Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy Review
Hell has a face and it’s Crash-friggin-Bandicoot’s
Anybody who grew up as a gamer in the 90’s with a PS1 probably owned (or at least played) Crash Bandicoot at some point in their life. He’s the fun loving, happy go lucky bandicoot with super human strength who can spin enemies into space and smash boxes like nobody’s business.
As a child during this time, I played the heck out of Crash Bandicoot, and like most people, got insanely excited when a reboot of the series was announced at 2016’s E3. Suddenly all those happy memories I had as a kid enjoying this series came flooding back, and I couldn’t wait to relive those joyous moments. For the first few levels of the new Crash Bandicoot game, I did relive those cheerful times…until cheer turned to rage, joy turned to anger and happiness turned into sheer unbelievable frustration.
As a kid, I have only good memories of Crash Bandicoot. I don’t remember ever seeing the ‘Game Over’ screen, I don’t remember a lack of lives and I don’t remember the enemies being so unbelievably annoying. However within half an hour, I had seen that cocky evil mask telling me I’d reached ‘Game Over’ about three times, I’d dropped Crash into every single pit possible and I’d been killed by monkeys, tribesmen, flowers, turtles and the rest of the freaking animal kingdom.
The first few times I died it was pretty funny. The deaths are hilariously animated, and watching Crash get chomped by a Venus Fly Trap or flattened by a boulder is great. I even remember saying “The deaths in this are funny, so you don’t get angry when you see them so often”. Oh how wrong I was.
The 10th time Crash didn’t make a jump I swore a blue streak. The 26th time a tribesman bounced me off a ledge I put my face in a pillow and screamed. The 30th time I saw Crash become an angel and float into Bandicoot Heaven I almost hurled my controller through my television. I have zero recollection of this game infuriating me this much as a kid. Was it because I was just more patient back then? Was it because doing things over and over again was something my puny child mind found fun? Was it because I was so new to the concept of gaming that I thought repetition was a core part of its foundation? Was the game just easier? Or in the almost 20 years since I last played Crash, have my abilities to navigate a simple game diminished to a level of non-existence?
A word of advice I’ll give to gamers hoping to pick this up is to pick up every wumpa fruit and try and stock as many lives as you can. A good way to do this is to ace the bonus levels- especially in the first game. Unfortunately, acing the bonus levels is about as simple as performing brain surgery on a rollercoaster. These levels are less of a bonus and more of a condensed, gamified version of hell. Wrong guessing a jump in these so called “bonus” levels will cost you all of your progress, and there’s nothing more disheartening than seeing all your hard earned wumpa fruits and lives just disappear from your grasp.
Frustration and blood boiling rage aside, this game is amazing. It really, really is. The development team have absolutely aced the remaster; keeping in all the things that made it great and adding some new features to go along with the updated graphics. As soon as the music starts playing it’s like you’re transported back to the 90’s- and with the recent trends in fashion and music, that’s not really too far of a stretch for the imagination.
The main feature I really love, and always wanted as a little girl, is the ability to play as Crash’s sister, Coco Bandicoot. Coco is Crash’s polar opposite- intelligent and calculated where Crash is (essentially) just a lucky dumbass. You have to unlock her in the new titles, but that doesn’t take long, and then you have the ability to go through most of the levels as her. It’s a small thing, but one I think will make this game more accessible to young girls who want the choice to play as a female character.
The Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy is a trip back to my childhood. It’s gathering around the PlayStation with friends taking turns getting to the next Checkpoint. It’s laughing at Crash’s facial expressions, his little dances and all the different ways he dies. It’s gaming in its simplest and easiest form. As an adult, it’s now also an irrational urge to punch bandicoots in the face and put my fist through the television screen, but mostly it’s all the good stuff. If I ever had kids, or if I could figure out how to get my cats to hold a PlayStation controller, this would be the title I’d use to introduce them to gaming. It’s a pivotal experience all gamers should have (as well as a justifiable reason to join an anger management group) and I highly recommend it to everyone.