Ah, here we are at last! The jewel of the original trilogy! Once again released just one year after its predecessor, Crash Bandicoot Warped is without doubt the best of the three technically speaking. Of course everybody has their favourites, but what Naughty Dog managed to do in the one year gap between Crash 2 and 3 is nothing short of phenomenal.
Crash 3 sees Crash return once again to defeat his nemesis, Dr.Cortex, who has managed to free Aku Aku’s evil brother Uka Uka and together plan nothing but bad things for the world. Only this time, Crash isn’t alone.
The introduction of Coco Bandicoot was a bold move but it worked perfectly. Naughty Dog very wisely chose to give Coco her own set of unique levels that only she was allowed to take part in (they even added a nice little animation of Crash face planting the floor and her jumping over him every time he tries to access her levels).
The warp room has also seen a nice little remodelling to suit the time travelling theme, with some very cool little touches graphically added here and there. The warp room is split into areas in time, each with five levels and then a boss.
Oh and as always, the bosses are badass! From Tiny Tiger, to Dingodile, to N.Gin, to N.Trophy, to Cortex himself, they are all unique and challenging to go up against. Another nice little twist is that Coco also gets to fight a boss, not hugely important, but a nice touch. My personal favourite has got to be Dingodile, just simply because his shield is such a challenge the first time you face him, although N.Gin would be a close second.
The most impressive thing about this game, however, is the vast increase in the quality of the game. Bare in mind that Naughty Dog took only a year to release this after Crash 2, and yet in that time they made this game so much tidier and fluid.
All of the levels feel smooth and unique, even though many share key elements. The controls are tight, and the enemies all work perfectly. This may sound like a given, but many games released around this time suffered from bad programming and messy looking levels.
No, it is very hard to find a flaw in this game, and to be honest, even if I listed them this game’s enjoyability and legacy would not be affected in the slightest. It is a masterfully crafted game, and a fitting end to the trilogy on the PS1. But Naughty Dog didn’t stop there, oh no. In the next two articles we’re going to be looking at what happens when Naughty Dog start having some fun with Crash and game genres.