Sunday, December 29, 2019

Down Under - Crash Bandicoot (PS4) - Part 2

Our adventures in the Down Under continue, as we try to save our girlfriend(?) from an evil scientist. Also, we're a mutated bandicoot going up against mechanical sentries and other mutant animals.

Join us as we traverse old ruins, cross treacherous bridges, and fumble in the dark, and climb the castle walls. This is Crash Bandicoot.

As I replay the original Crash game as a part of the N Sane Trilogy, what sticks out to me is just how easy it is to identify the era it's from. The PS1 version was released in September 1996, and that's about when I would've guessed it came out if I had not looked it up.

Even with an updated presentation and quality-of-life improvements, there's a roughness to the way it plays that strongly invokes the feeling of that time in game design. Death can set players back quite a way, and any one mistake and be instantly lethal.

But beyond that, it's also very 90s in its aesthetic and attitude. Like Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash basically exists in antithesis to the softer, more subdued plumber from Nintendo, as highlighted by his famous commercial below. Crash meant to be the new, "cooler" platform mascot, something the kids could latch onto as edgier, without being too edgy.

It's as much a time capsule as it is a game, hearkening back to an nostalgia era from my childhood. The remake isn't perfect, but it captures the essence of what Crash Bandicoot was so that other people can go back and explore it in a historic context. It's telling that even with the analog stick at my disposal, I would much rather use the d-pad when playing because of the level design and mechanics.

And shout-out to Koala Kong, who is a very handsome marsupial.

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