From the moment I started playing Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, the nostalgic vibes of my younger days playing the Playstation classics resonated with me. Sure, you don’t have the same title screen, but the fall to N. Sanity Beach and the subsequent trudge through the Wumpa Islands are replicated perfectly… well… near enough – Vicarious Visions did flip around the layout of the second island, but I’m willing to let that slide. The same goes for the second and third game, with each feeling exactly like they did all those years ago. They’ve got a very impressive new lick of paint on them that sees all three games look the part for the modern day, but there’s no denying that each one will feel exactly like you remember it.
One thing I didn’t remember though was just how tricky each game is. I managed to beat all of these games when I was an inexperienced youngster, so the fact that I lost close to forty lives whilst working across the perilous ‘High Road’ level seemed baffling. It’s a satisfying difficulty though; the game never feels unfair, but rather designed to push all your platforming skills to their limit. It might get to a point where you need to stop playing, relax, and come back later though, especially when trying to earn some of those tricky gems – it’s easy to fall into a habit of making the same mistakes over and over again and see all those hard-earned lives dwindle away. Still, the challenge doesn’t stop the games being a hell of a lot of fun to play through and actually adds a real feeling of satisfaction to each success you achieve.
There’s a hell of a lot of content to play through too, with a huge selection of levels on offer across the three games. The variety of these levels is impressive; you’ve got both vertical and horizontal 3D platforming, levels where you’re outrunning dangerous boulders or giant bears, levels where you’re speeding through dangerous jungles whilst riding a hog, and even levels where you ride a motorbike across dangerous highways – that’s just scratching the surface too, with a host of extra levels that’ll challenge you in a variety of different ways. You’ve also got plenty of collectibles to find on each level, with hidden gems to earn as well as relics for those who manage to beat levels in quick times. There’s even the addition of an extra playable character with Crash’s sister Coco playable across all three games for the very first time.
One of the biggest questions was whether the old gameplay would hold up well today. There’s no doubting that the Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy is a lot of fun, but there are plenty of mechanics that do feel a little dated. There’s a predictability to both the level design and how enemies attack (especially in the boss battles) that a lot of modern games have surpassed these days, so there’s a definite old-school vibe that might have newcomers to the series wondering what was so special about the games to begin with. Old timers returning though will still enjoy the games as much as they did when they first played through them; sure, there’s a dated feel to the gameplay, but you’ll still have a thoroughly good time playing through the whole package and will even see yourself wanting more when you’re done with it all. Hopefully the success of the game might see a new Crash Bandicoot game release sooner than we think…
I may be a little biased thanks to my nostalgic love of the ‘Crash Bandicoot’ series, but all in all I think that Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is an absolutely fantastic package of games that’s definitely worth a purchase. There’s no doubting that some aspects of the games are a little dated these days, but it doesn’t stop them from being a hell of a lot of fun to play through over and over again. Whether you’re a newcomer to the franchise or a returning gamer, you’re going to have a lot of fun in the zany marsupial’s remastered classic adventures.
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Release Date: 27/06/2017
Format(s): Playstation 4