Sunday, December 22, 2019

Down Under - Crash Bandicoot (PS4) - Part 1

With the dragons rescued, and the Dragon Realms are at peace for a time. So for now, Spyro and Sparx deserve a much needed rest.

Let us set our sights somewhere else... like the Australian outback. There, a mad scientist duo is hatching a plan for world domination via an army of mutated animals. One experiment went wrong, and that may just be the one that brings their whole plan crumbling down.

We're going Down Under with Crash Bandicoot.

In case it wasn't clear, this won't be the same walk in the park that Spyro was. Crash Bandicoot was infamous for its difficulty way back when. Though the N Sane Trilogy version implements many quality of life improvements, it's doesn't change the core level design and layout.

Unlike Spyro, where we could take several hits before eventually dying, Crash is extremely fragile. He has to find masks to protect him, where Spyro starts each new life with Sparx fully charged and ready to keep him safe. But even with a mask, most hazards are related to falls and drowning, which cannot be protected against.

And this is in part due to the vastly different design philosophies around both franchises. Spyro levels tend to be marked by wide open expanses that players are tasked with exploring every nook and cranny of to find every last secret and complete every challenge. It's less about precision and more about finding the right path to arrive at the destination.

On the other hand, Crash requires significantly more precision in it's platforming. Timing is critical, as is the ability to judge distances, and one false move will often lead directly to death. Part of this comes from the fact that the first two Crash games predate the first Spryo, and so there were lessons learned in the years since. But even then, there's just a fundamental separation between the two design philosophies.

This is something I hope to explore more as we progress through both trilogies.

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