Crash Bandicoot, everyone’s favourite eastern-barred bandicoot (yes, that’s what he is), was unleashed onto Playstation One 20 years ago today on August 31st – and what a twenty years it has been.
Defined by the iconic Wumpa fruit and wacky chase music, Crash Bandicoot is a household gaming name. Over the two decades since his creation, Crash has appeared on a multitude of platforms and carved a charmingly retro space for himself on the market; even crossing paths with the well-loved Spyro the Dragon on occasion. If there’s one word that aptly describes the Bandicoot series – it would be nostalgia.
The in-game world consists of protagonist Crash, and arch nemesis Dr Neo Cortex; a scientist hell-bent on world domination and Crash’s demise. Interestingly, Cortex is also Crash’s creator; an experiment on a bandicoot went rouge and turned him into the anthropomorphic hero we all know and love him as. The original game sees him on a mission to save his girlfriend Tawna, travelling through the fictional Wumpa Islands off the Australian coast. With the aid of the ancient witch doctor Aku Aku (and his wonderfully quotable gibberish), you must play as Crash through varying platform levels that increase in difficulty with each island conquered; defeating the bosses of each along the way until Cortex is found.
In typical Aussie setting, two of the three bosses are a kangaroo (Ripper Roo) and a koala (Koala Kong) – though the rest is left to artistic interpretation. Indiana-Jones style boulder dodging, rickety bridge balancing, and well timed spin attacks on giant insects and killer robots fulfill the majority of the gameplay; with bonus challenges and checkpoints to be discovered along the way.
Upon its initial release Crash Bandicoot received a plethora of positive reviews, hailing its graphics as being some of the best available at the time. The depth of field, and composition of scenery was especially noted. However, the gameplay came with a mixed response – some claiming it had nothing new to offer to the standard platform gamer. 50 million copies sold in the series later, and I think it’s safe to say they were wrong.
The game was the first of its kind in a long line of quirky and hilarious installments, and rightly won the Gold Prize at Sony’s ’97 Playstation awards (with 500,000 Japanese copies sold). Other notable and memorable titles include Crash Team Racing (the Mario Kart of the Wumpa Islands) and Warped.
Developers Naughty Dog are to thank for the success of Bandicoot’s world, setting him up for years of excited gamers to return time and time again to their original Playstation devices. Known for Jak and Daxter and Uncharted, they remain a well established company with a history of good releases – though won’t be overseeing the relaunch that has been announced for 2017. The news of a remastered Crash Bandicoot comes as exciting to gamers young and old, as the new generation can experience the world of Wumpa in a way comparable to modern releases, and the old get the very best version of their childhood returned to them. After a 7 year hiatus, it’s great news to hear all-spinning, mega-jumping bandicoot is making a come back. Let’s hope it’s as brilliant as the first time around!
Remind yourself of the first level of the iconic game below: