Crash Bandicoot (1996): Remembering The good old "Crash" days.

Image credits: TVtropes
Just the mention of the name Crash Bandicoot will stir your fond memories of the good old days of the ‘90s. I know many of you enjoyed your childhood around that time. Let us take a trip back and look at what made Crash Bandicoot Video game tick with the teens and adults at the time.

Crash Bandicoot game was unveiled at the right time when PlayStation was fighting for market share with giants like Nintendo and SEGA. Nintendo had their flagship Mascots like Mario and Donkey Kong, and SEGA had Sonic. At the time, PlayStation had nothing to compete at that level.

All this changed in 1996 when the now famous, crazy, and cautious Bandicoot landed in Crash Bandicoot, which was the title of the game. It started as the conventional 2D version of the time but now has evolved to a 3D platform. Mario 3D and Nintendo 64 were not a match to the Crash Bandicoot 3D version. Crash Bandicoot was an instant success, selling over 6 million units and was loved worldwide. It became a phenomenon part of the gaming industry.

A brief history of Crash Bandicoot Video game.
Let us take a quick look at the genesis of the Crash Bandicoot video game. It was developed by Naughty Dog and released for the PlayStation by Sony Computer Entertainment. The game was released in 1996 in North America and UK.

Crash Bandicoot was the first in the chronicles of the Crash Bandicoot series. The game features Crash in his efforts to avoid Brio and Cortex’s attempts to conquer the planet and to save his girlfriend Tawna.

Crash Bandicoot was received well back in the ‘90s by gamers who praised the graphics and unique visualization styles of the game. Others criticized its controls and thought it was not creative enough. Either way, crash Bandicoot became the eighth bestselling PlayStation video game with massive sales in America.

In 2017, it was released for PlayStation 4 and adapted to other platforms in 2018 as part of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.

Crash Bandicoot is a platform game where players control Crash, the leading character, as he goes through multiple levels in a row to advance. The crash is capable of beating enemies by either jumping or using a spinning attack. Crash loses a life if he hits an enemy or obstacle or falls into a deep pit.

Crash can defend himself by choosing Aku Aku masks that protect him from an opponent or obstruction, but not pits or other deadly obstacles.

Crash can keep two masks at a time and will achieve temporary invincibility when a third mask is obtained. The game ends when the player has no more lives, you can earn more lives by finding additional life items or collecting 100 Wumpa fruits.

Diverse types of crates, mostly with items like Wumpa Fruits and Aku Aku masks that can be broken by jumping on or spinning on them, are scattered through all levels. Additional types of crates include checkpoints, which allow players to restart progress after they lose a life.

Some crates, like steel platform crates, are intangible and require the player to touch an exclamation panel to tangibly transform them into physical picking. If the player completes a level with all crates broken without dying, they can get a gem.

When the player can gather enough bonus icons, they will be twisted to a Bonus Level, which allows players to save their progress, either on a memory card or by using their password when it is completed.

The Crash Bandicoot Storyline

The story features Doctor Neo Cortex and his assistant doctor Nitro Brio who used the Evolvo-Eray to turn the animals on the islands into animals of superhuman strength and high intelligence. The story is set in the Southeastern Australian archipelago.

They are experimenting with Crash, a quiet bandicoot that Cortex wants to make it a soldier when It grows up. Despite Brio’s warnings, Cortex subjected Crash to Cortex Vortex to control him. The Vortex did not work and made his escape.

After Crash left, Cortex prepares a female bandicoot called Tawna for the same experiment. Crash decides to try and rescue Tawna from Cortex. He will have to do this by defeating Cortex. From the sandy beaches of N. Sanity Island, Crash crosses the island and he is confronted by enemies like Papu Papu, tribal leader, the deranged Kangaroo Ripper Roo, The Maascular Koala Kong, and the Gangster Pinstripe Potoroo.

Crash defeats Brio; the castle lab caught fire during the battle. Crash fled to Cortex’s airship, where he meets Cortex as the castle continues to burn. Cortex hits him with a plasma rifle, but Crash deflects the projectiles that made Cortex to fall from the sky.

Tawna holds onto Crash, and they both flee Cortex’s burning airship castle.

Watching the Crash Bandicoot follow-through gameplay on YouTube got my nostalgia juices flowing. It reminded me of Naughty Dog, who was at the time well known for the uncharted series, had planned to publish a sequel of Crash Bandicoot.

He achieved this in 1997. Which was a significant step since the development of games takes a long time. The sequel idea was meant to help in the expansion of the popularity of his predecessor and to expand it to new horizons.

Two Sequels were released at the time:

  • Crash Bandicoot 2: The Wrath of Cortex, and
  • Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped
Naughty Dog’s emphasis was on the second series, as the biggest changes had taken place at the time. The second game picks seconds after the first game ends, as Cortex (the villain) falls to Earth after overcoming him. He landed harder in a cave that is lit up by purple crystal and an evil grin.

What’s’ New?

Cortex’s visual is one of the first improvements made to the Crash Bandicoot Video game. In contrast, Cortex seems (for now) more polished; it has a more human-like look. Crash, on the other hand, has also been upgraded. His arms, which hang lankly on his side, are now more bent and seem more active. Crash appears to be more hunched and looks like he is joining a brawl or adventure. It also looks like he has grown from an unknown figure into a more stable creature. This signifies PlayStation’s creativity and their innovative abilities.

Crash Bandicoot Gameplay

The way Crash is controlled in the new games has been somewhat modified. It is hard to identify the specific tweaks form the first game. In the updated version, Crash was a little floatier and accommodating compared to the original version.

In the new game, Crash is seen to have new skills like sliding and belly flop. These skills are necessary to complete the game and deal with the enemies; at the same time, it helps you gain access to hidden levels and areas.

About the new game, jumping is combined with sliding. This has helped Crash to gain distance and height at the same time. If combined with a spin in the top of the leap, it gives him even more height. It also means that crash can now discover more, unattainable boxes can now be opened, and the gamers enjoy the complete gaming experience.

Crash Bandicoot levels

As you may have predicted, different levels were also increased in the new Crash Bandicoot game compared to the original. However, the initial themes were retained. For instance, the opening level “Turtle Woods” from game one shares themes that are similar to “Crash Bandicoot N. Sanity Beach.”

In the new game, the pretty little polar bear has been improved, doesn’t looks like a hog; it was in the original version. Plus, in the latest version, he becomes a character by himself.

Entry to levels is another improvement, with Crash traveling physically around each of the three islands. In the first game, you had a wide angle view of the Wumpa Islands (also called Tasmanian Islands). In the second game, this was changed by adding “Warp rooms,” each of which featured five stages.

I prefer the look and feel of the first game because it made you think you were advancing progressively and moving closer to your arch-enemy, Cortex.

Crash Bandicoot Characters

Let us take a look at Cortex. This was my favorite character in the game. He was the most developed of all characters in terms of depth and personal attributes. He would first appear as a friend and convinced you to work for him through a hologram.

Then a new character Coco (your sister), tries to warn you, but the message was always unclear. Back in the ‘90s, I was just a kid and was confused an intrigued. Dr. N Brio would appear when you have just won your first challenge and gotten your first gem.1600710685993.png

The previous right-hand man of Cortex on the original game was an employee who wants revenge, and you can help him by collecting the gems. This creates uncertainty; you will be left wondering who you should trust.

This is an excellent example of what a good game should do. Expanding the scope of the original characters and enhancing their development and involvement in the game and sometimes replacing them entirely with new and exciting cast members.

Villains like Ripper Roo create a positive feeling, while new nemesis like Tiny and Dr. N Gin add an exciting sense of danger as you progress the levels.

Three Reasons Why Crash Bandicoot So Popular in the ‘90s.

Crash was a hit in the ‘90s for many reasons; I will just talk about a few that amazed me.

  • Uniqueness – first of all, his unique look, as you can see from the photo, made him stand out from the rest. Crash was a creature with pants and sneakers! Who wouldn’t be amazed by such creativity? And the graphics of the game at the time was on a whole new level. This made the game stand out from its peers.
  • Design – the level of design of the Crash Bandicoot was also on another level. This was critical for the success of the game because playing the game made it feel unique and new, but still aligned to the design parameters of the time. It was a simple game by design; all you had to do is to sprint, rotate, hop, and advance. That is all it seemed, but the difficulty was hidden in the overall theme of the game. That is where the power of the game was kept. You had to collect gems, bonus tokens, or lives. That was the catch. The good thing is the victim did not have a steep learning curve.
  • Many games – From its release, Crash Bandicoot was promising to the gamers as it had many games from the start. This was what gamers loved back in the game. Gamers get bored quickly with the monotony in a game. Thus the Crash Bandicoot variations of the games made it easy for gamers to stock their arsenal and enjoy the different games since they all had other storylines.

In summary, the latest versions of Crash Bandicoot are not as engaging as the old classic 1996 original version. Despite being enticing to the eye and smooth transition.

Either way, Crash Bandicoot is still one of my most admired and cherished games to date. Completing the new version is easier compared to the classic title. I love the game because it promoted experimentation and the ability to think outside the box, which was necessary for teens.

This was undeniably a rare, pure, and fun game that took things up to and beyond the next level back in the ‘90s. Thumbs up to the team behind it, and looking forward to the next release of the game.

What are your memories of Crash Bandicoot? Share your experience and fond memories you have of Crash Bandicoot.