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Crash Bandicoot is most famously well-known for his reputation on the PlayStation 1, namely for his first two blockbuster outings; Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure (Known commonly by fans as Crash Bandicoot 1) and Crash Bandicoot: Cortex Strikes Back (Known commonly to fans as Crash Bandicoot 2)
Now two generations ahead from the PlayStation One gamers may be asking themselves what Crash has to offer on the XBOX 360 in all of its High-Definition splendour, well unfortunately Ole' Crash isn't half the bandicoot he used to be, but don't worry; unlike Sonic he's being victimised for different reasons!
While I attempt to euphemistically say that Crash doesn't quite Crash as much as Windows Vista, he certainly doesn't live up to the standard that Naughty Dog kept him at when they used to Develop the game, in fact I'd humbly say having playing both titles, Crash Bandicoot: Crash Of The Titans and Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant; that Radical Entertainment have made Crash Bandicoot at best (yes at best), mediorcely average and an unforgivable disappointment to anybody who enjoyed his original outings back on the PlayStation One.
The biggest transition from the PlayStation One-style Crash games to the XBOX 360 style crash game is the focus removed from the jumping and running of a fast-paced platform game to a more of a "refined" (if that's what you want to call it) focus on the "jacking" (riding) of mutants that can be found in the wild. Instead of jumping around on a caffeine endorsed hype from platform to platform in the sky, across pits with spikes, or past speed boosters which help you escape an angry giant polar bear, you're now instead; dignifiedly galloping around on a mutant that either farts, plays the bag-pipe or spits ice.
The graphics for this title aren't atrocious but neither are they great, given a better development team this could have been a very pretty game, the game is colourful and gets points for that but it lacks where it counts most - with texture and detail. In fact I'd say the only difference between how Crash looks on the XBOX 360 and how he looks on the PlayStation One, visually; is minus a few changes in texture and the addition of extra hair to give that shaggy look as to make him appear "more cool" is there is none, in fact any improvement upon his appearance from the PlayStation One can probably be attributed to my HDTV and not the game designers at all, seeing as he doesn't look much better than how he did back on the PlayStation One and way back then we had a 22" inch big black box-type TV in our house.
The best thing to boot about this game minus achievements (and we will get to that) is probably pathetically enough, the sound. The sound effects you hear are often appropriate to the situation and clear, containing occasional vibrance, however the music can get annoying and this is what drags down the game in terms of sound the most. A highlight in the games use of sound is that if you manage to stick around enemies (the little enemies, not the mutants) their gags can make you crack a smile as they randomly making a befittingly appropriate joke in an cartoon-type fashion, with high pitched dramatic voices that don't quite break the sound barrier; well done or should I say, Radical?
The title lacks a lot more depth in story than its PlayStation One counter-parts and clearly wasn't thought about in such a complex manner concerning themes and delivery of rhetoric that the Island Of Wumpa is actually worth saving. In honesty the story isn't really worth paying attention to because it's so basic; minus the comical value you actually get from the cut-scenes which are supposedly telling the story; the story itself offers nothing to the game in the way of creating an environment and effectively is just a pointless quest to kill a professor that can't invent anything in about 10 hours (of real life time).
In cross-analysis you could compare Mind over Mutant and its PS1 counter-part to Nuts & Bolts and it's N64 predecessor, Banjo Kazooie. While Nuts & Bolts tried something new and though of course making some mistakes along the way made a very innovative and colourful game, the team at Radical Entertainment killed a title which once used to be a mammoth in the 'Kids' gaming sector, slaughtering a game that many of us in the late teens and 20's age group grew up with; and still tries to actively resuscitate it by poking and prodding up the game's dead body with a stick and pretending that it's still a working specimen when we (the gamers who enjoyed Crash in our youth) damn well know it isn't. We know Santa isn't real anymore Radical Entertainment, so you don't need to pretend that your development of Crash Bandicoot is as good as when Naughty Dog ran things, oh by the way Naughty Dog; thanks for selling our character out.
Achievement-wise you'll probably have around 450-600 points once you've finished the game's story mode, the rest comes from upgrading your character, upgrading most of the mutants and the arena mini-games that are scattered throughout the world. It takes on approximation about 20 hours to get the full 1000 give or take 5 hours either way dependent on whether you're good at navigating a game that forgot to put signs in or not, I wish luck to your brain's hippocampus.
Now with the harshest critique out of the way I'll move onto game content itself. The game sports 8 areas or "worlds", a desert named The Wastelands, a mountain named Mount Grimley, Crashes home; Wumpa Island, The Ice Prison, The Ratcicle Kingdom (a village near the Ice Prison), Nina's Evil School (Dr Cortex's niece attends here), The Junkyard, and Dr Cortex's "space station" (a contraption made of junk which orbits in space above Wumpa Island)
As disappointed as I was with the title in general, since Crash of the Titans Radical Entertainment decided only to add 1 mutant into the game, a half-ass effort in my opinion. The new mutant named Grimley; a ghost-type mutant, is probably one of the most powerful mutants in the game out of all the average-sized mutants (not taking into consideration the 2 huge mutants Scorporilla or Yukotopus) the interesting thing about this mutant is that it has the special ability to slow-down time, and thus while all your enemies are slowed down you can hit them with your fast attack speed and rack up quite an attack combo; in a game lacking in many areas this was probably one of the most innovative and fun things to be implemented into Mind over Mutant and it's a shame they didn't further add more mutants into the game as after all, the game does ironically emphasise the importance of mutants within its title; so you would think maybe adding 5 or so more mutants wouldn't be too much trouble?
There are a cast of 'good' characters, namely you can control just Crash and Coco; while Crunch and Aku Aku remain unplayable. Then also there is your cast of 'evil' characters, namely Neo Cortex, Uka Uka, Nina Cortex, and N.Gin. The whole good and bad concept of characters, without any more present characteristics or complications and being presented so plainly is just to say, "2D" in depth and lends to the lack of creativity in the story previously mentioned in the review.
Mainly you will spend most of your time beating up enemies and obtaining new mutants (as well as slaughtering them) and collecting MOJO while you try to progress through a story that doesn't make a lot of sense.
Buy, rent, or avoid?
This once blockbuster title has turned into a half-assed budget title and at best is a rent for gamers and achievement hunters alike, a buy would only suffice for the real hardcore collectors out there and even at a buy you'd be looking to pay around a third of the full-price, £13 or $20 for a brand new copy.
The graphics are a joke for a seventh generation console and clearly lack much effort from the developers side of things, though not as bad as titles such as Saints Row (graphically), it doesn't look like it was made to run on 1080p or even 720p.
The jokes the small enemies make when they see you on the screen are a nice touch and lend some character to a game that's already shallow in personality; but the music after some time tends to drone in maximum ferocity with each decibel, and you'll find yourself muting the TV and turning on your own music.
Fighting is fun (when you have an fast attacking mutant) but is often very repetitive, frustrating and boring while you play as crash if the enemies decide they all want to constantly block your attacks.
This is a recycled concept from Crash of the Titans, it didn't work then and it hasn't worked again. Give up and make a proper platformer!
Overall Score: 19/40 - Below average
In Crash Bandicoot Mind Over Mutant, the villainous Cortex has teamed up with N.Brio and created a monstrous mind controlling device that has taken over all the bandicoots and mutants on Wumpa Island. Crash sets out to stop the madness by destroying Cortex's evil device using his quick wits, lightning agility, and the hijacked mutant in his pocket!