After stumbling through their first attempt at bringing Croc to the Game Boy Color, THQ and Natsume are back for a second shot with Croc's sequel, Croc 2. Unlike the first Croc, this second effort is a 3D adventure game--thus, it sticks closer to the series' PlayStation roots. Like the first Croc, though, Croc 2 is mediocre at best.
It all began when a bottle, which carried a note from Croc's mother, washed ashore. While searching for his mother, Croc soon discovers that Baron Dante and his Dantinis are up to their old tricks: terrorizing the land, imprisoning the Gobbos, and generally making jerks out of themselves. Now, across 16 stages and four unique environments, you've got to help Croc find his mom and stop the troublemakers.
As far as actual playtime, Croc 2 feels like Zelda DX without the enthralling storyline or refined gameplay. In your quest to help the Gobbos, defeat Dante, and find Croc's mom, you'll progress through a variety of hazard-filled environments. Each environment requires you to leap across pits, climb terraced hills, battle angry Dantinis, and solve an array of clever puzzles. Your primary weapons are jump, stomp, dash, and tail-slash moves, but you can purchase additional objects, which allow for higher jumps, extra hearts, and access to hidden areas. Unfortunately, the big problem with Croc 2 isn't in what you can do, but in what's missing. Plot development is wafer thin, brought about only by spectacularly nonsensical conversations with Gobbos. Puzzles are plentiful and clever but are reused so often that they become tedious. Hit detection is also highly problematic. To effectively tail-slash Dantinis, you have to literally be right on top of them, regardless of whether or not your tail can reach from a distance. The neat minigames from the first Croc are absent as well.
As in the first Croc, the visuals in Croc 2 are solid. The game's colorful backgrounds really convey the feeling of maritime, arctic, volcanic, and jungle environments. When it comes to character sprites, Croc moves and animates fluidly, although enemy characters aren't as elegant. The bosses in Croc 2 are also much larger and more menacing than those found in the previous Croc game. Thankfully, there's never any flicker or slowdown either. Compared with its visuals, Croc 2's sounds are only average. Each area has its own unique background track, but none are overly catchy or enjoyable. Sound effects, while sufficient, barely do the job. There's a jumping sound, a collision sound, and a few monster groans, but nothing outwardly impressive.
Just as it did the first time, THQ has released a Croc game that lives up to the series' roots but doesn't exactly take the world by storm. Some game players, perhaps young children, will probably not be as disappointed with the tedium and poor collision detection as seasoned players will be. Otherwise, the game is painfully bland.