Friday, 26 October 2012

Crash Bandicoot - Progress Report IV

We're now on the third and last island of the game, Cortex Island. While the first two islands had a steady art direction, the third one changes all that. As you'd expect from the home island for a mad scientist, most of the levels here are very mechanical.

A nice descriptive level title.

Lots of metal, lots of robots and lots of pipes, that's what you can expect for the rest of the level. These robots just bop up and down, they're essentially harmless but also very killable.

The main obstacle in this level are pipes. Blue ones are cold and are okay to stand on, red ones are predictably hot and will instantly burn Crash.

These floating robots will soon be the bane of my existence, not in this level, but in the future. I don't think they are actually killable, at least jumping on them seems to do nothing and the circular saw suggests spinning isn't an option either.

Now that's just harsh, if you go for that extra life you will most likely fall to your death. A life for a life.

Bouncy pads are the best things in this level. THE BEST THING. I want a level of just bouncy pads. They send you launching into the sky (in this case to a series of boxes at culminates in an Aku Aku mask).

These sequences can be a bit finicky if you're not great at timing jumps. The elevator-platform will move vertically, but you have to jump over the pipes. A decent strategy would be to jump on the blue pipes, but actually landing on the pipes can be tricky and one mess up will spell your doom. Try to aim your jump for just beyond the pipe and the platform should be under you by the time you get over it. Even going back after finishing the game, I struggle with this section just because I always panic.


Unfortunately the end of the level comes far too soon and prevents us from bouncing anymore. 

Are you paying too much for your gas? Switch to Cortex Power and you could save up to 50%! There have been rumours that we're an evil corporation that is a front for mad science to take over the world. Well, we're here to dispel those rumours. Come in!

See how homely our offices are?

Ooh, watch out for those electric bolts while you jump over the burning hot pipes. You see? We DO care about your safety!

We have stationed many robotic guards to help protect Yes. Don't want anyone to come in here and steal all the energy now, do we? Let's move on.

Ow, that's gotta hurt. He was a terrible employee anyway, so no biggie! What we really want you to focus on is the split path. One way will take you to PROGRESS! We don't want you going that way, yet. Let's go the other way and meet one of our most valuable employees.

Say hello to Sonny! Don't worry, if he shoots at you, he's just saying hello! That's the friendly service you can expect when you choose Cortex Power!

Ah, I see you've pressed the switch! And expertly gotten that slightly tricky extra life! Whoever played this level must be amazing, talented, GOD-LIKE at this game. What's that about a fourth-wall? It's breaking? I would never do such a thing! I'm a great actor, right guys?

This is where we keep our green's better than just dumping it into the ocean! That's not until tomorrow!

If you press all three switches, you get a special prize! All the outlines will be replaced with crates you can break! But only if you sign up with our premium energy plan!

Thus concludes the tour of Cortex Power! Please, take as many Wumpa as you want on your way out! AND GIVE US YOUR MONEY!

...well that's disturbing. Cortex's floating head will stare at you throughout the level and that alone helps to give this level a bit of a creepy atmosphere. The music also contributes it's part:

This is just mean. You break open the bottom crate, but then that just causes the TNT block to bounce off the bouncy crate. If you mistime it even a little, you'll get blown to bits. Nice.

Oh, just as an aside note. If you ever jump on a floating platform that falls, and for some reason jump back, or (in this case) to another platform and you need the platform back, it will rise up again after a few seconds.

This is an optional area, a couple of extra lives and a nice collection of Wumpa. However, the platform is on a protest against physics, as soon as you lighten the weight on it by breaking all the crates, it will fall into oblivion, taking you with it if you let it.

This is where these bastards get tricky. There is one section in the previous level that one of these kept killing me, but that was just me being an idiot. Here they'll patrol back and forth, not all of them at the same speed or pattern, so one timing strategy won't work universally. Just wait, study the pattern, and go when you know you'll be safe.

Except here. The first one is okay to dodge, but the second one goes much faster and doesn't always just go left to right, it can change it up. To make things worse, the platform between them will fall. The best way I've found is to jump on it, take as much time as you can get before jumping safely. You'll normally get the chance.

That's followed by more elevator action.

Aww, isn't that considerate! I would like to work for him, especially in this lovely building...he seems like a good boss!

Actually, he's a really easy boss and we'll get to that.

So, welcome to the spiritual successor to the "Upstream" levels...

It's a straight line to the finish, but there are barrels constantly rolling towards you. Who the hell is throwing all these damn barrels? 


Now there's a man happy with his job. A spin takes care of them well enough.

These are the worst barrels because they bounce! Bouncing is meant to make everything fun, not make things harder for me! You gotta guess where they're going to bounce so you can stand in an area where they'll just fly over you. Unfortunately, they move at such a pace it's usually luck that gets me past them unharmed.


It's a really short level, and they're are a lot of lives, making this level a good spot for life-farming in the later levels.

So, here's the CEO, Pinstripe. He's a gangster potoroo. Nice suit though, where can I get one?

This boss is simple. Just hide behind the leather chair, Crash will automatically duck and Pinstripe (even though it looks like he should be able to hit you) will just fire blindly at the fourth wall.

If you put on your 3D Glasses you'll be able to see Crash spinning into Pinstripe. The first two or three rounds, he'll hop towards the next side of the screen and that'll give you a chance to attack him. After that though...

He'll just jump onto the table and shoot from there instead of hopping along. However, after shooting at all three of his spots his gun will jam, giving you a chance to spin into him. Two more of that and he'll just shoot from the table constantly until his gun jams again. One more hit and...

...we're on to the home stretch already. See you then.

Next time: We finish this, ONCE AND FOR ALL until the sequel.

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