Crash: Mind Over MutantCrash: Mind over Mutant is a platform video game published by Sierra Entertainment and developed by Vancouver-based Radical Entertainment for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable , Wii and Xbox 360. The Nintendo DS version of the game was developed by TOSE. It was released in North America on October 7, 2008 and was later released in Europe and Australia on October 31. It is the second game in the series not to have a Japanese release, after Crash of the Titans.
As the seventh installment of the Crash Bandicoot video game series, Crash: Mind over Mutant is the second title in accordance to the mutant series' chronology. The game's story centers on the arrival of a popular technological device that puts whoever uses it under the control of the device's creators Doctor Neo Cortex and Doctor Nitrus Brio, who serve as the stories' primary antagonists. Crash Bandicoot - protagonist of the series and only one unaffected by the device besides his spirit ally Aku Aku - must free his friends from the control of the device and put an end to Doctor Cortex's plot.
The title received a generally mixed response, with reviews varying from version to version. The Wii and PlayStation 2 versions were met with generally positive reviews, while the Xbox 360 version received a mediocre critical response. Much of the game's praise went to the humorous cutscenes and dialogue, while the unadjustable camera and extensive use of backtracking was sharply criticised. The Nintendo DS version was received negatively for its dull and repetitive gameplay.
Crash: Mind Over Mutant PlotSocial satire and the theme of consumerism are frequent sources of humor in the plot of Crash: Mind over Mutant, with the game featuring jokes about SUVs and the skyrocketing prices of gas at the time. The game's story is told through a number of cut scenes animated in 2D Animation with different styles, such as those of Dragon Ball, The Animatrix, and South Park.
Crash: Mind over Mutant picks up from where Crash of the Titans left off. The Titans, free from the control of Doctor Neo Cortex, have spread throughout the Wumpa Islands and cultivated their own societies. All seems well until a rejuvenated Doctor Neo Cortex teams up with his old partner Doctor Nitrus Brio to invent a personal digital assistant, the "NV", that can control the minds of both mutants and bandicoots by transmitting bad Mojo, forcefully siphoned from Cortex's former boss Uka Uka. Crash and Aku Aku are not affected by the device, but their friends, Coco and Crunch, are soon transformed into ferocious beasts who seek Crash's destruction. After Coco is freed from the NV's control, the Bandicoots learn of Doctor Cortex's plot by accessing his blog, and decide to go to the Evil Public School, where Nina was placed by Doctor Cortex. Nina in return for Crash saving her science fair project, informs the heroes of Cortex's and Brio's alliance and reveals their location in the Junkyard, where Brio is recycling parts to create a new space station, the "Space Head", for Cortex and new NV devices. Crash and Aku Aku find Crunch and Brio at the Junkyard and manage to break Crunch free from the NV's control. After learning of Uka Uka's whereabouts from Brio, Crash and Aku Aku go to Mount Grimly, where Uka Uka is being drained of all his Mojo. After being freed, Uka Uka informs Crash that his voodoo bones, his source of power, have been stolen and given to six of the worst Titans on the Island, and tells them to go and retrieve the bones for him. When the bones have been gathered, Uka Uka uses his restored power to send Crash to the Space Head and Crash can enact Uka Uka's vengeance on Cortex. Crash engages in a fight against Cortex, who uses a mutation formula stolen from Brio to empower himself for the battle. Upon losing to the Bandicoot, Cortex throws a tantrum, causing the Space Head to fall towards the Earth. Cortex, having returned to normal, makes his escape from the plummeting Space Head, while Crash and Aku Aku brace themselves for a crash-landing on Wumpa Island. Crash and Aku Aku manage to survive the crash and reunite with Coco and Crunch as parts of the Space Head rain down from the sky. As the story ends, Coco tells Aku Aku that they're not going to help clean up, much to his chagrin.
Crash: Mind Over Mutant GameplayCrash: Mind over Mutant is a beat 'em up game in which the player controls Crash Bandicoot, whose main objective is to explore his home, Wumpa Island, and surrounding environments to uncover the mystery behind the "NV", a personal digital assistant created by the main antagonist. Crash: Mind over Mutant is a mission-based game as opposed to Crash of the Titans's level-based structure, with goals being given by non-playable characters. Characters with exclamation points (!) over their heads, when talked to, give out important information that is needed to continue the story.
Scattered throughout the world are special items that empower Crash in one way or another. Golden stopwatches trigger a time-limited nanogame which usually involves collecting objects or breaking things to earn bonuses. Red running shoes serve to temporarily power up Crash's kick attack and cause him to move faster, while the "Quad Damage" power-up can be used by Crash to temporarily multiply his attack power by four.
ReceptionReviews for the PlayStation 2 and Wii versions of Crash: Mind over Mutant were generally positive. Dakota Grabowski of GameZone considered the game "slightly better" than Crash of the Titans, noting improvements in controls, gameplay and storyline from its predecessor, but lamented that "the camera almost ruins the whole package." The Wii version of Crash: Mind over Mutant was also met positively, though not to the same degree as the PlayStation 2 version. Louis Bedigian of GameZone stated that the young demographic of the Crash Bandicoot series "may be annoyed by the camera and/or repetitive objectives but will be entertained by what is the best Crash game developed in a long time – and one of the best Mario clones released for Nintendo Wii." Neal Ronaghan of Nintendo World Report, meanwhile, felt that "the charming story and genuine humor" of the game were "overshadowed by the shallow gameplay."
Reviews for the Xbox 360 version of Crash: Mind over Mutant were mixed. Christopher Ewen of GameZone praised the series' transition into a free-roaming gameplay environment, but felt that the game was too easy. Matt Casamassina of IGN found the game to be "exactly like its predecessor: a mildly enjoyable beat 'em up romp that's sure to satisfy younger players, but won't provide much that seasoned players haven't already experienced before". Andy Eddy of TeamXbox praised the game's strong voice acting, but noted the uninspired gameplay, which was "not very consistent in its fun generation." Justin Calvert of GameSpot claimed that the game "has too much backtracking and too many camera problems to make it recommendable". Official Xbox Magazine concluded that "there's very little about Mind over Mutant that makes it worth your $50 or the four hours it takes to complete." Dan Pearson of Eurogamer criticized the game's fixed camera, extensive backtracking, useless mission log and dated concepts. Andrew Reiner of Game Informer proclaimed that the game's "unpredictable framerates, extensive backtracking, and the guarantee of one death caused by faulty camera positioning for every platforming segment" made it "a mess of a game, and a new low point for the once-loved marsupial."
The Nintendo DS version of the game received generally negative reviews compared to the console version. Mike David of GameZone denounced the game as the "first really disappointing Crash title", while Neal Ronaghan of Nintendo World Report felt that the game "leaves much to be desired in terms of depth and level design." Craig Harris of IGN affectionately christened the Nintendo DS version a "boring, drab, uninspired beat 'em up with none of what made last year's game so good on DS."
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