Though Crash Bandicoot started as a Sony "mascot" of sorts for the original PlayStation, once Sony and Naughty Dog gave Vivendi the rights to do anything they wanted with that orange furball, the guy's shown up on the Game Boy Advance nearly as much as he did on his original console. Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage
is literally the fourth Bandicoot game in three years on the GBA platform, and the development team attempts to breath a bit of new life into the franchise by incorporating the established Crash Bandicoot
realm with Vivendi's other series, Spyro the Dragon
. Though it gives the game a "Jetsons meet the Flintstones" vibe, it's a unique idea in the videogame realm that offers some real promise in the pairing. The result isn't quite as exciting as the concept, though; even though Crash Bandicoot Purple
is a fun collection of old-school-inspired mini-games, the game is tied together via surprisingly uncreative platform elements. Overall it's a satisfying Crash experience, but it's not nearly as impressive as the previous outings he's had the past few years.
Crash Bandicoot Purple
- Play as Crash Bandicoot
- Several dozen mini-game challenges
- More than a hundred trading cards to collect
- Cartridge save (three slots)
- Link cable support for up to four players (single and multiple cartridge)
- Connectivity with Spyro Orange
and its gaming twin Spyro Orange
are the first western-developed GBA game to adopt the "two versions of the same adventure" scenario that the Pokemon RPG games have inspired. But the difference here is, both games in this series are vastly unique adventures, each game having its own style of gameplay in a similar theme. Crash Bandicoot Purple
, specifically, puts players in the role of Crash as he uncovers his evil nemesis Dr. Cortex's plan to buddy up with Ripto to take over the world. Throughout his adventure, Crash will meet up with Spyro and his crew, and will cut across not just the familiar Crash Bandicoot locations, but also areas that move through Spyro's realm.
The game design is a significant departure from the past two Crash Bandicoot side-scrollers on the GBA. The game's been developed by the same production team, but the designers have strayed a bit from the familiar platforming elements to provide a much more varied gameplay experience in the form of mini-game challenges. And in Crash Bandicoot: Purple, there are tons of them. Some are based around the typical Crash Bandicoot challenges of smashing crates in a set amount of time, but others are wildly unique to the Crash franchise: drive a tank around in a game derived from the old Atari Combat, or smash enemies in a design that melds Space Invaders with Breakout. There's even a sheep-destroying game that feels extremely similar to Activision's own Stampede, and tests of rapid-fire button abilities in a few weight-lifting challenges. Each of the games have their own level of difficulty...and the further into the game players go, the harder these challenges get.
Though the strength of Crash Bandicoot: Purple lies in its mini-game design, they're all tied together with an incredibly weak platform element that should have been more established than what ended up here in the final product. It all seems like unnecessary busywork since the designers fail to offer any real challenge during the portions between the mini-games. It's incredibly easy to locate all the different places required to complete each level, and even though there are places and items that will cause an instant death, there's almost no penalty for goofing up. This is incredibly surprising considering how much fun and challenging the team's past Crash Bandicoot platformers were on the GBA.
Crash Bandicoot: Purple is also a somewhat short adventure, but its card collection element encourages repeat play due to locked secrets and levels. There are more than a hundred of these "cards" in the GBA game that can be scored by simply finding them in hidden locations, winning them in mini-challenges, or trading between Crash Bandicoot: Purple and Spyro Orange. The designers also attempt to keep the lasting play high by letting the gamer play unlocked mini-games outside of the Story Mode, but aside from the handful of games that allow for multiplayer via single or multiple cartridge link play, the games offer almost zero incentive. It would have been far more interesting to the player if these games recorded high scores or best time to cartridge...something that actually encouraged players to compete in these challenges separate from the big adventure.
But even with this weak overworld element, the game is still good, classic Crash Bandicoot fun on the Game Boy Advance. The sheer amount of different challenges, as well as the focus on multiplayer competition between as many as four players, is enough to say that Crash Bandicoot: Purple is a solid adventure among its flawed design.
©2004, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved