In a generation of cheap cash grab remakes and remasters, the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a shining diamond in the dozen. In fact, it should be considered a prime example of truly remaking a nostalgia classic with modern hardware. We didn’t just get a new slab of paint or graphical clarity on old games. Instead, Vicarious Visions wanted to develop faithful remakes of Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot: Warped that even Naughty Dog would be impressed. Not only does it tickle the nostalgia for fans, but it’s a perfect entry for newcomers.
Ever since I was a kid, I always had a fondness for Crash Bandicoot. He was a funny and recognizable mascot, but just like Donkey Kong Country, the first game was too difficult for me to complete. Skipping Crash 2, the third game is the one I fell in love with growing up. I still remember the extremely fun stages (Coco and Pura stages on the Wall of China were the best) and boss fights from Crash 3 that my aunt and I played whenever I would visit her house. The N. Sane Trilogy is the pure definition of the saying, “A blast from the past,” with the games (specifically the first and third games) playing exactly as I remembered. There was always a certain charm to the characters and environments that are perfectly replicated in the collection, making it the definitive versions of the games.
With the updated audio and minor sound changes, the trilogy of Crash Bandicoot games faithfully create the core experience of the games, from the sound of spinning away Wumpa fruit to the catchy music that blends into the stages like they were a match made in heaven.
The new and improved cutscenes are fantastic, fully expressing the characters like we have never seen, especially Dr. Cortex. It was like watching a true to heart revival of my favorite cartoon. I just love how the openings for each game seamlessly lead you into the first stage, and it’s a jaw-dropper for old Crash fans to experience what they remember vs. what they see now. With some more polish and vibrant color on stages, the N. Sane Trilogy would have bested Ratchet and Clank on PS4 for gorgeous and colorful realistic settings.
Just to clarify, all three games do run at 30 fps at a 1440p resolution, despite the marketing ploy of the trilogy being in “fur-K” (4k resolution). One would figure the games could run at 60 fps, but I assume the developers wanted to stay true to the originals and opted for 30 fps. While that is admirable, I at least would have appreciate the option to choose between 30 and 60. Also, the game has surprisingly long loading times (10 – 15 seconds in between levels and the main hub, 20 seconds for the title screen…).
Gameplay is emphasized more than the simple narrative told, and the trilogy shines in that regard. Platforming was tight, distinct and different from other games in the genre of that era, and it’s no different nearly 20 years later. Crash Bandicoot is still a fun game to start and gets obnoxiously tougher in later stages because of its platforming. It’s the barest of them all with the foundation of platforming at its core: run and jump. Maybe spin here and there while you’re at it. It’s when Crash 2 and Crash 3 come in that give you more abilities such as slide, crawl, and body slam that makes going through stages more fun. These abilities may sound basic, but they really do up the fun factor. Crash 3 likes to give variety as a platforming game by offering motor vehicle stages. These stages were unique and different when it was released back then, but they don’t hold up as much now. In fact, they can be the most frustrating levels of Crash: Warped. ESPECIALLY those damn motorcycle races.
So if you’re wondering, yes all three games are super fun platforming experiences. They are also products of their time despite the modern upgrade. We do have updated controls and tweaks to accommodate analog support, added features like a new save system and being able to play as Coco in all three Crash games, but a gamer can easily tell these were old games made new again. That’s not a bad thing I should add because it’s what Vicarious Visions was aiming for to please long time fans. Despite a some minor issues and outdated gameplay elements, they definitely succeeded in remaking classic games that defined a console. From every frustrating empty jump to the triumph of perfecting a stage in a time trial, it’s the whole package and worth the play.
Crash 1 may have inconsistent difficulty and seem bare bones, but it's still fun to play. Crash 2 and Crash 3 were some of the best games the PlayStation had to offer, period. The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a great collection of fantastic games with an impressive upgrade for old fans.