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Crash Bandicoot: The N. Sane Trilogy
Game Reviews

Crash Bandicoot: The N. Sane Trilogy

Sony’s original mascot gets a fine remastered collection filled with punishing, spinny platform fun.

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I never really understood the backlash against game remasters. Without getting into the intricacies of an industry that, realistically, we know next to nothing about, I tend to relish the chance to replay some of my favorite classics on new hardware. Master Chief Collection was great, for instance, especially since I hadn’t played through the entirety of the Halo series beforehand and could finish games I hadn’t previously beaten. With Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, we’ve got another chance to check out some of the highest points of this classic mascot series.

Crash Bandicoot, just as a reminder, was essentially Sony’s mascot during the days of the original PlayStation that was developed by Naughty Dog (who’d go off to create the Uncharted franchise). He was the marsupial they put up against the likes of Sonic and Mario, and generally speaking he was able to hold his own. The original Crash, released in 1996, eventually saw two sequels in Cortex Strikes Back and Warped over the following two years. Later the series would go in decidedly more questionable directions, as we saw in games like Crash of the Titans where our bandicoot hero would hijack monsters like a GTA game or something like that. We’re not talking about those later titles here, though; the N. Sane trilogy only includes Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back and Warped.

Look, these games aren’t playing. They’re mean as hell, remnants of a time where we didn’t talk about “content” in a game as something you’d “consume.” Crash can’t take many hits even on a good day and there’s deadly pits everywhere just waiting for you to fall in. The hours you spent trying to 100% Crash Bandicoot were spent mastering levels, working to break every single box and hunting down bonus levels. If you couldn’t manage this, you weren’t going to “consume” all the “content,” and the game’s best endings were just not going to be available for you. You didn’t consume Crash; Crash consumed you.

Later entries in the series took some of the game’s edge off, in particular by making the save system much more reasonable; the same has been done to the original game here as well, which is huge. These still aren’t easy games, though, even by platformer standards. You’ll die and die again, and these games know it’s going to happen, handing out plenty of lives before segments that might be especially difficult. At the same time, it’s easy to appreciate the tough-but-fair mentality on display here. Practice – and a strong resistance to salt – makes perfect here.

Mind that these aren’t especially complex games, as you might expect from modern titles that pride themselves on difficulty. You’ll mostly just run, jump and spin, breaking boxes and collecting power-ups. Sometimes the games shake things up a little bit, particularly in the second and third entries, with animal riding and vehicle segments, but the basic gameplay inherent to Crash didn’t start changing too much until later in the series and those games aren’t included here. If you enjoy the basic platformer gameplay loop, you’re bound to have a good time with all three Clash titles in this remaster, and if you’re new to the series then you’ve got a lot to look forward to.

There’s a good chance you’ve already played at least one of these games already, so I’m probably not saying anything you didn’t already know. Let’s talk about what’s new in this remaster then. Obviously, the graphics are nicer than they were on the ol’ PS1, though each of the games still run at 30FPS. As mentioned, the original Crash has a much more polite save system; the game’s still tough as nails, but I can’t complain about letting you save when you want instead of only when you’ve finished a bonus area. Other changes include the addition of Coco, Crash’s sister, to the original game as a playable character, as well as time trial levelsĀ  for the speedrunners out there.

Three games for forty bones isn’t anything to sneeze at, especially when they were solid games to begin with – and they’ve only been improved by this remaster. Say what you will about the modern age of ports and remasters; if you ask me, getting a chance to replay the classics (or even experience them for the first time) is just fine and dandy. Crash fans have already picked this one up, I’m sure, and newbies should also give Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy a serious look.

About the Author: Cory Galliher