Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy is a game that shouldn't exist, with the IP swaying around for years and the original developer retiring the character over a decade and a half ago as Activision sat on a golden egg waiting to hatch during all it's CoD games. I say that because for the past God-know-how-many-years,Crash Bandicoot has been in a virtual coma since the genre changing Crash of the Titans and Mind Over Mutant, (which lets face it, in all honesty, Crash Twinsanity was the last Crash Bandicoot game) I haven't wanted to touch those two games with a bargepole. Luckily this is made by Vicarious Visions, the same guys which made the amazing 2 Gameboy Advance Crash games and the alright Crash Nitro Kart which wasn't quite the sequel we hoped, the less said about Crash Tag Team Racing by Radical, the better..
I'm a massive Crash fan and always have been, to be exact, a fan of the Classic Crash, none of this nonsense 'tribal tatoo wearing, looking like Sonic Adventure, elongated Crash' which insisted of getting rid of everything a Crash game meant. N.Sanity Trilogy is a true love letter to us old school Crash fans and it's almost as if Crash woke up from his coma, got pushed out of the hospital without even noticing it's no longer the late 90's and early 2000's, got on with it, totally clueless, scratching his mohawk, discovering Netflix and watching repeats of Tazmania and that's great.
On the surface, nothing has changed, jump back or watch a quick video of the original Naughty Dog games and basically, what this game enables you to do is play those games in 'Anti Red Rose Tinted Glasses' vision. Everything is as you remember it when you were younger, but better, the new cutscenes are pretty much as you remember them because your young imagination was so wild, it filled in the gaps of the (now) very limited animation in the original trilogy back on PSOne. Sure, the voice actors are different, but we've had the majority of them since The Wrath of Cortex and embraced them up to Twinsanity and I think they accepted a few paychecks off of Radical Entertainment after that.
Enough of the nostalgia, all 3 games play exactly as you expect them to, nothing is majorly enhanced gameplay-wise, it's exactly the same game. But different. Different because we get top see a variant design of classic Crash squash and stretch, grinning and victory dancing his way across the trilogy in HD and treated like Ratchet and Clank have been the past two generations.The game starts up with a sweet little animation showing how the games have moved on, presenting "...Crash Bandicoot!", you are then spun into the game select screen which merges the key environments from all 3 games, hovering over each gametitle gives you an excited announcement of what game in the series it is and the subtitle until it shouts "...WARPED!" at you, you know you're back.
The environments look sharper, have better lighting and shadow and still feel as cartoony as yesterday. Your favourite idle animations are here, so are Crash's many Loony Tunes style deaths and all your favourite level music lovingly remastered with exactly the right tempo and taking the best elements of remixes and compositions made on Youtube you probably have hidden in a specialist playlist.
Additions to the game is a unified autosave system, the ability to play as Coco in the majority of the platform levels and relics in the previous two games for completionists and leaderboards covering demand and fanservice, a pretty much universal HUD and pause screen like from Crash 2 onwards. Hints for those not in know of classic secrets are often displayed on the loading screens, because face it, these days, it's unheard of to buy a gaming magazine just for a walkthrough.
You will still fall off barely built bridges, you will still misjudge the balance of that spinning bridge platform taking you under, you will still miss that last crate because you sealed it under a row of metal boxes by hitting a switch box, you will still die just just as that death platform is in sight at that background, you will miss out that relic by a second, but luckily, you will still remember how to jam up N.Gin's onboard weapons with Wumpa and lazers in under 3 minutes.
Anyway, Crash Bandicoot N.Sanity Trilogy is a HD remake compilation done correctly and lovingly, knowing it's going to sell like hotcakes anyway, but just putting that last idle animation of Coco's exploding phone in for the sake of it. A soft reboot for newcomers and a relaunch for the hyperactive marsupial and to muck in Cortex's mud again, It's amazing it's taken us since Super Mario All-stars to get this kind of celebration compilation right once more.
Long Live Crash Bandicoot.