[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/crash1_4304.jpg]]

In an effort to create a bunch of anthropomorphic, hyper-intelligent animals to serve as an army to lead them to world domination, Dr. Neo Cortex and Dr. Nitrus Brio create the Evolv-O-Ray, a device that can mutate any animal into a super-strong, hyper-intelligent warrior, and the Cortex Vortex, a brain manipulation device that can make anyone and anything a blind follower of Cortex's orders. One of their first experiments with the Evolv-O-Ray is Crash, a bandicoot snatched from the local island wilderness and chosen to serve as the leader of Cortex's army. However, the Cortex Vortex fails on Crash, and he is discarded as a failed specimen while Cortex and Brio prepare to experiment on Crash's love interest, Tawna. The next day, Crash washes up on the shores of N. Sanity Beach and vows to defeat Cortex and rescue Tawna from his fortress, with the help of a native mask spirit named Aku Aku who wants Crash to take down Cortex so he'll stop polluting the islands.

----
!!This game contains examples of:

* OneUp: VideoGameLives are provided by icons of Crash's mug, each accompanied by a *cha-ching* sound.
* TheAhnold: According to WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue, Koala Kong became an Hollywood actor, and is currently having sessions about his accent.
* BackTracking: Levels, like "N. Sanity Beach" and "Cortex Power", require backtracking if the player wants to break all boxes, and some levels can't be cleared of boxes at all without earning gems from later levels first.
* BlackoutBasement: Levels "Lights Out" and "Fumbling in the Dark" barely have any light in them. For extra challenge, Aku Aku masks act as temporary lighting in them and If the player gets hit, they really are stuck fumbling in the dark.
* BonusStage: There are three kinds of bonus stages; The Tawna stages that are mostly easy and act as save points, Brio stages that are much harder but provide plenty of of one-ups, and Cortex stages that are ''even'' harder but require to be completed for HundredPercentCompletion.
* BossArenaIdiocy: Sure thing Ripper, just jump in that exact same pattern so we can blow up the TNT right next to you.
* BottomlessPits: Even the ones with noticeable bottom act like one.
* ButtonMashing: Pressing Square (the spin attack) too rapidly causes Crash to stall and make an odd noise. You have to wait a couple seconds before you're able to spin again. This was presumably put in so players couldn't just [[GameBreaker spin their way through everything.]] This feature was also present in the next two sequels.
* CheckPoint: The C-crates.
* CheckPointStarvation: Getting a gem in a level requires destroying all the boxes and not dying once.
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Tawna pretty much disappeared from the series after this game.
* CrateExpectations: How else are you going to store all of those wumpas?
* DamselInDistress: Tawna is abducted by the scientists and about to be experimented upon. Crash has to rescue her.
* DifficultyByRegion: The first boss, Papu Papu, has five hit points in the Japanese version (instead of three) and after the third hit, he starts attacking faster. Also, the password system was removed, forcing you to rely on saves (which were limited to the Tawna Bonus Rounds and after getting gems).
** On the other hand, part of the level "The High Road" was removed, [[ThatOneLevel "Sunset Vista"]] was moved later in the game (switched with "Slippery Climb"), and Aku Aku sometimes gives you hints.
*** Aku Aku's hints also appear in the Japanese versions [[VideoGame/CrashBandicoot2CortexStrikesBack of]] [[VideoGame/CrashBandicoot3Warped the]] [[VideoGame/CrashBandicootTheWrathOfCortex sequels]].
** In the PAL version, Ripper Roo jumps more slowly, but "The Lab" has only one checkpoint instead of two.
* DummiedOut: "Stormy Ascent", the harder version of "[[ThatOneLevel Slippery Climb]]", was taken out at the last minute for being too difficult. It still exists in a mostly complete form (everything but the bonus level) and can be played with a Gameshark code.
* DynamicDifficulty: After few deaths, you'll get a free Aku Aku mask to help you.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness:
** The only ''Crash'' game with a world map.
** Saving is rather non-standard, involving collecting three of a certain type of token.
** The game features tokens leading to bonus rounds.
** The game features passwords largely overshadowing the save system.
** Keys never reappeared.
** As for more minor differences, the following two games use a completely different character model for Crash[[note]]except for certain death animations[[/note]]. Crash also moves somewhat slower, and he didn't have his slide and belly flop back in the day.
* EternalEngine: "Heavy Machinery" and "Castle Machinery".
* EvilLaugh: The gangster enemies in "Cortex Power" and "Toxic Waste" let out one when they start shooting at you.
* ExplodingBarrels: The TNT crates. The gangsters in Toxic Waste also throw actual exploding barrels at you.
* FollowTheMoney: The suspicious wumpas that seemnigly lead into nowhere in "Jaws of Darkness" lead a way to extra crates.
* FourEyesZeroSoul: The lab assistants.
* FakeDifficulty: Of the LeapOfFaith variety when dealing with Gems. "Road to Nowhere" and "The High Road" both involve making jumps onto invisible platforms that only appear when you touch them to get some out of the way boxes. Due to how Crash's shadow doesn't vanish when jumping over a bottomless pit (as you would expect), there's no way to tell where the platforms are. More invisible platforms appear elsewhere (of the iron box and falling varieties) that at least have the decency to be marked by some Wumpa Fruit, and there's at least one instance where a box is stashed away behind the background, where by all means it seems you should die by trying to go there.
* FullBoarAction: Boars appears as unkillable enemies in the bridge levels. You also get to ride one in "Hog Wild" and "Whole Hog".
* GiantEnemyCrab: Very first enemy that you come across in (and only in) "N. Sanity Beach".
* GiantSpider: Appears as enemies in the dark temple and castle levels.
* TheGoomba: the GiantEnemyCrab above. Just moves from side to side, and very vulnerable.
* GoombaStomp: Crash's secondary method of beating his foes.
* GreenHillZone / PalmtreePanic: "N. Sanity Beach".
* GunsAkimbo: The gangster enemies in "Cortex Power" are armed with two machineguns.
* HalfTheManHeUsedToBe: Since the snakes in dark temple levels have no lower body, defeating them gives an impression that Crash is spin attacking them in half.
* IShouldWriteABookAboutThis: According to WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue, Ripper Roo went into studying and wrote a book about his experiences as an Evolv-O-Ray subject.
* IdleAnimation: Leave the controller alone and Crash starts throwing wumpa fruits in the air...which then land on his head.
* JigglePhysics: The only reason Naughty Dog's character designers thought it was a good idea to include Papu Papu as a boss was because the animators loved to animate jiggling fat.
* JungleJapes: "Jungle Rollers" and "Rolling Stones".
* LaughingMad: Ripper Roo.
* MadScientistLaboratory: "The Lab", which is filled with electornic equipment and yellow slime enemies.
* ManEatingPlant: Encountered in the early jungle stages, river stages and in one secret underground path.
* ManiacMonkeys: encountered in The Great Gate and Native Fortress levels.
* NoDeathRun: One way to earn a gem is to break all the crates ''and not lose a single life''. Alternatively, you can get the gem after dying in a level - as long as you don't respawn from a checkpoint. Because the checkpoint doesn't remember the crates you broke.
* NonLethalBottomlessPits: There are some seemingly bottomless pits that actually contain hidden crates, available after the proper colored gem is acquired. Frustratingly, you die if you fall into the pit without physically touching the gem platform, even after you have the gem.
* NoOshaCompliance: The factory/machinery levels look too dangerous to be manned. Even worse with Cortex Power and Toxic Waste, with crazy-shooting and toxic barrel-tossing gangsters guarding the places.
* NoSidepathsNoExplorationNoFreedom: the Crash Bandicoot series plays pretty much like a polygonal ''SuperMarioBros'' game, and the linearity of the levels is the obvious result, regardless of the game having 3D graphics.
* OneWingedAngel: After taking enough damage, N. Brio will drink his own concoctions and turns into giant green monstrosity.
* PasswordSave: An alternative for those who didn't have a memory card back in the day.
* PowerupMount: The boar levels.
* PuzzleBoss: Ripper Roo, who hops around the arena as conveniently appearing TNT boxes float by.
* RodentsOfUnusualSize: Encountered in the BlackoutBasement levels.
* RollingAttack: The monkeys in fortress and river levels do this, and player must wait them to stop it before spinning them away.
* RuinsForRuinsSake: The Lost City and Sunset Vista levels.
* SaveGameLimits: You can only save your game by completing bonus stages and collecting gems.
* ShoutOut: Several.
** Generator Room: Cortex's dead-eyed face is shown through screen, to remind everyone that "BigBrotherIsWatching". [[Literature/NineteenEightyFour No points for guessing the reference.]]
** Pinstripe Potoroo (Boss Stage): a Boss Battle in a wrecked office, with Pinstripe [[Film/{{Scarface 1983}} laughing like crazy while shooting everywhere with his machine gun.]]
** Rolling Stones: [[Music/RollingStones the level's title, duh.]]
** Boulders: while IndyEscape is used in later games too, this is the only time where the reference to ''Franchise/IndianaJones'' is this clear.
*** Boulder Dash: aside from the aforementioned Indy Escape thing, the level's name isn't just a pun on "balderdash" by itself; the fact you're running away from a boulder makes it a reference to the actual ''VideoGame/BoulderDash'' game, too.
** Nitrus Brio (Boss Stage): Brio isn't just a case of JekyllAndHyde; the "monster" persona is also [[TheIncredibleHulk green, reckless and with his crotch being the only clothed body part.]]
** Heck, even the first stage, N. Sanity Beach, joins the reference fun, although it's very subtle about it, once you realize [[VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry it's a mostly jungle-based first level with two different songs playing.]]
* SingleUseShield: Aku Aku works as this, but collecting 2 of him will up his protection count by 2, and collecting a third makes you [[InvincibilityPowerUp temporarily invulnerable]].
* SoftWater: Crash survives the fall from Cortex's castle into the water in the opening cinematic.
* SpinAttack: Crash's main weapon.
* StockScream: The Lab assistant enemies let out a Howie Scream when they fall to their doom.
* SuperDrowningSkills: Crash vanishes as soon as he falls into water in "Upstream" and "Up The Creek".
* SurveillanceDrone: They start appearing as enemies in the third island.
* TacticalSuicideBoss: Cortex. Why does he keep firing those green Plasma Blasts at Crash when he knows that he will just [[HoistByHisOwnPetard spin them back at him?]]
** N. Brio can choose to keep throwing exploding beakers and yet he still throws his slime monsters that depletes his health if Crash beats them. Turning into Hulk-like monster makes him vulnerable as well.
* TakeItToTheBridge: "Road to Nowhere" and "The High Road". Watch out for the SpikesOfDoom below.
* TempleOfDoom: "Temple Ruins" and "Jaws of Darkness".
* TennisBoss: The fights against Koala Kong (spin back certain boulders) and Dr. Cortex (spin back those conveniently slower green blasts).
* TopHeavyGuy: The gangsters in "Cortex Power" and "Toxic Waste". In fact, they don't seem to have any legs at all.
** Koala Kong as well.
* TurtlePower: Turtles are regular enemies. Their shells also make excellent springboards.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: Available after 100% completion.
----