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Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex

29 October 2001
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex - cover art
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385 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#3,023 All-time
#124 for 2001
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Releases 6
2002 TT Universal  
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2002 TT Universal  
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2002 TT Universal  
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Title
this is like crash warped ported into ps2 except it isnt in the same level
still a good game, i will even say that the soundtrack is better than the crash 3 one
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Metabd 2022-04-16T21:01:36Z
2022-04-16T21:01:36Z
3.5
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This is a very controversial entry into the Crash Bandicoot franchise. This game's existence was to give hope to the fans as Naughty Dog lost the rights to make more Crash games after Naughty Dog's initial run on the PS1. It was a chance for a new developer to continue with the franchise and breathe new light into it. In retrospect, however, it was when the proverbial train switched tracks and went down a spiral of ruin that seemed like a point of no return for Crash. Since the N-Sane trilogy revitalized Crash Bandicoot a few years ago, Toys For Bob seems to have claimed Crash as their own by acting like their N-Sane trilogy is wiping Crash's history clean. This seems apparent by titling their new Crash game "Crash 4: It's About Time" signifying not only that this is supposed to be the fourth Crash game, but that "it's about time" that we got a proper entry instead of the drek that we all remember after Crash 3 as if they are trying to erase history as they do every so often with the Halloween movies. Anyone older than twelve will remember the long, dark history of disappointing Crash Bandicoot games that followed the PS1 games starting with The Wrath of Cortex. This was my first Crash Bandicoot game. Not only that, but I kind of still like it *ducks and covers to avoid the onslaught of tomatoes, beer bottles, and rocks being thrown at me.* No, it's not my favorite entry in the franchise and I much preferred the first three games when I played them in the N-Sane trilogy. I feel as if WoC has garnered a bad reputation that I feel is undeserved. Like in the case of the Sonic Adventure games, it signaled the end of the golden age for the franchise and left Crash Bandicoot in disarray. It showed that the backbone that Crash Bandicoot once had proved to be flimsy under the direction of another developer.

So besides its reputation, what about the game itself? I said before that I still like this game overall, but I can see why fans of the PS1 entries were less than satisfied. Since playing the first three games, I now have some references to work off of, comparing the strengths of the first three games with the shortcomings of WoC. Overall, TravelersTale's direction was to make something loyal to the basic components of the franchise, but Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex is a lesson in that trying to replicate something without taking any risks can prove to falter just as much as failing by trying something radically new.

Just to clarify, I played the Gamecube version of this game, so I didn't have to suffer through the horrendous loading times that everyone who had this game on the PS2 did. If that alone was a deal-breaker for this game, I completely understand. Regularly waiting for up to two whole minutes for the game to load a level sounds excruciating and there should be no excuse for it. Regardless, the game still has plenty to scrutinize. The game begins very similarly to the previous Crash games as Neo Cortex yet again devises a diabolical plan to get rid of Crash. This time, he has elemental beings on his side that manipulate the weather and throw off the balance of the world. Cortex also has some new Bandicoot muscle that goes by Crunch who I would refer to as "bizarro Crash" if Crash didn't already have a bizarro version of himself. Their overall plan is to use their collective power to destroy Crash Bandicoot and Crash has to overcome the odds with Coco and Aku Aku aiding him like always.

No one can be too certain what the fourth Crash game would've been like if Naughty Dog didn't lose the rights to the franchise. The number of gimmicks in Crash 3 sort of signified that Naughty Dog was running out of ideas to make Crash seem fresh because they were trying hard to mix up the standard platforming gameplay with a lot of different vehicle-based levels. In Crash 3, the vehicle levels were dispersed sparingly, so they never wore out their welcome. In Wrath of Cortex, this is not the same case because every other level in this game seems like a vehicle level. The level gimmicks range from rolling around in a ball, dogfighting in a biplane, racing levels in jeeps, and underwater levels. Some of these are fine, but they get grating as the game progresses, especially the underwater levels. Traveler's Tales didn't get the memo that absolutely no one liked the underwater levels in Crash 3, so they decided to implement them into their game and make it one of the longest levels in the game. If it isn't one of the longest levels, it sure as hell feels like it. It's made even worse by the fact that it's a real pain in the ass to control because you will accidentally keep focusing the submarine towards the screen? Why the fuck would you ever need to face the screen in a 2D level? I guess the level is so bad that even Crash is trying to escape it through the TV. The other vehicle levels vary from being adequate to be just as infuriating. The first ball level is fine because they give you plenty of room to maneuver around, but it gets frustrating as they start to implement more challenges because the ball isn't the easiest thing to control. The dogfighting levels have terrible sound mixing, the mech suit is stiff and clunky, and any level where Crash has to use a jeep feels like using the soap vehicle from Kirby Air Ride. It's almost as they never tested these levels.

As for the other more traditional levels in the game, they remind everyone why Crash was such a tour de force in the late 1990's. None of the levels in Wrath of Cortex surpass the quality of the levels from the original trilogy, but at least they are heavily reminiscent of franchise's gameplay strengths. Some exceptional instances of these include the medieval levels, the snow levels, and the volcano level. Like in Crash 3, Crash obtains a new power every time he defeats a boss. All of the powers from Crash 3 are back with the new addition of a sneaking power that helps you walk over Nitro Crates. I would say not to bother with this power because the alternative could be to either spin glide over them or to shoot them with the wumpa fruit cannon, but the game forces you to tippy-toe across these Nitro Crates at a glacial pace at many points in the game. The developers are not allowed to be as proud of themselves over this as they seem to be. I didn't like all of these power-ups in Crash 3 because they made the game much easier, and this is the same case for WoC. I guess having these power-ups seemed like the natural evolution in freshening the series, but I much prefer the tighter limits of Crash 2. God forbid the developers gave these power-ups to Coco who desperately needs them. Yes, Coco is now a playable character in a couple of non-vehicle levels in this game, but I wish they hadn't bothered. She's essentially Crash minus everything including the jump range, the spin attack, and all of the aforementioned power-ups. I can't tell you how many times I died on that oriental level because I had to get used to Coco not being able to jump as high and her pathetic trip move that is laughably slow. Thank god they made Coco more or less a Crash skin in the N-Sane trilogy.

The villains in this game also seem a bit underwhelming. It's a shame because as imposing as a force Uka Uka seems like a sentient mask with ambiguous evil energy exuding from him, I can't say the same about the elemental masks. They all have recognizable voice talent backing them (R Lee. Ermey and Mark Hamill for example) but it's a shame they didn't have much to work with. They taunt you at the beginning of the levels in their designated six levels like the villains in Crash 3, but unlike those villains, their bosses serve to assist Crunch who seems like the real imposing villain of the game. There is a weird imbalance of who the main villain is supposed to be because every boss in the game is essentially Crunch being aided by a different elemental mask. The bosses themselves are fine, except for the wind boss because you shoot at a giant purple Crunch in a biplane. Perhaps this is due to struggling with this boss as a child, but I still do not like the biplane all the same.

Once you fight Cortex, the game isn't quite over. You are encouraged to 100% complete the game by getting all of the gems to unlock the true ending of the game. This game even puts more incentive to do this than in the other games by giving you a true ending to unlock, but it didn't entice me anyways. As much of a daunting challenge, it was to 100% the first three Crash games, it was always satisfying once I broke every box in the level to get the gem. The same cannot be said for Wrath of Cortex because, for some reason, there was always one lone box I missed in several levels in this game. It's less of a matter of me not paying close attention to where the boxes are and more indicative of Traveler's Tales not being secure in their ability to craft levels with clever design. Instead, the challenge they impose seems artificial by having the player break the pace of the game to do a fetch quest for the hidden box which is incredibly tedious. I never had this problem in the first three games, so I know it's due to some new developer fuckery.

I feel bad concluding this review with the assessment that Wrath of Cortex as a whole is just an attempt at a Crash Bandicoot game. The merits that it does have are certainly noticeable, but all of them greatly pale in comparison to what the first three games had to offer. The aspects of this game that make it different from the first three are felt as unwelcome by me and everyone else that played the first three Crash games because they break the pacing of the game and they just feel awkward and clumsy. I still wonder if I'm saying this now after playing the first three Crash games and if I wouldn't have had as many gripes with this game had it remained the only mainline Crash game I ever played, but this game doesn't hold its own as an invigorating experience all the same. It was once supplementary material for those 20 years ago that played the first three games, but now that the franchise has been revamped, it's probably better to leave this entry in the dark.
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Erockthestrange 2017-07-21T21:10:17Z
2017-07-21T21:10:17Z
6.0
1
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It's difficult to pin down the tangible reason why this doesn't stack up to the classic trilogy. Even without Naughty Dog behind it, the pieces are all there. That in itself, however, explains some of its shortcomings; Wrath of Cortex tries so hard to be Warped 2, but is so obviously not by the same team and is a publisher mandated game handed off to the blooming Lego devs. The level design does suffer, just plain not feeling as tight and featuring more dead space than ever, which makes the box hunting and time trails drag a lot.

The overall package just feels so half-baked, but enough of the basic pieces are there so that it's worth playing as part of the series, albeit not to 100%. The ball-rolling sections are legitimately pretty fun.
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Lowlander2 2017-08-30T08:41:49Z
2017-08-30T08:41:49Z
3.0
2
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My first PS2 game
I remember when we first got a PS2, 1 year after its release we went to the Mall after Christmas and got it after owning a PS1 for around 5 years. Then after we went to Walmart or something and picked this game up as the first PS2 game, and I was a huge fan of the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy and played the hell out of those games as a kid. To be honest, as a kid I didn't think this was too bad, yeah it didn't have the same magic feeling as the first 3 Crash games to me, and it definitely was a downgrade, but I did enjoy some of the levels, I really liked the element bosses, and the music was decent. Looking back this game really hasn't aged well though, some of the level design is just awful and most of the levels are plain forgettable. Looking back there are really only 5 or 6 levels I can remember well from this game. And to be honest the ball rolling levels are the only ones I though were really fun. The underwater levels in this game are awful and the boss fights are just mediocre aside from the airplane shooter one. But I still don't think this game is as bad as some people think, yeah its a pretty mediocre Crash game, but its an alright platformer.
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jweber14 2017-07-21T21:52:34Z
2017-07-21T21:52:34Z
3.0
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Catalog

Colony Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex 2022-11-18T22:50:44Z
PS2 • US
2022-11-18T22:50:44Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Roccosballs Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex 2022-11-18T03:06:13Z
PS2 • US
2022-11-18T03:06:13Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
leonelmenaia Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex 2022-11-17T00:58:17Z
2022-11-17T00:58:17Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Affengitarre Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex 2022-11-15T20:31:31Z
2022-11-15T20:31:31Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ShanyetEast Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex 2022-11-15T07:24:36Z
2022-11-15T07:24:36Z
2.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Sorald Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex 2022-11-08T12:57:28Z
2022-11-08T12:57:28Z
2.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Dazawassa Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex 2022-11-07T14:32:29Z
Xbox • GB
2022-11-07T14:32:29Z
2.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Dazawassa Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex 2022-11-07T14:31:56Z
PS2 • GB
2022-11-07T14:31:56Z
2.5
3
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Certicloss Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex 2022-11-05T19:13:07Z
2022-11-05T19:13:07Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
fimozika Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex 2022-11-03T14:37:26Z
2022-11-03T14:37:26Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Dentrowl Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex 2022-10-20T06:34:34Z
2022-10-20T06:34:34Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
DariusRawson Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex 2022-10-15T17:03:00Z
2022-10-15T17:03:00Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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ESRB: E
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  • NickShutter 2020-04-28 12:58:50.457943+00
    The Xbox version fixes the bad load times, and looks a lot better, too
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    • demonikneumonic 2020-07-23 05:41:42.408659+00
      Interesting fact(s) about this: this was originally intended to basically be a completely different game (free roaming to boot) before getting fucked over by Universal who halfway through decided they wanted it to copy the template of the previous game and tried to rush Traveller's Tales into rebuilding it on a very time-limited schedule, so kind of a similar story to what happened with Twinsanity's development albeit with different results and less well-known, as this has only really come to light recently

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZmM72ktjNA
      https://www.crashmania.net/en/games/crash-bandicoot-worlds/

      Basically the series largely fell victim to a whole lot of executive bullshit during the early 2000s on behalf of Universal that usually tends to be somewhat unfairly blamed on the devs for not being Naughty Dog, basically
    • NickShutter 2020-10-21 17:47:56.545137+00
      Actually never knew about the fixes (my copy is the original), or the initial plan for the game. That's really unfortunate but they made a decent Crash game all things considered
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  • theaziz2001 2021-05-19 01:07:36.427002+00
    The nostalgia I have towards this game makes it impossible for me to give it anything less than a 4
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  • Burninate 2021-07-28 23:28:15.687913+00
    buggy junk
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  • WhittlHeccy 2021-10-13 20:05:01.549665+00
    Hearing the same guy who was Sgt. Hartman from Full Metal Jacket voice a mask named WaWa feels so weird
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  • godspeedthese64emperors 2021-10-14 18:51:07.673679+00
    so many dingodiles in stage 14
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  • Skidsinmyute 2022-09-11 03:39:21.701185+00
    I'd play this over Crash Twinsanity.
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