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Apparently I have some complicated feelings about Crash Bandicoot

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
And who the hell else am I going to talk to about them?

So I was but a preteen lad when I got my first PSX, which boy howdy saw a lot of use from me over the years. The game that came with it was Crash Bandicoot and I did play it and eventually beat it and even more eventually 100%-ed it but I don't think I'd ever put it up there with the best games I've ever played. I mean it had strong competition on that console alone. Still I ultimately came away liking the game.

And yet, after trying to re-visit the game by way of the N. Sane Trilogy I now think I hate it. I know I hate the N. Sane Trilogy version of it at the very least. It's entirely possible, and my googling has turned up evidence of this, that said remake of the game uses updated physics that don't mesh with the game's sometimes ruthless platforming demands and I can believe it, as I can't even muster the patience to even get to the end of the game, much less get all the gems. And for all my flaws I am a significantly more patient person now than I was in the PSX days.

Not to mention I'm pretty sure the original game had much more punishing mechanics for losing all your lives, it was still in the old times enough to not save all of your progress at all times so game overs meant going through multiple tough levels. At least I think that's how it was, I haven't done any research for this brain spew. Point is there's something about the PSX original that I think is lost...

It's the music, it's absolutely 100% the music.

Crash 1 was a blocky, simplistic obstacle course game only vaguely imitating 3-d gameplay but it had charm and it had a voice. Two words: Boulder Dash. Do yourself a favor and listen to this song with headphones. It's so percussive. So Australian. The way it builds up and crescendos with this amazing thumping sense of impending doom. This is some serious got damn music to flee from boulders with. It didn't matter if the trial-and-error gameplay got tedious with this motherfucking jam carrying you. There's something truly haunting in the PSX soundscape at times and music like this epitomizes that for me.

And then there's the remake. And I mean no offense to whatever hard working musician put this piece together. They know how to put the key notes in the right places and yet it feels so flat, so lifeless and generic. There's no real build up or pay off to the song and anything to give it that grungy, wild sound. So if I miss a frustrating jump and lose another life, now I'm just dealing with the shit gameplay, not feeling particularly thrilled.

I don't want a Crash Remake. I want the original game, emulated as best as possible, even if trickery is used to simulate the look and feel of playing it on a CRT with the very stiff and reliable PSX physics and especially the music, forever and away that music.*

And this isn't restricted just to the first Crash. I slept on Crash 2 but did play Warped and arguably enjoyed it even more than Crash 1 and it had a boss I would regularly load the game just to fight and hear this delightful song again. It occurs to me there are other interesting, haunting sounds the PSX made that would immensely affect me with the desired mood for the game I was playing and I'd like to revisit a couple more of them now.

The intro to Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee: to this very day this amazing otherworldly howl of a title drop gives me genuine goosebumps. Interestingly enough I think this one also has a remake that sucks all the personality out of it? I'm not certain as I noped out of it pretty quickly before even getting to any gameplay.

This music drop from Tomb Raider 2: It's a very short sound clip that only plays a handful of times in the game to my recollection but it's usually at moments that are meant to evoke a sense of awe and granduer and I did always feel like it did draw me in and make me feel like I was exploring this huge majestic environment, blocky though it may be.


*By the way you can also basically say this this all of this EVEN MORE SO for Ratchet and Clank, which I do consider one of the best games on the PS2 for sure and possibly of all time as well. Man oh man did that remake just turn me off super fast with the deviations both story and gameplay mechanics.
 
I definitely had some unpleasant times with the N. Sane Trilogy. I KNOW the original was really quite brutal, especially if you were trying to 100%. And I greatly appreciate all the modern tweaks that make the game easier to pick up and save progress. But I thought the bridge levels were literally unplayable with the re-done physics. I had to just walk on the ropes, the physics were just SO off that I was sliding off things I clearly hit.

The recent Oddworld remakes have also filed off some of the rough edges like you said, but lost some cool aesthetics in the process. In that case, I find the quality of life improvements so big (especially quicksave), that I would find it hard to go back to the original without using an emulator and keeping save states.

To speak of a remake I did enjoy - I never played a single original Spyro game, but had a lot of fun with the first one in the Reignited Trilogy. This led me to looking up some speed runs and actually going back and playing the PSX original, enjoying the consistent mechanics.

In a lot of these remakes, it seems like teams don't have the resources or time to replicate the physics of all the games, so they make an engine based on the most popular of the titles and then shove everything into it. Spyro Reignited is a little weird in that Games 1/2 were done by one team and Game 3 was done by another, leading to weird visual and control differences.

I guess that's a lot of words to say that remaking old games into bundles is a tricky process, but I'm glad PSX emulation is so good that all versions are pretty readily available.
 

LBD_Nytetrayn

..and his little cat, too
(He/him)
I still wish they'd go back and add "Modern" mode to N. Sane Trilogy. It's pretty much the one thing keeping it from being a game I love instead of just want to love.
 

madhair60

Video games
I loved the N.Sane Trilogy and didn't have any problems with it at all

Edit: I am an incredible poster
 
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Kiyone

Workin' real hard to make internet cash.
(She/Her)
Poppin' in to say that attempting to get 100% in Crash 4 is even more grueling and unreasonable than trying to do so in the OG games.

Don't do it.
 

LBD_Nytetrayn

..and his little cat, too
(He/him)
I loved the N.Sane Trilogy and didn't have any problems with it at all

Edit: I am an incredible poster
It's a matter of patience, or perhaps lack thereof.

I can throw myself at a challenge and fail a hundred times with little issue. It's when I have to repeat everything else in the stage to get back up to that challenge only to try a couple of times before having to go back to square one and do it all again that it wears thin for me.
 
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