What2Play: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Arnold Remenár / March 19, 2019
( 3 min read )
Back in the 1990s all the major gaming consoles have had their own iconic characters that defined and represented them. These were more than just widely recognizable symbols; they were in many ways a major selling point for the consoles and the respective franchises that came with them. Most people would recognize titles such as Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog as classic games of the previous century. However, there is another character that has made the Playstation 1 console nothing short of legendary – Crash Bandicoot. I remember playing this game back in the early 2000s. It was captivating for its simple yet addicting gameplay. It provided a classic platformer experience and yet it was all unfolding in 3D which was a rare thing twenty years ago. All in all it was a rather successful saga that spawned numerous consecutive titles, which all managed to adhere to the core principles of the first games and, at times, even improve upon them.
Now, as Crash Bandicoot is making a return on the next-gen consoles a mix of nostalgia and anticipation overcame many players including myself. The bundle that has become available on both the PS4 and Xbox One has a total of three remastered games included. Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and, my most favorite from the initial trilogy, Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. Besides improving on the graphics by revamping the game and cinematic cutscenes into HD the developers have also added new gameplay features and bonus levels.
Before we delve into the gameplay elements, let's recap the story of these iconic games. The tale of the three titles feature the villains Dr. Cortex and his assistant Dr. Nitrius Brio who have started experimenting on wild animals using one of their inventions, the Evolvo-Ray. The purpose of this ray is to mutate animals in a way that gives them both superhuman strength and intellect. Our protagonist, Crash Bandicoot also became the subject of these experiments and was the intended leader of this newly created beast army of Dr. Cortex. However, Crash refuses to become the pawn of Dr. Cortex and the two become archenemies.
All in all, the core aspects of the gameplay are simple in principle, yet it still delivers an enjoyable experience even after all these years. Basically, a player has to spin and jump their way through each level, defeating mutated animals, robots and bosses while avoiding the many fatal falls of the environment. The main collectible of the game are apples, which give the player a bonus life every time they collect 100 of them. The boss battles themselves are not easy however; once the attack sequences of the bosses are memorized they become simple to defeat.
Although, I have only played the second and third installments of the series when they were released on the PS1, the first game of the series still struck me as the most boring of the three. Granted, when developers create a new title they try to be on the safe side. When they see that the core formula works, they are more likely to try out new features in consecutive games. I felt that this was the case with Crash Bandicoot too. Crash 2 & 3 offer the player all types of different gameplay than just mere platforming. There are air battles in planes to fight, races to win and jet skis to ride. In comparison to its younger brothers, the first Crash game seems kind of barebone. Nevertheless, visually and acoustically this is one of the most compelling re-masters I have seen so far. Everything, from the cutscenes to the game environment, is pure eye-candy.
When I heard about the fact that the Crash Trilogy was getting a new re-release I was impressed how significantly relevant the game still is today. Many children have spent hours on end with Crash trying to, well, "crash" everything on the screen in hopes of snatching some juicy apples for that extra life. In more ways than one, the remastering of this game only confirms the timeless nature of the series. Coupled with the amazing audio-visual upgrade and quality gameplay, Crash Bandicoot is an extremely fun game to play, whether or not you are an old school fan of the series or a complete newcomer.