Crash Bandicoot 4, which I reviewed here, is easily one of the best games from the franchise, with the interdimensional time-travelling allowing for a really great variety of stages that are as beautifully detailed as they are fun to navigate. To begin, I’m going to be talking about my top 5 favorite stages from the game, followed by the top 5 hardest….
Top 5 Favorite Stages
5: Give It a Spin – This is the first stage where you get to try out Akano’s abilities, which probably accounts for why I found this stage to be so entertaining. Akano’s epic, spinning jumps make him my favorite mask to use, and this stage really puts your newfound ability to the test with some very precarious platforming.
4: Out For Launch – Out For Launch is the first stage where you can use Ika-Ika’s gravity-flipping abilities, and it’s just a good time all around. Being able to switch between the floor and ceiling of a spaceship crawling with aliens and UFOs makes for some tricky, yet fun platforming.
3: Dino Dash – Chase levels are a Crash Bandicoot staple, and this one is my favorite from the game because you get chased by a huge t-rex who is absolutely bent on munching on you. The stages in the Eggipus Dimension are already quite beautiful, but I might as well choose the level featuring a ravenous behemoth.
2: Crash Landed – Though challenging, I can’t help but place Crash Landed high on my list due to how colorful and creative this alien world is. With bizarre creatures and colorful and strange surroundings, this level was a real treat for the eyes the whole way through. You even get to ride on…whatever the heck a shnurgle is!
1: Off Beat – It’s no surprise that Off Beat is my pick for the best level of the game. This level is themed around Mardi Gras in New Orleans, complete with fireworks, a parade (including a Spyro balloon!), and jazzy music! This stage is fun and full of surprises and might be one of the best platforming stages of all time!
Delightful though those previous stages may be, Crash 4 can also be a bit of a nightmare when the tougher stages are concerned. Yes, folks, here comes my picks for the top 5 hardest stages in the game! Keep in mind that I’m only taking into consideration how difficult a level is to simply finish, not to get 100% in, and flashback tapes are excluded, as well. Because that would be a whole different matter.
Top 5 Hardest Stages
5: Building Bridges – This one’s not that awful, really, but I had a decidedly difficult time with the first half. My main issue came from trying to get Tawna across those electrified platforms. They just seemed to switch between safe and unsafe so quickly, I could barely react in time. It doesn’t seem like much, but after getting electrocuted more times than I care to say, I don’t have fond memories of this place at all. (And I know this wasn’t part of the criteria, but you also have to deal with that dang, finicky bear all over again!)
4: Shipping Error – The first half of Shipping Error was indeed an error that sorely needed correcting. This Cortex stage has some decidedly stupid platforming (yes, I said stupid, because it really ticks me off!), both horizontally and vertically. The worst part is when you’re attempting to platform upwards with the bouncy platforms created by shooting the UFO enemies, while more UFOs fly overhead. I became so frustrated as I repeatedly attempted to ascend this area without getting hit by UFOs who can damage anything below them.
3: Cortex Castle – Ah, you probably thought this would be listed as the top toughest level of the game, didn’t you? Well, no, Cortex Castle isn’t that terrible once you get the hang of it. But it’s still extremely tough, especially towards the end, where you must navigate deadly gauntlets while swapping between masks the whole way. To be honest, this stage ended up being pretty fun once I knew what I was doing, so that means I don’t consider it as terrible as the levels that come next.
2: The Crate Escape – Most of this stage is okay. Just some tricky platforming with Dr. Cortex. This level doesn’t become outright infuriating until you start playing as Crash again at the end, where you have to navigate a bunch of crates moving way too quickly, while your jumps feel weird and floaty due to the constant motion of the platforms beneath you. It’s just absurd, and I couldn’t imagine having to complete this while simultaneously getting all the boxes and not dying too many times!
1: Toxic Tunnels – Forget the infamous Cortex Castle. I really hate Toxic Tunnels. I don’t remember most of the stage bothering me too much until you reach the end and have to navigate all these spinning…I don’t know…wheels of sorts. With everything moving and rotating around you, it’s extremely disorientating, and to make matters worse, you can’t stand on certain platforms too long, or else fire erupts out of them. And for a section of platforming where I really need time to think about what I’m doing, that’s just no fun at all.
What were your favorite and least favorite stages from Crash Bandicoot 4, dear readers? The comment section is awaiting your input!