Ever since it was first announced last year, excitement has gradually been mounting about the release of the remastered Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy. The compilation contains three games – the original Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped – complete with brand new updated 4k graphics, redesigned levels and gorgeous animation. But will the remaster cut the mustard? Fans will certainly hope so. Crash has been sidelined by Sony for a long time following a series of low quality, poorly received games and for a while it seemed like he might have been permanently confined to the vault of video game legends whose time passed long ago – here’s looking at you Spyro the Dragon.
Two major events happened last May, which seemed to kickstart the rumours regarding the much anticipated remake. Firstly, Naughty Dog, who were the developers of the original three games planted a not-so-subtle reference to the eponymous orange bandicoot in their 2016 hit, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Secondly, Crash was revealed as a flagship mascot for Skylanders: Imaginators alongside his old pal Spyro. So perhaps, there is still old hope for Crash’s purple friend.
But notably, Crash Bandicoot succeeds on the mentality that less is more. It’s not a flashy, complex game and it certainly isn’t too complicated in the most part. A combination of whimsical gameplay, eye-catching graphics and a loose-albeit-comic story underpins every single successful instalment in the franchise. Particular props has to be given to levels when Crash or Coco are riding a vehicle or an animal, as what can be notoriously clunking mechanics in games (AC: Black Flag, I’m looking at you) are handled smoothly and easily.
Crash Bandicoot also benefits from having a very strong replay value. You’ll find it either very difficult or time-consuming to collect all the gems, wumpa fruits, hidden bonus level sections and complete the time trials for all level on your first attempt, and you’ll have to be a true Bandicoot in order to successfully circumnavigate some of the later boss and platform levels without finding yourself slipping up and losing lives left right and centre.
The games start off relatively easy in terms of levels, and you can breeze through the start of the game, but the difficulty spike is evident with the frequency of mooks and difficulty of jumps and manoeuvres. Controls are easy enough to get used to at first, but it’s a whole different ball game when you are required to expertly master them. So that said, is there anything which could go wrong with the remaster? If I’m being honest, I have no idea how it’ll stand up on the Playstation 4 and PS4 Pro. Part of the appeal Crash Bandicoot had was how revolutionary it was on the original Playstation. It was impeccable and unique, but has since been copied and transfixed into a number of attempts to spin-off or create the series. Without that uniqueness to back it up, it’s perhaps going to lose some it’s charm, and won’t attract new followers…
Ah who am I kidding? Crash Bandicoot is going to remain brilliant thanks to his whimsical demeanour, his hilariously awkward, random or just plain bizarre death animations are always going to be entertaining, and we’re gonna be chomping on Wumpa Fruit for a long time to come.
Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy is released on Playstation 4 on 30th June 2017.