Sunday, 9 September 2018

Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy ★★★★★

When I was about 10 years old my brother and I argued for days over who was going to get Crash Bandicoot Warped for Christmas, it was so important to me that I was the one who got it and equally as important to him that I didn't. Now we only had one Playstation so from where I'm sitting now I don't really get the problem, but it was huge at the time. Now, however, there is an ocean between us and thanks to the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, we both have it which is great, except that I just found his copy under my bed. So in many ways, I win, as I am currently playing the newly released Nintendo Switch version in a cafe, and absolutely everyone here thinks I am the coolest dude, while he is simply rolling around in money as a genius with a career befitting his brand of genius.

Crash Bandicoot for those under thirty years old is nothing to do with the games you may have played on the Xbox or PS2 back in the day. The reason you don't understand what all us old people are losing our minds about in relation to this remake is because the original trilogy (and it's Kart equivalent) were the only Crash games made by Naughty Dog. The same Naughty Dog that went on to blow your minds with Jak and Daxter, Uncharted and the Last of Us. Starting with a very small amount of game developers and a bum load of genius they invented what was then to be known as the Playstation's answer to Sonic and Mario.  Considering they are called Naughty Dog they have never done the game development equivalent of destroying a jumper or shitting in your slipper. 

All three of the Crash games in the collection play very smoothly and are a joy to behold. I have, after many hours of playing, faced absolutely no problems with glitches or any of the usual complaints. The only thing I would say about the Switch version, and maybe this is me making excuses for being terrible at video games, but I find that the right button is a little sensitive and has often been clicked accidentally while mid-leap so that I seemingly voluntarily splat myself at force down a bottomless pit. While Crash's soul angelically flies through the air looking serene and daft, and not even slightly annoyed at my incompetence, I can't help but feel like a colossal bandicoot murdering twat.

Visually its vibrant and beautiful and I kind've wanted to rub my hands through Crash's fur more than I can describe. I just want to bury my hands in there and ruffle some fur. I feel he would love that. His sister I feel would be less comfortable with that. As would I. Which brings me to, the ability to alternate between Crash or his Sister Coco to play the levels. This is a new welcome addition to the remake. Unnecessary as a game mechanic, but a welcome one aesthetically. Like when you get shower gel in silver. Have you seen that? Looks like mercury, but you get a shiny bum cheek instead of mercury poisoning. 

The audio and the music is as atmospheric as ever and is very crisp, the benefit of playing the Switch on the go with a pair of decent headphones is being able to appreciate the jungle noises which, knowing the future of Naughty Dog, you can see Uncharted rooted in this as much as Jak and Daxter.  Levels in China, The Arctic, South American jungles, these show a love of world travel that became much more defined by the time they got to the Uncharted series. 

Crash is much harder than I remember, which has convinced me to buy the Dark Souls remaster on the PS4 and not the Switch, as I have very nearly smashed it off the table in Caffe Nero countless times. Everything about the game is exactly what you would want from a remaster, it is exactly the same but not, the new Switch version even has the DLC, a bunch of previously scrapped levels, as standard and is a joy to play and scream at.  It seems the absolute best technique for remakes is a mysterious one, wherein the game is made to feel and play exactly how you remembered it feeling and playing, and almost nothing like it actually was. Think back to that relationship you had, it was great, wasn't it? Every day was blissful, you dreamed of the same things together, you had plans, a shared love for cinema and video games and other naughtier things.  It didn't work out though. Weird? No. Not weird, it's because it made you miserable and you used to sit awake at night smoking to stop yourself from killing yourself and her. In that order. Your memory is stupid. This game is better than the original in my opinion.

When Crash Bandicoot 2 came out I was so excited that I rushed to Electronics boutique and ran off home as fast as I could, without taking the game with me, only getting back in time to retrieve it before they closed the shop.  I have always loved these games, so I definitely deserved to be the one to get it for Christmas and I am super glad to be sitting here today playing it instead of having an actual job. 

David Roberts

Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy at CeX

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