The BEST Crash Bandicoot Design?
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The BEST Crash Bandicoot Design?

*Crash Bandicoot music plays* *music cuts to sound of boxes smashing* *Crash Bandicoot music resumes playing* Crash Bandicoot is one of those characters
that is just synonymous with my youth. I wasn’t a huge PlayStation platform gamer and didn’t
even play many of the titles until I was much older but he has always been there and has
aged right alongside me. Originally created as competition for Sonic
& Mario as PlayStation didn’t have a true mascot in the same style. Crash always stood
out to me and I can remember hundreds of occasions where I would pick up the PlayStation jewel
cases in stores and stare inquisitively at this gaming mascot. I think they definitely
achieved their aim with Crash and these three Characters to me at least have always felt
like the kings of Platform gaming. Sorry Gex and Klo noa, you tried. The character began his development under
the title Willy the Wombat, what a disaster than name would have been, with creators seeking
to replicate similar character successes that had been seen with Sonic the Hedgehog and
Taz the Tazmanian Devil. Eventually a bandicoot would be decided upon
as well as the colour orange as they wanted Crash to be visible amongst the 3D worlds
more than anything else. They couldn’t really have predicted just how successful this character
would be but to this day his hold on the industry can’t really be ignored. However, with time
has come change and Crash is one those characters who got passed around a lot, with that came
some huge changes to his games and his design that have altered him for the best and the
worst. As a very special treat this time around,
I’m actually giving away a Crash Bandicoot Tubbz figurine following the release of this
video. This was kindly sent to me by the guys over at Numskull designs and if you’re a fan
of a Crash you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of detail found in this figurine.
In order to enter, just head on over to my twitter page which contains full details. I’m the Artist Mark Flynn and lets find out
which Crash design, I think truly is best. The original Crash Bandicoot crashed… Hahahahahahahahahah…
Onto the PlayStation in 1996 with its leading character taking center screen quite literally.
Many enthusiasts will already know what the working title for this game was, but I won’t
divulge into it here as it’s common knowledge by now… Say the line, Mark! Sonic’s ass game. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! In this title Crash has a delightfully expressive
model with lots of notable quirks. These include his: orange fur with a lighter tone for his
chest, belly and back, a pink set of lips/mouth area, red spikey Mohawk inspired hair, red
trainers, a big black nose, crazed eyes, fingerless gloves and of course, his Cheshire cat style
grin. The games box art featured a render that tried
to replicate the in game model as much as possible as always, I say that every video.
On this occasion this does a very good job of doing so and no imagination is required
to see that these characters match up. The artwork is much smoother than the polygons
that graced the game, but still retains his angular form and a vibe that I can only describe
as ‘intense as crash bandicoot’. Come no closer please. The game had really impressive cutscenes for
the time, which funnily enough may have not originally come to pass. Footage of a Crash
Bandicoot TV Pilot started making the rounds on the internet a fair few years back until
the original games producer, David Siller came forward and denounced this was not the
video clips intention. It was an easy mistake to make as Crash and the rest of the cast
were given animation and art styles that matched the Animaniacs and Earthworm Jim style of
Saturday morning cartoon that was present at the time. These clips were actually the
original games planned cutscenes. Sony did not want them utilized since they were heavily
pushing 3D gaming at the time, I think this was ultimately the right call. In both its game artwork and the in-game models,
Crash saw a significant upgrade in the 1997 sequel, Cortex Strikes back which was then
carried over into 1998’s Crash Bandicoot: Warped. The games artwork was much more refined and
a definite improvement. Crash still had some of the edge of the original character, but
he definitely looked somewhat more suave and cool. He had a cool crazy energy, rather than
that of a raging lunatic. Certain features were developed, his Mohawk now was a bit more
prominent and his eyebrows were now incredibly bushy boys that rivalled even my own. That
is no easy feat. His gameplay model received simple overhauls
that made the character more expressive and impressive than before. This model had bigger
eyes, complete with matching green pupils that could be seen on the games cover and
overall the model was slightly wider and less lanky and rigid looking. Crash came out of this initial trilogy looking
like gold and the design from these games; especially in the later entries are up there
as some of his best designs easily. This is definitely the version I’d say most people
think of and it’s clear that a lot of this characters charm still resonates with people
today. Party games would follow the successes of
these original titles, 1999 saw the debut of a Mario Kart rival, Crash Team Racing and
2000 saw a challenger to Mario Party with the release of Crash Bash. PlayStation really
wanted to take down that pesky plumber didn’t they? Across both these games Crash looks
similar in both the artwork and the games itself but the types of gameplay force him
to alter slightly. Team Racing’s model looked much more angular and Crash bash featured
a model that was slightly more detailed than the first Crash game, but nowhere near as
detailed as the second and third. A huge extra tidbit with Crash comes with
the fact that his japan game releases featured a completely different design, with this look
largely staying the same since the release of Warped.
This look varies slightly between the original three games, but Japanese Crash is a much
slicker depiction of the character that has been designed with their audiences and design
preferences in mind. Rather than being a rough and sometimes intimidating looking character,
he now has a cuter influence to him. His iconic and aggressive smile is a thing of the past
and if anything, he reminds me more of a Sonic character now than he ever had done before.
Though I really love this design aesthetically, it is actually really nice, I think this version
of the character is far too slick and smooth around the edges. It lacks the punch of his
original outings. Crashing into Third Party Consoles Following the series initial successes on
the PlayStation, Sony Computer Entertainment would end up selling the rights of the character
to Vivendi’s Universal arm and subsequently future games would be by a number of different
developers. With this came change and the future would be slightly less kind to the
Bandicoot… But his initial foray into new systems outside of the PlayStation was a very
faithful use of the character to begin with . First up was Wrath of Cortex which released
simultaneously on the PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube… I need to check that, and
by all accounts this was a definitive Crash Bandicoot 4. The promotional artwork was very
similar to the previous generation as was the model. In gameplay details such as the
hair was more clear than ever before and the character was now a much smoother design,
losing the rough around the edges polygons. Crash’s colour palette seemed bolder and darker
than before and his shoulders appeared wider and more hunched with this extra graphical
capability. A number of Game Boy Advance titles would
soon follow and these wouldn’t stray far from the established look either. All three games
used a 2D sprite that closely resembled Crash’s PlayStation appearance as much as they could;
it’s the same again basically in a 32-bit pixel-based format. Some of the sprites in
these games to appear to be trying to emulate the 3D PlayStation model on a less grand scale.
Crash Nitro Kart hit consoles and the GBA and also, played it safe… If safe is making
your lead character look like a deranged driver under the influence. The only real difference around this time
design wise came on the cover of Crash Bandicoot Purple, which also featured Spyro the Dragon
(guess which character I’m doing next by the way). Though this design was likely different
in regards to expression alone, this crash had a shocked set of brows and his front facing
fur would be a much lighter creamy colour, moving away from the pink mouth and orange
front fur that had been established in previous titles. This would end up becoming a new staple
feature of his design going forwards. This modified look would shine in both 2004
and 2005’s Crash Bandicoot Twinsanity and Crash Tag Team Racing. I think both the models
in these games were probably the best the character ever looked during this era. In the case of Twinsanity, its box art did
differ ever so slightly in different parts of the world; with the US featuring a much
more appealing look as far as I’m concerned. The thick line art compliments the contrasting
tones of his fur and it makes me wonder why developers never did attempt to make the character
more like a cartoon instead of persisting in a blocky 3D world that increasingly failied
to keep up with premium graphics of the time period… I guess we’ll never know. As far as 3D went, this game would feature
subtle differences yet again for Crash. This version of the character ads a few nice details
such as a new pair of trainers, a new style of jean shorts and a much spikier Mohawk.
I’ve gotta point out I much prefer the look on the box art, which instead adds kneepads
and a fuller heard of hair. Going forward… Changes were Aku Aku actually
about to get much more drastic… That transition was garbage.
A huge Departure 2006’s Crash Boom Bang was a party game akin
to Mario Party, exclusive to the Nintendo DS. Though it may seem like a throwaway title
amongst some of the others mentioned so far, it carries significance in terms of Crash’s
character design. While the games box art yet again featured
similar classic style Crash artwork. Polygon based graphics took center stage here once
again and given the characters history on PlayStation and the GBA, you’d assume he’d
look similar to these iterations… Far from it. The reality was a very different looking
Crash with a bizarre physique. I feel that this makes the character look too wacky, as
if that was even possible. The reason for this design change is actually pretty interesting.
This game was produced by Japanese developer Dimps and the original game was one of the
only titles to include his Japanese design as the in-game model. Though this was changed
for international releases, the base of the model remained the same, so we were blessed
with a hybrid of the two. The physique of the Japanese model was met with the facial
features of the classic character. It was a really odd crossover and isn’t the toon
like Crash that I really wanted! The characters next entry on Consoles and
Handhelds came with Crash of the Titans and this saw his design make the biggest departure
to the character so far. The character was more detailed than ever and still does maintain
some of the originals quirks. But many criticised the character for trying too hard to look
cool. The character dropped his fingerless gloves and gained a new trendy studded belt,
but the biggest change was obviously his Tribal Tatoos which were definitely starting to lose
favour publicly by the time 2007 rolled around. I’m actually shocked that they didn’t give
him a nose ring. Mind over Mutant followed a year later and
did use a similar design, toning down the shading of the tribal tattoos and giving Crash
a slightly more fashion neutral belt. This iteration however changed up crashes messy
hair for a Mohawk that was drawn up to a point and is another feature that many weren’t particular
fond of. Looking like a try hard punk against the original characters stylistic lack of
style… If that makes sense. I’m not gonna comment on this box art. I HATE IT. I guess
that was a comment. While Sonic the Hedgehog by comparison had
naysayers complaining about his eye colour changes as well as his leg extensions… His
similar development felt much more natural than Crash’ s did. Was anyone a fan of these
designs? Because the general consensus seems to be quite negative. Negative is a fitting Segway word actually
as Crash would now enter the world that everyone is nowdays quite skeptical of… Mobile gaming.
This started with Nitro Kart 3D and this game featured a low polygon iteration of the current
version of the character which I guess is fitting for a mobile game, but I can’t really
say it’s very appealing. Mutant Island would release in 2009 and would
be a 2D side scrolling Java game for those that enjoyed gaming at 6 frames per second.
Now this ones more interesting to me as it’s clear that they did something quite creative
with a limited amount of power at their disposal. Rather than trying to emulate the 3D models
like the GBA had, Crash appears with a similar design again but this time as a very basic
2d sprite. There is about as much detail in here that could be expected for a game on
a screen of this size, but the sprites just don’t paint Crash in a memorable or likeable
way. The scale is just far too small to show off the strengths of the character. Rounding off the mobile games, yes there was
another one was one last mobile hurrah. Disengious in its title, 2010 saw the release of Crash
Nitro Kart 2, this is NOT a sequel to 2004’s popular Crash Nitro Kart, but was instead
a sequel to the previously mentioned mobile racing title. Crash was clearly stuck in purgatory
in this period and in desperate need of saving. Important to note Crash and the entire cast
of Characters have now reverted back to appearances that resemble their Twinsanity and Crash Tag
Team racing counterparts. This may have been a realisation that the current designs just
weren’t working… Of course, it could also be that they simply
wanted to copy Crash Tag team racing as much as possible to hone in on that sweet sweet
nostalgia. Not much else to say here but the revert back to an older Crash was a huge indicator
of what was to come… Before going further, I need to address that
a reboot for Crash was actually planned and cancelled before the next main series title
came around. Crash Landed was its name and it would have
been a complete reset for the character. There are other videos on YouTube that breakdown
more surrounding the story of this game, but from a design perspective I must say I really
like the design they were playing around with. It featured classic traits such as his thick
eyebrows, but the character was much smaller, stocky and toon like with bolder and darker
colours that made him pop against the rest of his surroundings. He seemed more complex
emotionally than the Crash we’ve seen in the past and it’s a real shame we didn’t get to
see more of this one. Following an initial announcement that Crash
Bandicoot was getting a remaster at E3 2019. Crash crash landed into another popular franchise
as a guest character, Skylander’s was Crashes temporary home and it was a glorious return
of old for the characters design. Skylander’s Imaginators featured a classic style Crash
model that was intended to cross promote the upcoming remake blended with the Skylander’s
style. Skylander’s was all about bringing figurines
to life and that’s exactly what this Crash was. A figurine of the classic Crash Bandicoot
design updated in glorious HD Graphics, he was a top heavy character with a plastic like
texture to him, regaining some of the prominent angular shapes, big eyebrows and toothy smile
that were present in the games original entries. His hair is much more prominent, almost like
a Pompadour vs a Mohawk and details such as rolled up jeans and unbuttoned gloves were
now visible. The key difference from the original is that this Crash uses the lighter colour
of fur for both his mouth and chest that had been established in previous generations. Surrounding artwork for the game and series
didn’t actually match up too well as this looked much leaner and taller and makes crash
seem a little bit different in characterisation too. It’s likely just the stylized nature
of this artwork but it does feature some slight differences like the blue studs on the gloves
appearing like small metal plates, which I guess would explain how crash can smash through
boxes so easily… Asif that needed any explanation. Unrelated to design, but the TV Show also
features an accent which is quite frankly disturbing, but Crash would be thankful for
this design and what was coming for him in the future. “You don’t even know the half of it mate.” Finally. in 2017 Crash got his reward and
a return to some former glory. The N-Sane trilogy remaster finally launched originally,
as a timed exclusive on his former home PlayStation…4. This time around Crash uses a remastered character
model which is the same across all of the three titles, this new model is obviously
massively improved given the upgrades in technology from the PS1 to PS4 but it seems to take inspiration
from all three of the original games. It’s undeniably a beautiful design that doesn’t
actually look to far removed from the classic. It’s literally asif they took the original
design inspiration and just updated it and made it look more detailed. Crashes similar features are here yet again
but in an even more traditional fashion when compared with Skylanders. This is so authentic
that Crash even returns to his separate orange fur and pink mouth colourings, true attention
to detail. He is expressive as ever and updated textures such as the rendering of his fur
adds a pseudo-level of realism to this character that doesn’t take away from his cartoonish
elements. As for the artwork, this does differ slightly
from the original games as the new artwork isn’t just focussed on looking like a 3D model,
the Crash across promo work is a little softer on the eyes than the original whilst maintaining
some of the original characters manic energy. One of the nice new details I like is that
crash actually appears to be wearing tracksuit shorts rather than jean shorts, that’s a really
nice touch that I only just noticed. It’s one of the most polished Crash designs
that doesn’t take away from the character by refining him slightly. My personal preference
is when it is used to emulate the original box arts, with Crash 2’s new art being a particular
highlight. Objectively, yes, N-Sane trilogy has a better
model for Crash and I think a lot of you would expect me to pick this as my best design,
but I think given it’s time of release Crash Bandicoot 2 leading into 3 controversially
is gonna have to take the Best Design title as far as I’m concerned. This model just for starters, I’ve found to
be completely amazing whilst recently playing through these games. The amount of expression
that is there truly stayed with me and gave Crash such a strong sense of character which
is really at the end of the day one of the main strengths of these titles. Sure the remaster
improved on this with a modern coat of paint, but without this… There isn’t this, this
is the blue print that they ultimately worked from. As for the artwork, I think these titles established
a good fine line for Crash. The recent artwork has been great and I’m very very happy with
the direction that the character is heading in. But there was something about this older
Crash that stood out stylistically, he is best left as a nostalgic relic going forward
and the current design they have for him is great. But this look had character, it had
edge, it had that slight element of craziness, mystique and rebelliousness that really made
you want to know more about this odd looking marsupial and lead him through a series of
frustrating levels that made you want to tear your hair out. It is a pedantic reasoning
I am well aware and I might actually be kicking myself for not picking the remake a week from
now. But what do you think? Do you see my point
on the original PlayStation titles or is there another design you prefer? Let me know in
the comments section below and don’t forget to check out other character design retrospectives
and other videos when you’re here. At this time I’d like to thank my Patrons
who help make videos like this possible, with a special shout out going to Top Hat Gaming
Man and Doug Slade who are donating at the top tier of donations. If you’d like to support
the channel, please head on over to my Patreon, there’s link in the video. I’ve also just
set-up a ko-fi page so if you’d prefer to donate a one off payment of the price of a
coffee, that’d also be much appreciated too. Any donation is helpful.


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