Crash Bandicoot was a pop culture icon in the '90s. He had a trilogy of 3D platforming games (which were a technical marvel at the time) and even a kart racing game, all developed by Naughty Dog - the studio that would go on to produce the likes of Uncharted and The Last of Us. But then, poor Crash lost his way. New games failed to catch on, and a visual redesign for the character (complete with sick tribal tats, bro) couldn't save his floundering relevance.
Fast forward to 2017 though, and we have the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, a collection of the first three games remade with new assets and analog control support, but which still use the same level data and even some voice actors from the originals. Our own Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy review calls it "eye-meltingly gorgeous," though we admitted to fumbling with imprecise controls. But what did other critics think? Let's take a look.
VentureBeat on what the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy doesn't have:
"Outside of the gorgeous new graphics and remastered music, this collection doesn’t offer much that’s new. You don’t have any behind-the-scenes videos of developer commentaries. You don’t even have galleries of concept art. It would have been nice if this nostalgic package did more to celebrate the series’ history and give fans an appreciation for its creation. You can play as Coco instead of Crash in each game. She’s his sister, and offering a new character is at least something. But she controls exactly the same as Crash, so it’s not all that much of an extra."
IGN on Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy's improved soundscape:
"The trilogy sounds better than ever too, thanks to an HD update to Crash’s soundtrack, which has always been an infectious earworm of drums and marimba. While not the exact same tracks as the original game, the new score captures the soul and energy so well that I seriously need this soundtrack on its own now. But it’s the little touches that really impressed me this time around. The way the patter of Crash’s footsteps changes from sand to concrete, or Polar’s yelps mixing with the cries of whales bring the wacky, weird, and beautiful levels to life."
God is a Geek on Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy's attention to detail:
"Everything is much smoother, but the real wonder of these remasters are the backdrops – everything in the distance that you probably always took for granted. The jungles, the oceans, the fields – there’s plenty going on that you can’t help but love. In Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, I couldn’t stop staring at these neon plants in an underwater level – everything is beautiful."
Destructoid on Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy's new voice acting:
"There's going to be many opinions floating around regarding the voicework, but given that most of the cast is relegated to silly grunts and groans, I'm not too bothered. Well that, and several original cast members have returned -- it's expected that after 20 years they'd sound a little different. One notable upgrade is the evil Uka Uka, as John DiMaggio's new material sounds much more fierce and formidable. Though I do prefer Clancy Brown's Cortex over Lex Lang's, the latter of whom has voiced the character since 2004, including this very trilogy."
GameSpot on Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy's old-school designs and controls:
"While it's easy to look at these games and appreciate the care that's gone into their presentation, actually playing them stirs up conflicting emotions. There's no way around it: they remain dated despite their fresh look. Enemies rarely react to you, preferring instead to follow pre-determined paths and animation loops. And many obstacles are needlessly discouraging; Razor-thin tolerances for success and one-hit deaths make for a frustrating pairing. You can control Crash using an analog stick now, but smoother pivots and jumps don't alleviate the otherwise stiff gameplay lurking behind Crash's goofy exterior."