I was 18 when Crash Bandicoot came out in 1996, and I was a bit of a snob when it came to games. I liked RPGs, I liked fighting games – and that was about it. Mind you, I didn’t even have a Playstation when the game was released, but what little I played in game store demo stations didn’t really impress me.
So it was 3D? Big deal. Resident Evil came out the same year and THAT – that was interesting.
So it goes, so it went with a lot of games over the decades of my life.
Now, in 2020, I finally sat down to play the game.
In reviews like this I’m going to ignore technological comparisons. You don’t need me telling you that it doesn’t match up with games released twenty-four years later. I’m also not going to dwell much on how revolutionary it might have been back in the day.
What I’m talking about is how it feels to play. This is where Crash suffers a bit, because it was designed to show off the capabilities of the 5th generation systems – your Jaguars, your Playstations, your 32X’s. It’s also the game’s highlight – something I hadn’t expected, the shifting perspective of the game as you play, showing the character and levels from different angles.
That’s, for me, where most of the challenge came in. Shifting camera angles meant I never got too comfortable with how Crash controlled, or really gained any confidence in gauging distances – and given how small Crash’s attack radius is and how wide pits could be, that level of precision turned out to be quite necessary.
Still, the games suffers as a platformer, being even more linear than most. When I think “late 90s 3D platformer” my go-to is Mario 64, released that same year – and one that I did play, extensively. I remember it blowing me away.
Crash did not. The game wouldn’t have had such an impact on me in 2016, had I given it a chance, but you know what? It’d have been fun. It would have occupied me. I’d have enjoyed it.
The real tragedy is how long it took me to give the game a chance.
This is part of the Games I Never Played series, where I go back and play the games I missed back in the day and document the process.