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Joystiq impressions: Crash Bandicoot: Mind over Mutant (Wii)

Zack Stern

Crash Bandicoot returns for another platforming adventure in October, 2008. The boisterous character again has the power to ride defeated enemies, using their special abilities. For example, before crossing a lake, he might force a frost-breathing creature to freeze it solid. Other times, he might roll on top of a spherical enemy over ramps, like a Sonic or Billy Hatcher.

But unlike the previous Crash, players can carry along a favorite enemy at all times. This way, gamers can defeat an immediate puzzle, but still retain the abilities of another, go-to creature.

I recently tried Radical's Wii version of the in-development title. The team is building for the Wii first, and essentially scaling the graphics up for the 360 and down for the PS2. This approach gives the Wii title a finished sheen that beats most others Wii games. (Multi-platform games often scale PS2 graphics up to the Wii, but don't truly utilize the hardware.) Crash seemed fun; its bright graphics and light tone should attract its kid-targeted audience.

Gallery: Crash Bandicoot: Mind over Mutant | 8 Photos

I moved Crash through a few levels, and the Wii controls felt good. Optional gestures for jumping and other simple moves give another way to play beyond buttons. A few special moves also require those motion controls. For example, if you're controlling a gorilla enemy, you might pound your chest to launch a powerful attack.

A friend can join in on the same system, too, with drop-in cooperative play. In this mode, they can play a second Crash-like character or his sister, Coco. Additionally, gamers can ride on each other in the same way Crash takes over the skills of an enemy. In this case, one player controls movement, and the other controls the attack.

The story and humor are key components of the game. At semi-random times throughout the adventure, Crash and other characters will spout out lines of dialogue. The developers intend for these to literally never repeat, drawing on a total group of 8,500 lines.

In addition to the 360, PS2, and Wii, the game will launch for PSP and DS at the same, October time. Also, Radical will create a PS3 game, but that edition will be published later, with specifics to be determined.

Crash Bandicoot: Mind over Mutant's variety in play, vast dialogue, and wry story could make it a hit with its young, target group. Older players, especially platforming fans, might also enjoy the game.

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