Review by: Scott Steinberg
Published: August 3, 1999
If there’s one thing the PlayStation gets in abundance, it’s 3D platformers, and yet it’s a rare occasion when one of these titles proves good enough to make the cut. Even so, the brain-child of developers Argonaut and publisher Fox Interactive made a reasonable enough debut in his premier title Croc, and apparently he made enough of an impression upon players to warrant a sequel. That’s right, Croc the Crocodile is back, and Argonaut has given us the chance to continue our scaly, green hero’s adventures once again. It’s Lake Placid meets Barney the Dinosaur as Croc sets out on a mission to defeat the evil Baron Dante once and for all, and he’s even partnered up with Life Savers candies to do it.
Croc’s tale starts out long ago, when as a baby hatchling he was found by the Gobbos, cute and fuzzy little characters that inhabit the Gobbo Islands. Raised by these critters, Croc grew up surrounded by peace and happiness, but one day things took a turn for the worse. With the arrival of the evil magician, Baron Dante, things changed on the Gobbo Islands as Dante and his evil minions, the Dantinis, swept across the land, enslaving the Gobbos and taking their king prisoner. When last we left our reptilian hero, he had successfully completed a quest to rescue his friends and had defeated the evil baron, or so he thought. Unfortunately the baron has been resurrected through the terrible magic of his Dantinis, although this isn’t known to our hero at first. You see, while playing on the beach, he finds a washed up note in a bottle that leads him to believe his parents are searching for him, and thus he has, in the meantime, set out on a quest to find them. And so the story begins…
Being a standard platformer, the game drops our hero into a 3D world in which he must collect powerups and bonuses, fend off enemies, and maneuver his way through multiple areas in order to save the day. As in the original game, Croc can run, jump, climb, swim, swing on monkey bars, whip his tail about to attack his enemies, butt smash crates, and sidestep as necessary. Of course he can also push objects around as well as pick them up and throw them to help him along the way. Interestingly enough, he’s got a few new special jumps as well, including the triple jump (which allows him to get some serious hangtime), the flip jump (that performs a tumbling jump which sends him flying much further than normal), and the wonderfully corporate-sponsored “Gummy Savers” jump, which allows Croc to reach special, hidden areas when he finds a colored Gummy Saver lying around. In addition, he also has a backpack which can hold an inventory of items, such as the binoculars found at the beginning which allow Croc to view far distances up close.
This go around, a number of vehicles have been tossed into the mix for flavor, as in Crash Bandicoot 3, and they present several new challenges that weren’t in the original title. Despite being an over-used cliche’ in platform games, Argonaut has decided to toss in a mine cart, and rides upon this contraption are usually a simple affair that involve leaning to one side of the rails or jumping to grab jewels. Boat racing sequences are included as well, as are sequences involving hot air balloons, karts, and giant snowballs. Still more vehicles await the player’s use, ranging from hang gliders to planes, most of which function as sub-games within a level. These, of course, aren’t the only means of getting around for our hero, who also has access to balloons, swinging vines, clockwork Gobbos that may be controlled, etc., but they’re certainly the most inventive.