Forgotten Heroes Of Retro Gaming: Croc!

Forgotten-Gaming-Heroes-CrocWelcome to a brand new series of articles that looks to uncover the Gaming Heroes that the world forgot, that are still remembered fondly by gamers everywhere. This series hopes to rekindle long lost memories and also to introduce gamers to new titles and franchises that have disappeared into the mists of time - starting with the loveable Croc.

For those of you who haven't already been acquainted, meet Croc! The cutesy crocodile with the little brown backpack and the big lust for Adventure! Croc's first outing, Legend of the Gobbo's was initially developed as a 3D Super Mario game, starring Yoshi. The Game was intended be an exclusive release for the Nintendo 64 developed by Argonaut Software and was pitched to Nintendo, only to be rejected and cast aside. This decision effectively ended the Relationship between Argonaut and Nintendo, a relationship that had been formed with the development of Star Fox.

After this decision had been made, Argonaut looked to Japanese Publisher Mitsui to finance and publish the game. Mitsui made the decision to release the game for the Sony Playstation, Sega Saturn and the PC, and Argonaut set to work. This Development Journey took Argonaut through a number of Beta Stages that can be seen in the video's below.

After working out the Rough-patches, Argonaut were left with Croc: The Legend of the Gobbo's as it is known and loved today.

Move aside Yoshi!

Croc-Legend-Of-The-Grobbos

Croc: Legend of the Gobbo's tells the story of a peaceful race of tiny fluff-balls called Gobbo's and their discovery of a Baby crocodile found floating down the river in a basket, Moses-style. The King of the Gobbo's raises Croc as his own and eventually, Croc grows to be twice the size of his Gobbo family.  One Day, disaster strikes as the Evil Baron Dante invades Gobbo island with his army of Dantini's and imprisons all the Gobbo's, including the King. Before he is kidnapped, the Gobbo King calls upon his Friend, Beany the Bird, to rescue Croc and whisk him away from Danger. The game begins as Croc sets out on his quest to rescue his adoptive family and banish Baron Dante from the island.

The game itself plays out as a simple 3D platform adventure game that takes Croc across the width and breadth of four themed islands (As well as a fifth, Secret Island, unlocked upon fulfilling certain requirements). The themes are fairly typical of this genre of game, featuring Deserts, Castles, Caves and Snowy Fields. Each Island is broken down into Six Stages, Two Boss Stages and Two secret stages. Within each of the stages (Bar the Boss Stages) there are 5 Gobbo's for Croc to rescue as well as Five Coloured Gems, which in turn give Croc the chance to rescue a 6th and final Gobbo for that stage upon their collection. The Game itself is a relatively simple affair but is dripping with charm and neat touches such as the inclusion of underwater levels and hidden bonuses. The music is memorable and the Islands are broken up nicely with different challenges and features that keep players on their toes, whilst also maintaining a steady difficulty curve that is tailored to younger players but also works to include older gamers.

The inclusion of a save system, as well as the classic password system, was a welcome addition at the time for completionists who wished to see everything the game had to offer and all-in-all the game was reasonably well received for a game of it's type at the time of release, scoring an average score of 79% for the Playstation release and 76% for the Sega Saturn version.

Croc, whilst not in the same league as Mario or Sonic, had certainly made a mark on younger gamers at the time and this success spurred on the release of a sequel, simply titled Croc 2 for the Sony Playstation and PC in 1999 and 2000 respectively.

Croc Returns

Croc-2

The Story of Croc 2 follows the return of Baron Dante and Croc's journey to a far-away island kingdom in search of his maternal parents after the receipt of a message in a bottle.

The game boasted several game play advancements over it's predecessor, including the Task-based Level design, updated health system,an item shop and vehicle sections. Despite this, the game floundered somewhat under the pressure of trying to do too many new things at once in order to keep up with competition provided by other 3D platformers on the market at the time. Croc 2 is definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of the series, just don't expect to fall in love all over again!

On a plus side, the Game had also received a graphical upheaval, boasting bright colours and chunky objects that fit well into the Tropical island theme that permeates throughout the atmosphere of the Game. Unfortunately, this isn't quite enough to save the game from mediocrity. 

Croc 2 received somewhat positive reviews upon it's release, averaging a score of 69% for the Playstation version and 67% for the PC version. Gamer's believed that although Argonaut had tried to move Croc forwards, they had detracted somewhat from the simple charm of the original and had been left with a confusing and entirely average sequel plagued with camera issues and high level of difficulty.

Croc's Pocket Adventures

Both Croc Games also received Handheld Iterations, for the Game Boy Colour in 2000 and 2001 respectively. The first receiving average reviews and the second actually performing better than it's console counterpart. The first game was a run of the mill side scroller, whilst the second game was a top-down adventure game featuring puzzles and quests.

In 2001, Argonaut began development on the next entry into the Croc Series, entitled “Croc 3: Stone of the Gobbo's” intending to be released in 2005 for Playstation, Playstation 2, Dreamcast, Xbox, Gamecube and PC. When the Dreamcast was discontinued, development was ceased for the Dreamcast and PC versions of the game, whilst development continued for the other formats, with the intention of using the same engine as the PS2 game Malice for the Xbox, Gamecube and PS2 versions of the game and reusing the engine from Croc 2 for the PS1 Release. Unfortunately, the game was ultimately unfinished at the time Argonauts studio's closed in 2004.

Missing In Action: Croc

Since Croc's last outing, he has remained largely forgotten by the industry, alongside many platform heroes who have gone before. With Argonaut studios having been closed for almost 10 years now, it seems unlikely that Croc will ever get the chance to don his famous brown backpack and set off on another adventure again. Still, for his many fans, he will always be remembered fondly as part of a simpler time when the world was moving from 2D into new 3D gaming horizons. It was a largely pivotal and exciting time for everyone and Croc will always be remembered as a part of that.

How do you feel about Croc? Would you like to see him make a Comeback? Leave your comments in the box below!

Link: Find Croc in the RetroCollect Video Game Database

Find Croc: Legend of the Gobbo's on eBay

Find Croc 2 on eBay

Find Croc (Game Boy Color) on eBay

Find Croc 2 (Game Boy Color) on eBay


Last Updated ( 14 January 2014 )  

Stevie Migan

I'm a Sega fan, RetroCollector & Writer with 20+ years of Gaming experience under my belt. Sonic the Hedgehog is a huge part of my life. Almost to the point where I think Sega should actually start sponsoring me... The way to my heart is through Vanilla Coke, Cake & Survival Horror.

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Comments 

(Link to this comment) ollie809 2014-01-14 20:37
Yep croc sure is forgotten and for good reason after that terrible sequel! How was 1 so good and 2 so bad!
(Link to this comment) Cauterize 2014-01-15 18:05
Yet to play the Game Boy games myself - this might be a good excuse to!
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