It’s been nearly 22 years since everyone’s favourite orange marsupial first arrived on the scene, shifting millions of copies of the variety of games with his name on, and gaining a shiny new remaster of the original trilogy on PlayStation 4 last year (in impressive “fur-K” resolution!).
With rumours of a brand new Crash Bandicoot game constantly brewing, let’s take a look at our favourite levels from Sony’s one-time mascot’s first game…
N. Sanity Beach
The starting point of Crash Bandicoot is an iconic moment in modern gaming. Regaining consciousness on the beach after escaping the laboratory of the evil Dr. Neo Cortex, Crash makes his way into the jungle, spinning away at crates and making his way to the portal at the end of the stage.
While there’s nothing particularly flashy about N. Sanity Beach, the level does an effective job of introducing players to all of the most important elements they’ll find in the rest of the game. Wumpa fruit, powerup boxes, Aku Aku masks, extra lives; they’re all here. The level also introduces the optional element of box gems, which are rewarded to players that manage to break every box in the level. It’s slightly tricky to pull off (especially for newcomers), but essential for players that want to fully complete the game.
Remember that scene in Raiders Of The Lost Ark where Indiana Jones has to escape a cave with a giant stone boulder chasing him, threatening to flatten him? Stressful huh? Well, nowhere near as stressful as this level; the second encounter with a giant boulder in Crash Bandicoot.
Boulder Dash flips the perspective of the game so that instead of Crash running forwards towards a portal at his own pace, Crash is now running towards the screen and can’t stop (or else, ya know, SQUISH!). The level isn’t majorly different to the first boulder level, Boulders, in that Crash must simply cross platforms and avoid obstacles quickly enough to avoid getting squashed by a series of giant boulders, but Boulder Dash throws in some extra obstacles, making it somewhat tougher to escape a flattened death.
Situated on the first island of the game, Hog Wild is another level that forces players to relinquish control of the game’s pace and tests their reflexes and timing. This level sees Crash cheekily jump onto the back of a hog, who then races through the level. Obstacles such as bottomless pits, spike-covered pillars, shield-wielding natives and roasted hogs on spits. If this didn’t sound challenging enough, Aku Aku masks are not allowed in this level either, so there is no room for error whatsoever.
As the hog can not stop moving or turn around throughout the course of the level, Hog Wild encourages players to learn the layout of the level and time their jumps perfectly. There is a second, slightly trickier hog level hidden in the game later on, but Hog Wild is a great level that brings an enormous amount of satisfaction upon completion.
One of the most difficult levels in the entire game, Slippery Climb sees Crash traversing the outside of Dr. Neo Cortex’s castle to reach the top, while avoiding a frustratingly tough gauntlet of traps and obstacles along the way. To make matters worse, it’s pissing it down with rain.
When I say “difficult” when describing Slippery Climb, I truly mean it. Timing jumps to perfection is absolutely crucial, as the platforms don’t really allow for any wiggle room upon landing. While they’re not the most challenging parts of the level, the enemies Crash encounters here are a major pain in the ass, as lab assistants hurl chemical-filled beakers at you and evil hands emerge to grab at Crash from the grates on certain platforms. I have lost many lives to this level, both in the original and the remastered version, but completing it is one of the best victories in any Crash Bandicoot game.
The High Road
The second of the rope bridges in Crash Bandicoot, The High Road, is a true test of patience. Crash has to reach the end of a rickety rope bridge, while avoiding hogs and turtle enemies along the way. Some of the planks break when stepped on and some are slippery; both of them threaten an instant death. It’s an adrenaline rush of a level that brings cocky players right back down to earth with a single misstep.
This is an interesting one, as the version of the level found in the original Crash Bandicoot isn’t quite as difficult as the one available in the N. Sane Trilogy. This is down to the fact that the controls are slightly different between the 1996 version and the 2017 version, along with a less forgiving landing area in the latter. Nonetheless, The High Road has the ability to make players rage in ways that are totally unique to this level.
Mistakenly stepped on a weak plank? ANGER.
Accidentally slipped off a sturdy plank? ANGER!
Slipped off the rope at the side when you’ve decided to cheat your way through the level? ANGER! ANGER! ANGER!
So there you have it, my pick of levels that stand out the most to us from the very first Crash Bandicoot game. You can expect to see more from the Crash Bandicoot franchise in future parts of this series!
What is your favourite Crash Bandicoot level? Let us know in the comments below, or send a tweet our way!