Crash Bandicoot landed on the scene in 1996 as a Playstation exclusive. Naughty Dog developed this 3D platformer and over the next few years grew the character into a direct Mario competitor. Crash Bandicoot games have seen the marsupial warping through time, running from dinosaurs, and riding motorcycles, all while rocking his signature jeans and sneakers.
The series is still running strong today, with a stellar fourth (or twelfth) entry released in 2020. Some Crash Bandicoot games captured our hearts. Some we couldn’t even finish. These are all the Crash Bandicoot games ranked from worst to best.
Crash Boom Bang!
Crash Boom Bang! is the absolute bottom of the barrel when it comes to Crash Bandicoot games. This is the only game on the list with no redeeming qualities.
There is a story in Crash Bash, but nothing worth mentioning. The mini-games are frustratingly rigged and the graphics are plain bad, even for DS standards. This game should only be played by Crash Bandicoot completionists. Or those with a severe glutton for punishment.
Crash: Mind Over Mutant
Crash: Mind over Mutant is as bad as it gets for console Crash Bandicoot games. The only platformer worse than Crash Mind over Mutant is the Nintendo DS version of Mind over Mutant.
Crash was going through a little bit of an identity crisis in 2008. Almost a decade removed from his Playstation-exclusive heydays, Crash dropped his last name and had been operating in a free-roaming world rather than the level-based structure of the initial games. This change had worked well for some platformer series, but Crash adapted to it with middling results.
Crash: Mind over Mutant dragged the series into an almost decade-long hiatus. People loved Crash, but this new guy with hand tattoos and beat-em-up combat had, after only two games, overstayed its welcome.
Mind over Mutant continued the ability to control Titans, but that feature was boring in the previous entry and didn’t get better in this one. It’s a shame to see Crash fall this hard, but it makes his return even sweeter. Crash of the Titans isn’t a total loss, but it’s still an entry that can be skipped.
Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex
Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex had the potential to switch up the classic formula and propel the marsupial into a new era. Unfortunately, development woes, publisher changes, and a mid-development switch from open world to standard level design make this the third worst Crash Bandicoot game on our list.
Wrath of Cortex was Crash’s first foray outside of Playstation exclusivity. Crash had been seen as an iconic Playstation character, but with Naughty Dog moving onto the Jak and Daxter series, the Crash Bandicoot series was free to be published on multiple platforms. The idea was for a big free-roaming Crash Bandicoot game. But after the original developer had a falling out with the publisher, Traveller’s Tales took over and was forced to release a standard level-based Crash Bandicoot game.
None of this is the fault of Traveller’s Tales or the game itself, but it doesn’t make the game any better. Instead of a full free-roaming Crash Bandicoot game, we received a worse version of a game we had already played three times. Traveller’s Tales did go on to make some halfway decent Crash games, but this one felt like a rushed cash grab.
Crash Tag Team Racing
Crash Tag Team Racing is the bandicoot’s third outing on the kart track and his most blatant Mario Kart ripoff. Given Crash’s beginnings as a Playstation exclusive, a Mario Kart clone from Crash and pals made sense on the PS1. But once he had gone multiplatform, the obvious rip-off of Mario and friends’ exploits felt more egregious.
Crash Tag Team Racing isn’t a terrible Kart racer. There are a good number of fun tracks, a serviceable story and the kart racing itself is fun. But being released two years after Mario Kart double dash with the exact same gimmick, made the game feel old and boring by comparison. If you want a Crash Kart Racer, this is the worst one you can get.
Crash of the Titans
Crash of the Titans was a major overhaul for the series, putting Crash and his friends into a more punk aesthetic, only seven years after the emo music scene was relevant. It always seemed like Crash Bandicoot games were just a little behind on the times.
Crash of the Titans also brought with it a new form of gameplay in the ability to “jack” Titans and use their power as beat-em-up vehicles. The gameplay totally shifted from standard 3D platformer to full-on beat-em-up and while not terrible, it’s certainly low on Crash’s outings.
Crash of the Titans does get props for trying something new, and if it landed better maybe it would have ranked higher. But the gameplay was repetitive, the humor was lacking, and the jacking mechanic was a lot more fun on paper than in practice.
CTR may have been a direct rip-off of Mario Kart, but it also added to the kart racing formula to provide a fun experience. Crash Bash is a Mario Party rip-off with none of the charm or fun of the series it’s stealing from.
The game was always going to have an uphill battle, being the first game to feature Crash that wasn’t created by Naughty Dog. We wish developer Eurocom could have risen to the challenge and created a fun party game to rival Nintendo’s star plumber. What we got instead was a party game with a loose plot lacking all of the fun and humor we’d come to know from the series.
It’s not surprising that the only other party game we got from Crash was the abysmal Crash Boom Bang.
Crash Nitro Kart
Crash Nitro Kart is the turn in Crash Bandicoot games that rose above mediocrity. Nitro Kart is a pretty competent Kart racer at a time when the market was being flooded with the genre.
Nitro Kart returned with an adventure mode just like Crash’s first kart racing adventure, a big plus over its Mario counterpart. It also added a battle mode and kept the easy-to-learn but difficult-to-master powerslide system that rewarded mastery.
Crash Nitro Kart didn’t reinvent the go-kart wheel, but it was fun enough for a PS2 title. Its lack of any truly meaningful upgrades is what keeps it from being higher on our list.
Crash Twinsaity is an underrated hidden gem and developer Traveller’s Tales realization of a free-roaming Crash Bandicoot game.
The voice acting and gameplay in Twinsanity are solid, if not a bit repetitive. But where it really shines is with its humorous story. Crash has always been known for adding a bit of laugh to its plot, but by putting Cortex in a more central role the game turned into a true comedy gem.
Twinsanity is not without its flaws though. Landing in 2004, the gaming world had already experienced countless better 3D platformers in an open world. And the rush to meet development meant a lot of great ideas were left on the cutting room floor and added later.
This would be Traveller’s Tales’ last outing with Crash. It’s a great game to spend an afternoon with but we can’t help but feel if there was just a little more development time, the game would have ranked higher on our list.
Crash Bandicoot 2 N-Tranced
Crash’s second outing on the GBA proved to be another fun side-scrolling adventure, if not a little too easy for its own good.
Vicarious Visions had already done some great things on the GBA, porting Tony Hawks Pro Skater to the handheld and making Crash’s first 2D platforming game.
It’s no surprise that the sequel delivers the same fun as the first. If the sequel had just delivered a little bit more of a challenge and improved on the original, we may have seen this one outrank its little brother.
Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure
Crash Bandicoot the huge adventure is the first Crash game exclusively on the small screen. The Gameboy Advance was an incredible piece of hardware, but not well suited for 3D adventures. Vicarious Visions made the wise decision to turn Crash’s first portable adventure into a 2D sidescroller with fantastic results.
Even though Crash had never had a fully 2D adventure, the series felt right at home as a 2D platformer. The graphics were great for the system, the gameplay felt true to the series, and the plot kept that Crash humor we had become accustomed to.
It’s a shame we didn’t get to see more 2D outings for the bandicoot. Maybe we can get a Toys for Bob remake one of these days.
Crash Bandicoot: The N.sane Trilogy
Fans were shocked when we heard that we would be getting ground-up remakes of the original Naughty Dog trilogy of Crash Bandicoot games. Vicarious Visions meticulously recreated every level in beautiful detail. It was almost everything we could want from a Crash remake.
There is no doubt that there’s epic value in this collection and great fun to be had. The biggest problem with the N.Sane Trilogy that keeps it farther down on the list is the punishing difficulty not present in the original series.
Yes, Crash was always a difficult game, but the remake just felt punishing beyond anything we remembered. It was discovered that Vicarious Visions used the mechanics from Crash Bandicoot Warped across all three of the games. This made the third game in the remake the most approachable and the first two feeling slightly off.
The trilogy is still a great collection to pick up. While the mechanics in Crash and Crash two are harder than they should have been, both games are very playable and can be mastered with a bit of work.
If the trilogy had found a way to make the mechanics feel a little more cohesive across all the games, this one would have rocketed to number one. But sadly it’s left as a beautiful looking alternative to the better original titles.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
After such a long spell without Crash, fans were given an embarrassment of bandicoot riches. After receiving the remade trilogy, a remake of Crash Team Racing, Toys for Bob continued to show us the love by releasing a full-fledged, all-original sequel to Crash Bandicoot: Warped.
Crash Bandicoot 4 is just as difficult as the N.Sane trilogy, but in a way that feels fair. The game keeps the same charm and humor we loved in the original trilogy. And the new quantum masks add a layer of strategy that wasn’t present in previous games.
Crash Bandicoot 4 was a surprise for a series we thought would only be relegated to remakes and mobile games. We would love to see Toys for Bob knock some new Crash games out in the future.
The original Crash Bandicoot on the PlayStation 1 was a technical achievement for the system that brought hours of fun to living rooms everywhere. Sony wanted a mascot that could directly compete with Mario, and they found it in Crash Bandicoot.
Crash Bandicoot was released in 1996 and launched the legacy of developer Naughty Dog. The game wasn’t as innovative as Mario 64, but it was just as fun. And if you were a little older, Crash was the cooler choice.
Playstation had marketed their system towards older gamers, while Nintendo seemed content with a younger audience. This tactic made it more difficult for Sony to find a mascot. They wanted a fun platformer that would appeal to kids, but they also needed a little edge and challenge.
Crash Bandicoot checked all the necessary boxes. Speaking of boxes, adding the extra challenge of trying to hit every box in a level added that extra difficulty Sony needed. It also turned into a staple of the series that still goes on today.
The original is a masterpiece in its own right and deserves to be remembered for helping launch the Playstation system. It’s a testament to how good Crash’s other outings were that this one doesn’t rank higher on our list.
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
Cortex Strikes Back took everything from the original Crash and made it better. Crash 2 leaned harder into the humor and difficulty the series would become known for.
The only thing holding this one back from being the best Crash platformer are the so-so boss battles. There are better boss battles in later entries, but the minute-to-minute gameplay of Wrath of Cortex is truly hard to beat.
Crash Team Racing
Crash Team Racing was the staple kart racer for every Nintendo 64-less home. CTR not only improved on the kart racing genre by adding a power sliding boost mechanic, but it also added a story adventure mode. A mode that was severely missed in Mario Kart 64.
CTR proved to be more than just a consolation prize to gamers that didn’t have an N64. It was by all accounts a better racer with more modes, zanier courses, and a fun mode for single players.
The original Playstation had many classic games, and Crash Team Racing ranks high on that list.
Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled
CTR Nitro-Fueled is more than just a fresh set of paint. The game is a true competitor to Maro Kart 8, with challenging racing, an awesome story, and tons of bonus levels from the other Crash Kart racers thrown in for good measure.
We already felt spoiled with the N.Sane Trilogy. A recreation of CTR with additional levels is just icing on the Nitro-Fueled cake. The game plays just how we remember but now looks better than ever.
The only downside to this remake was the out-of-character long load times. If you can get past that, though, you have the best kart racing game ever made that doesn’t feature a mustachioed plumber.
Crash Bandicoot: Warped
Crash Bandicoot: Warped is the creme-de-la-creme of Crash Bandicoot games. Everything Naughty Dog had done with the previous entries was heightened and improved upon. The gameplay took Crash to all new locals with gorgeous for-the-time graphics and even threw in a motorcycle and sunglasses for good measure.
When it comes to 3D platformers, it just doesn’t get much better than Crash Bandicoot: Warped. What really sets it apart from its peers is the varied levels and pacing throughout the story.
Just when you’ve had enough of platforming levels, the game gives you a jet ski. After the Jet ski, Warped makes you run from a dinosaur. Then it’s back to platforming until a motorcycle level. It’s all topped off with some of the best battles of the entire series.
Crash Bandicoot is a must-play for any BossLevelGamer. The N.Sane trilogy version is the easiest to get your hands on, but for my money, nothing beats the original.