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Crash Bandicoot (PlayStation) artwork

Crash Bandicoot (PlayStation) review

"it's a fun, and indeed, frantic platformer which you could play for five minutes at a time and still get plenty of satisfaction. "

Personally, I prefer sprawling, multi-task platformers where the emphasis is on solving puzzles. However, every now and then, I feel like a quick frantic blast through a platformer, something which couldn't really be satisfied by the likes of Mario 64. This is where crash Bandicoot comes in, it's a fun, and indeed, frantic platformer which you could play for five minutes at a time and still get plenty of satisfaction.

The story is: Evil Dr cortex, along with his ally Dr Brio, has set up a special device which will turn innocent animals into monstrous henchman. Crash Bandicoot escapes the wrath of the machine, and jumps out of the window and into the sea, leaving his newfound girlfriend ready to be mangled, he must travel back through the islands to save her. The next morning the sea washes him up on a beach. Cue level one.

Back in the days when this was released, the graphics were considered the best thing outside of PC games, now though, it looks a little dated. Due to the fact that the whole game takes place in no more than a corridor, there isn't much room to impress. Because of this, the developers seem to have focused on creating detail on the outside of the levels, the places you can't touch, and this all looks very nice. The area you play in though is generally one texture with some death-holes in it once in a while, and also some boxes and enemies on top. Water effects on the river levels are very nice and the character animation is suitably cartoony, crash's run is hilarious. There are no camera problems, due to the lack of any camera at all, and everything runs extremely smoothly with surprisingly few, if any, glitches. Overall, colourful and above competent, but looking slightly sedate next to the sequels.

The sound was excellent then, and still is now. I'm sure everyone who's played any of the three crash platformers can remember at least one tune clearly. None of the songs are annoying and a lot of them are very catchy. Some of them (The dark temple levels for example) are even very atmospheric. Tunes such as ripper Roo's level and the hog riding song are hilarious, cartoony and as equally frantic as the action itself. Naughty dog should be praised for their music as it does enhance the enjoyment on offer somewhat. Sound effects fit in with the whole comedy style and they are loud and exaggerated, crash's 'Whoah!' when he dies never gets old. There is a disappointing amount of voice-work here (Only found at the beginning and end) but what is on offer is decent enough.

the gameplay lacks depth or originality, and may get repetitive for fans of more puzzle-orientated games. The reason I like it though, is it takes all that was great about the old fast frenetic 2d platformers and fleshes it out into 3-d(ish). Some of the levels are played from a 2-d viewpoint (This doesn't mean you can't fall off the front of the screen if you aren't careful though) and some are played in 2.5-d, meaning you cant explore but you can move left, right forwards and backwards. There aren't ANY puzzles here, you could play through the whole game without thinking about it, and even though it's a no-brainer game, it handles what it wants to achieve perfectly, you WILL have fun, you WILL get to the end and you WILL buy the sequels (Well, Universal hopes so anyway). Nothing I could write would do the gameplay justice here, it's basically running from the beginning of the level to the end jumping across moving or crumbling platformers, leaping across holes, killing enemies and smashing boxes, and avoiding other hazards. Eventually a boss encounter will come your way, these are actually very hard (Aside from the final boss which is a complete anti-climax and worryingly easy). All this may sound like a million other platformers you've played, but I can promise you, this a million times better than most linear platformers. Everything moves at such a fast pace and the sections with moving platforms are cleverly mixed in with other dangers so timing is key, and because of this, you'll have fun playing. The game is also utterly rewarding, after a particularly hard section of fire-dodging and platform hopping, you'll be treated to a mountain of boxes to smash, and there's something strangely fun about smashing millions of boxes and collecting the huge pile of apples they leave behind afterwards. Also there's nothing more relieving than catching sight of that glorious end of level warp stone.

the game has 32 levels overall (2 hidden) and a secret ending if you collect all the gems (achieved by smashing all the boxes in a level), so it will take you a long time to get everything. Going through the levels normally though, shouldn't take me than three hours first time round, and can be done in little over an hour once you know what you're doing. Playing the first time through will occasionally leave you stumped as to how to reach a platform until you stumble on the seemingly obvious solution, for instance, in one section you must knock out (but not kill) a turtle so you can bounce on it's belly over to a miles-away, horridly thin plank of wood hanging over a bottomless cavern. There is plenty of replay value as the game is something that you can jump into straight away and still be absorbed by the third or even fourth time you play it through.

Overall Crash Bandicoot comes highly recommended. It is, at it's heart, a simple linear platformer, but is injected by so much enthusiasm, variety and fast-paced fun that simply can't help but think of it as a highly accomplished, polished platformer that jumps and collects with the best.

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Community review by maxh (Date unavailable)

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