The classic PlayStation Crash Bandicoot trilogy has been remade for the PS4 in a new package that does a great job of honoring the series’ legacy for fans both old and new.
What Is It?
Fresh off of the release of a terrible 3DO Mortal Kombat clone, Naughty Dog burst onto the scene with Crash Bandicoot and its two sequels that were de facto mascots for the PlayStation. Despite that, the games came into being through a weird partnership between Sony, Universal, and Naughty Dog and by the end of the PSX’s time in the sun, a deal was made so that Universal got the rights to the games and Naughty Dog was free of obligation to continue working for Universal. Universal Interactive Studios ultimately ended up being owned by Activision after a long series of acquisitions, but the series has been mostly dormant after the failure of Crash: Mind Over Mutant in 2008.
Fast forward to 2016 at E3 2016 when it was announced that a deal between Sony and Activision had been reached for the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy to be made and released in 2017, which is where we’re at now.
Why Should I Care?
With beautifully remade graphics and some useful additions like autosaves and more useful checkpoints, the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy does a fantastic job of bringing the original PSX trilogy to the modern age with an aggressive remake due to the unfortunate circumstances of what Vicarious Visions had available to work with. From what we know, Vicarious Visions only had level data provided to them from the original games, so they only knew specifics about the level geometry. That meant they mainly had to work on replicating mechanics and visuals to the best of their ability. Luckily, they managed to do both really well, though the addition of actual physics has caused some feathers to be ruffled at the jumping being slightly different than the originals.
I have not had any real issues with jump physics outside of just having trouble with the notoriously difficult levels in the first game. That may be the one real flaw in the collection, as the first game has some notoriously hard levels that are more the result of lack of experience in creating fun and challenging levels than those that are just a bit too cheap. The way the game engine is able to help adapt to repeated deaths by adding an extra checkpoint or give you a bonus Aku Aku mask to start helps a bit. Crash 2 and Warped do a much better job of smoothing out that difficulty curve so that you’re being punished less for not being perfect and the overall auto and manual save systems round out the trilogy’s ability to smooth out the roughest edges it can without dramatically changing the games.
Beyond the pure remake work, this collection is an amazing value for offering the three classic Crash Bandicoot games. That is a lot of content for $40. Each game is fairly lengthy on its own without going for the secret gems for smashing all crates in a level and the crosses for beating the time trials. One of the coolest additions to each game is that you can play as Coco, Crash’s sister, in most of the levels. For whatever reason, any vehicle level or boss fight is exclusive to Crash, which seems like replacing the Crash model for Coco in those scenarios shouldn’t be out of the question. It’s still a cool bonus for players that would like some better female representation in these games than his “sexy/creepy” Bandicoot girlfriend in the first game that is purely a damsel in distress with no personality.
Why Is It Worth My Time And Money?
With the way that 3D platformers from the big publishers have all but vanished other than a few outliers out there, it’s nice that the very vocal Crash Bandicoot fanbase finally gets a shot to show Activision that they’re worth the investment that the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy represents. In fact, early returns on its sales suggests the demand is definitely there, so a full direct sequel to this trilogy should only be a formality at this point.
As for what is available right now, this a great package for fans of the original games that want to return to Naughty Dog’s earliest successes and platformer fans both young and old that have not had the chance to play them yet. It can be a bit maddening when you run into levels like The High Road and Slippery Climb, but the satisfaction of making it through helps calm you down.
For their next trick, how about we get a trilogy remake of the Spyro the Dragon PlayStation games?