Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Crash Bandicoot 2 - Intro + Turtle Woods

You know, there are some games that I'll play for Super Game Fighter that mean something extra to me. This is one of those games.

Just imagine being five years old. Your gaming experiences beforehand had been 8-bit Sonic games for the Master System and the Super Mario Land games for the Game Boy.

Then your older sister gets a Playstation for her birthday. You barely know what a Playstation is, but everyone's super excited about it for some reason. Being five, you get a little bit excitable too.

They put the disc in, you hear that iconic opening jingle for the first time. You look over at your sister, holding the controller in her hands - it had so many buttons! And then you turn back to the television to see this...

Just imagine being that little boy, about to play the Playstation for the very first time. Going from the games of old, to this - it is something I'll never experience again.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this was it. The first Playstation game I ever played, and possibly the reason I'm here as a gamer today. I had always liked games, but Crash Bandicoot 2 was just so amazing looking compared to anything else I had ever played. To a five-year old mind, this was as close to real as it got. Over time I commandeered my sister's Playstation and adopted it as my own. By this point she had managed to accidentally break this game, so I never could play it until a few years ago when it became available on the Playstation Network.

But this game put me on the path of becoming a gamer, much before Pokémon and Final Fantasy entered my life. It will be a hell of an experience playing through this game and finally, sixteen years later, beating it. But if there's one thing I can guarantee, is that we're going to have some fun.

Unlike the previous game, there is a fair amount of story and dialogue in the game - though never more than a minute or two at a time. I'll transcribe what they say on here for the meantime, but I am playing with the idea of including all the cutscenes and dialogue in a video at the end of updates. We'll see. For now...let's get to it.

We see what happens to Cortex immediately after the events of Crash Bandicoot 1, falling to his inevitable and painful death...pah, as if! Crash Bandicoot works on cartoon physics and as such, a fall from above the clouds is merely an inconvenience to Dr. Cortex. In fact, crash lands inside a cave where he finds...

*Cue Cortex's evil laugh* ...the Master Crystal!

We go aboard Cortex's space station, where he's joined by a new character...

Meet Doctor N. Gin!

"But Doctor Cortex, to reach full power, we need not only your Master Crystal, but also the remaining 25 Slave Crystals on the surface. How do you expect to retrieve them when we don't have any earthbound operatives left?"

Cortex: "You fool! Do you think I'm unaware of the situation?! If we don't have any friends left on the surface, then we'll need to find... an enemy..."

I wonder who he could mean...surely not...

Here we see the elusive Bandicoots in their natural states. It is a little known fact that Bandicoots are found either sleeping, or typing away at a laptop. Isn't nature awesome?

Meet Crash's sister Coco. 

Coco: "Crash? Crash! Crash, my battery's fried. Make yourself useful, big brother, and bring an extra battery for me."

This seems just a little familiar. Welcome to Crash Bandicoot 2: Quest for the Battery. I guess the Outback is full of laptop batteries? I wonder if they grow on trees? Regardless, it's time for an adventure! Crash can still do all the stuff he could before like run, jump...

...bouncy crates still hold ten Wumpa Fruits.

The Aku-Aku masks also make a return - they grant Crash an extra hit he can take before he dies. Collecting two grants him a second extra hit and a third will make him invincible for a short duration of time.

The game still throws lives at you, though with one little improvement - your life counter is also saved when you save the game, meaning you won't lose your lives every time you leave the game. This is rather handy. In fact, you could say it is a...LIFESAVER.

Crash clearly didn't appreciate that joke and is currently banging his head off the ground in reaction. No, wait, this is just showing off a new move in Crash's arsenal, the bodyslam. Just jump, press the circle button and he'll slam himself to the ground, breaking boxes in his path. In fact, there is a new box we'll see soon that can only be destroyed with bodyslams.

Hey, what's this?

What is going on?

This place looks a room of portals. Hmm...I wonder who's behind this?


Cortex: "Well, well, well. If it isn't Crash Bandicoot. Welcome. I apologize for the crude means used to bring you here, but I'd rather expect a written invitation to be turned down. I need your help. Surrounding you are a series of five doors. Through each door lies a well-hidden Crystal. The Crystals look like this."

"Bring me the crystals, Crash. That is all I can say for now. We will speak again."

Well he seems trustworthy! 

I just cannot wait to help this kind man who tried to kill us a year ago! We'll start with level 1, it seems like a good place to start! (though you can do any of the five levels on this floor in any order).

Each level will start with us being beamed in like this. It is a little known fact that Crash Bandicoot was initially considered for a role in the recent Star Trek films, but sadly lost the role of Spock to someone else. Shame, I definitely get the sense that Crash is a wise, intelligent man.

This is like the level we were abducted from, except it is raining. Now on the ground there is an access to a special type of bonus stage. I ignored it. I'm terrible at them. It's like regular bonus stages, but harder. If you're going for the clear gem in this level, you need to go through this to destroy all the crates. I'm not going after all the gems because I guarantee I'd still be here six months from now trying to find every bloody crate.

These bonus stages are okay with me though.

It's a return to the side-scrolling platforming seen in the original game's bonus stages. Just break all the crates, collect all the fruits and you'll normally get a good two or three lives out of it.

Reach the end and the platform will take you back to the level, while your loot gets absorbed into your totals.

Mud is annoying, especially when there is crates in it. The mud takes away a lot of your momentum and speed, and for some reason I find it very hard to jump on top of the crates to break 'em.

I always feel a bit offended when I play Crash games...I feel like the developers are telling me "Hey, nerd, get a life!". But why do I need to get a life? I HAVE NINE! I'm like a cat!

These pits are easy enough to deal with. I have a triple Aku-Aku mask on in this image, but my usual technique is to spam the spin button.

Get close and spin as they come out of the ground and they won't be an issue.

The crystal will always in the level, which means it is possible to complete the level without collecting the crystal. However, remember when Cortex said "Through each door is a well-hidden crystal"? Yeah, he's lying, the crystals are pretty much always in plain sight. 

The iron gate symbolises the end of the level!

If you break all the boxes in the level you will find your gem here. But for the first level, there is a second gem you can get. Apparently the way to get it is to finish the level without breaking any crates. That will grant you the blue gem.

Look how triumphant he looks! Crash is as elegant as always.

The rooms getting darker, Crash is looking confused, Aku-Aku hasn't got a character can only mean one thing...


Cortex: "Well done, Crash. I knew I could rely on you. Now listen carefully. These holograms are hard to maintain. During the course of my intellectual pursuits, I have come across a force that threatens to destroy the world. Crystals are the only means of containing it. The fate of the world is at stake. It is imperative therefore that you bring them to me!"

Coco interrupts...

Coco: "Are you there Crash? Crash? Crash? Are you there Crash? ... Are you there Crash?"

No, he isn't. He's taking a break and so am I! See you next time, where we'll beat the rest of the warp room.

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