Crash Bandicoot (1996) — 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.
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (1997) — One year after the original game, Cortex turns to Crash for help in an effort to prevent the planet Earth from facing certain doom. All the planets in the solar system will align soon, and, according to Cortex, create enough energy to tear the world apart. His solution to the crisis lies in crystals: In the aftermath of the original game he discovered the Master Crystal, but that alone will not be enough - he needs Crash to collect 25 Slave Crystals so he can contain the energy of the planetary alignment and save Earth. He's bluffing. His actual plan is to use the crystals to power a massive Cortex Vortex and turn everyone on Earth into his mindless slaves.
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (1998) — In the aftermath of Crash 2, an evil elemental mask named Uka Uka is freed from his underground prison, and is revealed to have been the true mastermind behind Neo Cortex's schemes. Seeing as Crash had already collected all the crystals and gems on Earth at the end of Crash 2 and the planet is left without a proper power source for Cortex to use for his next scheme, Uka Uka decides to recruit a scientist by the name of N. Tropy to create the Time Twister, a time machine which Cortex and Uka Uka can use to retrieve the crystals from past and future eras. With the help of Uka Uka's counterpart, Aku Aku, Crash and Coco Bandicoot race to the Time Twister to collect the crystals again before Cortex and Uka Uka get a chance to do so.
Crash Team Racing (1999) — The cast of the previous three games decide to organize a go-karting championship for no apparent reason, until an invading alien named Nitros Oxide arrives, claiming to be the greatest racer in the galaxy and inviting the people of Earth to bring forth their fastest racer to compete against him in a race. Should Oxide win the race, however, he threatens to turn the planet into an intergalactic parking lot and make slaves of all its natives, so the logical thing to do is to organize a championship to see who gets the honour of racing against Oxide and saving Earth once again.
Crash Bash (2000) — The Great Uka Uka decides that it's time to settle his conflict with Aku Aku once and for all, but Aku Aku informs him that they can't fight directly as it is forbidden by the ancients, so he instead suggests that they hold a contest to determine the resolution. Uka Uka relents, and they summon Crash and Cortex to choose their partners. However, Cortex chooses too many players (Koala Kong, Dingodile, N. Brio, Tiny Tiger, and newcomer Rilla Roo), while Crash only has Coco by his side. Aku Aku forces Cortex to relinquish Tiny and Dingodile to the good side to make both sides even, and the contest finally starts.
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (2001) — Intending to make up for his past failures, Cortex creates a secret weapon to destroy Crash — a bandicoot named Crunch. To give Crunch the power he needs to accomplish this, Cortex frees the Elementals, a group of masks with destructive powers overearth, water, fire, and air. Meanwhile, Crash and his friends become aware of the natural disasters occurring due to the Elementals, and use Coco's new Portal Chamber to once again collect crystals in order to seal away the Elementals again and stop Crunch and Cortex at all costs. This was the first game to make a leap to a next-gen console, developed by Traveler's Tales' Knutsford division and originally released on the PlayStation 2 and later ported to the Xbox and Nintendo GameCube.
Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure (XS in Europe, 2002) — Cortex develops the Planetary Minimizer and uses it to shrink the earth. Crash learns of this and sets off to retrieve yet more crystals so that Coco can reverse the effects. This is the first game developed by Vicarious Visions. This is also the first Crash game developed for a handheld console (the Game Boy Advance). The selection ofVideo Game Settings makes this game a bit of a portable version of Crash 2, with a bit of Crash 3 thrown in.
Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced (2003) — After the previous game ended with Cortex trapped in his destroyed space station and lost in space, Uka Uka decides to make N. Tropy into his right-hand man in his place. N. Tropy's first act under Uka Uka's employ is to look into the future, and sees a vision of himself surrounded by Crash, Coco, and Crunch. He interprets this as the bandicoots joining their side, so he brings out a new recruit named N. Trance, with the intent on making the bandicoots Brainwashed and Crazy. They proceed to pull the bandicoots into their dimensional hideout, but Aku Aku interferes when they attempt to take Crash, and the villains unknowingly end up taking Fake Crash. Crash must now travel between dimensions, gathering crystals, freeing his friends and Fake Crash from the hypnotism, and stopping N. Tropy and N. Trance from doing any further harm. The second portable game. This one ends with Uka Uka witnessing his failure yet again and deciding to forgo all dragons and take on Crash himself. This plot thread is Left Hanging. Similarly to The Huge Adventure, the selection ofVideo Game Settings makes this game a bit of a portable version of Crash 3, with a bit of Crash 2 thrown in.
Crash Nitro Kart (2003) — One day, Crash and his friends are going about their day when they are suddenly abducted by a UFO. Around the same time, Cortex is working on yet another plot to destroy Crash when he gets abducted as well. Crash and Cortex find themselves in a galactic racing circuit, where the ruler of the galaxy, Emperor Velo XXVII, forces them to race for his people's entertainment until they can go free, or let the Earth be destroyed. With no other choice, Crash and Cortex agree to participate in the races. The second racing game and the first console Crash game developed by Vicarious Visions, Nitro Kart was to Crash Team Racing what Wrath of Cortex was to Crash 3.
Crash Twinsanity (2004) — Cortex lures Crash into a trap in yet another attempt do destroy the bandicoot, but they are interrupted by the arrival of strange evil twin parrots from another dimension who want to destroy the world and seem to have some sort of grudge against Cortex. Crash and Cortex have no choice but to team up and stop the twins from wreaking havoc. Developed by Traveller's Tales' Oxford division.
Crash Tag Team Racing (2005) — A popular autoracing theme park with a high casuality rate has its Power Gems stolen, and its founder, Ebeneezer Von Clutch, recruits Crash and Cortex to help find them and bring them back before the park is shut down, with Von Clutch himself going down with it, as his life depends on one of his gems. Whoever finds all the Power Gems first gets to be the new owner of Von Clutch's MotorWorld. This is the third racing game in the franchise, and the first Crash game to be developed by Radical Entertainment. The game was an attempt at combining everything the Crash games had ever been, including platforming sections and minigames in between the racing. On top of that, several changes went afoot - Crunch suddenly transformed into an Affectionate Parody of Mr. T for no apparent reason, Cortex started showing himself to be even more of a woobie than in Twinsanity, and above all, Crash finally gained a voice (Albeit talking entirely in gibberish).
Crash Boom Bang! (2006) — A Tasmanian devil called the Viscount is searching for the fabled Super Big Power Crystal as it has the power to grant wishes, but as his quest is ending in failure, he decides to con unsuspecting people into helping him, so he sends them invitations to the "World Cannonball Race". Of course, Crash and Cortex are among those who are invited. The Viscount sends the contestants to find and give him four stone tablets (so the location of the crystal can be revealed), but Cortex ruins everything by attempting to steal the map and ends up tearing it apart. This makes the Viscount confess the truth of the situation to everyone, so they are willing to help him find the Crystal in turn for a great sum of money. This is the second party game to be released, and is developed by Dimps, being the first game to be developed by a Japanese company.
Crash of the Titans (2007) — Cortex has been stealing mojo from the Temple of Zoom to create an army of Titans and is constructing a Humongous Mecha called the Doominator. He even goes as far as to capture Coco. However, Uka Uka decides to fire Cortex and appoint Nina in his place. She immediately takes over her uncle's operations and brainwashes Coco to work on the Doominator. Crash must stop Nina by "jacking" the various Titans they've created and using their powers to progress through the level. The first Crash game developed for seventh-generation consoles (Wii and Xbox 360, as well as the PS2, being the Daddy System it is) and the first main game developed by Radical Entertainment, it was most notable for the introduction of a major character redesign to the entire cast and a horde of Powerup Mounts in the eponymous Titans.
Crash: Mind Over Mutant (2008) — Cortex and N. Brio reunite to develop a personal digital assistant called the NV in order to control the now-dormant Titans and bandicoots. Crunch and Coco become affected, but Crash does not, once again leaving it up to him to save the day.
Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D (2008) — A racing mobile game published by Activision. Cortex teams up with Oxide and they stage a racing tournament to challenge the protagonists, where the losing team is banished from N. Sanity Island. Later got a sequel titled Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 2 which is essentially the original improved in pretty much every area.
Crash Bandicoot Mutant Island (2009) — In a mashup of Titans and Mind's plots, Crash must stop Cortex when he creates a giant robot and begins distributing mind-controlling headsets to the inhabitants of the island. The game goes back to the days of old school side-scrolling platformers, with Crash running, climbing, jumping, and swinging throughout his journey. In contrast to the two games mentioned Titans are the game's bosses, where there are only 3 of them and in order to defeat them you must first climb them to tame them (by tickling them, no less) and once you've tamed them they shrink down to a more affordable size and you can summon them at any time.
Crash Nitro Kart 2 (2010) — A Java-based mobile phone racing game that is a successor to Crash Nitro KartIn Name Only, bringing back some familiar faces and adding a new one (a panda named Yaya).
Advancing Wall of Doom: A few of the earlier games had levels where you run from a giant boulder (or a giant snowball, or a giant polar bear, or a triceratops...). The worst part being that you're running toward the camera, making obstacle dodging and box collecting very much a process of trial-and-error.
Action Girl: Coco, on occasion. (Especially in Wrath of Cortex.)
Aerith and Bob: Alongside characters with names like Crash, Dingodile and Nefarious, a lot of its characters have normal names, but with the exception of Coco, they're part of a pun (Neo Cortex, Victor and Moritz).
Aliens Speaking English: Crash Team Racing and Crash Nitro Kart have aliens of several different species as villains, and all of them speak perfect English. This is especially bad in Crash Nitro Kart where Velo speaks to his fellow subjects in English.
Some of the music in the Japanese versions of early Crash Bandicoot games were altered as well. For example, there's this.
Amazing Technicolor Population: A staple of the series. Cortex has yellow skin, N. Tropy has blue skin, Nina has chalk white skin (later becoming deep blue), as does N. Gin in the Radical games, and Von Clutch from Crash Tag Team Racing has green skin. Just about the only human characters who have normal skin colors are Papu Papu, N. Brio, N. Gin prior to the Radical games and Madame Amberly.
American Kirby Is Hardcore: Crash was "cutened" up for the Japanese release. He even got a funky dance created by the Japanese that was carried back into the American versions. Some have speculated that this design change combined with Radical Entertainment's radical character redesigns that would make such things look awkward is what's making Radical's Crash games a no-go for the Japanese.
Animesque: All of the Trophy Girls in Crash Team Racing qualify to some extent, especially Megumi.
Anti-Frustration Features: In the first three games, if you failed at a level a certain number of times, the game would give you a free Aku Aku mask (an extra hit point). It would also (after many, many more failures) turn miscellaneous boxes into checkpoints (respawn points for when you do die).
Arch-Enemy: Crash Bandicoot has Doctor Neo Cortex. In the same series there is also the rivalry between sentient voodooo mask twin brothers Aku Aku and Uka Uka.
Artistic License - Geography: The series takes place on a trio of islands near Australia, and yet the fauna, flora, natives, and ruins don't match the location and resemble a more South American wilderness. Justified in that their location to the rest of the world is unknown and that the scientists are supposedly the only ones who know of the islands' existence. MST3K Mantra also applies to this.
Art Shift: Mind Over Mutant enjoys abusing the art shift for its animated FMVs for no apparent reason other than to amplify its wackiness. Across the seventeen such scenes, there are twelve art styles used in total!
Backtracking: While the first game's lack of a crate-counter-save option (included in the checkpoints in the sequels) may hint that said game required this strategy (it didn't; dying usually requires you to start over the level in order to get the 100% Completion), Crash Bandicoot 2 pretty much ran on this. It was actually what may or may not have discouraged many gamers from fully completing the game, especially given that you couldn't rotate the camera (it zooms out if you backtrack, though) and, most infuriatingly, some levels are insanely difficult to backtrack. To wit: Diggin' It. You need to backtrack after getting a few crates in the skull route, in order to get roughly seven more crates or so. It wouldn't be so difficult if there wasn't an un-destroyable Mook Maker, a beehive. And every Bee was defeatable, but you didn't see until it was too late; the only way you could expect it was its buzzing.
Twinsanity: The Evil Twins of the main plot, N. Tropy of the sub-plot.
Tag Team Racing: Willy Wumpa Cheeks
Crash of the Titans: Uka Uka or Cortex. Until the first boss, when it becomes Uka Uka or Nina.
Mind Over Mutant: Cortex or no one else. He firmly takes control here and overpowers Uka Uka.
Big Ball of Violence: Crash Twinsanity has this as a gameplay feature during moments when Cortex just gets too pissed off at Crash and the two end up as this. The player then has to roll them like a hamster ball through the upcoming obstacle course. If the ball is left still, an Idle Animation will play of one of the two characters getting the upper hand, including one where Cortex... spanks Crash...
Bilingual Bonus: Von Clutch occasionally throws some German into his otherwise mostly English dialogue. (Also overlaps with Poirot Speak.)
Blackout Basement: Common in the series: The first game features the levels "Lights Out" and the hidden level "Fumbling in the Dark", where the player has to pick up an Aku Aku mask for illumination. Get hit once or dilly-dally around too long without picking up a new mask, and you lose your light source. The sequels swapped these out for glowing insects, keeping the time limit but removing the one-hit penalty. The second game includes the levels "Night Flight" and the secret "Totally Fly", while the third only features one such level, named "Bug Lite".
Bonus Stage: The first Crash Bandicoot had bonus stages that could be gotten to by collecting three of certain items. The later games had two on each level, which you just had to step on a pad to get to, although one of them would only show up if you got to a certain point without dying.
Bootstrapped Theme: Crash Bandicoot: Warped's main theme became the theme of the whole series for a while.
Boss Arena Idiocy: In the first game, Ripper Roo is invincible. The only way to harm him is to jump on TNT that's moving down the river between the two platforms and hope that the explosion hurts Ripper Roo. In the third game, Doctor Nefarious Tropy is... not invincible. However, he has you at the far end of the arena from him, and thus you can't do a thing, not having a distance attack. Until he switches the platforms to create a direct trail to him... and then takes that moment to catch his breath and stop attacking you.
Tropy actually is invincible if he's not dazed, which you can find out if you return after beating him with the Death Tornado Spin.
In the same game, Dingodile, who is also not invincible. However, he is protected by a barrier of crystals... until he decides to blast you with his flamethrower through it, destroying large chunks of it with each shot.
Bottomless Pits: A staple of the series, usually accompanied with a whistling sound as Crash falls to his doom.
Brains and Brawn: Crash Bandicoot and Doctor Neo Cortex in Crash Twinsanity, though Cortex initially considers it a combination of his brilliant intellect and Crash's vacuous stupidity at first. In the end, most of the time Crash just winds up whacking things with Cortex.
Also, the Komodo Bros. Komodo Joe is lean yet intelligent, Komodo Moe is brawny yet... not so intelligent. The two make a formidible team.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Done a lot in the series. In The Wrath of Cortex, Crunch is brainwashed by Cortex to work with the Elementals and try to kill Crash. In Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced, Crunch, Coco and Fake Crash are brainwashed by N. Trance into trying to kill Crash. In Crash Nitro Kart, N. Trance brainwashes Polar, Pura and Dingodile to form an entire race team to put against the Bandicoot. In Crash of the Titans, Coco is brainwashed to work on the Doominator (thus trying to wipe out Wumpa Island... and kill Crash). In Mind Over Mutant, Crunch, Coco, and a lot of mutants are brainwashed with the NVs to turn evil... and try to kill Crash. Let's do some maths; not counting the mutants, there have been ten cases of brainwashing, six individuals involved, across five games, with two of the individuals being brainwashed and crazy three times. This does not take into consideration all the mutants in the latter-most game, which could make the individuals and cases into the hundreds or thousands. Oh, and we haven't even mentioned the whole deal with the Cortex Vortex and Cortex Commandos. If Code Geass is "Brainwashed: the Series", Crash Bandicoot is easily "Brainwashed and Crazy: the Series".
Breaking the Fourth Wall: The later games have some notable instances. In Crash Twinsanity, a skunk in one of the opening stages expresses his displeasure at having acted as a common enemy to get stomped on for ten years, and a group of penguins hold Cortex hostage for his power crystal, with him arguing that the reason that he couldn't pay them was because The Wrath of Cortex didn't sell as well as he had hoped. In Crash of The Titans, Tiny Tiger berates Crash for not including him in the previous video game (Crash Tag Team Racing), and Uka Uka prolongs a cutscene so he can enjoy the dramatic music. Mind Over Mutant features Nitrus Brio angrily shouting out how he was in the first game.
Also, during some of the Enemy Chatter in Titans, the Voodoo Bunnies are discussing Uka Uka's personality issues, saying that he's feeling self-conscious about not having a body, and mentioning that "He had body briefly in Twinsanity, but that was no fun for nobody".
Brick Joke: In one cutscene in Mind Over Mutant, Cortex complains about finding a piece of lettuce in the urinal, wondering who would eat a sandwich while using the bathroom. After he's defeated for good and the space station is falling, a random Mook walks out of the bathroom, eating a sandwich.
Park Drone: Again, you come back to haunt me?! Like some kind of haunting thing?! Haunting... and coming back?!
Actually seems to be a favored trope with the newer Radical games, a large amount of random gameplay quotes not devoted to cultural parody humor usually have the characters go blank and irregularly mangle their sentence, outtake style. even Big Bads like Cortex and Uka Uka drift into this on occasion though Coco is perhaps the biggest culprit...and stuff.
The Brute: Tiny, a gigantic, overly muscled brute of a chihuahua, who prefers attempting to bellyflop Crash flat or smashing him with his muscles.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Tawna, Crash's girlfriend from the first game, was pretty much removed from the series from the second game and onward, after her intended character design was bowdlerized from the original concept due to executive meddling. The designers lost interest in her and came up with a flimsy excuse for her absence (she dumped Crash for Pinstripe Potoroo of all characters). Her sole return appearance so far was in Crash Boom Bang, the lowest rated game in the series. Jason Rubin (the co-creator of the Crash Bandicoot series) revealed that shortly after the original Crash was released, Lara Croft (ironically) took the gaming world by storm, causing the marketing director of Universal Interactive Studios (the one responsible for the meddling in the first place) to leave.
N. Tropy - aside from a small cameo in Boom Bang! - hasn't been seen since Twinsanity.
Possibly justified, as Tropy is a Knight of Cerebus who, unlike Uka Uka, was not diminished as a threat in the sixth generation. Considering the Radical era made many characters much quirkier, Tropy would either stick out if not changed or cause massive backlash if he was.
Cool and Unusual Punishment: In Mind Over Mutant, Cortex starts milking Uka Uka for Bad Mojo to use to control mutants. Cortex has Grimlies feed Uka Uka cake while he's strapped to the machine so that he's horribly traumatized by the experience and unable to even touch cake again. And for good measure, they feed him a dirty piece.
Crate Expectations: Crash Bandicoot not only sees levels filled with crates, but destroying all of them in all levels are required to reach the full 100% Completion. In fact, crashing through crates is one of the series' defining gameplay elements, as well as the origin of the protagonist's name.
Creative Closing Credits / Credits Gag: Starting with Crash Tag Team Racing, the ending credits feature commentaries from assorted characters, often saying something amusing about the games' staff members. In CTTR, this was omitted from the PAL release of the game, for some reason, but the PAL versions of both Titans and Mind Over Mutant feature it. In CTTR, the commentary is provided entirely by Cortex and N. Gin, but later games feature some of the other characters, too (although less prominently).
Degraded Boss: Several of the bosses in the series, most notably Ripper Roo, Tiny, and N. Gin.
Denser and Wackier: Sort of. The series was already rather comical and zany, but it had a bit of story and was more Looney Tunes in style. The later games became much more Ren and Stimpy-ish in tone (not helped by being written by Spümcø refugees), amping the slapstick and stupidity to five hundred.
Double Unlock: 100% Completion in Crash Team Racing requires all 18 relics, which merely requires a solid time trial time in all 18 races. Oh, but one of those races is only unlocked by getting all 5 gems. Gems can be earned in cup races, which themselves are locked until you get 4 CTR tokens for each, and you need two out of four Boss Keys to even access the room with the portals to the cup races.
Down the Drain: Warped has its underwater levels which are fun but become very annoying under Time Trial mode. It also had the 'Tomb Wader' level set in a nilometer where the water level constantly shifted. Wrath of Cortex brought back the underwater stages from Warped, but due to somewhat poor level design and the horrible controls of the submarine, tended to be annoying even outside of Time Trial.
The Dragon: Nitrus Brio in Crash Bandicoot, Doctor Neo Cortex in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, Py-Ro the Fire Elemental in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, Doctor Nefarious Tropy in Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced. Tiny and N Gin also often act as Co-Dragons to Cortex through the series.
Also, Komodo Moe (his brother Joe is the "smart" one).
Dummied Out: The first game had a completely finished level called "Stormy Ascent" cut from the final version. The level resembles "Slippery Climb" in terms of design, only it's A LOT harder. The level was probably cut due to difficulty on account of being the hardest level in the original game and is probably the hardest level in the entire series.
Also, Sunset Vista was originally going to be longer and much harder.
The Wrath of Cortex uses a few areas from early development and planted new levels on top of them. Ice Station Bandicoot for example uses a small platforming area as a background under the helicopter racetrack. An unused racing and dogfight level have also been found inside the game, as well as some extra Coco animations suggesting she was meant to be more fully playable.
Twinsanity had the most dummied out content, however, with stages, alternate dimension counterparts of Coco and Cortex, and even another dimension.
Dynamic Difficulty: Added checkpoints and bonus hits in the form of a free Aku Aku mask if you die enough.
Early Installment Weirdness: Keys and random colored gems in the first game, and arbitrarily awarded gems and secret portals in the second. The first game also has the annoying issue of only being able to save in bonus rounds (which cannot be reattempted), and there are no crystals. Instead, you have to fight your way through the islands in order to defeat Cortex. Cortex also has a noticably different voice in the first game, provided by Brendan O'Brien, that sounds nothing like the deep toned Clancy Brown and Lex Lang performances that followed.
Enemy Chatter: The Xbox 360 version of Crash of the Titans has an achievement for listening to enemy chatter.
Escort Mission: Crash Twinsanity includes two Doc Amock sequences, wherein Dr. Cortex is forced to run down a preset path (while being harassed by bees, their nest and a honey-hungry bear the first time around, and by Crash's evil duplicate in the second), while Crash must take another path whilst disabling the hazards on Cortex's route. The sequences were generally well received, thanks to its exhibition of the game's excellent Cortex-abuse-centric humor.
Eternal Engine: The third quarter of the original Crash Bandicoot consists mostly of this (levels such as Heavy Machinery, Cortex Power and Generator Room), with Crash roaming through Cortex's enormous power plant which, on the surface, doesn't seem to serve much of a purpose other than to dump tons and tons of radioactive sludge into the nearby oceans.
The late game stages of the second and third Crash Bandicoot games also indulged quite a bit on this.
Everything Fades: The PS1 games just showed enemies flying into the distance after being slapped by the titular character. Unless you jumped on them, in which case they disappeared in a cloud of smoke, occasionally being flattened first.
Extended Gameplay: Both of the GBA Crash Bandicoot games have this. If you beat the final boss with all the gems in The Huge Adventure, all the bosses in the game fuse together, and you're subjected to a race to the end of an extra level before the boss hits you.In N-Tranced, collecting all the gems allows you to avert Doctor Nefarious Tropy's Villain Exit Stage Left and give you a batch of new levels, climaxing with a battle with Doctor N. Tropy himself.
Expy: The large majority of the cast have evolved into expies or parodies of celebrities or pop culture figures via Radical's redesign of the franchise (eg. Crunch is an expy of Mr. T, N. Gin is one of Peter Lorre, Tiny of Mike Tyson). One of the larger criticisms of the Radical titles is how unique characterization has been replaced with stock characters and parodies.
It is perhaps worth noting that half of these Expies in fact have closer connection to previous Expies of said celebrities. For example, Tiny and the Ratnicians probably closer resemble Dederick Tatum (Mike Tyson) and Prof. Frink (Jerry Lewis) from The Simpsons respectively than the actual figures they are based on.
Fan Disservice: This is implemented on purpose in the "N Faux Mercial" cutscene of Mind Over Mutant.
Fetish: Played for laughs in Mind Over Mutant: Walk up to the Architect in the Raticicle Kingdom while jacking a TK. As he speaks nonsense, he has a translator with him all the time. Anyways, the Translator says "The Architect is not impressed by a telekinetic chicken. I disagree! I think that thing is hot!"
Go Karting with Bowser: Judging by the way the original developers handled the franchise, Crash Bandicoot seemed to have a bit of this going on with Doctor Neo Cortex, specifically in Crash Team Racing where the good guys and bad guys are all just go-karting along before the plot happens... and then they all go-kart around some more.
Goofy Print Underwear: Several of Crash's death sequences in his second and third PlayStation games reveal he wears pink boxers with red hearts.
As an odd consequence of animation re-usenote specifically, the death animation for underwater mines, when Crash completes an underwater level in Warped, his boxers drift away along with his scuba gear.
The Wizard enemies in the third game have white boxers with pink dots.
In the Gag Reel of Tag Team Racing, Crash is wearing white boxers with red hearts instead.
At the end of Mind Over Mutant, Cortex fights Crash in his red polka-dot briefs after he hulks out of his clothes.
Green Hill Zone: N. Sanity Beach and the surrounding tropical forests in many of the Crash Bandicoot games.
Groin Attack: Happens to Cortex (via Coco's well-placed kick) in Twinsanity ("My crystals!"), and Crash also does this to a Grimly in the opening demo movie of Mind Over Mutant.
Ground Pound: Crash Bandicoot gains a Ground Pound attack in the second game, with which he can belly-flop onto unsuspecting enemies or bust open metal-enforced crates that would otherwise seem impenetrable.
Guest Racer: Spyro. In the GBA version of Crash Nitro Kart. And they note (Insomniac Games, that is.) say they have abandoned doing Spyro games because his actions are pretty limited? Why? Just look how he drives!
Guide Dang It: The secret levels, starting off in the original, where you had to guess which levels gave which colored Gems, allowing you to get the normal Gems. The third game had 2 secret levels that almost certainly needed to be performed either by accident, or with a guide. One had you crash into a specific sign in a motorcycle level, and another had a trigger where you had to get to a bonus gem level, and then die on a certain enemy, which - instead of killing you, would take you to a secret stage.
Not to mention the second game's secrets. In that game, you had to fall down a hole that normally would kill you (with no indication that you should jump down there), body slam on a specific point, and also go back after being thrown off Polar once finishing a level.
Hollywood Natives: The tribesmen of N. Sanity Island, who worship various monoliths and attempt to capture and/or eat anything that entered their territory. They are led by Papu Papu, an obese chieftain who wears a grass skirt and has his hair tied up in an elaborate tribal mask/headdress.
Hub Level: Most of the hubs from Crash 2 onwards are small rooms with a bunch of doors, but Crash Team Racing has a bigger hub akin to Diddy Kong Racing. Twinsanity, Nitro Kart and Tag Team Racing have one hub per world.
Hulk Speak: Tiny Tiger before the Radical Entertainment games.
Humans Are Bastards/HumansAreTheRealMonsters: More than half of the major villains in the Crash games are evil human scientists who pollute the environment, conduct cruel animal experimentation, and try to take over the world.
100% Completion: Several Crash Bandicoot games have taken it all the way up to 120% and above. Crash Bash features up to 200%, but good luck getting there.
Indy Escape: Every platformer game in the series has at least one of this.
Infant Immortality: Used with Polar in the second game. While Crashcan kill himself in numerous ways in the snow levels, the little bear cub is shown making his way out of each obstacle completely unscaved (in one Crash's angel is even shown ascending upward carrying the still alive and unharmed Polar in his arms). Used near identically with Pura in Warped (at least one instance subverts this however, with Coco jumping out of harm's way just before the baby tiger runs smack into a pile of barrels).
Infinite 1-Ups: The original Crash Bandicoot has an extremely blatant Sampo about four or five levels before the endgame: To the right of your spawn point, a gap. Beyond that gap, the exit to the level. Normally, players would have to drop down the gap and walk through the rest of the level to reach the exit, unless they happen to have a Green gem, in which case a green platform appears next to your spawn that allows you to ride your way straight to the exit and grab twenty five extra lives on the way. In Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, in the second hub (ice theme) the player can jump on Polar in front of one of the level warps, flattening him. Doing so repeatedly will give you several lives. Unfortunate Implications, anyone? Also in Crash Bandicoot 2 was the level where you would drop down from the broken bridge in the level where the giant polar bear would give chase and about midway in would be 2 hidden crates right after a checkpoint containing 2 one ups in which you could die and continue to break the crates and receive the reward.
Iron Butt Monkey: Though Cortex may be the top butt monkey, Crash seemingly goes through the largest amount of horrific Amusing Injuries throughout the series' run, depending on how many lost lifes (and thus brutal cartoon deaths) you suffered during gameplay anyway.
Jiggle Physics: The only reason Naughty Dog's character designers thought it was a good idea to include Papu Papu as a boss in the original Crash Bandicoot was because the animators loved to animate jiggling fat.
Jive Turkey: Cortex attempts this during the credits of Crash Tag Team Racing.
Cortex: Oh, Jeff. What is up, big dawg? How's it hanging in the 'hood?
Jungle Japes: The first levels/world in practically every Crash game.
Just a Stupid Accent: Von Clutch's extremely stereotypical German accent in Crash Tag Team Racing, although this is probably intentional.
Kamehame Hadoken: Parodied in Mind Over Mutant, when Brio randomly yells "Hadoken!" in one of the early cutscenes.
Knight of Cerebus: Warped introduced two: Uka Uka and Doctor Nefarious Tropy. Uka Uka lost this status in Wrath of Cortex. Tropy... well, to put it simply, he is pretty much the most evil villain in the series.
Granted he's still a pompous walking clock that mercilessly spouts time puns at you.
Lampshade Hanging: The fact that Crash and the other bandicoots do not resemble the real life creatures on which they are based is randomly mentioned by N. Gin in Titans, during one of his lunatic tirades: "YOU DON'T EVEN LOOK LIKE A BANDICOOT!"
More fun with N. Gin: during his levels in Titans, he openly wonders why he doesn't send all of his minions at once.
"Oh, c'mon! He didn't even have a cup!"
The absence of Crash and Coco's parents is lampshaded in Tag Team Racing: if Crash spin-attacks Coco, one of the things she says is "I'm telling mom... if we had one!"
This is also referenced in Mind Over Mutant, when, if spin-attacked by Crash, Coco says something to the effect of "I'm telling mom! Who is she, anyway?".
In addition, in Mind Over Mutant, one of the locals at the Ratcicle Kingdom comments that Crash's father was eaten by a fox...
Last Lousy Point: Crash Team Racing has a Last Lousy Relic. You need all the relics for a rematch against Big Bad Nitros Oxide, but to get the last relic you needed to unlock a secret race, which required five gems. Each gem in turn requires four CTR tokens and then a win in a four race tournament. The tokens and gems do count toward completion percentage, though.
Laughing Mad: Ripper Roo, after being exposed to different experiments from Doctor Cortex, became a raving, laughing lunatic. In fact, after his brain was tampered with, all of his dialogue consists of insane laughter with subtitles to translate.
Leitmotif: In the earlier titles, the majority of boss characters had an individual theme that was remixed throughout each of their appearances. Cortex in particular has an eerie guitar riff used in his faceoffs in all three of the original games.
The theme of Twinsanity appears several times across the game in remixed form - for example, the music for the "twisted" version of N. Sanity Island contains the same melody, albeit slower and with a slightly darker mood.
Life Meter (The early Crash Bandicoot games, and some of the new ones, feature a hovering Aku Aku pickup. Pick one up, and you can take an extra hit. Pick up two, and he turns golden, meaning you can take two hits. Pick up a third one, and you're invincible for a short while.) Crash Of The Titans and Mind Over Mutant revert to a conventional health meter.
Mad Scientist: Every single villain in the Crash Bandicoot franchise is either a mad scientist (usually with a first name starting with the letter N, which lends itself to Punny Names such as N. Gin, N. Brio, N. Tropy, N. Oxide and N. Trance) or a hideously mutated anthropomorphic animal created by said mad scientists.
The Many Deaths of You: The series features lots of humorous death animations, intended to prevent players from snapping their controllers in frustration from dying over and over again. Notable examples include 'death' animations where Crash never actually dies like, for example, being mounted and kissed by a huge toad who turns into a handsome prince. Crash Tag Team Racing even featured a set of collectible Die-O-Rama FM Vs, which demonstrated the various, comedic ways in which Crash could off himself.
Mercy Mode: Dying too many times in a given level will cause you to start re-spawning with mask power ups, which let you survive an extra hit. Even more death, even with the masks, leads random boxes to turn into checkpoint boxes.
Minecart Madness: "Dragon Mines" in Crash Team Racing, "Compactor Reactor" and "Ghost Town" in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex.
Mini-Dungeon: Aside from Bonus Stages, the first three games in the series have special mini-stages that is accessed through special means: Collecting N. Brio or Neo Cortex icons (first game) and stepping on a colored platform or skull-patterned platform, aside from other things (second and third game). These stages - often called "Gem Routes" or "Skull Routes" - are much harder than the actual levels and rarely have a checkpoint. In the case of Skull Routes, you also have to reach the place without dying beforehand. Completing succesfully the Neo Cortex stages will net you keys that open secret levels; completing the Skull Routes will net you gems (in some rare cases colored ones, which are the ones that give access to the Gem Routes). The Gem Routes themselves only have regular gems as rewards.
Minion with an F in Evil: Tiny and N. Gin are for the large part just idiots loyally following Cortex's orders. This trait is more prominant in the Radical incarnations, though as early as Nitro Kart the two are noticeably less malicious and calculating than their master.
Mirror Match: The boss fight against Fake Crash in N-Tranced.
The Napoleon: While the majority of scientists in the series are vertically challenged, Cortex is suggested to have suffered the most psychological trauma from this, even going so far as to create a "Planetary Minimizer" to shrink the entire earth to the size of a wumpa fruit.
Dr Cortex: Finally after all these years of abuse, who's the little guy now?
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Peter Lorre as Doctor N. Gin, Mike Tyson as Tiny Tiger, Mr. T as Crunch Bandicoot, Jerry Lewis as the Ratnicians, Orson Welles as Doctor N. Brio.
No Damage Run: Well, at least a No Death Run) Getting gems in the first Crash Bandicoot required you finish the level without dying in addition to breaking all of the crates. The no-death condition was (thankfully) removed for the sequels.
Cortex's power station is even worse. Huge pits of bubbling toxic green waste are scattered about, there's exposed electric machines and red hot pipes and steam all over, the generator room is pitch black and has exhaust flowing around indoors, and metal platforms without rails are suspended over toxic goo or bottomless pits. At least Pinstripe gives a clear warning to be careful in the lowest part of the power station; which is where vast amounts of radioactive slime are dumped straight into the ocean.
No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: The series tends to play like this a lot. Especially noticeable in the Naughty Dog era when most developers were attempting the opposite with the jump to 3D, ironically making it stand out as one of the few 3D games that stuck to the old linear style that dominated past eras.
Averted with some levels on Twinsanity, some sections of Crash of the Titans and Mind Over Mutant as a whole - all three are linear to an extent, but they have a lot more in the way of exploration than the other games in the series.
Also Averted with crash tag team racing.
Nostalgia Level: Crash Twinsanity opens with a jungle level, which very much evokes the mood of the (usually early-found) jungle levels of the first two games in the franchise.
N. Gin: "Not my throat! I need that for swallowing!"
Offer Void In Nebraska: Doctor Neo Cortex's and Doctor Nitrus Brio's commercial for the NV in Crash: Mind over Mutant ends with the announcer quickly saying "Soon to be available in everywhere but Arkansas."
Off Model: In her two cutscenes in Mind Over Mutant, Nina has normal gloved hands instead of her robotic prosthetic hands
One-Winged Angel: Doctor Nitrus Brio in the first Crash Bandicoot game, who drinks his own Psycho Serum to mutate into the penultimate boss. Cortex drinks this same serum in Crash: Mind over Mutantas the final boss.
Positive Discrimination: Arguably Coco early on while acting as the token female, super intelligent, closer to Earth and near equally skilled physically as her brother (even if outdoing Crash intelligence-wise isn't exactly much of a challenge). Notably as more female characters were inserted, Coco started to gain her own idiotic and obnoxious tendancies.
Power Trio: Crash, Coco and Crunch or Crash, Coco and Aku Aku depending on how you look at it.
Powerup Mount: Each of the Naughty Dog games had one such animal per game, with two levels in each game dedicated entirely to riding them through their respective obstacle courses (an unnamed wild boar in Crash Bandicoot, Polar the polar bear in Crash 2, and Pura the tiger, along with a baby T-Rex in Warped).
Remember the New Guy: While most of the Funny Animal cast are implied to have been created by Cortex or his fellow Mad Scientist cronies, a good few seem to randomly appear out of nowhere, with no implication of Cortex's hand in their existance. Even Coco seems like a random entry unless you have read bios stating she was created by Cortex shortly after Crash.
Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Komodo Bros., the pterosaurs, and the triceratopses in the dinosaur levels of Warped are enemies. The adorably cute baby T. Rex is the only exception.
Running Gag: The "pancakes" gag throughout Titans, and the arguably more amusing "eating sandwiches whilst going to the bathroom" gag in Mind Over Mutant.
Save Game Limits: In the original Crash Bandicoot, the only way to save your game (or collect a password) was to go from the overworld map into a level, collect a series of hidden bonus tokens and beat the ensuing bonus level, or collecting a gem by beating a level without dying while breaking all the crates in the area. And when you restored the game, you snapped back to just three lives. Fortunately, the sequels made it easy to save your progress in-between levels and keep your lives.
"But evil geniuses are harder to squash than cockroaches."
Shameless Self-Promotion: One of the text hints in Tag Team Racing is this for Radical Entertainment, thought not spelling the promoted product outright so as to avoid getting sued by Fox, it being a Licensed Game:
"Have you played Hit & Run? Man, that was a great game."
Shark Tunnel: The Racing Game spinoffs Crash Team Racing and Crash Nitro Kart each include a Shark Tunnel as an underwater track, "Roo's Tubes" and "Deep Sea Driving", respectively.
Shorter Means Smarter: Played or subverted, Depending on the Artist, Crash and Coco interchange between being the shortest of the team. The not-too-bright Crunch is consistantly taller than either of them however. Played more consistantly straight with the villains, with the vertically challenged Cortex being much smarter than large henchmen like Tiny.
Single-Use Shield: The witch Doctor's mask Aku-Aku protects him (and Coco, etc) from one hit. Picking up another will give you two hits of protection, while grabbing a third will then give you temporary invincibility, which then resets back to two shields.
Crash Team Racing however changes it. The Aku-Aku mask is full invincibility (no longer an example of this trope), while the actual shield item gives temporary protection from a single attack/hazard, Having ten Wumpa fruit turns the shield green, meaning it lasts forever, so long as you don't take a hit.
Sissy Fight: Dr Cortex vs Real Velo in the closing to Crash Nitro Kart. Tiny breaks it up.
Tactical Suicide Boss: Oh, Cortex... Why do you bother shooting at Crash with green lasers that can be spun back at you, when you could simply have continued with the red and blue ones that couldn't? Also, lowering your energy shield at the same time you blow open a hole in the floor with mines is just asking for it, really...
Take Me Instead: Cortex does this in Crash Twinsanity to save Nina from Crash's evil doppelganger.
Take That: Ads for Crash Bandicoot on the original PlayStation had a guy dressed as Crash show up at Nintendo headquarters with a megaphone to taunt "Plumber-Boy". "You're hurting my elbow!"
That Poor Cat: Used in Mind Over Mutant - apparently cats don't like having empty bottles that once contained mutagen thrown at them.
This Cannot Be!: Uka Uka does this in the real ending of Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped.
Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The second Boss Battle in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back sees you facing the Komodo Brothers, Joe and Moe. They are shown to have been training by throwing swords towards one another, before they see that Crash has arrived. Once the fight is started, Joe is spun at Crash, while Moe tosses his magically respawning blades at him.
Toilet Humour: Cortex's unfortunate little "stuck in a pipe" incident in Twinsanity, and, of course, the Stenches' little... "gas problem".
Trick Boss: N. Gin in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped starts in a robot not too different from the one he used in the game before (he even tells the player he'd "made a few modifications" to the old robot he used in Crash 2), which uses similar attacks to the old one. Needless to say, it goes down after you shoot the same areas, only for it to flee, and dock with a much larger spacecraft, complete with tougher weaponry and a new life bar.
Unexpected Shmup Level: The battle against Doctor N. Gin in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped was basically a rail shooter.
The Unfought: In Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, Uka Uka is introduced as the man behind the man, an extremely powerful mask that was sealed away for thousands of years. You never really fight him, all he does is act as an obstacle during the final boss battle. This isn't so bad (a mask is kind of hard to make into a full boss), but it gets really annoying in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex where there was a perfect opportunity to fight him. In that game, every boss is Crunch absorbing the powers of an elemental mask. There are four elemental masks, five bosses, you'd expect the final boss to be the recurring boss using Uka Uka's power, right? Nope. Instead, he just uses the other four masks at once, and Uka Uka does absolutely nothing during the fight except pull Cortex back to safety after you attack him.
Uka Uka does have boss fights in Crash: Twinsanity and Crash of the Titans, though he is not the final boss in either of these games.
The Unintelligible: Crash, of course, varies between this and Heroic Mime, but another example would be the Architect from the Ratcicle Kingdom in Mind Over Mutant. He has a female translator to relay what he's really saying to Crash, however, it is possible to make out random words thrown into his unintelligible dialogue.
Averted in Japanese localizations (considerably the first, where he says "LET'S GO!" (in Japanese, obviously) should only you start the level) and, for the first time ever in non-Japanese continuity, Crash of the Titans. In Crash Tag Team Racing though the pivot of Crash using this trope, it is possible to make out coherent words and even whole sentences out of his incoherent babble at times.
In the intro video of the very first game, when Crash falls out the window he clearly says "Uh-oh!"
Vocal Evolution: Debi Derryberry's take on Coco was initially rather high pitched and feminine. Throughout the titles her voice eventually became deeper pitched and more obnoxious sounding, a tone much akin to one of Derryberry's other roles.
Lex Lang also used a near perfect replicant of Clancy Brown's soft spoken deep voice for Dr. Cortex in Crash Twinsanity. In the Radical titles Lang exagerrated Cortex's tone to be louder, higher pitched and upped his campness to eleven. Radical liked the take and actually evolved the character itself accordingly.
The Voiceless: Coco in Warped, despite being a half-time playable protagonist, plays this straight, no matter if she had Vicki Winters voicing her in the second installment or not.
And, again, Japanese version adds a couple of grunts to her. Because, actually, it did almost the same for Crash.
alternative title(s): Crash Bandicoot; Crash Bandicoot; Crash Nitro Kart; Crash Tag Team Racing; Crash Boom Bang; Crash Of The Titans; Crash Mind Over Mutant; Crash Bandicoot The Huge Adventure; Crash Bandicoot 2 N Tranced