Woah! Crash Bandicoot is back and he means business. That’s right, the 90’s PlayStation 1 star came back with a bang in 2017. Crash Bandicoot was and still is one of the best 3-D platforming game that was ever made. Originally created by Naughty Dog in 1996 who are now known more for their horrific apocalyptic adventures through a clicker infested wasteland than a strange Australian Marsupial, Crash took the world by storm and to this day still has a great reputation, though Activision and Vicarious Visions have taken over the name and the game.
The N. Sane Trilogy was released in 2017 on the PlayStation 4 and later on the Xbox One, Switch and PC in 2018. The game features the first three Crash Bandicoot games which are, Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. That’s right you get three fantastic, beautiful and content filled games for the same price you would pay for just one game, which is an absolute steal. So let’s start getting into the nitty and gritty of it.
So we will start as you would with Crash Bandicoot. The first thing that struck me were the graphics and oh my lord are they pretty. The game still kept the cartoony graphics but they are so much more vibrant and colourful and very pleasing to the eyes. The story of the game is a tale as old as time, the evil Dr. Neo Cortex has kidnapped Crash’s girlfriend Tawna, who is also a Bandicoot. The reason they are walking on two legs is that Cortex experimented on animals and wanted to evolve them into an evil army, but Crash escaped and is going back for Tawna.
So Crash has to go on a perilous adventure through dangerous islands and eventually through Cortex’s factory where he created the evolved animals. All the while Crash has to deal with other evolved animals and bosses such as Papu Papu, Ripper Roo and Pinstripe Potoroo. Crash is not doing this alone though as he has the help of a wooden mask named Aku Aku, which allows Crash to take more than one hit, which believe me is needed! Eventually, Crash comes to the man himself, Cortex and fights him on top of an airship. Crash beats him, rescues Tawna and escapes.
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back opens from the first one when Cortex gets sent plummeting to the earth from his airship. Cortex discovers crystals and believes that they have immense power but he needs 25 of them. To do this he convinces Crash that he has actually turned over a new leaf and is now a good guy and that he needs the crystals to save the world from an impending solar flux.
Crash starts out on his adventure to find the crystals and Cortex keeps in contact with Crash through a holographic projector, but every so often Coco Bandicoot, Crash’s sister cuts into the feed and tells Crash not to trust Cortex! Oh shock and horror!
During all this another person named Dr. N Brio tells Crash that apart from the crystals, if Crash collects gems that are scattered all throughout the game, he can power up a laser to defeat Cortex. Crash finds all the crystals and defeats N. Gin, Cortex’s assistant. This is where Cortex’s devious plan is found out that he was going to use the crystals to brainwash everyone in the world to be in his army. Crash eventually defeats Cortex but if you only got the crystals, Cortex remains on his ship in orbit and that’s that. But if you also obtained the gems then N. Brio fires a laser which destroys Cortex’s ship and sends it hurtling towards the earth.
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped takes up from when the second game ended. Cortex’s crashed ship leads to the release of Uka Uka who is Aku Aku’s evil twin mask brother. Cortex and Uka Uka team up with N. Tropy who is a master of time. Their plan is to come together, collect the crystals through time and enslave humanity and again it is up to Crash to stop them. Crash travels through Medieval Europe, Ancient China and Egypt and even into the future, all the while battling robots and Uka Uka’s minions.
Crash eventually beats, Cortex and Uka Uka and through all of this destroys the time machine. Uka Uka becomes trapped in a timeless prison while N. Tropy and Dr. Cortex and transformed back into babies. With this, it is the end of the three Crash Bandicoot stories.
Now onto the game play. I am going to begin saying one thing, I am terrible at platformer games, so let’s just get that out of the way. Crash Bandicoot is one of the hardest platforming games I have ever played, it drove me absolutely mad at some points, but I never found it unfair. It was challenging and extremely tough but I never felt like the game was purposefully trying to make me lose.
As with all platformers there is a lot of jumping but in Crash Bandicoot you have to have pinpoint accuracy just to make some of the jumps. The other thing you need is confidence and a lot of it. There are some moments that you just need to go for it, because waiting around will kill you and a lot of things want to kill you in this game. Because of this, the game is quite fast paced, there isn’t a lot of standing idle waiting for things to happen, other than trying to figure out the timing of some platforms.
In the first game all you have to aid you is a jump and a spin, which is fine it does the job but there a lot of moments where I could have done with more skills. In the second game they give you more such as a body slam and a slide which comes in very handy. In the final game they actually give you abilities to help you on your quest every time you beat a boss such as boots that make you run faster or a bazooka that shoots fruit.
The game works off lives. Crash can take one hit with no power ups, he can take two hits with one Aku Aku, three hits with two Aku Aku’s and if he gets three Aku Aku’s then Crash becomes invincible for a short time and he runs while being able to kill everything he touches. Crash can collect up to 99 lives while going through the game, but the other things he can collect are wumpa fruit (No they are not apples) and for every hundred wumpa fruit he collects it gives Crash an extra life. Once Crash runs out of lives, its game over, but you can click continue and it gives you four lives back and you continue from your last mission. Each level has checkpoints throughout so if you die you start from that checkpoint but if you run out of lives you have to start the whole level again.
As I mentioned the game is absolutely beautiful looking and the graphics blew me away. The colourful and vibrant graphics really add to how crazy or N.SANE the game is! Each level whether it was in the air, underwater, in an evil scientists lab or on a tropical island done a great job, from the look of the levels and the music used for those levels, it gave a fantastic ambiance to the game.
The boss fights were a little lackluster. Each boss across all three games had a gimmick and once you knew how to exploit it, you were set to win, unless you yourself made a mistake. The sounds and the music in this game is atmospheric at parts, very industrial at others and a lot of fun just to listen to overall. I listen to the soundtrack casually because it is just so good, in fact I’m listening to it right now, Under Pressure from Crash 3, in case you’re wondering.
Overall Activision and Vicarious Visions done a fantastic job remaking Crash for the modern age and as someone who grew up with Crash Bandicoot, I was delighted to see how well they done with it. Also with the N. Sane trilogy they give you a free DLC called Stormy Ascent which is only one level, but it was so tough they left it out of the original game. Could I beat it? No. Lastly with Crash Bandicoot 4 on the way there is no better time to pick this up and play it!
So let’s get right into the scoring:
Graphics: Visually stunning, cartoony, colourful and fun 10/10
Sound: Ambient soundtrack, voice acting was great and a lot of effort put in and sounds of monsters and general atmosphere put you right into the environment 10/10
Game play: Very tough but fair. Challenging and a lot of hair pulling moments, but it makes you want to beat it even more! 9/10
Worth: Absolutely! Three amazing games for the price of one. They will keep you occupied for a while and they never felt boring! 10/10
Story: The story across all three games is a bit meh. I mean it was okay, engaging enough but not the reason you would play it 6/10
Total: 90/100 A-
I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!