52 Weeks of Canadian Gaming - Week 24
Crash: Mind over Mutant
Release Date: October 07, 2008
Developer: Radical Entertainment
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+
Reviewed by: Brian Wray
When I choose Crash Mind over Mutant, I assumed that it was just the continuation of Crash of the Titans. After all, the box displayed the exact same mutant jacking capabilities as with the previous title. If indeed it was just more of the same, it would not have been a bad thing as Crash of the Titans was quite enjoyable. As it turns out the game is very much a new experience.
It will be impossible to talk about this game without referencing Crash of the Titans. So to recap, Crash of the Titans is a platformer that features Crash Bandicoot battling his way through 20 levels, while collection mojo and voodoo dolls and jacking mutant to save his home and family from the Dr. Neo Cortex and his evil minions. On the other hand Crash: Mind over Mutant is a platformer that features Crash Bandicoot battling his way through 16 levels, while collection mojo and voodoo dolls and jacking mutant to save his home and family from the Dr. Neo Cortex and his evil minions. Sure this does sound quite familiar, but there are key differences between the two games.
As I mentioned previously, Dr. Neo Cortex is back up to his dirty deeds and this time he enlisted the help of the equally evil friends (is it just me, or all doctors evil at hearth?). The fiendish duo have devised a plan to enslave the entire world using mind altering virtual reality headgear infused with evil mojo (obtained by milking Uka Uka). They have already managed to enslave the minds of Crash’s sister and brother and most of the inhabitants of Wumpa Island. It is up to Crash and Aku Aku to save the day.
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So what exactly did change between the two titles you ask? I am glad you asked. The first big difference that will be easy to notice is that Mind over Mutant is visually superior to its predecessor. Crash of the Titans looked like a PS2 game with slightly enhanced graphics. At least this time, the game looks like a Wii game with slightly enhanced graphics. Not spectacular, but still much better than the previous game. As the game starts, the next key difference will be visible. The game features very cool animated cut-scenes as opposed to in game ones of the previous title. The cut-scenes are also all different mimicking the style of various animés and animated TV shows such as South Park and old Spider-man cartoons to name a few. These cut-scenes are a visual treat to watch. In fact, I have enjoyed them all several times via the in-game replay screening room. The next big change is in the level design. Wumpa Island is quite the large place, but in previous titles, each level was a separate entity so the scale of the entire island was never fully appreciated. This time, the entire island is open for exploration in a mostly open world format. I say mostly open world as parts of the island are sealed off till a specific objective or titan has been secured. This brings us to the biggest difference between the two titles, and the one that makes the game so much more enjoyable. Similar to the previous title, Crash has maintained the ability to jack titans but this time Crash can now store titans for later use. This will allow our funky hero to jack a titan in one part of the island and to store it for use at another part of the island. Most of the old titans from Crash of the Titans has returned only to be joined by a whole new crew of titans.
The controls of the game changed little from the last iteration. The left analog stick is used to control Crash or jacked titans while the right analog stick is used to control specific range attacks. The main buttons are used to perform most actions such as basic and advanced attacks, evading attacks, jacking titans, jumping or interacting with game world objects. The two triggers and left bumper are used for various titan special attacks while the right bumper is used to store and retrieve titans.
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A platformer cannot exist without something to collect. As in the previous game, the main item for collection is mojo. Mojo can be found just about anywhere such as in plants, rocks, and fallen enemies. Once enough mojo has been gathered, Crash will learn a new skills or upgrade an existing one. This is similar to the last game, but the key difference is this time any mojo gathered while on a jacked titan will upgrade the skills and strength of the titan type. Every titan in the game can enjoy five upgrades making them stronger, tougher and faster.
I am very glad to say that the humour of the previous title returned in Mind over Mutant. Once again, the developers took the time to record thousands of lines of dialog covering every character in the game. Once again, I would sneak up on some minions and just listen to them spout all kinds of funny lines of dialog. Even after playing the game for over ten hours it is still rare to actually hear the same dialog twice.
Anyone who enjoyed Crash of the Titans will find this game very inviting. Sure there are a few new tricks to learn, like the storage and retrieval of titans but overall the game took everything that was fun in Crash of the Titans and enhanced it with what the community wanted to produce a game that is a real gem. The only caveat to this title is that it never elevates itself from all other platformers, opting instead to deliver a solid gaming experience, one that has already been experienced before.