Sunday 1 March 2015

Crash Bandicoot (PS1 review)

Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Released: 1996

Crash Bandicoot is a platform game by Naughty Dog who later went on to develop The Last of Us and the Uncharted series (PS3).

The first thing I noticed is how bright and colourful the graphics are; each location is full of personality and Crash has some excellent, fluid animation. There's a good mixture of levels in here too including 2D and 3D stages as well as areas where you need to avoid huge enemies while constantly running towards the screen. One of the problems I experienced was depth perception; the camera is zoomed in too low making it tricky to judge distances between platforms. This results in many deaths as you struggle to accurately position your character. The game has some tough platforming and lots of trial and error is required to complete later stages. This leads me to my main gripe; you can only save your game in particular levels and you have to collect all three hidden items in one area to get this opportunity. Once you have these you'll get access to a Bonus Stage where you have to perform some difficult jumps to actually reach the save point. If you fall down or die you're sent back into the main level and you'll need to play several more stages before you're given another chance. If you lose all your lives it will load your last save meaning you'll frequently lose 30 minutes of hard work! It isn't an overly long game at just 31 levels but the punishing difficulty and annoying save points mean that the length is artificially raised as you replay the same sections over and over again. Weirdly, the bosses don't put up much of a fight and it's really not worth your time to see the bland ending. The SFX are nice but the music is lackluster with no memorable tunes.

If you enjoy trial and error gameplay you might enjoy Crash Bandicoot but for me it was like banging my head against a brick wall. The core mechanics are great but rarely did I find myself enjoying the experience due to its glaring flaws with camera positioning and save points.

Random trivia: Bizarrely, the code name used during development was Sonic's Ass Game as the developers found it amusing that the camera was positioned behind Crash!

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