Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy has finally been released and I couldn't be happier. I've been a #CrashBandicoot fan ever since first playing Crash Bandicoot 2 when I was just two or three years old. It was the first game I ever played and the reason I fell in love with video games in the first place. So, you know I was drawn to this remastering of the first three games like a moth to a flame.
I've been playing the hell out of N. Sane Trilogy ever since I got it during its launch weekend and have not been disappointed with what I got. The graphics are superb, the gameplay has been tweaked just enough to feel modern yet familiar, the soundtrack is life itself, and the new additions, while admittedly minor, are just enough to make the purchase worth it. Sure, the lengthy loading screens are a bit annoying, but the game itself is just what I wanted it to be. I highly encourage fans of the original games such as me to pick this game up when you get a chance. It's a new take on old classics that I just know you'll enjoy.
That being said, this trip down nostalgia lane got me thinking about the other big Crash Bandicoot game on #PS1: The fourth and final Crash game to be developed by Naughty Dog, Crash Team Racing.
Released in 1999, Crash Team Racing was the first spin-off game in the series and a staple of the fifth generation racing game scene alongside Mario Kart 64, Diddy Kong Racing, and Daytona USA among others. The game was beloved by critics and fans at the time, selling close to five million copies during its initial run. It's still regarded as one of the most beloved PS1 games of all-time as well as one of the most well regarded racing games ever made.
The game definitely had an impact, which is why I'm sure some fans may have been disappointed to see it not included in the N. Sane Trilogy. Granted, I'm of the opinion that it didn't belong in this collection. It's not a platformer like the other games and would require a whole new engine to get right. Plus, how can you re-release CTR without online multiplayer?
Option A: The Remaster
One idea would be to remaster the game in the same way they remastered Crash 1 through Warped. It could be an add-on to the N. Sane Trilogy via DLC or its own separate title independent from NST. I can see the benefits of both plans. Clearly such content wouldn't be free DLC, considering the amount of work necessary for making the game again. Giving the game the necessary gameplay tweaks, graphical face lift and new content wouldn't come cheap. In fact, it may be so big an undertaking that it would probably be worth it to release it as a downloadable PSN title. It could be called "Crash Team Racing: The N. Sane Edition". Sell it at $20, add online multiplayer, and you're golden.
However, this comes with a couple of possible roadblocks. Would it be worth it to Activision or fans to remaster one game for such a small price. From a fan's perspective, sure, I'd pay $20 or so for a CTR remaster (I've done it for DuckTales and I'd do it again). However, I can imagine some gamers finding just one new remake of an old game to be less worth it. One of the major appeals of remasters is that you get several older games on superior hardware for the price of a full, new game, which would place a standalone CTR remaster at a disadvantage. If it came bundled with Crash Bash, that's another story. Then again, that would make the package cost more, and I'm not sure enough people have enough fondness for Crash Bash to justify that purchase.
Then from the developer's perspective, a remaster may be relatively easy to produce considering they're working off the original code, but it may cost a bit too much and take too much time to rework faithfully. Plus, is there really enough content in the game to guarantee a CTR remaster would sell? Sure the game has five modes and 15 characters, but modern racing games are still relatively packed with content. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing has at least 24 characters in it (depending on platform), and Mario Kart 8 has a good 26 characters (before DLC and not accounting for the Deluxe version). For modern standards, the game may be a bit too small for modern audiences.
That's why some may favor a second option: A full CTR remake.
Option B: The Remake
Fun Fact: Back in 2010, Activision was looking to develop a CTR remake developed by High Impact Games before cancelling it for unknown reasons. It was honestly a pretty good idea. Considering the expanded Crash Bandicoot history that exists now, you could expand your roster to include characters like Crunch, Nina, and Tawna. You could also bring in one-off characters like Pasadena Opossum from Tag Team Racing, The Evil Twins from Twinsanity, and Emperor Velo from Nitro Kart. Hell, throw Spyro in while you're at it. Beyond that, a full remake would be considered a brand new game at $60. This justifies the cost for online server maintenance, and allows Vicarious Visions to add new tracks to beef up the game even more.
This would still come with one drawback — you know, besides the price being higher. Such a plan would also give Vicarious Visions the ability to go off-script (or more appropriately off-code) from the original game. This opens the game up to play radically different from the original, and you know what they say about fixing something that ain't broke. Basically, a remake could serve to tarnish the original game.
Additionally, when you discuss a remake of the game, you have to ask yourself if now is the right time to make it happen. Alternatively, would the hype around NST still be there in a few year's time, and what if a new Crash game fails? A remake definitely comes with a lot of ifs and buts to the point where Activision may not be willing to take the risk just yet.
The N. Sane Decision
It's interesting to think about CTR being remastered or remade. It's an idea I most certainly love and would support either way if and when it comes up. Though, of the two options I personally lean more towards the remake idea. It may take more time sure they could potentially make the game worse, but the NST impressed me so much that I trust Vicarious Visions to make it work. Plus, imagine a CTR remake coming out on the game's 20th anniversary in 2019. That would be awesome! Though if they decide to instead remaster the original game with online multiplayer, I'm totally fine with that, too.
Should there be a Crash Team Racing remake or remaster? Which option appeals to you most? Leave your thoughts in the comments below so we can discuss it together!
(For more articles, reviews, and other such posts like these, check out my personal Wordpress blog, The Ranting SBox)!