So a few days ago Naughty Dog announced The Last of Us Remastered for the PS4 being released this Summer, I was surprised at first that there wasn't a Game of the Year Edition for the PS3 it has already won over 200 awards and got a lot of ratings and reviews praising the game for its unique gameplay and outstanding story. You may have notice that it's been over 30 years since Naughty Dog which was first founded in 1984 but the games they released like Keel the Thief and Rings of Power were released between 1989 and 1991; they weren't that popular when it came to gaming back then when it came to September 1996 they created one of the most memorable gaming characters and a classic series on the PS1.
Naughty Dog didn't know much about making video games back in 1996 but their games improved more and more nearly every year on the PlayStation hardware. With this being the very first game in the series there were a lot of good and bad things about the game but it was still a good platformer for the launch of the PlayStation. I didn't think the story for the first game wasn't that important, Crash must rescue his girlfriend Tawna from the evil clutches of Dr Cortex. Along the way, Crash can gather fruit for extra lives, smash boxes for random prizes and gather tokens which can be used for bonus rounds. This is where the frustrating moments start to kick in if you don't getting beaten by a game that easily, in order to save your game you must either clear a bonus round or smash all boxes in any level without dying. After the game was released it was a huge hit on sales and even helped the sales for the PlayStation and became one of the most memorable mascots for the system, a sequel was in the works and was later released a year later back in December 1997.
I used to love playing Crash Bandicoot 2 which was at least 14 years ago from now, around Christmas 2000 finally got a PS1 and within the Boxing Day sales a few days after this was the first game I've picked up and played non-stop since then. Even though people I knew from School said that Crash Bandicoot 3 was the best game in the series, I still thought that Crash Bandicoot 2 was the best game in the series on its challenge and difficulty on a platformer. Actually in fact this was the first Crash Bandicoot game I've played when I was younger even the soundtrack still holds up today when it comes to video game music I love hearing the Sewer Theme music, unlike Crash Bandicoot 2 you can access any level at any time and save/load your game at any time too. I can see the changes and differences when it came to Crash 1 and 2 because when I was a lot younger never played or had the actual copy of the first Crash Bandicoot game but when I got my Xperia phone back in 2011 it came with the first game which I've already mentioned above about the first game.
Another year later Crash Bandicoot 3 was released in October 1998 and they only had 10 and half months to complete the game and get it released in stores worldwide. Taking places after the events of Crash Bandicoot 2 Dr Cortex was working with Uka Uka the whole time on taking over the world but have been foiled by none then Crash, Uka Uka hires a new evil minion called N. Tropy who has created the Time-Twisting Machine, a time machine that allows the villains to travel through time to find the Gems and Crystals at their original points in the timeline. Aku Aku asks Crash and Coco to help him stop his evil twin brother and his evil minions from messing with time and saving the world from evil. Like the 2nd game even more improvements and features were added from more upgrade abilities, Time Trail through levels and play as Crash's sister Coco on certain stages; I did Crash Bandicoot 3 was a fun game but it felt a little easy then the 2nd game which had more of a challenge on trying to collect every 100%.
First there was Mario Kart and then there was Crash Team Racing which was released in 1999 and a final farewell to the franchise before Naughty Dog worked on their new project which was Jak and Daxter for the PlayStation 2. I would admit Crash Team Racing is my favourite game out of the lot and is one of my favourite racing games of all time, a lot like Mario Kart but instead it was Crash Bandicoot; this had Adventure Mode which was the main story where Nitros Oxide who is the fastest racer in the galaxy and challenges Earth to a game of survival where one of their racers challenges Oxide to a race, if Oxide won he would end up turning Earth into a parking lot but which ever character you chose from Crash, Cortex or even Polar you would win the race and save the world. Multiplayer made a great feature for having up to 1-4 players in tournament races or even battle against each other, this still holds up to today and you can easily download the series or each of the games thanks to PSN which you can download to your PS3, PSP or PS Vita there were rumours that a compatibility was in the works for PS1 and PS2 games to play on a PS4.
After looking back on the series it did make me think how far Naughty Dog has come when comparing this to the likes of The Last of Us or the Uncharted series and there is a huge difference from 1996 til the present day. But where Naughty Dog said farewell to the Crash Bandicoot franchise another Crash game was in the works for the PS1 called Crash Bash which was a knock-off title of Mario Party and was one of those games that got mixed-reviews it still sold well but it didn't feel like a good Crash Bandicoot game and it was developed by Eurocom. Wrath of Cortex was the next game in the line-up for Crash Bandicoot but was released for the PS2, Xbox and GameCube and was devolved by Traveller's Tale and published by Konami and Universal Interactive Studios; with a different story and another useless character being added named Crunch. Wrath of Cortex really did kill of the Crash Bandicoot series with it being on a next-gen console under the sixth-generation of gaming, it was better off staying on the PS1 system instead of it being released on multiple systems and multiple game companies wanting a piece of the franchise to making money I haven't even bothered picking up the later games from the franchise which I knew straight away that the Crash Bandicoot I knew would be gone forever.
There were rumors began circulating that Sony bought the rights to the franchise from Activision. Speculations have been fueled after the release of PS4's #4ThePlayers campaign, featuring a road sign of a bandicoot, with an arrow pointing towards the orange diamond logo of Sony Computer Entertainment America. It was also noted by publications such as IGN that Crash had been removed from Activision’s official website, but it turns out that Activision may consider making a Crash game in the future but this idea would be a terrible one and will likely be turned into another Skylanders type product just like what they did with Spyro and of course Disney made their own which was Disney Infinity.
I will be working on a Part 2 blog on Naughty Dog on the Jak and Daxter series; do you have a favourite Crash Bandicoot game from the PS1 era? Or do you think Crash should make a comeback? Let us know in the comments and hope you've enjoyed reading this first part of my blog on 30 years of Naughty Dog.