Structured in a rather odd manner, Croc 2 features four tribes of Gobbos who are kin to those inhabiting the island upon which Croc was raised, and our hero will interact with all of them. Each of these tribes features a particular style which is reflected in both their customs and dress, and they’re known as the Sailor Tribe, the Cossack Tribe (amusing if you like those massive, fuzzy Russian hats), the Prehistoric Tribe, and the Inca Tribe. For every tribe players encounter, they receive access to five standard levels and two boss areas which must be overcome before the player can move on. Having completed these objectives, Swap Meet Pete (who operates a shop in every village that takes crystals in return for items) will take the player on to their next destination. It’s also worth mentioning that if players can find the five color crystals hidden in each level, he can collect a Golden Gobbo statuette which will grant him access to a secret place and perhaps even the fabled “lost levels,” so there’s plenty of area to cover during the game.
When he’s trouncing through the levels, Croc would do well to stop off and grab some of the many powerups which are thrown his way. Crystals are scattered about, serving as currency in the game, allowing Croc to collect them and spend them at Swap Meet Pete’s place. If you manage to grab 100 of these shiny little baubles, you’ll also be rewarded with a full refill of your hearts, a.k.a. your life counter. Hearts can be found to help fill this counter back up as well, although they only give you back one unit per powerup found. Gongs serve as checkpoints during the level, and if Croc should manage to lose a heart, he’ll find himself brought back to them. Other items which can be found include Heart Pots (that increase your life counter), keys that can be used on locked cages/doors, and the aforementioned Gummi Savers jumps.
I can’t help but comment on how out of place the Life Savers license feels, but I suppose big name titles must have their co-promotions…it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen it. European gamers can think back to the Chupa-Chup license used in Gremlin’s Zool line of products, which just happens to be a series of platform games as well. Coincidence? I think not. Appropriate or not, the Gummi Savers do serve their purpose, and come in three varieties, “Crystal Craze,” “Wild Berries,” and “Five Flavors.” Each is used as a trampoline of sorts, and the height to which Croc is propelled is determined by the color of the Gummi Saver upon which he has jumped. Hardly an exciting addition to the gameplay, but it does serve its purpose, allowing our favorite crocodile to visit some hard to reach destinations.
Considering that this is a sequel, one would expect a slew of enhancements to have been made, but for the most part, they’re only of the visual sort. In all fairness, I must admit that there’s been some additions to the variety of gameplay and the size of the adventure itself is immense, but while these improvements sound good at first on paper, they’re not so wonderful in execution. Oddly enough, the title also sports a special mode called OmniPlay in which two players can share control of Croc, and I’m quite perplexed as to what the possible advantages of this mode are, if any. None of the additions are very exciting or enjoyable, and Croc 2 is still plagued by the same annoying camera angles and frustrating control scheme that cast their shadows over the first title in the series. There’s quite a few ups and downs to this one, and it’s fair to say that, overall, Croc 2 lacks bite.