Crash Bandicoot is counted as one of the most influential video games of the original PlayStation era. Crash had many great games during his hay-day, but the multiplatform games (that came afterwards) were mediocre. But, this article is only about the first game. Was it as good as Mario and Sonic? Let’s find out!
Crash Bandicoot is a 3D platformer that was created back in 1996. This game was developed by Naughty Dog (they would continue developing the games until 1999). This games codename was “Sonic’s Ass Game”, meaning they wanted to make a 3D platformer to rival the 3D Sonic that was in development hell.
Crash Bandicoot is set on 3 islands that are south-east of Australia. These islands are all owned by Dr Neo Cortex, the villan of this game. With help from Dr Nitrus Brio, he creates a Evolvo-Ray that turns animals into beasts with superhuman strengths. He wants to make a peaceful bandicoot named Crash into the leader for his army. Cortex uses a “Cortex Vortex” to put him under his control. It doesn’t work (what a surprise) and Crash escapes. Cortex decides to use a female bandicoot instead of Crash (this bandicoot is named Tawna). Crash has to save her.
We all know how this story goes. Care to sing along? “Princess Peachy is captured, Mario save her! Same with the Crash, just bash Cortex!” (not the best song ever, but sums up my reaction to the story). This is very similar to Mario and Sonic. An evil scientist capturing animals is Dr EggButNik, and saving a female character (in this case a female bandicoot) is Mario. Could have been a little more subtle, but oh well.
Instead of starting with gameplay (that will be left to the end, as I’ve got a lot to say), let’s start with the music in Crash Bandicoot. The music is really good, upbeat and very catchy (at times). I can’t really describe what your ears can hear, to me it sounds nice with the game. Search it up on YouTube or Dailymotion. Or don’t. Up to you.
The graphics are really well made, and also well animated. This is because they decided to animate the characters via vertex movement, rather than using the standard skeletal rig. Something to keep in mind is that the developers went full out with developing this game. They used $100,000 Silicon Graphics workstations, instead of the standard $3000 personal computer. The levels were also very large.
Gameplay wise, Crash Bandicoot is an action/platformer where the player controls Crash Bandicoot. The player is given a certain amount of lives, Game Over if you suck, very similar to other platformers. Control-wise, Crash can jump, he can spin attack, jump on enemies, collect apples, activate TNT boxes and more.
If you collect 3 Special Tokens inside a level, you teleport to a Bonus Round where you jump on boxes to get to the end (this is a 2.5D section). You have to finish these in order to save the game. To get a gem, you need to complete a level without dying, and collect all of the boxes in a level.
This game loves to shove terrible level gimicks down your throat. Whether this means riding a hog, making you run away from a boulder or controlling Crash in a dreadful 2.5D section, these don’t fit into the game in the slightest. They aren’t all bad, but the 2.5D sections are the worst in any game I have played all the way through. These are really tedious, the controls suck, and the enemies are forgettable. It really shouldn’t have been in the game to begin with. But they make you play many more of the terrible 2.5D sections, than the fun boulder levels or the hog level. Nevermind.
So, should you get this game? I’d recommend looking at the sequels (that were on the PS1). I’ve heard the PS2 games weren’t very good (haven’t got round to playing them, though I do own one of them). If you like the strange gimmicks, this game may be a good pick. And as always, stay retro!