September 1996 Issue

He is a Mascot!

Crash Bandicoot Profile-
For an entire year now, gamers have affiliated the Sony PlayStation identity with either a logo or the unit itself. A failed marketing run of trying to introduce a spiky haired polygon character as a PlayStation mascot left the gaming industry crying for a familiar face to paste onto the PS-X. As history has shown, hardware units without a mascot are pretty much condemned to immediate decay. The Atari Jaguar, the Phillips CD-I, and the Amiga 32 have all had their heads on the chopping block for quite some time. Thanks to Naughty Dog and Universal Interactive Studios, Sony has no intention of going there. The Sony PlayStation has finally been baptized into the world of mascot gaming. This furry little fellow comes from the Peramelidae family found in Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. Don't worry, he's not a killer. He's a bandicoot (a vegetarian marsupial). Like any decent humans, Sony and affiliates have given their special little pet a name. He goes by Crash Bandicoot, and he's ready to blow the doors off of PS-X gaming as we know it. Crash has all the right features for a gaming mascot. While he's not as fat as a plumber or as blue as a hedgehog, Crash features one thing that the other mascots don't have Ð raw attitude. Being born and raised in a jungle can scar your personality a tad. This is apparent both in Crash and in his first action/platform game.

Developers Naughty Dog and Univeral Interactive Studios originally intended to make Crash Bandicoot a completely revolutionary 3D adventure title. While development moved on day after day, Naughty Dog decided that they preferred basic platforming instead of 3D arena adventure. They made the right move. Super Mario 64 turned out to be what Naughty Dog originally desired, and Crash Bandicoot became a revolutionary action/platform title that opened the 32-bit action book to a new chapter Ð side scrolling and tunnel 3D.

Take Donkey Kong Country's graphics and multiply it by ten, then add a Doomesque 3D quality to the fray. Crash Bandicoot features two styles of gameplay Ð 3D action/platform and 3D third person. The action/platform levels themselves involve a significant amount of 3D movement. While accomplishing the task of moving from one direction to the next, Crash will also have the chance to jump into the background. The 3D third-person levels basically place Crash on a straight track. The objective is to run forward, dodge obstacles, destroy enemies and find the exit. Sometimes though, Crash will have to take different routes and actually backtrack towards the gamer.

All the action is based on Crash's two moves Ð jumping and spinning. Most of the levels demand the gamer to solve puzzles, take risky jumps, and find new areas. Several bosses also await Crash Bandicoot. Each boss acts differently and Crash will have to figure out how to take each one down. Each of the twenty-six levels present a unique challenge in themselves that will drive gamers bonkers.

Crash Bandicoot is here, and there's no stopping him from taking over the minds of children and hard-core gamers everywhere. Don't be surprised if a sequel, action figures, comics, and a cartoon series are in the works. This is the guy Sony is betting on to sell units. Crash has a large reputation to live up to.

Reiner, The Raging Gamer
"For starters I wouldn't have called a character supporting a CD-ROM unit 'Crash'. Maybe Loading or Laser Boy would have been more appropriate. Nonetheless, this game is right up my alley, pure action/platform mayhem. The further you proceed the tougher it gets. This title will attract old school gamers along with the new generation of astro kids. The graphics are very comparable to the N64. The 3D realism is balanced perfectly with the gameplay. I actually felt like I was jumping along lily pads up a jungle river. This is a game that all action/platform gamers must experience. It's not completely original, but the overall feeling after playing is truly unique."

Jon, The Greedy Gamer
"For a game that has only three islands, Crash is complex enough (and frustrating enough) to present a serious, serious challenge. Instead of creating more islands, I like the idea of backtracking through previous levels after obtaining gems. However, this is where the frustration sets in. It's hard enough going forward, let alone backward. The graphics are intense, especially the light shading. However, don't be fooled by the all the 3D hype. Crash is most definitely a 2D action/platform with only minor inklings of the 3D experience."

Andy, The Game Hombre
"Crash is a 3D tribute to the classic action/platformer. It takes simplistic jumps and enemies to create a hair-raising, seat-of-your-pants adventure. Graphically, this is definitely the most impressive game on the PlayStation. It's like watching a cartoon. Tons of details with lots of colors. The only drawback to Crash is that it's not quite as long as it could be, but it really doesn't make a difference in the end. Crash is an excellent game that will push your platform skills to the limit."

The Bottom Line: 9
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