Original Release Date: October 31, 1997
Crash's second outing on PS1 has hit the PS Store. While the original romp was an enjoyable experience (that we recommended), it's clear that the sequel is an improvement in every single way possible.
From the get-go, one can tell that the visuals are filled with far more detail and animation than the original. Although the story gives little reason for Crash to continue his adventure, it creates a far more manageable means of navigating from level to level. Crash can warp to any level he chooses, and will be able to tackle the challenges in any order he chooses. However, the best addition to the game is the ability to save any time you want. The original featured an archaic system that allowed players to save a limited number of times. With the ability to save in between each level, Crash Bandicoot 2 is far more suitable for handheld play.
The gameplay doesn't really offer more depth or variety than found in the original. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Once again, very linear (and fast) levels present challenges to Crash. It's up to the player to find secrets in each level, and finding 100% of all the boxes in each level can prove to be quite a task. Within the levels, Crash will do more than platforming: he'll ride a polar bear, run away from a rolling snowball (again), and go surfing. These additional excursions are nice distractions from the adventure, and give a nice pace to the game.
The shortcomings of the original also rear their ugly head in this sequel. If you didn't like the first, chances are slim you'll enjoy this sequel. The controls are hit-and-miss. For the most part, you'll want to use Type 1 controls, switching to Type 4 whenever diagonals are necessary. Platforming can be very frustrating at times, due to the game's insistence on trial-and-error memorization through levels. Crash will die in a number of ways, some amusing, and all infuriating.
There isn't much content, but each level can be replayed for 100% completion, if that's your kind of thing. Crash looks great on the small PSP screen (looks good upscaled on the PS3 as well), and has the kind of pick up and play gameplay that's perfect on the go. Loads are non-existent, and the game can be quite fun at times. Easily worth the $6 for a download.
Retro Review: 6.5