It may be hard to believe but Crash Bandicoot originally released way back in 1996. That’s now more than twenty years ago! Despite the long gap since last we saw him, the mad marsupial has been held dear in the hearts of many a gamer. It looked great in the day too. The colour palette was vibrant. Textures and levels were wonderfully designed. However, most importantly, Crash Bandicoot was the first game of its kind. The 2-D sidescroller was as good as platformers got until Crash burst onto the scene.
Plant The Seed And Let An Idea Blossom
The then Naughty Dog co-owners, Jason Ruben and Andy Gavin came up with the ingenious idea of keeping live varied camera angles on the protagonist at all times. This style of game development can even be seen in something like God of War! The only other big game at the time that offered the same thing was Tomb Raider. Let’s be honest…it has not aged well. Of course, Crash has. And even this writer occasionally finds himself firing up the PS2 for a trip down memory lane.
The two devs had their doubts during development, wondering if this was truly fun. Perhaps Crash would be seen as an affront to the already well established 2-D platformer. However, in the end Crash Bandicoot would not only be a huge step forward for the genre but also for gaming as a whole. A large portion of non shelf releases on the PS Store today follow Crash’s format. If you look carefully, his influence is everywhere. From Inside to Ratchet & Clank, the 3-D version of this genre only continued to blossom once Crash got involved. He would set a precedent for that glorious kind of game with a spectacular soundtrack and truly colourful treats for the eyes.
Indeed, the sound design for Crash Bandicoot was fantastic. The crushing of crates, the munching of wumpa fruit, the consistently bonkers soundtrack. It all added up to a more involved experience that gave the game an incredible sense of personality. Just look at the difference smart sound design can make! After all, the theme track of a game is the most likely to stick in the mind. I think it’s fair to say we all remember the menu music from Crash Bandicoot!
Crash Bandicoot Will Soon Come Home To Our Living Rooms
As we learned from E3 last year, Sony is planning a grand return of Crash Bandicoot in a new HD remaster of the first three games exclusively to PS4. With Activision at the helm and Sony behind the funding, it is really exciting to think how the new Crash Bandicoot will play. From the gameplay footage below, we’re left wondering if this is a remaster or a remake? The Crash character model looks entirely redesigned, instead of just a HD ‘do-over’. It begs the question – how will the levels turn out? Will they be carbon copies with new textures? Or will we be given similar areas in a totally new format as we’d seen in Ratchet & Clank recently?
Also, will it be as difficult? The games of today all seem to be afraid of being too difficult. With the exception of Dark Souls, of course. If something defeats you too many times, many games out there will prompt you to turn the difficulty down or give you a handicap against your foes. Yet the original Crash Bandicoot was really friggin’ hard. Ironically, Crash was also one of the first to implement a defensive kind of respawn system. Players would get extra Uka masks to shield them from foes. The devs wanted to introduce the mechanic as a failsafe to ensure their game was enjoyable for all who played. Sometimes, even that just wasn’t enough and yes, Crash Bandicoot was still bloody difficult.
I Played Until My Fingers Bled
Using an original Playstation controller with no analogue sticks also meant some serious thumb burn was going on. That’s right kids! Back in the day, no joysticks. With this diminished form of control we’ve all moved on from, the game expected you to make split second turns and jumps. Most memorable being – a wood bridge with hardly any slats left on it…. With insta-death warthogs running at you. Yeah, it was horrible. But that’s what made games great back then. The act of finally beating it was all the more satisfying. Want proof? Ask a Dark Souls fan. It will be interesting to see just how faithful to the originals the remasters will be.
Where’s Naughty Dog In All Of This?
As mentioned earlier, yes the game is being developed by Activision. Like many Crash Bandicoot fans, we hoped that Crash would come home to Naughty Dog. However, his creators, Ruben and Gavin, have moved on from Naughty Dog. As we all know, the games studio is still renowned for releasing major game changers in the console industry like Uncharted and The Last Of Us.
As Crash would shape gaming, The Last of Us and Uncharted would completely re-write how stories are told in games. With the perfect blend of cinematics and fluid reintegration into gameplay, a post Ruben and Gavin Naughty Dog continues to be staffed by extraordinary minds. At the starting point of Crash’s new development, Naughty were busy working on the Uncharted 4 DLC. Then let’s not forget the The Last of Us 2.
We’re really excited for Crash’s return on June 30th this year. Crash, when you come home, we’ll be waiting buddy.