Home > Chronological Challenge > Chronological Challenge – Crash Bandicoot 2

Chronological Challenge – Crash Bandicoot 2

December 2, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

Continuing our daily adventures through my game collection, today we take a look at a classic that holds a lot of nostalgic value for me. And probably quite a few other people too, I’d imagine.

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
Publisher: SCE/Universal Interactive Studios | Developer: Naughty Dog | Released: October 1997 (US)
Original System: PlayStation
Played on: PS3 (original PS1 disc)

Goal: Get as far as possible without losing all my lives

Actual Outcome: Got up to Hangin’ Out in the fourth warp room before turning the game off

My first PlayStation game was Rapid Racer, a speedboat racing game that came bundled with my PS1 when I first got it. It was rubbish, and has since been sold or given away. The soundtrack was pretty good, but otherwise I banished it from my game collection forever.

As a result, the first game I owned that’s still in my collection is this one – Crash Bandicoot 2. I mentioned this back in my Tomb Raider review, and since that game holds a lot of dear nostalgia for me, you would probably expect the same for this game.

And you would be correct.

Crash Bandicoot 2 is a refined version of its predecessor. It takes a lot of what the first game did, gives it a more ordered structure, smoother controls and reduces a lot of the frustrating parts. And it’s wonderful.

Gameplay is still easy to pick up and play, but tricky to figure out all the secret bits. Obviously, I know how to access the secret warp room, and how to get that red gem in the second level, among other things, but I know that when I first played, these were things that drove me crazy. In a good way. I loved this game as a kid, and wanted to get all the gems and all the stuff, but quite often had no idea how to get it. How was I supposed to know that the Blue Gem is obtained by avoiding all boxes in the first level?

As an adult who has since completed the game roughly…four million times, I know everything, but the game is still fun to return to. Picking it up now, a huge smile spread onto my face as I ran around as Crash again. It’s a fast-paced, easy-to-pick-up platformer, and it still plays incredibly well to this day.

Due to its stylised art direction, the game also still looks pretty good in 2015. Obviously, it’s a bit more jagged than modern audiences like, but it’s still so vibrant and cartoony and alive. Sound design remains fantastic as well, as Mutato Muzika decided to drop atmospheric pieces entirely and just go into full-blown catchiness, while voice acting improved tenfold with the introduction of Clancy “The Kurgan” Brown as Neo Cortex.

I want to find things to criticise about this game, but it’s still so much fun and I love it so much, and playing it again made me happy. Crash Bandicoot 2 is like a warm childhood blanket that you can never throw out and it’s a shame that the series would go downhill so fast in a few years’ time.

  1. December 3, 2015 at 1:27 am

    Love love love this game. I wonder how far I would get with one set of lives.

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