Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy (Sniper)
Genre: 3d Platformer
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Publisher: Activision

The ultimate ambition for any remake is to enhance the target without eliminating whatever it was that made the remake worthwhile in the process! The N. Sane Trilogy accomplishes this masterfully, doing more or less a straight swap of every model and texture from the original title, but without substantively altering its structure. On the PlayStation 4 Pro, the title even runs at a beautiful 1440p.

The day the first title originally showed up on store shelves, its DSP-based Josh Mancell soundtrack was immediately iconic, as was the mask acquisition sound effect, with which this reviewer teases his kids: "rudabaga!" Wisely, the Vicarious Visions sound people left everything alone, merely replacing the song samples with higher quality ones, and doing some very light remixing. Sound effects and voice acting have been similarly and tactfully improved.

Meant to compete in the 3d platforming arena with "Super Mario 64", the closest contemporary to the Crash formula wound up being the Saturn's "Bug!" titles, with their 3d pathed stages-- except that the Crash titles' fundamentals-delivering stage designs and interesting mechanics, such as TNT blocks and death routes, proved them to be from the platformer's top drawer.

All three Crash games have minor issues: jumps in the first game are too strict, the secret areas in the second title are N-sanely difficult, while the third game strays too far from its platforming roots with vehicle stages. And yet, all three titles are so sturdily designed and light-hearted that they are fun to enjoy over and over. This collection is the "Super Mario All-Stars" of the 21st century.

Sniper's verdict: