Review: Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure (~12 hours, Game Boy Advance)

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I thought I’d venture out of my comfort zone, and so I started playing Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure. In all honesty, I’ve never played much of the PlayStation Crash games, nor have I tried the Ultra High Definition remake, but this was available to me and I gave it a go. Put briefly, it is very similar to Donkey Kong Country, 3D models and all. Still, it’s true to its name as a huge adventure, consisting of 20 levels, not including certain boss fights. Unfortunately, the controls feel slightly inaccurate, the same way DKC did, and is also lazy, with copy and paste box and enemy locations.

It seems as though Crash and more or less every enemy is a true 3D model, impressive for the Game Boy Advance. Also impressive because the 3D models in Donkey Kong Country are 2D image files that are animated. You come across a lot of the same levels: jungle levels, ice stages where you’re running from a yeti, underwater levels, outer space levels, and up-in-the-clouds jet-pack levels. All of these levels are repeated, with different layouts and item and enemy placement. Crash can jump and spin to defeat enemies.

As you defeat certain bosses, you develop new skills, such as a double jump, an extended spin, and the ability to fall flat on your face. In every level, you get a purple crystal proving you reached the end of the level. It’s harder to acquire the gems, which signify you broke every box in a level, or completed a bonus level. Sure enough, I finished the last part of the game, and the “Aku Aku” mask told me that the game wasn’t over, because there were still gems to collect. The credits rolled after that. I went back and aced the first level, getting the gem. The second level was already aced, but in the third level I couldn’t figure out how to get the gem. Nice that Vicarious Visions is encouraging a completionist mentality.

Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure could use a graphical update. Like, if the artwork were redrawn and an updated version featured higher screen resolution, I wouldn’t complain. I think the problem is that there aren’t enough Crash fans in the world to justify this. It’s interesting to see the game in an emulator, with a graphical filter applied, because it actually cleans up the 3D and the rough edges around the background art. The music is serviceable.
It’s worth noting that there are two other Crash games on Game Boy Advance. It’s depressing, however, that Naughty Dog sold the rights to their flagship series, whether because they needed cash, or just because the studio wanted to move on. I assume the former. Despite being Sony Computer Entertainment’s baby, the series is finally in good hands now with ActiVision, after a lot of being thrown around by publishers and development studios. The Huge Adventure is below average.

2/5

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