Thursday, 18 October 2012

Crash Bandicoot - Progress Report I

Oh boy.

Oh boy, oh boy.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!

Yeah! Welcome everyone to the first part of Crash Bandicoot for the original playstation. Crash is clearly very impatient to begin, so let's do exactly that!

Selecting 'Start' will take us to the map, this is where we select what level we want to play. You can revisit previous levels whenever you want. There is a backstory if you wait at the main menu for a little while, but it can be summed up with 'evil scientists create superpowered animals to conquer the world. Bandicoot gets rejected, but escapes, evil scientists plot to get him back'. I do have a video, that will be a little bonus tomorrow I think). So, who's ready for an N. Sane beach party?

This follows on from the cinematic that a lot of people won't see, Crash wakes up on the beach and gives us the thumbs up before beginning his journey. The first level acts as a sort of tutorial, so I will use this opportunity to talk about the various game mechanics as we go along.

Crates are everywhere in the Crash universe, and most have Wumpa Fruit in them. We will be collecting so much Wumpa Fruit that we could feed the entire world ten times over, but they do have a use that we'll see later on. There are a few different types of crates, the one here is a 'Bounce Crate'. You bounce on it, each time you bounce you get a Wumpa, you get up to ten per crate. The '? Crate' has a surprise in it, it could Wumpa Fruit, it could be Bonus Stage coupons or, in this case...

An extra life! Already? This game is very generous with lives...and you will see why.

(excuse the blurriness, I recorded all this on video and took screenshots off of that...I do eventually remember to select the 'deinterlace').
The allow crates just act the same as the bouncy ones, but they don't give you a Wumpa per bounce but they never break until you spin into them. Spinning is Crash's primary attack, press the square button and you will spin into an enemy and they will (in most cases) shoot away from the screen, which can be used to break boxes and even kill other enemies in the distance.
The crabs will just walk back and forth and are no real danger to you. They only appear in this level.

Blank crates usually just have a small amount of Wumpa, usually just the one. The mask crate is the thing we should be focussing on. Break it open and you get a flying mask (Aku Aku, an ancient spirit). They absorb one hit for you. They can stack up, as you can see I already have one, but what happens when I have two? You get an even better mask and you can take two extra hits. But how about three?

You put on the mask and you are invincible for a good portion of time, about twenty seconds I would say. Boxes just automatically break for you and enemies just don't stand a chance. Bottomless pits will still kill you, and speaking of.

There's a fork in the path, but you really want to go this way if you want the most goodies. But how do we pass this? The bridge is all outlines, step on it and will just fall. Well, that's what the metal ! crate is for. Metal crates do no break, but they do not count towards your total box count. If we spin into this one however...

We create a bridge of crates. Skilled players will be able to break all of them in one combo, revealing extra lives and a ton of Wumpa. However, I am not a skilled player so I just skipped it. This takes us to the end of the level. If we make it there without dying we get this lovely screen...

It's a "You didn't get all the chaos emeralds, now Robotnik will rub your face in it" type of deal. If you break all the boxes in the level you will get a gem. If you get all the gems you can get the alternate ending. I will not be aiming for all the gems, if only because it does require backtracking. Some boxes can't be reached without first getting a special coloured gem in certain levels, they open up alternate paths.

The second level awaits!

 Immediately we bump into the next type of crate...a TNT crate. Bounce on them, then run, because they will explode after three seconds. That's kinda what TNT does. In the future games there are Nitro crates which explode immediately, in comparison, TNT is nothing.

Woah, sorry, I must have gotten really drunk in this part. I was so drunk I even picked up a female bandicoot. Her name is Tawna, and she's meant to be Crash's girlfriend (though she doesn't show up again in the Crash games that actually matter...). Collect three of her tokens to be taken to a bonus stage.

So, in the distance you see those discs? They are the 'Jungle Rollers' the level title alluded to. They roll, back and forth. Get caught and you will be flattened. These ones are not so bad, later on there are sections with two of them rolling at once, often in opposite directions, and that requires a little timing.

Without an Aku-Aku mask I am not brave enough to go for this extra life. It is very possible to jump and spin into the Crash crate without hitting the TNT. If you spin into TNT it will explode in your face, which usually isn't pleasant.

Collect three and Crash will jump for joy. And also be warped into...

These are little 2D sections that usually have a large amount of crates (and thus Wumpa Fruit) and extra lives. However, they serve one very important purpose at the very end of them...

SAVE POINTS! There are only two ways to save your game, finish a Bonus Stage or get a gem in a level. This is going to be rather annoying when we get further into the game, and for that reason, I am allowing myself to use passwords if I ever die and get sent back, like, five levels.

Not saying that has happened so far or anything....sigh...

I forgot to show off the 'goal', so here it is.


I really don't like these type of levels (spoilers: they show up a few times in the game). They're not badly made, it's my own skills (or lack of) that make it a bit of struggle. You use those metal bouncy crates to jump up to the next one, and there's one above that. I, for some reason, can never quite get the hold of it and I just keep falling. It only gets worse...

 Squint really hard, you can almost see I'm about to run into a turtle type creature. Jump on him and he'll flip. You can use the bottom of his shell as a trampoline. It's fun!

This level just really did not want to be screenshotted. It's okay 'Great Gate', no need to be shy. But this monkey...I hate him. If you're not careful he will roll into you. Before you jump onto the next platform, if you see him, make sure he's rolling away from you. He'll think he's King Kong for a second and that gives you a chance to spin him to hell!

This is where I'll always trip up on these levels. See that little wooden platform in the middle of the screen? You have to spin into that to make it go horizontal so you can use it to get to the other side. There's usually a number of these going up until eventually you have to do some precise jumping with the bouncy crates, like in the middle of the level. This time wasn't bad, but in the future it will get embarrassing.

These spiky pillars aren't much problem, they will shake for a second before shooting up (or down). Walk into them and you will get hurt. They're easy to dodge now, but Naughty Dog know how to make the most out of their traps.

Everybody, throw your stones at this guy, for he is a criminal! HE MURDERED MY SANITY! Not in this level he won't kill me, but in the next 'gate' level he will be my main cause of death. You can't spin into him normally, he has that shield that is extra bouncy. What to do is try and jump on his head...

...the fool will protect his head leaving him open to a spin attack. I let this one live...oh how I wish I never...

These carpets are newly out of the freezer. That's the only explanation I can think of as to why they're slippy. If you're standing on one, it will slowly drag you towards whatever way the platform is inclined. Another case of "not so bad now, but becomes a bitch later".

The last gimmick of this type of level are these torches. When they're not ignited that can be used as a springboard and they're really fun. But mistime it and even touch the fire a little? You're be burned to a crisp and turned to ashes. We don't want that, at all!

We reach a bonus stage, which should go well...

...remember when I was quite good at Sonic? Yeah...those were good days.

Dying in bonus stages do not take away a life, but they do take away an opportunity to get more lives and save the game.

But not long after that we reach the end of the level...

...and the end of this update. Most updates will feature all the levels leading up to, and including the bosses, but because there is so much to explain I'm going to split the first update in half before it gets too long.

Next time on Crash Bandicoot: Bob Dylan, a relaxing swim and we jump on a fat man's head...once I remember you can do that...

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