Over 20 years ago, gamers around the world first picked up controllers to delve into the rich world of Crash Bandicoot. Crash Bandicoot has risen to a special place of significance in gaming history, caught somewhere between the Sega/Nintendo generation and the console gaming revolution, a monument to arcade style simplicity.
It comes as no surprise that when the Crash Bandicoot N sane Trilogy was announced, a wave of nostalgia swelled up amongst hardcore fans of the original games, and casual gamers eager to see what all the fuss was about. The revival of Crash Bandicoot raised questions over whether this classic title still has what it takes to provide a rich gaming experience. On many levels, Crash Bandicoot still delivers.
All the way from the textures of Wumpa Island to the clarity of the water in the rapids, the engine is sharp and vibrant. The gameplay remains as demanding as it ever was with little attempt to take it easy on casual gamers. In Crash Bandicoot, Corex Strikes Back and Warped players are penalized for anything but complete jumping mastery (and accuracy). To take you on your journey, you have the choice between Crash or his younger sister Coco in a variety of scenarios and vehicles, from motorbikes to baby T-Rexes.
Rather than dumbing down the difficulty of the N sane trilogy, the developers have committed to giving us the limited-view corridor precision fest established in the 90s. There are three simple buttons to interact with the game, one to jump, another to attack enemies, and a third that lets you slide and crawl your way through obstacles. The core gameplay is centered around timing, and you must time your jumps when dealing with obstacles ahead.
Newer players may struggle with the rigidity of the system. There’s no room for creativity or getting around the core mechanics of the game. If your timing is poor you will not proceed, so you need to put in the time to get your timing down in order to progress throughout the game. For older fans this is a welcome feature but for casual buyers used to more accessible and stimulating titles, this will likely be incredibly frustrating. After all, who but only the most dedicated gamer wants to spend 45 mins running and falling to their death for mistiming a jump?!
Crash isn’t the most agile mover to grace console gaming, and the sluggishness with which he moves can be incredibly frustrating. After all, we’ve become accustomed to variety in modern gaming, something that Crash Bandicoot deliberately takes away, forcing us to repeat runs until we jump to its tune. Whilst this does add a sense of achievement for completing the game, there’s little reward for putting any kind of time into the game.
For gamers who didn’t play the original game you should certainly pick up Crash Bandicoot N sane Trilogy, whilst you might not have the sheen of nostalgia to keep you going through those tough moments, you'll be rewarded by a new experience. Yet if you were a fan of the original game, or are adamant that you want to throw yourself into that world, the trickiness of the gameplay will keep you busy for long enough to get your moneys worth. Ultimately, Crash Bandicoot has had its time, and revisiting it with the updated visuals is a real treat, of course, newer players will be assaulted by frustrating and outdated mechanics, but it's hard to ignore the true value this game posses.