With Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy now available on Switch, I decided to pick the bundle up and relive my childhood. I remember the countless hours I spent with the loveable, orange animal. The platforming was fun, the chase sequences were tense, and the boss battles were memorable. I couldn’t wait to step back into the shoes of the character I adored years ago. Surprisingly enough, the N. Sane Trilogy features a challenge that I don’t remember existing on PlayStation.
Maybe it’s because I played the trilogy so much as a child that I knew every nook and cranny, but the 2018 bundle has proven difficult for me. The platforming itself isn’t tough, but collecting specific gems in the original Crash Bandicoot is brutal to obtain. In an early level called “The Lost City,” you must complete the demanding course while also breaking every box without dying. While this seems straightforward, I found myself uttering swears under my breath. Every jump needs to be precise, timing is critical when it comes to walls trying to push you off platforms, and constant enemies can prove to be a problem. Gem levels like this rewarded skill but often sucked the fun out of the game. Another tough aspect of the game is collecting relics. While a classic inclusion, this Crash Bandicoot collectible is surprisingly modern because of one community.
The Crash Bandicoot franchise appears to be one of the earliest instances of speed-running. Predating online leaderboards, acquiring relics required speed and little room for error. Now the Internet keeps tracks of our times and uploads them for everyone to see. It gives more incentive for the player to keep improving on their time, but the difficulty in obtaining the gold relics can feel unfair at times. I spent two hours on one of the early levels of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back to unlock the gold relic. The addition of sliding added more strategic movements that often left me wanting to pull out my hair.
With that being said, the popularity of speed-running and competition will be what keeps the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy relevant for the foreseeable future. Games Done Quick is an event that highlights speed-running, with participants occasionally racing against each other. While looking at the leaderboard, I noticed a lot of people doing relic challenges. The game also encourages you to do better by telling you where random players and friends ranked. From lowest (sapphire) to highest (platinum), the trilogy places players in a ranking system similar to Rayman Legends.
After a few days with Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, I’m feeling like a child again. Naughty Dog developed one of my favorite games on PlayStation, and I’m happy that Nintendo and Xbox fans can also play these games now. This is a trilogy rooted in the past (due to its difficulty) and present (relic challenges and speed-running) that fans of the genre need to pick up. Younger gamers can experience Crash’s adventures for the first time while older players can revisit something nostalgic. Crash means something to me, and for better or worse, this bundle is the ultimate blast from the past, regardless if the games are way harder than I remember them being.