Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure, or Crash: XS in Europe, is the seventh installment in the Crash Bandicoot video game series and the first Crash Bandicoot game to be released on a handheld console. The game's story centers on a plot to shrink the Earth by the main antagonist Doctor Neo Cortex through the use of a gigantic weapon named the "Planetary Minimizer". The protagonist of the story, Crash Bandicoot, must gather Crystals in order to power a device that will return Earth to its proper size, defeating Doctor Cortex and his minions along the way. The levels are based on Crash Bandicoot 2.
Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure is a platform game in which the player controls Crash Bandicoot, who must gather 20 Crystals and reverse the shrinkage of the Earth at the hands of Doctor Neo Cortex, the main antagonist of the story. Much of the game takes place in a series of hubs, from which Crash can teleport to various areas of the Earth. Initially, only the first of four hubs is available for play. Each hub features five levels plus one boss level. The goal in each level is to find and obtain the Crystal hidden in the area. After completing all five levels in a hub, the boss level must be completed, in which Crash must defeat the boss character guarding the area. By defeating the boss, a new hub will be accessible for play. When all 20 Crystals are collected and the Earth has been enlarged to its proper size, the game is won. Crash starts the game with five lives. Crash loses a life when he is struck by an enemy attack or suffers any other type of damage. More lives can be earned by instructing Crash to collect 100 "Wumpa Fruits" or break open a special crate to collect a life. Crash can be shielded from enemy attack by collecting an Aku Aku mask. Collecting three of these masks allows temporary invulnerability from all minor dangers. Besides Crystals, Gems and Colored Gems can be collected for 100% completion. Gems are rewarded to the player if all of the crates in a level are broken open or if a secret area is completed. Colored Gems are found in special levels and lead to hidden areas. There is no "Purple Gem" in this game probably because this video-game only has 4 hub worlds instead of the usual 5. "Relics" can be won by re-entering a level where the Crystal has already been retrieved. To obtain a Relic, the player must initiate the "Time Trial" mode and race through a level in the pre-designated time displayed before entering a level. To begin a Time Trial run, the player must enter a level and activate the floating stopwatch near the beginning of the level to activate the timer; if the stopwatch is not touched, the level can be played regularly. The player must then race through the level as quickly as possible. Scattered throughout the level are yellow crates with the numbers 1, 2 or 3 on them. When these crates are broken, the timer is frozen for the number of seconds designated by the box. Sapphire, Gold and Platinum Relics can be won depending on how low the player's final time is.
"It is I, Aku Aku. My duty is to protect you."
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In a mysterious space station orbiting the Earth, Uka Uka is upset with Doctor Neo Cortex for failing him once again, but Cortex promises a plan that will bring the Earth's inhabitants down to size. Cortex then introduces his relatively new Planetary Minimizer, which he immediately uses to shrink the Earth down to the size of a grapefruit. The situation is brought to Aku Aku's attention when Cortex taunts the now-microscopic people of Earth. When Aku Aku informs Crash of the Earth's predicament, Coco assumes that Cortex is using the Crystals to power his shrinking machine, and requests that Crash find the same kind of Crystals in various locations around the world, which she will use to build a device that will reverse the effects of Cortex's Minimizer. After Crash fends off Dingodile, Doctor N. Gin and Tiny Tiger, Cortex decides to deal with Crash himself by firing the Planetary Minimizer at him. Unfortunately for him, Crash tricks him into shrinking the colored Gems that stabilize the Minimizer, causing it to malfunction. The unrestrained effects of the Minimizer fuse Cortex and the previous bosses together, creating a monster known as Mega-Mix, who chases Crash down the space station's hallway in an attempt to kill him. Fortunately, Crash escapes back to the Earth just in time for Coco to use the Crystals that he has gathered to return the Earth back to normal. The Earth is returned to its original size, while the space station outside Earth explodes with Cortex and the others in it.