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SlimKirby Reviews: Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

SlimKirby Reviews: Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

Hello everybody, SlimKirby here!

As you know, recently I played through Crash Bandicoot (1) for the very first time and had a very enjoyable experience. Because of that experience, I was also looking forward to playing through the rest of the original trilogy, which I had also picked up in addition to the first game, and since I made a review for the first game, I decided to also do reviews for the following two games as well. So here is my review of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes back!

Crash 2 Box

Crash Bandicoot 2, of all the Crash games I got to play when going over to my neighbor’s house (because I didn’t own any of them then) was the Crash game I was most familiar with. At the time, it just seemed like it was the more interesting title, as it was easier to play due to better gameplay mechanics and it just presented itself in a much better way. So whenever I went over to my neighbor’s house, it was a game I looked forward to playing, and if anything, it was kind of a shame that I never got to finish it because I don’t think my neighbor had a memory card, so I only got to see the first 5-10 levels on most of my sessions. It was still a very fun game though and I had good memories of it whenever I got to play.

After completing Crash 1 about a week and a half ago, I was really curious to see how the 2nd game would improve on the first one, and let me tell you, I was surprised to see how much it did. A lot of my concerns and problems with Crash 1 were addressed or remedied in the second game, and I think that’s pretty cool considering that the second game didn’t come out that long after Crash 1, and it wasn’t as easy to investigate consumer feedback as it is these days. Like the first game, you have two basic ways you can complete Crash 2. You can just play through the game and each level normally by grabbing the newly introduced pink crystal and beating each level and the boss of every area until you get to the end. Or, you could go the 100% route and collect all the gems, where much like Crash Bandicoot 1, you’ll have to go through every level in Crash 2 and break all the boxes in the area. Once again, I feel like the in-game reward for 100% isn’t as great as it could be, but after thinking about it, I think the reward in fully completing a Crash Bandicoot game is moreso how the gamer feels at the end of the accomplishment and not so much what the game presents to you.

Getting 100% this time around isn’t as stressful as it was in the predecessor. In the first game, you had to do the entirety of every level in one go, making sure you didn’t die and if you did die, restarting the level from the very beginning instead of starting at the checkpoints you get along the way. In this game, it’s a lot more lenient than that. For one, getting checkpoints will save your progress and you won’t have to start from the beginning anymore…in a majority of the cases. There are some cases where you will have to start over, but only in levels that have specific “no-death” routes, where a pad that leads to a new area will only appear if you make it to that point without dying. However, the game is still very lenient in that department as well, since once you make it to that point and ride the pad once, it will save that platform and allow you to die after the fact. In other words, the game isn’t strict about perfecting a level and any further perfection will be based on your own self-imposed challenges, which is the way I think it should be. Also, in general, the game just feels a lot more fair and should have less instances of sections that will just suck the extra lives away. There are still challenging parts of the game and I’m definitely not saying that the entire game is “Easy Mode” or anything, but it’s a fair challenge and has a very standard progression of difficulty when moving from the beginning to the end.

There are some things that Crash 2 does that are still kind of strange though. Like in Crash 1, there are colored gems that are offered throughout the game and in order to get some of the box gems, you will need specific color gems to reach alternate paths and areas in specific levels. Some of these gems can be found in alternate stage routes and death routes, but in some cases, the objective for the gem may not be entirely clear. This is especially true for the first level of the game; Turtle Woods, where in order to get the Blue Gem, you need to go through the entire stage without breaking a single box. I knew about this quirk from watching playthroughs of the game from other Youtube channels, but for a new player, this requirement may not be entirely clear and could send the player on a wild goose chase for something they are unaware of. There are also some stages that cannot be completed on the first go-around, but not because of a colored gem path, but because you need to warp to a hidden part of that stage from a later area’s level. Some of the warp points are obvious if you experiment in certain levels and pay attention to your surroundings, but considering this is the first Crash game that does this kind of thing, it’s kind of hard to know for sure what exactly you are looking for and when you are looking for it, so that could have been a little more clear. I think the N. Sane Trilogy remedies this problem by giving hints in the loading screen of the level, but that’s not so much the case for the original version.

It took me a lot less time and way fewer sessions to complete Crash 2 compared to Crash 1. While the first game took me an entire week (and then some), the Crash 2 experience only felt like a weekend, and even then, on my first night of playing, I came to the realization that one part of my 2-sided memory card was completely full and the game wouldn’t allow me to save until I turned off the game and deleted some save data. As a result, everything I did on the first night was completely erased and I had to start from square one the next time I played. I made a lot faster progress the next time, but it was still essentially a complete redo of what I had already done. By the end of the second night, I was more than halfway done with the game and made a big push on the following day to finish up the game completely; so really only 2-3 days to beat the game, which I think is pretty good considering it was my first full playthrough and with more than half of the experience being blind.

My only trouble spots in the playthrough came from very unexpected places…and I say that based on the horror stories of certain levels I’ve heard from other people who have played this game. For some reason, I couldn’t quite get the timing of the polar-bear riding levels down; which are automatic-moving levels that are based on timed jumps and movements while avoiding enemies and other annoying obstacles. For some reason I had a really hard time controlling the bear and lost a lot of lives in the process, especially on the secret level, “Totally Bear.” And on the level “Unbearable,” a level where you get chased by a giant polar bear while running towards the screen, I ran into an issue of missing 3 boxes by the very end of the level, which confused me because I was very thorough with investigating every nook and cranny of the stage, including the discovery of two hidden boxes that were off camera in a specific part of the level, yet even with those two “trollish” inclusions, I still managed to miss three boxes elsewhere, which just doesn’t make sense to me. On my second run through, I did it no problem and without missing anything, so I had to have blanked out something somewhere.

My biggest surprise was the level called “Cold Hard Crash,” a level that is notorious by fans to be the hardest level in the game. It has ice physics, a death route, the most boxes in any stage of the game, and an annoying gimmick that can mess you up if you don’t know the entire level well enough. Basically, in the death route, you have to make it to a certain point and then backtrack through the death route after activating a switch. Once you destroy the boxes that get activated by that switch, instead of exiting the level through the natural route, you have to keep backtracking to exit from the entrance pad and continue the level normally because the death route’s exit takes you to a much further part of the stage where you can’t backtrack to get back to the normal route, which sure enough has boxes on it. It’s quite the troll when it comes to playing the game for the first time and admittedly, it did trip me up as well. And to top it all off, in the bonus stage for the level, there is a box out of sight that you need to hit and there is just no indication that it is there. You just need to assume that something is up there and experiment until you make the discovery, which I am very sure was annoying for all of those individuals who did everything in the level perfectly and then reached the very end of the level just to see the box counter at 154/155. Anyway, as I was trying to get at earlier, I had heard horror stories about this level, but surprisingly, I did it relatively quickly and with not much issue. It definitely helped that I figured out the death-route gimmick very quickly and that I was aware of the troll bonus box, but still, I expected my life counter to melt away as quickly as an ice cube in the desert. “Piston’ It Away” was another level that I was expecting to be challenging, just based on stories I  had heard, but I also got through that one pretty quickly as well. I guess everyone just has different experiences in terms of what they struggle and don’t struggle with, huh?

So when I finished Crash 2, I was ultimately surprised at how quickly it had come and gone. On some level, it was a shame that it was already over, but after thinking about it, the game itself is probably considered to be pretty “retro” now, and over time, especially due to continuous play by gamers, older games will generally seem to be a lot shorter and faster to get through then more modern games that have better technology to work with and more content to sift through. Besides, sometimes it’s good to have a shorter game, one that you can breeze through after a few nights and then you can start fresh on the next one the following day, so it’s length is definitely not a negative. The experience did get me interested in starting the third game, so much that I actually tried to start Crash 3 on the following day. However, once again, I had memory card issues, and also figured that it was probably better to focus on getting this review done first before I started the next Crash game anyway. Since then, I have fixed the problem and have gotten a new memory card, so I’ll probably get to working on Crash 3 immediately, but as I said, I want to get this review done first, so this will be further elaborated on in the next review.

Overall, I consider Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back to be a much better product than first Crash Bandicoot game. It presents itself very well, makes it playable and approachable for all gamers of every skill level, and improved on many things that were either lacking or problems I had with its predecessor. That final detail alone shows that the game had good production and development values and is something I can appreciate from the perspective of a gamer and a consumer in general. Looking forward, Crash 3 has some pretty big shoes to fill, but from what I’ve heard from Crash fans, I have a pretty exciting experience to look forward to, so we’ll have to see how that goes when I finish the game and post the next review.

Thanks for reading everybody, I will see you guys next time for whatever game I decide to finish and talk about next!



SlimKirby Reviews: Crash Bandicoot

SlimKirby Reviews: Crash Bandicoot

Hello everybody, SlimKirby here!

I am here today to present to you guys, for a change, a website article! It’s been awhile (not counting the Simpsons Retrospectives) since I’ve actually done some writing like this and this is something I would like to start getting into the habit of doing as I continue to complete games on my very huge backlog. Essentially, I’m going to be talking about a game I’ve recently beaten/completed, give my impressions of the different aspects of the game, talk about a few of my experiences, and just in general sum up how I felt about the overall experience.

Crash Box

Today; I’m going to talk about the Sony Playstation classic; Crash Bandicoot. This is a game I’ve been aware of since it initially came out for the Playstation all of those years ago. Although, I never personally owned a Playstation console, but rather it was my next-door neighbors that did. Because of this, I only got to play these games when I went over to their house, which honestly, wasn’t very often. It was during these visits that I got my first taste of Crash Bandicoot, and later, Crash Bandicoot 2. I remember the games being 3D platformers, but not in the same sense as Super Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie, two other games I was more familiar with (because I actually owned them). They were 3D in the sense that the models were in 3D, and in most of the stages you could move in any direction, but the levels themselves were more structured like Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario Bros. Instead of going left to right though, a majority of Crash’s levels involved you moving forwards and backwards. This is why this series was generally known as the “Sonic’s Ass,” game, because your eyes were generally more focused on the behind of the character you were controlling. I found the Crash games very interesting and entertaining, for what little time I got to play them, but unfortunately, it wouldn’t be until 2017 (this very year) until I got to own my very first Crash platformer.

I got a Playstation 2 for Christmas when it first came out, and although Crash Bandicoot was on my radar, I was definitely interested in other games first. Final Fantasy VII was the first game I really “HAD” to own, and it was around this time that I got obsessed with Dynasty Warriors as well, so once I got too far down those rabbit holes, I kind of started forgetting about Crash. I did manage to pick up the game “Crash Bash” for Playstation 1, as it seemed like a party game, a type of genre I was also getting very into at the time, but this game was often considered an irrelevant spin-off to the majesty that was the Crash Bandicoot platformers and the other, better-received spin-off; Crash Team Racing. In the past year however, I managed to go on a bit of a Crash Bandicoot buying spree, picking up Crash Team Racing at Magfest 2016, Crash 2 and 3 at Magfest 2017, and then I found Crash 1 on Amazon for very cheap,which encouraged me to pick up that game as well, fully completing my collection of the original trilogy and generation of Crash Bandicoot.

I was heavily inspired to get these games for a couple of reasons; for one, after I discovered how awesome Ratchet and Clank was, it got me interested in a majority of the Sony platformer games, and naturally Crash Bandicoot was on that list as well. Second, after watching playthroughs of the Let’s Play channel, Super Gaming Bros., it got me intrigued to try the games for myself. And third, like I said before, even though it was brief, I did have a little bit of a history with these games and I think it’s important to own the games that you had some sort of connection with. I’m sure a lot of you guys are probably asking me why I bought all of the old games as opposed to buying the newly-released “Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy,” which is basically a remade version of all three games for the price of one retail game. Well, I didn’t buy that for the sole reason that I do not own a Playstation 4 to play that game, so this was the only way I could experience them. I also do not have a PS3, so I could not buy the digital versions on Playstation Network either. Because of this, I was definitely playing the harder, more archaic version of Crash Bandicoot 1, but, I was still able to make it through the game, and I feel pretty good about it, so it doesn’t really make me feel bad or make the accomplishment feel any less meaningful. So now that I’ve gotten through all the set-up; let’s actually start talking about the game in question. I’m only going to be looking at Crash Bandicoot 1 here, but over time, I will probably play through the other two games as well and will more than likely be giving my impressions on them too, but let’s do only one game at a time here.

Crash 1 is often noted for being a pretty standard game to beat, but an absolute nightmare to 100%. And let me tell you, after playing through this game 100%, I can definitely understand why. The game itself is not very long. Most of the stages can be completed in approximately 5-10 minutes on an initial playthrough (and that’s best case scenario), and if you just try to speed through the levels without doing the whole “collect-a-thon” thing, assuming you don’t run into many roadblocks, I’d say you could compare a standard level of Crash to be about the length of a Super Mario World level. And with only 26 stages in the game, you could probably beat the entire game in a sitting or two. However, like I said, that’s assuming you don’t try to 100% the game. In every stage, there are a number of boxes. These boxes can contain wumpa fruit that you can collect to earn more extra lives, defense masks to give you more protection against enemies or obstacles, or tokens that can earn you access to a secret bonus level. If you want to get 100% in Crash Bandicoot 1, you have to break every single box in every single level. Now, that might not sound too hard at first, but Crash 1 had a very annoying tendency where once you reached a checkpoint in the stage, if you died at any point after that, any boxes you got to that point would be forfeit, meaning you would have to exit the level and start from the very beginning of the stage all over again. So you had to completely clear the level on that run without dying, and let me tell you, for some of the levels that exist in this game…that is easier said than done.

And to make some matters a little more annoying, some stages you couldn’t completely clear until you 100% completed another stage, and there is not really any indication of when that is, unless you make it to a certain part of that stage and see an illusionary gem platform. Meaning, if you had tried doing that stage 100% to that point, you’d realize that you had wasted your time trying to get through the stage without dying when you couldn’t even get the specific gem for that level yet. I’d say this is a very minor complaint though, as I personally just used a gamefaqs guide that told me when I could and could not have completed a level, so when I got to a level I didn’t have to worry about yet, I just breezed through it on my own pace and came back when I could actually do something. Honestly, I’d recommend for anyone starting out on this game, just try to get through the game first and not worry about the 100% conditions until later. Yeah, you may have to play through a lot of levels again, but it’s better to know what to expect in a stage before trying to deal with everything on a blind run through.

My first session of the game was pretty successful. I was able to get a couple of the clear gems without too much trouble and spent most of my time just trying to get used to the controls and the general platforming of Crash Bandicoot. Let me tell you, if you have played any other platforming game, or heck, any other Crash game for that matter, it will take some adjusting to this particular game’s mechanics. One of the most important things you should get a feel for is how Crash jumps, because precision and timing is a big part of this game’s difficulty. Learn the distance of Crash’s jumps, and then learn how to make shorter jumps and to take notice of Crash’s shadow when he is about to land. Once you get a feel for that, I feel like a lot of the game will go a lot smoother. In my following few sessions, I didn’t really make a lot of progress. I got into the habit of pretty much being able to get only 2 or 3 clear gems per sitting, but honestly, patience is another big part of this game as well, and as long as I was making progress, I feel like that is all that mattered in the long run. It wasn’t until session number five or six where I really started to go beast mode on the game. I had gotten the gem for two of the longest and most difficult levels (Slippery Climb and Sunset Vista) and that put me in a mindset of feeling like I had complete control over Crash when moving and jumping, and used those skills to give me enough confidence in what stages I had remaining. In fact, I was capable of 100%ing The Lab and Lights Out on my first attempts (after just normally beating them previously), and those stages are considered to be pretty annoying, just due to their normal gimmicks. I went from having a little over half of the gems (26 overall) to having all of them in that final session.

I did have some trouble with the final two stages I had to get the gems for though (Boulder Dash and Fumbling in the Dark). These two stages really tested my patience and pretty much feature my two biggest problems of the game itself. For one, even though it can be overcome by practicing and adjusting, the directional controls of Crash 1 are just very inferior to other platforming games of the time. They aren’t a big deal in most levels, where you are either in a 2D plane or 3D sections where you don’t have to move diagonally much, but in the level Boulder Dash, for example, you have to outrun a giant boulder that’s following you, forcing you to make split-second button inputs to avoid obstacles that immediately come on screen that you have no way of knowing exist unless you play the stage numerous times beforehand. In some cases, you need to move diagonally, to make the most of your movements so that the boulder doesn’t have time to catch up with you, but you have to be pretty close to perfect, which is really hard to do with a d-pad. If you aren’t perfect, the boulder is going to catch up with you at the very end and turn you into a Crash pancake. Even if it seems like you’ll be fine after a small flub-up, the farther you make it into the stage, you’ll realize that it wasn’t enough and are then forced to start the entire stage over again because “No dying allowed in Crash 1!” I had so much trouble with this level because of this quirk, and spent an hour just trying to get the gem, when in reality, it’s a very short one-minute level that shouldn’t have taken me that long. Fumbling in the Dark however, is just a very hard level that can screw you over just on the notion of getting a bad enemy or obstacle pattern. The level itself is shrouded in darkness and you have to use masks to light the way as you make it through the level. However, if you take too long and don’t make it to the next mask, your current mask will dim out and you won’t be unable to see the path in front of you, which will have enemies, obstacles, and the most threatening, bottomless pits that you can’t see at all. It’s just a very unforgiving level when it comes to the clear gem and creates artificial difficulty on a level that was already difficult to begin with.

Later Crash games remove the “no dying” gimmick, or at the very least, don’t make it as much of a hindrance. In those games, whenever you reach a checkpoint, all of your box-breaking progress gets saved, meaning you don’t have to restart if you die. There are some instances where you do, if the level contains a “no-death route” for example, but it’s not in every level, and just in general, I think it’s a much better way to handle this system. Unfortunately, because they didn’t do that for the first game, I do think the game suffers from that design quirk and can be a very unfriendly aspect of this game for anyone looking to 100% complete it. The biggest draw of the N. Sane Trilogy’s version of Crash 1 is that this is fixed to a very large degree, meaning you don’t have to worry about this annoyance anymore if you are playing that version (and if you do, it’s only for the six colored gems). However, people who don’t own PS4s, like me, will unfortunately have to play the original and go above and beyond if we want to 100% complete this game.

Perhaps the most disappointing thing about a 100% playthrough though is the fact that the difference in ending that you get is…kind of disappointing. If anything, the non-100% ending is better and is actually the canonical ending when moving on to the next Crash game. In other words, for the type of challenge that this offers the player, it can lead to the gamer feeling somewhat unrewarded with their efforts. With that being said though, there was definitely a huge feeling of satisfaction when I did complete the game and got the final gem. And knowing that I did it on the inferior and more difficult version of the game, made the victory even sweeter, so this decision didn’t bother me as much as it probably should have. I can understand other people feeling kind of annoyed with this fact though.

In conclusion, I think the game itself is good and it was a lot of fun for me to finally play through it 100%. Would I do it again? For the eventual Let’s Play, yes, but until I have a way to play the N. Sane Trilogy, I don’t see myself going back to this game for a casual playthrough anytime soon. The design quirks are a bit too iffy for my tastes and when you consider that the following installments fixed all of this game’s problems, they’re probably the more accessible and superior games of the franchise, and I look forward to making my way through them very soon!

Thanks for reading everybody, I will see you guys next time for whatever game I decide to finish and talk about next!





Sometimes there are projects that I want to check out or play for you guys, without necessarily being pressured into making an actual “Let’s Play” or series for it. Whether it’s a ROM hack or an addicting game I’ve discovered, this is the section for games of that nature.

Convention & Unboxing Videos:

In my attempts to become more comfortable with being on camera, I’ve decided to include unboxing videos and convention-related content on my channel. This all started when I got contacted by 1upBox to potentially do some unboxing videos for them, so I registered for the service and….well, that’s pretty much the story for this playlist! =P

Dungeon of Elements

Frogdice creators Pang and Michael Hartman contacted me via Twitter and e-mail to say thank you for providing entertainment for their daughter, who was a fan of my videos. After sending a few e-mails back and forth, I heard that they were part of their own gaming company called Frogdice, and they were working really hard on a game of their own called Dungeon of Elements, a dungeon-crawling puzzle game with Dr. Mario elements. To say thanks for the nice comments, I decided to give their game a little bump, so I played through a few levels of the game to show it off. I like to think my bump helped get the word out, or at the very least, boost up their confidence as they’ve gone on to create some other games as well (like Reign Maker) which are now available via Steam.

Little Alchemy

There is a small game I discovered on Facebook, thanks to my mom, called Little Alchemy, which I thought was kind of fun to experiment with and discover elements and different creations you could make just with simple mouse clicks. It was only a single video one-off, but I was glad I did it.

Pokémon Blue Kaizo

Allow me to show you a world where Kanto doesn’t mow their lawns, Pokémon have weird movesets, and the game just in general really hates you. With that, we have Pokémon Blue Kaizo, a hack of the original Blue Version that takes things to very frustrating lengths. I was enjoying this project for awhile, and almost considered finishing it, but due to some issues with version updates, and me just not enjoying the hack anymore at a certain point, I decided to let it go, unfortunately.

Super Mario Bros. Crossover

To celebrate 10,000 Subscribers and for almost being on Youtube for an entire three years, I decided to try out a game that had been becoming popular with my college friends called Super Mario Bros. Crossover. It’s a game where you play through the original Super Mario Bros., but not as just Mario. The trick is you can switch between several different NES heroes like Mega Man, Link, Samus Aran, Simon Belmont and even the guy from Contra. It was a fun little flash game to play to celebrate such a terrific milestone!


I’ve never been a fan of Minecraft, but Terraria on the other hand….that was something I could enjoy playing. I just feel like the game is capable of doing what Minecraft is capable of, to a much smaller, but less frustrating and complex, degree. I wanted to do a Let’s Play of Terraria, but when I figured out that it wouldn’t work, I decided to go for a Showcase instead, where I could start building a world I could call my own and share it with you guys in the process! Like other showcases though, at some point it did get a bit tiring and less interesting, so I did slow it down a lot.