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Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped ‘Retroview’

November 12, 2012

Come on! Who wouldn’t want to be that guy?!

Since the beta launch of PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale I’ve heard plenty of rumours that our favourite orange marsupial has actually made the cut, despite fear that he wouldn’t make the fighter roster. I’ve heard everything from “Crash is an unlockable character” to “he’ll be the final boss in the upcoming Sony fighter” (which has most recently been disproved). All I know is, I used to love the Crash Bandicoot games, and if the original design Crash has made it into PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale, purchasing it come release day is a no-brainer for any self-respecting Sony fan

So, this little retro back-track through time is my little tribute to Crash and a hope that Crash really does make it into Sony PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale, because let’s face it, the PlayStation wouldn’t be the same without Crash Bandicoot.

Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped is, as you could guess, the third iteration of Naughty Dog’s lovable orange marsupial. Just like in the first two outings, Crash is pitted against the evil Dr. Cortex and his minions. Though this time Cortex’s evil mentor is out for Crash as well. Uka Uka, the twisted dark brother of the series’ extra hit item Aku Aku, has been freed from an eternal prison and wants to cause havoc. It’s now up to Crash, who is joined by sister Coco, to travel back in ti

me and recollect the 25 purple crystals that Cortex and Uka Uka need to take over the world.

First of all, Crash is one cool bipedal Marsupial, and was the big thing when I was a kid. I loved Crash, everything about was Crash was cool. He was fun, adorable and a little misunderstood. A clumsy fool with a big heart and courage of a lion, who even has the good fortune of making his deaths one of the funniest ever seen in a game. If you ever played Crash 3 you will know! One moment going along nicely, then getting clubbed by a double-headed brute sends Crash slamming into your TV screen. Hilarious.

I mean look at him. Wearing leather half gloves and sunglasses, riding a motorcycle with a bazooka. He’s like terminator, but with a pet dinosaur. Your move Arnie!

Even after 10 years, the presentation of the whole package that is Crash Bandicoot is a joy to return to. The colourful, vibrant worlds spanning across a multitude of time periods. Everything from the prehistoric tar-pits where you find Crash being chased by an angry triceratops, to ancient china during the construction of The Great Wall of China, to a fantasy-esque medieval period (just imagine a renaissance fair but real); Wizards in goofy tall pointed hats with shiny stars emblazoned on their robes and giant frogs just waiting for that kiss to turn back into rather expressionless looking princes. Crash even takes part in 50’s style drag races with hot-rods. Crash: Warped still holds up to today as one of my favourite looking games cause its just so damn nice to look at. All this detail and all the depth, in a game that can be blasted through in under 3 hours, is still amazing. Crash 3 may have aged but the game stands up on its vibrant worlds, crazy sounds and playfully happy score. And I dare you not to recreate the noise you get when you pick up an Aku Aku. Ooooobbeeeeeeelllllggggga.

The next big thing, Jumping the Dragon!

Everything about Crash Bandicoot jams itself in the pleasure centre of your brain, you can’t help but enjoy the experience, even if you are a seasoned veteran or a complete novice. There is no question that Crash somehow tapped into something all gamers can smile at.

Throughout the game there are 25 crystals. One in each level, 5 Levels per wrap room. Once you have collected all 5 crystals scattered across time from each Warp room you have to fight one of Cortex’s devilish minions to proceed to the next Warp room. Whether its battling Tiny Tiger in an gladiatorial arena in ancient Rome, or taking down Cortex in the final fight as the two mystic masks Aku Aku and Uka Uka battle, sending potentially lethal blasts at Crash, you are always rewarded with a new power from boss battles. These are the super belly flop, which lets Crash slam down on previously indestructible crates, helping you work your way to obtaining the gems that you get for destroying all the boxes in a level. The double jump – a simple concept now but it really blew the possibilities wide open in Crash 3. The death tornado spin, which upgraded Crash’s standard spin to make him a whirling tornado of destruction and it also let him glide across large gaps. Also the fruit bazooka, which lets you rain fruity death to annoying hard to reach enemies. And finally the Speed Shoes which really help you obtain all the Relics in the game.

Each of these powers are essential to overcoming the obstacles set by Cortex and his villainous minions, and really introduced me to the idea of good progression in a platformer. Without these upgrades the game would be too hard. It’s satisfying still to this day, realizing you have won the power that is now helping you advance further into the levels.

Like I said, as well as the crystals over 25 levels, there are 45 Gems, 5 of those being hard-to-find coloured gems, and with the multiple paths, death bonuses and bonuses in the majority of the levels, getting all these gems is harder than the whole game. On top of that there are 30 relics: Crash or Coco can choose to take a time-trail and must race through the level without dying in the fastest time possible. If you are fast enough you get a relic. The amount of extra collectibles, 5 secret warp room levels to open (for which you need all the relics to open all of them) and the secret 2 hidden levels makes Crash 3 a game you can sink a lot of time into, giving it surprising depth for a simple platformer. I sometimes think back and theorise that Crash is where I caught the collection bug, and why I’m such a trophy whore these days.

Fire Away!

Crash 3 has one of the best boss battles ever, and one I painfully excluded from one of my articles. N-Gin is the right hand man of Cortex, a vile, evil genius with a rocket embedded into the right side of his head. You jump in, ready for Crash vs N.Gin, but no, Coco launches herself into the Warp portal instead and, next thing you know, you’re going toe to toe with N.Gin above the surface of the moon, the beautiful blue orb known as planet Earth as the background for the intense dogfight that is about to unfold. You read right. Dogfight … with lasers.

N-Gin is in a giant, mecha style ship against Coco, in a little pink starfighter. You have to roll, bank and avoid his attacks and blast off the rocket launchers. And just when you think its all over, N-Gin’s mech transforms into an even more deadly variation. But never fear! Your trusty tiger friend, Puma, who carried Coco along the top of the great wall of China, is here to save the day and joins his orange starfighter to Cocos’ to make a rapid fire ship of pure awesomeness. That moment really still makes me excited because, despite being part of such a small and simple game, somehow, that moment managed to be epic, and it’s really memorable.

Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped is all about me re-experiencing the memories, but I do see it through rose-tinted glasses. I did notice though that Crash feels especially twitchy when playing with the analog sticks and it’s not much better with the D-Pad. Even after all the time I spent on the game in my youth, controls have really moved on, and that’s what shows Crash’s age. Its simple and fun, but it’s short and kind of clunky sometimes. I still love it to bits, and really enjoyed revisiting it, but I feel that one day I will come back and maybe it will be too much for me to ignore the faults, faults that only seem to be there because games have moved on.

But now, right here, I still pick Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped as one of the best platformers I’ve played. Crash introduced me to games, a media that has since dominated my life. Crash gave me a special gift and thats why he’s awesome, and why I desperately hope he makes the cut for PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale

If you havent played Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped I suggest grabbing it from the PSN and enjoy, what is to me, the genesis of my gaming lifestyle.

Verdict : PLAY IT!

Image Links: Banner – Youtube-thumbnail, wikia.com, community.us.playstation, 1up.com

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