Crash of the Titans Xbox 360 Review - 17/04/08

Although the latter instalments never truly lived up to the greatness of the original smash hit, Crash of the Titans is easily the best game in the series for years, and well worth a look. Read on to find out why.

Crash Bandicoot was always Mario's main contender from the Sony camp, but when Nintendo's mustached mascot continued to go from strength to strength, Crash went multiformat and was left lagging behind. The series has thankfully been restored to its former glory with Crash of the Titans, an adventure overflowing with inspired humour and platforming goodness.

In a plot that will admittedly leave you with unshakable déjà vu, a member of Crash's intrepid crew, his sister no less, has been kidnapped by the ever persistent Doctor Neo Cortex and it's up to you (either alone or with a friend in the fantastic co-op mode) to take him down. There's both gaming and cinematic stereotypes aplenty, but that doesn't stop Crash of the Titans bringing a smile to your face from the moment you pick up the pad. Who can argue with an abundance of genuinely likeable characters and a plot that suits this type of game? For this reason alone, it should be worth a look, even for all you red capped, princess saving purists out there.

Crash is back, and let's hope he's here to stay.

Crash is actually reminiscent of N64 smash hit Banjo Kazooie to some extent. The same charming characters and extravagant level design found in Rare's early masterpiece are none too dissimilar to what has now [finally] been brought to the table. Too long has this series fraternized with the mediocre, and while Titans is far from perfect, improvements have indeed been made, particularly to intensify the action aspects of the gameplay.

The most obvious new addition is Crash's ability to board the larger foes in the game and use their abilities to aid in his quest. Each titan has its own unique abilities, and they're stubborn enough to prevent you from boarding them unless you can out class them. Even with a co-op partner in tow, this can be tricky. If you can avoid their attacks and dish out some bandicoot flavoured hurt, they'll become stunned and can then be hijacked. They come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the furious melee attacks of a Shellephant to the brutal and amusingly named Sludge, each with their own unique talents that can be used to your advantage. This is a nice feature, one that provided many hours of fun in co-op and helps keep the pace of the game high. Although this is the game's only real slice of innovation over previous efforts, the fun that can be had is almost endless. There's never a dull moment, that's for sure, and when you factor in the tight controls, amusing character stereotypes and well designed co-op mechanics, Crash is definitely a winner in the gameplay department.

The levels, enemies and gameplay in general is nice and varied.

Those of you expecting a next gen graphical tour de force to tide you over until Banjo comes out will be disappointed to learn that although very well designed, Crash of the Titans is lacking in visual punch. No-one can argue with the clever structure of each level, as multiple paths and wider spaces are included to accommodate co-op play, but this is an average looking game, and by current next gen standards, very disappointing. An overall lack of graphical quality can be found here, in everything from the distant backgrounds to the detail of the surface textures. Although the goofy characters and charming level design do go some way toward making up for it, there is definitely still room for improvement. On the other side of the technical stuff, the music and voice work are both delightfully cheesy but very well put together. There's some fantastic one liners right from the get go, and a nice selection of cheerful tunes, reminiscent of the adventure games of old, present from start to finish.

Crash is a game you can't help but like, despite it not being the most technically impressive or most challenging platformer out there. Games seem to be getting shorter and shorter nowadays (with price tags that just won't budge), so it's nice to see one that doesn't skimp on the content. Especially a game in this series, which in recent times had begun to lose sight of what made it such a success in the past. Crash of the Titan's is definitely a big turning point in the fortunes of this franchise, and boasts enough gameplay improvements to be well worth a look.

- Jon Titmuss



Sierra Ent.
Radical Ent.