Sharper, fuller, and more variable detail, excellent sound, and precise controls are all contained herein, along with the patented Crash game play that makes this such a fan favorite. It's time to Crash the Box with some serious fun!
Crash! Bam! Box!
The graphics on the X-Box version of Crash can't be matched - when compared to the PS2, you can clearly see where the X-Box does a better job with small details like transparencies, weather effects, and more. When Crash falls into an icy river on the X-Box, you see mirror details in the chunks of ice that just weren't there on the PS2. When he goes underground and comes across a lava pool, you'll see the steam rise, the rocks glow, the molten rock move for crying out loud. When Crash does his belly flop, his fur looks more like mangy fake fur (which is intentional) than the comparably sparsely textured PS2 version. Even when flying in the shooting levels, which look thrown in and secondary in the PS2, there's detail in the crash damage, the flaming trails of other vehicles, and even in the twisters themselves.
The sounds remain as light and cheerful as they were in the PS2 version - but it also sounds as if the depth of the audio is layered better in the X-Box version. You'll hear the airy Crash theme and all it's many variations, along with the solid and somehow comforting sound when you smash boxes, but there's more than meets the ear. You'll also hear minor nuances like the sound of his feet sliding on the ice, the rumble of some thunderous animal approaching, or the change in the environment, like wind and rain. Although most of the voice is reserved for the intro and cut scenes (we have waited so long to hear Crash use his wise-ass attitude from the TV commercials that we stropped asking), there are some nice touches in Crash's expressions of surprise. The other sound effects in the game are all expertly done, with crisp and clear definition.
The controls remain as precise and predictable as they did in all other versions of Crash. If you can stand the regular rigors of platform gaming - leaps of faith, searching for hidden containers, crouching and crawling, and timed enemy patterns, then you can definitely deal with Crash. To make things interesting, you'll find different types of environments, including the aforementioned flying levels, a exercise-ball level where Crash becomes a huge gerbil, and the patented forward-running chase levels. Most of the game, however, is your standard platform-jumping, and after a while the platform jumping becomes tedious. If you have the stamina to keep up with the game, you'll find that its reward is mostly in the fact that you've played so much of it, and can continue to enjoy the differences in each level. It's the same ideology behind Super Mario, Sonic, and the original Crash games.
Crash Bandicoot remains in our hearts and minds because it reminds us what gaming used to be about before it became about hard-core next-generation graphics - it used to be about repetitive game play that unlocked new levels so that we could feel like we accomplished something, and you will if you play Wrath of Cortex. You'll feel like you put in your time on a solid platform game.