Crash and Burn
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There are certain characters and concepts in the video game world that are like an old Mustang: they become more valuable as time goes on. Games like Super Mario Brothers, Pong, and Galaga never seem to lose their charm, even after being around for more than two decades. Unfortunately, some game concepts don't age as well, and when it comes down to it, Crash Bandicoot has become the Ford Pinto of video games.
Crash: Mind Over Mutant is the latest installment in an increasingly bland series of games. The story, as it does in every Crash game, features the evil Dr. Cortex coming up with a nefarious plan that only the great Crash can stop. The story is told through cartoonish-style cut scenes, each with its own motif.
One scene parodies a puppet show, with each character's dialog being delivered by an unseen puppet master, while another scene is supposed to spoof a classic black and white cartoon from the 1950s or '60s. These cutscenes consist of extremely dry writing and more failed attempts at humor than I cared to count.
But poor story-telling isn't the only problem that Crash Mind Over Mutant has going against it. Beyond anything else in this game, its greatest flaw is that it's easy; easy to the point of being pointless. At first I thought it was just the first level or two that was trying to ease me into the game mechanics, but I was sorely disappointed to see that as the game progressed, it only got easier.
Each mission is pretty much the same across the board. Go find this. Go break that. Beat up this guy. Climb to the top of this hill. It's cut, dry, and most of all, incredibly boring. And just when I thought that this game couldn't possibly get any easier than it was, I was astounded to find myself proven wrong.
I finally found a point where I failed to properly measure a jump, and wound up falling off a cliff. To my utter shock, the game didn't take me back to the beginning of the level, or even the last check point; it took me to the exact point that I was before I fell off the cliff, with absolutely no penalty!
The combat in Crash doesn't do the difficulty any favors either. When you finally do find an enemy to fight, press two buttons and any and all enemies are quickly dispatched.
When titans, which are larger enemies, come along, Crash can not only take them down in a quick flurry of blows, but he can also ride on them, making attacks that are even more powerful. In other words, Crash: Mind Over Mutant is a game that has a weak combat system, incredibly easy puzzles to solve, and a story that could put even the most hyperactive toddler to sleep.
If there's one good thing to say about it, Crash: Mind Over Mutant does have fairly creative environments, and it features an art style that suits that game well.
The music fits the game, but isn't anything overly spectacular. And despite the atrociously boring cutscenes, the art direction in them was well-thought out.
Overall, Crash: Mind Over Mutant is a linear, ridiculously easy, boring game that anyone could pick up and play without getting even the most remote challenge whatsoever. It features stale gameplay that hasn't worn the test of time well at all, and relies on a combat system that wouldn't challenge a baby.
It gets 1.5 GiN Gems out of 5 for taking a character that used to be great, and turning him into a pointless entity.
Matt Jones is an avid gamer and enjoys helping people solve all their gaming questions. : matthewJones10@hotmail.com.