‘Help me!’


Hey! Long time, no… see? Type? Read? Whatever…

I love Crash Bandicoot. Along with a certain purple dragon, he’s the reason I’m still playing games to this day. The thing about that love, though, is that it stems exclusively from Crash’s third adventure, Warped — the only one of the original PS1 games I ever actually owned. I don’t think I ever laid hands on Cortex Strikes Back, and any experience I had with the first game came from messing around with a cousin’s copy — but it wasn’t Warped, and so it wasn’t for me.

It wasn’t until I got my PlayStation Vita a few years back that I really gave it the time of day at all. A few levels in, though, history repeated itself and I headed back to my aforementioned comfort zone — before coming face-to-face with Crash’s debut once again, in Uncharted 4.

While it was undeniably fun, I can’t pretend I was all that fond of that particular Easter egg. It was just too much; the stuff in Nate’s attic provided a nice, subtle dose of nostalgia — Crash was an overdose, taking me, both literally and figuratively, right out of the experience. But I’m going off on a tangent — this post isn’t about Uncharted’s Crash, or the games that led to it…

I’ve been watching a lot of Father Ted lately. There’s a moment, in the second episode of the second series, that finds Father Jack trapped in a closet with the most boring priest in the world. When Ted pops in to check on them, Jack wastes no time in getting straight to the point: ‘Help me!’

And that, friends, is the perfect way to sum up my time so far with Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.

I’d planned to get through all three remasters before posting anything to the site, but it’s becoming clear that I’m not going to be done with them for several years or so. Over two weeks post-release, I’m still on Crash Bandicoot — and was, until just a few hours ago, hopelessly stuck. I thought I’d got through the worst of it when I cleared The High Road, but then Slippery Climb came along and pretty much ruined my life.

Earlier in the game, in the process of trying to get through The Lost City with every box broken and no deaths whatsoever, I managed to accrue the ninety-nine lives required to unlock one of the game’s Trophies. By the time I reached Slippery Climb, I had about thirty of those lives left; by the time I finished it, I’d lost them all. In fact, all told, it probably took me around fifty attempts to make it through that rain-soaked, bird-infested gauntlet, and though I did (thankfully…) manage to get through unscathed with all boxes broken on my final run, there’s still the Time Trial to go, and, frankly, I can’t bring myself to even think about it.

It’s a good thing I’m a fairly calm player, otherwise I’d’ve probably made it through several controllers and a PlayStation or two by now.

Before the N. Sane Trilogy came out, I was looking forward to a few weeks away from the increasingly frustrating Trophy-collecting spree I’ve been on lately. Crash, I thought, would make for a welcome break, a relaxing intermission with a healthy dose of nostalgia thrown in for good measure. How naive I was…

I’m beginning to realise why I never got very far with Crash’s original adventure when I was a kid, and though I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of it now, I can’t for a second pretend that my various successes have much to do with skill at all, but luck. Sheer, dumb luck. It’s merciless, relentless, and, without the slightest hint of hyperbole, borderline impossible — but it’s also wonderful.

For all those moments of controller-squeezing difficulty, of cold sweats and a pounding heart, of having to stop myself from unleashing a string of expletives at the TV, there are just as much that remind me why I love Crash so much, that hammer home his foundational importance in my ongoing love of platforming. When I finally get to Warped, it’ll be all the sweeter for what it took to get there.

Oh, and the games aren’t too shabby-looking, either. All that’s left now is for that certain purple dragon to be given the same treatment…



Post a comment?