Going Back in Time – Croc: The Legend of the Gobbos

Croc: Legend of the Gobbos is a 3D platformer released in September 1997 for the PlayStation and a year later for the Sega Saturn and Microsoft Windows.

The game takes place in Gobbo Valley and follows a young crocodile named Croc who has to venture through levels rescuing furry creatures known as Gobbos from an evil magician known as Baron Dante.

Back in the original PlayStation days, I never actually played the full game of Croc. We had a demo disk that had a few levels on it, so I got really good at playing those, but we never ventured to purchase the full game. I don’t really know why. I know that I’ve never really been a fan of 3D platformers like Mario 64, Spyro and the like, so this probably played a part in it.

When doing research for my book, Blindsighted, I had a character that has PlayStation, and I needed a game for him to be playing in one scene. After filtering through old games, I remembered Croc and decided it would be a good game for him to be playing as I remember enjoying what I played of it. Recently it was on my mind again, and both Alex and I wanted to play it again. After trawling through eBay, I managed to find a copy that was decently priced, so I took the plunge and bought a copy.

When it arrived, we dove straight in, but for me, it was just so hard. As with a lot of retro games, the controls are vastly different to those of newer games. I quickly got frustrated and left the game on the shelf. I’ve given the game a go a couple of times since then but always struggled with the controls. However, I knew that I wanted to do this blog post about it, so I thought I should give it another go it deserved. I’ve played a few levels this morning, and I’m actually getting the hang of it and enjoying it. I got stuck when I came to a boss as I struggled to time my attacks right, but I’m now willing to try and try again as I still think that Croc is a good game.

The levels, unlock games like Spyro, are pretty short, so finding the Gobbos and collecting gems is pretty easy in most cases. The combat isn’t difficult, but sometimes getting the timing right is. You can think you’re close enough and still struggle to get a hit on an enemy, or on the other side, you can think you’re far away enough not to get hit, but you still do. Where the game falls down like a lot of 3D platformers of this era is the camera. There is no using the analogue controller to move the camera. Instead, you have to use L2 and then move using the d-pad; this can be an issue when you’re trying to move or enter combat as it’s not easy to flick between character movement and camera movement. The graphics are standard early 3D, and as such, the game hasn’t aged particularly well but having said that, it still doesn’t look too bad. There are plenty of games that came out around the same time that just look God awful now.

Croc is a worthy addition to my retro game collection, and it’s probably one that I will go back to time and time again. However, I would love for this game to get a remake or a reboot on modern consoles. Even perhaps if it were added to the new PlayStation Plus subscription service, it would control better.

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