As we’ve gone over, and as the developers freely admit, the original Crash Bandicoot is easily the hardest game featured in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, and it’s certainly the hardest in the series, considering those god-awful Banjo-Kazooie-like sequels that followed. While the hardest level in the original has to be the pairing of The Road to Nowhere and High Road, honorable mention needs to be given to Native Fortress.
In this level, margin for error is all but eliminated, and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy‘s sensitive ledges don’t help much either. Native Fortress has you go vertical and horizontal, avoiding spikes, bandicoot-eating plants, natives, flames and gravity itself. Even checkpoints are often on the smallest of platforms.
But, fortunately, there is a workaround – a hidden route that bypasses a good chunk of this danger, taking you almost from one checkpoint to the other during the level’s most contentious time. Once you get to the Native Fortress’ highest level (OK, not quite, if you count the area with the Red Gem, but still), you’ll see a turtle below a box filled with fruit. On the same platform is a Venus Fly Trap plant. Once you get rid of the turtle and the box, you’ll notice that one of the poles in the background doesn’t comes to a point. If you jump on that, here’s what you can do:
If you haven’t played this level, it may not seem like a huge deal, as it only skips about 15 seconds of the map, but this is during the most difficult part of the level, and you’ll easily bypass Five spike poles, four flame tramps, one native and one venus fly trap, all just by holding left.
The best part is that this isn’t a glitch or an exploit, akin to walking on the ropes of The Road to Nowhere or High Road, so you don’t have to turn in your hardcore gamer card. It’s clearly an intended hidden shortcut that you will probably miss if you don’t already know its there. Furthermore, this shortcut won’t make you miss any boxes, and Native Fortress doesn’t require you beat the level without dying to get the gem, so you can still reach that 100% completion for Native Fortress (so long as you have collected the Red Gem later in the game).
Later in this level, there is another such opportunity. While it’s not a shortcut, you will probably die a lot trying to complete Native Fortress without this. A little bit past this first shortcut, you’ll come to three fire traps in succession, requiring you to bounce on each one without getting burned. More often than not, you’ll die on the third trap, because you couldn’t jump quickly enough. But, if you’re a hawk-eyed or experience Crash Bandicoot player, you’ll notice another pole that doesn’t come to a point right above the second fire trap. After jumping on the second trap, simply hold forward for a second or two to land on the platform. You can even jump behind it to get an hidden extra life.
As a bonus tip for those attempting to get the Speed-Run relic for Native Fortress, you can jump and spin at the same time when traversing those spinning log platforms. This will save you a good 2-3 seconds each time, if you simply spin while you jump up to the next platform, you’ll be able to spin the log platform on your way.