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Yahtzee takes on the Crash Bandicoot remaster, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.

Transcript Edit

Once upon a time, video games were invented, thus rescuing the human race from not having video games. A short while later someone said "These video games are great and all, but they'd be even better if they were constantly reminding me of my rate of acceleration in standard Earth gravity." And thus was born the platform game. A genre that ruled the roost for many years until it was sacrificed on the altar of 3D graphics.

 Turns out being able to fall off the front as well as the sides of the platform was the one step too far that would make platforming suddenly not fun. Lord knows people tried it anyway. Mario 64 has officially aged about as well as a herring under a floorboard.

 But during this confused, transitionary period, a little company called Naughty Dog responsible up to then for a few nondescript titles like Keef the Thief, said "Hey, let's see if there's a way to make a 3D platformer that doesn't feel like directing a kitten around an air hockey table. And if possible let's see if we can do it while climbing aboard Sony's massive todger and banking their cheques for the rest of our fucking lives." And so they developed a 3D platforming system based around moving along a single axis, thus pioneering the concept of '3D except not really'.

 "Great job, Naughty Dog!" said Naughty Dog to itself. "Now all we need is a plot!" "Okay, how about something like... Sonic the Hedgehog meets... actually, fuck it, let's just leave it at that." So, we end up with Crash Bandicoot, in which a mad scientist with nothing better to do with his time than pick on small furry animals gets decked by one of the furry animals who has acquired advanced offensive capability by putting on some shoes and spinning around a lot. In fairness, Crash Bandicoot takes it a step further than Sonic by putting on trousers as well as shoes, a look known in the cartoon world as "the inverse Donald Duck".

 Crash Bandicoot came out around twenty years ago, a period that the ever-advancing nostalgia wave has recently crashed against with its usual tiresome predictability, so of course the first three Crash Bandicoot PS1 games have been remade in HD for PS4. Which presents a wonderful opportunity for old gamers like myself to recreate those wonderful screaming one-sided arguments we used to have about what does and does not constitute a "collision." Crash Bandicoot 1 features Crash Bandicoot on a quest to rescue his girlfriend, who has slightly disturbingly human sexual characteristics. The girlfriend mysteriously vanishes from all subsequent games, for the obvious reason of wanting to avoid turning any more kids into sexual outcasts with Deviantart accounts.

 Crash Bandicoot 2 features main villain Doctor Cortex hitting upon the unsophisticated but surprisingly effective plan of instead of trying to steal the power crystals, simply asking Crash Bandicoot for them. Which works for a while because Crash Bandicoot isn't the sharpest witticism in the book of after dinner speeches.

 Finally, Crash Bandicoot 3 pulls the old Masters of the Universe bullshit where the villain is revealed to have been working for another, more evil villain all this time, so now we can get to work on making that villain totally ineffectual and nonthreatening as well.

 The Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy is the warts and all style of remake, stopping just short of having that special button that switches back to the old style graphics largely for the benefit of people making comparison videos. It's precisely the same levels and music but with a modern restyling, meaning that Crash Bandicoot is covered in that slightly creepy digital fur effect that makes him look like he was stitched out of bath mats.

 There have been some changes, you still have to smash every crate to get the gem for each level in an act of flagrant genocide equivalent to the blood diamonds crisis, but now in Crash Bandicoot 1 you no longer have to do it without dying as well, at least in most levels. This does mean that at the end of each level we have to watch Crash being brutally beaten about the head with every box we missed until he's prostate and weeping on the floor, which I suppose is motivating but is probably adding sadomasochism to the already exotic cocktail of fetishes you're giving to those Deviantart kids.

 Now, I owned Crash Bandicoot 1 on the PS1 and actually 100 percented it back in the days before I had more games vying for my attention than Daniel Radcliffe has weird-smelling fans. And as I played the remake and watched myself miss a ledge for the fourteenth time in a row, I became convinced that something fundamental had changed, besides dimmed vision and stiff hands from twenty years of self-abuse. And I'm led to understand that I was right - Mr. Bandicoot's hitbox is slightly more rounded than in the originals, making him slide off ledges easier. So it was only partly the wanking. It's a small change but it becomes a big one considering how often you're called upon to cross gaps the width of a gnat's labia shorter than your maximum jump distance. It's platforming focus, after all, and combat consists only of spinning around and nudging things like you're looking for the toilet on a packed subway train.

 But perhaps the relevant question is not how accurately the N-Sane trilogy recreates the Crash Bandicoots of yore but how well the Crash Bandicoots of yore hold up, in this modern, spoiled age of quicksaves, auto-aiming and online wikis providing access to an entire global network of big brothers to get past the hard bit for you. It is easy to forget, in our nostalgia madness, that the games are pretty murderously difficult even without the edges sanded off the hitboxes.

 All three games are an adventure in completing the sentence that begins with the words "Those fucking." As in, "Those fucking bridge levels." "Those fucking motorbike races out of nowhere." Or "Those fucking chase levels where you have to run towards the camera so you can only see about two inches of the upcoming road and hazards require reacting quicker than the amount of time between arriving at your girlfriend's parents' house and them starting to judge you." So to anyone considering the purchase I counsel caution if you're only remembering the fun parts of the 90s, like the pogs and Saved by the Bell, not the controller-gnawing frustration or the dead princesses.

 But I think it's too easy to say we're all pampered by modern games that hand out pillows and rimjobs with every preorder, not in the age of Dark Souls. The fact is, Crash Bandicoot's murderous difficulty is more often related to things other than skill. Like the perspective for the levels where you travel into the screen making it difficult to tell how far away the hazards are, and then your spin animation abruptly stops one millimetre from a stationary monkey and you lose a life because I guess the monkey was wearing contact nerve poison aftershave.

 And with the ability to look back from our enlightened 21st century futuristic utopia, what really was the point of that whole push for 3D gameplay in arcade platformers? Considering that most arcade platformers these days have gone back to being 2D? You can't even say it was for looks, since early 3D was like rubbing a lego dog turd in your eyes. Ultimately it made as much sense as grafting two extra legs to your butt cheeks. They have no sensation and you can't run properly anymore but at least you can wear twice as many Crocs.

Addenda Edit

  • Big Australian rat in shoes: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • Not many people know this but Crash Bandicoot was called that because in the first game he was coming down from a sudden opiate withdrawal
  • And I didn't even mention the pig molesting
Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2 · Hellblade · Agents of Mayhem · Sonic Mania · Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle · Destiny 2 · Metroid: Samus Returns
Q4 Knack 2 and SteamWorld Dig 2 · Cuphead · Hob and A Hat in Time · Middle-earth: Shadow of War · The Evil Within 2 · Super Mario Odyssey · Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus · Assassin's Creed Origins · Sonic Forces · Star Wars Battlefront II

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