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Crash Bandicoot Theme Song
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Crash Bandicoot (Japanese: クラッシュ・バンディクー Kurasshu Bandikuu) is a platform game developed by Naughty Dog for the PlayStation. Released initially in 1996, it is the first entry into the Crash Bandicoot series. This game starts the series with Crash Bandicoot being experimented on by Doctor Neo Cortex and his assistant Doctor Nitrus Brio to become the latest addition to Cortex's animal army created from enslaved animals across the Wumpa Islands. After the failed experiment, Crash escapes and resolves to save his captured girlfriend, fellow bandicoot Tawna.  The game was emulated on the PlayStation Network on December 4th 2006, allowing it to be played on the PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3. The game has sold 6.82 million copies globally since its original release.

A complete remaster of the game was released alongside Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped as part of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.

Development

Naughty Dog began development on a prototype game called Willie the Wombat. They had shopped the prototype around and after reaching a deal with Universal Interactive Studios, began developing the game further to what is known today as Crash Bandicoot. When the game was developed, Naughty Dog had only ten employees working for them.

Gameplay

The gameplay in Crash Bandicoot is noticeably simpler than the series' later iterations. Crash doesn't learn any new skills throughout the game, as he is able only to walk, jump and spin attack. The only animal that Crash can ride in this game is a warthog.

Levels

There are three Islands on the game, between which 32 levels are divided as follows (the six boss levels are indicated in bold):

Island Level Type Level Boxes Items Bonus Rounds
N. Sanity Island Beach, Jungle N. Sanity Beach 49
48 J
Clear gem
Jungle Jungle Rollers 38 Clear gem Tawna token
Native Village (2D) The Great Gate 26 Clear gem Tawna token
Boulder Boulders 16 Clear gem
River Upstream 14 Clear gem Tawna token
Boss/Native Village Hut Papu Papu N/A N/A
Jungle Rolling Stones 46 Clear gem Tawna tokenBrio token
Native Village (3D) Hog Wild 24 Clear gem
Native Village (2D) Native Fortress 42 Clear gem Tawna token
Wumpa Island River Up the Creek 15 Clear gem Tawna token
Boss Ripper Roo N/A N/A
Temple Ruins (2D) The Lost City 26 Green gem Tawna tokenBrio token
Temple Ruins (3D) Temple Ruins 67 Clear gem
Bridge Road to Nowhere 33 Clear gem Tawna token
Boulder Boulder Dash 35 Clear gem
Native Village (3D) Whole Hog (requires key) 24 Clear gem
Temple Ruins (2D) Sunset Vista1 50 Clear gemKey Tawna tokenCortex token
Boss Koala Kong N/A N/A
Cortex Island Factory (2D) Heavy Machinery 33 Clear gem Tawna tokenBrio token
Factory (3D) Cortex Power 41 Clear gem
Factory (3D) Generator Room 44 Orange gem Tawna token
Factory (3D) Toxic Waste 26 Blue gem Tawna token
Boss Pinstripe Potoroo N/A N/A
Bridge The High Road 18 Clear gem Tawna token
Castle (2D) Slippery Climb1 31 Red gem Brio token
Castle (3D) Lights Out 15 Purple gem
Castle (3D) Fumbling in the Dark (requires key) 18 Clear gem
Temple Ruins (3D) Jaws of Darkness 65 Clear gemKey Tawna tokenCortex token
Factory Castle Machinery 24 O
27 R
Clear gem
Boss Dr. Nitrus Brio N/A N/A
Castle Labs The Lab 24 Yellow gem Tawna token
Castle The Great Hall N/A N/A
Boss Dr. Neo Cortex N/A N/A
Removed Level Castle Exterior Stormy Ascent 34 Clear gem ???
1 - Sunset Vista and Slippery Climb are swapped in the NTSC-J release of the game.
J - In the original NTSC-J release.

Crates and other items

Story

Cortex and Brio

Cortex (right) and Brio (left) put Crash under the Evolvo-Ray.

Somewhere southeast of Australia rest three little islands, teeming with wildlife. On one of these islands resides Doctor Neo Cortex, who along with his assistant Doctor Nitrus Brio are trying to create an animal army known as the Cortex Commandos to achieve world domination. Dr. N. Brio has created a machine known as the Evolvo-Ray, which is capable of giving animals anthropomorphic traits, then allowing them to turn them into their destructive army. Dr. N. Cortex eventually returns one night, having captured two bandicoots and decides the male should be the leader of his new army and decides to put him under mind control. Dr. Cortex submits Crash Bandicoot into the Cortex Vortex, a device designed to brainwash animals and put them under the control of Dr. Cortex, despite Dr. Brio's reminder that the Vortex is not ready and its results will be unpredictable. Crash is rejected by the Vortex and it fails to control his mind. Crash then seizes the opportunity to escape, with Cortex in pursuit. He eventually breaks through a window and escapes by falling into the sea. Cortex asks that the second bandicoot he caught be prepared, who is Tawna, Crash's girlfriend. Crash washes up on the beach of his home island and sets out to save Tawna before Cortex can use the vortex on her. There, Crash meets a floating tiki mask known as Aku Aku, who vouches to provide Crash with assistance in the form of masks that will take damage for him.

Crashandtwana1

Crash and Tawna finally together.

Cortex decides that Crash must be stopped before he can return for Tawna and sends out his best henchmen after him. Cortex's plan is foiled when Crash reaches his toxic waste factory, wherein Cortex's machinery is powered and shuts it down during a battle with Cortex's top minion, Pinstripe Potoroo. Crash soon scales Cortex's sinister castle, where he confronts N. Brio in his laboratory. The mad doctor drinks a potion to turn himself into a monster, pounding the ground and collapsing the ceiling. Afterwards, the castle goes up in flames.

His plans ruined, Cortex faces Crash atop his airship. Crash eventually gains the upper hand and manages to destroy Cortex's hoverboard, causing the Doctor to fall seemingly to his death. Finally reunited with his beloved Tawna, the couple take the airship and fly off into the sunset.

Alternate ending

Crashtawnacelebrate

The alternate ending.

The game also features an alternative ending, available after achieving 100% game completion. If you collect all the Gems and follow the path the gems create in The Great Hall, Crash finds Tawna waiting for him on the balcony. Crash and Tawna escape together on a friendly bird, and the epilogue is as follows:

Papu Papu started a Big & Tall Shop using money he received by selling Cortex Castle to a resort developer.

Ripper Roo received eight years of intense therapy and higher education, eventually writing the book Through the Eyes of the Vortex: A Study of Rapid Evolution and its Consequences.

Koala Kong moved to Hollywood, started an acting career, and is working with a speech therapist.

Pinstripe moved to Chicago and started a sanitation company.

Dr. N. Brio revisited his earlier hobby of bartending.

Cortex is said to have disappeared and his whereabouts were currently unknown, leading to the start of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. which shows Cortex's fall from the original ending.

Characters

Crash Bandicoot Characters

The characters of Crash Bandicoot. From left to right: Aku Aku, Papu Papu, Ripper Roo, Pinstripe, Koala Kong, Tawna, Crash, Dr. Neo Cortex and Dr. Nitrus Brio.

All of the characters are voiced by Brendan O'Brien, except for Aku Aku and Papu Papu, who are voiced by David Siller. Tawna and Koala Kong do not have any type of speaking role. Ripper Roo's laughter is a re-tuned recording of Dallas McKennon doing the laughter from Lady and the Tramp.

Crash Bandicoot: The hero of the game. Once just an ordinary bandicoot, he was taken from his jungle home by the evil Dr. Cortex to be the general of his Cortex Commandos. Crash gained his jump and spin attack from the Evolvo-Ray, but when he was raised into the Cortex Vortex to become evil, he was rejected by the machine and gets chased by an angry Cortex. Although Crash escapes by jumping out the window, he left Tawna (his bandicoot girlfriend) in the hands of Cortex's henchmen, so he sets out on a long adventure to save her.

Aku Aku: The spirit of an ancient witch doctor, and Crash's best friend. He is a magical mask who protects Crash from enemies, found inside crates that are scattered across the islands.

Doctor Neo Cortex: The main antagonist. Mocked and ridiculed by his scientific colleagues, Cortex sought revenge against humanity by making an army of monsters to take over the world. Joining with another mad scientist, Dr. Nitrus Brio, the two developed the Cortex Vortex and Evolvo-Ray. Together, they began messing with the island's ecosystem, turning animals into mutant soldiers. It seemed like Cortex's plan was going well... until Crash was made.

Doctor Nitrus Brio: A biochemist who works with potions and vials. Being Cortex's assistant led to some rivalry between them. Although N. Brio is the true inventor of the Evolvo-Ray, his low self-esteem allowed for Cortex to take the credit. He is cautious and less vicious than his mentor, and frequently laughs as a nervous tic.

Tawna: A female bandicoot who was Crash's girlfriend at the time. She is another bandicoot Cortex tried to evolve and mutate. Cortex holds her hostage in his castle, leading Crash to set out to save her.

Papu Papu: The portly leader of the tribesmen on N. Sanity Island, with a surly temper. Though he is the only boss character not working for Cortex, he tries to kill Crash after being woken from his nap.

Ripper Roo: The perfect example of an experiment gone wrong, Ripper Roo was Cortex's first test subject and it shows. One too many shots from the Cortex Vortex produced an insane kangaroo who had to be restrained with a strait-jacket. He, like Crash, is presumably a Cortex Commandos reject. His boss fight takes place atop a waterfall on Wumpa Island, far away from Cortex's headquarters.

Koala Kong: An extremely muscular koala mutant with something of a vain streak. His propensity for showing off gives Crash the opportunity to spin boulders at him during his boss fight.

Pinstripe Potoroo: A sleazy, well-dressed potoroo mafioso armed with a Tommy gun and a maniacal laugh. Pinstripe oversees the Cortex Power power plant on Cortex Island. Upon defeat, Pinstripe accidentally shoots out the plant's generator, causing it to deactivate.

Prototypes

April 8, 1996

The earliest and most well-known prototype of the game contains many differences, but most notable are the five cut levels, one of which is inaccessible and is called the "Lava Cave". Other differences include an entirely different start menu, a changed level order and map, and N. Brio's boss fight being sometimes impossible to finish due to a glitch (which, while still present in future versions, was less common). Even when the glitch does not occur, N. Brio requires an extra six hits to be defeated, which is likely unintended.

May 11, 1996

Psx.exe 31012015 120959 0681

Naughty Dog logo.

This version was used in the E3 of the same year, and is very close to the final version in many aspects (such as crate physics, the map using 3D islands, levels having names, crates positioned more like in the retail version in most levels and the addition of music and gems). Most of the levels on the first two islands are far more similar to the final version as opposed to the April prototype. However, there are plenty of differences from the final version, including but not limited to, far fewer mugs in Native Fortress, The Lost City and Temple Ruins, as well as the existence of TNT crates in Sunset Vista, and hazards in Whole Hog that were cut in the final version, including small walls with Tribesmen peeking over it, and boomerangs spinning around the screen. Some of the music has slight changes when compared to the final version, such as N. Sanity Beach's main theme having an extra part in the beginning, the lack of an "intro" in N. Sanity Beach interior's music, and some slight note changes in Jungle Rollers' and Sunset Vista's music. The music also plays before the actual level (or map) begins. However, dots are still used as health indicator for bosses, and Aku Aku invincibility still not giving a speed boost. Aku Aku still has colorful sparkles coming out of him in his 2nd form, and warps being colorful sparkles too. Warps also have a smaller hitbox, making it possible to reach The Great Gate's yellow gem path without the yellow gem (this is still possible in the final version, but much harder). Road to Nowhere was still placed in the third island, this Temple Ruins connects to Boulder Dash, which connects to Sunset Vista, followed by Jaws of Darkness. The HUD was also complete by the time of this, but isn't positioned like in the final version.

Gems are harder to get in this version, considering that Crash can't die to get them, even if he still has not gotten a checkpoint. Level completion screen also works differently when Crash collects a gem: First, all previously collected gems don't scroll at the bottom. Second, the acquired gem appears near the gem count, with a different sound effect. Crash also doesn't celebrate. Thirdly, since this version can't be saved, a message appears under Crash, saying "PRESS BUTTON TO RETURN TO MAP". When Crash misses crates, it all works the same as in the final version, but the missed crate counter disappears a split second after the last box falls on Crash's head, and is replaced by the same message. There is no sound effect of when the player presses any button either.

Psx.exe 31012015 122419 0513
Bonus rounds function almost exactly like they do in the final version of the game, except that when returning from a bonus round to a level, the loading screen displays the text "RETURN TO ROUND" instead of the level's name. This version of the game can't be saved (although Tawna bonus rounds still "save" the game for when the player goes to the main menu and presses the Start button again).

The third island can't be accessed, so the player can't get gems in Upstream, Rolling Stones, Native Fortress, or Jaws of Darkness. The third island levels (which include Road to Nowhere and not Jaws of Darkness due to original level placement, and also doesn't include Castle Machinery which wasn't yet created) can be accessed only via hacking. These levels were far similar to their respective versions in the April prototype, such as crates on the sides of the bridge in Road to Nowhere, the eventual blue gem path in Cortex Power not requiring the blue gem, the bugged N. Brio boss fight, and some extremely slow doors in The Lab. This suggests that Naughty Dog worked on improving the levels in the first two islands, and waited to work on third island, which probably explains why the island was inaccessible. However, some things were fixed by the time, as Crash no longer has to hit the electric lab assistants with his back to them, as was necessary in the April prototype.

Papu Papu's starting animation can't be skipped, but Crash only gains control instead of skipping the animation. Crash has no celebration in all boss fights either. The gem paths in Boulder Dash and Lights Out (the latter of which is only accessible via hacking) have no crates, presumably because at one time, they were to contain the keys to Whole Hog and Fumbling in the Dark, instead of the Cortex bonus rounds, which would explain why even in the final version, these levels are shown as having the keys. Sunset Vista did not have a Cortex bonus round, Whole Hog's key was held in Jaws of Darkness instead. Stormy Ascent was going to contain the other Cortex bonus round, presumably for the key to unlock Fumbling in the Dark, and the tokens are included in the E3 version, but not the bonus round.

Psx.exe 31012015 122847 0569

End of Jungle Rollers demo.

The Demo Mode is slightly different: The text "LOADING DEMO" appears while loading a demo, "PRESS START" when on-going and "LOADING MAIN MENU" when it ends, instead of the usual "LOADING" when starting and ending a demo and "DEMO" when on-going.

Reception

Crash Bandicoot received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the game's graphics and unique visual style, but noted the game's lack of innovation as a platform game. The game would later go on to become one of the best-selling PlayStation games of all time. The game sold about 700,000 units in Japan, becoming the first non-native title and franchise to achieve commercial success in the country. As of November 2003, Crash Bandicoot has sold over 6.8 million units worldwide. The game's success resulted in its re-release for the Sony Greatest Hits line-up on September 15, 1997, for the Platinum Range on March 1998, for the Best For Family line-up on May 28, 1998 and for the PS one Books line-up on October 12, 2001. Crash Bandicoot was the first non-Japanese game to receive a "Gold Prize" in Japan for sales of over 500,000 units. The game spent nearly two years on the NPD TRSTS top 20 PlayStation sales charts before finally dropping off on September 1998.

The game's graphic's received positive comments. Dave Halverson of GameFan referred to the visuals as "the best graphics that exist in a game" and the design and animations of the titular character as "100% perfection". John Scalzo of Gaming Target described the environments as "colorful and detailed" and mentioned the snowy bridge and temple levels as his favorites. However, he noted that the boss characters appeared to be noticeably polygonal compared to the other characters due to their large size. Nevertheless, he added that this flaw was excusable because of the game's age and that the game's graphics were near perfect otherwise. A reviewer for Game Revolution singled out the scaling technology for praise and declared it to be "the new standard for PlayStation action games the same way SGI did for 16-bitters after Donkey Kong Country." Additionally, he described the texture-mapping precision as "awesome", the shading as "almost too well done" (and made the game more difficult with the pits appearing to be shadows and vice-versa), the polygon movements as "very smooth and fluid", the "quirky mannerisms" of the title character as "always refreshing" and the backgrounds as "breathtakingly beautiful (especially the waterfall stages)". However, the reviewer said that the ability to adjust the camera angle even slightly "would have been a definite plus (at times the ground itself is at 75 degree angle while Crash constantly moves at 90 degrees, putting a slight strain on the eyes)." Zach Meston of GameSpot, while comparing the game to Super Mario 64, noted that the game "may not offer the graphical smoothness or versatility of Mario's vast new world, but its brilliantly colorful and complex jungle environments boast true diversity of shape and texture - kind of a tiki room Cabinet of Dr. Caligari." A reviewer for IGN noted that "gorgeous backgrounds and silky smooth animation make this one of the best-looking titles available for the PlayStation.

The gameplay received mixed responses. Both John Scalzo and the Game Revolution reviewer compared the gameplay to Donkey Kong Country, with Scalzo describing the game as having a "familiar, yet unique" quality that he attributed to Naughty Dog's design, while the Game Revolution reviewer concluded that the game "fails to achieve anything really new or revolutionary" as a platform game. Zach Meston described the gameplay as "flat as roadkill on a four-lane highway" and noted that players may enjoy the game "purely as a test of jumping abilities". The IGN reviewer said that the game "isn't a revolution in platform game design. It's pretty much your standard platform game". However, he noted the game's "surprisingly deep" depth of field and use of different perspectives as exceptions to the platforming formula. Jim Sterling of Destructoid.com stated that the game has aged poorly since its initial release and cited the lack of DualShock thumbsticks, a poor camera as well as substandard jumping and spinning controls.

Gallery

See: Crash Bandicoot (video game)/Gallery

Trivia

Production

  • When coming up with the idea of how the game should be played, Naughty Dog decided to turn the screen so Crash would play running in and out rather than left and right. They jokingly called this "Sonic's Ass Game" since the player would always be looking at Crash's backside.
  • According to developer Andy Gavin, Naughty Dog wanted Crash to animate similarly to the old Looney Tunes cartoons with squash-and-stretch physics. This was achieved with "vertex animation", which allowed 3-4 points of articulation as opposed the more common and stiffer "skeletal animation" which only used single points.

Characters and Plot

  • This is the only main Crash game to not feature Coco Bandicoot.
  • Although the rocketsled Cortex stands on in his boss fight explodes, in Crash Bandicoot: Warped, he stands on it when fighting Crash in his boss fight.
  • In the intro video, a bunch of cages can briefly be seen. The entire top row cages say "kangaroo" above them, probably because they failed many times trying to create Ripper Roo. On the second row they say "Iguana", "Potoroo", and "Koala". While there are no evil iguana characters in the series, there are iguana enemies present in The Lost City and Sunset Vista. The bottom row has 2 cages marked "Bandicoot", one obviously being Crash's and the other being for either Coco or Tawna.
  • When Crash is falling out of the window of Cortex Castle in the intro, Cortex can for a second be seen running from the previous scene in the distance.

Gameplay

  • This is the first and only Crash game so far with:
    • The orange gem.
    • Bonus round tokens.
    • Keys.
  • There are only 840 boxes in the game (or 1,122 counting the Bonus Rounds) in the PAL and NTSC-U regions, the lowest in the whole series (not counting the racing games).
  • If Crash misses some crates in a level, they will come down on his head after he has finished the level. This only happens if Crash has completed the level without losing a life.
  • The Wumpa Fruit in the game and its next two sequels are not actually 3D objects. They are animated sprites that always face the camera, which gives them a 3D look (this type of object is known as a billboard). This was necessary due to hardware limitations. These Wumpa Fruit were reused in second and third game, Crash Bash, The Huge Adventure/XS, N-Tranced and Purple/Fusion.
  • Crash always starts with two Aku Aku masks during boss battles.
  • Rarely, a glitch will happen in which Crash will leave the bonus area but the screen will not. Tawna will continue to look to where Crash left and the music will continue to play. Although the glitch is rare, it more commonly happens in the early bonus stages.

Cut Content/Beta Content

  • In one of the prototype versions, some levels and bosses were in a different order, including the unused level Stormy Ascent.
    • In addition, four levels never made it to the final version.
  • Tiny Tiger and the Komodo Brothers were originally created for the game by the artist Joe Pearson, but their introduction was pushed over to the sequel Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back.
  • An early build of Crash Bandicoot had a different health bar in which each hit point was demonstrated by a dot.
  • 2D opening and ending cutscenes were animated for use in the game, but Sony rejected them because of the game's focus on 3D graphics.
  • Originally, if Crash was idle on the level select map, he would have done a goofy dance.
    • This idle animation data is still on the disc.
  • The box art for both the PAL and NTSC-U regions of the game feature the prototype Jungle Rollers in the background.
    • Similarly, the back of the PAL box has a picture of Stormy Ascent on it, and also the prototype version of Temple Ruins. The background of the back of the box is also a picture of the prototype version of the first island.

Differences in the Japanese Version

  • The Japanese version's levels are ordered slightly differently. Most notably, Sunset Vista and Slippery Climb switched places, most likely in an attempt to improve the difficulty curve.
  • In the Japanese version of this game, Papu Papu has 5 hitpoints instead of 3. He also swings his club faster every hit, making the fight harder.
  • In the Japanese version, different music was used for Tawna's bonus rounds and the boss fights against Kong, Pinstripe, Brio and Cortex. Brio and Cortex's bonus round themes were left unchanged, however.
  • Crash has a greater amount and range of voice clips in the Japanese release, and will vocally react to events such as beating a level deathless, or selecting a level from the map screen, which would otherwise have Crash be silent. He can even be heard speaking at times, albeit in very short and simple phrases.
    • N. Brio and Cortex are also more vocal during their boss fights in the Japanese version.
  • This is the only Crash game to use passwords, although passwords are not present in the Japanese version.
  • Upstream and Up the Creek feature much larger platforms in the Japanese version, making jumps much less precise and a good deal easier.
  • The loud sound effect when the Game Over screen first appears is missing in the Japanese version, which may be either an error or a deliberate removal due to the startling nature of the sound. 
  • While she stays onscreen in other versions, the Japanese version has Tawna horizontally flatten and disappear once she is reached in a bonus round.

Easter Eggs

  • In Uncharted 4, the level Boulders is playable as part of an Easter egg.[1]
  • Crash returned the favor to the Uncharted series in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy:
    • You can briefly see Uncharted 4 on Coco's laptop in the intro scene of Crash 2. It's the scene where Nathan and Elena are sitting on the couch playing Crash Bandicoot.
    • There's also a picture of Nathan Drake on a table inside Crash's house in the intro scene of Warped.

Others

  • The game was featured as the 49th top console games in the Guinness World Records 2009 Gamer's Edition book.

References

  1. https://thisgengaming.com/2016/04/30/uncharted-4-has-the-greatest-easter-egg-of-all-time/

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