Crash Bandicoot Warped: Platforming with a retro feel that looks totally fresh
By Callum Smith
The roots of so many games lie in the success of those that came before. Crash Bandicoot is no different, emerging as Sony’s response to Mario and Sonic The Hedgehog, yet Crash quickly, and deservedly, carved out his own cult following who lapped up the crate-jumping, crystal-collection action. What more could you want? The secret to Crash’s success has always been the gameplay and, in my opinion, the greatest entry in the series is Crash Bandicoot: Warped.
I hadn’t experienced the first two entries in the series until recently and though they were eminently enjoyable, I felt as though they were primitive compared to Warped. Despite borrowing plenty from other retro platformers, such as the largely linear level design, it remains incredibly challenging and visually gratifying. What makes Warped stand out from the previous games is the level design, they somehow simultaneously feel more inviting and threatening,
For example, the early prehistoric levels were intriguing and I had no idea what to expect so was keen to explore. Suddenly though, you found yourself in one of the series’ famous chase levels and I found myself trying to outrun a dinosaur! It was a feeling of dread that I hadn’t experienced since Indiana Jones tried to avoid that giant boulder. Because these levels would alternate between Crash running away from the screen and towards the screen, skill and reflex often wasn’t enough to beat them. Instead you would need to sacrifice a few lives trying to learn the correct path and the order of the obstacles. I also found that, in the particularly long levels, my finger would ache from holding the analogue stick.
“You would need to sacrifice a few lives trying to learn the correct path”
Unlike the previous games in the series, Crash wasn’t alone on this occasion and you had the option to play as his sister, Coco, who rides a tiger and jet ski at different points in the adventure. Crash, on the other hand, would leap onto a bike and plane, roaming around the levels like a badass and I think these vehicles offered the gameplay a level of variety and make it feel like a truly epic adventure.
Having played the original version of the game all those years ago, I was intrigued when the trilogy was re-mastered and re-released recently. A mate of mine from college bought it and recommended giving it a go, which I did after watching him play the opening level. We quickly became hooked and ended up playing it for over six hours. They’ve done a really good job refreshing the graphics and the audio, it truly looks like a new game yet still brought back fond childhood memories.
“They’ve done a really good job refreshing the graphics and the audio, it truly looks like a new game”
However, following that evening I haven’t revisited the game again as I think I would struggle to truly immerse myself in the game again, especially as I would have to play it straight this time, having always used cheats as a kid! I genuinely think I would struggle with the difficulty now without cheats, especially in the later levels, and would be constantly dying. So many of the original Playstation and N64 games seemed to have genuinely haunting game over screens complete with eerie music which I hated at that age.
It’s staggering to think how much fan support Crash Bandicoot still has, all these years after its initial release yet the success of the remasters proves it and I’m looking forward to the upcoming Spyro equivalent as well. If you are new to the series but enjoy platformers with a slightly retro feel then definitely give it a go, although choose your options carefully or, before you know it, you’ll end up as dinosaur food.
Audio / Visual