We recently had a chance to check out the upcoming GameCube version of Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. The game was initially released for the PlayStation 2 last year, and it has since been released for the Xbox. While both versions of the game were developed by Traveller's Tales, the GameCube game conversion is being handled by Eurocom, which is best known for its ports of games across consoles. In addition to the original game, Crash on the GameCube is set to offer an extra feature that takes advantage of the connectivity between the GameCube and Game Boy Advance.
Graphically, the game falls squarely in between the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions. The overall visual quality of the game builds on what the PS2 game offered but doesn't offer quite as much eye candy as the Xbox version. For example, Crash's model lacks the shading technique used in the Xbox version to simulate fur. However, some new water effects and a few other visual odds and ends have been thrown into the mix to take advantage of the GameCube hardware.
In terms of game content, Crash's GameCube adventure is nearly identical to the other versions. The core game is exactly the same--you'll guide Crash through a series of themed worlds, collecting wumpa fruit and dispatching enemies in your quest to reach the evil Dr. Cortex. The gameplay will range from traditional platforming to vehicle segments that will put you in an assortment of craft and even an enormous hamster ball. The game's controls work out pretty well on the GameCube controller and make it fairly easy to get Crash around.
In addition to the main game, the GameCube game also features a minigame cable called Crash blast that can be downloaded into the Game Boy Advance via the GC-GBA link. The game is basically a shooting gallery that requires you to take out enemies that appear onscreen by shooting fruit at them--though you'll have to aim carefully, as friendly faces such as Coco will pop up as well. The game is accessible as soon as you fire up the GameCube game. You'll just have to connect the GBA and select the minigame from the GameCube game's main menu. After a few seconds, the game will be loaded into the GBA's RAM and will stay there until you turn it off.
From what we've seen, Eurocom has done a fairly solid job of bringing the game over to the GameCube. There seems to be some camera and frame rate weirdness, but otherwise the main game is what you've seen on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, and the new downloadable minigame is a nice touch. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex will ship this September for the GameCube.