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I'm currently playing the original Crash Bandicoot on the PS1. It turns out I only had the second and third one when I was a kid and not the original. I have found out that you are only allowed to save the game when you complete a bonus round. So it appears to me that, if I play through the game casually then I will save on most levels because they seem to normally have bonus rounds. However, when I return to a level the bonus round tokens do not reappear, so I wouldn't for example be able to just keep playing the bonus round on Jungle Rollers when I want to save.

Then it looks like if I want to return to a level and try and get the gem by smashing all the boxes, then I won't be able to save the game afterwards unless I beat the bonus round of a level I've not yet completed. Is this true? Maybe there is some other way of saving the game that comes later on that I'm not yet aware of?

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Long and short of it is yes, the bonus levels are the only place to save the game (emphasis mine):

When you get a gem or a key, the game only saves the fact that you've earned one. That means if you think you get LEVEL PROGRESS saved, it's goodbye to that progress if you quit. Even though you get a chance to save after Key Bonus Rounds, it only saves the fact that you got a key.

[...]

Even the manuals state this thing:

PAL manual quotes: "BONUS ROUNDS - A CHANCE TO SAVE CRASH" -Talking about Tawna Bonus Round If Crash makes it to the end of the Bonus Round then the percentage of the adventure you've completed is displayed. You can then save your progress by making crash jump onto the Sparkling Transport Pad." -Only talk about saving

NTSC/U manual quotes: "An in-game Saving System allows you to record data to a memory card at certain SAVE POINTS during the game." -OK, good quote "The SAVE POINTS are located in the Tawna Bonus Rounds. At various other points you will be given the opportunity to record the fact that you've earned a gem or key." -See, even US manual says this "You can only save on Tawna Rounds." -This is seen later

Source

I'd say the reason they introduced the manual saving system is due to this "partial" save system.

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  • Oh I see I didn't realise that it would also save the game when I get a gem or a key, that is much more forgiving. I have the PAL manual so makes sense I didn't find that part.
    – Jojo
    Nov 10, 2022 at 8:05
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You should be able to use the password system to save your progress instead of memory cards.

Assuming this page is correct, then this system should let you save your progress passwords

"at the completion of a Tawna bonus round, a Cortex bonus round after collecting a key, or at the end of a level when collecting a gem"

If I'm understanding it correctly, the "show password" button on those save screens should have a code that can be used on the main title screen to load your progress to the point when you got the password.

I'm not sure if these passwords perfectly record your progress, but based on the link I found, the longer "super passwords" have over 8 million valid super passwords, so that should be able to account for any varying state of completion of the game (including progress out of order that is not possible without passwords).

Super passwords are 24 characters long and record level, gem, and key progress, while regular passwords are only 8 long, and dont record gem progress (so there are only 124 valid short passwords).

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  • Interesting to learn about the passwords, thanks!
    – Jojo
    Nov 11, 2022 at 9:46
  • For what I remember, passwords worked correctly and were able to save level progress and other collectibles (depending on normal/super ones), but not lives count.
    – pinckerman
    Nov 12, 2022 at 15:28
  • @pinckerman each character of the password is 2 bits of info, so you have 48 bits altogether. I don't know what the maximum number of lives is, but say 63 max would take up 6 of the 48 bits. I concluded that this would take too much of the required space and assumed that lives count is not included
    – Jojo
    Nov 20, 2022 at 16:39
  • @Joe the maximum number of lives is 99
    – pinckerman
    Nov 20, 2022 at 16:56
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    @pinckerman then you'd need 7 of 48 bits
    – Jojo
    Nov 20, 2022 at 17:11

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