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Blast From The Past
Blast From The Past: Croc: Legend of the Gobbos

It’s all too often that a rather polished game franchise falls off the face of the earth never to be heard from again, at least this used to be the case, now however if it’s sales gold it’ll be revived no matter what happens to the team producing the title. Unfortunately Croc: Legend of the Gobbos missed out on such a chance by arriving in 1997 and not 2007.

Argonaut’s incredible platformer arose out seemingly questionable content. Taking on the role of a child crocodile known by the name of Croc, you set out on a journey to save furry hairballs that have been captured by the evil Baron Dante. Croc sets off to save these Gobbos, the aforementioned hairballs, after having being raised by them when he washed up on shore as a teeny tiny baby crocodile. Indeed Croc’s origin story was wonderfully summarised in the opening cutscene, along with the invasion of Baron Dante and the capturing of all the Gobbos, including the Gobbo King Rufus who was imprisoned in Baron Dante’s castle. As we said, the story sounds a little dull, and your staple adventure; it’s how Argonaut brought the world to life that saw its success.

Croc is flung into this world full of colour. A world full of verdant greens and music that matches its sunshine soaked starting island. Even Croc himself is a cheery and chirpy little chappy who’s cries of “Kerrsplat” when killing an enemy seems entirely innocent, he really seems like a kid playing with the world rather than a scared first time adventure, it’s somewhat fitting for a crocodile really. Populating each world are a variety of enemies that are sent by Baron Dante, known as Dantinis, and you can’t actually kill them. Having ‘Kerspatted’ or ‘Kaboofed’ and enemy, they will disappear for a short period of time, usually allowing you enough time to complete the task you needed to do. What makes these enemies stop being the dark threat they should be is the addition of googly-esque eyes and their gleeful cackles as they chase after you; not to mention their small rotund stature and cheeky devil nature.

Again, Argonaut deceive the player by making Croc more than just your typical kiddish platformer. Every level has six hidden Gobbos to find, one of which is locked away behind a door that can only be opened by collecting six rather hidden coloured gems, it’s a perfect treasure hunt. The catch is, if you clear an entire island of Gobbos before fighting a boss you’ll gain a jigsaw piece; repeat for every island and you’ve unlocked a secret island chocked full of devilishly hard levels from each of the themed islands. It’s a step up from your relaxing difficulty curve, and shows that this isn’t just for those who are drawn in by colourful images and friendly looking creatures. But even if you are, Argonaut have you covered!

Besides from the previously described Dantinis, Croc was full of creative creature design. Croc’s singular tooth, along with his big eyes created the childlike image perfectly; the Gobbos were just furry balls, but they had two tiny feet and huge eyes that just filled them with personality too. However it was always the bosses that stole the show. Flibby, a huge ladybug with boxing gloves that you fought in a boxing ring; a group of mountain goats combined to form a creature known as Demon Itsy; Cactus Jack, a walking and thinking cactus that fired deadly spikes, there were many more but the art team must have been having a field day with these creations. Even the staple levels of lava, ice, desert and a castle are filled with charm and charisma. The lava burning Croc’s bum and the ice making for incredibly tricky platforming, again all juxtaposed against this cheery happy atmosphere that permeates the game.

Completing the brilliant package is the audio wonder that is the games soundtrack. Composed by Justin Scharvona, the music was playful and jazzy; again forming this childish innocence around the game and Croc’s actions. Even the genuinely darker levels of dungeons and caves got a children’s bedtime story styled song, adding to the urge to explore and have fun within the environments surrounding you. Adding in the previously mentioned gleeful cackles of Dantinis, and the loveable shouts from Croc, along with the quiet but helpless cries from lost Gobbos, Croc is just one big audiovisual dream of a game that’s excellently put together.

Going on to become one of the Playstation Platinums, and selling well over 4 million copies in its lifetime, Croc: Legend of the Gobbos was loved by critics when it released and by all those who succame to its charms. Argonaut produced a superb game that saw release across the PC, PS1, Sega Saturn, Game Boy Colour, and saw mobile phone spinoffs too. Croc did so well it got a bigger and meatier sequel, but then unfortunately died. With Argonaut out of business as of 2004, the chances we’ll ever see that majestic child crocodile on our screens again is nigh on impossible, but for those who can obtain a copy of the original (as for some peculiar reason its not on PSN yet) should do so because this is one blast from the past you don’t want to miss.

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