As mentioned earlier, Twinsanity introduces an all-new playable character, Nina Cortex. Nina can perform basic jumps, and she has a spin attack similar to the one Crash uses. Her most distinguishing characteristics are her cybernetic hands, which extend when she throws a punch, Ã¤ la Bionic Commando, allowing her to attack enemies from afar and grapple onto special rings that are either bored into a wall or being held by a hovering gargoyle.
The abundance of unique gameplay styles keeps Twinsanity engaging all the way through.
On top of all these different basic control schemes, there are sequences in which you play as the individual characters while they're being chased, and there are a fair number of boss fights too. The game's constant shifting between different characters and different gameplay styles keeps things fresh and interesting all the way though, and it gives a real set-piece feel to many of the sequences. It can be pretty challenging too, but the game is pretty generous with extra lives, which can be found in crates or gained by collecting 100 pieces of wumpa fruit, and even when you run out of lives, you have infinite continues from the last hard save point. Even when we lost our last life at the most inopportune of times, we had to repeat only 10 or 15 minutes' worth of the game. In all, the single-player game lasts six or seven hours--it's a decent length, especially considering that there really isn't a whole lot of filler in the game.
Crash Twinsanity is far and away the best-looking Crash Bandicoot game to date, though considering that the last proper Crash Bandicoot platformer is a good three years old, that's not an incredible feat. Crash and Cortex are sporting a lot more detail, and they have animations that are both smoother and more extreme. Their movement has a way of actually telegraphing their personalities--Crash's overextended running style and self-punishing attacks establish him as an empty-headed but enthusiastic character, and Cortex's constant creeping and sniveling are a great showcase of the kinds of neuroses that might cause one to gain an interest in evil science. The environments aren't incredibly detailed, but they make excellent use of color to establish each discrete area's feel. The most noteworthy aspect of the environments is the relative lack of loading times, which gives the world a seamless feel and also makes for a pretty unrelenting pace. Most of the time, you can use the right analog stick to move the camera around and get the perspective that you want on the action, and tapping one of the shoulder buttons will snap the camera behind you. There are also plenty of sequences in which the game imposes a specific camera angle. Usually this imposition is for the best, but the forced camera angle does occasionally put you in the position of having to make a difficult blind jump, which is just frustrating.
The Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions are basically identical, though there are a few distinctions worth noting. The particle effects don't look quite as good in the PlayStation 2 version, and, more importantly, Twinsanity on the PS2 suffers from chronic frame rate issues. We certainly noticed a few laggy moments in the Xbox version, but it's far more persistent on the PS2, and it really detracts from the otherwise enjoyable visuals and the experience as a whole.
The music is easily the most inspired and original aspect of Twinsanity.
Overall, the sound in Twinsanity is pretty good, but it's the music that really stands out. It always fits the feel of the area you're in: It starts off with a nice, relaxed, tropical vibe, then shifts into pirate chanties before giving way to spooky Halloween and goth-rock sounds and finally shifting to a bizarre mix of synthesizers and babies babbling that pretty much defies description. The tunes themselves are pretty catchy, but what makes the music so unique is the instrumentation. The game relies on synthesized sounds for a lot of the backbeat, but the dominant sound is the human voice, which the game samples and tweaks with reckless abandon. Sometimes you'll hear some a cappella harmonies, but then sometimes it'll just be a guy doing his best impression of a rocking guitar solo. Though Crash expresses himself exclusively through Red Skelton-esque facial contortions, most of the other characters are blessed with the gift of speech. The voice work is generally pretty good, and it fits with the game's cartoony but slightly off-kilter style, with the strained grandeur of Cortex's speech standing out as the most accomplished. The rest of the in-game sound effects are all stock Crash Bandicoot stuff, and most of them have been lifted from previous games. The upside of this is that they fit snugly into the game's sound design, but the downside is that some of them are used too often and some of them just sound a little tired.
Crash Twinsanity imitates more than it innovates, though the advantage of using tried-and-true mechanics is that you know they'll work pretty well. It's really unfortunate that the frame rate in the PlayStation 2 version suffers as badly as it does, and both versions would've benefited a bit from having some of their edges smoothed. Twinsanity isn't the most inventive platformer, nor is it the largest, or the prettiest. It is, however, still a good deal of fun, and players willing to look past its faults should find a fun if somewhat familiar experience.