I find it amusing how I posted an article a while back talking about upcoming PS4 releases and somehow still completely forgot that the Crash trilogy remaster had come out today. In fact, if it weren’t for an excellent post by Roland of the Pietriots (https://pietriots.com/2017/06/30/crash-bandicoot-was-shit-20-years-ago-and-is-still-shit-today/) and a few 4chan threads gloating about review scores, I would have completely forgotten to notice or care about this release at all.
And there’s a good reason for that. I have played Crash. Recently. For the first time. With very high expectations considering the repute the original trilogy has among Playstation fans as being a top notch trilogy of platformers.
I was baffled by what I got.
Crash, in the simplest terms, would not even be considered a mediocre platforming trilogy if it had launched on Nintendo consoles. It would be singled out as bargain bin trash, the way that Bubsy games are treated today. I’m confident in saying that if Crash was not a Playstation exclusive, no one would think all that highly of it.
In fact, no one does seem to care about this trilogy anymore. All anyone can say when bringing up the quality of this series revolves around Playstation in some way. “Remember how big Crash was in the nineties?” Well, I don’t. Speaking as someone whose first experience with a Playstation console may have been playing Crash 3 in a Target, there was nothing all that interesting or memorable about the game I played. Besides, of course, how finnicky the jumping is.
And that’s the core of the problem, I think. Crash features more than just bland level design, ugly character models, and not even being a true 3D platformer. Crash Bandicoot is a platforming game with ABYSMAL PLATFORMING.
This cannot be stressed enough, I feel. The core reason so many people consider Crash a difficult game is due to the fact that the jumping is unresponsive and incredibly weird. It’s not snappy, the way a Mario or Donkey Kong Country game would play. I would describe it was more… floaty. In a bad kind of way. It’s very easy to miss very precise jumps because you expect the character to handle like any other platforming character would.
When dissecting what was wrong with this, I compared the title to two great titles that came before and after it. Donkey Kong Country 2 and Super Mario 64. The difference in quality in those games is downright staggering. It’s embarassing how DKC2, a SNES game, looks and sounds much more impressive than the Playstation’s flagship platforming series. Super Mario 64, on the other hand, did something that no one else had ever done before. Create an open 3D environment to run around in.
Roland, in his post, lamented the lack of standards among Crash fans, and I’m inclined to strongly agree. Liking Crash over superior Nintendo platformers is the video game equivalent of turning your nose at Dracula because you’re a die hard Twilight fan. No one who seriously plays platforming games would give Crash a second look. Now that I’ve played the first, I have no desire to ever return to it. It was that poor of an experience for me. Even DKC3, a title that I did not like too much, was far more engaging than that piece of crap.
I think it speaks volumes to the quality of Naughty Dog’s output that, twenty years later, no one is nostalgic for their original breakout hit at all. Not the devs, the fans, and certainly not people like me. Try comparing that to the way that the Donkey Kong Country games are treated online, or Super Mario 64, or perhaps even NES cult classics like DuckTales.
Those games became classics because the fans kept them close to their hearts all these years. They shared them with friends, discussed them online, returned to them whenever that itch started to really bother them.
No one, NO ONE, feels that way about Crash Bandicoot.