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*A review of Crash Bandicoot [SCUS-94900] for PlayStation*
It's not been a good day for Crash Bandicoot. The evil Dr. Neo Cortex has been mutating the local island marsupials with an Evolvo Ray to form an army of super animals - which Crash finds himself rejected from. Worst of all, this leaves him separated from his girlfriend Tawna - but in the name of love Crash will defeat the doctor and rescue her!
While Crash Bandicoot can move in all directions (on a plane) such is the strict linearity of the levels in this game that the emphasis is very much on the platforming rather than the exploring. To put this in place there are considerable sections where the game is similar to a 2D platformer. As a game in 3D it does run into perspective problems when jumps have to be made towards/away from the view.
The controls are simple - other than the obvious jump Crash has a spin move which is another means of attack. Don't be fooled into thinking that the game is as straightforward though, for while the first few levels are harmless, the high level of difficulty afterwards might have you falling towards frustration. Sure, the game is happy to clump together extra lives throughout the levels, but you'll need them, and all the apples - which goes towards extra lives - help as well.
This difficulty is compounded by having the save (and trouble-free password) point being at the end of the Tawna bonus stages. While these bonus stages are fairly regular their difficulty also picks up as you progress, and it's possible to fall off thus missing out on the save point unless you restart the level from scratch. At least the game is snappy though as it's almost straight back into the action should Crash lose a life.
There is a decent variety of stages throughout the game, with the levels in which you are being pushed along at a pace not being the only ones where the platforming is on-the-edge. There are bosses to battle as well, but these are not so tough - which is a welcome relief!
For a 1996 PlayStation title Crash Bandicoot looks great. The graphics have good detail, the game runs smoothly and there are no problems with the draw distance. I did notice wrong use of shadows, though it did assist with the jumping in places! Musically, it's not particularly melody-driven so it can seem underwhelming at times.
Crash Bandicoot is suitable for all ages but the difficulty, along with the save system - which is sure to test a player's patience, means that this would be fitting for those who love the prospect of a platform challenge. I liked the game enough that I spent 100 lives getting past one level, if only for the not-so-good ending. The other ending comes from 100% completion of the game, so there is some replay value here - though this was beyond me. A solid start to the series for Crash Bandicoot.