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Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex is a platform game published by Universal Interactive Studios and developed by Traveller's Tales for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube video game consoles. The PlayStation 2 version was released in North America on October 29, 2001 and in Europe on November 23, 2001. The Xbox version was released in North America on April 15, 2002 and in Europe on April 26, 2002. The GameCube version was released in North America on September 17, 2002 and in Europe on November 1, 2002. It was also one of the launch titles for the Xbox Originals service on December 4, 2007.

Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex is the sixth installment in the Crash video game series. It is the first platform game in the series not to be developed by Naughty Dog and is the first in the series to be released outside the PlayStation consoles. The game's story centers on the appearance of a new superweapon by the main antagonist of the series, Doctor Neo Cortex, along with a group of destructive masks known as the Elementals. The main protagonist of the series, Crash Bandicoot, must travel the world and gather special Crystals that will return the Elementals to a hibernational state and defeat Cortex's new superweapon, a genetically-advanced bandicoot named Crunch Bandicoot.

The game received middling reviews upon release, with the general consensus being that the game severely lacked innovation, adding nothing new whatsoever to the Crash series. The PS2 version was also heavily criticized for its long loading times.

Gameplay

Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex is a platform game in which the player controls Crash and Coco Bandicoot, who must gather 25 Crystals and defeat the main antagonists of the story: Doctor Neo Cortex, his new superweapon Crunch and Crunch's power sources, the renegade Elementals. Much of the game takes place in a "Virtual Reality (VR) Hub System" created by Coco to help Crash gather the Crystals. The VR Hub System is split up into five "VR Hubs"; initially, only the first VR Hub is available. Each VR Hub has five teleportation portals to different levels.[1] The goal in each level is to find and obtain the Crystal hidden in the area. In some levels, the Crystal will be located at the end of a level or must be earned by completing a specific challenge.[2] Each level contains a "Bonus Platform" that leads to a special bonus area, where the player must navigate through a maze and collect everything in sight. Once a bonus area is completed, it cannot be played again unless the level is replayed.[3] After completing all five levels in a VR Hub, a sixth teleportation portal to a boss level will appear. By defeating the boss, the next VR Hub will become available for play.[1] When all 25 Crystals are collected and Doctor Cortex and Crunch are defeated, the game is won.[3]

Besides Crystals, Gems and Colored Gems can be collected for extra accomplishment. Gems are rewarded to the player if all of the crates in a level are broken open or if a secret area is completed. Colored Gems are found in special levels and lead to hidden areas. "Relics" can be won by re-entering a level where the Crystal has already been retrieved. To obtain a Relic, the player must initiate the "Time Trial" mode and race through a level in the pre-designated time displayed before entering a level.[2] To begin a Time Trial run, the player must enter a level and activate the floating stopwatch near the beginning of the level to activate the timer; if the stopwatch is not touched, the level can be played regularly. The player must then race through the level as quickly as possible. Scattered throughout the level are yellow crates with the numbers 1, 2 or 3 on them. When these crates are broken, the timer is frozen for the number of seconds designated by the box. As no lives are lost in the Time Trial mode, the level can be played through as often as the player desires. Sapphire, Gold and Platinum Relics can be won depending on how low the player's final time is.[4] The first five Relics the player receives unlocks access to a secret level. Every five Relics thereafter open up another level in the Secret Warp Room. The levels in the Secret Warp Room must be won before the game can be fully completed.[2]

Crash and Coco start the game with four lives. Crash and Coco lose a life when they are struck by an enemy attack or suffer any other type of damage. More lives can be earned by instructing Crash or Coco to collect 100 "Wumpa Fruits" or break open a special crate to collect a life.[3] Crash and Coco can be shielded from enemy attack by collecting an Aku Aku mask. Collecting three of these masks allows temporary invulnerability from all minor dangers.[2] If Crash or Coco run out of lives, the game is over. However, the game can be continued by selecting "Yes" at the "Continue?" screen.[3]

Plot

Characters

Nine returning characters from previous Crash titles star in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex along with five new characters. The protagonist of the game, Crash Bandicoot, is a genetically-enhanced Eastern Barred Bandicoot who must defeat the antagonist Doctor Neo Cortex and his new superweapon. Coco Bandicoot, Crash's younger sister, is a highly intelligent computer expert with an interest in Hong Kong martial arts films. Aku Aku is a kindly omnipotent witch doctor who guides and aids Crash and Coco in stopping the plans of Doctor Neo Cortex.[5]

The main antagonist of the series, Doctor Neo Cortex, is a mad scientist who created Crash Bandicoot among other characters and now seeks Crash's elimination along with world domination. The controlling force behind Cortex's plots for conquering the world is Uka Uka, the evil twin brother of Aku Aku. A number of recurring villains from the series serve minor roles in the game. These include Doctor N. Gin, Cortex's right hand man, Doctor Nefarious Tropy, a scientist who specializes in time travel, Tiny Tiger, a hulking and ferocious Tasmanian Tiger, and Dingodile, a dingo-crocodile hybrid armed with a flamethrower.[6]

Five new characters in the series make their appearance in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, particularly Doctor Cortex's genetically-enhanced superweapon Crunch Bandicoot, a bionic bandicoot created for the purpose of destroying Crash Bandicoot.[6] Acting as Crunch's power source are the Elementals, a group of destructive masks who control the elements of Earth, Water, Fire and Air. The Elementals consist of Rok-Ko, a bad-tempered and rock-headed earthbending mask who controls earthquakes and landslides, Wa-Wa, a stick-in-the-mud waterbending mask who controls thunderstorms and floods, Py-Ro, an easily-perturbed firebending mask who controls volcano eruptions, and Lo-Lo, a joke-cracking airbending mask who controls tornadoes.[7]

Story

In a newly-built space station orbiting the Earth, Uka Uka, having called a convention of recurring villains in the series, berates the attendees for their recently unimpressive evil productivity,[8] and forces them to come up with a plan to eliminate Crash Bandicoot, their main opponent.[9] Doctor Cortex comes forward with the announcement of a previously secret genetically-enhanced superweapon of unbelievable strength, but reveals that it is missing a power source.[10] Uka Uka then tells the group a tale of a battle between the Ancient Ancestors and the Elementals, a group of renegade masks who had the elemental power over earth, water, fire and air and used these elements to ravage the globe. The Ancients were able to imprison the Elementals with the aid of special Crystals that put the masks in a state of hibernation.[11] Cortex deduces that if they awaken the Elementals and harness their destructive power, they can bring his secret weapon to life and do away with Crash Bandicoot forever.[12]

Back on Earth, the world is suddenly terrorized by severe natural disasters, leading Aku Aku to conclude that Uka Uka, his evil twin brother, is up to something.[13] A confrontation with Uka Uka confirms his suspicions and nearly results in his destruction at the hands of the Elementals. Aku Aku returns to Crash and Coco Bandicoot and alerts them of the current situation, disclosing that the only way to stop the Elementals is to imprison them once more with the Crystals, which have been scattered across the Earth.[14] Using Coco's new Virtual Reality Hub System, Crash and Coco are able to travel the world and gather the Crystals, fending off attacks from Cortex's superweapon, Crunch Bandicoot, and the Elementals along the way. However, by the time the Crystals have been gathered and the Elementals have been put in their hibernation state, Crunch's elemental powers have reached maximum capacity, forcing Crash to battle Crunch at full power in Cortex's space station.[15] Nevertheless, Crash is able to defeat Crunch, snapping him out of Doctor Cortex's control.[16] Infuriated by this failure, Uka Uka attacks Doctor Cortex with a fireball, only to have it hit a vital part of the space station, causing a chain reaction that results in the space station's self-destruction.[17] Crash, Aku Aku and Crunch are able to escape and return to the Bandicoot home on Coco's space fighter ship, while Cortex and Uka Uka deploy an escape pod and end up landing somewhere in Antarctica, where Uka Uka furiously chases Cortex around a small ice floe.

Audio

The game's music is composed by Andy Blythe and Marten Joustra of Swallow Studios. The original Crash Bandicoot theme by Mutato Muzika also appears in the game. Only two of the series' original voice actors reprised their roles for the game: Clancy Brown voices the dual role of Doctor Neo Cortex and Uka Uka, while Mel Winkler provides the voice of Aku Aku. Debi Derryberry inherited the role of Coco Bandicoot from Hynden Walch, while Corey Burton voices the returning villains Doctor N. Gin and Doctor Nefarious Tropy, taking over for Brendan O'Brien and Michael Ensign respectively. Kevin Michael Richardson provides the voice of new character Crunch Bandicoot, while the Elementals, consisting of Rok-Ko, Wa-Wa-, Py-Ro and Lo-Lo, are voiced by Thomas F. Wilson, R. Lee Ermey, Mark Hamill and Jess Harnell respectively.[18]

Reception

 Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
GC PS2 Xbox
Electronic
Gaming Monthly
6.0/10[19] 4.5/10[20] 5.0/10[21]
Game Informer 6.8/10[20] 7.3/10[21]
GamePro 3/5[22] 3/5[23] 3/5[24]
GameSpot 6.6/10[25] 6.4/10[26]
GameZone 7.2/10[27] 8.0/10[28] 7.1/10[29]
IGN 6.9/10[30] 7.4/10[31] 6.7/10[32]
Nintendo Power 6.6/10[19]
Nintendo World Report 7.5/10[33]
Official PlayStation Magazine (US) 7/10[20]
Official Xbox Magazine 7.1/10[21]
Play Magazine 4/10[19] 8/10[21]
Aggregate scores
GameRankings 63.28%[34] 70.12%[35] 70.47%[36]
Metacritic 62[19] 66[20] 70[21]

The PlayStation 2 version of Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex was met with mixed reviews. Louis Bedigian of GameZone wrote a positive review, saying that "any Crash Bandicoot fan would be a fool not to go out and buy this game. I started playing at 2am one night and did not stop until three in the afternoon!"[28] Doug Perry of IGN described the game as "a decent playing and pretty looking Crash Bandicoot game. It's nothing terribly special, but it's not bad, not bad at all."[31] Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine felt that "when the strongest feeling I get from a game is the desire to play its predecessors, something's not quite right."[20] Game Informer criticized the "outrageously bad load times", saying that they "keep the game from being average."[20] Shane Satterfield of GameSpot concluded that the game "maintains the status quo and fails to deliver a fresh, compelling experience."[25] Star Dingo of GamePro cautioned that "if you were hoping the new management would give Crash a big kick in the pants, however, this is one pair of pants you will find quite unkicked."[23] Electronic Gaming Monthly criticized the trial-and-error gameplay, saying that "when forced to blindly jump, die, then discover what you missed, where I come from, that’s just cheating."[20]

Though the Xbox version of the game rated generally higher among critics than the PlayStation 2 version, reviews remained mixed. Play Magazine noted that "they've caressed the music to great effect, made the bosses a bit more challenging, [and] adhered to a massive replayability standard that would drive any developer to drink."[21] Game Informer felt that "every little morsel of platforming goodness in The Wrath of Cortex has already been done to death on the Playstation."[21] Carlos McElfish of GameZone warned that "if you are looking for an innovative and original experience that does justice to the series you’ll have to look elsewhere."[29] Official Xbox Magazine concluded that "this is a game for those who want what Crash has always had to offer – good graphics, jump-and-spin gameplay, and tons of collectible items. Nothing more, nothing less."[21] Hilary Goldstein felt that while Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex was "a fun game for the most part," "it fails in some areas, like proper game balance and correct use of surround sound."[32] Shane Satterfield of GameSpot passed off the game as "a slightly updated version of the orange marsupial's 1998 debut on the PlayStation."[26] Star Dingo of GamePro concluded that "love it or hate it, Wrath of Cortex Xbox is more of more of the same."[24] Electronic Gaming Monthly felt that "save for a few additions to WOC, like some cool hamster-ball levels, it's almost identical to its predecessors."[21]

The GameCube version rated the lowest among critics out of the three versions. Ben Kosmina of Nintendo World Report promised that "gamers experiencing the wacky mascot for the first time may enjoy it."[33] Michael Lafferty of GameZone described the game as "safe, sterile and redundant."[27] Matt Casamassina on IGN concluded that "at the end of the day this is the same Crash game I played so many years ago without any real innovations or evolutions."[30] Nintendo Power praised the "sheer variety" of the gameplay.[19] Kilo Watt of GamePro said that "graphically, this version is slightly below the recent Xbox release but in line with the competent PlayStation 2 iteration."[22] Electronic Gaming Monthly agreed that "Wrath on the GC is much more polished here than on the PS2,"[19] while Play Magazine denounced the GameCube version as "a shell of the other two console versions, so I beg you to pass."[19]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Instruction Booklet. Sony Computer Entertainment America. 2001. p. 9. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Instruction Booklet. Sony Computer Entertainment America. 2001. p. 10. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Instruction Booklet. Sony Computer Entertainment America. 2001. p. 15. 
  4. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Instruction Booklet. Sony Computer Entertainment America. 2001. p. 13. 
  5. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Instruction Booklet. Sony Computer Entertainment America. 2001. p. 16. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Instruction Booklet. Sony Computer Entertainment America. 2001. p. 17. 
  7. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Instruction Booklet. Sony Computer Entertainment America. 2001. p. 18. 
  8. Traveller's Tales. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. (Universal Interactive). Multiplatform. Level/area: Opening cinematic. (October 29, 2001) "Uka Uka: Imbeciles! Fools! Nincompoops! Can't you idiots do anything right?! According to this, your track record for spreading evil is pathetic!"
  9. Traveller's Tales. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. (Universal Interactive). Multiplatform. Level/area: Opening cinematic. (October 29, 2001) "Uka Uka: I will not let anything stand in the way of evil, especially not a brainless orange marsupial! Crash must be eliminated! / Doctor N. Gin: Uh, Uka Uka. Need I remind you that Crash always finds a way to defeat us? Maybe he's just too good for us. / Uka Uka: Enough excuses! You five idiots need to come up with one good plan... or else..."
  10. Traveller's Tales. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. (Universal Interactive). Multiplatform. Level/area: Opening cinematic. (October 29, 2001) "Doctor Neo Cortex: Well, in my scientific endeavors, I've been able to create a genetically-enhanced superweapon of unbelievable strength. But the power source... is the final missing crucial element."
  11. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Instruction Booklet. Sony Computer Entertainment America. 2001. pp. 6–7. "Several thousands of years ago the Ancient Ancestors fought a brave battle against the Elementals - a group of renegade masks who had control and power over the elements of Air, Earth, Fire and Water. Each mask reigned over a specific element and used these elements to ravage the globe. The Ancient Ancestors were able to imprison the Elementals through the use of special crystals that put them in a state of hibernation." 
  12. Traveller's Tales. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. (Universal Interactive). Multiplatform. Level/area: Opening cinematic. (October 29, 2001) "Uka Uka: Elements... Elements... Yes! The Elementals! / Doctor Neo Cortex: Right! The Elementals, that's it! If we unleashed their destructive energy, we could create enough power to bring my secret weapon to life. We'd have a weapon capable of crushing mountains, demolishing entire cities... / Uka Uka: ...and wipe Crash Bandicoot off the face of the Earth forever! / Doctor Neo Cortex: Get ready to face my wrath, Crash Bandicoot! (laughs)"
  13. Traveller's Tales. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. (Universal Interactive). Multiplatform. Level/area: Opening cinematic. (October 29, 2001) "Aku Aku: Is everyone all right? It appears that my evil twin brother, Uka Uka, is up to his no-good tricks again. I must find out what he is planning. I'll meet up with you later."
  14. Traveller's Tales. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. (Universal Interactive). Multiplatform. Level/area: Opening cinematic. (October 29, 2001) "Aku Aku: Crash, Coco, it's as I feared. Uka Uka and Doctor Cortex have unleashed a group of destructive masks known as the Elementals. We must find a way to stop them before they destroy the Earth and all of its inhabitants. The only way to stop the Elementals' destructive nature is to imprison them with the use of ancient Crystals. Each Elemental can be returned back to their hibernation state with a total of five Crystals."
  15. Traveller's Tales. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. (Universal Interactive). Multiplatform. Level/area: Fifth Virtual Reality Hub. (October 29, 2001) "Crunch Bandicoot: Don't worry, Doctor Cortex. Now that my elemental powers have reached maximum capacity, this little geek is gonna wish he was never created."
  16. Traveller's Tales. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. (Universal Interactive). Multiplatform. Level/area: Ending cinematic. (October 29, 2001) "Crunch Bandicoot: Wait a second... That annoying scientist doesn't have control over me anymore! Where is that pathetic twerp? / Aku Aku: There's no time for that now, Crunch."
  17. Traveller's Tales. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. (Universal Interactive). Multiplatform. Level/area: Ending cinematic. (October 29, 2001) "Computer voice: Danger. Critical power overload in evil space station. Run for your lives. / Doctor Neo Cortex: I think your energy volt caused a slight chain reaction. It might be wise if we made our way to the escape pods. / Uka Uka: This is all your fault!! If you hadn't ducked out of the way, none of this would've happened!"
  18. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Instruction Booklet. Sony Computer Entertainment America. 2001. p. 23. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (cube: 2002): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-05-31.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (ps2: 2001): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-05-31.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 21.6 21.7 21.8 Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (xbx: 2002): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-05-31.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Kilo Watt (2002-09-18). Review: Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex [GameCube] - from GamePro.com. GamePro. Retrieved on 2009-05-31. “Graphically, this version is slightly below the recent Xbox release but in line with the competent PlayStation 2 iteration.”
  23. 23.0 23.1 Star Dingo (2001-10-30). Review: Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex [PS2] - from GamePro.com. GamePro. Retrieved on 2009-05-31. “If you were hoping the new management would give Crash a big kick in the pants, however, this is one pair of pants you will find quite unkicked.”
  24. 24.0 24.1 Star Dingo (2002-05-02). Review: Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex [Xbox] - from GamePro.com. GamePro. Retrieved on 2009-05-31. “Love it or hate it, Wrath of Cortex Xbox is more of more of the same.”
  25. 25.0 25.1 Shane Satterfield (2001-11-01). Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Review for PlayStation 2 - GameSpot. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2009-05-31. “Maintains the status quo and fails to deliver a fresh, compelling experience.”
  26. 26.0 26.1 Shane Satterfield (2002-04-15). Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Review for Xbox - GameSpot. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2009-05-31. “A slightly updated version of the orange marsupial's 1998 debut on the PlayStation.”
  27. 27.0 27.1 Michael Lafferty (2002-10-01). Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Review - GameCube. GameZone. Retrieved on 2009-05-31. “Safe, sterile and redundant.”
  28. 28.0 28.1 Louis Bedigian (2001-12-03). Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Review - PlayStation 2. GameZone. Retrieved on 2009-05-31. “Any Crash Bandicoot fan would be a fool not to go out and buy this game. I started playing at 2am one night and did not stop until three in the afternoon!”
  29. 29.0 29.1 Carlos McElfish (2002-04-29). Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Review - Xbox. GameZone. Retrieved on 2009-05-31. “If you are looking for an innovative and original experience that does justice to the series you’ll have to look elsewhere.”
  30. 30.0 30.1 Matt Casamassina (2002-09-17). IGN: Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-05-31. “But at the end of the day this is the same Crash game I played so many years ago without any real innovations or evolutions.”
  31. 31.0 31.1 Doug Perry (2001-11-01). IGN: Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-05-31. “A decent playing and pretty looking Crash Bandicoot game. It's nothing terribly special, but it's not bad, not bad at all.”
  32. 32.0 32.1 Hilary Goldstein (2002-04-26). IGN: Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-05-31. “A fun game for the most part...However, it fails in some areas, like proper game balance and correct use of surround sound.”
  33. 33.0 33.1 Ben Kosmina (2003-02-14). Nintendo World Report - GC Review: Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. Nintendo World Report. Retrieved on 2009-05-31. “Gamers experiencing the wacky mascot for the first time may enjoy it.”
  34. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex for GameCube - GameRankings. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-05-31.
  35. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex for PlayStation 2 - GameRankings. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-05-31.
  36. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex for Xbox - GameRankings. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-05-31.

External links

fr:Crash Bandicoot : la Vengeance de Cortexhu:Crash Bandicoot 4: The Wrath of Cortex

ja:クラッシュ・バンディクー4 さくれつ!魔神パワーpt:Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortexfi:Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex

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