It may look just like Mario, but Croc is still tons of fun
It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If this is the case than Croc should make Mario 64 blush deeper shades of red than have ever been seen before.
Exactly what makes Croc fun is the same thing that makes the player have severe deja vu. Basically, Croc's play mechanics are similar to Mario 64's, and it's plain to see that the game is a straightforward 3D platformer.
Croc as a character is painfully cute. His movements, his voice, and exclamations will certainly appeal to younger gamers but more mature players may find this something of a turn off. The story is similarly sugar-laden. The world in which Croc lives has come under attack by Baron Dante and his minions. All of Croc's gobbo friends have been captured and imprisoned and it's up to Croc to free them and defeat the baron. Hmm... sounds like Sonic the Hedgehog, huh?
To finish his quest, Croc must master the use of a number of different moves. These moves include a spin (Crash), a butt-stomp (Mario), and a combination of moves when jumping. Moving platforms, enemies, bosses, and other obstacles obviously get in his way. Lava pits, water, cliffs, and other hazards cause Croc to lose the gems that he carries. Gems in this case act very much like Sonic's rings. When Croc is hit, he loses the gems. If he's hit when he has no gems he dies.
Control is quite good, with full camera control being easy to use. And for those people fortunate enough to have a PlayStation analog controller, control is even better. The second analog pad can be used for camera movement while the left pad works as a slightly less sensitive movement pad.
Levels for the game are broken into smaller areas with slight load times which themselves aren't terrible, but they do tend to break up the momentum. Graphically the game uses extremely bright colors and has very sharp models. Croc's animation is extremely well done and it's clear that the team has taken a lot of time to make this game stand out graphically on the PlayStation.
Where Croc does fall down more than slightly is in variation. Levels very often look exactly the same, with very little texture variation and reuse of loads of models. Mario 64, even with cartridge constraints, managed areas that looked very different from one another. Croc for some reason seems to have a lot of the same elements from start to finish.
Croc is definitely a good, slick platform game, but it is highly derivative of other titles. If you're a relative newcomer this sort of game, you'll definitely enjoy it. If you're a seasoned gamer, look elsewhere.