Fans of Naughty Dog's later work will feel instantly at home. It shares the precision and collect-em-all aspects of Jak & Daxter, and even hints of Uncharted's flair for well-crafted, linear adventuring. But most of all it shares their level of polish and personality, as well as pushing the platform's hardware to create some excellent visuals, despite being early in its lifespan.
Even back when it was released Crash Bandicoot was a reasonably straightforward platformer. Though it was in 3D, it was restrictive compared to the likes of Super Mario 64, with stages that twisted and turned as you ran onward, occasionally offering the branching path for secrets and extras. The basic elements were very familiar to platforming fans too - crates and enemies could be tackled by leaping from above, there were bottomless pits abound, and mangos acted as collectables.
The most impressive levels were where you had to escape boulders. Rolling towards the screen, it required players to keep their distance to avoid getting crushed by the moving ball of rock, all while moving and jumping out of the way of oncoming obstacles. These stages were tense and challenging, and thanks to some clever camera work and level design, never felt unfair or particularly difficult.
But despite its simplicity, Crash Bandicoot was a tough game throughout, and an added challenge came in collecting crystals, obtained by smashing every crate within a level without dying. Specific coloured crystals would also act as platforms to open up new areas in previous stages, offering a lot of replay value, and once everything was collected, a true ending would be available.
Many crates were smartly hidden away or surrounded by deadly obstacles, and occasionally highlighted one of the problems that 3D games even today possess, and that was trying to land Crash in an exact position despite the camera's awkward positioning, with some stages requiring multiple, tedious attempts to complete.
Its success led to two direct sequels, which added several new ideas while keeping the core mechanics intact, before the franchise was sold on to other publishers for less commercially and critically successful spin-offs and multi-platform releases.
While Crash Bandicoot's fortunes many have nosedived in the past decade, it still remains a fan-favourite franchise, and one that's highly commended by Sony fans for its role in making the PlayStation a powerhouse in gaming.
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