An icon has returned
After a long hiatus, Crash Bandicoot is back. There was a huge outcry for a new Crash Bandicoot game as the last Crash Bandicoot game released was Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 2 which was on the App Store in 2010. There were many teases by Sony and the cries of Crash Bandicoot fans grew louder. Then at PlayStation Experience 2016, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy was announced for the PS4. The N. Sane Trilogy contains the first three Crash Bandicoot games remastered for PS4. Have Vicarious Visions done the beloved icon justice? Yes, Crash is back and it’s a triumphant return to form.
Let’s start off with the most obvious improvement, the graphics. The graphics of all three Crash games have been brought up to today’s standard. The N. Sane Trilogy is a very pretty game, sure it’s no Uncharted 4 but it’s appealing to look at. Crash has never looked better and when you compare the three games next to their PS1 counterparts, the advancement in graphical quality is astounding. It highlights how far not just the Crash Bandicoot games have come but also, how far the gaming industry has come.
The N. Sane Trilogy packs much welcome additions, autosave and the ability to save after every level. This might not sound like a big thing but, the first Crash Bandicoot game would only let the player save after completing a bonus level. It was a weird way of saving the game and whilst it made the game more challenging, I’m glad they took it out and replaced it with a much better save system.
Each one of the games many levels have been faithfully recreated. From N. Sanity Beach to Turtle Woods to Toad Village, all the levels look, sound and play like they did on PS1 (obviously with better graphics and such). Vicarious Visions should be commended for being authentic and faithful to the original games.
Now let’s talk about the games included in the N. Sane Trilogy and we’ll start of with the first game, Crash Bandicoot. When you select the game in the menu, you will be see the game’s introductory scene and once that plays out you find a rather nostalgic scene. You see Crash wash up on N. Sanity Beach ready to start his adventure. The intro to the first Crash Bandicoot game is one that many remember, myself included. Once N. Sanity Beach is completed, you then transition to the Wumpa Islands, the level select for Crash Bandicoot. The bosses in this game are still fun and look great in this remaster. Papu Papu, Ripper Roo, Pinstripe Potoroo and the others look better than ever.
One level that I like in particular in Crash Bandicoot was ‘Lights Out’. The level is dark and you can’t see where you’re going however, the Aku Aku mask illuminates the area, allowing you to see the level. It’s a very cool concept and it stands out from all of the other levels. How can I forget ‘Boulders’ the level where Crash has to run away from a boulder, Indiana Jones style. I can’t be the only that has played the Indiana Jones tune to this level can I?
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back is a great sequel, improves upon the first in every regard. It’s an overall smoother experience and it’s same here in the N. Sane Trilogy. Cortex Strikes Back feels smoother to play and it’s level design is more up to date. The world of Crash Bandicoot is expanded in Crash 2 as we get to see more characters, both allies and villains. Cortex Strikes Back introduces Coco Bandicoot (who wasn’t playable in the original release but is in the N. Sane Trilogy), Polar the Polar Bear, Tiny Tiger, N-Gin and more.
Crash Bandicoot 2 starts off with Crash relaxing on a beach and Coco is on her laptop. Coco tasks you with getting a battery for her laptop and as you progress throughout the following level, what should be a menial task turns out to be the start of another adventure. Crash has been tasked by Doctor Neo Cortex to collect crystals which will help save the world. As we know, Crash isn’t the brightest fellow out there so he helps Cortex out. I won’t say anymore of the story for obvious reasons but, there is more of a narrative in Crash’s second outing than his first. I do have one gripe with Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and that is, that the bosses are incredibly easy. Now that maybe because I’m good at Crash (I hate bragging but you know) but I didn’t struggle with any of the bosses.
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped is the third entry into the Crash series and many consider it to be one of the best games in the franchise. Crash Bandicoot 3 like Crash 2 improves upon its predecessor in every way. The levels are fun, there’s a tonne to collect and it has plenty of replay value (all the Crash Bandicoot games have a tonne of replay value). Again the level design is at its best in Warped with the levels having many fantastic set pieces and styles. There are levels were Crash is underwater, on a bike, in a plane shooting down other planes.
The gameplay is also the best in Warped, it’s smoother and tighter so the platforming sections are a lot of fun to play. One of the additions to the gameplay are power ups, which are obtained by beating bosses. These power ups add a little more to the gameplay and show the evolution of the series from the first instalment. There are problems with the controls concerning the vehicles but we’ll get onto them later.
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped follows on from the second game, Aku Aku’s adversary Uka Uka has broken free and is furious with Cortex for failing twice. It’s up to Crash and Coco defeat the villainous duo and save the world. The story is better this time around but it’s not award-winning. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped back on PS1 was first instalment where you can play as Coco Bandicoot. (A little bit of info/ trivia for those who didn’t know) As mentioned before, the N. Sane Trilogy allows you to play as Coco in all three games.
However I have to say out of all three of the Crash Bandicoot games, the first title is the one that didn’t age as good. Compared to the other two Crash games, the first is behind on a mechanical and a level design front. Now that’s not Vicarious Visions fault, they wanted the N. Sane Trilogy to be a faithful remaster of the first free games. The sequels are ahead of the first game in every regard. Again I would like to stress that this doesn’t mean that the first Crash Bandicoot game is a bad game because, it is far from it.
Of course the N. Sane Trilogy isn’t perfect. The controls for the vehicle and animal riding sections can be frustrating. I remember them not being brilliant back on PS1 and an improvement on PS4 would’ve been welcome. Something that isn’t included in the N. Sane Trilogy, are each game’s original main menu. I would’ve liked to have seen the original main menus to be brought up to today’s graphical standard.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is fantastic throwback to the 90’s and the nostalgia it brings is undeniable. The game has a few problems concerning the controls during the vehicle sections and the original game menus would’ve been nice to see. Despite the problems, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a solid collection of games that will bring back fond memories for longtime fans and introduce the lovable bandicoot to a new generation.
My copy of Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy was provided by the publisher.
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