Crash Bandicoot 2 Review
October 3, 2018
My house growing up was a Nintendo 64 house, but I always liked playing Crash Bandicoot when I got the chance at a friend's house. There was no console war in my mind, both had great games-Crash Bandicoot 2 being one of them.
Crash Bandicoot games are a different kind of 3D platformer. Each level is very linear, there isn't really any exploration to be done. You just try to get from one end of the level to the other. Usually it means going forward, but ocasionally there will be a side-scrolling bonus level, or my favorite, a backwards level, where Crash Bandicoot is being chased by something, running towards the screen. The linear levels make Crash Bandicoot 2 quick to pick up and play immediately. Crash still runs and jumps on stuff like you would expect, but it seems faster paced than other platformers. The fast paced gameplay is addicting. The controls are tight, the platforming is excellent, and it plays great.
Crash Bandicoot 2 has great graphics, especially considering that it is a Playstation 1 game. (There is an excellent series of blog posts by one of the developers of the original Crash Bandicoot here that explains how they squeezed every last bit of power from the Playstation 1 for the game). The levels are highly detailed, some having rain and snow effects too, and it all looks great. I actually prefer the original graphics to the remake. They seem grittier and more real, and the Crash Bandicoot character looks great.
Usually levels are extremely important in a 3D platformer, but in Crash 2, they are smaller, and more quickly beaten, so I don't have good memories of ALL of them, but some really stand out. The first batch of levels is a great introduction to the game, being simple enough to get going, and still challenging. (The later levels get extremely challenging, especially if you want to 100% the game). My favorites though, are the level where Crash is being chased by a polar bear. It is scary and gets my adrenaline pumping. My other favorite has Crash riding a young polar bear at high speed through a snowy and icy level. These fast-paced levels sort of remind me of mobile games like Temple Run or Sonic the Hedgehog Run on phones with their quick and fast-paced action, but the Crash levels give you better control and are more polished and responsive. The themes are varied across levels. There are tropical jungles, icy snow lands, treacherous factories, and outer space. The boss battles are just ok.
The sound and music in Crash 2 are amazing. It has one of the best video game soundtracks of its era, with a weird bunch of upbeat songs. I like to listen to the soundtrack as background music at work sometimes. The sound effects are excellent, each time you get an apple/Wumpa fruit it makes a satisfying noise, making you want to collect more and more fruit. Crash's twist noise is good, breaking boxes sounds real, and everything in the game sounds good. I get excited to play as soon as the music starts.
Overall, Crash Bandicoot 2 is a must-play for anyone with a Playstation 1 (or PS3, it is downloadable on the PSN Store). Crash is an iconic 90's mascot for good reason, everything about the game is great. It isn't like the other 3D platformers of the era, rather it has a unique style that is a lot of fun and easy to pick up and play. I highly recommend Crash Bandicoot 2, and think it is the best game in the series. Crash Bandicoot 2 absolutely deserves a place among the best 3D platformers of the 90's.