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Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy preview: Revisiting 'Warped'

Activision and Vicarious Visions are looking to help Crash Bandicoot relive his glory days with a new remastered collection. The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy brings together the old PlayStation mascot's first three games from the original PSX to the modern day. The publisher has revealed bits and pieces of each game over the past several months. The original Crash Bandicoot was revealed at PlayStation Experience, while footage of the remastered Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back was unveiled at PAX East. All that remains is Crash Bandicoot: Warped and Shacknews recently had the opportunity to go hands-on with the third game in the Crash trilogy.

Just as with the other two games, Warped has been given a visual overhaul for the PlayStation 4 generation. It's evidenced in some of the upgraded effects, like new animations or re-rendered environments. This also includes 4K resolution for PS4 Pro owners. The first sight that greeted me was Crash's idle animation in the old Middle Ages stage, where he was shivering in the cold as rain fell on the ground and splashed along the camera lens.

One of the goals of the N. Sane Trilogy is to embrace Crash's inherent cartoony nature through new animations. This includes new death animations, of which there are over 100. I got to witness just a handful of them, which include the two-headed lab-assistant clubbing Crash and sending him crashing into the TV screen, an enemy wizard turning Crash into a frog, and an enemy frog kissing Crash and turning into a handsome prince. Exploring these new death animations will be a big chunk of the fun with the trilogy, with the team even hinting that some Trophies may be tied to finding certain ones.

After exiting the Middle Ages, it was time to explore one of Warped's motorcycle stages. The motorcycle levels implemented racing to the Crash series, with the idea to outplace Cortex's goons, making sure to hit ramps, speed boosts, and avoid obstacles. While the racing mechanics don't stray from the PSX original, Activision went into these stages looking to nail down the new lighting elements and freshly animated environments.

Finally, it was time to jump into the future, with the "Gone Tomorrow" stage. Mechanical walkers and lab assistants riding UFOs were all over the place, offering still more death animations. This stage shows Warped's versatility in combining different stage elements, going from the traditional "chase" stages to side-scroller and back again.

After completing each stage for the first time, a new option pops up for time trials. This is just as it sounds, with players able to complete stages quickly and share their best times with friends. This would lend itself to online features, but the dev team isn't sharing full details on the N. Sane Trilogy's online element just yet.

When combined with what was previously revealed from the original Crash Bandicoot and Cortex Strikes Back, the N. Sane Trilogy appears to be the old-school games as people remember them. They aren't going to be perfect translations, as the dev team on-hand noted that the voiceover files had to be re-recorded. But gameplay-wise, it looks to be a faithful translation.

Get ready for Crash Bandicoot to make his return when the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy releases on June 30 for PlayStation 4.

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