It's official—"jacking" is the next big thing for games. A common skill in the Grand Theft Auto series, it has now become a key addition to the Crash Bandicoot series with Crash of the Titans. This latest platformer from Sierra introduces a new technique where Crash dizzies an enemy, jumps on its back, possesses it with a mojo mask and makes it do his bidding for a short while. It's an unexpected turn on an otherwise all-too-familiar road.
In the game, Dr. Neo Cortex returns yet again (shocker), traveling in a massively sized blimp and kidnapping a couple of Crash's cohorts, including his sister Coco. With the help of a ridiculous looking mojo mask, he gives chase, running into countless enemies and obstacles along the way.
This game covers standard platforming territory. Crash beats up enemies with combo punchs and kick attacks, along with spinning maneuvers and other unlockable moves. He bounces off super-sized mushrooms to gain enough height to reach higher ledges, shimmies along mountainside ridges with his hands and spins around in a helicopter-like motion to hover from platform to platform. The Wii controls do an acceptable job with these moves, but it's not nearly interactive enough.
The only shake-up in gameplay comes with the "jacking" ability. Several creatures find themselves under Crash's control throughout the game, including something that's a cross between a bull and a rhino which is handy for breaking down barriers and a hulking plant-like creature that uses its thorns as projectiles. These creatures are nice to have on hand, especially when dealing with larger groups of enemies and during timed bonus rounds.
Visually, Radical Entertainment expanded Crash's horizons. The levels look bigger than ever before, stretching across great distances. However, they're completely linear—you go from point A to point B. There is no point C.
The audio shines with thousands of pieces of dialogue. Most of it's funny, although we can't quite figure out how Crash went from attitude-laden mascot to gibberish-speaking idiot. Other than that, the music is all right and the sound effects work well.
Crash of the Titans isn't a lousy platformer, not by any means. With its likable presentation, jacking gameplay and decent amount of extras (including a buddy-friendly co-op mode), gamers will enjoy it for what it is. With that said, it does little to stand out, and succumbs to the industry's higher profile adventure games.