“Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back” is a platformer video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the Sony PlayStation (PSX). Released in 1997, it is the second installment in the “Crash Bandicoot” series and follows the adventures of the titular character, Crash Bandicoot, as he attempts to thwart the plans of the villainous Dr. Neo Cortex.
Gameplay: “Crash Bandicoot 2” maintains the core platforming gameplay of its predecessor but introduces several new mechanics and improvements. Players navigate Crash through various levels, overcoming obstacles, defeating enemies, and collecting Wumpa fruit.
Key gameplay elements include:
- Warp Room Structure: The game is structured around a central hub called the Warp Room, which connects to different levels and provides access to various areas. Players can progress through the game by completing levels in any order.
- New Abilities: Crash gains new abilities in the sequel, including the ability to slide, crouch, and perform a body slam. These additional moves enhance both the platforming and combat aspects of the game.
- Crystals: The main collectible in “Crash Bandicoot 2” is crystals. In each level, Crash must collect a crystal to advance. The crystals are usually obtained by completing specific objectives or challenges within the level.
- Alternate Endings: The game features multiple endings based on the player’s completion of optional tasks. Collecting additional crystals beyond the required number influences the ending and the ultimate fate of Crash.
- Hidden Levels: Discovering and accessing secret warp rooms and hidden levels adds an element of exploration to the game. These levels often contain additional challenges and collectibles.
Graphics and Sound: “Crash Bandicoot 2” maintains the colorful and vibrant 3D graphics that defined the series. The character models, environments, and animations are polished, showcasing the capabilities of the PlayStation hardware. The visual style is consistent with the whimsical and cartoonish tone of the series.
The soundtrack, composed by Josh Mancell, features catchy and energetic tunes that complement the action and atmosphere of the game. The sound effects, including Crash’s signature spin attack and various environmental sounds, contribute to the immersive experience.
Story: The narrative picks up where the first game left off, with Crash Bandicoot living a peaceful life on Wumpa Island. However, Dr. Neo Cortex returns, revealing that he needs Crash’s help to save the world from an impending threat. Cortex claims to have changed his ways and requests Crash to collect crystals to avert the disaster.
Reception: “Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back” received critical acclaim for its improvements over the original, including enhanced graphics, tighter controls, and more varied level design. Critics praised the game’s engaging platforming, humorous tone, and the introduction of new gameplay elements.
Legacy: The success of “Crash Bandicoot 2” contributed to the enduring popularity of the franchise. The game, along with its sequels, solidified Crash Bandicoot as a beloved character in the world of platformers. The “Crash Bandicoot” series has since seen remasters and a new installment, continuing to captivate both new and nostalgic players.