Released in the fourth quarter of 1998, Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped marked the end of Naughty Dog’s Crash platform titles, it was also the end of Crash’s platforming prowess as no Crash that followed has since lived up to the first trilogy.
Once again Naughty Dog took everything that was great about the previous two games and expanded the scope with the addition of time trials, racing levels and even flying levels. In addition, for the first time in a Crash game we got to play as Crash’s sister Coco, riding both a jet ski and a cute pet tiger.
The level design in Crash 3 is top notch, ditching for the first time the jungle levels from the first two games, Crash finds himself with a time machine leading to levels set in ancient Egypt and along the Great Wall of China. The best levels of the game in my opinion are the tiger riding levels which invoke a great sense of urgency and speed, which is probably why I find myself playing them over and over and over again. It’s not all fun and games though, the deep sea levels in particular are the absolute bane of my existence and frustrate me to no end, that being said it is well worth the suffering since so many levels are an absolute joy to play.
One of the more major changes in the game is that when defeating a boss you unlock a special move, these include Double Jump and even a Wumpa Fruit Bazooka. The special moves combined with the time trial modes often convince you to go back and replay a lot of the levels to get the fastest possible time.
Utilizing the same engine as Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back before it, Crash 3 looks and plays very much the same, with the small exception of some slight tweaks here and there and the inclusion of a real-time dynamic shadow on Crash himself.
Crash Bandicoot 3 is often touted as the best crash game of all time, for me at least Crash 2 takes that title but even so, Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped went on to be the 10th best selling PlayStation game of all time and was even the first Western game to surpass 1 million sales within Japan.
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped will always hold a special place in my heart, partly because it is the only game that has allowed me to shoot Wumpa Fruit at enemies with a laser sighted bazooka, but also because it is one of the most solid platformers I have ever played.
Don’t forget if you haven’t played a Crash game before it’s never too late!