Crash Bandicoot: WARPED is one of the video games that I’ve been playing for over a decade and a half. I have some of my earliest childhood memories playing this game with my sister and cousin. We played the game endlessly on weekend mornings, and had a blast through the whole game, or as far as we could get. Nostalgia is great, but has the game held up?
Crash Bandicoot: WARPED, or Crash 3, as I’ll refer to it, follows the same formula as its predecessor, Crash Bandicoot 2, but adds a few bells and whistles. The goal of the game is simple, get through each level and collect the crystal, defeat the bosses, and win the game. There are the gems in this game, which are once again obtained either through breaking all the boxes or finding them on a death route. Something new in Crash 3 are Time Relics, which are collected after beating the par time set in each level, making them a reward for speedrunning, essentially. There are three tiers of relics: Sapphire, Gold, and Platinum. Sapphire Relics are quite easy to get, gold are challenging, and platinum are for the hardest of the core. These relics unlock secret levels that are super challenging, and also have relics of their own to collect. In addition to relics, new abilities are unlocked in Crash 3 after defeating bosses. These abilities make Crash super mobile and if you know what you’re doing, you can do some cool tricks with them. These abilities are: Super Belly Flop, which just makes your belly flop more powerful, the double jump, the Death Tornado Spin, which allows Crash to spin for a longer time and hover in midair while doing it, the Fruit Bazooka, which gives Crash a freaking Bazooka to shoot enemies and boxes from far off, and finally the speed shoes which allow Crash to dash through time trials. These powerups are fun, and add to Crash’s gameplay. In addition to playing as Crash, you can play as his Sister Coco for the first time ever in vehicle/animal levels. These levels are super fun and fast paced, whether they be riding a tiger on the Great Wall of China, riding a Jet Ski through a pirate’s lagoon, or shooting down blimps with an airplane. Crash also has his share of gimmick levels, where he rides a motorcycle in a street race, swims underwater, rides a dinosaur, and also flies a plane of his own. These gimmicks are interesting, but they take up half the levels in the game. Out of the 30 levels in Crash 3, only 15 of them are standard hallway levels. It almost seems as if Naughty Dog was running out of ideas with how to make Crash interesting, and they had to infuse these gimmicks to make the game more diverse. The gimmicks are fun, but I feel like they could have been toned down a bit. The standard Crash levels are fun, arguably the best they’ve ever been in Crash 3, and the quality of these levels makes up for the smaller quantity. The main story of Crash 3 is that everybody is in a time twister machine, so each level set takes place in a different time period. There are levels set in the middle ages, the prehistoric era, the future, the 1950s, World War I, and more. The gameplay is full of gimmicks, but still super fun.
The controls in Crash 3 are the same as Crash 2’s for the Crash stages, perfectly fine, unless on a slipper floor. There are a ton of new controls in the game, however, with all of the new gimmicks taking some getting used to. Crash’s swimming stages are 2D, and the X button has to be tapped over and over to go forward. The tiger stages are on rails and the controls work well for the most part, however some times I find my depth perception messing with me. The plane controls are simple flight controls and can be inverted if you please. The dinosaur riding controls are simple enough to master. The jetski is super fun and fast. The Motorcycle controls are the worst by far. The motorcycle is super stiff and the small space they give Crash to maneuver makes it difficult and unfair at points. The controls are mostly good, but the motorcycle controls suck.
The graphics and music of Crash 3 were phenomenal for the time. The game is bursting with colors, the models for all characters and enemies weren’t perfect but amazing for the time, the environments were detailed, and the time periods are done justice with the graphics. These graphics still look great today. The colors are unmatched in their excellence and I can’t find a more colorful PS1 game. The music is super catchy and varied based on the time periods, and I can remember nearly every single theme. The graphics and music have aged amazingly.
Crash Bandicoot: WARPED is 20 years old now, but is still a joy to go back and play. I have never not enjoyed playing this gem of a game, and still consider it one of my favorites of all time. The game isn’t without it’s issues, but for every issue, there are two great things. Crash Bandicoot: WARPED has aged well.