Croc: Legend of the Gobbos
It's Funny How The Pc Has Never really been a home to truly corking platform games. In the days of the MegaDrive and the Super NES, the average PC didn't have the guts to challenge the speedy parallax-scrolling, side-on likes of Mario and Sonic. It's only now, with magic graphics cards and 'really neat' Pentium processors and stuff that the PC can kick faces in the platform game arena. However, as we all know, the average contemporary platform game - nay, any game - will be laughed out of the shop if it isn't 'in' 3D.
Croc of gold
Depending on how you look at it, Croc is either a cartoony Tomb Raider or a rip-off of Nintendo's Super Mario 64. V\le favour the latter description, but given that the comical antics of Nintendo's arch mascot aren't readily available to the stalwart PC-o-phile, it barely matters. Croc has one of those typical platform game plots that absolutely no one is interested in. Still, for the sake of completeness, listen up...
The Gobbos are a race of little furry guys who discover the eponymous Croc as an infant and welcome him as one of their own. One day, all the Gobbos are kidnapped for no good reason by a bunch of truly bad 3D cartoon animals, and Croc, remembering the debt he owes his adoptive family, sets out to rescue them. Got it?
In Croc's world of prettily texture-mapped caverns, cliffs, valleys and icy tundras and that, the roving camera angle is king. It does a pretty good job of capturing the best view of the action as our scaly hero spins and jumps his way from bad-guy cranium to bad-guy cranium. But it's not all about jumping on snakes and rats; there's a good deal of exploring to do. The levels - numerous but short, and broken up by doors and tunnels rather than taking the approach of Tomb Raider's sprawling layouts -are full of hidden areas and secret rooms.
There are also unexpected puzzles and bonus games littered throughout the game, which will either offer up life-affirming gemstones, useful keys or missing Gobbos. However, as varied as it might be. Croc's many levels soon blur into one. and it's only the decor which really sets them apart from each other. There's only so many times you can leap from platform to platform over bubbling lava or deaththreatening water without falling asleep.
Croc of shit?
Croc is a monstrously big game, it plays well, looks nice (particularly with the obligatory 3D card), and has even some original ideas. However, it's no classic, possibly because so much of it attempts to emulate someone else's work. For a game that places so much on the appeal of a central character, it's a very characterless game.
Download Croc: Legend of the Gobbos
The story in Croc is not all that different from other platform games out there. It begins with a baby Croc washing ashore in the land of the Gobbos. Since the Gobbos (little furry dudes resembling gerbils) found the baby crocodile, they decided it was up to them to raise it. Before long, Croc was one of the family. He learned the way of the Gobbos as his own. One day, Croc was no longer little any more and he feared that he was more of a hindrance than a help to the Gobbos. Just as he was deciding it might be time for him to leave the land of Gobbos, the evil Baron Dante invaded the land and captured all of the Gobbos, putting them in cages. Croc was the only one to escape, and it is up to him to free his caged family members as well the king of the Gobbos.
Croc: Legend of the Gobbos is a fairly typical platform game in terms of gameplay. But what makes this game shine is the total 3D environment and awesome graphics. As far as the gameplay goes, you will guide Croc through level after level of gathering crystals, smashing boxes, climbing walls, jumping across moving platforms, and kicking some enemy butts. Oh yeah, did I mention you will also swim, fly on balloons, and swing across monkey bars? All of this adds up to a huge game that is fun ... yet frustrating because of camera problems.
Platform games have been around forever. They have been one of the most popular types of games since the beginning of the video game era. With the new technology and new systems, these games just get better and better. The only problem the game companies face is trying to do something that has not been done before, or trying to do something that is different enough to make people take notice. I think Croc falls into this category. As PlayStation platform games go, Croc may have some familiar sounding plot, not to mention that the gameplay may also have been done before. But what differentiates this game is the 3D environment. It is pretty awesome!
As I said, the gameplay is pretty familiar. You will guide Croc through level after level of jumping on platforms, breaking boxes, collecting crystals, and saving your furry little friends. There are two types of crystals you will encounter on your journey. The first are the colorless crystals, which are most plentiful. The colorless crystals are the equivalent to coins, fruit, or rings in other popular platform games. This most resembles Sonic the Hedgehog in that if you have any crystals, the enemy will not kill you, but all of your crystals will fly out of your hand. You have to gather them back before they disappear. The colorless crystals are essential to have when fighting bosses because a lot of the time you can't help getting hit by the boss when you are fighting him.
The colored gems are also scattered throughout the levels, but are used for something completely different. There are five different colored gems and if you find all five, you can unlock a bonus door at the end of the level. Each level has two places where you can end the level. For example, if you do not find all five colored crystals, you can exit from the last screen. If you do manage to find all five colored crystals, you will go into a bonus area which also has an exit. This means that you do not have to find everything in the level to move on. However, if you want to completely finish the game, you will need to find all of the crystals because there is usually a Gobbo that needs rescuing in the bonus level.
Speaking of rescuing Gobbos, each level has 6 Gobbos located throughout. They are either on high platforms above lava or some other treacherous terrain, hidden in boxes that must be smashed, or locked in cages. For the ones locked in cages, you must locate a key to set them free. In the earlier stages, this is usually fairly easy to do, but if you are not careful in the later stages, you can do things to make the key inaccessible: If you break a box required to reach a key, you are screwed. You will have to start the level over because the box does not come back. When you do start a level over, it is as if you have not been there before, so you will have to gather all of the crystals and save the Gobbos again.
One thing I really liked was that on some of the bonus rooms, instead of just smashing boxes or jumping on platforms, you have to solve puzzles. One of the first puzzles you will get is the old "Gobbo under a hat" puzzle, only this time the Gobbo is under a box. The boxes then shuffle and you have to follow the box that the Gobbo is under. If you pick the correct box, you will save him. If not, you will have to start the level over... because you only get one chance. This really helped to keep the game from getting monotonous.
This game did have a couple of nagging problems. For one, the levels got to be a bit repetitive. Sure, they looked different, but you were really just doing the same thing over and over. Jumping on platforms and smashing boxes gets tiring after a while. Like I said above, the puzzles did help break this up some, but it still got to be a little monotonous.
The second problem was the worst and it was one that actually affected the gameplay. In my book, this is the worst kind of problem. In short, the problem was with the camera angles. There were more times than I can count in which the game had some messed-up camera angle that caused me to miss a jump or fall to my death. There is a button that allows you to manually adjust the camera, but I found that it helped only sometimes at best. A perfect example is one time I walked behind a huge rock. The camera did not follow Croc, but instead gave a nice close-up of the rock. I tried to use the camera adjustment button to no avail. Unfortunately, the rock was right next to a lava pit and since I could not see Croc at all, he walked directly into the lava.
One of the most important things in a platform game is the control. The controls in Croc were fine, but the camera angles would constantly keep you thinking about what you were doing. All of the successful platform games allow the gamer to worry about the challenges on the screen, and not making sure your character is lined up correctly or not. You should be able to race through the levels, jumping from platform to platform without having to think about things. I think it would have been better to use a chase view so that whichever way Croc was facing, that would be the middle of the screen. There were just too many occasions that Croc would be looking one way and the camera another.
This is where Croc really shines. Fox Interactive did an awesome job creating a 3D world. The graphics rank up there as some of the best of all time for platform games. The graphics are all very colorful and cartoony, which fit the game perfectly. The bosses are all creative and look good and the different levels all look great. I can't say enough about haw good they look. This game is worth a rental just to see the graphics.
After I got the hang of manipulating the camera angles, I started to enjoy this game much more. If you try to play using the default angles, you will end up launching your controller in frustration. The graphics are top notch and this is one of the better platform games on the market, even if it does get a bit repetitive. This is a game the whole family will enjoy, but is also challenging enough to keep the seasoned veteran busy.