The long awaited reboot of Crash Bandicoot comes in the form of a sleek PS4 remake that stays incredibly faithful to the original adaptations. With a graphical overhaul and better animations, the bandicoot is as good as he ever was when he first spun his way onto the scene in the 90s. The first game stands out as the weakest of the trilogy though but Crash 2 and Crash 3: Warped are pinnacles of a platforming era that epitimise just why this genre is so good.
The storyline of each game progressively becomes more involved with each entry and after playing the three games back to back, its interesting to see the evolution from the story being an afterthought to becoming the central focus later on. I mentioned the graphical overhaul earlier and its astonishing to see the developers at Vicarious Visions painstakingly recreate each level in its entirety from the ground up to mirror that of the original games. The levels have a bright vibrancy to them and along with an updated user interface and an easily navigated menu that allows you to switch between each game on the fly, Crash Bandicoot feels like a true reboot.
The levels smartly switch between 2D and 3D
The gameplay is largely unchanged from the original games with a spin and jump button dominating the play in Crash 1 which expands in Crash 2 to include a dash/slide button that brings an extra layer of platforming. Crash 3 further expands upon that with all sorts of unique abilities including a super belly splash, an apple launcher and more. Although the developers have smartly left the bulk of the game untouched, the frustrating elements from the original games also unfortunately find their way here and all three games have their own issues. Crash 1 in particular has some really frustrating level designs that don’t have a progressive curve in difficulty. Early on there’s a level called Native Fortress that requires some tricky jumps to be timed perfectly and toward the end of the game there’s a particular nightmare-inducing level called The High Road that requires absolutely perfect timing as you traverse across a misty bridge. Some of the levels in this game feature wildly inconsistent designs, with easy, medium and hard levels scattered rather than a progressive learning curve. Crash 2 and 3 do go someway to address these concerns with a better curve in difficulty but it only further highlights the concerns with Crash 1.
The level design in Crash 1 is wildly inconsistent with some levels extremely tough
Largely, the Crash reboot is simply a love letter to a by gone era. The game plays almost the same way as the original games do and aside from the graphics and updated animations, the game still feels like the old Crash Bandicoot. The levels are well designed on the whole with a clever mix of 3D and 2D levels changing the focus and mixing up the play style. With each level its simply the case of traversing the obstacles and enemies to get to the finish line but with the inclusion of trophy support and relics (time trials) on each level, there’s plenty of replayability for the bandicoot. Throw in the secret areas and gems to obtain by collecting all the boxes on each level, and there’s plenty of material here to get through.
The gameplay is largely unchanged, right down to the death animations
The beloved franchise is vastly the same game as it was before. Crash plays out identical to its original Playtation counterpart and Vicarious Visions have done a great job of bringing the Bandicoot back to a new crowd. The game is full of nostalgic moments and with such a faithful reboot, I cant help but feel this could easily be the best selling game of the game. Hopefully this opens the floodgates for a slew of Playstation 1 reboots done in the same way and being able to pick up and play the original Crash games with updated graphics and it feeling so familiar, is testament to what a great job Naughty Dog originally did with the Crash franchise back in the 90s.
Verdict - 8.5/10