The original Crash Bandicoot games were never a walk in the park to begin with, but according to numerous posts on Reddit and Twitter, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, a remake of Crash's first three games, are much harder than they were on the original PlayStation console.
As Eurogamer reports, players have theorized that the remade games are harder because of differently shaped collision boxes (the borders that define game characters and objects) and faster jump arcs. Developer Vicarious Visions and publisher Activision haven't responded to request for comment, so we contacted several speedrunners who've accomplished impressive things with the original Crash Bandicoot to learn how the remake has affected their own deep experience with the games.
They're not all convinced the changes are necessarily bad.
Take speedrunner and streamer CaneOfPacci as an example. He holds the record for the second-fastest 100 percent speedrun for the first Crash Bandicoot, and he pulled off a 46-minute speed run of the original Crash Bandicoot at Awesome Games Done Quick charity marathon back in 2014.
According to Cane, the problems don't really spoil the whole package, but they are complicating his attempts at noteworthy speedruns. You can see the fruits of his labors in his recent run through the Sunset Visa level from the remastered Crash Bandicoot below.
"Many of the levels in Crash I are harder than the original," he said. "The levels are largely the same, but there is definitely some mechanics issues which often result in you slipping off of the side of platforms, boxes, or enemies instead of landing on top of them. I would hope this is an easily fixable issue, and with how well received the game has been I definitely think they should consider making some improvements."
Cane claims the problems apparently aren't as harmful in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back or Crash Bandicoot: Warped, the other two games in the N. Sane package.
"They have more movement options and the games have much larger platforms generally, so it really only ups the difficulty on Crash 1," he said.
These problems don't exactly ruin the game, he said, but they create a situation in which the two sequels "came out really well" and that Crash Bandicoot merely comes out as "OK."
He's hoping developer Vicarious Visions fixes the problem swiftly because he'd like to get back to doing what he enjoys without the complications.
"I would honestly like to do RTA [Real-Time Attack] 100-percent runs for Crash I because all the bonus rounds are really fun, but some of the main levels are rather unpleasant at the moment," Cane said.
Then there's Colombian speedrunner WhitePaaws, who holds the third-place 100-percent speed record behind Cane. He's only played the first Crash Bandicoot game in the N. Sane Trilogy package, but he's already scored 102 percent completion. While he believes the game plays differently in the remaster, he's not entirely convinced that's a bad thing.
"I don't necessarily find it harder than the originals, it's just very different," he said in a Twitter conversation. "I'm sure when people get used to the physics and controls it becomes easier. I got stuck in the Lost City level for like 50 minutes trying to get the gem, but when I got to The High Road (which is the level people are complaining the most) it didn't take me nearly as much time to beat. I feel like difficulty is close to the same in both, it's just that they are difficult in different ways."
The physics, he says, are definitely different.
"Momentum in the new version is a lot easier to control, since when you stop pressing a directional input Crash actually stops, even while in the air," he said. "Gravity feels really heavy, like you actually fall faster than in the originals."
He also discovered that many exploits from the original game still work, such as how you can use "3D abusing" to get into the secret "Heavy Machinery" level. Unfortunately, though, "they added invisible walls all over the place in some levels that in the originals didn't exist."
Speedrunners like taking up challenges, so it seems as though they like the N. Sane remaster precisely because its quirks breathe a little more life into it. It's not without its own problems, though.
Cane, for instance, notes that he's seen some other problems with the release, such as moments when enemies don't spawn or Crash falls through a level, but he notes that "Most of the bugs are just kind of funny and in the worse cases can be fixed by dying." WhitePaaws said he didn't see any bugs.
They both seem to agree, though, that the new N. Sane trilogy is a honorable remake, regardless of its current quirks.
"From what I played, I think Crash 1 is fine," WhitePaaws said. "It's fun, and hard, just like in the originals, so I'm glad they kept the essence."