Not only is Crash Bandicoot: Warped the best game in the series, but if you enjoy classic platformers, you owe it to yourself to play it.
From playing the Crash Bandicoot games from the PlayStation era, I came to the conclusion that a) the first Crash Bandicoot has aged poorly and b) Crash Bandicoot 2 represents a significant improvement over its predecessor, but still has too many old “sensibilities.” So after so many years of the game’s release the question is simple: is Crash Bandicoot: Warped worth playing or is it just a disappointing game that we remember fondly? Luckily, not only is the conclusion to the Crash trilogy the best game in the series, but if you enjoy classic platformers, you owe it to yourself to play it.
In Crash Bandicoot: Warped, you are put in the shoes of marsupial Crash as he tries to ruin Nemesis’ plans of world domination. The premise probably gives the impression that Warped is more of the same, but actually, this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s worth pointing out that some core aspects remain unchanged: you still explore 3D environments, you break crates filled with fruit, you collect gems, there are boulder levels and boss fights and the structure of the second game (where each world has five themed levels and then there’s a boss fight.) But for every elements that came back, there’s something new.
Voice acting brings familiar characters to life, there are underwater, plane, jet ski and riding levels, the visual aspect has received a visual overhaul, you can play as Crash’s sister for the first time in the series and as you progress through the game, you unlock abilities, such as crouching, double jump and so on. Most new environments are fun to play and they include a jungle, race tracks, jet ski tracks, Egyptian catacombs, a coliseum and more and since these levels are so varied, you’ll never feel visual fatigue or you’ll never get the feeling that you’re playing in the same setting over and over.
But the most significant improvements come in the form of better controls and a toned down difficulty. Controls are much more precise this time around, which means that most deaths will depend on you (this definitely wasn’t the case in previous Crash games.) Also, Warped doesn’t feel as difficult or unfair as previous entries, making it a much more enjoyable experience. To be fair, some of the latter levels are pretty hard, but luckily, the ski, plane and racing levels are so entertaining that you’ll soon forget about the challenging levels. Additionally, at the end of each series of levels, you fight against a boss and these instances also break the pace of the game.
Since we’re talking about levels, the process of playing them is still the same. Each level has a crystal that you need to collect to progress (don’t worry, you can’t miss them.) Once you’ve collected all crystals, you can continue playing the game, since most levels are playing with secrets and collectible items. The only way to obtain certain collectibles is by destroying every single crate in a given level and then there’s the trial mode where you need to finish the level in the allotted time to receive an item. Technically, you’re playing the same level more than once, but unlocking these secrets is an engaging incentive to replay levels and get the 100% completion rate.
Hands down, Crash Bandicoot: Warped is the best entry in the trilogy and not only because it brings a handful of new features, but because it fixes some of the most serious problems previous Crash games had (chiefly, the high difficulty and imprecise controls.) Previous games in the series left a lot to be desired, but once you’re transported to the world of Crash Bandicoot: Warped, I assure you that you’ll want to spend a couple of hours there.