Exactly one year after the launch of the original PlayStation, Developer Naughty Dog teamed up with Sony Computer Entertainment to release Crash Bandicoot on September 9th, 1996. The 3D platformer would launch the biggest PlayStation mascot that Sony had in the 90s. Packed full of white-knuckle jumps, entertaining bosses, and debuting on a newly released console, Crash Bandicoot would achieve massive success. We’re grabbing as many Wumpa fruits as possible in this Crash Bandicoot review.
Crash Bandicoot Plot:
Dr. Neo Cortex is a mad scientist who wishes to achieve world domination. He’s invented an “Evolvo-Ray” that speeds up the evolution of wild animals. His assistant, Dr. Nitrus Brio helps Cortex catch animals and brings them to the lab for experimentation. They plan to turn these animals into super soldiers and build an army for world domination.
One of these animals, a bandicoot named Crash has been selected to become the leader of the army. As he is being subjected to a brain-washing machine, Crash escapes where Cortex and Brio chase him out a window watching Crash plunge into the ocean. He wakes up on a beach determined to rescue his girlfriend Bandicoot, Tawna, and takedown Cortex.
Crash makes his way through various islands defeating Cortex’s henchmen including Papu Papu, Ripper Roo, Koala Kong, and Pinstripe Potoroo. He reaches Cortex’s castle and defeats Brio who drinks a potion to turn himself into a monster. With Brio out of the way, Crash fights Cortex on his airship and defeats him by deflecting the plasma bolts back. Cortex falls out of the sky and Crash rescues Tawna as they ride into the sunset together.
Crash Bandicoot Gameplay:
Naughty Dog was barely walking on four legs when it developed Crash Bandicoot in 1996. With such an early game on the system, there wasn’t a ton like it in terms of aesthetics and environments. It’s a colorful mix of tropical islands, rainy castles, and dark temples. As a platformer, it’s absolutely brutal but with plenty of practice, you can squeak through the stages.
During my Crash Bandicoot Review, I had to traverse 32 levels. The first 30 percent of the game is where the real fun is. Players can expect to make their way through linear levels with rolling stones, pitfalls, and even ride warthogs! It’s here where Crash Bandicoot flourishes and gets the player hooked.
Crash Bandicoot is a one-hit kill game but there are ways to help you survive. Throughout each level are wumpa fruits. Collect 100 of these and earn an extra life. Littered throughout the levels are wooden boxes for Crash to smash. They have various symbols on them. Plain ones will give wumpa fruits, striped ones can be bounced on, and boxes with the question mark symbol can give you a variety of things like wumpa fruit or a token. These tokens feature a few different characters and you’ll have to collect three in a stage to activate the tokens.
A big gripe I had during my Crash Bandicoot review was the save function. You don’t get to save your progress after each level or get a password. In order to save, you must collect 3 tokens of Tawna which will transport you to the save stage but first you must make it to Tawna! This is easier said than done. During this stage, Crash will jump across a bridge made of boxes. Most are steel boxes so they won’t break but others are wooden and if you hop on them which are required sometimes, Crash can fall through ending the save level. If this happens you don’t get to save the game. You have two options at this point. Restart the level and try again which is very time-consuming and can lead to more lives being lost or falling off again from the save stage or just keep playing and waiting for the next save stage in a few levels. It’s not a good system and is quite unfair. Later save levels became so crucial to get to but the advanced levels are incredibly hard.
Throughout my Crash Bandicoot review, I used Crash’s two weapons of defense which were jumping on top of enemies or spinning wildly with his arms into a tornado. At the basis of Crash Bandicoot is a very simple platformer with easy controls. Almost all of your deaths will come from missing a platform or not landing a jump. The most frustrating levels are the climbing levels in which crash will progress through a level vertically. These are brutal and it was these levels that caused me to shout in frustration during my Crash Bandicoot review. There are only about five or six of these levels but each one was such a pain to play. I dreaded starting the level knowing that it would take me 7 or 8 lives to beat.
Checkpoints are scattered throughout levels which helps ease the pain of constant death but just getting to these checkpoints is a challenge. Another pain about saving which I thought was unfair was the fact that the number of lives you have is not saved. The game just saves what level you are on, not your hard-earned collection of lives. Reloading the game will result in five lives. It’s frustrating because at times I’d have 17 or 20 lives stocked and then I’d save my progress only to be rewarded with 5 lives when turning the game back on.
If the levels from my Crash Bandicoot review were absolutely brutal, the boss fights were a welcomed piece of cake. Each boss was fun to fight and most of them were easily defeated. Papu Papu, Ripper Roo, Koala Kong, and Pinstripe Potoroo were a pleasure to fight. They weren’t difficult but the fact that they were included was a treat because it was a relief from the platforming. Brio and Cortex upped the challenge, particularly Brio as he drinks a potion to transform into a monster but even these fights took me only two or three tries to win. Believe me, that’s not a complaint.
When I was in elementary school each Summer I’d stay with my Grandma for about a week. Sometimes I’d bring a friend, others I’d just go by myself. I loved my Grandma dearly and she thought the world of me. I have nothing but fond and loving memories from my time with her. On one of the visits to her place I brought my PS1. This was the height of my childhood and I spent hours playing Crash Bandicoot. I vividly remember it was a Saturday morning and I was playing Crash Bandicoot for a few hours. My other love besides video games was Pokemon and it was nearing the climax of season one where Ash was in the Indigo League rounds. It was the one where he fought Bellsprout with his Pikachu and ended up winning with Muk. Man, what a time to be a kid. I miss those days.
I’d beat Crash Bandicoot as a kid and I honestly don’t know how. It may have been from the simple fact that I didn’t have anything else to do. Not a care in the world as I repeated every single attempt at a level. However I did it, I respect my 10-year old self. Playing it again 20 years later the game kicked my butt. I got the job done but it was a frustrating experience compared to my carefree days as a kid.
Crash Bandicoot Review Score:
Crash Bandicoot kicked down the door for Sony announcing to the world that he was the reason to purchase a PS1. Filled with iconic music, exciting but brutal platforming, and stocked with secrets for replayability, Crash Bandicoot was a must-play for all PS1 owners.
Crash Bandicoot scores an 8.5 out of 10.
What would you write in your Crash Bandicoot review? What was your first game on the PS1? What is your favorite game in the series? Who was your favorite boss fight? Did you have issues beating this game? Let me know your thoughts and comments on Crash Bandicoot, I’d love to read them.