Review by ShadowGeenhx

"Nothing will beat Mario Party, but this doesn't even try."

If you were to ask somebody what the best in video board games is, they will likely say ''Mario Party.'' With that series being so popular, it comes with no surprise that there were imitators. Sonic Shuffle, Fuzion Frenzy, and this game, Crash Bash.

I still don't understand how this game is so popular. Is it because people like Mario Party, or is it because they like Crash? Whatever the reason, this game does not deserve a spot on the Greatest Hits list at all.

The story is mediocre, but that is to be expected from a party game. The infamous witch doctor masks Aku Aku and Uka Uka decide they need to settle the good vs. evil battle once and for all. Unfortunately, the Ancients would not let themselves fight, so instead they decide on a contest. Aku summons Crash and Coco to be the players, while Uka summons Cortex, N. Brio, Tiny, Koala Kong, Dingodile, and new character Rilla Roo. To make things fair, Aku reassigns Tiny and Dingodile to the good side. Then the contest begins.

When you start the game, you can choose from one-player or multiplayer modes. There is adventure mode, where you go through all of the games alone or with a partner, with one of the eight playable characters. Then there is a multiplayer where you go up against as many as 3 human or computer players in free-for-all or team battle. By completing certain games in Adventure Mode, you will unlock them for use in Vs. Mode.

All of this sounds good, but there is one major flaw that kills it all, and that flaw is repetitiveness. In Adventure Mode, you have to win a game three times before anybody else in order to win the trophy for that game. Even worse, the same concepts are used over and over. There is very little, if any, variety in the games, and with having to win each one three times, it all gets boring fast.

Another flaw is the sheer difficulty of the game. After you win a trophy for a game, you can go back and win a gem and crystal for that game. These challenges are simply the original game with the odds against you somehow. In the gem challenges, you will either receive a handicap in the score that puts you at a disadvantage, or have to complete the same challenge in a shorter amount of time. The crystal challenges require you to win under special circumstances, such as avoiding a hazardous piece of scenery that seeks out only you. With these challenges, the game goes from hard to nearly impossible.

Now for the games themselves. The first game is called Ballistix. In this game, you have to deflect the balls away from your goal so they go into the opponents' goals. You are given an extra ''kick'' that allows the balls to be sped up. It looks easy on paper, but by the end of the game, the balls move so fast, and there are so many of them, that winning is almost sheer luck.

Next is Polar Panic, the most annoying of the mini-games. In this one, you ride a polar bear that never shuts up and use it to ram the other players off the platform. Meanwhile, you can obtain power-ups that decide the match. It doesn't matter how good you are with the polar bear; success depends on what power-ups you get. If you get a weight, you have to quickly pass it to someone else before it takes you out. Getting a lightning bolt will stun the players, making your victory almost definite. Also, the AI can be quite cheap, stealing your power-ups all too often and keeping them away from you with remarkable success.

Pogo Painter is next. Here, you navigate an arena of squares with a pogo stick to color the arena. You are assigned a color and each time you hop on a square, it becomes your color. By breaking a ''!'' box, the squares that are your color become points. There are also power-ups that make you move faster or stun other players. This game has what might be the cheapest AI ever. They can hop over your missiles(which you cannot do)and they often team up, allowing one player to score far more than any other.

The final game is a ''Bash'' type of game. You must use crates to take away other players' health and hope to be the last one standing. This is perhaps the easiest of the mini-games in Adventure Mode, but that's not saying much. The AI seems to be good at recovering health and using long-range attacks.

Then, there are the bosses. These are actually the easiest parts of the game period. All it comes down to is having quick reflexes and dealing easy damage. The bosses also rarely attack, except for some of the later ones.

As you progress through Adventure Mode, you will encounter more types of games. There is the tank game that has you shooting your opponents in an arena so cramped it's impossible to avoid ANYTHING. There is a racing game with control so choppy you'll never want to speak of it again. There are also others, but those are so hard to reach you might never see them.

Did I mention the choppy controls? The first wave of games are okay (minus the polar bear), but the later ones have horrid control! In the tank games, your vehicle is incredibly stiff, the arena is small, and you have to use two analog sticks to get around! In the racing games, you are on a circular track, but the controls are not suited for it. The camera is fixed, and you have to steer as if you were in the driver's seat. If that isn't controller abuse, I don't know what is.

The graphics are a mixed bag. Character designs are okay from a distance, but up close, you can see some jagged edges. The backgrounds are pretty bland, though. The Ballistix games just use black and grey as the only colors. The polar bear games have nothing but blue for scenery. Even the racing games use too much of one color.

Sound can get repetitive fast. The polar bear sounds less like a bear and more like a dying cow. In the pogo games, there is a hopping sound every time you move. Multiply that a thousandfold, and you get the picture. The music is also reused quite often. For example, a polar bear level and the balloon-popping game(which is very late into the game)have the exact same music. So, the music is okay but doesn't set the atmosphere at all.

To top it off, you are given two possible endings. One is for completing the game with a good character, the other with an evil character. As if anybody would want to play this game twice! But, if you want to see the two different endings, be my guest.

This game is an insult to Crash Bandicoot. Why did Eurocom even bother to release this garbage? We may never know the answer, but there is one answer we know; when it comes to party games, Mario will always be king.

Graphics: 3(bland backgrounds and jagged characters)
Sound: 2(stupid polar bear)
Gameplay: 1(much too repetitive)
Control: 1(GYARRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!!!!!)
Replayability: as low as the Dead Sea
Difficulty: too freakin' impossible
Overall: 1

The Kelly Clarkson:
-play as good or bad character

The Kelly Osbourne:
-bland backgrounds
-below average character designs
-repetitive sounds
-not enough variety
-control from heck
-almost unbeatable
-Does that polar bear ever shut up?!

Final Verdict: Put a restraining order on this game.

This is Shadow Geenhx, signing off.

Reviewer's Rating:   0.5 - Unplayable

Originally Posted: 04/06/03, Updated 04/06/03

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