These days, when it comes to difficult video games, Dark Souls is the benchmark. It is the one, the only, the yardstick by which all swear-inducing difficulty is measured. In this age of tutorials-amundo hand holding and easy modes, Miyazaki’s acclaimed action-RPG series refuses to pander. Souls games have no qualms about whupping your butt.
The original Crash Bandicoot trilogy was no pushover itself. These games were created in the nineties, after all, a time when gaming was much less forgiving than it often is these days. The original Crash Bandicoot in particular is quite notorious for its challenging gameplay.
Crash veterans from back in the day are probably knee-deep in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy as we speak. The remakes were released last week, and many players, new and old, have come to the same conclusion: hot damn this is hard. Destructoid have even gone so far as to call the N. Sane collection ‘the Dark Souls of platformers,’ but just what’s so difficult about it?
Speaking of Crash veterans, the curious thing is that some are arguing that the remakes have been made harder than the original releases. It was Vicarious Visions that created the N. Sane trilogy, and it seems they made some changes along the way which have dramatically impacted how the game plays.
According to Redditor TastyCarcass, Crash had a flat hitbox in the original PlayStation titles. This is pretty well standard practice, enabling pixel perfect jumps without any confusion and ‘fair’ deaths. Feeling that the remastered trilogy felt a little different in this sense, Tasty Carcass looked into it further and believes that Crash’s hitbox (and the now-unlockable Coco Bandicoot’s) has been changed to a pill-shaped one.
What does this mean in gameplay terms? Things are a little more slippery. As the Reddit post suggests, pill-shaped hitboxes allow the player character to slide a bit when jumping off something: “Rather than falling off things, you sort of slide down them a bit first, even if it's a flat plane… for some reason it's more obvious on Coco. She can slip off a corner a little bit and not fall. The downside of this is that if you just barely land on something, you'll probably slip off and die.”
Note that this isn’t confirmed fact, but simply something players who know game-making inside out believe based on their own experiences with the remakes. If this is indeed the case, at least the player makes gains in other areas to balance out the handicap. Still, with all the precision and tricky jumps that some of these levels require, this sure makes things sound much more difficult.
Coupled with that, it appears that the arc for Crash’s jump has been sped up too. “This means Crash jumps for a shorter amount of time,” Destructoid reports, “which leads to an inaccurate game when combined with the wonky collisions.” As well as the N. Sane trilogy was received, then, it looks as though some of the tweaks and modifications Vicarious Visions have made are unwelcome.
How are you faring with the Crash remakes? Have you noticed any ‘unfair’ deaths marring your playtime? If you have, it's unlikely that your GameStop fidget spinner is going to make you feel any better.