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Crash still hits with a bang and a wallop ... CRASH BANDICOOT N. SANE TRILOGY PS4.

Byline: GAME ON With Cheryl Mullin

BEFORE Nathan Drake was even a gleam in the milkman's eye, the developer Naughty Dog was famous for another, very different, hero.

Crash Bandicoot was one of the original stars of the PlayStation.

Designed to act as a mascot for Sony that would rival Nintendo's Mario and Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog, the genetically altered marsupial was a refreshing addition to an increasingly saturated sea of platforming games.

But as popular as Crash was, selling more than six million copies, platformers were about to be sunk by the first 3D, cinematic games - with Tomb Raider hitting consoles just weeks later.

As it turns out, the PlayStation wouldn't need any one mascot, and Crash joined an iconic list of characters which became synonymous with the console.

It's fitting then that as a wave of nostalgia sweeps over the industry, Crash is getting the remastered treatment.

The N. Sane Trilogy takes Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped and sees them scrubbed up for the PS4.

Vicarious Visions, the development studio put in charge of the remaster, have done a lovely job. The graphics have been souped up to 1440p rendering, the voice acting and audio remastered for improved sound.

One thing that hasn't changed is just how bloody difficult these games can be. Just like those who complain that exams are easier now then in their day, gamers of a certain vintage will tell you that when they were growing up games were tough-as-nails.

Anyone who's ever played Ghosts n Goblins, or Mega Man knows exactly what I'm talking about.

Crash lulls you into a false sense of security, it feels extremely linear in its approach - given the constraints of design at the time.

But even with the baddies having little to no AI, it's still frustratingly hard at times.

Timing has always been an issue for me with this game. You wait, you time your jump to the second and yet still plummet to your death.

With all that in mind, those lovely people at Vicarious Visions have slipped a few helping hands into the mix in the form of power ups and checkpoints - absolute lifelines for beginners and those of us who are a little rusty.

A couple of nice little extras, the addition of an online leaderboard and a cloud saving feature, bring the games up to date.

There's also the chance to play as Coco Bandicoot in the on-foot levels - which does feel a bit like what it is, a different skin for Crash.

It is a game which feels its age though. The characters, the tone and the game mechanics - they're charming, comfortable and nostalgic but very much of their time.

If you've already bought these games through the PS Store, you might want to think twice about paying out for them again. As beautiful as they look, even with the extra flourishes, there's nothing that different here.

However, if you've not yet dipped your toes into the insanity that is Crash Bandicoot, then this is an essential purchase. In fact, why are you still reading this - go buy it!

| Bargain buy: PS29.99 from studio.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Platform perfection: Crash in action

Back to his roots: A screen shot from Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy which has been remastered for PS4

On your bike: Another shot from the remastered game
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 15, 2017
Words:567
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