Crash Bandicoot was revolutionary in more ways than one. We all know that. But what many people don’t know is that it actually picked up on the DDA (Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment) trend pretty early on. While the original series saw Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Warped incorporate nifty features to give you a helping hand along the way, the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy will extend the same hand to the first title.
By now, we all know that the Crash Bandicoot remaster headed our way at the end of the month is a complete 4K overhaul bringing new life to the phrase ‘rebuilt from the ground up’. While small details are bringing the gameplay to life with animations and effects, the core tie consistently roping you back into the level with every Game Over sign will still be the series’ fairly legendary difficulty.
For a cartoon platformer following a young cheeky chappy, Crash Bandicoot was always infuriatingly tricky to master. But this was the draw; this was reason we wiped off our sweaty controllers, readjusted our cross-legged spot just in front of the TV and dived straight back in. Crash’s own hilarious slapstick deaths softened the blow, and the ‘one more try’ mentality kicked in. But Naughty Dog were smart.
They knew that however funny they made the scamp’s variety of death sequences, or how quickly they could command your return to the level, it was going to wear thin. To keep players swallowing those wumpa fruits, Crash Bandicoot had to recognise when they were starting to get full. When time came to start development on Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, Naughty Dog were ready with their olive branch.
It’s a system all Crash Bandicoot players will have come in contact with. If you die a certain amount of times at a location, a checkpoint might pop up a little sooner, or a crate may afford you an Aku Aku mask. Spend a long time in the oblivion of death on an entire level and you’ll begin starting that level with a mask ready-prepared.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy will see the return of this DDA system and will extend the feature to incorporate the first game as well. With a wide call for different difficulty modes to be implemented in the reboot, the decision to not only retain the DDA but to also spread it across more of the games may be unwelcome to certain players. That being said, Crash Bandicoot was always perfectly balanced in the difficulty department. As a five year old I could scamper through the levels on my own making use of the parental nudges along the way, while my father taught me how to swear through the boss battles he was drafted to complete. To keep Crash Bandicoot open to all the ages who have enjoyed it for so long, and to ensure a new wave of fans can be inducted via the remaster, developers Vicarious Visions have done well to keep Crash compulsively accessible.
Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy will be available 30th June on PS4