WeView Retro: Crash Bandicoot

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I played quite a few video games prior to the original PlayStation’s era, but it was only in the late 90s that video games really grabbed me. The larger worlds, the 3D graphics, the then modern video game design and wonderful new characters were all more than enough to suck me into the universe of games, and to this day it still hasn’t released me from its grasp.

One of the characters that 12 year-old me loved so much was Crash Bandicoot, and it’s this series which goes under the spotlight for this week’s WeView Retro. I had brief memories of playing the original Crash and Crash 2, but it was Crash Bandicoot: Warped that really pulled me into that macrocosm and kept me busy for days on end. I remember thinking I had to have every gem, crystal and relic on offer, and while I don’t think I ever actually got all of them, the journey to completion kept me happily busy for a long time.

I think the aspect of Warped that stuck with me the most was the variety of levels and tasks. Crash and Coco were traveling through time in Warped, which visiting a different time period regularly. You start in what I assume was meant to be medieval times and travel back and forth, going as far back as pre-historic times before springing forward to beyond the 20th century in the futuristic levels, with a few other stops in between.

That kind of variety didn’t stop at the aesthetics, but extended well into gameplay elements. One minute you were bouncing around on top of boxes and spinning your way through enemies on foot, and the next had you racing across water on a jet-ski, or cruising down the highway on a motorcycle. If that wasn’t enough, you also got to ride a tiger cub and a dinosaur, and take to the skies in a fighter plane. All of it was more than enough to keep pre-teen Matt occupied for days.

At the center of all of this was, of course, a master villain. If you played the first two Crash games you were already pretty familiar with Neo Cortex, but this time he came with a sidekick. That sidekick also looked slightly familiar, as it was Uka Uka, the brother of Aku Aku, the friendly mask spirit that follows Crash around. With the help of Uka Uka, Cortex felt more than capable of defeating that pesky Bandicoot, especially with a slew of additional bosses that included a bouncing tiger with a pitchfork, a half-crocodile half-dingo with a bad attitude and a flamethrower, as well as Dr. N Gin, a mad scientist with a little something sticking out of his head.

Crash

Naughty Dog weren’t quite as well known back in the 90’s as they are today, but some of their staple production values and tricks were already on display during this time. For example, I can remember at least one instance of a chase sequence that had Crash running at the camera while something large followed close behind. Fast forward to a similar sequence in the more modern Uncharted games and they seem almost eerily similar. Playing that same sequence in Crash today might not have the same effect as it did back then, but I vividly remember gripping my controller as I raced to the end of the chase, avoiding obstacles and staying just out the jaws of a rather large dinosaur.

Now that I’ve gushed about how much I loved that furry little Bandicoot, it’s time for you to weigh in. Though I spent the majority of my time on Crash Bandicoot: Warped, we’d like to get your opinions on any and all of the first three Crash games. You can talk about the first three games as a whole if you have similar opinions of them, or you can break them down one by one and pick out your favourite with our new Retro WeView rating system: Must Play, Should Play, Watch a Let’s Play, or Don’t Play.

9 Comments

  1. Crash on the ps1 was the equivalent of sonic on sega. It was the cutesy mascot the platform needed. It was a huge success and for brief time gave Mario a run for his money.

    Crash bandicoot was a solid game. It has a decent enough variety of levels and decent mechanics. The soundtrack is wonderful in the first game. It actually aged quite well especially if you had the xperia play where it was upscaled nicely. Nice and colourful probably the most challenging out of the three. It’s worth playing but compared to the other two, I would lean on a watch let’s play.

    Crash bandicoot 2 is outstanding. Despite not having the diversity of warped or significant challenge in the first one it presented many complex levels that become significantly more impressive as the game goes on. From the levels running from a boulder to going in the future platforming through futuristic factories, the game sung for me.

    My favourite and though I will admit not necessarily the best in the series it is mostly equal with warped. Play crash bandicoot 2.

    Now we come onto warped and despite not being my favourite, if you somehow missed this game or have not played it do it now. One of the very great platform games of all time. Thus truly captured the imagination at the time. Play play play this game.

  2. I arrived a little late to the Crash party and ended up playing them in most backwards of fashions.

    My first taste was the sublime Crash Team Racing before being handed a copy of Warped. I loved it and subsequently went on to play Crash 2.

    However, I’ve only just started playing the original – much to my own shame. While obviously an icon of its time, I’ve had some real issue getting into it on my PS Vita. The way Crash moves requires more precision than the weird camera angles allow for. Also, the checkpoint system is naturally archaic with save points only appearing after collecting three of a certain collectible in-game.

    I’d say I’m six or seven levels from the end and will no doubt keep chipping away over August to get it finished!

  3. The Crash Bandicoot series (particularly the first four from NaughtyDog) remains one of my favourite franchises of all time, and I’m not talking about just gaming franchises. Every one of them is a Must Play for me.

    I continue to live in the (ever-fading) hope that someone will revive the series and bring him to this generation, much like Ratchet and Clank, and Rayman, have made the leap.

  4. Loved every iteration of Crash on every platform I played it on, including replaying the original via emulation on my Vita. That it still stands up today with the original visuals says all you need to know about the series. Naughty Dog at it’s absolute best, it’s a Must Play from me as the originals can easily be bought and played on the Vita and PS3 via the PSN. Would even be worth getting my old PS1 out the loft for.

  5. Never played any Crash games…. am i really missing out though? lol

    • Whaaaa?? ?

      Yes you really are! If you have a Vita or a PS3 get playing them, they’re only a couple of quid each these days from the PS Store. If you only play one, you’re probably better off going for #2 or 3 since #1 is more dated and less varied in its gameplay

  6. Played a bit of Crash, but the game that stayed in the PS1 for me was Crash Team Racing, brilliant game, loads of stuff to unlock. I have downloaded since, it’s a bit shit.

  7. Hog ride! Fond memories but not sure I want to go back and spoil them

  8. Ah, Crash Bandicoot, a game from my childhood and little did i know that the developers would go from platformers to doing what was a Tomb Raider clone turned into lead game for the genre. I also remember getting angry a lot whilst playing it. I used to be angry when losing. :-/

    As for the games themselves, i’ve played all the PS1 games. From the first to Crash Bash. It was a party game but damn, if it wasn’t fun. It was addicting and an easy way to kill time. It was very fun and if it had been launched today, it would fit right in. Crash Team Racing was excellent despite being a mario kart clone and Crash was in his prime on the PS1.

    Then Naughty Dog didn’t want to develop more games and it went downhill.

    Yeah, there’s a good bloody reason why Crash is no longer an icon. :-(

    On the plus side, no crappy movie! :D

    I do techincally own the first two but due to PSN accounts, i can’t play them until i download them again and my 80gb is generally served as PS3 games only.

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