Saturday, April 12, 2014

VGR Croc

Remember back when they used to come up with new 3D platformer starring cute critters all the time?

This is one of those.

Mascot platformers you ask? Check out the following reviews!

VGR: Croc: Legend of the Gobbos aka Croc! Pau-Pau Island or simply Croc
From Argonaut Software/MediaQuest/Fox Interactive
Played on Saturn
Also available on PSX, PC and Game Boy Color

Type 3D /Platformer
Year 1997

Following the huge boom of mascot-starring platformers back in the early 90s, several new cartoon animals were created through the 32-bit era to help launch what I call post-Nintendo 64 3D Platformers.

Croc: Legend of the Gobbos originally started as as a prototype new 3D Mario game starring the dinosaur Yoshi.

The game started development as a spinoff for Nintendo's own mascot. The studio partially responsible for the original Starfox, Argonaut Software pitched this Yoshi game to Nintendo. When the pitch was rejected, they decided to move forward with this failed title.

Instead of scrapping this build, they looked into other publishers and found some help in Japan with MediaQuest. 3D Platformers were getting big back then, they were only starting and a bit rough, but the audience was there.

Fox Interactive picked up the project and development started with the Sega Saturn in mind (the logical concurrence, being Nintendo's main rival company at the time), but a Playstation and PC version quickly followed.

And thus was born Croc!

Croc: Legend of the Gobbos follows this titular little crocodile having adventures through several tropical islands.

Meet the Gobbos. Cute small little furry critters that live on these island. Once upon a time, the Gobbo King found Croc as an abandoned youngling. He took in the little crocodile and raised him as one of their own.

Several years have passed, and now Croc is much bigger than his adoptive parents.

One day the evil magician known as the Baron Dante stormed the village, stole their previous gems and captured all the native inhabitants.

Now it's up to Croc to fight for his adoptive family and save his friends from the evil creatures Baron Dante put a spell on!

That includes going through 42 vast levels, kick the butt of several bosses and help save the Gobbos!

Will Croc be able to defeat the evil Baron? It's up to you, the player, to make it happen!

Let it be said right away, Croc: Legend of the Gobbos is highly inspired by Mario 64. When Nintendo's classic 3D platformer launched in 1996 it was really impressive. Nobody had seen anything like it before. People even thought you couldn't achieve the same on "modest" 32-bit systems such as the Playstation and the Sega Saturn.

To put it simply, the short answer is, yes. It was technically possible.

For some shortcomings due to simply graphic cards and processors, 2D-abilities and the 3D-format allowed to make a fairly similar experience even if behind the scenes it had to be done by using other means.

Croc is a freeroaming 3-D platformer.

Like all of his "ancestors", Croc can run, jump to stomp enemies, climb and even swim! He's a real Lara Croft! (is his backpack a reference to the Tomb Raider heroine? I like to think so)

The goal in Croc is to find the Beany Gong at the end of the levels.

Through these 40+ stages you will explore 4 different islands, each their own different setting. A lava island, a snow island, a desert one and finally a huge castle. Each spreads through 6 stages as well as 2 boss levels and 2 bonus stages.

Crystals act like the rings in Sonic. When you're hit you lose all of them. Once you get a 100 of those you get a new life.

Like Rayman, the optional objective is to actually free all the Gobbos. They're trapped in little cages and you will need to find keys first in order to open those.

There's also bonus stages. Collect all the Gobbos to get an extra special stage, to then proceed to find a jigsaw piece.

The bosses range from a giant duck to a boxing insect, etc.

Croc has a nice weird little atmosphere. The game seems all cheery and happy with its childish cartoony visuals, yet the use of dark textures and odd sound effects here and there can't help but make it slightly darker than your usual Mario games.

It's all fine and dandy.

It's a well executed formula, but the game doesn't really offer anything new, really.

Breaking cages, jumping, exploring and stomping. It's all thing we already saw before.

It's as derivative from Mario 64 as it gets. Croc actually even sounds like Mario himself when he executes a move.

But it works.

Nice simple graphics that are effective for its time. Free 3-D direction in a 3-D environment.

The only problem is that it maybe doesn't look super polished and is a bit rough here and there.

Overall, Croc is a fun simple cute little platformer.

It's kinda forgettable but enjoyable nonetheless.

I originally only played through the Playstation version back then, but the Saturn and PC version are all near identical.

Little fact about the European Sega Saturn port. There were some buggy copies released in the UK, so be aware of it! Croc's 3D model might appear partially invisible. To avoid that, simply turn on the Saturn without the game, and only then insert the CD. That's all you have to do (in case your copy of the game is missing a little notice that was contained in the box at the time).

Despite its moderate success, Croc got a sequel in 1999, much bigger and ambitious... to no better results. There also was a sidescroller adaptation on the Game Boy Color as well as some early mobile phone games.

I give it:
2 / 3 Bruces!


  1. This game was the beta development and this game was going to be Mario 64
    I think it backwards, sad thing to not see Croc on Nintendo...

    1. Thanks for the trivia - I wrote it RIGHT THERE above :P
      Yeah, it was supposed to be a Yoshi game~

      But, hey, at least Croc was available on Game Boy Color~

  2. Replies
    1. thanks, I'll fix this review tomorrow!
      blogger deleted a whole year worth of reviews/blog posts (2014 only, nothing before or after that for some reason...?!)

    2. I fixed this post!

      Thanks for bringing this post to my attention ;)