Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review
Activision and Vicarious Visions are bringing a little slice of the 90s to the modern day with Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, a remaster of the original three games in the series. Should you relive this Bandicoot’s adventures, or is this mascot platformer a has-been?
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review
Crash Bandicoot is an interesting sort of character. To get around, he runs, spins, and jumps his way through each level. His moves don’t have the physics of Sonic or power-ups of Mario, but his somewhat limited moveset puts the focus primarily on the platforming action. Some levels have him running away from the camera, some have him running toward the camera, and some have a side view. Each level in this three game collection is different enough to make these titles stand out.
Each game prides itself on its old-school roots, and in turn pulls no punches. Pixel perfect platforming is a must, and slightly messing up the timing of a jump or a spin results in our hero falling to his death, getting eaten alive, getting burnt to a crisp, or any other ghastly deaths. In addition, our hero can only take one hit without an Aku-Aku mask, which almost equates to a death wish amidst all of the evil wildlife and traps out there. To make up for this, the game throws countless lives to the player like candy. It can sometimes feel like trial and error through some of these levels (especially with an awkward facing camera), but victory is often well-deserved.
As mentioned before, the N. Sane Trilogy is made up of three different games. The original title, which kicked off the series, takes place on Wumpa Island and has Crash facing off against the evil Doctor Neo Cortex and his crew of misfits. It’s full of cliche writing that would be right at home in a Saturday morning cartoon, but it works well and is unique enough to keep you engaged. Most of the game goes with a tropical isle as the setting, which looks stunning, but doesn’t offer a ton of variety. It is far and away the most challenging game of the lot, but patient gamers will appreciate its difficulty.
Its sequel, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, has Crash working with Doctor Neo Cortex to find a series of crystals in each level to save the world. It’s a pretty standard story, but it sets the stage quite well. The use of portals for each level gives the game a lot more variety too – landscapes include frozen tundras, raging waters, and even space stations. Also included is a new slide move, a belly slam, and the chance to commandeer polar bears, jet packs, jet skis, and more. The general structure is the same, but the game builds upon the main points of the first game to create something even better.
Taking the concept even farther is Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, which has Crash traversing through time using the Time Twister to stop the evil Uka Uka. Included in the game are vehicles, weapons, and even more outrageous levels like tombs and futuristic cityscapes. There’s more to collect and play with, and is arguably the best title of the bunch.
So other than the shiny new graphics, what’s new in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy? While the levels themselves are unchanged from their original PlayStation 1 iterations, there are a number of improvements under the hood. A revamped save system with autosave has been included, along with remixed music and time trials for the first two games. Perhaps the biggest change, however, is the ability to play as Coco in the first two titles. Though her playstyle is identical to Crash’s, it is still a welcome addition. The developers could have taken things a step further with small touches like changing the extra life icon to her face, but it is just a minor fault.
The game does have some replayability in the form of its gems system. Breaking every box in a level nets you a gem, and there are also hidden gems in each of the titles. Though it can get repetitive seeking out every box, it is also a nice challenge that gives players to learn the lay of the land.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is an incredible deal for platforming fans. These three games are old-school (for better or worse), but those looking for a proper remaster of Crash’s adventures have found their game.