Croc Header Image

The header image for this post was created by DeviantArt user AkageSensei

Croc: Legend of the Gobbos is a Playstation game released in 1997, developed by Argonaut Software and published by Fox Interactive. It was ported to Sega Saturn, Microsoft Windows and the GameBoy Colour.

That’s the boring bit out of the way.

Cute With a Side Order of Adorable

Croc is a crocodile who washes up on the shores of Gobbo island. The Gobbos, who are the native inhabitants of the island, decide to raise him as one of their own with the help of their king, King Rufus.

One day Baron Dante arrives on the island and imprisons the Gobbos. Before Baron Dante can imprison King Rufus, he bangs a magical gong, summoning Beany (who is a yellow bird). Beany transports the pre-adolescent Croc to safety; Croc then decides to go on a quest to save his friends.

And if that’s not cute, then I don’t know what is.

Character Design

I’m no designer, but Croc is cute as the dickens, with his little backpack and single tooth. With each attack he yells out “Ka-pow!”, or “Ker-splat!” and with each ground pound, he yells “Yahoo!” or “Wa-hay”.

The way that Croc moves, his little run, his walk, the way he looks around, is designed to be as cute as possible. You get echoes of his cuteness during the loading screens, when he calmly waddles his way from one end of the screen to another.

The Gobbos themselves are tiny, fury creatures – somewhere between a Tribble and a Kiwi.

ttribbles and a kiwi
Tribbles on the left, and a kiwi on the right
… or is it the other way around?

Image Sources: By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40155418 and https://www.mpg.de/research/kiwi-bird-genome-sequenced

King Rufus is clearly designed to be as close to King Bowser as he could be without infringing on any of Nintendo’s copyrights.

Baron Dante and King Bowser
Talk about a terrible tag team

Image Sources: By Source, Fair use, http://croc.wikia.com/wiki/Baron_Dante and http://weheartit.com/entry/group/4106140

Level Design

Croc’s quest takes him on a perilous journey up the mountain at the centre of Gobbo Island. Along the way, he passes through:

  • Grassy levels with underground bonus rooms which have platforms above lava
  • Icy levels with underground bonus rooms (again, with lava)
  • Cavernous levels with bonus rooms (again, with lava)

I think you’re seeing pattern here.

There are a few more level types, but not many. There are even a few bonus rooms where Croc has to swim his way to victory.

As with the early Super Mario games,

Which this game is so obviously designed to match.

there are pipes for Croc to use to get from one area of a level to another.

Each level ends when Croc bangs the gong at with his tail, or (in the case of the later levels) collects pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

As he approaches the end of his quest, Croc must assault the castle and face Baron Dante. Only by defeating Dante can Croc rescue his friends.

Which is quite similar to a certain 3D game, starring a certain moustachioed New York plumber. 

As soon as Baron Dante is defeated he disappears and King Rufus is freed. We’re then treated to a Croc statue being erected and a dance number that is so cute, your teeth might fall out.

Because it’s so sugary sweet, you see.

Croc - Statue
Considering that they’re so small, you only need a handful of Gobbos to erect a statue.

The Developers

Argonaut Games where a British games development company.

A lot of the best early games development studio where British ones. But that might just be my opinion.

They helped develop both Star Fox and Stunt Race FX for the SNES. They also developed the Alien Resurrection PS1 game the first two Harry Potter video games for PS1, too.

The game engine used in Croc was also used in Carmageddon, FX Fighter and I-War. It was truly quite versatile during a time when game engines where usually used for a single game or series.

Forgetting the immensely popular, and frankly wonderful to read, engines from iD software for a moment.

What’s So Great About This Game?

Cuteness. Seriously, that’s the biggest thing I love about this game. It’s so unashamedly cute, and that means a lot when you have a pretty good game engine and great music.

The game engine was one of Argonaut Games’ own called Blazing Renderer (or BRenderer for short).

Finding each Gobbo, with the “hooray” that goes along with it, has a fantastically satisfying feel to it. You know that you’ve rescued a helpless and cute creature.

Dispatching each of the Dantini’s (Baron Dante’s henchmen) is satisfying too, especially since they let out a maniacal laugh as they spot you and pop out of existence when you attack them.

I’d seriously recommend this game to anyone who has even a passing interest in platformers.

Not to mention, those who love cute games.

What About Similar Games?

A list of similar games, especially for the PlayStation, would have to include:

  • Spyro: Enter the Dragon
  • Crash Bandicoot
  • Any of the Disney games released at the time

Thanks to Djstump for the recommendations

Have you ever played Croc? What did you think of it? Do you have any recommendations for similar games?

Let us know in the comments, and we can keep the conversation going.

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Jamie is one of the Waffling Taylors. He spends a lot of time blogging about things sometimes related to programming and sometimes not.