I am apparently the sole person in the RPS Treehouse who hasn't played any Crash Bandicoot games, allowing me to be intrigued by today's release of the remastered N. Sane trilogy. This three-in-one bundle gives a modern-day lick of paint to the eponymous marsupial's '90s PlayStation mascot platformer series, originally developed by Naughty Dog.
While first slated for a July release, Crash has been taking notes from the speedrunning community (whom he's quite popular with), and has managed to rush out a few days early.
While it contains some horizontally scrolling stages, Crash Bandicoot is from an era where nobody knew how a 3D platformer should work. Released mere months after Super Mario 64 toyed with free-roaming level design and controllable cameras, Crash primarily runs away from a locked camera (or towards it in a few notoriously difficult chase sequences), effectively making it the progenitor of all those mobile endless-runner games. I guess I can see where some of the dislike comes from.
Normally we like to send the most experienced writer to cover any given series, but Crash is an exception, on account of both the character and the series being near-universally despised amongst our writing crew. Everyone else has run for the hills, screaming for mercy, leaving me not lashed to any masts with ears unplugged and tempted in my ignorance by the siren call of what looks like a polished and sizeable chunk of platforming, held together with a likeable (if very '90s) stretchy, squashy 3D cartoon aesthetic.
The N. Sane trilogy (remastered by Vicarious Visions & brought to PC by Iron Galaxy) was well received on PlayStation 4, with the only consistent gripe I've heard being a few tweaks to the movement physics making some jumps harder than they should be. The PC version improves on the console release by doubling the frame-rate limit. Originally capped to 30fps (not ideal for a twitch platformer, admittedly), if you've got the hardware for it you can crank things up and enjoy your screaming cartoon animals smoother and more responsive than ever before.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is out now on Steam for £35/€40/$40.