Following the global success of Mario and Sonic, a number of similarly cute games were released, some successful, some not (anyone remember Alfred Chicken or Awesome Possum?). Produced by Jez San and Argonaut, creator of the legendary Starglider and Starfox, Croc was intended as a Mario spinoff starring Yoshi. However, when this idea was rejected, Croc was born, and while the series never achieved the kind of response that greeted the Italian plumber or the spiky hedgehog, this 3D title is actually quite inventive and certainly fun. Featuring a wide range of adorable (and not-so-likeable) characters, including Croc himself, the villainous Baron Dante, and Beany Bird, the game is a free-roaming platformer which sees players exploring four uniquely themed islands, attempting to rescue the many Gobbos which have been cruelly imprisoned by the Baron. Some bizarre bosses also stand between you and success, including a giant walking cactus and a boxing ladybug. The graphics and character design are quite charming, with some impressive 3D levels and there is enough challenge here to keep gamers of all ages entertained for some time. Although Croc doesn't quite meet the standards of Mario or Sonic, it comes pretty close.