Ah Crash Bandicoot...the original trilogy games on the Playstation will evoke nostalgic memories among players. The spinning, fruit-eating marsupial has resulted in a fairly successful franchise covering various consoles and a few genres (e.g. Crash Team Racing). However since Vivendi Universal took over the franchise from Naughty Dog the series has gone into decline. Whilst they are still making Crash Bandicoot games on the latest consoles, they have nowhere near the level of popularity they did fifteen years ago. Crash Twinsanity was released in 2004 on the PS2 and my sister and I, having not played any Crash Bandicoot games in full before but still being very familiar with the series, were intrigued by this game's particular premise and picked it up off eBay for about £10 (this was back in 2006 mind you; it shouldn't be more than £5 these days). Needless to say, it didn't live up to our expectations.
Normally in Crash Bandicoot, Crash goes up against his creator and archenemy, Dr. Neo Cortex, with his latest world-domination scheme. However the premise of 'Twinsanity' turns this on its head. Cortex and Crash in fact have to work together to defeat a pair of aliens from destroying their homeland. By work together, I mainly mean that you control Crash, but Cortex follows you and is basically abused for certain situations. Various 'Crash Bandicoot' characters make an appearance in this game, including Coco Bandicoot, Crunch Bandicoot, and even Cortex's underlings make a cameo at the start of the game. The game also introduces a new playable character, Cortex's gun-toting niece called Nina, for some of the later levels. I think the idea of Crash and Cortex working together is quite original and I like the humour and banter between them (even though Crash is mute).
Another thing that has been changed is the nature of gameplay. Rather than accessing each level one-by-one from a hub, the world is one you can mostly roam freely as you move from one place to another smoothly. Crash's signature moves of jumping, spinning and sliding are still here, as is the task of collecting wumpa fruit, lives and your damage-protecting mask, Aku Aku. When Cortex tags along with you he can used as a hammer to destroy boxes or a projectile to either hit or operate things over large distances. Other levels involve Crash and Cortex fighting in a ball which must be steered out of harm's way and Crash getting a distracted Cortex to another area by getting rid of the various obstacles in his path.
These levels are very interesting and is a refreshing take on the series' regular platforming style. Designs range from the sunny, pleasant N.Sanity Isle to the dark, murky caves of Cavern Catastrophe. Unfortunately many of these levels can be quite long so they in fact feel like 3 levels in one that can take twenty minutes to complete instead of ten minutes. Since the game has an autosave function it means that you have to start these long levels over again at section one when you run out of lives.
Yet the biggest problems I had with 'Twinsanity' were the glitches and there are quite a few affecting gameplay. Most of the ones I encountered dealt with detection issues; for example, in one level Crash should accurately jump onto a moving boat from across a river, but instead he would miss it completely or land and then fall off instantly. Another time in the cave level I had to roll Crash and Cortex onto a lift over a pitfall that opened after you stepped on it, but they would miss the lift completely and/or get stuck in a wall and die! These glitches really do hinder gameplay and have put me off completing the game, as I've heard there are more still on the later levels which is very disappointing.
Despite this, the graphics for 'Crash Twinsanity' are pretty good, especially during the cutscenes. They aren't the best I've seen for the PS2 release but there is a decent amount of detail for each level and the animation is smooth. What I enjoyed more was the music. The songs played combine barbershop and acapella humming; an unusual combination for video game music, but it suits the game's nature and the songs are very catchy. My favourite tune is the one played when you're at N.Sanity Isle (also on the main menu); right now it's currently stuck in my head!
Bearing that in mind, it's such a shame that a game with such a good premise in its story and gameplay could be so poorly executed. The game will be good fun for those who are big fans of Crash Bandicoot and platform games in general, but for me the number of gameplay-wrecking glitches and long levels make 'Crash Twinsanity' a hit-and-miss game.
Wicked twins from another dimension invade Crash Bandicoot's island home to steal all the Wumpa fruit, the fuel source for the twins' technology. To face a greater evil Crash must team up with his creator and arch rival, Dr. Neo Cortex. Crash: Twinsanity introduces an insanely humorous twist to platform gaming with the introduction of a two-character game mechanic. Players control Crash and Dr. Cortex as a single playable entity.