Back in 2017 the original three Crash Bandicoot games got a remake, all lumped together in one package called the N.Sane Trilogy, exclusively for the PS4. In 2018 the games were released on other consoles and the PC. I originally started playing it but quickly fell off of the games and only just picked it back up 2 years later at the beginning of 2020.
Crash has always been a staple of the Playstation brand since the early days. With one of my earliest Playstation memories, the demo disc with PaRappa and Crash sitting in the kiosk at Warehouse (Our local video rental and record store). When the game was remade for the PS4 in 2017, I was excited but didn’t want to play it on a console. So I had to wait an entire year, once that happened I finally was able to get it on the PC. I chugged through the first couple of hours only to realize how insanely hard the first Crash game was.
This was due to the fact that the physics engine was slightly tweaked, resulting in a performance that had to be perfectly timed with near impossible windows. I tried to enjoy it but got frustrated at the difficulty curves of the game. Some levels were able to be beaten with an odd death here or there, but others took over 40+ lives to complete. It started becoming an exercise in trial and error and memorization instead of skill.
The bosses were no different. With Crash’s single hit kill, and startup and death animations, it felt like an eternity waiting between lives.
I eventually beat the game with a completion time of 4 hours, although it felt like I’d been playing for a lot longer than that.
Crash Bandicoot 2
Crash 2 – Cortex Strikes Back nearly broke me. This game was a more unfun version of the first Crash game for me. I spent so many lives on unearned deaths. The timing became even tighter and while the levels seemed a bit more varied, they became less enjoyable as time went on. Everything felt tedious and boring. The boss fights in particular became extremely tedious or sometimes pointless, there were several that were beaten first time with a minimal amount of effort. I hope I never play Crash 2 again.
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped
Ah, this is the Crash game I remember the most, partly because I got it as a Christmas present along with my Playstation. Every time I think about Crash 3, I remember the motorcycle levels and the arabian levels.
Sadly, this game was the absolute easiest game out of all three by a country mile. No effort was put into the boss fights, as every boss was defeated with the first try. The hub world design is barely interesting and the levels don’t correspond to the hubs.
Each world is supposed to be themed, one is a chinese style great wall, one is a medieval castle, and one is a futuristic city. Yet when you enter into the actual levels for that themed area, that are mismatched. The Medieval castle might have you in an arabian city on one level, and a prehistoric dinosaur chasing you through lava pits in the next. There is no continuity or flow to the level progression and it feels like they were all just thrown into a blender together. Luckily the levels weren’t nearly as difficult as the original two games, but sometimes they felt phoned in. There was one level in particular that really frustrated me, a motorcycle level, that had a much higher difficulty curve than the rest of the entire game, where getting 1st place was required, and forced you to memorize every single turn of the track. After failing a solid 15 times, I was able to defeat it. But restarting the level was tedious and not easy. Most of the time I would fail by a fraction of a second, even if I hit every single boost perfectly.
I definitely soured on the series with this new remake of the original trilogy, and still believe that the Xbox version of Crash Twinsanity was the only really good Crash Bandicoot game. I believe the game would be much more enjoyable if it wasn’t so punishingly hard. I believe there needs to be a balance between challenging gameplay and fun. This game sadly opted to go for the modern game design, made popular by the Dark Souls difficulty by being brutal to the point of unfairness.