Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy / Out 30th June!

It’s official! Just a few months after we all witnessed the marsupial make his comeback, Crash Bandicoot is ready to come back to PlayStation on the 30th June! Who would have thought it, eh?

This news comes after the comeback trailer unveiled Crash Bandicoot back to his true and original form, with the comeback trailer itself even showing comparisons of the original PS1 Classic levels including the newly upgraded level designs of the exact same levels.

I also came across official screenshots of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back after reading an article that Crashy News published, and honestly, Activision have made sure to keep the N⋅Sane Trilogy true to the original PS1 Classic Crash Bandicoot and they have most certainly done the Naughty Dog Original series justice with this refreshed collection of the N⋅Sane Trilogy.

I won’t deny this, I will be pre-ordering the Crash Bandicoot N⋅Sane Trilogy because it’s so good! I will not be surprised if this trilogy sells just as well as the original PS1 Classics, because Crash Bandicoot was and still is a bestseller even to the present day, and the N⋅Sane Trilogy itself will do just the same, because Activision have made sure to keep this game original by making sure it captures the true heart of the original PS1 version of Crash Bandicoot that we all came to know and love.

This release date couldn’t have come at a much better time, as this trilogy releases exactly two weeks after I mark my 19th birthday.

Are you just as excited as I am that Crash Bandicoot is finally back? If you are excited to see Crash Bandicoot come to the PlayStation 4 on the 30th June, then please let me know, I would love to hear what you think about the marsupial bandicoot making his comeback to PlayStation.

Also, if you want to be kept up-to-date on all things Crash Bandicoot, then please visit Crashy News by clicking here.

Alex Smithson

PlayStation 4 Slim: Your Favourite Console Just Got Slimmer!

As I decided to treat myself to the new PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB console after a tough year, it’s safe to say I was not disappointed, as I was able to get in on a deal with PC World as they were selling three games bundled with the PlayStation 4 Slim; those games were DRIVECLUB, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End & The Last of Us Remastered.

Thankfully, I was able to get in on the deal when I did because Sony never disappoints where consoles and gaming are involved, as the console itself is much quieter than the original PS4, given that I know a friend of mine who has the original PS4 whose PS4 actually makes a noise even if the console is standing upright or horizontally when gameplay is in progress or when a film is being played on the PlayStation 4.

For the PlayStation 4 Slim, it’s so quiet! It can surprise you though when you stand it upright when a DVD is inserted into the disc compartment, as it makes quite a noise while it reads the DVD, but that, to me, is a good thing, because if the PS4 Slim can make that much of a noise while it reads a DVD, then you know the DVD will play with no problem.

So, What is in the Box?

The PlayStation 4 Slim comes bundled with the following items:

  • PlayStation 4 Slim
  • PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 Controller
  • HDMI Cable
  • PlayStation In-Ear Headphones (these can be plugged into the PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 Controller if you join a Party in progress with your friends).
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Guarantee Booklet
  • PlayStation Guarantee
  • PlayStation Protection Policy
  • Safety Guide
  • DualShock 4 USB Charging Cable.

If you brought the three game bundle that I purchased with the PlayStation 4 Slim, you would get the following games:

  • DRIVECLUB
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • The Last of Us Remastered.

Other PlayStation 4 Slim game bundles are available and are listed below:

  • PlayStation 4 Slim (1 TB) / DRIVECLUB / Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End / Ratchet & Clank – 3 Game Bundle
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Bundle
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (1 TB) / Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Bundle / Includes a Digital Copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered with 10 MP Maps
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Watch Dogs 2 Bundle / Includes the first Watch Dogs.
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Includes FIFA 17 and a 1-Year PlayStation Plus Subscription
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Battlefield 1 Bundle
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / The Batman Bundle / Includes: Batman Arkham Knight, Batman: Return to Arkham & Batman: A Telltale Series
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Includes Battlefield 1 and an Afterglow AG9 Headset
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Includes Titanfall 2 and a 90-Day PlayStation Plus Subscription
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Grand Theft Auto V Bundle
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / LEGO Star Wars Bundle.

If you prefer the standalone PlayStation 4 Slim with no games, below are the listed PlayStation 4 Slim storage choices:

  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB)
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (1 TB).

What do I think of the PlayStation 4 Slim? I think it’s so good because the speed of the console is extremely fast and thanks to Sony making it possible to share gameplay from PS4 Games, I have been able to upload some gameplay videos to my YouTube channel. Plus, I love how you can keep in touch with your friends over the PlayStation Network, including the added ability to play games that you don’t have that your friends have with Share Play, which allows you to invite friends to play a game that they don’t have over your internet connection. This is beneficial for me because if I don’t have a game that a friend does own, then I can receive the controls from the game from a friend and then play that game that they are playing, and that’s a massive bonus.

In terms of the size of the console, I am pleased that I was able to get in on the three-game console deal when I did, as I find the console spacious considering I can stand it up vertically without worrying about the PlayStation 4 Slim heating up, and because I have also got a stand for the PlayStation 4 Slim, this helps me in many ways as I can still find the space to move things around in my bedroom whilst the console is in its own place. I have noticed even though this is my first PlayStation 4 that it’s a little smaller than the original PlayStation 4, so that’s perfect for me considering I like to have enough room to position a console or two. With that being said, the console itself is really quiet and it works perfectly in my bedroom.

Overall, I was lucky to get the PlayStation 4 Slim when I did, because as Sony & Activision recently showed off the comeback trailer and the first gameplay video of some of the remastered levels of Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, it’s safe to say that I am absolutely excited for the trilogy considering it’s out sometime in 2017, and once it’s out, I am definitely purchasing it. A lot of good games are coming to the PlayStation 4, so I cannot wait to find out what games are in store next year.

But overall, I love the PlayStation 4 Slim and I wholeheartedly recommend the PlayStation 4 Slim to all of you.

To end this in spectacular style, as Sony would say: “This is for the Players.

If you enjoyed my review of the PlayStation 4 Slim, then please feel free to submit feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

© Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony Corporation 2016

© Any logos / promotional images used, such as the Registered PS4 Trademark, including the Vertical PlayStation 4 Slim Stand and the PlayStation 4 Slim & DualShock 4 Controller are all copyright of Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Interactive Entertainment and Sony Corporation. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

Sonic Generations: A Shift Between Classic Sonic & Modern Sonic

As Sonic Generations marked the 20th Anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog, it was clear that this game had everything to offer, because for the first time, and with Stereoscopic 3D, you would get to see Classic Sonic & Modern Sonic in an entirely nostalgic form that would shift between the past and the present. I will not deny this, but I have played the game myself and I absolutely love it, because it delivers and creates not just a nostalgic feeling that makes you think of the good old days of Classic Sonic, but it gives you the approach that Sonic is back and Retro is back too.

As a massive SEGA fan, I love the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and have played previous games, such as Sonic Heroes, Sonic Rush and even the Christian Whitehead reboots of Sonic the Hedgehog & Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and I won’t lie, I wish I played Sonic Generations sooner, because it’s one of those games where you cannot afford to not play it to appreciate and understand the true aspects behind how the game was really made, as well as the hard work that SEGA went to in order to modernise and remaster past levels.

For the first time, you can play these levels in modern form:

  • Green Hill Zone (Taken from Sonic the Hedgehog)
  • Chemical Plant (Taken from Sonic the Hedgehog 2)
  • Stardust Speedway (Metal Sonic Rival Battle) [Classic Sonic] {Taken from Sonic CD}
  • Death Egg Robot (Boss) [Classic Sonic] {Taken from Sonic the Hedgehog 2}
  • Shadow the Hedgehog (Rival Battle) [Modern Sonic] {Taken from Sonic Adventure 2 Battle}
  • Sky Sanctuary (Taken from Sonic & Knuckles)
  • Speed Highway (Taken from Sonic Adventure)
  • City Escape (Taken from Sonic Adventure 2)
  • Seaside Hill (Taken from Sonic Heroes)
  • Crisis City (Taken from Sonic the Hedgehog) [2006]
  • Silver the Hedgehog (Rival Battle) [Modern Sonic] {Taken from Sonic the Hedgehog ’06)
  • Perfect Chaos (Taken from Sonic Adventure)
  • Rooftop Run (Taken from Sonic Unleashed)
  • Planet Wisp (Taken from Sonic Colours)
  • Egg Dragoon (Taken from Sonic Unleashed)

Also, for the first time, you can play the final boss in the level, Time Eater. If you have all of the 7 Chaos Emeralds, you will be able to play as Classic Sonic & Modern Sonic but as Classic Super Sonic & Modern Super Sonic, and you will be able to fight Dr. Robotnik & Dr. Eggman.

If you have the PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Generations, it comes bundled with the first ever Sonic game, Sonic the Hedgehog, which is an added bonus considering you can play two games as well as one. To get the first ever Sonic game in Sonic Generations, you need to buy the SEGA Mega Drive Controller in the game with the points that you collect through every level that you have completed and don’t worry, you don’t pay extra money for the game at all, you just use the points you earn in the game for every level to get the controller in the game and you’re ready to go at any time.

Below are some screenshots from some of the Classic & Modern levels of Sonic Generations if you want to relive the nostalgia of past Sonic the Hedgehog games.

It’s hard to believe it was five years ago this game was released, and I won’t lie, playing this game has made me realise just how much technology has evolved in the gaming world, and not only that, but to see games from past time being remastered, it’s amazing how some games still capture that nostalgic appeal from the last 10 to 20 years.

I felt it was right to write a review on this game considering it’s exactly 25 years this year since the first ever Sonic game was released, and to continue the celebrations, Christian “Taxman” Whitehead, who has ported Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 & Sonic CD to smartphones and consoles, is working again with SEGA and also with PagodaWest and Headcannon on the upcoming 2017 Sonic game, Sonic Mania, which will relive the nostalgia of past levels from some games, including some new levels, though some of the new levels will be new to me as I have never seen them before, apart from watching clips of Sonic Mania on YouTube and on some gaming websites. Also, as the as yet untitled Project Sonic 2017 game is being developed for the XBOX ONE, the PlayStation 4, the Nintendo Switch and also for Laptop / PC, it’s safe to say that SEGA have a fantastic year ahead. 2017 is going to be SEGA’s year, and I am absolutely sure of that.

What do I think of Sonic Generations? I love the game with a passion, because it relives the nostalgic appeal that I had with past games, such as Sonic Heroes & Sonic Unleashed, and because I have played Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic CD & Sonic Heroes, including Sonic & The Secret Rings and Sonic Colours, Sonic Generations really captures the heart of what made SEGA, and Sonic Generations as a whole captures the flare that past Sonic the Hedgehog games had as well.

Overall, I am absolutely glad to have played this game and I will still continue to play the game anytime and also because the HD Graphics on the game are perfectly crisp, and you can’t help but feel like as if you’ve immersed yourself in the game even though you’re the one playing the game. Sonic Generations is such a fantastic game and I absolutely love the fact that SEGA have decided to give past levels from past games the new lease of life they deserve.

One more thing. If you haven’t got Sonic Generations, then I strongly recommend you buy it for the PlayStation 3 as it is on the PlayStation Essentials list, or if you have a Laptop / PC, then it will be available to purchase on Steam.

I wholeheartedly recommend Sonic Generations.

If you enjoyed my review of Sonic Generations, then please feel free to comment below your feedback on this review. All feedback is much appreciated and to end this review on a high note, I just want to say this:

THANK YOU SEGA FOR SUCH A FANTASTIC AND NOSTALGIC GAME!

Alex Smithson

© SEGA & Sonic Team 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

© Any logos / promotional images used, such as the SONIC GENERATIONS Trademark, the Registered SEGA Trademark, including the promotional image of Classic Sonic the Hedgehog & Modern Sonic the Hedgehog, including the concept art behind the logo and the game’s screenshots are all copyright of SEGA & Sonic Team. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy Unveiled at PlayStation Experience!

A short while ago, I wrote an article following my excitement that Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back & Crash Bandicoot: Warped were being remastered after years of rumours and speculation, and tonight at the PlayStation Experience, Activision unveiled the first ever look of Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy and I have just seen the comeback trailer of the new Crash game and believe me, I wasn’t prepared. It’s so good! To reminisce the nostalgic fever of the PS1 Classic Crash Bandicoot, Activision showed the original levels from the Crash Bandicoot PS1 game, and then they put the original levels together with the remastered levels and it’s so good!

I know I keep saying it’s so good, but trust me, it is that good that your jaws will drop the moment you see the comeback trailer. I have provided the comeback trailer below so all of you can see Crash Bandicoot in his full glory, officially remastered for the PlayStation 4 in 60FPS (Frames Per Second)

Sony & Activision couldn’t have picked a better time to show Crash Bandicoot off, and just in time for Christmas, they have given all of us hope and have put smiles on all of our faces, because the marsupial Crash Bandicoot is back and marks his 20th Anniversary of being on PlayStation.

What did you think of the comeback trailer for Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy? Do you have all three of the original PlayStation 1 Crash Bandicoot games? Are you just as excited as I am about Crash Bandicoot’s comeback? Please let me know if you feel nostalgic by submitting feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Spyro the Dragon: The Purple Dragon’s Quest to Defeat Gnasty Gnorc (1998)

With it being 18 years ago since Spyro the Dragon landed on PlayStation, I thought it would be nice to do a review of the game considering I have owned and completed the game.

With 36 breathtaking levels split over 6 worlds in the game, 12 eggs to collect, 15,000 gems to collect and 80 dragons to save, Spyro’s journey to defeat Gnasty Gnorc is a challenge, but defeat is not far behind, as you can beat Gnasty Gnorc after you complete the levels, Gnorc Cove & Gnorc Nexus. As soon as you defeat Gnasty Gnorc, you will be able to progress on to the final level of the game, Gnasty’s Loot, which can be opened if you have all 12 of the dragon eggs, 13,000 gems and also if you have saved all 80 of the dragons from the Dragon Kingdom.

Spyro the Dragon was a blockbuster hit when the game was announced, and would go on to have commercial success globally, with two more games following soon after the first.

But back to the subject of Spyro the Dragon, the game’s visual concept brings about vibrant landscapes, with some old-school music to accommodate what the game’s concept is really about.

When I first played the game properly, I actually spent the whole of the day upstairs in my bedroom playing Spyro the Dragon, and I was so determined and dedicated to completing the game that I was able to finish the game some time after 12:00 AM or 1:00 AM in the morning, and completing the game fully for the first time was actually a few years ago.

I won’t deny it, but ever since I completed the game fully first time, I have been able to complete the game a lot quicker than I usually do, and just recently, I was able to complete the game a lot faster than before, but it just proves that if Spyro the Dragon can prove to be a smash hit game, then you know that you’ll love playing Spyro the Dragon, including the second and third games from the Spyro the Dragon series.

Did you know? Stewart Copeland from the band, The Police, composed the music for all three of the Spyro the Dragon PS1 Classic series. Did you also know that Carlos Alazraqui was the first man to do the voiceover of Spyro in the first Spyro the Dragon? Neither did I until a few weeks ago.

Overall, I absolutely love Spyro the Dragon, because it is not just an iconic classic of its own, but because it’s a game that you can play any time and never get bored. Plus, because it is a classic game, you know that with Spyro the Dragon, you’re getting the real deal. You can never go wrong with Spyro the Dragon.

Do you own a copy of Spyro the Dragon? If so, I would love to know your views on the game, as well as whether you share your love for the Purple Dragon. Please feel free to submit your feedback in the comments. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: July 2016

To mark the end of a very productive month, I will now take a look back on the articles that were published over the course of this month.

1.7.2016 – As this day would kick off a long Summer holiday for me and everyone else, I welcomed you all to July on Mother Nature. I mentioned that despite two months of less productivity, I was pleased to announce I would return to publishing articles on a frequent basis considering I would have the huge bag of free time available. I also mentioned the news of the fourth book’s name being changed as I wanted to make sure that the fourth book wouldn’t be based around photography, but around the topics I have covered over the course of this year, as well as other things I have talked about on Mother Nature.

3.7.2016 –  On the 1st July, I took the opportunity to get some photos of the raindrops after a downpour of rain, as the calm before the storm came and went, and then the calm after the storm came after the storm passed. This photo set: “A Splash of Vividness” was quite well received and attracted a lot of good attention after I shared this photo article I published with some Facebook groups.

On the same day, I thought it would be a good idea to inspire you all by talking about being unique, as well as it being who we are and being unique, including taking control of how we choose to present ourselves to others.

I also published 5 of my Weekly Logs from the Stop-Frame Animation Project on this day, which would document the kind of skills I would develop, including the research, practical tasks and Critical Analysis I had done over the course of this project.

5.7.2016 – 6.7.2016 – Over the course of these two days, I published the final set of weekly logs which came from the most recent Final Major Project which I finished and passed, which helped me to pass the first year of my two-year UAL Level 3 Diploma Film & Photography Course, but my second year at Croydon College.

10.7.2016 – It was a long time coming, but on this day, I finally did away with the Motif theme altogether by switching to the Karuna theme, with a warm welcome to you all on the all-new look for Mother Nature.

I also published a large photo set on this day, which were of the photographs I took on Wednesday 6th July 2016, in which this photo set was titled: “The Truth About Summer? It’s Sweet, Serene, Stunning & Gorgeous!“.

Also on this day, I celebrated publishing 400 articles on Mother Nature by publishing my fifth artistic interpretation, but this time, on the famous Hello musician, Adele.

11.7.2016 – Exactly one year ago to this day, the gaming world lost an iconic gaming legend. Satoru Iwata, who was best known for being the man behind the iconic gaming consoles, such as the Game Boy Series, the Nintendo DS Series, the Nintendo Wii Series, the Nintendo 3DS Series and the Nintendo Wii U Series, sadly passed away on the 11th July 2015 following a bile duct growth, which Nintendo officially announced in a statement they published on the same day the news of his death was announced.

13.7.2016 – It is painfully distressing when we all hear the news about a certain event or events that are always talked about around the world. Just recently, and even now, the news of the shootings in Minnesota, Dallas & Louisiana have caused a mass fruition which has sparked protests in America, as well as in other places around the world. This article I did was based on whether everyone’s lives really mattered regardless of who we are.

15.7.2016 – Given the most recent and devastating events that occurred in Nice in France, in which over 80+ victims lost their lives as a result of the deadly massacre, with 100+ that were also injured, I announced that I wouldn’t publish any articles until the following Monday, as I would pay tribute to all those that were killed during the Bastille Day Celebrations.

20.7.2016 – On this day, I published an article which was based on looking at life through a lens, and what would make each photo tell a story.

23.7.2016 – It’s hard to think it was exactly five years ago on this day that we lost the iconic music legend, Amy Winehouse. The time has flown but it doesn’t really feel like it has when you consider the news of Amy’s death was announced on this day five years ago, it just feels unreal. I was actually heartbroken when I found out she died because it’s like the musician we all came to know and love over the years had gone within a flash. I paid tribute to Amy Winehouse by publishing a tribute article which would reflect on her music career, as well as the iconic songs that I felt really got to the bottom of what life can be like from anyone’s perspective as well as her own.

28.7.2016 – On this day, I published an article based on life after Mother Nature, and it was based on whether I would be able to live without the use of a computer, to which I gave certain reasons as to what life would be like for me without a computer.

29.7.2016 – On this day, I published an article based on Mother Nature and why I started up this website, and how it gave me the chance to come up with all-new ideas, all-inclusive and exquisite ideas that would help me to develop and even improve on certain things that I wasn’t so good at before.

Also on this day, I published an article regarding how political correctness affected modern society, as I wanted to talk about how it’s affected us, including certain words that we could say before that we can no longer say now.

Thanks so much to all of you for a fantastic and productive month and I’ll see you all in August.

Alex Smithson

A Naughty Dog Classic | Crash Bandicoot: Warped

Spinning back the clock to 1998, Crash Bandicoot: Warped was the 3rd, most popular installment in the series of Crash Bandicoot. Crash Bandicoot: Warped continues from where Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, left off.

In this installment, Crash Bandicoot: Warped is full of adventurous landscapes, each bringing along with them many different obstacles, some obstacles of which you can and cannot break, which requires you to overcome those obstacles through an alternative method.

As each level of the game progresses, you’ll begin to notice that each level becomes more challenging and also a lot harder to complete. Much of the levels contain secret pathways, which in effect, are useful as these secret pathways can allow you to collect any extra gems, and even the special gems to unlock further pathways to another part of that level.

The Crash Bandicoot series had proved to be a popular gaming series towards the end of the 1990s, as the Spyro the Dragon series had proved the same. Both of these gaming franchises, despite being released by two different developers, had proved that they had the staying power for more games to come, not like some of the games that are made today, because some of the games that are created today leave little to the imagination, especially for those younger than the age that is given on the game’s PEGI (Pan-European Game Information) rating.

Referring back to Crash Bandicoot: Warped, this game, to me, is such a fantastically crafted game where what would take a few minutes turns into hours, and before you know it, it could take days to complete, depending on how competitive you are.

I must admit, the levels I do find difficult to complete myself are the N.Gin Boss Level, and the flying level in the 5th world hard to complete. Those two levels are more of the pain-in-your-backside levels that look easy to start with, but then, the difficulty of the levels are turned all the way up to the hard setting.

There is a lot of potential for the Crash Bandicoot series to be remastered, though that will depend on whether a remaster ever occurs. It would be nice if the series was remastered and revived, because it would bring back a lot more value, not just for the original versions of the Crash series, but also for the potential remastering of the Crash Bandicoot series altogether.

Overall, I think this game is perfect, and this game is one of the top-of-the-class games that you just can’t miss. Play it, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a childhood classic to me, and I bet that once you start playing this game, along with the other games in the Crash Bandicoot series, you won’t be disappointed, it’s that good :-).

My overall rating on this game: 10/10.

Alex Smithson