Tag Archives: Crash Bandicoot

Scouse Gamer 88 Crash Team Racing Header

Crash Team Racing (PlayStation)

Developer(s) – Naughty Dog

Publisher(s) – Sony Computer Entertainment

Director – Jason Rubin

Producer – Grady Hunt

PEGI – 3

 

Developed to compete with the various different quirky racing games that had been released prior, such as Mario Kart 64, Diddy Kong Racing, and F-Zero X, Crash Team Racing was Naughty Dog’s attempt at taking one of Sony’s then-flagship franchises into a familiar, yet popular direction. Though it could be easily seen as a mere means to increase sales of the PlayStation, the fact of the matter is that this game remains one of the best games released towards the console’s later shelf life.

 

Graphics – 8/10

Although the visuals are about the same level of quality as the third Crash Bandicoot game from a technical standpoint, the game itself is just as conceptually diverse as any entry in the series. Each course is based on certain levels of the original trilogy; much like most other kart racing spin-offs contain levels reminiscent of their respective mythology. Unlike in Diddy Kong Racing, each boss doesn’t have their own special stage and their individual races simply take place in a previous track within their respective tournaments, which makes the game less diverse in comparison, but it doesn’t cause too much of a problem.

 

Gameplay – 9/10

The game more or less has the same amount of substance as the likes of Diddy Kong Racing; arguably more so. Aside from there being an adventure mode, there is, of course, multiplayer, time trial mode, and a plethora of unlockables including new tracks, new characters, and even in-race perks. What separates it from its Nintendo counterparts, however, is its level of challenge, as most of the boss races, in particular, can be quite difficult to win; namely Pinstripe’s race.

 

Controls – 10/10

Thankfully, there are no issues with the game’s control scheme. I say thankfully because there were other development companies and publishers who tried to create racing games with varying degrees of success. The most prominent example of which is the game Sonic R for the Sega Saturn, which had unbearable controls; most probably since it involved on-foot racing as opposed to kart racing, but working on a very similar control scheme to that of kart racing games. But the control scheme in this game is as fluent as any other excellent kart racing game.

 

Originality – 6/10

The game more or less plays out like a carbon copy of Diddy Kong racing, since it features an open world and an adventure mode. However, I believe it shouldn’t lose out on too many points because of this, since not only did it make for one of the most immersing racing experiences on the PlayStation, but it’s only one of the two prominent open-world racing games that in truth have been developed ever since; at least that I’m aware of. I believe the genre could do with making a resurgence, but until that happens, this game will be about as unique as it could have possibly been then and could possibly be now.

 

Happii

Happii

Overall, despite deriving a heavy amount of influence from many games like it, Crash Team Racing remains a wonderful game to this day, and would highly recommend it to anyone looking to explore a classic. It may not have been the first game of its kind, but it’s certainly one of the better ones.

Score

33/40

8/10 (Very Good)

Scouse Gamer 88 Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Header

Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (PlayStation 2, GameCube & Xbox)

Developer(s) – Traveller’s Tales & Eurocom

Publisher(s) – Universal Interactive Studios, Vivendi Universal Games, Konami & Sierra Entertainment

Director – John Burton

Producer – Daniel Suarez

PEGI – 3

 

Developed at about the mid-point of the sixth generation, and originally envisioned as something much more than what it turned out to be, Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, to me, spelled the downfall of the entire series, as it failed to move with the times, and simply gave more of what fan of the series had already grown accustomed to.

 

Graphics – 6/10

The first complaint I have about it is that the visuals, even though the game was ported to more advanced systems than the original PlayStation, seem to have been considerably downgraded; as if things have not been presented in as great detail as Crash Bandicoot 3 was. Facial expressions of characters seem less realistic, and the settings and design remain largely the same as most other previous games in the series. Even if players didn’t find the gameplay up to scratch, they wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the expected improvements in visual quality, which was the whole point of redeveloping the game’s original plan in the first place.

 

Gameplay – 6/10

Aside from the graphics not being up to scratch, the gameplay was also severely below par; especially compared to how the developers originally imagined the game. The Wrath of Cortex was initially intended by Mike Cerny to be a 3D open-world game similar to that of Jak & Daxter or Ratchet and Clank. The problem was, however, that due to the publishing rights being juggled around left, right and center, Cerny and Sony ultimately fell out with Universal Interactive, and different developers were brought on board. Alas, what they came up with was yet another game playing out like the original trilogy with considerably less redeeming value, other than it’s slightly more challenging. It’s especially tragic, as I think Cerny’s original plan could have possibly helped to bring the series into the next generation of gaming much more effectively.

 

Controls – 10/10

As the gameplay is more or less identical to the original three Crash Bandicoot games, there would have been even greater problems, in my opinion, had there been issues with the controls. Thankfully, this was the one thing the developers managed to hit the nail on the head with. It plays out like a traditional Crash Bandicoot game, but the established mechanics allow for the inclusion of a much greater challenge than the original games.

 

Lifespan – 4/10

Lasting around 4 hours, it only lasts as long as the original three games, which especially for the time, was considered to be severely below the industry standard, as open-world games were beginning to take precedent, with the arrival of the three Grand Theft Auto games and other and better platformers, such as Ratchet & Clank. The developers were very much behind the times when it came to making this game and had not the imagination and artistic drive that Mike Cerny had, and so the game failed in most aspects, and therefore, there wouldn’t have been many calls for a game like this to last any longer than it did.

 

Storyline – 5/10

The story is also a mere continuation of the template that the previous three games followed. Crash must collect another 25 crystals before Dr. Cortex, who has created a bulked-out doppelganger of Crash named Crunch, who in turn, is assisted in battle by four destructive masks known as the Elementals. Aside from the plot being extremely unoriginal, the voice acting is also particularly below par; despite the fact that it has a pretty standout cast, with actors such as R. Lee Ermey, Mark Hamill, and Corey Burton. The opening scene where the stable villains of the series converse are also particularly cringe-worthy in my opinion.

 

Originality – 0/10

When Cerny left the project, the new developers brought in simply stripped the original plan of all its originality and simply made a game the same as most other titles in the series. There was nothing special about this game, and nothing added to make it stand out from even the original trilogy. There would be other games in the series, which would provide a somewhat interesting twist on gameplay, but to me, this was the point whereby Crash Bandicoot lost its status as one of the most recognizable characters in gaming and has been left to languish in obscurity ever since.

 

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Happii

Overall, Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex was reduced from being a potentially excellent game to a bland and largely forgettable experience. It’s regrettable that history went in the direction that it did, and the rumor that Sony plan to release a new game in the series has since been confirmed, then the end result will have to be a much greater game than this.

Score

31/60

5/10 (Far Below Average)

Scouse Gamer88 Crash Bandicoot 3 Header

Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (PlayStation)

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.

 

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Happii

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.

Score

48/60

8/10 (Very Good)

Scouse Gamer 88 Crash Bandicoot 2 Header

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (PlayStation & PlayStation 3)

Developer(s) – Naughty Dog

Publisher(s) – Sony Computer Entertainment

Director – Jason Rubin

Producer – Mark Cerny

PEGI – 7

 

Following the overwhelming success of the first game, a sequel to Crash Bandicoot was inevitable, and hopes were high; Naughty Dog didn’t disappoint, as Crash Bandicoot 2 was met with many favorable reviews from critics and also went on to become one of the best-selling PlayStation games of all time. Though I think the series would go on to reach greater heights in the future, the second game is a slight improvement on the first for a fair few reasons.

 

Graphics – 8.5/10

Inevitably, the first improvement on the first is the visuals. Though they’re about as diverse as in the first game, with it taking place in many different environments, such as jungles, ice caverns, and even sewers, as the developers wanted the game to have more of a gritty feel to it at one stage, the technical side of things was greatly improved, as there is a lot more textural detail added to both the characters and environments, with experiments being made with things such as lightmapping.

 

Gameplay – 8.5/10

The gameplay is also a very positive departure from the original, as not only does it feel less linear with the inclusion of various overworlds, which the player can explore at will depending on how far into it they have progressed, but there are also many more side quests to complete, and even an improved ending for doing all of them. It’s not quite as radical a departure as Super Mario 64 was to the rest of the Super Mario series at that point, but it would go on to change the formula of the series for the better.

 

Controls – 10/10

As in the first, there are no issues with the controls whatsoever. Still being one of the better 3D platformers for the PlayStation at the time, Naughty Dog was able to rise above many developers for the console and make a control scheme that worked to adapt to the controller’s lack of an analog stick.

 

Lifespan – 7/10

The second game can take as long as the first if rushed through, but if the player wants to do everything, it may end up taking around 10 hours to complete, which for a semi-linear platformer, isn’t too bad. Along with Symphony of the Night, this game would be instrumental in establishing that other games of its kind can be made to last longer than what was the industry standards for platforming games at the time.

 

Storyline – 6/10

Whilst on his way to retrieve a new battery for his sister Coco’s computer, Crash is then kidnapped by his arch-nemesis Dr. Cortex, who requests that he help him to recover 25 crystals under the pretense that Crash can use them to prevent an unknown impending doom. Whilst it’s still nowhere near the standard of storytelling that Naughty Dog would later become renowned for, it was still something different from what was normal at the time, which made it unique from not only other games but also from its predecessor.

 

Originality – 7/10

By changing the format as radically as the developers did, they also kept the series particularly fresh and made this game stand out amongst even the great plethora of 3D platformers that were being released at the time. It felt a lot more open than the first despite overall linearity, which was most probably the bulk of the challenge they faced without them having to make a carbon copy of Super Mario 64.

 

Happii

Happii

Overall, Crash Bandicoot 2 was a massive improvement on the first game, and one of the more entertaining gaming experiences on the original PlayStation. Though I think the series would get even better with the introduction of the third game, this was certainly a worthy sequel.

Score

47.5/60

7.5/10 (Good)

Scouse Gamer 88 Crash Bandicoot Header

Crash Bandicoot (PlayStation)

Developer(s) – Naughty Dog

Publisher(s) – Sony Computer Entertainment

Distributor(s) – Universal Interactive Studios

Director – Jason Rubin

Producer – Dave Siller

PEGI – 7

 

Released in a bid to compete with both Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64, and the subsequently canceled Sonic Xtreme for the Sega Saturn, Crash Bandicoot was an attempt to establish a stable mascot upon the advent of Sony’s first foray into console gaming. It was met with both critical and commercial success and would lead to the development of two sequels and a spin-off kart racing game before the developmental rights were acquired by Traveller’s Tales, but the first four games in the series were, and always will remain must-have titles for the original PlayStation, and in my opinion, it started off very positively.

 

Graphics – 8/10

Though it may not have aged particularly well for a fifth-generation game, the strong points concerning the game’s visuals lie in the amount of diversity in level design, which is positively comparable to any game in either the Mario or Sonic series; one of many factors making it a strong competitor against the two. The boss designs are also wonderfully varied, ranging from a pair of mad scientists, a potoroo gangster, an overweight tribal chief, and an insane kangaroo in a straitjacket.

 

Gameplay – 8/10

Similar to Donkey Kong Country in its map system and progression, although it is indeed a pretty linear game, it’s still very enjoyable to play. But what separates the first game from the sequels it would eventually spawn is in its pretty stern level of challenge. But much to my delight, it does this without being too unforgiving. At first, I thought this game could have possibly been seen as a 3D throwback to the likes of Castlevania and Mega Man on the NES, but thankfully, this game’s difficulty isn’t that harsh.

 

Controls – 10/10

From what I found whilst playing this game, there were no problems with the controls, which at the time felt like a breath of fresh air, since many 3D games in the PlayStation’s early shelf life suffered greatly, due to the initial lack of an analog stick on the controller in contrast to the Nintendo 64 controller. I guess it’s because the game was kept so linear in its path, and throughout most levels, that the controls scheme would have been easier to undertake, but I think any attempt to take the game in any more dimensions than what it was taken in would have led to disaster.

 

Lifespan – 7/10

To rush through the game, it would most probably take just under 2 hours, but if 100% completion is desired, then I’d imagine it would take about 4, which for a linear platformer isn’t too bad. The original Super Mario Bros game could be completed within a much shorter space of time than that, and there were no side quests like there are in the original Crash Bandicoot game. This game was certainly a sign of standards in games in general increasing, and the PlayStation’s library would only get better from there.

 

Storyline – 5/10

Although the gameplay isn’t entirely as made in the same vein as Mega Man, I found the initial story was, in the sense that the plot is very similar. Crash Bandicoot is at first a prisoner and lab rat of both Dr. Neo Cortex and Dr. Nitrus Brio, who manages to escape only to try and free an unnamed female bandicoot that takes Crash’s place in the two scientist’s experiments. At first, the series essentially followed the same trope as any game in the Super Mario series; the white knight resolving to save the damsel in distress from the unrelenting villain. And for that reason, I think the series started out very primitively and blandly in terms of narrative.

 

Originality – 7/10

In terms of conceptual design in particular, and in its inclusion of a couple of side quests thrown in for good measure, Crash Bandicoot stands out greatly among most other games released during the infancy of 3D platformers, and in all honesty, the original trilogy still holds up to this day. As I pointed out, it could have done with having a bit more of a decent plot in order to differentiate it even further from the like of Mario and Sonic, but this was developed in an era when games were relatively light on story, and before it would become as important a factor as it is these days, so I believe it shouldn’t lose too many marks because of that.

 

Happii

Happii

In summation, the first Crash Bandicoot is a classic PlayStation game, and I would recommend it to any fan of the genre, and by proxy, I would recommend the next three games released in the series. It may have had a couple of flaws, but it was very much a question of trial and error, and I think Naughty Dog answered that question in style.

Score

45/60

7.5/10 (Good)