Released: June 30, 2017
I think this is an opportunity to say with my fellow 90s kids that, back in my days, Naughty Dog’s iconic Crash Bandicoot series was nothing but an ecstasy-ridden past-time ritual that saw me basically sat at the front of my old-skool television after kindergarden with my Playstation 1 console under the cabinet, jamming it all out. As the fine owner of all three original Crash Bandicoot opening games, the breaking news of Activison remastering the games into a one-big bundle trilogy felt like Christmas (like, literally, I felt Christmas came early this year for Tekken 7 and this shindig!) And now today, the beloved remastered edition,—titled the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy— has finally been released (in New Zealand, to be exact…). And boy, it sure makes me feel like a five-year old all over again.
The entire game is produced by Activision, whom bought the rights to the game shortly after the fourth console release, and was glammed up by Vicarious Visions to give it a more glossy, refined, and spectacular finishing touch. I must admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of the refinement at the start, considering that many elements of the typical Crash Bandicoot game has that airiness of simplistic, dark and organic atmosphere, which really made it something pretty special and original (particular for the first game). But after a few plays, I don’t think I would want to turn my head back onto the original now (no tea no shade y’all…). Needless to say, the graphics started to radically improved by the time Warped walked onto your retail shelves in 1998, but the additionally touch-ups that Vicarious Visions have conducted on all three games have given that extra-bit of life and saturation that a lot of people would get enchanted by. And, looking back at the original, despite it’s radical change, the graphics and high-definition resolution can be easily transcended into the older generation (which, of course, is my old ass…) or even appealing to the newer generation (who, hopefully still love games like this *fingers crossed*).
But not only has the graphics improved. Who could honestly forget the lovable and totally F-ing bonkers namesake himself… CRASH BLOODY BANDICOOT! The thing that made me happy about his transformation is that… well, there isn’t any difference (except for the graphics); he’s still the drooling, doopy and over-the-top companion that I remember from the original classics, and everything still seems at top-notch. But as an exclusive, Crash’s sister, the beloved Coco Bandicoot, has also become his prominent side-kick, and, whenever your feel over-worked with Crash, you NOW have the ability to play Coco not just on Crash: Warped, but on ALL THREE GAMES! Looking at that Ms. Thang, Activision being all amazing and stuff by bringing Ms. Coco into the game. For me, this is a stellar decision, considering that Coco has been a fan-favourite since it’s debut, so it’s a very nice addition to the games package.
But the biggest gold star moment is the fact that Activision has kept every single original microscopic detail and depth at the exact same bar line it started off with in the 90s. Of course on the first Crash Bandicoot, the difficulty is staggering and could possibly give me me a rage if I keep bloody falling into pits or getting burnt on those stages (damn you difficulty levels!). But that’s Crash Bandicoot; the platform game was, in fact, quite difficult to begin with (or maybe I was too young and amateur as hell…). Of course, the difficulty was laid-off on the successor titles Cortex Strikes Back and Warped, but there was enough challenges and unlockable moments to make it quite entertaining and long-lasting—especially with the time limit courses, which has now been introduced to all three games. The time limit challenges was first introduced into Warped to give a little more extra oomph, but of course, a game like the first one was pretty streamlined for a platform game, so it’s nice to see a very minimal adjustment like the time quests was added to the first two games to give it a lil’ more challenge (ehhh, whatever you’d like to call it…).
The only disappointing feature on this game is the control progress it showcases. At times, I noticed that Crash and Coco are walking at a granny pace, and the thing is; if you are two clucky characters that literally took five cans of energy drinks and six packs of sour candy but walk at a completely slower rate than what you did back on the original games, then there’s a problem. But that’s like some areas of game play too, particularly the boulder rushes, driving and Cat/Polar bear riding segments, where they look like they’re bloody tramping through damn snow instead of an open road. Not a good like Ms./Mr. Thang, not a good look. But as far as I’m concerned, that’s the only flaw on all three games.
Nevertheless, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a fulfilling treat to us kids and older generation that grew up around a platform series that brought nothing but imagination, innovation and excellence. As a remastered collection, Activision and Vicarious Vision’s have basically answered all the gleaming questions that us kiddies have been dying to have answered the faithfulness, the originality, and the glossy presentation… tick, tick, tick. There is a lot more challenge and in-depth characteristics that stand out a lot more than the original versions—despite the simplicity and controls. But if your a real nostalgic 20-something year-old human like me that want to re-visit a key element to their childhood (or a newbie baby that wants a big of fantastic quests and contemporary spins) , then I definitely recommend a collection like Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. There’s enough refinement and modes to check out, and the addition of time quests, Crash’s sister Coco, the same ol’ “easy-to-fall-or-get-hit-and-die” antics and charm have aged quite well. If anything, Activision have accomplished a mission that many of us have been waiting to see; a fully-realized, nostalgic, and well-executed remaster of a timeless classic.