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Crash is the Eel Deal
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About the Game
Minor Spoilers
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back holds a special place in my heart. It was the first video game I ever owned and played. I still remember running, spinning and jumping down Turtle Woods (the first level) and amazed by the graphics.

Something must of stuck, as I have owned and played every single game in the series since. Thanks to this special PS1 game, Crash has remained my favourite video game character off all time. So let’s explore why I still think it’s a classic.
Quote Let’s talk about graphics. The first Crash Bandicoot stood out at the time for having some really nice looking levels. This resulted in pushing the limits of graphical power of the original Playstation and what was possible for 3D graphics. Although Crash Bandicoot 2 isn't as a big leap forward, it truly is one of the best looking games on the platform.

All that graphic horsepower needs some interesting levels to show it off. Crash 2 follows the last game with loads of distinctive level designs. Some new locations include sewers, snowy wastelands and space stations. Throwbacks to the original game are also here, like jungles and ruins. Variety is definitely in Crash 2, and the new environments are all great.

One of the reasons which kept me coming back to play years later, was trying to beat the game. The general difficulty has been turned down a little from Crash 1. But Crash 2 has levels, paths and lots of hidden areas, meaning you must use all that you have learned to figure out how to collect everything. (And get that master ranking of completionist)

The first Crash Bandicoot was fantastic at the time of release, but after the introduction of the analog stick the controls feel a bit stiff in comparison. Naughty Dog have always pushed the hardware to its limits, so they created a new control engine for Crash. The result? The movement of Crash is a lot more fluid. The controls are tighter, meaning it made controlling Crash more enjoyable. I would go to say that the controls are perfect, and this is why platformers now look back at games like this on why tight controls are good.
[Crash 2]Crash looks completely confused in this picture. What is this strange room he must be thinking...
It isn’t just tighter controls, Crash has more moves baby! He could only jump and spin previously, but now has new moves. Body Slaming, sliding, crouching and high jumping are now achievable. This gives Crash more variety and is much more to fun to play as. These moves come in handy with the new crates and enemies that Crash encounters. New crates like the deadly Nitro’s and the mega locked crates are useful and not useful. There are new enemies that can only be defeated using one of Crash’s new moves. Handy hey?

Crash himself looks much better, with more detail and better animations - expect to laugh at some of death animations! One last thing… The Crash dance! It's hard to think of the Crash universe without the classic Crash dance. Once you’ve seen it, I bet you will try to mimic it at least once. (It’s really cool that the dance has made a comeback in Skylanders Imaginators)

I should mention that the map screen system has been replaced by the warp room, which becomes a series staple. The warp rooms act as a hub for the levels. It’s a lot quicker to browse the levels to see what items you still need to collect. A unique feature to Crash Bandicoot 2 is each of the levels have a beginning and end room, themed like the corresponding warp room.

It’s not just that, Crash 2 brings loads of other improvements:
> Better saving (probably the most infuriating aspect of Crash Bandicoot 1)
> Checkpoints remember what crates you’ve smashed
> Bigger Bonus Stages - They now feel like mini-levels, rather than just a bunch of crates in the sky.
> Death routes - Death routes replace the Brio/Cortex bonus stages and there's a reason why they have new name – some are tricky to complete.

I wasn’t a fan of the soundtrack for the first Crash Bandicoot. Maybe it was too simple compared to likes of Spyro the Dragon? I don’t know. But what I do that that even with the same composer, the soundtrack is one of my favourite aspects of Crash Bandicoot 2.

Rather than the simple melodies, this time they are bigger and fit the levels perfectly. Whether your in the jungle, wondering down in the sewers or riding Polar through some snowy wastelands, the music in the game lifts these levels even more. Some of my favourite video game music tracks of all time comes from Crash Bandicoot 2.

Closing Thoughts
Classic Classic
There are many things that make up your favourite games, great graphics, easy to pick and play, interesting levels, solid story. But none other than Nostalgia. Games we play when we are young stay with us for the rest of your life. And I hope during the various articles on this page that I got my point across: Crash Bandicoot 2 is one of the all time greats, one of the best 3D platformers that has ever been made. If you love platformers, you should, no, you must play this game!

My One Big Highlight
Spiderman The first level Turtle Woods is an especially good level. The level itself isn't anything to shout about, but it does have the privilege of being one of the first video game levels I ever played. That awesome soundtrack is coincidently one of my favourites too. It’s one of those times in my video game collection, where I get a chill down my spine as soon as Crash warps into the level. Good times.
Elephant In the Room
elephantThe only thing that I wished that was better was the bosses. There were simply too easy. (Ok, I know I've played this game hundreds of times over the years, but still…) Ripper Roo is just easy, the Komodo Bros only get a little hard on the last round, Tiny is a pushover and Cortex isn’t tough at all! The only real challenge is N.Gin.
Fan Idea
No Spoilers
[Crash 2]Crash in one of his favourite places doing one of his favourite hobbies - spinning!
Surprise! After rumours, speculation and leaks, it was announced at E3 2016 that Vicarious Visions will be remaking the Crash trilogy from the ground up.

They have called the new N.Sane Trilogy “remastered plus”, which means they have recreated all the graphics, animations, music and levels as close to the originals as possible with some added features. I wrote this article before we knew this, so some of these suggestions will mostly not be used. But if I could remake the games, what changes would I make? Well here goes.
Idea #1 – Better Graphical effects – but don't change things for the sake of it
I'll get the obvious point out of the way first – better graphics. These games were from three generations ago, so the graphics will need a tune up to get the most from the PS4 horsepower. But this is also the hardest to get right, as it needs to be in the style and feel of the originals. I've seen loads of fan remakes over the years, and none seem to get it quite right. Can Vicarious Visions crack this?
Idea #2 – Change up Vehicle sections
Crash Bandicoot 2 vs Crash Bandicoot 3 is a long time debate between Crash fans, (I have even wrote an article about it!) but what is generally agreed upon is that Crash 3 did have too many vehicle levels, and I would agree. The walking type levels are generally more fun. I would be happy if the controls and camera were improved, but if they wanted to shake things up , I would actually adopt the same system that Wrath of Cortex has.

Instead of either walking or vehicle levels, have levels that have both. So I'll give you an example. Your exploring a space station, and there is a section that isn't breathable. You hop onto the provided Jet-Pack, go through the section, and then complete the rest of the level on foot. This means you get the fun walking sections, with some added variety in the form of vehicles, all in the same level. It mixes things up and keeps things interesting.
Idea #3 - Add superpowers to all games
Can we all agree that the superpowers weren't needed to complete the game? Yes you did need some of the powers to collect all the crates and thus the gem, but that was about it. I would like to see objects and obstacles added to earlier levels, so that you can't complete the level until you have collected the superpower. The Crash Dash is the only one this doesn't apply too, as this power is still used to get those platinum relics. For example:

> For the Super Belly Flop, there are walls with crates behind them
> For the double jump, stacks of steel crates with normal crates on top
> Gaps that only the tornado spin can reach
> Crates that can only be broken with the help of the bazooka.
Idea #4 - Add more secret levels/gems
One of my favourite aspects of Crash Bandicoot 2 was the secret gems and the secret ways you unlocked warp rooms. Although I won't spoil anything that game (in case you still haven't unlocked them all) but I would love to see this in Crash Bandicoot and Warped.
Idea #5 - Combine map/warp room system
I’m still on the fence with this idea, but I'd thought I'd mention it anyway. I like the map screen from Crash 1, but I also like the warp rooms. So I had an idea to combine both of them. How about having all three games having warp rooms, but then each has a map screen, which acts as a completion screen. In this screen, you will see what you need to collect in each level, along with an instant way to warp to any level.
[Jungle]I can't wait to play the remake. I wonder if they will include this little intro level with Coco? Getting a battery for your laptop is still relevant today...
Idea #6 - Add More Fake Crash
This doesn't effect the gameplay, but it will be a fun addition. Fake Crash is one of the best Easter eggs, as it was a fun idea, and I would like the idea to expanded to all three games. Wouldn't it be fun to hunt through all the levels after finishing the story to find Fake Crash. And as an added bonus, if you do find him in all the levels he's hidden himself in, you then can play as Fake Crash, along with his weird walking and dancing style?
Idea #7 - Stormy Ascent unlocks after completing all games
Stormy Ascent is probably the greatest secret that the crash series has to offer. This infamous cut level from the first game is the hardest level in the whole series. So wouldn't be sorta cool for players unlocking it after completing the rest of the game? "We know you have spent ages collecting everything, so here is an extra hard level to test your skills. Otherwise you can't call yourself a true Crash fan."
Idea #8 – Make Bosses Tougher
If I do have one proper non-nitpicky criticism about the original trilogy is none of the bosses provide a proper challenge. The most challenging for me was N.Gin from Crash 3, but compared to the likes of Evil Twins from Crash Twinsanity or Air Crunch boss battle from Wrath of Cortex, bosses are a pushover. This could be done with either extra hit points or a proper health bar like that Wind Crunch battle.
Idea #9 - Aku Aku: The Great Teacher
This would either hinder or help the game, depending how it's implemented. The original trilogy in Japan had Aku Aku giving the player hints and tips throughout the first few levels. This would be great for the new game, since loads of players will be experiencing the series for the first time. Aku Aku will be giving first time players some much needed background.

With Greg Eagles reprising his role as Aku Aku in Skylanders Imaginators, adding more humor to the hints (like from Crash of the Titans) could be pretty funny in places. It also explain some things that even the average Crash fan might not know. Why does breaking all crates make the gem appear? Why does Aku Aku not have feet? Important questions like that.
Idea #10 – Other minor ideas
There's loads more ideas that I could mention, but here are two minor ones. This first one is a no brainier - scrap the password and the load save screen for automatic saving. Have one of those fancy icons in the corner of the screen while its saving.

The other is the opening level/cutscene. I'd love them to take the movie approach, and have all the credits and voice actors appear while we are learning about the story. (Something like Sly Raccoon's first level)

Closing Thoughts
Let's face it - the original crash trilogy is classic for a reason. Some of the best games on the original PlayStation, and almost perfect (barring a few things from the original game).
Fan Idea
Major Spoilers
[Crash 2]So here are all the warp rooms that will be featured in my "new" game. Using warp rooms from various games, including Crash Bash, which had some interesting warp room designs.
For years now, I've always wondered if you took the best levels from the Crash platformers, and merged them into one game, what would the results be? Well, I finally got round to doing it!

So first, I complied a list of levels from Crash 1, Crash 2, Crash 3, Wrath of Cortex, Twinsanity and Titans. Then I then placed these levels into themes. Each of these themes is a warp room. Each warp room has five levels, one boss, an unlocked level (which unlocks when you beat the final boss) and a bonus mini-game from Crash Bash. Some levels I have combined together (because of having a similar theme) and renamed too, so this is a true fan edit of the series. Have a look and see what you think!
Chapter 1: It's a Jungle Out There… (Jungle)
1. N. Sanity Beach
- N. Sanity Island (CT) / N. Sanity Beach (CB1) / Turtle Woods (CB2)
2. Roll through the Jungle
– Bamboozled (WOC)
3. The Rolling Stones
- Jungle Rollers (CB1) / Rolling Stones (CB1)
4. Native Fortress
5. Boulder Dash
- Boulder Dash (CB1) / Crash Crush (CB2)
Boss: Papu Papu
Bonus: Jungle Bash
Unlocked: Night Night
- Night Fight (CB2) / Totally Fly (CB2)
Chapter 2: The Snow must go On! (Snow)
6. Arctic Antics
- Snow Biz (CB2) / Cold Hard Crash (CB2) / Arctic Antics (WOC)
7. Grin and Bear it
- Totally Bear (CB2) / Bear It (CB2)
8. Ice Climb
- Ice Climb (CT)
9. It's all downhill from here
- Eskimo Roll (WOC)
10. Slip Slide Ice-Capades
Boss: Dingodile
Bonus: Manic Panic
Unlocked: Snow Time
- Avalanche (WOC) / Force of Nature (WOC)
Chapter 3: Well that seals the deal… (Water)
11. Upsteam
- Upstream (CB1) / Up the Creek (CB1)
12. Plant Food
- Air Crash (CB2) / Plant Food (CB2)
13. Under Pressure
- Under Pressure (CB3) / Deep Trouble (CB3)
14. Hangin' Out
- The Eel Deal (CB2) / Hangin' Out (CB2)
15. Tell No Tales
- Makin' Waves (CB3) / Tell No Tales (CB3)
Boss: Ripper Roo
Bonus: Splash Dash
Unlocked: H2 Oh No
Chapter 4: Go with the flow (Volcano/Earth)
16. Cavern Catastrophe
17. Rock-Slide Rumble
18. Fahrenheit Frenzy
19. Crash and Burn
20. Bandicoot Pursuit
Boss: Koala Kong
Bonus: Dante's Dash
Unlocked: Smokey and the Bandicoot
Chapter 5: It's all dried up (Desert)
21. Don't Eat the Yellow Brick Load
22. Gold Rush
23. Tomb Time
- Sphynxinator (CB3) / Tomb Wader (CB3)
24. Hang 'em High
- High Time (CB3) / Flaming Passion (CB3)
25. Bug Lite
Boss: Tiny
Bonus: Ghost Town
Unlocked: Life's a Beach
Chapter 6: It's going to Ruin you… (Ruins)
26. The Lost City
- The Lost City (CB1) / Sunset Vista (CB1)
27. Unbearable
- Diggin' It (CB2) / Bee-having (CB2) / Unbearable (CB2)
28. The Road to Ruination
- Road to Ruin (CB2) / Ruination (CB2)
29. The Dark Temple Ruins
- Temple Ruins (CB1) / Jaws of Darkness (CB1)
30. The Temple of Zoom
Boss: Tikimon
Bonus: Pogo Painter
Unlocked: Generator Room
Chapter 7: Space is out of this world! (Space)
31. Spaced Out
- Cortex Vortex (WOC)
32. Space Jam
- Piston It Away (CB2) / Spaced Out (CB2)
33. Rock It
- Rock It (CB2) / Pack Attack (CB2)
34. Asteroid Wars
- Crashteroids (WOC)
35. Gone Tomorrow
- Future Frenzy (CB3) / Gone Tomorrow (CB3)
Boss: Crunch (Atmospheric Pressure)
Bonus: Space Bash
Unlocked: Solar Bowler
Chapter 8: It's Time we Travelled (Time Travel)
36. Medieval Madness
- Toad Village (CB3) / Gee Wiz (CB3) / Double Header (CB3)
37. Bye Bye Bombers
- Mad Bombers (CB3) / Rings of Power (CB3)
38. The Road to Nowhere
- Road to Nowhere (CB1) / The High Road (CB1)
39. The Orient Express
- Orient Express (CB3) / Midnight Run (CB3)
40. A Bad Dinosaur
- Bone Yard (CB3) / Dino Might! (CB3)
Boss: N.Gin
Bonus: El Pogo Loco
Unlocked: Knight Knight
- Wizards and Lizards (WOC) / Knight Time (WOC)
Chapter 9: Stormy Ascent (Castle/Machinery)
41. Stormy Climb
- Slippery Climb (CB1)
42. Lights Out
- Lights Out (CB1) / Fumbling in the Dark (CB1)
43. The Lab
44. Compactor Reactor
45. Machinery, Machinery everywhere
Heavy Machinery (CB1) / Castle Machinery (CB1)
Boss: Dr. Neo Cortex
Bonus: Metal Fox
Unlocked: Rooftop Rampage

Bonus: All bonus levels + Eggipus Rex

Closing Thoughts
There are lots of levels included here for good reason. The platforming games in the Crash Bandicoot series have excellent themes, levels, vehicle sections and kick-a$$ music. This would be the largest Crash Bandicoot by far, and with some editing within the levels, I would say one of the best too, combining all the better parts of the levels.