So in writing a totally unrelated piece I came across this…
Now, let’s get two things out of the way:
- These “Croc” games do not actually seem to be related to the hero of the Gobbos, so no, it is probably not canon (because I know the canonicity of Croc is critical to a gamer’s identity).
- These games don’t seem to be legally related to Croc either and might instead just be a random platformer with a little crocodile who just happens to share the same name…
This doesn’t appear to be an “official” or “licensed” property of any kind. I’ll admit that my research consisted of a few Google searches, a Wiki-dive or two, and a visit to the developer of Croc World’s website–as a millennial, this is really about all the work one can realistically expect of me.
There are demos, for those interested in seeing what this is all about without having to pay any actual money; it plays exactly how it looks–mostly a Mario style clone; though “Croc” makes a truly creepy and somewhat disturbing sound when he takes damage from an enemy.
There is something interesting to consider here, however. Croc, as well as Crash Bandicoot, and Spyro to a degree, were all properties that were essentially trying to steal the platforming thunder from Mario by taking some of the same mechanics and articulating them in a 3D world, with their own unique additions, of course. Also, and especially with Croc, I’d argue the actual narrative of these games are typically more interesting than Mario is.
That this likely unofficial spiritual descendant of the original Croc: Legend of the Gobbos is nothing more than a Mario clone says quite a bit about, A. the impact of Mario and B. the staying power of adjacent franchises like Croc and how, arguably, they failed to topple the Italian plumber’s hold on the genre. Though Crash Bandicoot and Spyro have seen recent revivals, it should be noted that these were revivals. It’s only now that Crash is getting a proper fourth entry to its original games that effectively captures the spirit of what made those games compelling (though, to be fair, Wrath of Cortex was rather faithful to the original style).
Given that these late ’90s platformers were essentially building on a model previously established–and given my own careless regard for intellectual property as a child of Napster, a serious Creative Commons advocate, and a lover of remix culture–I’d argue there isn’t much offense here with these “Croc” games as the originals weren’t so “original” in the first place. A judge might think differently, but thank god I don’t have that level of power or responsibility!
Anyway, here’s some nostalgia: