Long before brands were falling over themselves to get a jelly bean version of their mascot in Fall Guys, Doritos and Microsoft were partnering up to bring you the actual best Takeshi’s Castle game: Doritos Crash Course.
About 10 years ago, the crisp maker and the Windows maker ran a competition where people could submit game ideas, with the best ones being turned into free XBLA games. And Doritos Crash Course was head and shoulders above the rest.
The 2D manual runner saw you legging it from left to right, as fast as you could, leaping for trampoline platforms and avoiding hazards like large swinging hammers. While simple in premise, some of those later levels provided a proper challenge. Still, the online leaderboards urged you to have one more go, lest your friend end up with a better finishing time than you, the bastard.
Thankfully, a successful jump didn’t power you up with a CHILLI HEATWAVE, nor did besting your pal result in Crash Course telling you that you were a COOL ORIGINAL. The game never tried to sell you snacks while you were playing. It just let you focus on finishing these ludicrous, fun obstacle courses.
Doritos Crash Course proved so popular that it was eventually ported to PC, as Doritos Crash Course Go!, allowing a new player base to enjoy the surprisingly good game. In 2014, it was delisted – likely because the deal between Microsoft and Doritos expired – and that’s a shame. Because it was a very rare thing: an advergame that was more game than adver.