Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 02/25/02 | Genre: Platform
You gotta love that little Bandicoot. Whenever I think of Crash, my mind goes back to the days of the original Playstation. Sony utilized him as their spokesperson for the "ultra-hip and cool" Playstation. Now this same Bandicoot has found his way onto a Nintendo system... While I understand that Universal Studios now hold the rights to the Crash Bandicoot, something seems ironic about Crash appearing on a console he used to trash. Despite the irony of Crash being on a Nintendo system, I popped in Crash Bandicoot The Huge Adventure for the Game Boy Advance and was quite surprised by how much fun it was.
The story this time has that no good Cortex cooking up yet another evil plan to rid rule the world and destroy Crash. However, this time he has gone too far. Using a sophisticated shrinking ray gun he has been developing since his last failure, Cortex shrinks earth where it fits in the palm of his hand! Luckily, Coco and Crash have a plan. However, in order for Coco to reverse what Cortex has done, she needs Crash to recover 20 Purple Crystals scattered all throughout the world and only then can earth be returned to its correct size.
It amazes me how much developers can get out of the Game Boy Advance. While it may not be as powerful as the next-generation consoles, developer Vicarious Visions, who won countless awards for their work on the Tony Hawk series on the GBA, has really pushed the GBA to pump out graphics that appear to come out of a Playstation. Graphically, they have taken all of the elements that made Crash a star and put them all in the palm of your hands. Throughout the six worlds and 20 levels in Crash Bandicoot: the Huge Adventure, you will be able to do the classic Spin Attack, Slide, Body Slam, Crouch, Jump, Double Jump, Super Body Slam, Tornado Spin, and Turbo Run passed all of the enemies. Vicarious Visions even got all of the sound effects that you remember into this GBA version.
There are four types of gameplay modes within the title you will encounter. The first is the standard level--where you control Crash through a normal 2D side scrolling level. At the end of each level, players must locate a Purple Crystal in each level in order to give Coco the necessary ingredients to enlarge the earth back to its normal size. Players will also encounter boss levels--which is a small area where a boss must be defeated to move on to the next set of levels. Another type of level that will be seen is played with a jet pack. With Crash on his hovering jet pack, he will have to take out of the bad guys on the screen while at the same time, avoiding shooting the crates that contain apples and other power-ups. Finally, the most graphically impressive thing I have seen on the GBA thus far is the chase scenes. During a level, you will get to a point where there is sometimes a chase. These play and look very much like the classic Crash games on the Playstation. I was quite impressed that the GBA could pump out so much on screen without slowing down one bit! Quite an impressive feat indeed.
However, despite all the praise I have for our beloved Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure is not without its faults. While a fun game, this adventure is only 20 levels and you will get through it after a few sittings. Also, some of the levels are exercises in frustration. At certain places during a level, enemies seem to hit you unless you time out their patterns perfectly. In addition, the double jump is really tough to pull off consistently and this causes many unnecessary deaths.
But the good definitely outweighs the bad in this adventure. If you have a Game Boy Advance and are starving for another platform game to play through, Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure is one fun ride while it lasts.