I’ve been spending a good amount of time these days playing Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. Being a fan of the series since childhood, it’s a game that was pretty much made for me. It relies heavily on nostalgia but deftly expands the game with new elements. It’s a game that was obviously created with love and affection for the franchise and it makes me want to punch a hole in the wall.
The Crash series has always been PlayStation’s answer to Mario and Sonic. It’s a platformer that continuously adds new obstacles and challenges, rewarding for even the most hardcore gamer. Yes, you can beat the levels fairly easily, but if you want to 100% the game, you’re —
And are you fucking kidding me with that jump? Like, that ledge was clearly closer.
Crash 4 delivers a shocking amount of content. Not only are there plenty of levels throughout various worlds to play, the game also introduces a new playable characters with special abilities. This adds a new wrinkle to —
What do you mean Neo Cortex can’t double jump? What the fuck? Just fucking jump!
And even though the Crash games didn’t need more difficulty, Crash 4 adds “inverted” levels. This allows you to replay levels with some added twists. Yes, the level is flipped, but so too is the art style and presentation. Sometimes this —
I clearly spun and killed that guy. What the hell. I pressed Square! I PRESSED SQUARE!!
And speaking of added difficulty, Crash 4 introduces “Flashback Tape” levels. These are special challenge levels separate from the main story. They take place before the original Crash Bandicoot game and —
Oh, did I unlock that Flashback Tape? No? I died? I died 37 times before reaching the tape? Oh okay then. Also fuck you.
From a purely visual perspective, Crash 4 is wonderful to behold. It’s smooth, colorful, and amazingly diverse in its atmosphere. You go from prehistoric dinosaurs to futuristic dystopias while never feeling out of place in the Crash universe. And you never spend too much time in one location, so you never get bored of —
Giving me an Ooga Booga mask doesn’t help if I keep falling down this stupid hole. I swear you are doing this to shame me. I’ve given you everything. What else do you want from me!?
Another important aspect of Crash 4 are Quantum Masks. These masks appear throughout various levels and grant Crash new powers/challenges to complete the stages. One mask slows down time. Another flips gravity. These new masks are quintessential Crash mechanics and add —
I can’t fucking push the buttons fast enough! I’m not a 12 year old anymore. Do you know the pain these hands have experienced in the past 3 decades? How do you expect me to execute the perfect combination of button mashing to avoid death? Do you fucking hate me? Is this all some sick experiment to illustrate the ravages of time? A reminder of my own mortality? That every day I grow older and closer to death?
Crash Bandicoot 4 is a wonderful addition to the Crash series. It might have been released more than 20 years after its predecessor, but Crash 4 was worth the wait. It’s a faithful sequel that only adds to the franchise and —
I — But I — … — I fucking hate this game.