The 90s were an amazing time in console gaming for a whole bunch of reasons. For me however it was most notable for the rise of first real platform challenger to the console kings of Nintendo and Sega, the PlayStation. Now Nintendo had Mario and Sega had Sonic so it was not a surprise that another iconic gaming character would make a name for itself on PlayStation and for many that became a certain spinning marsupial named Crash Bandicoot. From the same developers who would go on to create award winning franchises in Uncharted and The Last of Us, Crash Bandicoot not only helped put Naughty Dog on the gaming map but also a big part in the rise of PlayStation as a gaming brand. After PS4 fans got to enjoy this remastered collection it only made sense to spread the love over to both Nintendo Switch and Xbox One and the wait was definitely worth it
Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy is a remastered collection of the first three stand alone Crash games with his original game and two sequels Cortex Strikes back and Warped. For those not familiar with Crash, the first game tells the story of how evil scientist Dr Neo Cortex has been conducting genetic experiments on animals in order to use them to take over the world. However Crash escapes and Cortex immediately orders him to be hunted down before Crash can free his friends and in particular his girlfriend Coco. Gameplay will see Crash spinning his way to defeat enemies and smash crates in order to collect Wumpa fruits, extra lives and the brilliant Aku Aku masks which will grant Crash invincibility after collecting three of them. The first game really was an evolution in traditional side view platforming games with a fully 3D view of Crash with levels designed to make the player go on reactions and timing to get through the levels.
Visually this was impressive back in the day but the remastered has really brought the series kicking and screaming into current gen consoles and Crash is looking better then ever with his remake. I loved how the opening screens when you start the game up has a fun animation of old school Crash putting original crates into a machine for them to come out all modern and shiny looking before being very Crash and falling into the machine himself before popping out all super cute and fluffy looking. To see these original games looking so amazing good in this collection definitely puts a smile on my face. Levels are so vibrant and colourful that just taking a moment to absorb it all when you first starting playing the N Sane Trilogy will not be a waste of your time. Within minutes I was transported back to the same experience I had with the original games as the musical score and audio combined with the new visuals took me back in time to when I first fell in love with Crash. Vicarious Visions has done an incredible job in bringing this series back to life and better than ever.
Of course more than anything it is the gameplay that really made the Crash Bandicoot series stand out and boy it is just as unforgiving today as it was back in the 90s. Judgement and precise timing are key to getting through the levels as Crash has to jump over gaps, enemies and avoid traps to keep progressing. Thankfully the difficulty has not been tempered for this remastered collection and it is just as much of a challenge now as it was originally. Just taking the first level and boy did I misjudge those first jumps and was instantly reminded how tough 90s platformers really were. It is really all about finding the rhythm of the level to help with the speed and timing of jumps but you also have to try and find all the breakable crates on the level in order to 100% it and boy can it be vexing to find out you reached the end only to discover you missed a couple of crates on that run. Being 3D and having the camera so close to Crash is one of the reasons that helped it stand out from the standard side view that Sonic and Mario games used and even now it still works just as well as it did originally.
It is that faithful recreation of all the original aspects that made this series so loved that elevates this remastered collection above others because it sticks to what made it so iconic to begin with. Some tweaks have been made here and there but overall it is just like playing the originals albeit far prettier and filled with nostalgia satisfaction. Fan service is a big reason for loving this collection but the intelligent way in which more modern elements have been added just polishes this up even more such as Time trials and an updated checkpoint and save system. You can also play as Coco Bandicoot instead if you prefer and she behaves and plays exactly like Crash. With three games to work through there is just so much content to enjoy and it has that replayability boost from needed to beat your own performance on each level that just brings you back to it time and time again.
For me this is exactly why taking old school classics and rebuilding them for the current generations of consoles and player is so completely worth while. Some remasters simply rely on the nostalgia factor that some players will have for them only to have the original flaws shine through making such games best left in the past rather than trying to cash in on them again. But with Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy what you have is not only a return of a true instant classic in gaming but a celebration of the series that also serves a reminder that some game genres were simply just that good back in the day. With the Spyro the Dragon remastered collection out soon as well, these 90s classics really are showing what the more modern platformer games are missing.
This really is a must have in your collection for so many reasons and for those on both Nintendo Switch and Xbox One the wait has been long but worth it. This is a collection that has clearly been lovingly worked on to highlight the greatness of the series but with enough restraint to just focus on its core brilliance with just a sprinkle of more modern day gaming elements that boosts but doesn’t hinder the experience.
If you have yet to experience the joy and close to controller breaking testing of your patience than look no further. Crash Bandicoot is every bit the iconic gaming character he once was and thanks to the N Sane Trilogy, his legacy is now timeless.