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Crash Bandicoot is a relic of a by-gone age: a time when every game company needed an adorable mascot and when collecting fruit and crystals was all that mattered in life. The series, created and developed by Naughty Dog Studios, is legendary for its rendering of 2D platforming in a 3D space and for giving Mario Kart a run for its money, on top of being a colorful franchise with personality to spare. Without the original Crash, there would be a lot less animal mascot platformers and the world would be poorer for it. 

Crash has lived on across the last 21 years, most recently finding his way into the Skylanders series, but Vicarious Visions has given the first three games in the series (Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash 3: Warped) the HD makeover for the Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy. Whether you've worn out your old discs or you're approaching the series for the first time, here's some facts about the series that you may not know.   

1. Willy The Wombat

  
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Crash didn't start life off as a bandicoot. The character was a toss up between a wombat, a bandicoot, and a potoroo in an attempt for Naughty Dog to do for marsupials what Sega's Sonic had done for hedgehogs. Willy The Wombat was their first idea, but was quickly abandoned for being too dorky. Naughty Dog settled on Crash Bandicoot, even after Universal suggested names like Wuzzle the Wombat or Ozzie the Otsel and the team threatened to leave the project. Thank whomever for small miracles.   


2. The soundtrack was originally called the "Urban Chaotic Symphony"

 

The game's iconic score almost didn't see the light of day. Originally, it was suggested that the so-called Urban Chaotic Symphony - a collection of noises including car horns, random animal chirps, and farts - be used instead. The soundtrack we know and love wasn't far behind.   


3. Dynamic difficulty settings

 

Have you ever died one too many times and then noticed that the game starts to go easy on you? Extra lives; more items; less frustrating enemies? You can thank Crash for spearheading what's known as dynamic difficulty settings. So even if you're too big to ask for help, the game's got you covered.   


4. Stormy Ascent





The first Crash game can be pretty difficult in spots, but the hardest part was taken out of the original game for being too extreme. Stormy Ascent is a windy tower climb that Naughty Dog felt would be too hard but left buried in the code of the disc. 


5. Animated cutscenes

 


Ever get the feeling that the Crash series could've been a Saturday morning cartoon? Turns out cartoons were originally in the cards. The first game was supposed to have cel-shaded animated cutscenes complete with a theme song, but Sony was insistent about pushing the 3D aspects of the game, so the idea was abandoned. Proucer Dave Siller uploaded the finished cutscene to YouTube back in 2015, which you can watch above and wonder how Crash never got his own box of cereal. 


6. Sonic's Ass Game



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Sonic the Hedgehog had a big influence on Crash's development, so much so that co-creator Andy Gavin said the team started by imagining what a 3D Sonic game would look like. "Well, we thought, you'd spend a lot of time looking at "Sonic's Ass," he told IGN. Because of this, the game was originally called "Sonic's Ass Game" and inspired them to make a more distinctive design for Crash and even incorporate levels where he's running toward the screen.  

 

7. Neo Cortex was inspired by Brain from 'Pinky and The Brain'
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Co-creator Jason Rubin came into production as a big fan of Pinky and The Brain, and Brain wound up a huge influence on Neo Cortex's design. From the shape of his head to his overcooked schemes and overblown accent (Gavin called it a "more malevolent Brain"), it's hard to miss.  


8. Smushed Crash reminded Japan of a serial killer

In Crash 2: Cortex Strikes Back, when Crash is flattened to death, his head and shoes flop around until you respawn. This (along with many other things) was changed in the Japanese version of the game because it was reminiscent of Tsuomu Miyazaki, a Japanese serial killer who 


9. Crash was intended to be Sony's mascot

Since Sony was looking for an answer to Nintendo's Mario or Sega's Sonic, Crash was initially groomed to be the company's mascot. It was never made official, but the furry marsupial wound up that way in the hearts of millions of Playstation owners, regardless.  


10. Aku Aku was based on a restaurant in Boston undefined

Crash's floating mask mentor was inspired by the giants heads at a Polynesian restaurant in the creative team's hometown of Boston also called Aku Aku. The food was apparently not that great.   


11. Mark Mothersbaugh helped composed the score

That's right - former member of Devo and the man responsible for music for shows ranging from Rugrats and Super Mario World to Eureka and Clifford The Big Red Dog had a hand in the music for Crash Bandicoot. It was mostly handled by Josh Mancell, but Mothersbaugh's name can be found in the credits.   


12. Crash almost got a ride at Universal Studios
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Given that Crash was supposed to become a mascot, it's no surprise that Universal Studios was considering turning the franchise into a theme park ride. The idea never panned out, but Siller has fond memories regardless.  


13. Pamela Anderson was the model for Crash's girlfriend Tawna

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In the original game, Crash was taksed with saving his girlfriend Tawna, who sports blonde hair and a body figure directly inspired by Pamela Anderson. Sony forced Naughty Dog to redesign the character for future games, and when they weren't happy with the redesign, Tawna was taken out of future games. She's set to return - with yet another redesign - in the N. Sane Trilogy. 


14. Fake Crash/Trash Bandicoot

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Crash Bandicoot is second only to Mario in the world of 3D platformers, and some were even inspired to straight rip the concept off. When the developers found a shoddy ripoff Crash doll, they decided to incorporate it into the game as Trash Bandicoot. Trash made his first appearance in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, where he'd appear in the background of some levels after you beat the game and collect all the crystals and gems; but he's become a series staple as an unlockable character ever since.  


15. Crash mangaundefined


As popular as the character is in Japan, he even got his own manga in 1998. Called Crash Bandicoot: Dance! De Jump! Na Daibouken!, it loosely followed the plot of the second game and is truly a wild read, if you have the time to check it out. 


16. Naughty Dog only developed the first four games in the series

Things You Might Now Know About Crash Bandicoot

Naughty Dog really pulled off a hit with the Crash series, but they weren't able to stick around forever. The developer wanted to move on and make games directly for Sony without Universal as the middle man; but the only way Universal would let them go is if they gave up the Crash franchise. Naughty Dog went on to make Jak & Daxter for Sony while Universal pegged developers like Traveller's Tales, Radical Entertainment, and Vicarious Visions (who developed the upcoming N. Sane Trilogy).