Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex
"The check bounced? Are you sure? Well, these past few years have kinda been slow. Wrath of Cortex didn't do as well as we hoped and-"— Dr. Neo Cortex, Crash Twinsanity
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex is a 2001 platforming game developed by Traveller's Tales and published by Universal Interactive Studios. Eurocom (the same company behind Crash Bash) ported the Nintendo GameCube version, while Konami co-published the PlayStation 2 version. It is the first Crash Bandicoot game to be released outside the PlayStation consoles.
- Not much changes from Crash Bandicoot: Warped and as a result, it feels like a clone of Warped.
- Too many levels with vehicles in them. In fact 22 out of the 30 levels in the game have vehicles in them, leaving only eight levels without vehicles.
- Speaking of vehicles, some of them suck, like the minecart from Compactor Reactor, and the submarine.
- Also, there is a whopping total of thirteen vehicles, five of which are only used once.
- Unlike Warped, they're all mandatory in their respective levels, instead of being mandatory in some levels but optional in others
- There are some difficulty spikes in the second half of the game, often due to the overuse of Nitro crates.
- Some levels are also lazily designed; "Ghost Town", the second secret level, can be completed with literally no input from the player.
- The level before it, "Knight Time", is just "The Gauntlet" only at night and with slight adjustments to accommodate Coco's lacking moveset.
- Loading screens on the original PlayStation 2 version last for approximately 45 seconds, though the Greatest Hits version, alongside the Xbox and GameCube versions fixed this to only approximately 15 seconds.
- Crunch feels a bit too serious for Crash Bandicoot games, lacking the Saturday Morning Cartoon style of other villains.
- What's weird is that Crunch dies when you defeat him in the boss levels but then returns again normal, especially in the 4th boss where his bones are thrown (no gore, but still weird)
- This game only introduces one new power-up: the Sneak Shoes. This new power-up is pretty much useless, as its only use is to sneak on Nitro Crates (which you can bypass normally most of the time or use the Fruit Bazooka when you unlock it)
- The elementals are wasted opportunity, as they are considered the most dangerous masks, but all they do is give Crunch elemental powers.
- The GameCube version is the worst version of the game for the following reasons:
- Its graphics are significantly worse than the Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions.
- The sound effects are louder than any piece of dialogue. For example, it has an annoying, unnecessary clunking noise in Tornado Alley.
- The frame rate is below 30 frames per second (at least if you are playing the PAL version). this is really noticeable when you're about to enter a level, at which the framerate will drop to 10-fps.
- It has sound issues that make the volume of the characters' voices go down to a whisper after a few seconds. To make matters worse, if someone was to adjust the volume on the TV, they would get their ears broken the next moment.
- In the plane levels, the developers forgot to designate the vehicle sounds to an audio channel, so they still play even when the game's audio is turned completely off.
- Lackluster boss battles, while there are five of them total, all five of them are boss battles against Crunch with an Element mask (however, in the fifth one, Crunch uses all of the Elementals).
- Tiny Tiger, Dingodile, Dr. N. Tropy and Dr. N. Gin are reduced to minor roles, only appearing as stage hazards in some levels.
- Crash moves painfully slow on the monkey bars.
- Coco's gameplay is not properly fleshed out since she plays exactly like her brother, only she doesn't get any of Crash's new abilities save for 2.
- The opening cutscene is very long.
- Due to levels being longer, time trials become harder since you need to beat the level in the shortest time without dying.
- Underwater levels are the worst here, they're long, full of hazards and you're forced to ride a submarine that is awkward to control and doesn't protect you from hazards, unlike the launcher in Warped. (This is even worse of course if you're playing the time trial of underwater levels since you can't die)
- The models of most of the characters are pretty ugly looking due to their flat and textureless designs, a special mention going to Dr. Cortex and N. gin. This is somewhat fixed in the Xbox version, where they get better-looking models and textures.
- The game still has the classic Crash Bandicoot platforming, and Crash controls very well.
- decent graphics for its time.
- Interesting story.
- The game is even more challenging than the PlayStation 1 trilogy while still feeling fair.
- The PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions run at 60 frames per second, which was quite impressive for the time.
- Excellent soundtrack. Every level has a different soundtrack even when sharing themes with a previous level
- On topic of GQ#6, there are a lot more themes in the levels. Very few levels in the game share themes.
- Coco finally gets platforming levels specifically for her.
- Crunch Bandicoot essentially represents the evil Bandicoot general that Cortex intended Crash to become.
- Some of the vehicle levels are fun, like the Atlasphere levels, which are some of the best levels in the game.
- Very heartwarming ending.
- The last boss is actually creative, in fact if there was more effort put into this game, the bosses would have been great.
- The GameCube version (while still bad) actually features a downloadable mini-game for Game Boy Advance called Crash Bandicoot Blast, which was made to promote Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure for the Game Boy Advance.
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex received mixed to positive reception. The standard platforming levels were praised but the game was heavily criticized for having too many types of levels and trying too hard to be like the classics. Fortunately though, Traveller's Tales learned from their mistakes, as the next game, Crash Twinsanity, was a huge step up from this game and is often considered the best post-Naughty Dog Crash Bandicoot game by many fans.
- The Wrath of Cortex is the last main Crash Bandicoot game where Clancy Brown voices Neo Cortex, having voiced him since Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. After Brown reprised his role in Crash Nitro Kart, he would be replaced by Lex Lang as the voice of Cortex from Crash Twinsanity onwards.
- The Wrath of Cortex was initially known as the fourth entry in the Crash Bandicoot series, and was referred to as such in Japan, before Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time was announced as the new official fourth entry in the series.
- The Wrath of Cortex was originally going to be designed by Mark Cerny, the same person who produced the first three Crash games, as an open-world game with Crash traveling between different planets, and was going to introduce some new female characters with possibilities for multiple endings, before Traveller's Tales was brought over and made the game with a similar gameplay to the first three Crash games.
- The game's mixed reception was referenced in Crash Twinsanity where Cortex breaks the 4th wall by admitting the game didn't do as well as they hoped.