The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy takes the level data from the three original PlayStation classics and adds new graphics, sounds and challenges. It's not quite a remaster and not really a remake. Whatever it is, it's really good.
Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped are three amazing games that helped usher in the era of 3D console gaming. They also don't hold up well visually.
Here's the first level of the first Crash Bandicoot game:
Good stuff, but really rough. Here's the same level from the N. Sane Trilogy:
It looks and feels like a whole new game, only it's not. The animations are new, the music's been remastered and the 3D models have been completely rebuilt, but it's the same level data Naughty Dog used in the original game.
Basically, it delivers the feeling of playing a Crash game back in the late '90s, while looking, sounding and playing like a game developed today. Responsive controls (now with analogue support!), challenging platforming, Warped's random driving and jet-ski levels, those cheap-arse stages where you're running towards the front of the screen with no idea what's in front of you until it's feet away -- it's all here.
Seriously, Naughty Dog, what the hell?
And the love just keeps coming. Each game's cinematics have been redone, with the original voice actors returning to reprise their roles.
Crash's sister Coco is now a playable character across all three games, capable of replacing her idiot brother in most stages. She's a pretty mean jet-skier.
The whole thing is wrapped up in a unified package that utilises the same transitions for loading, saving and dying, making the whole affair feel like a cohesive package rather than a bundle of three disparate games. If you've not experienced Crash's quirky brand of platforming, prepare to see this screen a lot.
Generally accompanied by vigorous cursing.
I've played through a chunk of each of the three games included in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy now, and I've been having a blast. Each features the charm and challenge that made the original games so delightfully evil back in the day. It's been equal parts grinning and loud cursing. It's getting trampled by baby tigers, picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and diving right back in to the furry fray.
That's the sweet spot.
The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is available on PlayStation 4 digitally and in stores today.