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Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1
Genre: Platformer (3D)

Graphics & Sound:
Way back, over 20 years ago now, a bandicoot crashed his way into our hearts. His name? Crash Bandicoot. Over the years Crash, his companion, and even his enemies, have been the hit of several games over a number of systems. Now you can relive the excitement from the beginning with the new Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. This game is a collection of the first three Crash games, but it has been completely remastered in full HD, showing you Crash like youíve never seen him before!

If you have played the games before, you will remember what everything looks like. The world is vibrant and full of plants, animals, and characters that definitely arenít dull. Youíll definitely see a difference in the new HD release. Everything runs extremely smoothly and beautifully. You wonít see any skips, bumps, or glitches visually, at least not that I have found. Youíll also get some highly amusing animations. If you let Crash or Coco stand still for too long, they do funny things. Also, dying can be quite humorous, depending on how you die. Personally, I laugh every time the frog prince catches and kisses Crash.

The background music is upbeat and peppy. You also get amusing sound effects based on whatever Crash or Coco does. The only voicework is during the cutscenes, but it is all well done. Crash doesnít actually speak, but his sister Coco will talk during scenes, as does Dr. Cortex, Aku Aku, Uka Uka, and many more.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is actually three games (completely remastered) in one. For those unfamiliar with the game, Crash was a test subject of Dr. Cortex. He escapes just after Dr. Cortex rejects him as a failed experiment, but unfortunately his girlfriend is next on Cortexís list. The first game in this trilogy, Crash Bandicoot is all about Crash, with the help of his sister Coco, trying to rescue his girlfriend. You can switch between Crash and Coco at the beginning of most levels, but some have to be played as Crash, though.

In the second one, Dr. Cortex is back. Well, heís not exactly back on Earth, but he is back to torment Crash from space. This time, he says that he needs Crashís help to collect crystals for him. This game is set up a little different in that you can choose which order to take on the areas. Youíll also get completely different scenery for each area as they are all locations that Crash warps to, presumably all over the world. Youíll find out that after you beat an area, you will then be given a time to beat on that level. If you can beat that time, youíll get an ankh symbol. After you beat all the areas in this first warp room, youíll get a boss battle. After the boss, you can go up to the next warp room and repeat the process. You can use the little warp pad in the second warp room to allow Coco to join you on your adventures. Keep going and eventually youíll figure out what Dr. Cortex is up to!

In the final game of this trilogy, you are going to have to deal with a great evil, Uka Uka. Working with Dr. Cortex, they are going to get crystals all throughout time. Aku Aku takes Crash and Coco to an area where they can try to get the crystals first. Theyíre set up with portals like the second game, but you only unlock a new one after you complete one, so youíll have to do them in order. Each location has 5 stops and you can play those in any order. Like the second game, after you beat a level, you will be given the option of doing it timed, in order to earn an ankh. Each location is a completely different time period so youíre definitely going to see variety in the scenery. Once again, if you persist long enough, youíll figure out how to stop Cortex yet again!

Each game in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy presents its own challenges. In the first one, you can only get the gem for that board if you clear it without dying. As you know if youíve ever played these games, that is not easy to do. If you die at any point, youíll have to restart the level to get the gem. In the second game only, your life can be easier in that any Aku Aku masks that are with you when you end the level will be carried to the next level. Once you get to the third game, youíll get some more interesting boards, one that will require you to go underwater and on top of the water. In all the games, I highly recommend you eat every one of the Wumpa fruits you can find as 100 Wumpa fruit will get you an extra life. There are extra lives to be found in the levels too, but they are few and far between. Overall, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is not an easy game. If you run out of lives, you will get a Game Over. However, thatís not the end of the world. You can choose to retry the level and you will be reset at the beginning with some more lives. You will still have passed all the previous levels as well. Basically, itís like it pulls up a previous save and gives you some lives back. If you want, you can choose to load a previous save. If youíll have more lives that way, I recommend loading the save.

As you might expect, the further you get into the games, the more difficult the levels get. In the beginning, you shouldnít find it too hard to get past the level. What isnít so easy is trying to collect all the boxes to get the gem. Youíll also find it a bit difficult, or even seemingly impossible at times, to beat the timed trial to earn the ankh. Everything is beatable. You might just have to try a different way or keep trying!

Game Mechanics:
You are going to really need to get the hang of the controls in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy if you want to succeed. All the games in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy are 3D platformers. You go from one end of the level to the other, avoiding or eliminating enemies, breaking boxes, collecting fruit, and more. In some levels, you will be chased by various things and will be working the other direction, but you still have the same goal, collect the crystal at the end. After every 5 levels, you will have a boss to beat.

(LS) moves you as does the D-pad. If youíre having trouble, try using the D-pad. I think maybe itís just muscle memory from years ago, but I find I do better using the D-pad. (X) is your jump button, (Square) will do a spin attack, and (Triangle) will bring up your current inventory (fruit, box count, and lives left). In the second and third games, Crash learns how to crouch with the (O). This will also allow you to slide if you crouch while running. Overall, it doesnít take long to get used to, but the timing might take you a while. Timing is key!

I absolutely loved the Crash games when they first came out and I am pleased to find that I still really enjoy them in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. I must admit that I forgot how tough games used to be with the whole limited lives concept, but that doesnít mean I enjoyed it any less. I just had to get used to seeing Game Over more than I have in many years. If youíre looking for nostalgia, youíll definitely enjoy these games. If you didnít play them in the past because you were too young, well they might be too challenging for you, maybe. I recommend everyone give them a try!

-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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