Crash Bandicoot 4 (PS4)

Sonic, Mario both collided with 3D; Crash Bandicoot came into existence only because of 3D, running ahead in a reconfigured Frogger. Crash never needed to adapt (although failed attempts were made later). Turns out, Crash’s base formula is timeless, set on manic pace, raw level design skill, and ‘90s personality in gobs.

From afar, or even critically, Crash Bandicoot is an anomaly who absolutely enjoys what he does. And why not? He’s battling classic horror tropes akin to mad scientists, a Boris Karloff-esque villain, and thinly disguised Peter Lorre parody. A proverbial kitchen sink approach works because Crash lives in a rule-less world, where destruction is rewarded, and mayhem doesn’t relent.

Crash 4 doesn’t tweak or change the perfectionist gameplay style, nor the kooky attitude, which for Sonic, became a detriment. For Crash, it’s a lasting cartoon identity, not out of place in Looney Tunes, yet hugging a colorful, wacky anti-authority persona (and self-referential humor, up to the It’s About Time subtitle). Again, unchanged, unaltered, because like Frogger, these things will always work.


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