The Road Better Left Untaken

I love Crash but playing through the Crash Bandicoot N’ Sane Trilogy reminded me of just how infuriating the original game could be. It requires much greater levels of precision and endurance than its successors, and there no level that typifies this more than “The High Road’. I truly, absolutely, wholeheartedly, and unabashedly hate “The High Road.”

You know what? I can’t remember the last time it took so many attempts to beat a single level. Actually, I take that back. The last time it took this much persistence to beat a level was probably waaay back when I first encountered this stage as a kid. In fact, I think it was even worse thanks to the game’s clunky system of spacing out opportunities to save. Back then, getting a game over on “The High Road” didn’t mean just having to retry the stage again with three lives. Instead, it meant getting sent back to beat the previous level first before getting to attempt it again. On top of that, it’s immediately followed by another incredibly hard level: “Slippery Climb”; which you’ll also have to beat before you’re next allowed to save (unless you managed to get a gem or didn’t die in the bonus stage)! Thankfully, the N’Sane Trilogy has addressed this nasty saving issue, but that doesn’t mean they fixed everything.

See, “The High Road” takes the original Crash Bandicoot’s love of bottomless pits and turns it right on up to eleven. The entire level basically takes place over one big bottomless pit, and it pulls out every nasty trick it can think of that will make traversing that pit the most obnoxious thing you’ll ever do. It pokes with invisible steps and a hidden path at the start of the level. It prods with enemies that can’t normally be defeated. It mocks with narrow landing spaces, and it torments with barely-makeable jump after barely-makeable jump. What’s more, the N’ Sane Trilogy version actually made it all worse by making formerly flat collision boxes rounded! ROUNDED! So not only do you have to work hard to just to make the jumps like before, but now you also have to work hard to keep from falling off almost every platform! Really, if you let Crash linger on the edge of any of the many turtle shells in this stage, he’s going to slip off after one bounce! Add it all together and you get a stage capable of making even the calmest of players frustrated enough to tear several phone books in half!

Let’s not sugarcoat this: “The High Road” is, in every way, just one big test. It’s a test of the player’s ability to control Crash. It’s a test of the player’s sense of timing and their knowledge of jump distances.  It’s a test of just how many precise jumps one can make before their nerves give out and they choke. Finally, it’s a test of just how much a player wants to finish the game. If you can hang in there long enough to actually beat “The High Road” then congratulations, you have the will power needed to finish Crash Bandicoot! Have fun taking on “Slippery Climb”!

Which level in the Crash Bandicoot games do you hate the most? Which is your favorite? 

Lede image captured by Hatm0nster


  1. My mate asked me to play this level yesterday and I couldn’t clear the first bridge in 23 lives. I beat the original one a few months ago, and didn’t die that many times completing it.

    The physics felt very wrong to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      They made a couple of changes in the update. Supposedly the jumping was adjusted so that it worked similarly to how it did in Crash 2 and 3. They also adjusted the collision maps on the platforms so some (like the turtle shells) became rounded instead of flat. Much easier to slip off, and much more difficult overall.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. duckofindeed says:

    I want to get this collection, as I’ve never played any of the Crash games before. But I don’t look forward to this one bit. It reminds me of some of the stages in Super Mario World. Certain levels have very spaced out platforms, and I usually get very angry before I inevitably give up.

    Old platformers. I’ve got a love/hate relationship with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Gotta love those fun levels. Gotta hate those stupidly hard levels.

      Most of Crash Bandicoot is fun to play. The High Road and Slippery Climb are the only really nasty levels. Crash 2 and Crash 3 are fun throughout; much easier than their predecessor.


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