Crash Bandicoot was a hugely popular video game mascot back in the 1990’s but I think its fair to say that over the years his games seriously dropped in quality and changes to his character design and personality helped to lose a lot of fans over the years eventually causing the character to disappear from most games and media for nearly a decade until June 2017 when a HD remake of the original three games was released on the Playstation 4, before then being released on the PC,Nintendo Switch and Xbox One this year reintroducing Crash to a whole new audience as well as his previous fans.
In this review we will taking a look at the orginal games and then ill be giving my opinion on the High Defintion Collection where we will discuss a few differences between both versions of the games.
So without further ado lets take a step back into my childhood to the year of 1996 to discuss Crash Bandicoot
Crash Bandicoot: 1996
Doctor Neo Cortex has been capturing and mutating animals in the hopes of creating a mutant army to take over the world. A Partly mutated Bandicoot escapes from the Doctors Labotory and falls through a window landing on a beach and now Crash has to get back to the top of the mad doctors laboratory in order to save his Girlfriend Tawna.
The game takes place on the Wumpa Islands which are three Islands in south Australia that are all owned by Doctor Cortex which goes to show that Crash never really escaped from the Doctor and could easily be caught again.
On the islands Crash is able to run spin and jump his way across the land destroying all of the crates in his way and with the help of his friend Aku Aku a voodoo mask who can provide Crash temporary protection and invincibility the journey to save Tawna is made a little bit less stressful.
The gameplay is a 3D plat-former but its a little different to most games of the style, the idea of Crash Bandicoot is that players would play a plat-former from the perspective of a camera being able to record the character from more angles such as the front, back and side of the character instead of from a side perspective which was the standard back then with the exception of Super Mario 64.
Back in the day this was a really cool idea and for the most part the developers Naughty Dog did a pretty good job but with this being one of the first games to try this style a couple of issues were inevitable upon the games release.
The games controls are good for the most part but jumping is very floaty, a great example for where this becomes an issue is a level near the end of the game called Slippery Climb, Crash needs to climb the outskirts of Dr Cortexs tower and there are a lot of tricky jumps to make and small platforms to land on but this is made extremely difficult because the controls when jumping become awkward and really annoying. The best way I can describe these controls is for you to imagine that instead of legs Crash has wheels, when he lands after a jump he slips ever so slightly forwards before coming to a halt, this killed me so many times that it in a small sense it kind of ruined some of the game for me, but not all levels were so difficult due to this issue so it wasn’t so bad.
On another note the boss fights here are pretty easy, although they are a lot of fun, I would have preferred more challenge to them as even the final boss was simple enough once you learned a strategy to avoid his attacks.
The game does have collectables for completionists although it is not worth your time, if you collect every hidden gem you will unlock a secret ending although its not canon and these days it can just be viewed on YouTube, to be fair back then you wouldn’t have been able to do this so in 1996 perhaps it may have been worth more of your time. If you the find coloured gems you can return to some of the levels to find new paths, these often lead to hidden collectables and lives which can be useful and finally there are two keys in the game and if you get these you will unlock two bonus levels. The Reason why I do not recommend going for the gems is because you have smash every crate in each level and during every run you cannot die, even if you hit a checkpoint you have to go back to the beginning, Crash 1 is a pretty hard game minus the boss fights and the awkward controls making this challenge some what unbearable but if your up for it give it a go and see how you do, perhaps its just me and maybe I just suck at Crash.
The Soundtrack is interesting and in my opinion its well composed and each track suits each segment of the game fine, I personally don’t have any music in this game that I really enjoy but its good none the less.
The original Crash Bandicoot is a staple of my childhood but its not as good as I remember it being, its a fun game but it definitely has its problems, I wouldn’t say its one of the best games ever made although it is worth playing through at least once 6.6/10
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back: 1997
A year after the events of the first game Crash and his sister Coco are relaxing on a beach, Coco’s laptop battery has died and Crash heads towards their home to get another for her but before he can do this he is abducted by Doctor Cortex who asks Crash to find crystals for him in order to save the word from a great danger, Coco and Cortex’s ex assistant N Brio try to warn Crash not to trust Cortex leaving Crash to figure out whether Cortex can be trusted.
The same game-play style from the first game is in Crash Bandicoot 2 although a few changes were made here the first is that while Crash can still jump, spin and run he can now also slide, duck, crawl and dig underground, the game still offers various level types including those wear you ride animals but unlike pigs in the first game you now ride baby polar bears.
The boulder chase stages now involve Polar Bears also.
The Controls in this game are much better and the jumping isn’t floaty at all, Crash controls perfectly and it makes this game a lot less stressful and more fair as any deaths are legitimately your own fault. I think it should also be said that game is a lot easier than the first as well, it was rare that I really struggled with it when compared to the first game.
Gem collecting is done a lot better here as getting all the boxes isn’t quite as difficult plus getting the coloured gems requires you to do certain tasks which are all really fun to do for example the Blue Gem requires you to finish the first stage without breaking any boxes.
Crash 2 is one of my favourite game soundtracks, the music is upbeat and so great to listen too, almost every track in this game will have you wanting to dance and it still manages to change the music to fit the different areas of the game while still maintaining its fun vibes, its honestly very well composed and is just fantastic.
Use the link above to have a listen yourself.
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back is a great game and is one the best games for the original PlayStation, It has a better soundtrack, boss fights and general gameplay but I wouldnt say its perfect as the collectables while fun are still not really worth going out of your way for in my opinion however its still a great game none the less 9.7/10
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped: 1998
After his ship crash lands back on earth Dr Neo Cortex awakens an evil being known as Uka Uka who is the younger brother of Aku Aku, the new duo gather the aid of the evil and time obsessed Dr Tropy and all three of them try to gather more power crystals from multiple time periods with the hopes of taking over the world.
As with the other two games this one still uses the same playing style but its the new content which makes this Crash game stand out compared to its predecessors, the first is the upgrades that Crash earns after defeating each boss, some of the most useful upgrades are the double jump and the ability to spin through the air and glide temporarily.
The Other major changes are the new level types.
You can now play underwater segments where you can get gun weapons allowing you to quickly blast through enemies and collect Wumpa Fruit.
Some stages need Crash to win a race while riding on his motorbike, this may have been put in the game as a means of testing what a Crash racing game would be like before the release of Crash Team Racing a year later.
In jet ski Levels you play as Crash’s sister Coco who must carefully glide across the water tracks making sure not to hit any obstacles that are in her way.
The animal riding segments return but this time you play as Coco who is riding a tiger across the Great wall of China.
The Boulder chase stages are back but this time you are running away from a rampaging dinosaur.
Aeroplane stages need crash to destroy some airborne targets before his own aeroplane is destroyed
Again the controls are perfect here so I have no complaints, the game is a smooth experience from A to B and the controls can not be faulted in my opinion.
The game tackles Gem collecting a little differently here but I think its done really well, the regular gems are collected by smashing all the crates but the coloured gems are hidden on secret paths on certain levels and its quite fun to get all of them in the game to the point where I can finally admit that its worth doing as this game is actually the easiest out of the three making this task not too daunting, if you want the secret ending in the game you need all of the gems and all of the sapphire relics which can be earned by getting the lowest acceptable time in the time trials which are also pretty easy to do in my opinion but still very fun.
The Music is great here and although I do still prefer the soundtrack for Crash 2, the music in Warped still manages to suit every situation and environment perfectly.
Crash Bandicoot 3 Warped is an amazing game, there is plenty of replay value and for once it really feels worth going to extra mile and getting 100 percent, the new bosses are really fun and they all have voice actors giving them more personality, the game isn’t too long but its also not so short that it seems a waste of money its a nice blend and with all of the challenges in the game it will take you a while to fully finish it, this is one of the best games for the original Playstation and in my opinion one of the best game ever made period and with that said I’m going to give Crash Bandicoot 3 the rating its deserves a well earned 10/10.
Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy: 2017
Almost 20 years after the release of Crash Bandicoot 3 Warped a HD Collection with remade versions of the first three games was released on the PS4 and then on PC, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch a year later.
As I have already covered the basics the of each game this will only be a quick look at how this version, looks, sounds and controls as well as discussing some of the biggest changes and updates to these versions of the Crash games.
Lets face it this is the best Crash Bandicoot has ever looked, obviously when compared to the original games these will look better but that is not to say that the graphics were bad in the old games as those was a completely different generation and video game technology was not where it is today. In the N Sane Trilogy the visuals are more smoothed out and colours are more vibrant and crisp, the remakes have better uses of shadows and blending of dark and light colours. Even the environments are more realistic as the environment reacts more to the elements, for example plant life will slightly move due to the wind and when you stand in a puddle ripples will be made and so many more smaller details help to make these versions of the games so much more different and cool.
In game cut-scenes have also been remade with more modern visuals and voice actors, the cut-scenes look better than the game itself in my opinion, for example here you can actually admire the effort of the artists by noticing small details such as Crash’s Fur looking more realistic, the different marks in the wood or the patterns on the stones by the fire, each cut-scene is different and each is wonderfully drawn and animated in its own way.The Controls are for the most part fantastic throughout all of the games, the problem controls of the first Crash game have been fixed and Crash 2 runs like a charm but there is a small issue with the jet ski section of Crash 3 Warped, for some reason the controls are more difficult here, its really quite annoying to navigate in this version of the game but overall the controls are really good throughout and this minor problem should not put you off buying the collection.
With a remake there does tend to be changes to the formula or certain elements of the original, Crash N Sane Trilogy has a lot of changes but some are so minor that I do not personally think they are worth talking about however some of the bigger changes to these versions are really awesome and do majorly improve the game experience the best in my opinion are as follows.
- The Ability to play as Coco in all three of the games
- Time Trials in Crash 1 and Crash 2
- If you die your box count remains the same in all of the games
- The game gives you a counter for boxes, gems, wumpa fruit and lives
to see more changes that are not mentioned here click on the link below for a better listing
The soundtrack for the N Sane Trilogy is great and I have no complaints here at all, I personally think that this is the best way to appreciate the Crash Bandicoot music and I feel that the use of more music styles and more instruments makes these versions better than ever.
listen to the soundtrack above to check it out for yourself
The Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy is one of the best collections I have ever played, these versions of the games are better than they have ever been before and as a whole this collection is fantastic, it is worth every penny that it costs and its more lenient game play mechanics makes it a nice introduction to Crash Bandicoot for younger gamers as well as the fans of the series, of course there is the small control issue in Crash 3 and I was going to not give the game a perfect score because of this but the game also fixed the control issues in the first game which proved more of a problem than the jet ski issue here so with all said and done I am going to still give this a 10/10 because it really deserves it and sometimes you just have to look past one or two tiny problems to see a truly remarkable game.
I hope you enjoyed this review of the Crash Bandicoot original trilogy as well as the Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy.
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