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Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

I never played Mario or Sonic when I was a kid. I grew up on the PC, alongside a PS1 with about 6 games and a bunch of demo disks. Crash Bandicoot was one of those games, and later, Crash Bandicoot: Warped. They captivated me, and I’ve kept coming back to them ever since, most recently with emulators. Now we get a PC release complete with a gorgeous visual update, and that’s something I never thought I’d see. It looks lovely, and mechanically feels tight to play. Considering the new devs didn’t have the source code to work from and had to remake everything from scratch, it feels incredibly authentic to me. I’m not really following these complaints about Crash’s hitbox being a problem. He does feel a bit different to control, and you do have to be more precise with your jumps, but it took me 20 minutes to get used to and then I was powering my way through the levels like the good old days.

Crash 1 is the “safest” game, a fairly standard platformer even for the time, but what it lacks in originality it makes up for in charm, and the new visual overhaul just makes that shine brighter. It’s also the most consistent in its design and its difficulty curve, with your surroundings changing naturally as you progress through the three islands, and each level being slightly more difficult than the last (for the most part). That natural progression is something the other two games somewhat lack. Crash 2 introduces the warp rooms that became a staple of the series, some new moves, and enemies that require more varied strategies to deal with, which keeps things fresh. Crash 3 is the most experimental and has the most varied levels, and it’s my favourite for this reason. It’s also the easiest by *far* though. I got to the end of Crash 1 with 29 lives, Crash 2 with 17 lives, and Crash 3 with *63* lives.

But if you’re playing Crash Bandicoot the way it’s meant to be played, then getting to the end credits doesn’t mean you’re finished. Far from it. You’ve still got gems to collect, time trials to finish, and secret levels to unlock. Some of these will be so ridiculously difficult that you might throw your controller aside in frustration and vow never to play the game again… But you’ll be back. Addiction has taken hold, and it won’t let go until you reach that sweet 100%. It happened to 8 year old me, it’s started happening to 28 year old me, and it will probably happen to you… I normally don’t even care about this kind of b0llocks, but the urge to show these games I won’t be beaten is much too strong. It’s the kind of thing you leave installed for years and keep returning to, just to do a bit more each time.

Overall, this is now the definitive way of playing these games as far as I’m concerned. Not only because of the better graphics (and 60fps), but because of improvements like being able to save manually in Crash 1 (and being able to use the analog sticks!), improvements to the controls in the more gimmicky levels of Crash 3 that used to annoy the hell out of me, and time trials in all three games complete with online leaderboards that make them much more interesting. Also, it’s on PC. Crash Bandicoot is on PC… Be still, my beating heart… The PS1 originals preserved in their shiny cases will remain on my shelf, and I may return to them for nostalgia purposes, but I see no reason to play through them again now that this exists. This is an awesome collection that I can see myself playing for years to come.

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