Being a product of the 90's I had very few options when it came to video games, and being poor did not help matters. As such if I was lucky, I could really only go for the cheapest gaming system and games on the market at the time. Case in point: the PlayStation 1 was the very first gaming console that I bought with my own money, which in and of itself was quite the accomplishment for nine-year-old me. You'd think that being the Nintendo fanboy that I am I would've gone for the Nintendo 64, but no; I was seduced by the high quality audio and CD medium. It was well worth it though; because of that small break away from my comfort zone I became familiar with one of my favorite non-Mario platforming games: Crash Bandicoot, so you can imagine that the recent remake known as the N. Sane Trilogy was a day one purchase for me. But as much I was excited for the first three games being remade, did Vicarious Visions do the originals justice?
Now each one of the first three Crash Bandicoot games are a very specific type of platforming game that I like to call "Tunnel Platformers," because they're basically what would happen if you placed the field of view behind the player's avatar instead of to the side of it (like in Super Mario Bros); This was partly what made Crash Bandicoot so unique. The other part were the numerous and humorous death animations. Luckily these gameplay focuses remain wholly intact, but with a new coat of paint and some minor tweaks and alterations were made here and there to bring the earlier games (1 & 2) closer in style to the later entries (2 & 3 respectively). With the exception of colored gems, you no longer have to do a perfect run of a stage in Crash 1 to get the level's gem. Also in Crash 1, bonus rounds don't permanently vanish after they're completed. In Crash 2, after you unlock your first secret stage entrance you can access it whenever you want by going to the warp room's basement. And finally, all games allow you to do time trials (with online leaderboards) and let you play as Crash's younger sister Coco (after you beat the first boss).
Now all of these additions are very nice indeed, but because this a full-on remake (from the ground up no less) and not a remastering like what the trend has become nowadays, there are bound to be a few things here and there that aren't exactly how they were in the originals. For instance: Crash's crawling speed is slightly reduced, there is a bit of control lag when getting from a standing pose into a crouch after walking or jumping, the ice physics are a bit slipperier than I remember, and Crash's hitbox is tiny bit bigger than what it used to be which makes getting past fire traps all the more difficult. All in all the problems that were fixed causes some new problems to arise thus keeping the games' difficulty around the same as what it used to be.
All in all my time with the game was a lucrative experience. It's not a perfect 1-to-1 recreation of the classic games, but this collection is a damn fine attempt. The gameplay physics are more or less exactly the same as I remember them, the new voice actors do a pretty good job at replicating the feel of the original characters' VA's with some even going above and beyond for selling the role they played, and the new features that were added to Crash 1 and 2 are a great way to breathe life back into a couple of games that were likely played to death. One could even say that this is the Super Mario All-Stars of the Crash Bandicoot franchise. All we need now is a classic Spyro the Dragon trilogy remake, but until then, I'll be seeing you.