Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure, known as Crash Bandicoot XS in Europe and Crash Bandicoot Advance in Japan, is the first portable installment in the Crash Bandicoot series, developed by Vicarious Visions for the Game Boy Advance in 2002. While pared down and almost entirely a 2D platformer compared to the console series, the game was generally critically acclaimed, and was the highest rated original Crash Bandicoot game on Metacritic that wasn't developed by Naughty Dog until Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time.
Following Uka Uka's disappointment for Cortex having failed him again, Cortex promises he has a new plan that will not fail. He builds a Shrink Ray that minimizes the Earth down to the size of his hand, and it's up to Crash to try and stop him by collecting Crystals to power up Coco's machine that can reverse the shrinking effects.
Vicarious Visions followed The Huge Adventure with two sequels with the same basic gameplay: 2003's Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced (basically a Mission-Pack Sequel with additional features such as gem shards and different levels), and 2004's Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage (a Spyro the Dragon Crossover with more mini-games), plus a handheld version of Crash Nitro Kart in between.
Tropes used in this game:
- Advancing Wall of Doom:
- The snow levels have you outrunning a giant yeti; not only are you running towards the camera in this game like all the others, the camera is the farthest zoomed in it's ever been for these segments, making it quite difficult to react to things coming at you.
- The true final 'fight' against Mega-Mix requires you to use the Crash Dash (here called Turbo Run) in order to escape its clutches.
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: As with every Crash Bandicoot game until recently, the game was given cuter designs in the Japanese release.
- Anti-Frustration Features:
- Just like in past games, this game will supply you with a free Aku Aku mask after enough failures. Unlike the past games, this game requires you to die a lot more before it gives you one.
- The game has a lot of Fake Difficulty due to the cramped GBA screen, which would make the Time Trials difficult as well because of all the things coming from off screen and the leaps of faith. And yet, the times for the Platinum Relics are pretty generous. If you play at your absolute best, You can win the Platinum by about 15-20 seconds.
- Backtracking: One of the space levels requires you to skip a life crate situated above some nitro crates barricaded by two walls, hit the green exclamation box at the end of the level, and backtrack to get the life crate. However, you can avoid having to do this if you sacrifice an Aku Aku mask on the nitros.
- Bag of Spilling: Crash retains absolutely none of the powers he obtained in Warped for this game. This would make it the second time this happened after Wrath of Cortex.
- Bears Are Bad News: Averted with Polar, who once again appears as a Power Up Mount for Crash in the ice levels, but played straight with the bigger polar bears, who went from an Advancing Wall of Doom in the second game to a minor enemy in this one.
- Bonus Stage: The bonus stages from Cortex Strikes Back and Warped return here, with the difficulty of them ramped up pretty significantly.
- Crate Expectations: As with previous Crash games, the levels are filled with boxes which the player should break in order to obtain Gems.
- Cut and Paste Environments: All of the game's set pieces are taken from either Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back or Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, which you probably figured out by reading just up to this point. The game makes a heavier use of 2's environments, but Crash 3 elements still crop up here and there.
- Demoted to Extra: Despite having been previously playable in Warped and Wrath of Cortex, Crash's sister Coco gets downgraded to an NPC in this game.
- Down the Drain: The sewer levels from Cortex Strikes Back are featured in this game.
- Fake Difficulty: Due to the limited resolution of the Game Boy Advance screen, sometimes it's impossible to see the platforms Crash is supposed to land on after a jump, leading to leaps of faith.
- Fusion Dance: The final boss is Mega-Mix, a monstrous amalgamation of the four antagonists that comes to life after Crash accidentally causes Cortex's shrink ray to zap them simultaneously.
- Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: The bosses are significantly easier than the levels that surround them, mostly sticking to very predictable and easy to dodge patterns.
- Incredible Shrinking Man: More like Incredible Shrinking Planet. This of course means that practically all of the gameplay stays in proportion with Crash.
- Jet Pack: Particularly unusually, this game not only brings back the jet pack from Crash 2, it uses it in a Crash 3 set piece (that is, the airplane levels).
- Jungle Japes: The jungle levels from Cortex Strikes Back appear here.
- The Many Deaths of You: Downplayed. Though some death animations from previous games return, the hardware limitations means that the angel transformation is the most recurring one, as it's used for almost every enemy and hazard.
- Market-Based Title: This game is called Crash Bandicoot XS in Europe (which likely stands for "Xtra Small").
- Power Up Mount: Polar makes a return in this game, helping Crash evade a Yeti during the snow levels' 3D sections.
- Put on a Bus: Dr. Nefarious Tropy is the only major character from Warped to be absent. The sequel uses this as part of its setup.
- Recycled Soundtrack: As with the Cut and Paste Environments, all of this game's music is recycled from 2 and 3.
- Shrink Ray: Cortex shrinking planet Earth to the size of a grape is what sets the plot in motion.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The ice levels from Cortex Strikes Back are featured here.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Given that the game runs entirely on a Recycled Soundtrack, this is to be expected. However, the game predominantly subverts this trope, using songs from Cortex Strikes Back and Warped where they should be. ...With four exceptions.
- Space Zone: The space station levels from Cortex Strikes Back make a return, but with enemies that came from Warped's future-themed levels.
- Sprint Shoes: The last obtainable power is the Turbo Run, which is acquired after beating the final boss. It lets the player sprint by holding the L button.
- Time Trial: After completing a level for the first time, the player can revisit it to enter Time Trial mode. Finishing the stages under a set amount of time rewards Crash with Relics, which are necessary to unlock the true ending.
- True Final Boss: Mega-Mix, an accidental Fusion Dance consisting of all 4 bosses in the game. Though it's more of a chase than a boss fight.
- Under the Sea: The underwater levels from Warped make an appearance here.