Crash Bandicoot is finally seeing a return this year. Since its humble beginnings as the kickstarter for the career of Naughty Dog, the studio had left the character behind after the release of Crash Bandicoot: Warped and he ended up becoming a multi-platform franchise. Different attempts were done to offer the formula something new and creative, it started to move further and further away from the elements that made it such a success back in the day. The Next Gen of consoles is going to offer Crash a return to form and in a way to prepare for the upcoming release, it seems like a perfect time to revisit the trilogy that started it all.
Back in the day, Naughty Dog was signed up for three more games after presenting Way of the Warrior. After signing a developer agreement with Sony and receiving a PlayStation development unit in September 1994, they wanted to follow in the footsteps of Sega and Warner Bros. with a mascot focused video game. The console was perfect due to the lack of any mascots at the time so development started. They had the idea of a so-called "Sonic's Ass Game", which is a game that takes the perspective from the character's back rather than the classic 2D perspective.
They went through a lot of different character ideas, such as a wombat, potoroo and a bandicoot. Originally, they had created the character of "Willie the Wombat", but then they decided it sounded too dorky. By October 1994, they decided on a bandicoot as the base design, but still kept the name until they had a better one. After deciding for their character to be silent so that he would not be too distracting, they finally settled on "Crash Bandicoot" as the star of their game franchise. It took Naughty Dog founders, Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin, only one meal at a mediocre Italian until they had the idea of a "evil genius with a big head", who would be given the name Doctor Neo Cortex.
The game was finally released on September 9th, 1996 in the United States and welcomed the world to the crazy world of Crash Bandicoot. In this colourful platformer, the maniacal Neo Cortex tried to turn the bandicoot into the commander of his army, but inadvertently created the one being that could stop him. After finding himself stranded on a beach, he must make his way back to save his girlfriend from the scientists evil clutches. Following classic games basic story-telling formula, the gamer is thrown into the game without a tutorial to fight his way moving forward in various levels until he can finally confront his adversary.
The game eases the player into the most important elements they need to learn. Starting off on the beach, you see a few crates which makes you wonder if you can break them. As your progression continues you get more and more elements that you can use to your advantage. Crash's classic spin attack breaks open creates, defeats enemies and even uses them as a projectile to destroy hard to reach crates. Structurally, the game is not different from other platformers, but thanks to its unique perspective allows for a completely new type of challenge.
All beginnings are difficult, as such it has some rather difficult levels that take a lot of dedication to master. The game is a perfect place for gamers of all kind to play, as it offers a great challenge for speedrunners to master, but is easy enough to be a fun game for casual gamers. The game has aged to some degree, as Crash feels a bit closer to a tank in his movements, and some levels do prove to be quite frustrating at certain jumps. Still, it does not take away form the enjoyment that it offers, and no matter the difficulty, sometimes the frustration just pushes you further until you can finally defeat Neo Cortex.
It was a great start in a franchise that would spawn many more sequels and even some fun additional games, such as Crash Team Racing and Crash Bash. The characters had some humbling beginnings, and a great foundation through which the franchise would evolve over time. It also was the start of a great partnership between Sony and Naughty Dog that would lead to the creation of Uncharted and The Last of Us series. Crash became a household name for many PlayStation owners, but it was just the beginning of it all, as Neo Cortex was soon to strike back at the pesky animal that destroyed his dreams.
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Source: Internet Archive
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