The Crash Bandicoot series of games has always been lauded for its sharp controls and clever level design. One of the areas where it showcases this is through its Bonus Levels; these are short, almost puzzle-like areas within some stages that put your platforming skills as well as problem-solving skills to the test as you figure out how to go about them.
One of the new features in Crash Bandicoot 4 is something called Flashback Tapes, a collectible item that you can get in certain stages that unlock stages that chronicle Dr. Neo Cortex’s experiments on both Crash and Coco before Crash Bandicoot 1 takes place.
In this guide, we will be looking at how to unlock Flashback Tapes in Crash Bandicoot 4 and learn more about Crash and Coco’s past through them and how to tackle the challenging stages these tapes have to offer.
What Are Flashback Tapes?
Flashback Tapes are a new kind of collectible introduced in Crash Bandicoot 4 that lets us look back to the past, before the events of Crash Bandicoot 1, and take a look at how Dr. Neo Cortex was conducting his experiments on both Crash and Coco. Throughout there series of tapes, we find out his methods as well as trains of thought when conducting his tests through narrations as you go through the flashbacks
These tapes are played out through some platforming levels, similar to the Bonus Levels found throughout the game. The only difference is their length and that they are pure platforming stages, so no Quantum Masks or any other gimmicks to be found in these stages. They also have an old TV filter to them to give you that authentic 90’s feel. These stages are also played strictly in a 2D plane, so they play and feel very similar to old school side-scrolling platformers.
How Do You Unlock Flashback Tapes?
Flashback Tapes can be found in the various stages in Crash Bandicoot 4. They are introduced in The Hazardous Wastes dimension in the Crash Compactor level. They appear as VHS tapes with the letter “N” on them. There is a total of 21 of them strewn throughout the levels.
To unlock them, you collect them as you would any collectible in the game. The first Flashback Tape will be available to you at the very start of the Crash Compactor level so it might be deceivingly easy on how to acquire them.
Except, as you play through the game, you will notice that they are made available further and further into a level. This is where you will inevitably find out that they only stay active if you do not die. If you have died before you reach where the Flashback Tape is located, the tape will be made unavailable to collect and you will need to restart the level to be able to have a shot at collecting them again.
Enhanced Shadow Option
A general tip to make your life a lot easier when doing the platforming sections of these stages is to turn on the Enhanced Shadow option. This option puts a yellow ring around your shadow when you are in the air to help you have a reference of where you will be landing. This will be a lifesaver as you traverse stages that have a lot of box to box jumps where precision is key.
This option will also help immensely when you are “selecting” boxes to land on especially when Nitro crates are involved as you can avoid them with ease and make sure that you’re landing on boxes that you need to land on.
The levels that Flashback Tapes unlock are pretty challenging so expect to fail a lot before you can get through them. These challenges are usually presented in a platforming sense or a puzzle sense so a lot of trial and error would be expected from them. Luckily, some of the longer levels have Checkpoint Boxes on them to help alleviate the difficulty a little bit. Deaths also do not really count as lives are not spent on these levels, nor do they have any death limits.
Overall though, the Flashback Tape levels are a great addition to the game as it just ramps up the greatness of the Bonus Levels to eleven. The story hidden behind them is also great as it uncovers a lot more history from the bandicoots’ past, as well as Dr. Neo Cortex’s.