Crash Bandicoot: Twinsanity is a blemish on Crash’s good name. I went into the game looking for a fresh 3-D take on the tried Crash Formula and was sorely disappointing in the direction Vivendi took the new addition. The game is not horrible by any means, but with so many better platformers out there I can’t recommend Twinsanity over such gems as Sly Cooper and Jak and Daxter. The visuals are vibrant and pretty and in conjunction with the humor, they are what really shine through in this game.
As mentioned, Twinsanity plays much the same way as the former games in the series, only this time making the transition to 3-D. The transition to 3-D was rather smooth, but not without one of the problems that has plagued the Crash series since its inception. In making the move to 3-D, Twinsanity required, at least, a decent camera to make the move worthwhile however, much like the rest of the Crash games, Vivendi failed miserably at designing a worthwhile camera. Unlike the 2-D counterparts, the horrid camera has a negative effect on gameplay when 3-D becomes a factor. There are times when you have to jump onto a box surrounded by the infamous Nitro boxes in the middle of the air, and the camera makes this near impossible. There are lots and lots of platforms, many effected by the camera. Lots. I also urge you to never try walking on a narrow pipe from a side view as opposed to an overhead or third-person, isometric view, but alas, you have no choice in Crash. Intensified by some time sensitive mission, the camera leads to thrown controllers, many wasted lives and a fair share of your infinite continues.
You begin to notice a malignant pattern when you keep arriving at the level’s boss only to find the boss easier than the level. At least with the boss you have some onscreen instructions telling you what to do. The levels are as linear as one would expect in a Crash game, only this time there are stupid quirks throughout that may take you a while to figure out. I kid you not when I say that I nearly tripled the amount of playing time the game had me clocked at because of the amount of continues I was to use. Extra lives are a precious commodity in Twinsanity, despite being littered all over the place. You’ll usually die during an attempt at a free life, negating its worth—and then you’ll become so pissed about death that you’ll keep on trying to get the free life only compounding the problem. There are too many spots in Twinsanity where you’re left guessing what to do next, despite its often linearity, and you waste away the lives and if you’re unlucky enough, continues. Nothing is worse than arriving at spot right after a cutscene that takes a few lives to figure out, and you have to watch the unskippable cutscenes each and every time you die. Well, nothing is worse except of course dying with no lives left, forcing you to go through everything before said cutscene to get back to that checkpoint.
Twinsanity isn’t all that bad. The graphics are the best of any Crash game to date, granted the last one was years ago. The music always feels in place, and the dialogue is excellent. The jokes in Twinsanity were often my only motivation for continuing. A good deal of the comedy is derived from your main foes, these 2 ugly little aliens with light sabers who are trying to destroy your island or world or something, I still haven’t quite figured it out. The developers even go as far as to poke fun at the poor sales of The Wrath of Cortex. Fortunately the story is somewhat interesting and provides a basis for the levels to be explored and, for the most part, you’ll know why you’re where you are and what you’re objective is. Just don’t bother wondering where in the world the bosses come from, because for the life of me I can’t tell you they seem so random. The story gives way to an innovative Crash element—new characters and big stretches of game in which you’ll be teamed up with Cortex, which is essential to making it past some of the puzzles be it via throwing him onto platforms with switches or having him transport through pipes.
When all is said and done, Crash Bandicoot: Twinsanity was a letdown. Vivendi failed in taking the Crash series to 3-D and it adversely affects the game quite a bit. Though it seems as though you have the freedom to move as you choose, once you get the proverbial ball rolling in a level, the game goes from quasi-open endedness to complete linearity. The story makes up for some of this as it gives you reason to keep advancing and later on, you get to take control of characters new to the series whom I won’t name so as to avoid spoilers. The comedy is crisp and funny; it’s rarely cheesy and often had me actually laughing out loud. Crash is portrayed like such a dunce that you can’t help but laugh as his stupid antics. Crash Bandicoot: Twinsanity is an average game that shouldn’t take much more than 5-7 gameplay hours to complete, though that number can be nearly tripled when you factor in continues. It’s worth a weekend’s dedication on a rental, but not much more.