Review by YSF

Reviewed: 06/14/00 | Updated: 12/16/02

Now, we have a new crocodile hero......!!!

Introduction

When Nintendo 64 was first launched, Super Mario 64 highlighted the disparity in quality of AAA Miyamoto games and the rest of the Nintendo 64 lineup. It is as revolutionary as its name lives up to. Super Mario 64 recreated the platform genre in 3-D for the next generation and thus, giving a new goal for many game designers to aspire to. Many game designers attempted to make a Super Mario 64-clone game but not many turned up to be as successful as the 64-bit Mario was. Croc is a perfect example when the game designers try to imitate Super Mario 64. While not the overall package of Super Mario 64, Croc is a decent game that proves to be quite a successful one. However, Croc is quite a straightforward 3-D platformer and it doesn't play very authentic.

On the other hand, Croc is a very cute character and its behaviour, actions, voices etc may appeal more to younger gamers whereas more mature players will most likely to turn this game off. Nevertheless, Croc still proves to be quite a challenging game.

Story

The story of Croc is quite a typical one found in most platformer games. Croc is an orphan whose parents have abandoned him. Since young, Croc has been raised by the Gobbos. The Gobbos are like a family to Croc. But on a fateful and dreadful day, a tragedy strucks the Gobbos. They have been invaded by the evil Baron Dante and his minions. The evil Baron Dante captures every Gobbo and imprison them. The poor Croc is now left alone, without any friends. And the only saviour for the Gobbos is Croc now. Croc then embarks on his adventures to save his friends. Quite a standard, simple plot for a platformer game, right?

Gameplay

The gameplay mechanics are almost a replica of Super Mario 64. In order to survive in this dangerous quest, Croc needs to learn a few moves. These moves also include a spin [Reminds me of Crash!!!], a butt-stomp [Did anyone mention Mario???] and so on. Besides these moves, Croc has to learn how to run, jump, climb, duck and even swim, in order to overcome obstacles along the way such as lava pits, ponds, cliffs and other hazards. Along the way during his adventures, Croc has to collect gems and also find keys to free his Gobbo friends that are trapped mostly in cages. Every time, when Croc comes into contact with an obstacle, whether it is lava pits, ponds, cliffs, or perhaps enemies, Croc will lose some of his valuable gems. If Croc gets contact with obstacles or enemies without a single gem left in his inventory, it's game over for him.

Be prepared to explore five different 3-D spectacular worlds, which includes forests, volcanoes, ice glaciers and underwater caves, each designed with its own unique elements. There are many terrifying monsters and mind-boggling obstacles along the way. There are approximately over 40 levels, 50 different enemies and nine stage bosses. Seamless animations do appear to guide you as you proceed on to the next stage so as to help you unfold the story.

The challenge is quite moderate. The wide variation of obstacles like lava pits, cliffs etc do add on to the challenge. However, most of the enemies, in my opinion, are quite easy to beat. The bosses are generally moderate to beat, with a few exceptions that are pretty hard.

Sadly, Croc didn't manage to capture the free-roaming freedom that all other successful 3-D platformers like Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Spyro the Dragon manage to do. This has actually something to do with the level design. Most of the levels look almost the same, with very little texture variation. Many enemy models seem to be recycled many times. Each sub-level is divided into smaller areas and to clear each of these areas, you need to find those big colourful gems to open the door to reach a new area. When you see a gong, you need to strike it to indicate that you have completed one sub-level. However, because of the way the levels are designed, the boundary between each area makes it seem very small, thus allowing less freedom for exploration. Furthermore, there are some loading times between each new area, which are a little long but still not that horrible. Still, it breaks up the momentum.

Graphics

The visuals are brightly-coloured and the character models like Croc, enemies, monsters, Gobbos are generally quite well animated, detailed and sharp. There's evident that the designers have spent quite a lot of time in it. Generally, the visual is very cool, better than most other 3-D platformer games on the PlayStation. Despite that, the visuals are not graphically the best yet. There are quite a few polygonal pop-ups, but it doesn't really hurt the game very severely.

Control

Control is generally quite good, though I do have to admit that at certain parts, the camera angles do look very awkward. There's still room for improvements in this area. The idea of being able to control the camera angle is pretty good and it's even better if you have an analog controller because the right analog pad can be used to control the camera movement, while the right analog pad can be used to control Croc.

Music and Sound

The audio is slightly above-average compared to other 3-D platformer games. Sound effects are generally quite up to my standard expectations of a 3-D platformer game. I will say that the sound effects are quite majestic. There's also some voices during the anime cutscenes too. The music is slightly less than average, and there aren't many tunes. Generally, it's average!

Overall, Croc is another average 3-D platformer game. The game isn't really that bad, except that it fails to create a vast environment for exploration. When compared to blockbuster games like Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie etc, Croc is most likely to be on the losing side. Younger gamers may want to keep a close look-out on it. [Did anyone mention Spyro the Dragon???]

Some Cool Features About The Game

1)Stunningly rendered real-time 3D graphics and seamless animation.

2)Hours and hours of gameplay with over 40 levels, 50 different enemies and nine stage bosses.

3)Free roaming 3D gameplay lets you go anywhere, as you run, jump, climb, duck and even swim!

Story : 4.0/10.0
Graphics : 8.0/10.0
Concept : 6.0/10.0
Control : 7.5/10.0
Music : 5.0/10.0
Sound : 7.5/10.0
Gameplay : 7.5/10.0
Replay : 6.5/10.0
Challenge : 7.5/10.0
Overall : 7.0/10.0


Rating:   3.5 - Good

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