After years of searching and sleuthing I finally found the first Crash Bandicoot game for the Playstation, pretty much the first game I now own in the series that wasn’t a Crash racing game (Crash Nitro Kart for the GBA) and it’s platinum so you know it’s the dog’s chew toy. I’ve played bits of the sequels at other people’s houses (a black guy’s got to do what a black guy’s got to do) and enjoyed the hell out of them. Even though I brought it for £7, yeah pretty steep for a Playstation game nowadays but well worth it. Released in 1996 and developed by Naughty Dog, Crash Bandicoot became one of the famous 90’s mascots for the Playstation, spawning many sequels and eventually setting off to other consoles.
Then Naughty Dog kicked him out only to be picked up by Sierra where his name was used and abused (What I’m trying to say is Crash of the Titans and Crash Mind over Mutant sucked) but all the crash games developed by Naughty Dog are the dog’s peanut butter. You can keep your Uncharted (number 2 is brilliant) and The Last of Us (which hasn’t been released yet but so awesome, I MUST HAVE IT!!!), but never forget that Crash Bandicoot pretty much put you on the map and fans will never forgive you for abandoning it. But anyway…
An evil scientist named Dr. Neo Cortex who owns three islands just south-east of australia, does experiments on animals and kidnapps a bandicoot and does experiments on him (I wonder if he was testing the animals for make-up) and transforms him into the famous anthronomorphic character we’ve come to know. But Cortex decides to throw him out because he was unworhy of being in Cortex’s animal-based soldiers. Oh and there’s a female bandicoot called Tawna, no one cares so let’s move on.
The game is set on three islands with multiple levels on them each as you can see on the map (can’t see it then play it to experience the wonderful map full of treasure, well, mostly 2D rendered apples). You move Crash with the directonal pad or analog stick if you have that analog controller (because it is necessary to have it when playing most playstation games), but unlike the sequels, crash is limited to the usual jump and the spin attack and that’s it (I know I shouldn’t compare the game to the sequels yet but this isn’t very memorable than the sequels so this is just a reminder that there was a first game).
You can destroy boxes which give you wumpa fruit, collect 100 and you get a life (same old shtick again), some boxes give you crash lives, you can collect a Witch Doctor’s Mask named Aku Aku, collect one to get shielded from an enemy once, two masks for two and a third to be invincible for a short period of time. There’s the TNTs, checkpoints and much more boxes (We Love Boxes! Boxes Are The Priority!!!…something like that).
The levels are mostly set in jungles and caves, you start with the 3D levels going from a to b then there’s the 3D platforming levels then you’re riding a beast avoiding enemies and spikes then there are a few bosses to go with it. I like it when there is variety, especially in platform games.
Also unlike the sequels, the game is HARD, mostly because you have to time jumps, find tactical ways of defeating some enemies and there are steep places in which it’s easy to fall, and the fact that the camera is always placed on Crash (the game was first called ‘sonic’s arse game’ for a reason) and in some places it’s hard to find out where to jump without falling, but I feel that for this game’s case it’s just nitpicking because having a big difficulty in a 3D platform game is a great challenge.
In addition to this you can challenge yourself to break every crate in every level without dying to get gems, in order to save the game, you have to complete levels 100% or to get tokens with the face of Tawna, Dr N. Cortex or Dr. N. Brio, collecting three of each will take you to the bonus stages, these are not in all levels so it can be annoying when you lose all your lives in a later level and go back two levels to where you originally saved so completing the bonus stages is pretty much a liability.
Overall it’s a challenging but brilliant experience, I know the graphics are very dated but the sequels got better which I will cover on a later date. Controls are good but can be frustrating in later levels, trying to complete this game 100% is a headache, but you know what, ‘CHALLENGE ACCEPTED’, if have a child who has a COD complex then force them to play this and tell them what you had to endure. It might be the most dated game in the series but it’s the one that launched a huge franchise.
You can get it for Playstation and Playstation Network.