Crash and Kong: Strange Bedfellows

Since Chad's not around, we're going to talk about a sensitive subject here on the Vine tonight. A subject that would not normally be touched here. One that is avoided like those five cent pieces on the ground that everyone sees but no-one will pick up for fear of looking cheap.

That's right - we're going to talk about the PlayStation. And more importantly, this Feature will involve talking about Crash Bandicoot - the PlayStation's (ex)mascot.

I think that by now, It's safe to say that overall, Donkey Kong 64 was not well received. No, really, it wasn't. Being described as everything from "one big scavenger hunt" to "a Banjo-Kazooie clone which was a Mario 64 clone because Miyamoto made it first and he is God worship him now", DK64 was obviously not as great as it could have been. (Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it immensely, but that's not the point of this feature.)

Now, what went wrong here? During E3, it was received as an excellent game, and was being raved about by many sites (not us though - we never have a biased opinion on anything - *cough*) on how great it was, how ingenious it was to have five Kongs exploring different areas and how good looking the game was in general. Yet once it was plonked onto the shelves for retail sale, it was like poor Donkey Kong had been damned to hell.

It was inevitable, after all, that a 3-D sequel to the 'Country series was coming. Everyone knew it, it was just a matter of time before it was officially announced. Yet although it was in 3-D, and everyone knew how 3-D games played (and how they looked), we were all expecting basically a 3-D version of Donkey Kong Country, with fully rendered characters and quick intense action. In fact, during E3, the most talked about (and loved) section was undoubtedly Diddy's Minecart stage, which, although in 3-D, was entirely on-rails like a 2-D game.

Wait a minute though - if Diddy's section was the most loved, why was this? The simple answer: it was what people were expecting. 3-D look, 2-D gameplay.

But what am I getting at, and why is Crash Bandicoot even mentioned?

Simple really - Crash Bandicoot was basically a 3-D ripoff of Donkey Kong Country. Shut up - it was. Chuck in some polygonal characters, only let them move in a set direction, and Bob's your uncle (unless he's a cross dresser, in which case he's your aunt). So - theoretically, wouldn't it have made more sense to (God forbid) make DK64 like Crash Bandicoot, and have pretty rendered graphics with polygonal characters? Diddy's minecart level worked extremely well, but the rest was, unfortunately, a pretty uninspired average 3-D platformer.

The whole DK64 experience could have been extremely different had Rare chosen to go along this path. However - each game created is a learning experience - you see what works and what doesn't (and hopefully it's corrected in the next game). For example, if DK64 had not been made (and we had not seen the overkill of collecting), Conker's Bad Fur Day may not have had the brilliant idea of Context Sensitive Pads.

Ah well - hopefully I've managed to give you a headache.

Aussie Ben is constantly alert when he's not falling asleep. No, really!