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July 17, 2017 | by  | in Games |
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Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

Developer: Vicarious Visions

Publisher: Activision

Platform: PS4

I cannot emphasise enough how much of an impact the Crash Bandicoot series has had — not just on me, but on gaming in general. The little orange marsupial quickly became iconic in a time when every console needed a mascot and, sure enough, Crash is synonymous with the PlayStation brand to this day, with the original trilogy of 3D platformers putting Naughty Dog on the map. Yet, times have been tough and the journey has not been easy for Crash. Once Naughty Dog moved on to greater things, the series was pawned off to various hands who could never quite capture the magic of the original games.

As the years wore on it seemed inevitable that an icon would simply fade away.

However, this is 2017, where ’90s nostalgia equals big bucks in the eyes of many. The overlords at Activision, who picked up the series in 2008, must have realised they were sitting on a goldmine that hadn’t been touched in years. People were clamouring for a new Crash game, or at least the opportunity to play old ones on their PS4s, and so Activision, being a merciful and gracious deity, finally said “here you go, now stop bothering us so we can go back to milking the Call of Duty cow.”

Thankfully, they didn’t screw it up. The N. Sane Trilogy consists of the first three Crash games, rebuilt from the ground up for a new generation of consoles and players. No bollocks, no major changes, just pure Crash with a hint of modern graphical polish. To be perfectly honest, I would have been just as happy if the original PS1 versions had been put on the PS Store, but to have so much work put in to bring Crash up to modern standards while remaining faithful to the series’ roots is something to applaud, even if it means forking out a little more money that you might expect for 20-year old games.

That dedication most prominently shows itself in the gameplay, which has been virtually unchanged — for better or for worse. You’re still running through linear levels, breaking crates with your spin, and collecting Wumpa Fruits (NOT APPLES YOU HEATHENS), Gems, and Crystals. However, the platforming does show its age, occasionally feeling imprecise and unfair in ways that were fixed years ago. While other nostalgic properties tried to push themselves as the revival of a genre only to fall flat (lookin’ at you, Yooka-Laylee), the N. Sane Trilogy only really promises to recreate the originals, which it does perhaps too well.

Because oh my goodness, these games are BRUTAL. Many of you will be thinking while playing: “I don’t remember Crash being this hard!” Well, let’s just say comparisons to Dark Souls are inevitable; they’re possibly a little unfair, but so is the “The High Road” level in the first game. That’s not to say these games are any less fun; standards for difficulty have simply gone down over 20 years!

There are some little improvements made to each game to make the package a little more cohesive, such as time trials in every game, and the ability to play as Crash’s sister Coco in every level; these are much welcome and brings you back to play the levels over again. Oh, and you can now save at any time in the first game, something which, previously, you had to complete bonus levels to do. There’s no cheats though, sorry.

If this collection is signalling the triumphant return of one of gaming’s most beloved mascots, then that message has been received loud and clear: Crash is back, and no crate will be left untouched. Let’s just hope they get to remastering Crash Team Racing soon enough.

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