A remaster that will not Crash and burn.
I think it is fair to say 2017 has been the year of the classic comeback and an old friend is the latest to Crash the scene (see what I did there).
This past month alone we have had WipEout Omega and Micro Machines World Series before Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy landed on June 30th.
It doesn’t say much about the current crop that these games - and systems given Nintendo and Sega’s reproduction of mini NES, SNES and Megadrive consoles - are A) being considered worthy of re-release and B) being received so well when they are.
But it is what it is and there is a big market in nostalgia.
When Crash Bandicoot was fresh on the gaming landscape back in the 1990s, he soon became the PlayStation’s mascot in a bid to rival Nintendo’s Super Mario and Sega’s Sonic.
It would be folly to suggest he endures anything like as much or as well as those two gaming giants... but Crash’s charm won him plenty of friends who will be delighted to see him back in remastered glory.
And he looks great. All new character modelling does justice to this 3D platforming gem and gives gamers old and new the chance to revisit the first three Crash games: Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot: Warped in some style.
The visual improvements really are striking even if the gameplay is somewhat stuck in the 90s still.
The crowning glory of the original Crash games was the variety of challenges and environments to keep you engaged - and enraged - throughout. Having all three together represents an impressive collection of levels and action.
But as I touched on just now the random and often infuriating adjustment to difficulty and repeat deaths can bring even the game’s biggest fans to the brink.
You can’t fix what isn’t broken... but you can quite easily break something that has been delicately preserved for years.
Vicarious Visions have done Crash justice, though, even if they haven’t quite brought it kicking and screaming into next gen in terms of the gameplay, design and mechanics.
My expectations in remasters are always set relatively low - it’s easier to deal with the disappointment that way - but Crash is a worthy resurrection of a game which let’s not forget graced our screens over 20 years ago. It remains great fun to play and deserves the attention of both fanboys and newbies alike.