After being released 11 years ago, Crash Bandicoot acted as a new mascot for Sony, to challenge Nintendo’s Mario and Capcom’s Mega Man, introducing a brand new generation to perspective-switching platforming, a form of gameplay uncommonly seen for the time released; the games have since became cult classics, ramping up in demand and value, with the first game (With black side label) now fetching over £40 online!
However, we aren’t here to dwell on the past… We’re here to look at the present! After being announced at E3 2016, the Crash N.Sane Trilogy was announced, being a compilation of the first three Crash Bandicoot titles, remastered in full 4K for the PS4 and PS4 Pro, finally bringing Crash back to the glory he once was known for, on the great-grandchild system of his birthplace, the PS1.
Look at ’em glows! SO PRETTY!!
So, after botched sequel after botched sequel, has Crash Bandicoot finally returned to it’s origins and reverted back to the Crash Bandicoot we all knew and loved? Or does this remaster tread on the ground of the original, sullying it? Let’s take a look at each title individually, shall we?
Crash Bandicoot, arguably the most archaic of the three titles (Being the precursor to all the forthcoming sequels and spinoffs) would, inherently, be the hardest out of all the three games to get right; saying this, however, I’m pleased to say that the original Crash Bandicoot is, in the most part, near-entirely remade truthfully to the original title’s glory – Oddly enough, some oddities did occur, such as controller inputs sometimes getting muddled (Although I suspect this may be due to an issue with the PS4’s bluetooth connectivity, as it happened on two separate PS4s), the physics for Crash seeming a little weightier than usual, and his movement speed feeling a little slower than usual – I don’t know if this was just due to me not having played the game in a decade, but it was noticeable enough to initially make me lose a lot of lives.
N.Sanity Beach has never looked so beautiful
Crash 1’s OST, as well, has been fully remade, with many tracks now sounding like they came straight out of a more modern title, or at the very least, from Wrath of Cortex – Visually, the game is stunning, and adds an entirely new personality to the often drab and somewhat bland levels of the original, filling them with glows, more background detail and crisper textures, allowing you to really take your time and appreciate the work that’s been done here – The UI too is a visual treat, being simple yet elegant in design, making it clear what still needs to be done in levels to reach that illusive Platinum Trophy.
The game’s difficulty as well has been a surprising point of discussion between many members of the community, with many people somewhat forgetting how difficult the original title was, with levels such as Slippery Climb, The High Road, Fumbling in the Dark and Cortex Power being just some of the examples of levels that straight up kicked my arse into next week!! My only concern with this is that it may put off new players, and might turn them away from experiencing the rest of this brilliant game.
I guess you could say this remaster had me “squealing with delight”..! Ha….Ha….
On it’s own merit, I rate Crash Bandicoot a 8.5 / 10 – Some minor niggles here and there, and a surprising amount of difficulty pulls this title down from being a straight 9.5 / 10; perhaps some notes should’ve been taken from the WipeOut Omega Collection…
Crash 2: Cortex Strikes Back
Crash 2: Cortex Strikes Back, originally released in 1997 was the sequel to the hugely successful original, introducing many new mechanics such as Sliding, Slide Jumping, Ground Pounding and the ever-infamous and somewhat sensitive Nitro Crates to bring you to your smoky doom; Crash 2 ditches the original level-by-level style of the first game, and instead works in a series of ‘hub worlds’ that you can choose between 5 levels at a time to complete, before facing the Boss for that level – I feel that this structure works better than the sort-of Mario-esque structure of the original game.
One of the biggest changes is that Coco is now playable in every level of all three titles.
The remaster for Crash 2 brings back every aspect of the second game, bringing it into the modern day, fit with the same benefits of the first remastered title, being brought into full 4K, having a brand new, remade soundtrack, and updated cutscenes and UI – The change in physics from Crash 1 to Crash 2 is near-instantly noticeable, with Crash being far more floaty, agile and easier to control than his Crash 1 form – The return of the Slide and Slide Jump makes this game a total speedrunner’s dream, and is, thankfully, entirely faithfully recreated – The game feels far more accurate to it’s source than Crash 1 did, although some of the new cutscenes with characters such as N.Brio do look a little bit…Off, it’s more than excusable for the excellent form that Crash 2 is remade in.
Surely crashing into these crates would just send Crash flying, no..?
I’m rating Crash 2: Cortex Strikes Back a 9.5 / 10 – Its’ age does show a little through the cracks, however that could just be put down to charm; the shift between Crash 1 to Crash 2 can be jarring, but it provides a much needed breath of relief to know that Crash’s excellent mobility is back and better than ever!
Crash Bandicoot: Warped
The final title in the N.Sane Trilogy, Crash Bandicoot: Warped (Or Crash 3) was the last mainline Crash title created by Naughty Dog, before Traveller’s Tales developed the infamous Wrath of Cortex sequel – Crash Bandicoot: Warped is the culmination of all the lessons Naughty Dog learned across the three years developing the Crash franchise, and would set the baseline for their next massive hit, Jak and Daxter – Crash 3 brings to the table upgrades for Crash’s abilities, such as an extension of his jump-spin, and sprinting, to name a few; these powerups are obtained upon defeating bosses throughout the various level select hubs.
Hiiiiiiighwaaaaay tooooo the DANGER ZONE!!
Vicarious Visions has done a brilliant job with Crash Bandicoot: Warped, recreating the original experience near one-to-one, with each level and time period reformed brilliantly – Each cutscene now features the exact same voice acting as the original, with brand new 4K visuals – As a conclusion to the original trilogy, Vicarious Visions has certainly brought back the feeling of completion, and have lovingly brought what many consider to be the best Crash Bandicoot title to the modern day.
I’m rating Crash Bandicoot: Warped a 9.5 / 10 – Again, for the same reasons as Crash 2: Cortex Strikes Back, it does creak a little here and there, however it’s the perfect sendoff to a lovingly crafted collection, which I hope introduces a whole new generation of gamers to the orange marsupial! Now…Let’s await a Spyro remaster…Or Jak and Daxter….Please…?