The Bandicoot is back in his third instalment and this time he’ll have to face not only the evil Doctor Neo Cortex but another evil entity known as Uka Uka.
Crash Bandicoot Warped kicks off after the storyline from Crash Bandicoot 2. After Crash defeats Cortex and crashes his space station the evil entity Uka Uka, who is Aku Aku’s (the wooden mask who guides and assists Crash and Coco) evil brother, is released and bands together with Cortex and Doctor Nefarious Tropy. This time Cortex and Nefarious have devised a dastardly plan to gather crystals once again. However, since Crash has already gathered them prior with not many left, the dastardly Doctor N. Tropy has created a time machine. By travelling through time, the evil trio intends to once again take control and enslave the Earth. This is where our heroes come into play. Crash and his sister Coco along with the aid of Aku Aku have to travel through time and space to defeat the henchmen sent out by the evil trio and gather the crystals before they do.
Although I originally played Super Mario Bros. first on the Golden China or Famicom replicas back in the 90s, Crash Bandicoot was the actual ‘platformer’ that solidified itself into my memory the most. It’s possible that this could also relate to the fact that I never really had access to Nintendo consoles growing up and mainly played, bought and followed games released for the PlayStation. Since Crash Bandicoot was exclusive at the time to PlayStation can you really blame me? From the three Crash Bandicoot titles released, however, I would say that Warped was my favourite. And no, not because it actually had a Spyro the Dragon demo ‘secretly’ hidden within it but because it built on the first two games in so many ways.
I would say that Warped was my favourite. And no, not because it actually had a Spyro the Dragon demo ‘secretly’ hidden within it.
A speedy tour
Much like Crash Bandicoot 2, Crash Bandicoot Warped follows the same platforming style. A linear 3D styled view as well as the 2D stylized view in certain areas. It also has levels that incorporate what we know today as endless runners. Of course, in these levels, it’s not really an endless runner and the level does come to an end, however, the mechanics of the level is that you’ll have to keep moving to be successful. This time players will be taking control of Coco as well. Throughout the game, levels are placed in sets of five with each one set in a different time era. Once all five have been successfully completed and a Crystal gathered from it, you’ll face off in a boss battle. Players will be able to randomly select which level that they’d like to take on. Some of these levels include the endless runner mechanics where either Coco will hop onto a tiger and run across a level that resembles the Great Wall of China or Crash will be thrown onto a motorcycle and have to race across a setting that resembles the 50s. There are quite a number of other settings and levels, some of which include Crash underwater and Coco riding across the ocean on a Jet Ski dodging not only pirates but sharks as well. Each time era that Crash and Coco travel to has its own traps, dangers, enemies and challenges and I think this is why I’m so drawn to Warped.
In my opinion, Naughty Dog pulled out all of the stops with this third instalment. After each boss battle Crash will be granted a power-up. These will in turn boost Crash’s abilities even further, allowing him to double jump or belly slam harder. This offers players the choice of going back into previous levels which possess certain points which can only be accessed with these powered up abilities. Crash retains all of his abilities from the second game, so players can expect to jump on enemies heads, spin like a tornado, slide across the floor and slam down on enemies. The boss battles although fun when just thrown in, dodging laser blasts or hordes of charging lions, become a tad bit too easy. I found myself more challenged by the levels where Crash is chased by a dino terror. I actually died quite a bit here as well. Don’t worry though as there is an abundance of Wumpa Fruit laying around and like before, collecting 100 of the juicy looking fruit will grant the player an additional life.
All in all, Crash Bandicoot Warped took me back to the past, a past where I had a blast with this title. And now in the present day, find myself still having a blast. There were some things that obviously got to me like every time Crash lost a race in the levels where you’d ride the motorcycle, you’d be sent back to the warp room instead of being offered to just restart the race, however, these minor things were soon overcome. The music is also on another level compared to the second game. It includes that catchy fast-paced tone of the second game and adds to it with each track working in harmony with the setting of the levels. Of course, the animations are still fun to watch as well, with the variety of ways Crash can die, each one is accompanied with a wacky animation. Some having Crash blowing up with his attire landing in the spot which he had previously occupied, or getting caught by a frog enemy in the medieval era and the frog kissing Crash and turning into a Prince. This is definitely a must play, and if you don’t possess an original PlayStation or Vita, the remastered version known as Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is currently out on the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.