N. Sane Trilogy Mishaps

Update (July 10th, 2017): Ah, what a twist! As I mentioned before, the jumping distance seems to be the same, and what causes levels like The High Road to be so difficult this time is the fact that Crash slips off edges now. What I hadn't fully realized is that this is only one of two major issues responsible for this mess. The other one is actually the bounce distance. In other words, Crash's jumping distance is still the same, but after he bounces on something, his movement slows down and he can't reach as far as he should. That's why you can't get the secret lives in the Diggin' It bonus anymore (see the video above), and why you need to bounce on 3 crates instead of 2 to reach the secret exit in Air Crash. It all makes sense now!

Original article with some updates is as follows:

The N. Sane Trilogy is finally here, and while I'm still working on a proper review and finishing the game's respective section, I can safely say that these remakes are the definitive versions of the first three Crash Bandicoot games.

...Or at least they would be if not for some very specific things that bog down the gameplay.

My intention with this post isn't to criticize the game or its developers. I just want to point out a few things that I'd like to see Vicarious Visions fix to turn this great collection into perfection. Thankfully, we live in an era where this is possible via post-release content, so here's hoping they'll create a patch that addresses these problems.

This post will be a little different from usual. Rather than being intended for the fandom to read, it's mostly being written with the developers in mind, and I will be asking you, dear reader, to contribute if you like. I will be updating this post frequently over the next few days as I play through the trilogy. I encourage everyone to post their own feedback in the comments, because Vicarious Visions has shown how much they want to make the fans happy. I'll try to make sure this post reaches them. Think of it as a sort of open letter.

Let's start with what matters most.

The Indispensable Fixes

  • The jumping bouncing distance | Update (July 10th, 2017): Crash now covers less distance when bouncing off enemies and crates. This seems to be because his movement slows down after bouncing (which explains why it removes your momentum when sprinting with the speed shoes). This is why the secret exit in Air Crash requires you to bounce on three crates instead of just two, or why you can't get the secret lives in the Diggin' It bonus anymore. Most importantly, this explains why The High Road is so awful now. But that's not the only reason for that...
  • Crash slips off edges very easily now. The tolerance for landing on a platform's edge is much lower, so you can make a jump and fall off immediately afterwards because of this.

    *Update (July 4th, 2017): I'm reposting a video I saw on Twitter that perfectly illustrates this and more: Combined with the shorter bounce distance, this makes platforming harder and certain jumps are now flat-out impossible.
  • The ice physics. Hoo boy, the ice physics. I don't even know where to start with these. Landing on ice after jumping kills your momentum, but your top speed while ice-skating is through the roof. It's almost impossible to turn around once you pick up enough speed unless you slide, and jumping from a standstill covers little to no distance. Overall, Crash is extremely slippery and this makes the Death Route in Cold Hard Crash an exercise in frustration (him being so off-center in this segment doesn't help). I was expecting this to be something the developers improved on (the original ice physics weren't all that great to begin with), but it's actually a lot worse now. Funny how The Wrath of Cortex, of all games, seems to have the best ice physics, even if they were barely used in that game.
  • The jetski handling. Update (July 4th, 2017): Okay, I have done a complete 180º turn on my opinion of the jetski. I complained before that it used to be too loose and that the turning arch was too wide, but after experimenting with it more, I realized the problem isn't the jetski: it's muscle memory. I tried getting accostumed to the new controls while trying to forget what the old jetski was like, and this did wonders for me. I can make tight turns and jump off ramps at an even more precise angle than ever before (and to think I complained that ramps don't center you automatically anymore), thanks to a combination of using R2 to accelerate and letting go of it slightly whenever I want to make a tight turn. When I got used to this, the difference was phenomenal! Believe it or not, I'd go as far as saying the new jetski actually controls better than the old one (well, I suppose that was kind of the point, but I'm happy to see it validated). I'm not even kidding — it's amazing how old habits can completely change your opinion. To everyone who previously agreed with me on what I thought were bad controls, I suggest you try doing this. It makes me wonder how quickly newcomers who never played the original version will get used to it.

Fixing Crash's bouncing distance and his slipperiness near edges should be prioritized above everything else, because these things change the games too much in less than desirable ways. The wonky ice physics also really need an overhaul. Things were never this difficult in the original games.

And now for some other things that really shouldn't be ignored.

The Important Fixes

  • The crushing pillars in ice levels (the ones that trigger when you're close to them) act too fast. It's actually impossible to run under a lot of them without sliding!
  • Nitros bounce way too high now. This can kill you unpredictably as you're jumping over them. I've also seen someone encounter a glitch where one of them bounced so high it clipped through the crate stacked on top of it. The bouncing should be kept to a minimum, at least when you're close to them.
  • The hitbox for the roast hogs is too big. You have to be very precise to jump over the third one in Hog Wild. I've seen tons of people having trouble with this.
  • It's hard to belly-flop the spitting plants in Crash 2 without hurting yourself. Likely another hitbox quirk.
  • Polar's hitbox is too small regarding crates, so it's very easy to miss them, especially in Totally Bear. I kept jumping over all the floating crates at one point. It also makes the now looser controls a curse rather than a blessing.
  • The lone fruit above the TNT in the secret passage from Road to Ruin is missing, so the hint is gone. Kind of strange when there are so many new hints in every game.
  • You can't tell when a penguin is about to spin anymore. They used to have an animation for that.
  • The camera in 2D segments won't change when you're backtracking, so Crash will be too close to the left and it becomes hard to know what's coming (see: Piston It Away).
  • Turning around and especially spinning while underwater makes Crash move forward even if you're not moving.
  • Stopping while underwater makes Crash sink to the bottom. Update (July 8th, 2017): Disregard this, it's always done that; I'm a moron. It just does it faster now.
  • The camera shifts abruptly when riding the motorcycle off a ramp, which is disorienting.
  • The darkness in The Lab makes it very easy to fall into a pit by accident. I don't know if this is just me, but I never had that problem in the original game. Not even Lights Out has this problem.
  • You can't hear the bees until they're close to you, so you can get caught off-guard when you're backtracking in Diggin' It.

Update (July 3rd, 2017):

  • As pointed out by Samno in the comments, crouching after landing from a jump is finnicky. If you're not extremely precise, it takes a long time for Crash to crouch, which used to be instantaneous. Consecutive high jumps are hard to pull off as a result (this even cost me a life in the Spaced Out bonus because of the TNT).
  • This one bothers me immensely: once you get the Death Tornado in the third game, you can no longer break a crate at the bottom of a stack without also breaking the one directly on top of it, unless you're running away as you do it. Try breaking the crates under the TNTs in Sphynxinator and you'll see what I mean (spoilers: you'll go boom). Update: This seems to happen because Crash gets a new animation for spinning, which gives him a slightly bigger hitbox.
  • Locked crates don't make a sound when you spin or land on them. This is important for Totally Fly because you need to figure out where they are in the dark.
  • It's hard to stop the sub when you're boosting. I accidentally dove into the warp sphere in Deep Trouble as a result.
  • Pura's sprinting speed is way too high! Update (July 4th, 2017): Like the jetski, I've gotten used to Pura's top speed. The fact that your extra momentum is cancelled in mid-air if you let go of the sprint button is a little weird, but nothing you can't get used to or even turn to your advantage. I guess I'm withdrawing this complaint too.
  • The motorcycle can't make tight turns too well. Update (July 9th, 2017): Well, I've finally figured out how to drift properly. In the original game you'd just steer hard, but now you also have to let go of the acceleration without braking. Seems a little unintuitive, but at least it works. I'm beginning to think this game needs a manual.
  • The jetpack doesn't let you brake — it immediately moves you in the opposite direction.
  • You can't duck or crawl under the flamethrowers from Lab Assistants in tomb levels anymore.
  • The doors in tomb levels close too soon. You can't even clear the big stairway in Sphynxinator without being crushed by the doors unless you wait.
  • The large blocks in tomb levels drop as soon as the Lab Assistants begin the animation for pulling the lever, making them more unpredictable.
  • Hitting N. Tropy doesn't freeze you in place, so you can fall off as the camera turns around.
  • Someone has pointed out in the comments that the torches from the first game burn too quickly after the first warning. This did throw me off in Native Fortress.

Finally, there are some minor glitches and presentation oversights worth mentioning.

The Minor Fixes

  • When going back the way you came in Cold Hard Crash's Death Route, the music doesn't change back.
  • The slipping animation is oddly absent from Crash 2's moving pillars (ruins levels), despite having been added to Crash 1's slippery surfaces.
  • The tally in Crash 1 says "BOXES" (plural) even when you've only missed 1.
  • In Crash 2, Crash/Coco's icons don't have the forbidden sign in character-restricted levels like in the other games.
  • ARRRGH, I already know it's Crash Bandicoot, let me skip the intro!
  • The red mines in jetpack levels don't disappear when you pass through them, which can obscure the view and become disorienting.
  • The vases held by the Arabian monkeys simply pop out of existence when you die by touching one.
  • Being pushed by a Lab Assistant's shield in Piston It Away makes Crash go high up in the air in a weird manner.
  • Crash's animation for getting the jetpack is very weird when you do it a second time (if you die before the first checkpoint). It also has no initial transition the first time you do it. Update (July 13th, 2017): This only seems to happen sometimes. Specifically, I'm referring to when Crash faces the screen for some reason before hopping into the jetpack platform.
  • Also, this is more of a suggestion, but the Restart option should always be present and not restricted to time trials. Sometimes you want to retry a level after missing some crates or dying before reaching a Death Route (or color gem in Crash 1), and it's annoying having to exit and re-enter the level. It's more noticeable now because of the longer loading times.
  • Another suggestion: since the loading screen for bonus rounds in Crash 1 is only there for a split-second, why not have a fade transition like in the sequels? It just looks kind of weird the way it is now.

Update (July 3rd, 2017):

  • Crashb648 and Fuuma have suggested in the comments that the checkpoint sound should get carried over from WARPED to the first two games. Since the collection unifies so many other things, I agree.

Update (July 4th, 2017):

  • It's always bugged me that Crash doesn't look scared when running away from the triceratops. This'd be the perfect opportunity to fix that. I think there's a specific boulder where that doesn't happen anymore either, but I can't remember which.

Update (July 10th, 2017):

I think that covers everything I'd love to see being patched. Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments so you can make your voice be heard. In the meantime, don't let these things get in the way of your enjoyment, because the N. Sane Trilogy is still a great collection, and in many ways, better than the original games!

For a complete log of what's changed in the N. Sane Trilogy, be sure to check out the following page:

» N. Sane Trilogy - Changes (work in progress)

There are many other things listed there, but I've opted to leave them out of this post because they're not as important or detrimental to the gameplay (or I don't see them getting changed very easily).

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