then the new Crash, Mind Over Mutant, has plenty to love.
The story behind this title is admittedly paper-thin (just like any other Crash title) and deals with another one of the evil Neo Cortex's creations. This time, Cortex has created a tech-happy helmet that allows users to text, blog, and play video games, all at the same time. However, the headgear will also turn you into a slobbering mutant! As Crash Bandicoot, your task is to once again thwart the evil plans of Neo Crotex and his minions and restore peace to your home. Luckily, you have gained the ability to "jack" these mutants and harness their powers for your own devices.
The game is formatted almost identically to previous Crash games and features linear platforming. The ability to take control of the mutants certainly adds some strategy to the game, but it isn't exactly groundbreaking. I really like the gameplay in Mind Over Mutant, but if you are not into linear platformers, and instead crave open worlds, this game will not be for you.
One of the main criticisms that could be made about this title is the lack of choices it gives you. Generally, there will only be one path for Crash to follow, and there are no expansive maps to explore. Some might find this to be a little too limiting and claustrophobic. Another huge issue this game has is the fixed camera. While this isn't immediately a problem in regular play, if you are trying to complete some of the game's bonus objectives, which normally require collecting certain items, you might wish you had a way to look around the level. This can also become a problem when you play in the game's local co-op mode, as it becomes difficult for you to keep both of your characters in the same frame if they are going in different directions.
Another big problem with the game is that it isn't nearly long enough. Playing the game straight through without going for any extra objectives will probably take between eight and nine hours. If you do decide to go for 100% completion, you may have another two or three hours at the most. This game is way too short, and I can recall even the earliest PlayStation Crash titles lasting longer than this. All these limitations sound pretty bad, and they really do make the game seem rather cumbersome at first. However, if you can tolerate these shortcomings, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by how much fun this game can be.< p> One of the most redeeming qualities of this title has to be its humor. The tone of the game is irreverent and offbeat and features quite a bit of topical humor. Though all the pop-culture references have definitely been heard before, they are definitely good for some belly laughs. The game pokes fun at celebrities, technology, and infomercials, so there is plenty to laugh at. And, of course, it references several of the earlier Crash games, so longtime fans will definitely recognize some of the "in" jokes.
The platforming battle system here is also very good and features classic button mashing combat. You also have a special attack system that is tied to the different mutants in the game. Because there are different "species" of mutant in the game, you will be able to "jack" the different mutant powers as you see fit. For instance, if you have jacked an ice mutant, you can use ice attacks, and if you have jacked a mind-control mutant, you are able to move certain objects around the stage with your special attack buttons.