"Crash" franchise successfully uses original formula in new game

By AARON ACEVEDO
On October 7, 2020

Photo courtesy of PlayStation Europe, Flickr

“Crash Bandicoot” is one franchise that has endured leagues of success since its recent resurrection. With the first three games’ remastering, subtitled “N.Sane Trilogy,” being released in June 2017, not only did it receive praise from fans and critics, but the game ended up selling millions of copies in the process. “Bandicoot” fever swept through the gaming community, enough so that a new mainline entry, the first one in 12 years, was announced to be in development.

This game, “Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time,” released on Oct. 2, allows players to see if developer Toys for Bob could prove that the franchise’s gameplay formula can remain enjoyable in a new entry. Luckily, this game proves that it does. With its beautiful art style, brilliant sound design and challenging yet rewarding gameplay, “Crash Bandicoot 4” proves that one of gaming’s biggest icons still has some tricks up his sleeves, even way after his prime.

The game picks up after the third main game in the series, “Crash Bandicoot: Warped,” with the evil Dr. Neo Cortex being trapped in the past with Dr. Nefarious Tropy and a talking mask named Uka Uka. Using Uka Uka’s magical powers to try and return to the present, the trio ends up ripping holes in space and time, with Cortex and N.Tropy hatching a plan to take over not just their universe, but every universe.

Crash and Coco soon find out about this plan when they meet Lani-Loli, one of the four Quantum Masks that hold power over time and space. With their presence signaling danger, Crash, Coco, and a handful of new allies must traverse through various dimensions in order to stop Cortex’s plan and save the multiverse.

“Crash 4” has one of the best art styles I have seen in a video game this year. Everything, from the backgrounds to the characters themselves, has a vibrant color scheme to it that pops out at you without being overwhelming. Each of the worlds in the game is unique in its concepts, with no two settings appearing too similar to each other. The visuals are capped off by the stellar animations, which feel cartoonish yet fluid enough to comprehend, whether one is watching cutscenes (which are filled with great voice acting from all characters) or playing the game.

The game maintains its zany vibes with its sound design. As previously mentioned, the game is full of great voice acting in its cutscenes, and the performances are complimented by plenty of memorable jokes and unique music for each level that is guaranteed to stay in your head after you beat a level.

Furthermore, the gameplay itself is an enjoyable yet challenging experience. The characters’ movements feel light and loose, but without being too difficult to control. Each move you make feels right as you traverse through the various levels with different designs, all meant to challenge you with unique scenarios that you typically won’t find in any other level. The game does get rather challenging as it progresses, so it is definitely not for everyone. For those who love a challenge though, the game is a difficult but ultimately rewarding experience.

“Crash Bandicoot 4” proves that the success of the original game’s formula can be more than just a one-time success. With its easy-to-learn, difficult-to-master gameplay, beautiful art style, and memorable sound, it is definitely an essential platformer to pick up before the start of the next console generation. Spinning into a new life, “Crash 4” proves that the world of Crash and his friends can be just as memorable now as it was back in the 90s.

5/5 stars

 

aaceved3@ramapo.edu

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