Mascots were once the kings of gaming. While they don't have the same significance these days, they are still highly venerated fictional figures. Nintendo has Mario, Sega has Sonic, and even Microsoft has Master Chief. For Sony, their most iconic character had to be Crash Bandicoot, who first debuted on the company's PlayStation in 1996. The first game in the series was highly venerated, only criticized for its extreme difficulty. The game's developer, Naughty Dog, made two more platformers and a kart racing game before moving on to a new IP, Jak & Daxter.
The following games in the series never truly lived up to the original masterpieces. In 2017, Vicarious Visions rebuilt the original trilogy from the ground up, releasing it as one collection called Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. The game was a huge success, marking a revival for the beloved character. More recently, Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled, a remake of Crash Team Racing that also incorporates tracks and character from Crash Nitro Kart, hit shelves to rave reviews. The following list gathers ten lesser-known facts about this furry marsupial. Hopefully these will serve to deepen your appreciation of the series.
10 The Developers Feared The First Game Was Too Hard
When the first Crash Bandicoot game was in development, the company was unsure if players would latch themselves onto the character and world. Naughty Dog was nervous, and this nervousness was compounded further with their fear that they simply made the game too hard.
The game's difficulty was one of the only complaints people had with it. The developer remedied their mistake with the sequels' far more forgiving difficulty curve. Still, some hardcore players prefer the first game's brutal platforming challenge.
9 Ken Kutaragi Hated Him
Ken Kutaragi is known as "the father of PlayStation". He pushed for Sony to enter the console space and headed the development of the PS1. He wasn't always right when it came to the console, however.
For example, he held a particular disdain for Crash, and didn't want him becoming the mascot for the system. His vision for the PlayStation had it aiming for a more mature audience, and Crash looked like it was for children. Little did he know how successful the game would be, or how appealing the character would prove to be to all ages.
8 A Level Was Cut For Being Too Hard
Crash Bandicoot is so hard, it is difficult to imagine something not making it into the game because it proved too challenging. After all, the first island throws players into the deep end, and the water only gets rougher with each level.
However, one stage, called "Slippery Ascent," was left on the cutting room floor because it was too hard for the average gamer to complete. There were also some bugs the developers had no time to fix. The level is accessible through cheating, and was included in the N. Sane Trilogy.
7 Marc Cerny
Marc Cerny was the lead architect of the PlayStation 4 and Vita. Before that, however, he was a producer and designer for the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy. That would be impressive in its own right, but the man's whole career is filled with unbelievable accomplishments.
He started his career at seventeen years old with Atari, designing Marble Madness just a year later. He's also fluent in Japanese.
6 Penta Penguin
In the original Crash Team Racing, Penta Penguin is only unlockable through a cheat code. Anybody who played as him will notice the "penguin yay one" and "penguin yay 2" audio instead of the character's actual voice.
This is because they never replaced the placeholder audio with the real audio before mastering and shipping the game. As a nod to this, the character says the same thing in Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled, but with the appropriate voice.
5 Those Boxes
Instead of coins or rings, levels in Crash Bandicoot games are filled with boxes. Most contain Wumpa Fruit (classic collect-100-for-an-extra-life fare), while others contain extra lives and still others may be TNT boxes that can kill Crash, or metal ones that have to be broken through more creative means.
The idea of a collectable is just a platformer staple, while the boxes were put there to make the levels feel less empty. Boxes in particular were chosen because they only used a few polygons. Things were pretty darn primitive at the time of the original's release, after all.
4 Marc Cerny Was Supposed To Design Wrath Of Cortex
The Wrath of Cortex was the first traditional platformer in the series not handled by Naughty Dog. Marc Cerny still planned to design it, and his ideas were ambitious. He wanted the game to have an open world design allowing players to travel to different planets.
All of these ideas went down the drain after a falling out between Cerny and Universal when the character lost Sony exclusivity. The game players did get was serviceable, but didn't innovate upon the formula.
3 Twinsanity's Cancelled Sequel
Crash Twinsanity shook the series up by becoming a fully-fledged 3D platformer. It was a noble effort held back by less-than-stellar controls and a wonky camera. Had the studio been able to make a sequel, it would have involved Cortex transporting Crash into different television shows.
There would have been Wild West-themed levels, and a hospital-themed stage. The series continued on after Twinsanity, but took an entirely different form.
2 Mark Mothersbaugh
Crash Bandicoot's music is as iconic as the character, never escaping the mind once the ears hear it.
The soundtrack for the trilogy was composed by Josh Mancell and produced by Mark Mothersbaugh. If the second name is familiar, it is because Mark was one of the founders of Devo. He also, impressively, worked on the soundtrack to Thor: Ragnarok.
1 The N. Sane Trilogy's Jump
The N. Sane Trilogy was billed as a perfect remake that retained the gameplay, level design, and geometry from the originals while updating the visuals for modern times. It mostly delivered on its promise with one glaring exception - its jump. Diehard fans of the games noticed something fishy when they were missing jumps in the first two games that they could previously do with their eyes closed.
After some digging, it turned out that the first two games adopted the jump mechanics from Crash Bandicoot: Warped. The first two games weren't designed around that jump, which requires running starts and momentum, making certain gaps extremely difficult to cross.