This level man…
I’ve never been an aggressive gamer. I’ve never wanted to throw my controller or break any gaming accessory. Primarily, I assume this is because I don’t play many games that are designed poorly, which means that most of the time when I fail, it’s MY fault. Queue Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Over the last six or so months, I’ve been assisting my girlfriend in her attempts to conquer this nostalgic trip from her childhood. Sure there have been occasions of frustration and general loathing of certain design functions (The hell is up with the jump in these games?). But never before have I been so enraged by a particular level as much as I have in the Road Crash track of Crash Bandicoot: Warped. Below is a gameplay video of this level.
When I first tried road crash, I wasn’t concerned. Surely it’d just take a few runs to learn the track, the turns and so on before I smashed it and once again seemed like a superhero to my girlfriend, Ellie. Ultimately, it took me two separate sessions, after giving up the first night in frustration and a desire not to break anything in the house. Look, I am not a big fan of Crash Bandicoot as a whole, but this level, in particular, left such a sour taste in my mouth that I’m literally writing an article about it, and here’s why:
Firstly, not completely unlike the entire series, the controls are absolute dog-shit. The bike Crash uses has seemingly no turn radius, which leads to frequent swerving off of the track into annoyingly placed cars and blocks, or falling into holes. But that’s just the beginning. Not only are the controls working against you, but all your fellow racers move at a similar speed, and have cars three times the size of yours, which creates significant pushback if they hit you. When this factor is in concert with the frequent obstacles on a narrow and curvy path with ludicrous controls, the result is something akin to a Netflix Original horror film (Trash).
Additionally, the obstacle and speed boost design are flat out idiotic. The map/road are relatively dark, and the plane is quite flat, so holes tend to creep up out of nowhere at the worst possible time, which causes Crash to be repositioned on the track. Similarly, controlling the bike after hitting a speed boost is close to impossible. At this point, you may as well kiss your first place victory goodbye, because good luck catching up with your opponents! Oh and the kicker? It’s a Crash Bandicoot game so you definitely can’t restart the race once you know you’ve lost! On the bright side (it’s not enough), you technically can’t ‘die’, so your apples continue to build the more you fail. Given the next level is a boss fight, it’s quite useful.
Look, I don’t hate The N. Sane Trilogy. I think the updated graphics are quite pretty, most of the levels are fun and the three-game package is a good deal. I’m happy for those of you that have a reverence for the franchise, but there are things that are just uniquely bad about this series. A series that otherwise doesn’t offer anything exceptionally new or interesting in the platforming genre, relative to the releases of its time, of course.