Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure
Crash for the GBA is what the PS2 game wanted to be. No excessively long load times, straightforward platform action varied with air missions and front-camera-view races, and some engaging, albeit frustrating level design make Crash a perfect family-road-trip friend. But as the saying goes, "no pain no gain." Adventure, like the problematic PS2 Crash, still relies too heavily on trial-and-error game-play. Dying every two seconds for either jumping into a void or a layer of spikes, or running for dear life without being able to see what the heck is coming at you during the front-camera-view missions happens consistently throughout, and is only just bearable due to the availability of extra guys within the level and bonus stages. This is not to say that those l-ups just fall at your feet, though. In fact, more times than not, after yelling "Cheap! Cheap!" for the zillionth time, you'll probably want to do one of two things: Either calmly turn the game off and go beat up your little brother, or tear the game out of the GBA and throw it against your Britney poster on the wall. Now add the cause of this emotional outburst with some already established antagonizing features in the Crash mold, i.e,, death by your toe nipping an enemy, and One Life to Live hashing on your TV starts looking mighty inviting. Needless to say, don't go out of your way to buy Crash--rent or borrow it instead.
Back on the PlayStation, this marsupial ran the show, but now that he's showing up on a console with games like Super Mario Advance 2 and Sonic](/games/sonic/), his mediocrity crashes the party. By combining boring gameplay, derivative level design and a remarkably short quest, Vicarious Visions has transformed Crash into just another ho-hum platformer. Even Crash's trademark graphical splendor has been toned down to merely average. The occasional pseudo-3D stage looks hot, but the side-scrolling sections are nothing special. Also, any game that heaps on the extra lives to balance out the endless one-hit deaths becomes quickly tiresome. You can do better.
After playing with Crash on the GBA, I am now of the opinion that Vicarious Visions can do no wrong. Throughout the colorful, detailed neo-3D platforming adventure, I felt like I was playing the original PlayStation games. That's how successful this version is at squeezing the essence of bandicoot onto the GBA. The controls, graphics and level-design are sweet, and they've even managed to implement the flying and diving levels from Crash's recent PS2 game. However, I did not enjoy the one-hit deaths. Some might think they're "hardcore," but I find it simply annoying. This is a good game for younger gamers in particular.