Critical Review 3 – Crash Bandicoot (1996)

Crash Bandicoot is a 3D Action “Platforming” Game made for the Playstation 1 in 1996. The game takes place on the fictional Wumpa Islands, which are supposedly off the coast of Australia. Main characters are Crash Bandicoot, the Protagonist, and Dr. Neo Cortex, who is the main antagonist. Minor Characters include Tawna, Crash’s Girlfriend, Dr. Nitrus Brio, Cortex’s right hand man, and Cortex’s other animal henchmen including Ripper Roo (an insane Kangaroo), Koala Kong (a muscular Koala), and Pintripe Potaroo (a gangster potaroo in charge of the powerplant). The story opens up with a scene of Dr Cortex and his assistant, Dr Nitrus Brio, preparing Crash to enter the “evolv-O-ray”. With the evolv-O-ray, Cortex aims to create a loyal super animal army and take over the world. Crash ends up being “rejected” by the machine, and manages to escape cortex’s lab out a window. Crash’s Girlfriend, Tawna, is left behind and Cortex aims to send her into the evolv-o-ray as well. Crash then washes up on a beach, and must journey through the 3 islands to get back to defeat Dr. Cortex, and rescue Tawna. He must trek though jungles, ancient ruins, powerplants, decaying bridges, and labratories, facing many dangerous obstacles, and Cortex’s other henchmen along the way. Crash eventually reaches cortex on his blimp, defeats him, rescues Tawna, and ride off into the sunset on the blimp.


At the time (1996), Crash Bandicoot was very graphically impressive. Compared to similar Games of that time, like Mario 64, Crash Bandicoot features highly detailed, and colorful environments, with smooth gameplay. The Jungle levels are full of lush organic environments, the ruin levels portray a vivid, authentic Incan-Esque temple environment. The Labratory levels are dark, and give off an appropriately frightening tone. Music in the game is excellent, featuring  impressive xylophone and tribal rhythms in the jungle environments. Other levels create more silent and ambient songs to create a sense of danger. the final levels in the powerplant and laboratory levels feature a fast paced electronic and rock style music.

link to Crash Bandicoot Level Music

Crash Bandicoot is a rather simple platformer, featuring only 3 main controls. Using the Playstation Controller, you move forward, back left and right using the directional buttons. you can jump using the X button. To use the spin attack, you hit the square button. Spinning breaks open boxes (a staple feature of the game) and eliminates enemies. After completing a level, the player is taken to the level map, which lets you enter the next level and anyone of the other completed levels, and lets you track how far you have gone on your journey. Gameplay revolves around going through each level to the end point. As an added challenge, breaking all of the boxes in a level will reward the player a gem. collecting all the gems allows the player to bypass the final boss, get an alternate ending and reach 100% completion.

Very few social themes addressed in this game, as it is mostly directed at children. The game features cartoon violence of killing enemies and the player dying. This is however very cartoonish and a silly, with humorous animations, and the enemies just flying away when they get hit by the player. Value of love can be seen with crash fighting his way through the island to rescue Tawna, and eventually accomplish his goal.

As mentioned before, Crash Bandicoot was a Revolutionary game to come out at the time. Crash was one of the first 3D Platformers to come out. The graphics and visuals shown were years ahead of other games at the time. The creators were able to push the Playstation to the limit, and create beautiful visuals that had never been seen before. The unique environments and level designs really made the game stand out from other platformers. The level of production put into the game is clearly very high, and the quality shows it.

In Summary, Crash Bandicoot was a revolutionary Video game, that created a mascot for the playstation system, and started a legacy that would include over 15 Sequels. Crash Bandicoot was the first video game that I had ever played. I was instantly hooked by the challenge and fun that the game provided. As I mentioned, the soundtrack is excellent, and I often listen to the games soundtrack while working or doing school work. Crash Bandicoot changed Platforming games as a whole, and it will remain one of my favorite games of all time.


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