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Crash Bandicoot & the N-Sane Remake

Crash Bandicoot has been resurrected from the gaming mascot grave, returning on PlayStation 4 systems across the globe. For years, many fans of the orange marsupial (who looks nothing like an actual bandicoot) have prayed to the stars, and that wish upon a star has become a reality. So let’s cut right to the chase. The N-Sane Trilogy was developed by Vicarious Visions, a team who have made a few Bandicoot games in the past such as Crash Nitro Kart, and Crash: The Huge Adventure

“What do I think?” You ask. As someone who has played nearly every Crash Bandicoot game on the planet, this recapturing of the nostalgic PS1 trilogy delivers what was promised; a grand recreation of beloved classics that not only pays respect towards the original developers, Naughty Dog, but also shows respect to the kids that grew up with these games, and welcomes a new generation who haven’t played the series before.

Beginning with the first Crash, this is the main game that had major changes. The original Crash Bandicoot was well-known for its hard, unfair difficulty. In order to collect a gem, you had to hit all the boxes without dying once. The controls were heavy and the level design later on, whilst doable, felt overwhelmingly complex. ‘Slippery Climb’ is a great example. With this “Remastering” (it’s a Remake), the whole adventure is a breeze. You no longer have to worry about dying to get the gem (excluding Special Gem levels), and the controls are improved to make the platforming less heart-stopping. It’s a massive improvement.

Also, when you collect the bonus tokens, you no longer have a single try to get it right. As now, you can replay that bonus round as many times as you want. Crash 1 alone is worth it just for those changes and is the definitive way to play it. While the bosses are easy, the platforming levels can be quite a challenge, and that’s great, even if it can be inconsistent with difficulty spikes. Trust me, nothing is more satisfying than finishing the hardest level and obtaining the gem in a single run.

Making our way to Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, you’ll realize how magnificent the Cutscenes are throughout the trilogy. Cartoony, wacky, N-gaging, and stay true to the original games. After a lot of thought, Crash 2 is my favorite in the collection. The unique levels are fun to breeze through, finding all the secrets, hitting all the boxes, locating the colored gems. Cortex, who will be speaking to you often is funny and menacing, and some of the musical compositions are bouncy, energetic and atmospheric.

But…there’s a few negatives to point out. The polar bear levels are heavy and feel very different to the original version, a couple of music tracks are completely washed out and don’t carry the charisma of the level like “Bear It”. The bosses, just like the PS1 game are easy and not too interesting…surprisingly the final boss is even easier and mediocre than before. But aside from those quips, Crash 2 is still fantastic.

Crash 3: Warped is personally the weakest in the collection. As a kid, this was my favorite game in the world, so it was rather disappointing that Warped needed a bit more work. A few levels such as the Egypt and Future levels needed more polish and lighting adjustments, and the Jet Ski controls are actually worse than the original Crash 3 controls, feeling clunky and stiff to maneuver. There’s still some positive aspects though. The improved boss battles are entertaining, the power-ups such as super spin are still a blast to use, and the music is still energetic as ever.

A cool addition is the ability to play as Coco, Crash’s Sister, who was only playable for vehicle and animal-riding segments in Crash 3. This time she can almost be played throughout the entire experience, which is great. She doesn’t add anything new aside from some animations, and controls the same as Crash, yet that’s fine honestly. Another addition added to the first two games are time trials, and jeez Louise, they are certainly a challenge…especially if you are aiming for platinum relics. Although the structure and designs of each level (aside from the boulder levels) aren’t constructed for any form of speed-running, they add a lot of replay value and are truly satisfying when you breeze through an elongated level like ‘The Lost City’ or ‘Cold Hard Crash’.

For veterans of the series, one thing you need to be accustomed to is the depth perception. It can be off-putting at times, where you think you’ll jump over a gap, but sadly fall into the pit. ‘Road to Nowhere’ and ‘The High Road’ showcase that annoyance. It’s not bad, but it’s definitely a slight criticism for all the games in this crate. A negative point for me however, is the odd hit detection. You’ll be a few centimeters away from an enemy, yet you’ll still get hit. Which can be a tricky-dicky frustration if you’re aiming to race the clock in the time trials. While the presentation is superb, a few levels in Crash Warped could have used a bit more polish.

Nevertheless, apart from all my tough love, it’s a brilliant time to be a Crash fan. As you’re reading this, you probably already own a copy of it, or…don’t. What are you doing? If you own a PS4, this is definitely an immediate purchase, you won’t be displeased. And if you own an Xbox One or PC, don’t worry, as I have a feeling that around Christmas, you too will also be able to play Crash Bandicoot as well. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna stop typing and gather all the leftover relics.

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