Welcome to Games Grown Up, a new subseries of Games Growing Up, where I compare an older game to its remake!
The Crash Bandicoot PS1 Trilogy was one of my favorite trilogies of games growing up (See what I did there?). When the remake was announced in 2016, I was ecstatic! After finally completing the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, the next three reviews are going to be comparing each game to its PS1 Counterpart. Let’s start with the original Crash Bandicoot.
Crash Bandicoot was released originally in 1996 for the PS1, and if you read my original review, I said it hasn’t aged well. First off, the game is quite difficult and unforgiving. The main collectable, the gems, must be gotten by breaking every box in a level without dying. The remake changes the gem requirements for the most part; levels with colored gems as reward for breaking every box are now considered challenges and still require the level to be beaten in one go after reaching the first checkpoint. Unfortunately, this means some of the hardest levels in the game like “Slippery Climb” and “Toxic Waste” are still levels that must be beaten in one go. Thankfully there are only a handful of these levels, and it takes a lot of the stress away when I’m playing the tough non-colored gem levels such as “Sunset Vista” and “The High Road”. We’ll talk about “The High Road” later. The original Crash Bandicoot had three types of Bonus Levels, each featured after Tawna: Crash’s girlfriend, Dr. N. Brio: Cortex’s right-hand man, and Dr. Neo Cortex: Crash’s arch nemesis. The latter two of these bonus levels were tough, but in the original, only Cortex’s were required to be beaten. Now if you want to collect the gems, you’ve gotta break every box and beat every bonus level inside each level. Thankfully, you can replay these bonus levels as many times as you want now, as the original only gave you one shot per level. They’re also replayable after you beat them, unlike the original game.
Time Relics, which are given for beating levels as fast as possible, were introduced originally in Crash 3, but were placed into each game in the remake. Depending on your time, you receive a Sapphire, Golden, or Platinum relic. Platinum times are incredibly tough to beat, and since Crash 1 wasn’t really meant to be a speed game, they’re even more frustrating to get here. It took me a long time to get every platinum relic, but I did it. The DLC Stage “Stormy Ascent”, which was taken out of the original game for being too hard, literally took me all day to get a platinum relic on.
Crash’s sister Coco is playable in this game now. She doesn’t play any different than Crash, but the aesthetic change has been welcomed by many fans of the game.
Some of the boss fights have been changed. Papu Papu, the first boss in the game now takes five hits to defeat instead of three. N. Brio is a lot harder due to the changed hit boxes on the blob monsters you fight during the battle. Hit boxes are arguably the biggest change in the entire remake. A hit box is essentially the physical parts of graphics in video games. In the original, you could land on the edge of a platform and not fall off, due to the hit box of the platform being a square, along with Crash’s feet having square hit boxes as well. In the remake, the hit boxes are all ovals, not squares. In the remake, I died by slipping off the edges of platforms that I wouldn’t have slipped off of in the original due to the different hitboxes. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not easy to get used to since I know the original Crash like the back of my hand. I would argue the hit box change makes most precise platforming moments harder in the remake than the original. This is ever present in the infamous bridge levels. “Road To Nowhere” and “The High Road” were moderately hard levels in the original. They take place on top of high bridges with weak wood planks. Crash must jump from plank to plank while avoiding enemies and falling to his death. The new hit boxes make the platforming even more difficult and precise, and I lost countless lives playing these stages. The platinum relic in the High Road was one of the most frustrating experiences I had with the entire trilogy. I feel like people who haven’t played the originals as much as I have won’t have as big of a problem with the hit boxes as I do, but it’s annoying to me.
The remake looks and sounds beautiful. The remade music is wonderful, although a bit too bombastic at times. The graphics are just eye candy to look at, and this game made me want to buy a PS4 Pro alone.
Crash Bandicoot was one of my favorite games as a kid, and the remake is one of my favorite games as an adult. The hit boxes take a ton of getting used to, but the game is still enjoyable to me.