Naughty Dog has taken the spotlight recently due to gaming marvels like The Last Of Us, The Nathan Drake Collection and the upcoming (and much anticipated) release of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. With all the praise and excitement received on behalf of these unquestionably awesome titles, it is almost as if we’ve forgotten that some time ago now, The Naughty Dog team presented us players with the greatest, most memorable platformer of all time, Crash Bandicoot.
The game’s aim was all but a simple one, ”beat the bad guys”, and yet Crash Bandicoot proceeded to go down as legend, a wonderful Playstation Classic. Here’s 5 very plausible reasons as to why Crash Bandicoot is in fact the best platformer game.
1. The Game Is Wack!
To summarise Crash Bandicoot generally, the game is extremely whacky. The foundations for this general feel to the game are laid at the very first level, Crash’s home N.Sanity beach (an obvious play on the word ”insanity” for the more oblivious reader). As soon as Crash, Naughty Dog’s anthropomorphic rendition of a bandicoot, gets swept up onto the sandy shores of the island, the craziness begins to unfold as he has to traverse through evil crabs and tortoises in order to complete the level. Snapping plants and lily pads, hostile mammal wildlife including bosses Ripper Roo (a mutated kangaroo in a straight jacket) and Koala Kong (an over grown, body-building koala) and strange unpredictable settings all contribute to the whacky atmosphere the player will be subdued to as they play eagerly through this platformer’s painfully addictive levels.
A game series released more recently with mildly comparable wackiness was Rayman Origins and it’s sequel Rayman Legends (Ubisoft). Despite it’s vibrant, crazy settings and the games general incoherence, it still struggled to compete with our Crash Bandicoot classic.
2. Crazy Yet Cute
Nothing makes a game more memorable and enjoyable than a downright awesome character stealing the leading role. Crash Bandicoot, the games protagonist, achieves this criteria exceptionally, mostly evident in the fact he is the face of the more classic side to Naughty Dogs releases and generally in Crash Bandicoot’s overall success as a game.
Crash is eccentric, crazy and cute. Upon playing this game in it’s prime, I found myself spending countless occasions being inactive and leaving Crash to his own devices, watching him fail at juggling apples. These animations were funny and gave Crash the character he couldn’t portray verbally (he doesn’t really speak aside from his emotional outbursts after completing a level or boss battle). Furthermore, Crash’s slapstick death animations and end of level summaries (given boxes are missed during a level) are incredibly comical also as he must stand on a pedestal and take the boxes he missed to the head. Crash is not all comedy however, he is actually rather adorable and as the player more or less tortures him during a playthrough they will no doubt grow to pity the poor soul.
Crash is a well developed starring role to this legendary platformer and it is hands down one of the reasons Crash Bandicoot remains to be the best platformer ever.
3. Superb Soundtrack
Although not immediately a noticeable contributor to the awesomeness of Crash Bandicoot, the soundtrack accompanying the madness within the game plays a huge part in the overall tone and enjoyment of the game.
The music for each level in Crash Bandicoot is fun and bouncy, maintaining the general feel of the game whilst still remaining suited to the specific tone and setting of each individual level. If we take one of the levels titled Slippery Climb as an example, we can see more literally how the soundtrack contributes.
The level itself is relatively dreary and dull, however, the soundtrack for this particular level somehow manages to capture this but twists it to be somewhat catchy and bouncy, maintaining the collective pace and ”feel” of Crash Bandicoot.
In certain levels, the rhythm and beat incorporated within that levels soundtrack actually provide some aid in level completion. For instance, in levels The Lost City and Sunset Vista the rhythm of the soundtrack coincides and matches up with the speed of the interchanging platforms within the level that Crash must jump between, making the level considerably easier to get to grips with.
Crash Bandicoot’s original soundtrack is not only key to generating the fun, bubbly feel of the game, but also poses to be helpful too. It definitely adds up in making Crash Bandicoot the best platformer.
4. Crash Caters For All
I quite vividly recall the first time my mum sat me down, Playstation One controller in hand, ready to play Crash Bandicoot. After some swift tutorials from her on which button did what, how to tackle the crabs, the first notable enemy of the game and some insight into the Aku Aku mask that hovered beside me, it was safe to say I became addicted. Now, the best part about that little anecdote is the fact that 14 years on from my first playthrough, I am still undoubtedly addicted to Crash Bandicoot. The fact that this game can be appreciated over a span of age groups is what in fact makes it such an outstanding game. It has the profound and valued ability to appeal to the adult with a love for addictive games and too much time on their hands whilst also being able to devour the attention of youngsters attracted to the games vibrancy and simplicity. Crash Bandicoot can even manage to engulf a nostalgic fan as if it were their first playthrough.
5. Adamantly Addictive
Lastly, yet most importantly, Crash Bandicoot harnesses the profound addiction factor expected from a platformer. No matter how many times you fail on a level or become infuriated as Crash stands on that pedestal in humiliation as the one or two boxes you missed drop shamefully on his head, you will always continue to play. Crash Bandicoot almost taunts you with its simplicity and being a seemingly straight-forward platformer and, in doing so, continues to draw in players. Furthermore, Crash Bandicoot’s incredibly fun levels are almost impossible to turn boring or repetitive, allowing you to indulge time and time again.
All in all, a combination of its catchy original soundtrack, simple game dynamic, strange characters and unquestionably lovable protagonist is the reason Crash Bandicoot remains to be so darn addictive and in turn the best platformer.
The legendary platformer
Crash Bandicoot will always be the best platformer in my eyes. It harnesses each and every aspect to a successful platformer and will always stand as my means of comparison for any more recent platformer as I just don’t think it can be topped. 14 years after my first playthrough, I can still sit there happy as Larry playing this awesome game for hours upon hours and, to me, that makes it the best platformer.