Crash Bandicoot is arguably the most popular PlayStation icon of all time. Originally released to combat Nintendo’s Mario and SEGA’s Sonic, Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot was loved by many PlayStation gamers of all ages until Universal’s publishing partnership with Sony ended causing the Bandicoot to go third-party and subsequently decline in quality. Strangely, as the years went on with Activision no longer working to release Crash games, gamers (especially of the PlayStation nature) begged for a remaster of the original trilogy. Now that we’ve got it, does it stand up in today’s gaming landscape or was it our childhood naivety leading us to believe that these games were classics?
The original Crash Bandicoot trilogy was unlike any other game at the time option to go for a 2.5D style of gameplay, sometimes having Crash running towards the camera, away from the camera or even side to side. The game had a tonne of personality, but it’s almost unbelievable just how beautiful Vicarious Visions have made these games look. It looks like your standard 2017 video game, but once you go back and look at the games running on PlayStation 1, you’ll understand just how great of a job they’ve done with creating a faithful representation of the artwork whilst making it look an up-to-date game.That wonderful soundtrack has been re-created too and it’s still just as good (if not better) as it was in the 90s. Each game has its own unique jingles that’ll have you bopping along for hours after putting your controller down. It’ll have your nostalgic senses tingling from the second you boot up and head through the title screen.
The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy has been re-created from the ground up which had me worried. The original games had certain platforming elements which were unique to the series. Crash was always quite hard to control in certain instances. When making jumps it would often be hard to judge space and I’m glad that a lot of these little nuances have remained. It just wouldn’t be Crash without the floatiness and some serious frustration created by being certain that there’s no possible way to make that jump or feeling like the game must be broken. You always get there eventually and it’s always satisfying when you do. Thankfully, some necessary changes have been made. Once of the most frustrating thing about the games were the checkpoint/save systems. They often felt uneven/unfair and Vicarious Visions have done a good job to rectify this.
All three games now have a unified auto-save system which was much needed. I must say, for most of the games, they definitely didn’t feel as hard as I remembered. I was breezing through levels, feeling like they weren’t as challenging as when I was a kid. I’m not sure if it’s become I’m a much more experienced gamer or the fact that the game auto-saves quite often, or maybe it was even the slightly improved physics, but I really didn’t ever feel overly frustrated by the game.This is mostly rectified with Time Trials which are now available in all three games. These bring back the franticness that I remember playing Crash as a child. You’ll be able to smash timed crates which will temporarily stop the clock and every single second matters as you try to unlock three relics in each level. You’ll be able to compare your times with friends too, so that’s sure to be fun.
The level design in the three Crash Bandicoot games is still incredible. Sure, we’ve come a long way with platformers, but this is pure fun. Crash Bandicoot definitely pulls at the most nostalgic heart strings but it’s Crash 2 and Crash Warped that really shine when it comes to varied gameplay and genius level design. All three games very much still hold up to this day. It’s pure fun and quite frankly refreshing to sit down with games that don’t take themselves too seriously and don’t require you to get too involved or think all that much.
The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy has exceeded my expectations as an overall package. Vicarious Visions have done a really good job at improving the overall presentation of all three games as well as fine-tuning things such as the save system and added time trials. Above all, they’ve accomplished this whilst maintaining the core platforming aspects that made Crash so memorable to begin with. I was worried that these games wouldn’t hold up and would ruin some great memories, but they’ve just reminded me why I’m so passionate about games in the first place.
The PS4 version of this game was played for the purpose of this review.