Don’t let the cartoony characters and colourful graphics deceive you: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is hard. Like, brutally hard. Vicarious Visions has attempted to soften the challenge of Naughty Dog’s platforming classics with the addition of bonus checkpoints and insta-Aku Aku buffs that weren’t in the originals, but you’re still going to be staring down that Game Over screen more times than you’ve become accustomed to in contemporary releases without the word ‘Souls’ in the title. So, have we got any tips and tricks to help you get through these 90s nasties? You bet we have.
Keep a close eye on your shadow
What better way to aid you through these nostalgic titles than with a nostalgic tip: your shadow isn’t just a nifty graphical trick. Back in the early days of the 3D platformer, developers relied on shadows to show you exactly where your body’s going to land, and it’s exactly the same in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy’s trio of titles. Keep a close eye on Crash or Coco’s silhouette to make sure you always drop in the exact spot you intended.
Come back to levels later on
Don’t try to 100 per cent every level on your first attempt – it’s often impossible. To collect all of the White and Colored Gems in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy you’re going to need to come back to stages again and again, and that’s okay. Remember, games in the 90s were designed differently: the first Crash game only has some 25 levels, and if they weren’t so difficult, you could see them all in under an hour. Developers back in the day extracted replay value by hiding collectibles and giving you reason to revisit stages over and over again. And that’s true here, so don’t obsess over collecting everything on your first playthrough: take each stage easy and come back later if you’re missing something.
Earn lives from easy levels
On that note, if you find yourself struggling to complete stages with a stock number of lives, then go back to easier levels you know you can comfortably beat and use them to pad out your stock of retries. Stages like N. Sanity Beach can be beaten in well under a minute, and if you play through it three or four times you can have a good 20 or so lives stocked up. This is going to ease the pressure in those really tough levels, where you’re probably going to need more than five attempts. It’s also worth adding that there’s a Trophy in each game for stockpiling 99 lives.
Use your save slots wisely
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy adds four save slots that you can use in each game: three custom and one auto-save. In order to avoid grinding for extra lives, why not use these save slots to “bank” your lives before tackling a difficult level? Just tug the L2 trigger before starting a level, and save your progress. You can always pull this save back up if you work through your plentiful supply of lives and don’t fancy grinding for more.
Timing is everything
They may be platformers, but there’s a rhythmic element to the Crash Bandicoot games. Everything in the game works like clockwork, and learning when to move is key. Remember, unless you’re tackling the Time Trials for Relics, you don’t need to be sprinting all of the time. Stand still and survey the ground in front of you: are the hazards properly aligned so that you can navigate them – or are you going to get into trouble? If you wait for the optimal timing and don’t panic, you’ll clear the obstacles with ease.
The d-pad can be your friend
While the controls in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy have been optimised for the PS4’s analogue stick, keep in mind that the originals were largely designed with the d-pad first and foremost. For this reason, some segments – like the 2D side-scrolling stages or bonus stages – can be more effectively controlled with the d-pad. Fortunately, you don’t have to pick which method of control you prefer, so try hopping between the two at will and find which works best for you in any given scenario.
Try to remain patient
You will die in Crash Bandicoot. A lot. The key is remaining patient and not trying to rush; losing concentration and attempting to blitz segments will lead to a swift death. If you can’t beat a particular stage then remember that this is the N. Sane Trilogy: there are two other titles for you to try. Without any meaningful narrative to sink your teeth into, there’s no shame in jumping between the different games and trying your hand at some alternative levels. And when you’re ready to return, you’ll probably find that you beat the portion you were stuck on with ease.
Do you have any other tips to share? Remember to check out our Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy White and Colored Gem guide for more information on collecting those, and our how to beat all Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy bosses guide if you need help with those.