Crash N-Sane Trilogy Review


Ah, Crash Bandicoot, easily THE single most iconic mascot character (and most mediocre, completely overhyped, has-been joke of a game franchise) from the entire Playstation series of consoles as a whole, with the non-Lammy portion of the Parappa trilogy being a VERY close second...if nothing else, this series certainly has proven that there are some game franchises that just can’t be saved no matter how hard you try (shame too, because believe me, I really, REALLY want to canonically be able to pleasure myself to that one particular deleted stage in Twinsanity where you get to travel inside Coco Bandicoot’s big meaty gadget-girl brain...oh well, I suppose Crash’s was already plenty enough for the time being anyways).

Regardless of your personal feelings toward Naughty Dog, you can’t deny that even the original Crash trilogy is something that they have improved GARGANTUANLY as a developer since (Uncharted 3 and 4 barely even BEING games notwithstanding), with Crash Nitro Kart and Twinsanity being perhaps the closest to actually “great” games that the series has pumped out since then (with the latter of the two being horribly rushed and only about halfway finished at that).

Well, if THIS of all things was seriously the only way that could be thought of to even attempt to dig the Crash series out from its grave and return it back to its former “glory”, then we might as well cover it before it’s too late. Wish me nostalgia…

STORY: Honestly, if the Crash series had at least bothered to have just a LITTLE bit more of this particular element to it, then it PROBABLY would have lasted a much longer time in the long run; basically, disregarding the whole “animals being biologically mutated into anthromorphs” part, the overall storyline of the original trilogy goes like this: Crash sneaks through the jungle and infiltrates Dr. Neo Cortex’s castle to rescue his ridiculously sexualized girlfriend Tawna Bandicoot from his evil-genius clutches...

then Cortex discovers the hidden power of crystals and enlists the clueless Crash’s help to retrieve them for him so that he can use his Cortex Vortex space station to destroy the Earth (only to be foiled by one of his own former henchmen, the shamelessly token mad scientist N. Brio, when Crash also collects a bunch of gems to power up HIS evil death ray and blow up the Vortex itself)...

then finally, Cortex’s ship crash-lands into the exact burial site of the evil mask Uka-Uka (evil counterpart to the good mask Aku-Aku, naturally), leading the two of them to form a time-traveling alliance that Crash and his adorable tech-genius sister Coco themselves end up having to team up in order to stop (even though Coco never actually IS needed for anything in particular, not even the final boss, and is really just there for also-uncomfortably-attractive show).

All along the way, literally not even a single lick of character development happens; thank the lord that later Sony franchises like Sly, Ratchet, Last Of Us and (in the second and third games) Jak & Daxter expanded so heavily on this particular aspect…

GRAPHICS: Although the first three Crash games actually looked pretty great for their time (considering the system) and always had an immensely charming and atmospheric Looney-Toons-meets-Donkey-Kong aesthetic to their environments and character designs, this is improved upon so much in the remake that the original games really do look that much more like garbage by comparison as a result. Crisp, colorful and beautifully put together, enough said (even though it IS almost literally just a straight-up zero-effort HD re-texturing of the originals).

SOUND: Honestly, Crash Bandicoot 2 and 3 have some of my all-time favorite video game music from the 1990s decade (which is thankfully preserved well enough in their N-Sane remakes), but the monumental improvement that it made to Crash 1’s soundtrack in particular is where this game’s OST really shines, if nowhere really else in particular when compared to games like the actual Donkey Kong Country, Sonic The Hedgehog and Earthworm Jim.

Honestly, to be fair, some of the characters’ voice actors aren’t quite as good as they used to be (looking at you two in particular, N. Gin’s and Uka-Uka’s), but you hardly ever even get to hear any of the characters actually SAY anything, so that’s really only a minor nitpick. If nothing else, all of the classic sound effects were at least brought back here, so that definitely has to count for at least something. That, and Cortex also no longer sounds like a whiny emo teenager in the first game, so there’s that too.

GAMEPLAY: this right here is where we start to realize (hopefully) that production values REALLY aren’t everything when it comes to video games (cough, definitely not another knock at Parappa, wheeze). While I certainly do appreciate the fact that the games (yes, ALL of them, at least as far as this compilation is concerned) become longer, deeper and overall more enjoyable the better you become AT them, there’s really only so much you can do with games that have as utterly bare-bones simple and predictable of a formula as these three. Anyway, on to the individual game coverage (disregarding how pathetically lame and easy the boss fights are):

CRASH 1: Way, way, WAY better (and overall easier, due to the checkpoint and save systems being fixed as well as the controls) than its original PS1 counterpart from 1996 for sure, and I definitely enjoy the challenge and atmosphere that it provides for sure (for the most part), but I still can’t shake the feeling of how much more could have been done with this one in particular. Seriously, if Activision and Vicarious Visions had really wanted to, they probably could have gone all out and made an almost Zero Mission/AM2R/Samus Returns caliber reimagining of it...but as it stands right now, this is the absolute definitive way to play Crash 1, NES-style two-button control scheme and all. Just be prepared to be driven literally insane by some of its Gold Relic time trials (not even mentioning the ones for the two broken-bridge levels, Road To Nowhere and more infamously The High Road...Jesus actual Christ…) [5.6/10 for the original game, 8.3/10 for the remake]

CRASH 2: Overall, still the exact same game as its original counterpart but with the time trials from Crash 3 once again being added into it, once again giving it infinitely more depth than its original PS1 counterpart (as well as the option to replay bosses after beating them, thank God). Probably the overall visually and musically best-executed remaster of the three, as well as my personal favorite game from the original trilogy, boasting just the right amount of gameplay variety without going WAY overboard with it. And ONCE AGAIN, this game’s aforementioned newly-added Gold Relic time trials will drive you absolutely BANANAS with how psychotically strict they are in most stages; the fact that the background music for Hangin’ Out now haunts my nightmares almost as much as that of The High Road is as much of a testament to that as any if you ask me. [7.8/10 for the original game, 8.5/10 for the remake]

CRASH 3: By far the most cinematic and refined (and naturally also the easiest and arguably most overrated) game of the trilogy, Crash 3 is undeniably the game that needed remaking far and away the least of the three...and oh boy, does it show. Seriously, this is literally the EXACT same game (with VASTLY too much gameplay-style variety for its own good and nowhere even remotely near enough actual gameplay substance to back it up) as its original PS1 counterpart, (almost) fully playable Coco notwithstanding. And no, it also hasn’t been made any more challenging outside of the time trials either. The graphics are seriously the ONLY real improvement that was made here. [7.5/10 for the original game, 7.5/10 for the remake]

OVERALL: Don’t get me wrong; Crash Bandicoot is a classic series of games, and this is a very well-made multi-platform re-texturing of them that fixes a large number of crippling issues with the first two installments and ironically ends up making them that much better than the third as a result...but eager anticipation for Crash’s now-almost-inevitable appearance in Smash 5 aside, this series’ time has quite frankly just plain come and gone. Unless VV is planning to do a director’s-cut Twinsanity remake some time in the near future, I really don’t see this franchise being able to go anywhere else universe-wise from here as far as actual games are concerned. Not a bad series of platformers by any means, but definitely an exceedingly run-of-the-mill and washed-up one to say the least.

In conclusion, 7/10 for the original trilogy; 8.1/10 for the N-Sane Trilogy


This was probably one of my favorite games of last year. It was nice just playing a challenging platformer on a Playstation console again. I'd say 8/10 is fair - cjWriter1997