Video Game / Crash Bandicoot (1996)

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It all has to start somewhere...

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.

So begins Crash Bandicoot for the PSX, which is the very first game in the series. The goal is simple: Destroy crates and defeat enemies as you reach your goal. If you break enough crates, you'll earn a Gem in each level. Getting a certain amount of clear gems will earn you the 100% completion ending. This game also has some Early Installment Weirdness as there's no sliding or belly-flopping. Just traditional spinning and Goomba Stomping. Aside from the main levels, there are also Bonus Stages and boss fights, some of which can be real challenging unless you got pure gamer skills.

This game, along with Cortex Strikes Back and Warped will be re-released on the PlayStation 4 with updated graphics and new features as part of the Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy.


This game contains examples of:

  • 1-Up: Video Game Lives are provided by icons of Crash's mug, each accompanied by a *cha-ching* sound.
  • 100% Completion: You're considered to have completed the game after you get all the gems. The percentage instantly goes 100% if you get the last available gem even when you're previously at around 32% or so. You don't even have to beat Cortex. This unlocks the alternate path in The Great Hall which leads to the second ending.
  • Adipose Rex: Papu Papu is the chieftain of the local native, and he's got the girth to prove it.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: Advancing Ball of Doom, at any rate, but still, big, rolling-towards-the-screen stone balls pose potent threats in the levels Boulders and Boulder Dash.
  • The Ahnold: According to "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, Koala Kong became an Hollywood actor, and is currently having sessions about his accent.
  • Animation Bump: Defied. Some hand drawn animated FMVs were made for the game, but never inserted, Sony wanting to push the 3D format.
  • Audible Sharpness: The guillotines in the Blackout Basement levels let out a "shing" sound whenever they swing around.
  • Backtracking: Some levels like "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.
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: The purple gem path in Boulder Dash is placed in a pit filled with mushrooms that glow blue.
  • Blackout Basement: 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.
  • Blob Monster: In The Lab, you'll encounter yellow slimes as enemies; they can't be found anywhere else. N. Brio also throws out green slimes to attack Crash.
  • Bonus Stage: 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 100% Completion.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: Sure thing Ripper, just jump in that exact same pattern so we can blow up the TNT right next to you.
  • Bottomless Pits: Even the ones with noticeable bottom act like one.note 
  • Bubbly Clouds: The secret path in Native Fortress (with the red gem) leads you to a section in the sky where you'll be running on clouds to break more crates.
  • Button Mashing: 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 spin their way through everything. This feature was also present in the next two sequels.
  • Check Point: The C-crates.
  • Check Point Starvation: Getting a gem in a level requires destroying all the boxes and not dying once. And disregarding that, some levels do have this, such as Fumbling in the Dark and The Lab.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Tawna disappeared from the series after this game.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: Toxic Waste is one long level of this. You're in a narrow corridor with rolling barrels in intervals, and there are a number of cubbyholes for you to stand momentarily.
  • Crate Expectations: How else are you going to store all of those wumpas? Or the Aku-Aku or the 1-up for that matter?
  • Cutting the Knot: One of the gem platforms allows you to skip an entire stage (and gives you 27 extra lives on top of that).
  • Damsel in Distress: Tawna is abducted by the scientists and about to be experimented upon. Crash has to rescue her.
  • Difficulty by Region:
    • 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).
    • Part of the level "The High Road" was removed in the Japanese version, "Sunset Vista" was moved later in the game (switched with "Slippery Climb"), and Aku Aku sometimes gives you hints.
    • In the PAL version, Ripper Roo jumps more slowly, but "The Lab" has only one checkpoint instead of two.
  • The Don: Pinstripe Potoroo is the leader of the mafia group that guards Cortex Power and Toxic Waste. He's also apparently the CEO of Cortex Power.
  • Double Unlock: The purple gem (in Lights Out) is the only gem that needs another colored gem (the yellow one) to unlock, as the yellow gem will create an extra path that'll lead you to extra crates in said stage. Not to mention other clear gems that will usually require you to complete a much later level and breaking all of the crates there to get the colored gem, especially the purple one.
  • Dummied Out: "Stormy Ascent", the harder version of "Slippery Climb", was taken out at the last minute for being too difficult and because the Bonus Round was bugged with not enough time to fix it. It still exists in a mostly complete form (everything but the bonus level) and can be played with a Gameshark code.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: After a few deaths, you'll get a free Aku Aku mask to help you.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This game differs in many ways from the subsequent entries in the series:
    • This is the first of two Crash games with a world map; the other is N-Tranced for the GBA 7 years later.
    • Saving is rather non-standard, involving collecting three of a certain type of token. The other types lead to different bonus rounds.
    • The game features passwords, largely overshadowing the save system.
    • No crystals for beating a level; instead, progress is measured in plain old "levels", as in levels cleared. Conversely, there are hidden keys that unlock secret levels, whereas in later games you just find your way to secret levels or are based on the relic challenges.
    • As for more minor differences, the following two games use a completely different character model for Crash.note  Crash also moves somewhat slower, and he doesn't have his slide and belly flop moves.
    • Cortex sounds completely different; in this game, he is voiced by Naughty Dog series mainstay Brendan O'Brien, whose take on him is completely different from what Clancy Brown in the next game and later on Lex Lang would do with it.
    • Several character staples such as Coco, N. Gin, and Tiny are completely absent. And the only female character this game does have is Tawna.
    • Gem paths consist of platforms of colored gems that you have to jump your way into the side path of the level, instead of a floating platform that flies up towards the side path of the level. All gem paths also contain crates that are needed for breaking and thus getting the gem of the stage, while in later games they don't always contain crates and may contain a second gem instead.
    • There are six colored gems instead of five. The extra colored gem (orange) is absent in all subsequent games.
  • Eternal Engine: Heavy Machinery and Castle Machinery. Also Cortex Power, Toxic Waste, and Generator Room in their own way.
  • Evil Laugh: The gangster enemies in "Cortex Power" and "Toxic Waste" let out one when they start shooting at you. And of course, their boss Pinstripe does it a lot of the time in his boss fight.
  • Excuse Plot: Your girlfriend Tawna was kidnapped by Cortex and Brio's scientist Mooks and is about to be experimented on. Go rescue her.
  • Exploding Barrels: The TNT crates. The gangsters in Toxic Waste also throw actual exploding barrels at you.
  • Fat Bastard: Papu Papu. Downplayed in that he's merely in Crash's way rather than an outright villain.
  • Follow the Money: The suspicious Wumpas that seemingly lead into nowhere in "Jaws of Darkness" lead a way to extra crates.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: The lab assistants.
  • Fake Difficulty: Of the Leap of Faith 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.
  • Full-Boar Action: Boars appears as unkillable enemies in the bridge levels. You also get to ride one in "Hog Wild" and "Whole Hog".
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Very first enemy that you come across in (and only in) "N. Sanity Beach".
  • Giant Spider: Appears as enemies in the dark temple and castle levels.
  • Guide Dang It: You'll likely find most of these in a guide.
    • In the "wooden fortress" levels, you can find a secret path once the background changes to a blue sky by finding a part of the fence that is flat, then jumping on them and walking towards the background. You'll now be "behind the fence" where you'll find lots of wumpas and no obstacles; the level in front of the fence have nothing but obstacles.
    • Want to know where to get those missing boxes in Temple Ruins? You have to go to an invisible path (that becomes visible when you walk on them) to get to them. Same goes to Jaws of Darkness; this one's important for getting the third Cortex icon in this level.
    • Getting problems walking on the rope bridges in the bridge levels? Just walk on the rope "railings" on the sides.
    • In Heavy Machinery, there's a certain bottomless pit that's actually nonlethal, instead jumping into it will lead you towards a secret path of the stage.
  • The Goomba: The crab just moves from side to side, and is very vulnerable.
  • Goomba Springboard: A few levels will require Crash to bounce from an enemy either to get up and reach high crates or to jump over a pit. Springboarding more than 1 enemy will make Crash get bonus wumpa fruits.
  • Goomba Stomp: Crash's secondary method of beating his foes.
  • Green Hill Zone: N. Sanity Beach, a simple first level. It does, however, introduce the concept of forking paths.
  • Guns Akimbo: The gangster enemies in "Cortex Power" are armed with two machine guns.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Since the snakes in dark temple levels have no lower body, defeating them gives an impression that Crash is spin attacking them in half.
  • Hailfire Peaks: The N. Sanity Beach level is this, by virtue of starting in a beach before walking into a jungle.
  • Idle Animation: Leave the controller alone and Crash starts throwing wumpa fruits in the air...which then land on his head.
  • Indy Escape: The boulder chase levels. As the picture shows, the game's very cover points this out.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The drones with the spinning sawblade on them are invulnerable; Crash has to avoid them.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: According to "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, Ripper Roo went into studying and wrote a book about his experiences as an Evolv-O-Ray subject.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: The levels Slippery Climb and the Dummied Out Stormy Ascent has you climb up lots of stairs.
  • Jiggle Physics: 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.
  • Jungle Japes: "Jungle Rollers" and "Rolling Stones".
  • Last Lousy Point: You'll get to encounter some Last Lousy Crates in many of the levels. Even the game will tell you "Great! But you missed [X amount of] crates" if you happen to miss them.
  • Laughing Mad: Ripper Roo does this a lot in his boss fight. He laughs even madder if a TNT exploded close to him.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: Papu Papu being an easy Warm-Up Boss, his boss theme usually doesn't get to loop before players beat him, unless they deliberately stall the fight.
  • Mad Scientist: Cortex and Brio.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: "The Lab", which is filled with electronic equipment and yellow slime enemies.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Encountered in the early jungle stages, river stages and in one secret underground path.
  • Maniac Monkeys: Encountered in "The Great Gate" and "Native Fortress" levels.
  • The Maze: Cortex Power is shaped like this; the camera view is from above instead of behind Crash and there are a number of branches and dead ends of the level. It also has a secret route that required a blue gem.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: When you deplete the last of Pinstripe's health, he'll spin around as he fires his weapon in a spaz, causing him to fire towards the reactor in the background. It's implied to eventually lead to the castle's destruction.
  • Nintendo Hard: Crash 2 and 3 aren't by any means easy, but this game takes the cake. The fact that you can only save in bonus rounds makes it even worse. Gaining gems is also very different:
    • There are brutal sidepaths that hold little value besides some crates you need to break to get the gem for the level. Later games would have no crates on these paths (most of the time) and give the player a second gem instead.
    • You have to finish the whole level from start to finish in one life, including levels like "Sunset Vista" which may be longer and is certainly more difficult than any single level in the second and third games.
    • In the second game, you will be told how many crates you missed just before the finish, and the third game keeps count for you during the level. In here, there's no sign of whether you have all of the crates at the end of the level, just a message afterwards saying "Great! But you missed X [of the most cheaply hidden] crates [of all time]".
    • Also, the checkpoints only makes you spawn in that place when you die - unlike in later games, they don't keep the crates you broke stay broken, meaning that in order to get all the gems in a level (by breaking all crates) make sure you don't take any checkpoints. (So that if you miss, you can simply die and restart at the start of the level.)
  • No Death Run: Half of the requirement for getting a Gem in each stage. Even if you die before hitting a single Checkpoint, you're out of luck because, upon completing the level, the game will immediately go back to the map, completely skipping over the sequence that would normally award you the gem.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: 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.
  • No OSHA Compliance: 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. At least Pinstripe gives a safety warning at the end of Generator Room.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: The series plays like a polygonal Super Mario Bros. game, and the linearity of the levels is the obvious result, regardless of the game having 3D graphics.
  • Offscreen Start Bonus:
    • Going backwards instead of forwards in The High Road's start will lead you to an invisible path, that leads you towards some extra crates.
    • Also going backwards when you first enter Fumbling in the Dark will lead you towards some extra crates, including 1-ups and Aku Aku ones.
  • One-Winged Angel: After taking enough damage, N. Brio will drink his own concoctions and turns into a giant green monstrosity.
  • Password Save: An alternative for those who didn't have a memory card back in the day.
  • Power-Up Mount: The boar levels.
  • Puzzle Boss: Ripper Roo, who hops around the arena as conveniently appearing TNT boxes float by. And he's invincible to your attacks.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Encountered in the Blackout Basement levels.
  • Rolling Attack: The monkeys in fortress and river levels do this, and player must wait them to stop it before spinning them away.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: "The Lost City" and "Sunset Vista" levels.
  • Save-Game Limits: You can only save your game by completing bonus stages and collecting gems.
  • Secret Level: Whole Hog and Fumbling in the Dark are only available by getting the keys from Neo Cortex's bonus rounds.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Bandicoot, for starters; there's also the potoroo.
  • Sequence Breaking: You can get to the secret path of The Great Gate without getting the yellow gem, by jumping close to the edge of the finish pad without activating it, and then jumping to the other edge, then jumping over a pit to a platform to the left.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: The "wooden fortress" levels and boar-riding levels have natives with shields as obstacles. In the former, they'll push Crash backwards; he has to jump over them to pass through.
  • Shout-Out: Several.
  • Single-Use Shield: Aku Aku works as this, but collecting 2 of him will up his protection count by 2, and collecting a third makes you temporarily invulnerable.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: The temple levels have a few of these.
  • Soft Water: Crash survives the fall from Cortex's castle into the water in the opening cinematic.
  • Spin Attack: Crash's main attack.
  • Steam Vent Obstacle: Hot steams are present as obstacles in the "machinery" levels.
  • Stock Scream: The Lab assistant enemies let out a Howie Scream when they fall to their doom.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Crash vanishes as soon as he falls into water in "Upstream" and "Up the Creek".
  • Surprise Slide Staircase: One of the recurring obstacles of the "Slippery Climb" level are stairs that turn into slides that lead you to the nearest spiked doom.
  • Surveillance Drone: They start appearing as enemies in the third island.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss:
    • Cortex. Why does he keep firing those green plasma blasts at Crash when he knows that he will just spin them back at him? Even worse, at his last health he's shown to be really getting tired of all this and shoots nothing but the green blasts at Crash.
    • N. Brio can choose to keep throwing exploding beakers and yet he still throws his slime monsters that will somehow deplete his health if Crash beats them. Turning into a Hulk-like monster makes him vulnerable as well.
  • Take It to the Bridge: "Road to Nowhere" and "The High Road". Watch out for the Spikes of Doom below.
  • Team Rocket Wins: In the unused ending FMV, Cortex would have landed (mostly) unharmed on a ship and detonated his blimp with a remote as a last laugh on Crash.
  • Temple of Doom: "Temple Ruins" and "Jaws of Darkness".
  • Temporary Platform: Platform of both "crumbles if you stand on them" type and "goes on and off" type exist, and gets more abundant in later levels.
  • Tennis Boss: The fights against Koala Kong (spin back certain boulders) and Dr. Cortex (spin back those conveniently slower green blasts).
  • Top-Heavy Guy: The gangsters in "Cortex Power" and "Toxic Waste". In fact, they seemingly have no legs at all. Koala Kong as well, having really broad shoulders and big, long arms but short, thin legs.
  • Trigger Happy: Pinstripe really loves to fire his Tommy gun around.
  • Turtle Power: Turtles are regular enemies. Their shells also make excellent springboards.
  • Unique Enemy: The gun-toting potoroo gangsters from Cortex Power. There are only 2 of them located in side paths that lead to dead ends, meaning you are not even required to beat them in order to proceed in the level, unless you want to get all the crates.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Available after 100% completion.

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