Impressions: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Impressions: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

With Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy coming to Switch, Xbox and PC this year, long time fan Sam Nason gives us his impressions of the remaster

Announced in the 8th March Nintendo Direct, Crash Bandicoot is hopping onto Nintendo Switch this year in a port of the N. Sane Trilogy, a remake of the original three Crash games that was released for the PS4 in June last year.

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back was the first game I ever played, and Crash Twinsanity pretty much defined my childhood. Suffice to say, when this announcement was made I was completely over the moon. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy has already received rave reviews over the past year for its rebooting of a long-dormant and beloved franchise, and its release not only to the Nintendo Switch, but also the Xbox One and Steam, is a positive sign of Activision’s faith in the orange marsupial.

Newly recorded lines of dialouge and Saturday morning cartoonesque cutscenes give the game a beautiful new lease on life
What you’re getting in this game is Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped, the three main-series games developed by Naughty Dog in the 1990s for the Playstation. In their original states these games revolutionised 3D platforming and were met with widespread praise; the remakes only build on this and have become the definitive versions of each title, providing beautiful graphics, renewed gameplay and endless nostalgia for Crash fans who grew up with the Naughty Dog games. Having already been available for over half a year on the PS4, we know there is a lot to look forward to in this port.

Crash 1

One of the first things I noticed with this title is how satisfying it is to control Crash. The original PS1 games - particularly Crash Bandicoot - didn’t have the smoothest controls, and the stiffness that came with them made certain platforming challenges rather difficult. This is, for the most part, rectified in N. Sane Trilogy, meaning the majority of mistakes made throughout the game are down to player error as opposed to stiff controls. I say ‘for the most part’ - there are still a few glaring issues with the way Crash controls, but I’ll get to those in a moment.

Graphically and musically, the game is outstanding. Environments will bring you back to when you were a child and the soundtrack perfectly captures the bouncy and wacky atmosphere of the Crash games. Crash is so expressive and enjoyable to play as, and this energy and expression is met in Doctor Neo Cortex, Crash’s nemesis. Cortex is voiced by Lex Lang, who recorded new lines of dialogue for the remakes and this, along with the updated cutscenes that harken back to Saturday morning cartoons, give the games a beautiful new lease on life, adapted for a contemporary audience.

Crash 2

The environments and soundtrack perfectly capture the bouncy and wacky atmosphere of the Crash games
Individual quality of life changes have also been made to the titles, bringing them up-to-date with modern gaming conventions while adding some fresh content as well. One of the most prominent examples is the save system for Crash Bandicoot, which has been completely overhauled. Before you could only save at the end of easy to miss bonus levels, however with the N. Sane Trilogy it can be done in between levels, as one would expect in modern games. Another example would be the addition of Coco, Crash’s sister, as a playable character in all three games. These things are not wholly necessary but nevertheless make the experience so much more enjoyable and cement the game’s status as a fan-service.

Of course, the remakes aren’t all perfect - one of the biggest criticisms was the way the hitboxes were changed, making platforming more difficult than the originals. Previously, when Crash would jump, his feet had a rectangular hitbox, a larger surface - however in the remakes the hitbox more closely resembles Crash’s feet, more technically precise but making it a lot harder to jump on things accurately. This has led to some of the tricky levels of the original games (I’m looking at you, The High Road) being even more difficult in the remakes. We will see whether Vicarious Visions, the developers, take any steps to patch this problem in the upcoming ports.

Crash 3

The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy was one of my favourite games of 2017, and having it jump over to not only the Switch but Xbox and PC makes me even more excited to see if anything new is added to the games, and what the Bandicoot does next. Newcomers to the series will find three solidly-made, amazingly fun games, while veterans will have a blast revisiting one of the best video game trilogies ever made.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy launches on the Nintendo Switch, XBOX ONE and PC on June 10th 2018.

First Year English and Drama student, conquering one game at a time in between! (@samjnason)



Published

4th April 2018 at 9:00 am



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