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31 Bonus Levels of Christmas
Crash Bandicoot: Side-Scrolling Platformer
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 23, 2010   |   Episode 29 (Show Archive)  

   

It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're taking a look at 31 of the best-known bonus stages in all of video games. Each day we're going to look at a different level and review it, while also trying to figure out what makes it tick. Join us as we post a new episode of the 31 Bonus Levels of Christmas every day leading up to the biggest holiday of the year!
Crash Bandicoot: Side-Scrolling Platformer
[ Console: Neo Geo | Year: 1991 | Grade: B ]

You can't tell by this screen shot, but the Crash Bandicoot bonus levels are 2D!
The Context: Crash Bandicoot wasn't the first mascot Sony went with. Before we were introduced to Dr. Neo Cortex or anybody else from the Crash universe, there was Sophia from Battle Arena Toshinden. And before that it was a polygonal character that said nice things about Ridge Racer. Crash wasn't Sony's first mascot, but he was the first to stick. This long-running franchise introduced PlayStation owners to the world of 3D platformers, a genre some thought only the Nintendo 64 could pull off. It turns out that Crash can do a lot more than 3D action, as is demonstrated in one of 1996's most memorable bonus levels.

The Rules: Players must guide Crash through a series of faux-2D side scrolling puzzles. Along the way players

This costume would be a lot less horrifying if a fat man was wearing it!
are advised to break boxes in order to earn extra fruit, 1ups and more. Players that make it to the end of the challenge will be greeted by Tawna, who offers our hero two additional lives. These levels may be short, but they become increasingly difficult.

The Verdict: Considering Sony's stance on 3D games at the time, it's nice to see Crash Bandicoot play homage to the platformers of the past. For those not paying attention, this was the start of the 2.5D style of platformer, a sub-genre we continue to see rear its head (including Nintendo's very own New Super Mario Bros. Wii). While I love the attempt, I wish these levels were a little more challenging. It's easy to

Separated at birth?
earn every fruit the first time through, which seems to fly in the face of the rest of the game. Even taking that into consideration, these faux-2D bonus stages are the best parts of Crash Bandicoot.

Completely Missing the Point: Am I the only one that sees the obvious Tasmanian Devil influence? Beyond looking very similar, these two characters have almost the same line of attack (spinning at high speeds). In fact, there are Taz games that play a lot like Naughty Dog's 3D platformer. I'll give the developers credit for choosing a different species of animal, but similarities are uncanny. One of these days I would like to see a Crash vs. Taz game. It may be the only way to make either character relevant in the 21st century.
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