Having never played a Crash Bandicoot game before, but having heard a lot of good stories about them (especially the earlier Bandicoot games), I was eager to play Crash Twinsanity. I wasn't amazed, but I certainly wasn't disappointed either.
At the start of the game, Crash and his girl Coco are enjoying life on a tropical paradise island, when all of a sudden his arch enemy Dr. Cortex arrives and kidnaps Coco. In order to lure Crash towards his doom, Cortex dresses up as Coco and gets Crash's attention. The fact that Crash doesn't notice the dark beard on "Coco" is the first hint at how hilarious this adventure is going to be. After guiding Crash past some obstacles (an in-game tutorial), you reach the venue where you'll battle Cortex's latest creation: Mecha Bandicoot, a huge robot with only one goal: to destroy Crash. Mecha is fairly easy to defeat, and afterwards you'll see Crash and Cortex roll down a huge rollercoaster-like ride in a cavern filled with tunnels and pipes, fighting each other the entire time.
As they reach the bottom, the game's title becomes relevant. Up untill this point, you'll already have seen more than enough jokes and crazy situations to justify the 'insanity' part of the title, but the 'twins'-aspect is about to be introduced as well. Just like it happens with movie franchises that need a breath of fresh air, a new adversary is introduced. Humans fighting aliens.... let's add a predator. Human fighting Freddy Krueger.... let's add Jason Voorhees. We've also seen Star Trek being revived that way. In this case, it's a huge drilling device that bring us our new, common, enemy... tiny aliens. Crash and Dr. Cortex will have to join forces in order to succesfully counter this threat, which introduces a range of new gameplay elements.
It's difficult to describe Twinsanity's gameplay in specifics after this point, because most of the levels are actually very diverse, which is definitely a good thing. Puzzles will need to be solved, and enemies will have to be defeated. In some cases, you'll use one character in order to save the other (so much for arch enemies), and in some cases you'll work together in order to overcome obstacles. This reminded me of The Lost Vikings by Interplay, which also relied on using character-specific qualities in order to progress as a team.
The best thing about Twinsanity is definitely the sense of humor that the developers have injected into it. This isn't limited to visual gags, such as Cortex dressing up as a bearded version of Coco, but also involves countless high-quality voiceovers. One of my favorites from early on in the game was when Cortex fell down a pit and shouted out "I'm okay!", only to be followed by ".... the spikes broke my fall". Hilarious stuff.
Crash Twinsanity is a very colorful game, but doesn't offer the same amount of detail and polish as the Jak and Ratchet & Clank games. You could say that a lack of 'polish' is what makes Crash's latest adventure fall short of reaching the kind of status that the aforementioned games did. The graphics look good, but could have used some more detail in places. The same goes for the music and sound effects, where some of the music doesn't quite seem to fit the setting and where some more ambient sound effects could have created a little extra atmosphere. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the graphics or sound effects, it's just that subtle difference between 'good' and 'great'.
Twinsanity is an extremely solid game, delivering tried and tested gameplay elements in a bandicoot-flavoured package. I liked it a lot without being blown away by it, and it's the extra flavour that kept me going more than anything. I kept wanting to see what happened next, or rather: what was gonna be said next, because it usually was going to be something funny. I found myself playing the levels in order to see the next cutscene, instead of watching a cutscene in order to start the next level. That doesn't make for really good replay value, but it makes for a fun weekend of gaming. I will definitely keep an eye out for future Crash installments.