I re-reviewed Crash Bandicoot, one of my earliest reviews and I feel much better about it. Hooray! Anyway, out of all the Crash games I’ve known, this is one I know the most without ever owning it by watching and playing it at my Dad’s house. It’s considered to be the best sequels to a game series and rightfully so.
This sequel is unsurprisingly going to be a lot better and it is, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, developed by Naughty Dog, published by Sony Computer Entertainment and distributed by Universal Interactive Studios, it was released on Halloween of 1997.
Doctor Neo Cortex has been defeated by Crash, he rescued Tawna (Where the heck did she go?) and saved the day. After falling, Cortex finds a bunch of purple crystals; somehow knowing that it has incredible power, he takes one of them to study them only to find out that the planets will soon align which will cause a solar flux that will destroy the planet. So Cortex enlists Crash (by force) to help him save the world and collect crystals for a machine that will prevent world destruction, but Coco, Crash’s sister is suspicious of Cortex considering he is the villain and you know he’s the villain, heck, the title of this game is Cortex Strikes Back. But that’s not all; Doctor Nitrus Brio tries to persuade you to collect gems instead of crystals. Yeah, and Crash helps Cortex because his brain is mash potato.
The game now takes place in a set of hub rooms where you choose different levels, you must collect one crystal in each level, in the hub world there are five levels. When you collect 5 in one hub, you then battle a boss.
The gameplay has most similarities to the first game but it’s much improved, the controls have improved and even added some features to it like sliding which you need to defeat certain enemies, sliding and jumping to jump further and crouching to get through tight spots. The game’s difficulty has improved immensely, like a good game should its easy and gets harder and even when it does it’s still a good challenge, since you know how you died and you know how to improve.
The bonus games and even the way to get them are much better. You can just find a patch and body slam it and you enter a side-scrolling bonus stage, you can use this to collect more boxes and lives but they can get challenging; you’re not spared even in the bonus games. Other than that, everything else is like the first game, collect boxes, collect Wumpa fruit; collect 100 to get a life, collect the Witch Doctor, avoid or use TNT to your advantage, but now you get Nitro boxes which explode upon touching it. This is so much better, from playing the first game I was excited to play this and this doesn’t disappoint, it has a fair challenge but still being fun.
Collecting boxes are much better too. In fact, it’s much easier but the secrets were well hidden…though thanks to watching some videos on where to find most of them. Collecting all the boxes in levels with give you gems. Sometimes you can find other secrets that will get you red gems and it can be difficult, but they’re very rewarding once you get them.
But something happened…later in the game it becomes trial and error in some hard parts but I don’t have too much issues with that but it’s to do with not just repetitive level design but repetitive levels. You see as well as jungle levels we also get snow levels and underground/sewer based levels.
I felt that the developers just took about 7 or 8 levels and reused the designs and this is where I started to lose interest, but the life saver is the final hub which is Cortex’s space station with new levels. One more issue but certainly minor is the jetpack levels and even then they use twice, controlling it is something to get used to but even then it’s easy to use but hard to master.
The music is pretty good; there’s a lot more variety to them and not just jungle themes now. There’s a number of memorable music like the theme, the snow levels and my favourite, the hub world. The graphics are fantastic for the PlayStation, it’s weird that this series never uses FMV, something that was prevalent for nearly most PlayStation games, but the game is cartoony and colourful. Oh, and credit to Crash’s deaths, they’re funny and making losing a life less painful…for the player.
Overall, it’s a fun improvement to the first game, I had less frustration towards this game and even when it got tough, I still had a great time with this, it’s a very popular sequel to the series, but it’s not the most perfect game but still a must-have in your collection…despite myself playing this game on the PSVita, but don’t worry, I do have the third game on the original PlayStation.
You can get it on the PlayStation and the PlayStation Network.