This is likely going to be very bias as this was the very first game I ever played. Back then I had no idea what I was doing, and had next to no skill with a controller (luckily I've pulled my way up to average now).
For a game build around saving your girlfriend, who is about to be turned insain, killed or something (It never was fully explained, as far as I'm aware, why it mattered if she'd just turn into another Crash), the game itself is a very difficult game. Only being allowed to save the game after getting a gem or completing a bonus stage limits the fun some people could have with this game. Now I'm older then my stupid little kiddy self, I can appriciate the challenge this game gives the player.
There is no greater feeling when hearing Crash "say" or whatever he does when you get a gem. "Da da daaaaa". However the pain that can come from trying to even get gem, is probably the only reason why it is so satisfying for Crash saying Da da daaaaa.
I've heard people say that the controls are stiff. Personally I wouldn't say that. I found them somewhat fair. There were only one or two times where I wondered what went wrong.
I've re visited this game about a year ago with the intension of 100% completing it. Through hard ships and a lot of swearing I finally did it. With it being the very first game I played, it meant a lot more to me then the other couple I've done this with. I absolutely adore this game and I'd recomend everyone to pick it up. I wouldn't say complete it 100% unless you really want to, or want bragging writes.