Saturday, September 8, 2012

Weekend Flashback #5: Crash Bandicoot (PSO, 1996)

Title: Crash Bandicoot
Original Release Date: August 31, 1996
Platform: Playstation 
ESRB Rating: K-A (Current ESRB: E)

Crash Bandicoot used to be fun. When Naughty Dog was still in charge of it, it was a fairly entertaining, albeit basic, action platformer. The characters were mostly memorable, the levels pretty, and the music good.

Oh, wait, Crash Bandicoot was none of those things. Actually, it was exactly the opposite.

Before all my other friends were having fun with Spyro the Dragon, I was busy hating myself with the original Crash Bandicoot. It was a decent enough platformer for its time, I suppose, but it hasn't aged well at all. The controls are buggy at best, the camera angles suck, and it varies wildly between being impossibly difficult and simply too easy to bear. And yet, when it came out, it was given generally positive reviews.

But that was 1996. It's 2012 now, and that's the point. Trying to replay this was torturous at its worst and tedious at best. It's almost tough to believe that I ever had a good time with this game as a kid, especially enough to buy the later games in the series. Like I said above, the cameras are buggy now that I've grown accustomed to tight cameras, and the game's controls seem loose and unresponsive, which I believe was Dave's complaint about the game back when we first got it. This game introduces the major characters - Dr. Cortex, Aku Aku, Uka Uka, and Crash himself (obviously) - but they really came into their own in later games. The platforming isn't anything special and could actually be considered mediocre at best, even among platformers of its time.

I'm almost surprised that this game was successful enough to spawn sequels at all. I'm not saying that I'm not glad: I am, because the series would later become one of my favorites, starting with Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. The series got a rough start, but it vastly improved with later installments.

Verdict: Unless you want a bout of nostalgia, skip it. Go for Crash Bandicoot 2 instead.

Notes: Crash Bandicoot is available on PSN for both PS3 and PSP play.

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