CRASH IS KING
Men's Journal|March - April 2021
With the launch of his new mobile game, Crash Bandicoot: On the Run, one of the biggest names in gaming history is now fully unleashed on mobile—and out to prove he’s still got the speed and skills to capture the world’s attention. Just don’t call it a comeback. He’s been here for years.
Matt Tuthill

Maybe choosing Top of the Rock for Crash Bandicoot’s Men’s Journal cover shoot wasn’t the smartest choice logistically speaking. It’s cramped up here. The photographer’s assistants are wrestling with lights and a reflective umbrella, looking like they might puke any minute, nauseated by the dizzying height. But the famed photographer insisted this New York landmark wasn’t just a great option, it was the only one.

“Crash Bandicoot is larger than life,” she says matter-of-factly. “You don’t capture the hugeness of his persona, his influence, or his place in gaming lore by taking his portrait in a studio. For a quarter of a century, the world has been at his feet. And that’s exactly what we’re here to portray.”

Her subject—that affable marsupial—is draped comfortably in a director’s chair, munching a Wumpa fruit as a hairstylist fluff s up his shiny orange coat.

“Not too much, darling,” the photographer warns. “Neat is fine, but this bandicoot is a creature of raw, untamed energy.”

A smile cracks across his face. It’s typical for Crash to let his action do the talking since he burst onto the scene in 1996 in the original Crash Bandicoot for PlayStation One. A smash hit, Crash’s first game redefined the platforming genre for the 3D realm. Two sequels followed, then Crash showed off his versatility, branching out into racing and party games.

The pure shot of adrenaline Crash delivered to players around the world soon proved too big to be contained as a Sony exclusive. Once his rookie contract expired in 2000, Crash was everywhere, appearing on virtually every console and gaming device in a wide variety of genres over the next 20 years.

But the world changed. Smartphones became the gaming device of the new millennium, and runners— which simplified gaming mechanics for touch screens so players didn’t need to push their character through the environment—exploded in popularity. Suddenly, the settings, aesthetics, and hallmark chaotic speed that Crash made famous were now everywhere, but sapped of their heart and soul, lacking an it factor that couldn’t be replicated. In short: They simply weren’t Crash.

Luckily, fans won’t have to settle for imitations much longer. On March 25, Crash will launch the 22nd game of his storied career: a new mobile adventure, Crash Bandicoot: On the Run! While the game fits neatly into the runner category, it’s so much more, offering a deep, character-driven experience that marries the very best elements of runners and platformers.

Players will get a chance to guide Crash on treacherously complex runs, smashing crates, destroying enemies with TNT, and chomping down Wumpa fruit in unique environments—from tropical jungles to snowcapped mountains to dangerous laboratories. Along the way, they’ll engage in epic boss battles against the creations of Crash’s longtime nemesis, Dr. Neo Cortex.

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