Developer(s) – Naughty Dog
Publisher(s) – Sony Computer Entertainment
Director – Jason Rubin
Producer(s) – David Bowry, Grady Hunt & Shimitzu
PEGI – 7
Representing the artistic apex of the entire series to me personally, Crash Bandicoot 3, the tenth best-selling PlayStation game of all time, firmly established the potential of Sony’s second-party developers and was instrumental in leading to Sony’s eventual dominance in the fifth generation of gaming. Having played through this game many times, it’s no wonder to me why.
Graphics – 8.5/10
In terms of the overall concept, the visuals are as compelling and as diverse as many games produced by the likes of Nintendo and Sega at the time. Ranging from Egyptian ruins to medieval landscapes to futuristic cities, Crash Bandicoot even excelled in the amount of visual diversity of its predecessors, as well as including some pretty challenging boss fights along the way, such as the battles with N.Tropy and Dingodile. Because of these aspects alone, Crash was established at this time as a worthy competitor to the likes of Mario and Sonic.
Gameplay – 8.5/10
As far as 3D platformers on the original PlayStation went, Crash 3 was by far one of the best. Sony had a rough road to go with releasing decent 3D titles, having failed on an artistic level with the likes of Bubsy 3D and Croc: Legend of the Gobbos. But by the time this game came out, and by the time the analog stick had been added to the Playstation’s controller, most issues had been addressed. The gameplay in Crash 3 is also extremely diverse as well as entertaining, with players having to take on a wide array of challenges, such as plane-flying sequences, car-racing sequences, boat-riding sequences, and animal-riding sequences in order to clear certain levels. There are also quite a few sidequests for such a linear game, which by the same token, adds a lot of replay-ability to it; especially since certain abilities acquired throughout the course of the game are required to fulfill certain criteria in it.
Controls – 10/10
As I said, a lot of issues with 3D platforming controls found in previous PlayStation games were address upon the release of the likes of Crash 3 and Spyro the Dragon. With Crash 3, Naughty Dog had looked at all the innovation that Nintendo had made by adding the analog stick to the Nintendo 64’s controller and they decided to follow suit; and it paid off to an immense extent.
Lifespan – 7/10
Though it can take less than 3 hours to rush through the game, it can take 15 to 20 to complete it to 100%, which for a linear game is fairly impressive. Though the greater artistic achievements of the fifth generation of gaming would, in my opinion, be attained by the Nintendo 64’s open-world 3D platforming titles, such as Super Mario 64 and Donkey Kong 64, Crash 3 was not far behind for what developers had to offer at the time. This game is just a very good example of an early linear 3D game, and I wish more developers creating games in the same genre would be a little more spontaneous.
Storyline – 6/10
The story of Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped involves Crash, his sister Coco and their guardian mask Aku Aku once again having to save the world from the evil Dr. Cortex; this time around armed with a time machine, more menacing henchmen, and his own guardian mask, Uka Uka. The game’s story is a little bit basic, but it’s just as compelling and as appealing as the likes of Mario and Sonic are in terms of story for the most part, and that is by no means a bad thing. The deciding factor being that it was difficult, even for the time, to come up with as fully cohesive a concept as the two listen to examples, and though in my opinion Insomniac Games would come up with a better example, Spyro the Dragon, Naughty Dog did a fairly good job the way I see it.
Originality – 8/10
Although Crash Bandicoot 1 & 2 were instrumental in setting strong standards in 3D platforming on the PlayStation, Crash Bandicoot 3 perfected and revolutionized the overall formula by including a greater amount of content and a greater level of substance in gameplay than the first two games.
In summation, Crash Bandicoot 3 is a must-have for any retro gamer, and I thoroughly recommend it as one of the best games on the original PlayStation. Though Spyro would emerge as a more worthy challenger to the success of Mario and Sonic, in my opinion, Crash Bandicoot was Naughty Dog’s greatest commodity at the time, and it still holds up to this day.