Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the biggest nostalgia-trip of the year! Before we embark on this old, yet new journey, I must insist on warning ye who enters, that this is a highly subjective review. There are too many memories here for me to be objective about it. But if you are not familiar with Crash Bandicoot, I sincerely hope that my enthusiasm for these games will make you want to try it out for yourself – be your own judge. Since this is a trilogy, I have chosen not to make a complex review of each of them, but rather a short and concise review of my total impression of the games.
Because the wait is over: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is finally here. Everybody who played these games when they were younger was probably waiting with great excitement for this. I know I have been. I am here to tell you that the wait was not in vain. Back to collecting apples and crushing crates, ya’ll!
“Activision proudly presents an explosive blast from the past!” With these words, the game is introduced in its new and polished form, and it becomes obvious who these games were revamped for – the generations that played them when they first came out: those already familiar with the universe. I instantly felt a rush of nostalgia, perhaps reaching its high point when playing Warped, mentally travelling back in time to when I was a little girl playing on my PlayStation. I spent countless hours on the Crash Bandicoot games – it is then, perhaps, no wonder that I have already spent an equal amount of time on the new version.
Great precision is required to play each of the games, although specifically in the first. The controls are fairly sensitive, but they have not changed. If you played the games when they first came out, then learning the controls will be no problem. I started playing with immediate ease because it was all so familiar. I then thought about muscle memory, and in Crash Bandicoot Warped, I could see how many levels still stuck with me after all these years – the result of perfecting them when I was younger.
One thing is demanded from you as a gamer: patience. Because these games… are difficult. If you’ve played the levels “Road To Nowhere” or “The High Road”, then you know what I am talking about. The first game is considerably harder than the two others. I don’t even know how many hours I spent on completing a single level. With that said, I realize that the majority of deaths are my own fault. When playing the first Bandicoot game, I often thought “was it really this difficult before?”. Sometimes the levels required such precision that they might come off as tedious. I will admit that I went full on rage-mode a couple of times and had to take a few hours break, otherwise I would have thrown the controller at the TV – but hey, who hasn’t?
Your pulse rate will certainly increase. The difficulty is heightened by throwing several challenges at you simultaneously, which creates some real rage-mode moments. In the levels where Crash (or Coco) is being chased, apart from being stress-inducing, there is a certain rhythm to the levels. With the difficulty gradually increasing, that rhythm is easily broken – ruining the flow of the game. That can be frustrating at times.
I am really impressed with how the games turned out visually. There has obviously been a huge upgrade to the graphics, and this is the most prominent change in the trilogy. The camera angles are simple, thus they serve some interesting challenges when it comes to depth perception. Everything looks so smooth and beautifully lighted – looking at how the sunlight peeks through the trees, and how the rain falls on the ground. The levels inside the crypts are excellent examples of just how good the lighting is. This, along with the lovely details to the characters such as nuanced facial expressions, creates a beautiful recreation of a beloved universe.
The level design is very familiar and well-made – even though you will have to learn each of them. If you manage to soar through a level on the first try, kudos to you! I also love how each level feels a bit different from the last, and not simply a repetition of the previous ones (apart from the fact that in Warped, some of the levels are actually the same, only with a higher difficulty!). The levels offer different points of view, with themed music, and new mechanics such as belly flops and double jumps – all of these factors create a nice diversity to them.
But oh, the music! The sound effects! One can appreciate the familiarity of it all as we reunite with beloved characters such as Crash Bandicoot and his sister Coco, Aku Aku, Uka Uka (yes, confusing, I know), Cortex, and of course all the bosses you encounter throughout the games. I appreciate the fact that they implemented more playtime for Coco, and not just certain levels too.
Crash Bandicoot Warped is probably the game I played the most when I was younger. I remember spending so many hours on it, so it’s no wonder that I suddenly found myself spending the same amount of hours on it this time around. Warped definitely features the best music of all the Bandicoot games, and it’s the one I was looking forward to playing the most. However, it was interesting to see what had become of the other games as well.
All in all, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a trip down memory lane. It is nothing more, nothing less. The games within offer high entertainment value, and will definitely give you many hours of fun. The replayability is high because of the several hidden paths one might choose to take, and collecting different crystals and so on for the achievement hunter, if you are that kind of player. There’s plenty to go around. So have at it! By playing these games, I feel that I have reunited with a friend I didn’t even know I missed this much, solving puzzles together just like we did before. I’m glad I finally have the complete trilogy in my gaming inventory too, and that I can now revisit them whenever I want.