Review: Crash Bandicoot (Playstation)

By Drew Wilson

In this review, we check out what some refer to as a classic Playstation adventure video game, Crash Bandicoot. We look into whether or not this is a game worth playing again.

Crash Bandicoot is perhaps one of the more recognizable franchises available on the Playstation. Released in 1996 (the year after the Playstation was released).

The story is that Crash ended up being washed up on the shores of three islands. He must fight the evil scientist, Doctor Neo Cortex.

Players start off on a world map and, if a player completes different levels, there’s the option to go back to previous levels and obtain a much higher score. However, a player must complete a level to gain access to a new level.

In the levels themselves, players can utilize two different basic attacks. Players can use the spin attack or they can jump and land on various enemies that are wandering throughout the levels. Along the way, players bust open crates to obtain various items. Sometimes, these items are free lives, sometimes they are apples, sometimes they are tribal masks, and sometimes they are checkpoints. To get a top score, players need to bust open every single box or these boxes fall on Crash’s head on the results screen, showing how many were missed.

A free life is basically an image of Crash’s face. Touch the icon and you get a free life. Apples can also be found throughout the course. If you collect 100 apples, you also get a free life. Checkpoints infrequently dot the level. If you die, you lose a life and go back to the last checkpoint you encountered. If you encounter a tribal mask, this essentially ups the number of hits Crash can take from 1 to 2. Some masks can grant temporary invulnerability as well (you can still die if you fall into a bottomless pit). If you collect enough gems, you have the ability to traverse previously impassable routs on some of the later levels.

Most levels have the camera behind you, but some levels force you to run towards the camera. A few levels go for the classic side-scroller feel while still retaining the 3D feel. This certainly adds some variety.

Having played a number of other games that were released in this era, I have to say, this game wasn’t exactly the amazing game I was led to believe. With the open worlds of Duke Nukem 3D and Super Mario 64, going on to play a game like this feels like a bit of a let down. The main reason why is because there is the very linear feel in this game. It’s supposed to be 3D, but this game really is only pseudo-3D.

On some levels, you have to do some back tracking. When you do, you are facing the camera. The camera does not adjust to this a whole lot, so your field of vision is ultimately only a few feet in front of you. I would have, at least, expected the camera to pull back a fair distance so you can at least see where you are going. In levels were you are being chased by, say, a rock, this makes the game difficult simply because the game was poorly designed in this area. With the exception of bosses, this game, design-wise, is a glorified Super Mario Bros from the NES era. Sure, there were forks in the road, but they tend to be short-lived. Nothing that I haven’t seen in games previously made.

There is some challenging points in the game. The game does push you to try and get a 100% completion rate on each level, but I felt this game was oversimplified. Other games were pushing the boundaries of what can be easily understood, yet ultimately, become complex in terms of game play. This game does nothing to push the envelope in this area. It just took elements of previously successful games (Super Mario and Donkey Kong Country come to mind) and stitches them together in the hopes that the game will sell. I felt the game was a decent game until you start comparing it to other games released in this era.

Another factor that drags this game down is the constant need for loading. Every time you enter a new level, you are stuck with a loading screen. I get that this is a limitation for the Playstation hardware, but it does break up game play into segments of enjoyability.

I thought the balance was strange when it came to free lives. It’s really no challenge at all to max out your free lives, so there really is no risk of you running out of them. I felt that they may have been overly plentiful in the game. So, if I died, it isn’t too difficult to shrug it off and dig into the pit of free lives and extract one of the remaining 98 of them.

Graphically, this game was OK. Other games releaed in this era pulled off better graphics, but this graphics in this game are passable. There is some intricate art designs in some areas which is appreciable, but the textures can also be really fuzzy and low res in other areas. So, it’s decent, but nothing special.

The sound effects of this game were really well done. I thought they did a good job of punctuating the cartoony feel of the game. The music, while decent for the game, was largely forgettable. Nothing truly stood out to me as something I want to really listen to over and over again. It provided decent ambiance to the game, but doesn’t accomplish more than that.

Overall, I found this game to be one of those games that you can play through once and forget about after. You can play through it and get some enjoyment out of it, but it’s not something I’m motivated to play a second time.

Overall

Furthest point in game: Made it to the final boss.

General gameplay: 16/25
Replay value: 1/10
Graphics: 6/10
Audio: 2/5

Overall rating: 50%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85



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