This year was a big year for classic franchises Crash Bandicoot and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, with Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time being the first new entry into the Crash Bandicoot series in 10 years and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 being the ultimate celebration of Tony Hawk.
To celebrate both titles, we wanted to take a look back at some of the most iconic levels in Crash Bandicoot/Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater history.
BOULDERS (Crash Bandicoot 1)
The levels that have Crash running towards the camera will always be my favourite. They are pure platforming goodness and rely purely on skill and staying on the go in order to get to the end of the level. This all began with Boulders which saw Crash running away from a giant boulder. It’s still iconic to this day, and the classic play style is still as good as ever in Crash 4.
HOG RIDE (Crash Bandicoot: Warped)
Hog Ride and the other motorcycle levels always stand out in my mind when I think back to playing Crash in my childhood. I was a massive fan of the motorcycle levels in Crash Bandicoot Warped. They still felt like classic Crash, but with a faster twist. Similarly to Hog Ride, I was also a fan of other levels where you had to ride animals (such as Hog Wild). The one thing Crash levels have always done well is offer up variety and this is no difference.
UNDER PRESSURE (Crash Bandicoot: Warped)
Might be a controversial one but love it or hate it, Under Pressure was the first underwater level in Crash and it’s also one that stands out in my mind as being iconic. Crash had to utilise a new vehicle called the Submergible which could shoot away sea life and again, it added a really good twist that offered up some variety for the classic Crash platforming.
SNOW GO (Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back)
The levels from Crash Bandicoot that always stand out in my mind are the snow levels (and there’s plenty of those in Crash 4). They make everything that little bit more difficult and it all began with Snow Go. It was the first level that involved those slippery snow physics that really tested our platforming ability.
HANGAR (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2)
I remember playing this game and this level at a play cafe in the late 90s and immediately falling in love. I was so smitten with the game, my parents purchased a PlayStation for me for Christmas that year and a copy of the latest Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game available for every Christmas after. It looks absolutely glorious in HD in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 as well.
SCHOOL II (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2)
I would argue that this is the most iconic of all of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater levels. I can’t explain the science behind it but from my experience, this is the one level that everybody from devoted fans to total rookies and everybody in between seems to be familiar with. It has my favourite grind sequences of any THPS entry, plenty of vert ramps, gaps and even a pool if you know where to look.
ALCATRAZ (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4)
Skateboarding probably isn’t the first thing you think of when you hear the name ‘Alcatraz’ but it just so happens to be one of the best levels in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 and maybe even the whole franchise. You can knock tourists into the bay, bust out a couple of jaybirds and even play baseball in the exercise yard when you’re not busy nailing tricks for the ghosts of C Block.