For years, it seemed like the sun had set on the Crash Bandicoot series. A new game hadn't been made in years and his last planned game titled Crash Landed was quietly canceled by Activision back in the Xbox 360 era. However with 2017's release of Crash Bandicoot The N. Sane Trilogy and the recently released Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled, the series is back with a renewed vigor.
Having said that, it hasn't always been sunshine and rainbows for the orange marsupial. While we will be looking at the five best games in the franchise today, we will also be looking at the five worst.
Note: we will be excluding both the N Sane Trilogy and CTR: Nitro Fueled since they're remakes of pre-existing games and it's too early to tell if Nitro Fueled will stand the test of time.
10 Best: Crash Twinsanity
Of all the games in the series, Crash Twinsanity is the most out there and daring. A dramatic turn for the series' core gameplay, this title stripped away the Warp Room format and linear corridor style gameplay in favor of a more open world.
Not only that, but the game also throws new playable characters, a much more comedic tone and a soundtrack that we assure you will get stuck in your head. If the game was given a bit more development time to iron out the bugs and glitches and to add some more content, this could have been even higher up the list.
9 Worst: Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath Of Cortex
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex isn't necessarily a bad game (which goes to show the quality of the franchise). However, it's problem is that it's a heavily inferior version of a game already on this list.
This title played it safe by sticking to the formula of the series but also failed to add any new elements at all which was highly disappointing as Crash's big next-gen debut on the PS2. Since the PS2 was backward compatible, gamers at the time would have been better served by just popping Crash 3 instead of this tired rehash.
8 Best: Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced
It's easy to forget that Crash had a series of games on the Game Boy Advance. While the first one was alright and the sequel to this one... existed, Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced was great.
Featuring some of the franchise's best boss fights and new superpowers to play with (and not the stupid "sneaking" from Wrath Of Cortex, this GBA adventure made for the best handheld Crash game. Also of note that this was the first platformer in the series to not feature Dr.Cortex as the main antagonist. How about that?
7 Worst: Crash Bandicoot Purple
Crash Bandicoot and Spyro The Dragon. If their recent resurgences in popularity are any indication, it's that these 90s gaming mascots still mean a lot to generations of fans. So why does nobody talk about their crossover? Probably because it was hot garbage.
Instead of treating this like the big deal it should have been, Crash Bandicoot Purple (and its counterpart Spyro Orange) were tediously mind-numbing mini-game collections wearing the skin of their platforming classics. By the end of the game, players will be wondering what could have been
6 Best: Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
The original Crash Bandicoot wasn't bad by any means, but it did feel a bit ancient in terms of controls and mechanics. Leave it to Naughty Dog's second Crash title to not only pick up the ball but jog it into the endzone and make it look easy.
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back set the template for what makes a great Crash game. State of the art graphics? Check. The best soundtrack in franchise history? Check. Varied levels of gameplay that still offer a great challenge? Check. An incentive to replay levels to collect all the gems and experience the game's true ending? Oh hell yeah!
5 Worst: Crash Of The Titans
By 2007, it's tempting as a developer to inject new life into a franchise that's been around for over a decade. But even if you have the best intentions, it's not always enough.
Crash Of The Titans was the most dramatic shift the franchise had ever taken as a core title. While there was still platforming elements, it was much more akin to a beat-em-up and a shallow one at that. While the game does get points for being pretty funny in some spots, the title as a whole is forgettable and is not the best of the franchise. Its sequel Mind Over Mutant was an improvement, but Radical Entertainment's second Crash game is nothing worth remembering.
4 Best: Crash Team Racing
How ridiculous is it that Naughty Dog's first attempt at a kart racer is still able to compete with the big boys of its own era and beyond? Because it is nearly flawless.
With the best controls in a kart racer, a great cast of characters, massive tracks filled with shortcuts and a soundtrack that we would rock out to at a party, CTR is king. Whether you're inviting friends over for races or battle mode or even you're a single player enjoying the endlessly replayable Adventure Mode, let's just Beenox has a lot to live up to in its remake.
3 Worst: Crash Tag Team Racing
If we're ranking just the Crash racing games, there's a clear loser of the three and it's Crash Tag Team Racing. While previous Crash games managed to balance and focus, this car combat game seems to be all over the place.
Seemingly the game tries to distract you by placing you in a literal amusement park divided in various sections where you can platform around as Crash completing mini-games and fetch quests for all his supporting cast.
Notice how we didn't discuss the actual racing yet. That's because there isn't much to it as the main feature of the game where you combine your car with another player is broken beyond belief and turns races into jokes. The tracks are bland, it tries way too hard to be funny and ultimately is the black sheep of Crash racers.
2 Best: Crash Bandicoot: Warped
The final Crash platformer from Naughty Dog, Crash Bandicoot: Warped is the pinnacle of the franchise and is likely never to be topped. Not only does the game have boundless variety with a healthy balance of vehicle sections and traditional platforming, but the new superpowers add depth to Crash's move set and gives the player so many options to tackle levels.
And also how can we forget the stellar music, varied level themes and the N Gin. boss fight which sees you pilot Crash's sister Coco on a space ship shooting at a giant mech? If that was enough, the game's time trial system will have you coming back again and again to get the best times on each level. PS1 perfection.
1 Worst: Crash: Boom! Bang!
It's hard for western games to break through in the east often times, but Crash has actually had tons of success overseas. Unfortunately, the one time a Japanese developer got their hands on Crash, it created his worst title ever.
A Nintendo DS exclusive, Crash: Boom! Bang! was an obnoxious party game that piled on non-sensical mechanics, bland mini games and a distinct "this is not Crash Bandicoot what the hell are you thinking" feel. This game is so bad, it makes the average Crash Bash look like a masterpiece.