3. Level 20 – Slippery Climb (Crash Bandicoot)
Every games console manufacturer has its mascot. For the Xbox, it was Halo’s Master Chief John-117, for Sega it was Sonic, for Nintendo it was Mario, and for PlayStation, even today, it is undoubtedly Crash Bandicoot. Despite the litany of great game characters that have been produced by PlayStation consoles down the years, the little red fox with a big attitude has remained synonymous with the brand – when you think of PlayStation, you think of Crash Bandicoot.
Originally intended to plug the gaming gap between the young and mature audiences, Crash Bandicoot was designed as a whimsical world with colourful characters, with simple controls that virtually anybody could pick up, easily master and play. The first game dropped onto the scene in 1996, coming just after the first Resident Evil game, which was designed for a more mature gaming audience owing to its gory nature and its taxing, problem-solving game play.
However, to say that Crash Bandicoot is designed for all ages, that doesn’t mean to say that it’s easy. Because it’s not. At all.
Especially level 20 of the first Crash game, Slippery Climb. Any plans to make the game a joyful playing experiencing for all ages were immediately scuppered, ruined, destroyed and any other adjective you can think of. The level is filled with slippery, disappearing steps, grabbing arms, birds and mad scientists. It’s ridiculously difficult and if you fall, you have to start all over again. And obviously because it’s a Crash Bandicoot game, one hit means instant death; there is no margin for error at all. Many Crash Bandicoot levels would test even the longest of tempers throughout the years, but this level stands out in particular as one filled with wafer-thin timing jumps, both ridiculously intricate and infuriatingly unpredictable. The only way you could get the better of this level was to simply keep trying, keep failing, and hope that you’d get the hang of it eventually. Until then however, an entire generation of kids got a lesson in how to repair broken controls that had been smashed against the wall in rage.