Videogame: Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

One year after the original game, Dr. Neo Cortex, the Big Bad of the previous game, 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 scattered through the islands and aboard his space headquarters so he can contain the energy of the planetary alignment and save Earth.

However, Dr. Cortex's former henchman, Doctor Nitrus Brio, has also returned, with a grudge against his former boss. N. Brio would rather have Crash collect 42 Gems instead of the Crystals, in the hopes of destroying Cortex and his space station, the fate of the Earth be damned. To stop Crash, N. Brio has sent out an army of cyborgs, robots, and evolved animal henchmen across the islands.

Using an ancient "Warp Room" as his base, Crash must now go across the islands he explored in the original game (which are now experiencing a harsh winter period) and up aboard the Cortex Vortex, collecting Crystals and Gems, discovering secret Bonus Rooms and other hidden routes, and defeating Nitrus Brio's henchmen.

This was where the Crash Bandicoot franchise grew its beard, with notable improvements on the first game in just about every area: Significantly better controls and level design, new moves and tricks to use, slightly more forgiving difficulty, and some of the most sublime non-prerendered graphics seen on the PlayStation at its time of release, not to mention a long time afterwards.


Tropes Used In This Game:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer / Down the Drain: The Eel Deal, Sewer or Later and Hangin' Out levels are tunnels large enough to contain Crash, electric eels, robotic cleaners, mechanical mice, rolling barrels, tons and tons of TNT, Nitro crates, and Lab Assistants working with welding torches. Hangin' Out prominently features red-hot pipes and lava as hazards set below overhangs. Despite the setting, the sewer stages are still quite fun and interesting to look at, though they can have rather difficult alternate routes.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: The snow boulders in Crash Dash and Crash Crush, and the mad polar bears in Un-Bearable.
  • Airborne Mook:
    • Cybernetic vultures appear in Turtle Woods and The Pits, and attack by swooping down at Crash.
    • The floating surveillance robots in Totally Fly are horrible invincible minor minions which have to be avoided. Combine this with the Blackout Basement conditions and the fact that Crash has only a few seconds to get past them before he's in complete darkness, and they come pretty close to being Demonic Spiders.
  • Amusing Injuries: After taking out one of the arms on N. Gin's mech, he shakes the other fist at you in anger. After destroying the other arm, he attempts to do so again, but only succeeds in waving the shoulder piece at you.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Die too often and the game provides you with an Aku Aku mask for protection. Continue dying and checkpoints become more frequent.
    • You automatically get a mask upgrade when you begin the second boss fight.
    • Side-paths now commonly have a second gem in them and no crates. In the first game, there was only one gem per level for destroying all crates, and all paths would have crates on them.
  • Artistic License Astronomy: Cortex tells Crash that the planets will align, "all thirteen of them". At the time of release, there were nine classified planets.
  • Backtracking: This often got in the way of the fun at times. Crash always has to backtrack whenever he comes across a fork in the path, such as the fork in The Pits, Sewer or Later and Diggin' It.
  • Bandicoot Eating Plant: There are carnivorous plants in the river levels Hang Eight, Air Crash and Plant Food which can snap up Crash and swallow him whole.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Gigantic polar bears ambush Crash in the Un-Bearable level, chasing after him and smashing up everything else in their way. Get caught by one and it's a One-Hit Kill. Subverted with Polar, the baby bear you get to ride in that level and in three others. There's also a secret path barricaded off until a polar bear smashes into it.
  • Blackout Basement: There are three levels which function as this, two of which are secret levels that can only be reached in the special warp room. Fortunately, the levels are a big improvement over the last game's Blackout Basement levels.
  • Batman Gambit: Cortex tricks Crash into believing that he's a good guy and that he was forced to assist Nitrus Brio in "his" plot for world domination. He tricks Crash into gathering the crystals, all needed to power a ray that will turn the Earth's populace into his slaves, by convincing him that the crystals will be used to contain the energy of an upcoming solar flux.
  • Behind the Black: Sometimes at the end of a level segment Crash will drop down to a new area. The position of the camera sometimes hides Wumpa fruit, crates, or entire hidden areas that you can only see by walking towards the screen.
  • Big Bad: It's not Brio, whatever Cortex says.
  • Blackout Basement: Night Flight and Totally Fly, where your only sources of light are the fireflies temporarily whirling around.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Totally Fly and Totally Bear are very tough secret levels.
  • Bonus Stage: On occasion, Crash can find "?" platforms which take him to bonus stages. These are quite forgiving; there are no enemies, no lives are taken if you die, and whether you fall or are blown up, the player is plonked right next to the platform to start again. A few "Skull Route" platforms exist, which are considerably harder; not only do you have to get past the level up to that point without dying, but the stages themselves are tougher, can feature enemies, and generally play out like the regular levels Up to Eleven. Hidden Gem stages also exist, which appear only when Crash has found the relevant colored gem. They vary in their difficulty, but otherwise are much like Skull Routes.
  • Book Ends: Every level (except the intro and the boss fights) begins and ends with the Warp Room. The various Warp Rooms are also themed depending on the locations they take you to. (Warp Room 1's stages are set on N. Sanity Island; Warp Room 2 takes you to Wumpa Island, which is completely covered in snow; Warp Room 3's stages take place around the ruins of Cortex Power; Warp Room 4's stages take place around the ruins of Cortex's Castle; Warp Room 5 is set aboard the Cortex Vortex space station, and Warp Room 6 is set on the top of Cortex's Castle)
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: Tiny is invincible. The only way to harm him is to hop around on the platforms, avoiding him, until they blink red. Once they do, the player must hop Crash onto a non-blinking platform and hope that Tiny lands on a blinking platform and falls, hurting him.
  • Bottomless Pits: In all the levels, even the jetpack ones, there will be some pits down which Crash should not fall.
  • Brains and Brawn: Komodo Joe and Komodo Moe, apparently.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Cortex's true goal is to brainwash everyone on the planet in one shot, thus bringing them under his control.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Crash is implied to be this at the beginning and the end of the game. He's capable of tremendous feats of acrobatics, has insane amounts of stamina, can beat an explosives-crazed kangaroo, a pair of samurai Komodo dragons, an insanely strong thylacine, a Humongous Mecha piloted by a cyborg genius, and pretty much anything the woods, rivers, glaciers, mountains, ruins and space station can throw at him, and yet he'd much rather lie down on the beach and take a kip.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Everything after the purple gem in Bee-Having. It is the hardest area in the entire game, it gives you nothing, and the end platform, unlike Air Crash, Piston it Away and the like, takes you back to the last checkpoint rather than the warp room.
  • But Thou Must: Sort of an inversion: Cortex tells you to give the crystals you've gathered to N. Gin, but there is no option of actually doing so. N. Gin just demands you give him the crystals and then attacks you when you don't.
    • Another inversion: Considering N. Brio's Heel-Face Turn after two years have passed, he had some balls trying to tell Crash himself not to collect the crystals, when in reality it was pretty much impossible to beat the game and collect new gems without these.
  • Camera Screw: The camera remains behind Crash whenever he is progressing forwards. This is fine so long as you don't want to walk back, because the only concession the camera then makes is to back off a little bit. This makes most of the backtracking particularly frustrating.
    • In the chase levels, Crash is running towards the screen, which means you can't see more than a few feet in front of you. Unlike last time, however, the Boulder carries Crash a few feet before planting him on the camera.
  • Canon Discontinuity: This game ignored the 100% ending of the original game, namely in regards to Cortex's fate (where he's said to have never been heard from again after Crash foiled his plans), and the appearance of Cortex's Castle in Road to Ruin and Ruination (even though it was said to have been sold by Papu Papu to a resort developer). That said, the possibility of Cortex still being around was suggested.
  • Cat and Mouse Boss: Tiny Tiger begins the battle by chasing after Crash, trying to crush him with his leaping.
  • Check Point: If Crash opens a crate marked with a "C", it becomes the new checkpoint in case he dies. This system was an improvement over the original, since now it remembers all the crates opened before that point.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Those seemingly useless gems do have a purpose later in the game.
  • Child Prodigy / Teen Genius: Assuming she is either a child or a teenager at this point in the series, then Coco Bandicoot is an exemplary computer genius. She can hack into Cortex's secret computers, so either this says a lot about Coco's computing skills or Cortex has a really lousy system protection program.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Tawna is absent in this game. Tawna's disappearance is a pretty big Plot Hole, since her fate was never mentioned in the epilogue of the last game. In reality, the designers lost interest in hernote  and came up with a flimsy excuse for her absence (she dumped Crash for Pinstripe Potoroo).
  • Civilian Villain: Cortex wants Crash to believe that he has seen the error of his ways.
  • Classy Cane: Ripper Roo has one of these despite still wearing his straitjacket from the first game.
  • Collection Sidequest: At first, the gems appear to be this, since you don't need them to reach the final boss, but to complete the game, and to complete the story, all 42 gems need to be collected.
  • Collision Damage: Walk into any enemies and Crash is heading up to that great Australian outback in the sky.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Crash can wander around the snowy levels without anything as insulating as a thick fur coat, and the worst that he'll do is shiver if you leave him alone for a bit.
  • Covers Always Lie: Done intentionally and not quite noticeably at first. Noticed that Crash doesn't have gloves on the cover? Well, this is the way Naughty Dog wanted to show that the gloves are off with this game.
    • The rest (excluding Cortex), however, was done without any clear intention: not only there is no blue warp room with greek ornaments in the final version, but yet it also seems that it's actually mishmashed with the teleport rooms you always start and end the levels with. For example, the hologram heads never appear on the spot where you're supposed to teleport. Plus, while the ingame warps look no different to each other, having the same "twisty and twirly" look, one warp on the cover has the same door the teleport rooms usually have, along with the jetpack.
  • Crate Expectations: New crates are added to this game, including one which cannot be opened except by a body slam. The Nitro crate, a crate so volatile that even touching it causes an explosion, also saw its debut in this game. They all reappeared later in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped.
  • Cute but Cacophonic: The giant mice in the Road to Ruin and Ruination levels make horrible screeching sounds when you get close.
  • Cyborg:
    • N. Gin is one of the minor examples, since his cyborg customizations are restricted to the right side of his face, courtesy of an industrial accident which is explained in the manual.
    • Most of the animal enemies are cyborgs, which is usually limited to a metal plate covering their red right eye.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: By the time you're midway through the game, it is easy to earn more lives than you lose, which is also a good example of Meaningless Lives. Even if Crash loses all his lives, the continue screen allows you to return to that level's Warp Room with new lives, ready for another attempt.
  • Defector from Decadence: Brio isn't all that heroic, but he hates Cortex and is willing to ally himself with Crash to take him down.
  • Degraded Boss: Ripper Roo goes from being the second boss (and a good candidate for That One Boss status) in the original game to being the first boss in this one. Now he can also be hurt by Crash's spin and jump attacks, which were useless against him in the previous one.
    • Arguably an inversion since the TNT crates in the first game were how you damaged Roo. Now TNT hardly fazes him and Nitro crates merely stun him, requiring Crash to strike while he's vulnerable to inflict actual damage.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In the beginning of the game, if you enter a level but fail to retrieve its crystal (either by exiting back to the Warp Room through the Pause menu or by just flat-out ignoring it), Cortex will yell at you when you return. Three different times, as a matter of fact.
  • Difficulty By Region: The European version is very slightly easier: the Belly Flop has a wider radius, the shield enemies are slower, and it's easier to jump over a wall of boxes without breaking any (in a level that requires you to avoid breaking any boxes to get a gem). However, if you die during a "Death Route" you don't get another chance (unlike the North American version, which only required you to reach it without dying the first time).
  • Disconnected Side Area: The game could get horrible with this. Most levels were perfectly linear, but there were all sorts of level segments that were blatantly impossible to get to from their respective levels. You have to find secret elevators from other levels and eventually the secret Warp Room in order to get to them, rendering 100% Completion for those levels (breaking all the boxes) impossible until very late in the game.
  • Down the Drain: The Sewer Levels. The Eel Deal, Sewer or Later, and Hangin' Out.
  • The Dragon: Tiny is this to Brio. Dr. N. Gin replaces Brio as Cortex's supporter for the penultimate boss, where he tries to take Crash's crystals by force.
    • It is worth noting there is some ambiguity over Tiny's allegiance, only Cortex states him to be an ally of Brio, and the majority of what he told Crash throughout the game was Blatant Lies, he fights Crash in a personalized lair in what seems to be Cortex's space station after all. This would at least give some logic as to why Tiny is suddenly converted to Cortex's most loyal minion in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. This ties into the fact that Cortex has secretly been planning to take the crystals this whole time.
  • Dumb Muscle: Tiny is powerful enough to rip through metal, and dumb enough to fall for Crash's trick three times.
  • Dummied Out: Tiny's original name was Taz Tiger. How do we know this? In the NTSC version, they accidentally left this name in the pause menu. Corrected in the PAL version, as well as all future releases.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Remember that penguin enemy from the ice levels? Well, right after another cameo in 3, he would get in to become a standalone character, Penta the Penguin.
  • Enemy Mine: Cortex asks Crash for help in order to gather enough crystals to avert an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. Later, N. Brio tries to recruit Crash to his side. Both of them claim to be working for the common good, but this trope fits N. Brio best because he hates Cortex and would rather side with his own arch-nemesis (Crash) than work for his former employer.
  • Eternal Engine: The Piston It Away, Rock It, Pack Attack and Spaced Out levels, which take place aboard the Cortex Vortex.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Nope. The penguins are actually enemies in the Slippy-Slidey Ice World levels, though their Spin Attack looks quite cute.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Crash, by default. Penguins as well.
  • Everything's Worse with Bees: Diggin' It and Bee-Havin' contained swarms of bees which pursued Crash if he ran past their hive, and stung him if he wasn't quick enough. Judging from his reaction, Crash is allergic to bee stings.
  • Exploding Barrels: TNT and Nitro crates, and actual barrels in the sewer levels.
  • Extended Gameplay: You can claim to have "beaten" the game after collecting the crystals and defeating the final boss, but after that the player can go back and find the gems as well.
  • Fake Trap: In one of the "bee" levels, there's a ladder-like structure made of metal boxes and the normally lethal Nitro boxes. However, this time they don't blow up and the Nitro boxes don't wobble and jump like the normal ones. Climb them, go on, teleport to a secret area.
    • Crash 2 loves to toss those little hints at you. Here's another one for this particular kind of Fake Trap: Why are Nitro boxes randomly placed off to the side of the main path? And why are these Nitro crates the only ones in the game that don't jump, make noise, and generally act like a Nitro crate? Also in the Un-Bearable level after the bear crashes through the bridge - that "bottomless pit" isn't as bottomless as you may think.
  • Five-Bad Band: Ripper Roo, the Komodo Brothers, Tiny Tiger, N.Gin, and the final boss. Played with, since they're not actually all on the same side.
    • Either way though, they are all allies of Uka Uka in later titles.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Whoever gave Tiny his name had an ironic sense of humour.
  • Free Sample Plot Coupon: Cortex tells Crash that he already has the Master Crystal, and Crash's job is to find the 25 Slave Crystals that look similar to the one Cortex has.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: N. Gin's initial line of offense in the penultimate boss fight is to fire laser beams from his HumongousMecha's arms. Near the end of the fight, the stomach opens up to release a larger green laser blast that can melt metal in seconds. In the Rock It and Pack Attack levels, laser beams will occasionally fire across the pathway, connecting two pairs of receptors in a predictable pattern. In the final cutscene, Brio has an enormous laser which, with the help of Crash, he uses to blast Cortex's space station.
  • Friend Or Foe: Whether Cortex has really done a Heel-Face Turn or not is not revealed until the end. Brio is also slightly suspicious until the end.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: N. Gin, the Mad Scientist who pilots a Humongous Mecha when facing Crash, is one of these.
  • Game Over Man: Cortex. This was later reused in the sequel. It is never quite explained why he is the Game Over Man, though. Until you learn of his plans to conquer the world.
  • Get Back Here Boss: The final boss, whom you must defeat before the end of the arena or else you lose a life.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The "Piston It Away" level title is a pun on "pissing it away".
  • Good Is Dumb: Crash is gullible enough to be fooled by Cortex into collecting the crystals for him, though to befair it's not like he can just walk home if he doesn't want to continue. Coco is the opposite.
    • Also note he is seemingly suspicious enough to refuse handing the crystals to N. Gin despite Cortex's orders.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Coco is a computer genius, first hacking into Cortex's holographic projector, and then accessing Cortex's computer files to expose his plans. Crash is the opposite.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Several of Crash's death sequences reveal he wears pink boxers with red hearts.
  • The Goomba: The armadillos in the Turtle Woods, The Pits and the introductory level can be beaten by any of Crash's attacks.
  • Goomba Stomp: Crash's second attack, which can be used if spinning doesn't work. Be careful how you use it against The Spiny (see below).
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The crystals are needed to reach the last boss, while the gems are needed to complete the game.
  • Got Volunteered: Crash is teleported away from home and essentially forced to do Cortex's work by being trapped in a set of inescapable warp rooms with only five levels, and thanks to No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom, those are no better. But Thou Must, Crash Bandicoot, But Thou Must!
  • Gravity Screw: The majority of the Rock It and Pack Attack levels function in zero gravity, which makes sense on an earth-orbiting satellite. However, at the beginning and the end of either level, the gravity acts as it would do on the planet surface, as if artificial gravity had just been switched off and on.
  • Green Hill Zone: The introductory level, Turtle Woods, and The Pits act like this.
  • Ground Pound: Crash gains a Ground Pound attack in this game, with which he can belly-flop onto unsuspecting enemies or bust open metal-enforced crates that would otherwise seem impenetrable.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • In a game where you do a lot of smashing up crates, you can only get the blue gem featured in the first level by making it to the end while not smashing ANY crates, including checkpoint ones. And you're supposed to know this. The game gives a subtle hint, however - if you obtain the Clear Gem (by getting all the crates) in the level, then play through it again, you'll notice the end-of-level "crate count" now reads (your current number of crates)/0. Make it 0/0 and you get the Blue Gem.
    • The secret areas in this game are even moreso, often requiring extreme acrobatic feats and/or Violation of Common Sense to reach. One requires you to fall down into a pit the polar bear chasing you recently opened, despite just about every video game ever telling you that pits are bad. Another has you jumping on top of a stack of Nitro crates, which you have been taught up to this point to avoid like the plague (although this one is a bit less insane, since they're off the beaten path and are stair steps, and they also don't wiggle and bounce like the others). Yet a third has you passing through an innocuous-looking fake wall. With bizarre requirements like these, it's no wonder future secret areas were basically relegated to Gem and Skull Routes.
    • You're going to swear even more after you run into Camera Screw-based traps. For instance, ever find yourself wondering where you missed those two boxes in Un-Bearable even after you've found its secret area? They were both hidden just offscreen! In that same secret area, actually. Surprise!
    • There's a similar hidden box in the level Cold Hard Crash. It's located offscreen above two bounce boxes.
    • Those annoying logs tossed at you in the "Ruin" levels? You can spin those away safely.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Tiny has Shoulders of Doom, an animal lioncloth, and red sneakers.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Metal-shelled armadillos appear in the secret underground routes in Un-Bearable and Bee-Having. They can only be defeated by a Ground Pound, which removes their metal armor and makes them vulnerable to the rest of Crash's attacks.
  • Heroic Mime: Emphasis on the 'mime' - just watch Crash's animations and you'll see just how expressive his new model is.
  • Hub Level: Crash can access five levels from each of these hubs, or Warp Rooms, and the platform in the center of the room takes him up to the next boss fight. There is also a load/save screen in each one. This was the first game to introduce the Warp Room concept, which became a staple in the Naughty Dog series after that. There's also a secret Warp Room that is only accessible via certain subtle means.
  • Humongous Mecha: N.Gin pilots one of these for the penultimate boss battle. It looks good, but see Rock Beats Laser below.
  • 100% Completion: This unlocks the true ending, which leads on to the next game. See Sequel Hook below.
  • Idiot Hero: Crash is either the victim of circumstances or duped very easily.
  • Idle Animation: Evident - leave Crash for a while and he reverts to his old Crash 1 animation. Now, leave him alone in one of the snowy levels.
  • Immediate Sequel: The starts with Dr. Cortex discovering the plot-driving Power Crystals by accident after his defeat in the first game.
  • Indy Escape: Crash's response to the Advancing Wall of Doom. Since you are running into the camera, this makes what should be easy-to-dodge obstacles really tricky.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Beyond being a gameplay feature, the crates that Crash finds are placed in some pretty odd locations, from temple ruins to snowscapes to sewers.
  • Infinite One Up: In one of the levels, after you get into a secret area, there'll be a checkpoint crate, 2 1-Up crates floating offscreen, and a Bottomless Pit nearby. Get the 2 life crates, fall into the pit and lose a life, respawn, and you can get the 2 crates again, so everytime you lose a life, you gain two - this can be repeated ad nauseam. note 
  • Instant Gravestone: Being killed by a sledge hammer produces a grave stone with Crash's face on it.
  • Instant Ice, Just Add Cold: One of Crash's many death animations.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: Occasionally you can find these, such as in the sewer levels and in the "factory" levels.
  • Ironic Name: Tiny Tiger is massive and powerful.
  • Jungle Japes: See Green Hill Zone, since these two overlap.
  • Kaizo Trap:
    • Amazingly inverted; if you sit through the entire opening cutscene, you get to play an intro stage which gives you the opportunity to earn an Aku Aku mask and a couple of extra lives. This intro stage also has bottomless pits here and there. This effectively means that it's possible to kill yourself and get a Game Over before the game proper even starts.
    • Played straight in Tiny Tiger's boss battle; when you succeeded to make Tiny leap over the falling platform, several other platforms will also start to fall down. Stand on the right platform (i.e the one that doesn't flash red) and you're safe.
  • Killer Rabbit: Armadillos, the giant mice in the ruin levels, the penguins in the ice levels, and the gophers that lurk in The Pits: They all look innocent enough, but will still harm Crash on contact.
  • Knight Templar: According to the manual, to emphasize the unknown morality of the people Crash faces, N. Brio will do anything to get back Cortex, even if he blows Earth's only chance of survival in the process. Of course, it turns out Brio was telling the truth and Cortex is a big fat liar.
  • Large Ham: Doctor Neo Cortex, thanks to Clancy Brown.
  • Last Lousy Point: If you don't know what is in the secret warp rooms, some gems will act like this, but it is mostly averted thanks to a user-friendly display above each Warp Room gate, which shows you what items you have collected from the level. The slots accept each crystal and gem when Crash collects them and gets to that level's end point, and any empty slots will mean that there is still a crystal or gem yet to be recovered. What makes them lousy, though, is about how hard it is to get some of those gems.
  • Laughing Mad: Ripper Roo reverts to his old mad self whenever a TNT blows up underneath his feet.
  • Law of 100: As usual, collecting one hundred wumpa fruit will earn Crash a new life.
  • Leitmotif: Cortex, N. Brio and Coco all have distinct themes play during their projection cutscenes. Cortex and N. Brio's themes (along with Ripper Roo's boss music) are remixed from their boss music from the original game, making it something of recurring Leitmotifs for the characters.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: N. Brio and Coco's Leitmotifs are only heard during their intermissions drowned out by their dialogue (Cortex also has a theme play during his intermissions though it plays during his boss battle). An alternative track for the snow levels was also made but never used.
  • Lost In Transmission: Coco has some vitally important message to give to Crash, except that each time she tries to warn him, the holographic projection cuts out at a critical moment. It noticeably gets better as the game progresses, so by the time Crash has collected all the crystals she can finally give him the full warning. By then, of course, she is too late, and Crash has to chase down Cortex.
    • It is never made clear whether the boss battle was to stop Cortex from collecting the crystals or just Crash deciding to whoop his ass for tricking him. Judging by the Evil Laugh heard if Cortex flees, though, it's probably the former.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: This is what Cortex has recruited Crash for.
  • Mad Bomber: In the first game, the explosive crates in Ripper Roo's stage were just an environmental hazard. This time, Roo intentionally uses them to attack Crash.
  • Mad Scientist: Cortex, N.Brio and N.Gin all qualify for this in some capacity.
  • Made of Iron: Cortex falls from an airship down to the factory on the island and doesn't die. In fact, it leads to him setting off the events of the game.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Featured as enemies in the river levels.
  • The Many Deaths of You: The Ur Example in this series. The game features lots of humorous death animations, intended to prevent players from snapping their controllers in frustration from dying over and over again.
  • Minimalist Run: In one of the levels, the only way to aquire the other gem is to beat the level without destroying a single crate.
  • Mook Maker: The beehives in Diggin' It and Bee-Havin', which respawn a swarm every time Crash passes a certain point.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Another one introduced in this game: Dr. N. Gin.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Crash almost hands the crystals over to the Big Bad and dooms the planet, and following this near miss detonates Cortex's space station, inadvertently leading to a chain of events that are revealed in the following game to lead to the release of Uka Uka, the Big Bad of Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. Coco arguably plays The Hero role more straight in this title.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: See Fake Trap for a hint. Go on, go have a look.
  • Noodle Incident: It's All There in the Manual, otherwise you would never know what happened to N.Gin to make him a cyborg.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • The sewer levels (The Eel Deal, Sewer or Later and Hangin' Out) are chock-full of radioactive waste barrels, and pools of electrified water. Hangin' Out also features networks of red hot piping and pools of lava.
    • Piston It Away, Rock It, Pack Attack and Spaced Out are set aboard the Cortex Vortex, and are riddled with pits, exposed wiring, crushing pistons, and shrink ray traps.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Crash can only proceed along a linear path with the occasional bonus stage along the way. He can also progress to the next warp room only if he has collected all five crystals for the levels in it. At least the Warp Room levels can be tackled in any order. Occasionally backtracking is required.
    • Sometimes, however, taking the secret paths in the levels will bring you to another level or to the Secret Warp Room, making for a nonstandard item completion.
  • Nostalgia Level: Ripper Roo's boss fight is very evocative of the same boss fight from the original game. It might even be the same level after redecoration.
    • The jungle and boulder levels (and to an extent the river ones) are also similar to those in the first game.
  • One Bandicoot Army: Seriously, think a moment about how many Mooks Crash beats up in this game.
  • 1-Up: How the life system works.
  • Papa Wolf: Polar's dad chases you throughout the "Unbearable" level, and he's not too happy about Crash using his son as a vehicle.
  • Pipe Maze: The sewer levels sometimes have secret passageways and forks, which all taken together would just barely pass as a maze.
  • Piranha Problem: The mechanical piranhas in the river levels leap out of the water.
  • Plot Coupon: The game almost entirely revolves around collecting crystals and gems. Still, that does not make it any less fun.
  • Power Crystal: Obviously the crystals themselves, which will fuel Cortex's Cortex Vortex so that he can capture the solar flux energy, but Brio also wants the gems so that he can focus a laser on the space station and blow it to bits.
  • Power-Up Mount: The polar bear that appears in several levels moves very quickly and can make really long jumps.
  • Puzzle Boss: Ripper Roo and his exploding crates. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Remember the New Guy: This is Coco Bandicoot's first introduction, and there is absolutely nothing in the last game to suggest that Crash even had a sister. Since Tawna simply vanished from the series after the first game, Coco was brought in to replace her.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Komodo Brothers are two samurai-style komodo dragons who can make swords appear in their hands like magic. Their boss battle is the aforementioned one with one of the Anti-Frustration Features built in.
  • Revenge of the Sequel: Look at the title.
  • Rock Beats Laser: How does the unarmed nature-loving Crash defeat the insane cyborg doctor N. Gin, who pilots a futuristic mecha? By throwing Wumpa fruits at it, of course! Attack Its Weak Point has never failed yet!
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Two levels are based on this theme, and feature such horrors as frilled lizards, leaping monkeys, rabid giant mice and lumber apes.
  • Save Game Limits: The game can only be saved at the Warp Room load/save screen, but if you pause the game you can quit a level so that you can reach any Save Point.
  • Sea Mine: Frustratingly common in the river-based levels such as Air Crash and Plant Food.
  • Secret Level: There are two secret levels and three secret level sidepaths which can only be accessed by a secret Warp Room, which itself can't be accessed except via secret routes in the main level.
  • Seldom Seen Species: Bandicoot, of course, but also Komodo dragon and thylacine. Think also of some of the enemies encountered in the levels.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: The game as a whole is far less difficult than its predecessor, with the exception of a few gem challenges and Skull Routes which are absolutely insane.
  • Sequel Hook: Cortex is still at large and the space station has been blown to bits. Not to mention that creepy Evil Laugh heard during the credits.
  • Shared Life Meter: The Komodo Bros share a life bar. Moe is invulnerable, but Joe isn't - and to damage them you have to smack Joe, which will spin towards Moe, hurting them both.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Establishing Character Moment in the opening cutscene: Crash is laid back and idle, while Coco pounds furiously on the keyboard and gets him off his back to fetch a new battery for the laptop.
  • Slide Attack: A new feature introduced in this game.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Snow Go, Snow Biz and Cold Hard Crash are completely frozen over, but Naughty Dog evidently liked snow because they included the Polar levels Bear It, Bear Down and Totally Bear, and added snow features to decorate Crash Dash, Crash Crush, Un-Bearable, Diggin' It and Bee-Havin'. This was apparently a result of Author Appeal, as the creators liked the appearance of snow during the sunset.
  • Space Zone: The theme for the last Warp Room, and for four of its five levels. Three of the five boss battles occur in space, apparently on the Cortex Vortex.
  • Speech Impediment: Doctor Nitrus Brio has an obvious stutter and an apparent inability to control the volume of his own voice. He also bursts out into barely suppressed cackles at random moments, implying he's not all there in the head, either.
  • The Spiny:
    • Several varieties of The Spiny appear, to accommodate the fact that the player could perform several types of attacks. For example, a basic turtle enemy either has the sides of its shell laced with deadly spikes (making the full-frontal spin attack impossible), or it has sawblades on its back instead (which prevents players from defeating the enemy by jumping). Some enemies switch back and forth between being unable to be spun into and being unable to be jumped on, especially in the later levels.
    • Tall enemies with fire-rimmed necks appear in the later stages, requiring a Slide Attack be defeated.
    • Variant: Porcupine enemies, if you're happen to be close, will extend their spikes and run around quickly, and Crash cannot attack them at all while they're in said state. You have to wait for them to stop and lower their guard.
  • Spoiler Title: You can guess that Cortex is up to no good looking from the title alone, even if he then appears to be helpful (or trying to be). And the title isn't lying.
  • Stock Scream: The Howie scream is heard whenever Crash kills certain types of Lab Assistants.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Yes, he can ride a jet board, but don't let him fall into the water!
  • Suspicious Video Game Generosity: The purple gem is found in a secret area, but is easily obtainable after only three easy jumps. Everything afterwards is incredibly difficult, so it is easier to kill yourself than go through the Brutal Bonus Level.
    • The game is very liberal about doling out free lives, especially in the early stages where you can hit double-digits fairly quickly (plus, you can always go back and grind out more). That's because you will need them.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: All of them are guilty of this to some degree. To give you an example, Ripper Roo lays down TNT and Nitro crates and then deliberately detonates them, knocking himself out long enough for Crash to exploit the opening. Too Dumb to Live, considering he supposedly Took A Level In Smartass during the interrim between Crash 1 and 2.
  • Techno Wizard: Coco can hack into Cortex's holographic projector, a skill which becomes useful later.
  • Temporary Platform: The collapsing towers in the ruins levels. Also the platforms in the sewer levels and the hippos in the river levels.
  • Time-Limit Boss: Dr. Neo Cortex.
  • Title Scream: The title is spoken aloud if player didn't skip it.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The Komodo Brothers, Joe and Moe. They are throwing swords at one another, catching them, 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.
  • Transformation Ray: In the Piston It Away and Spaced Out levels, if Crash gets hit by a blue ray (activated by a pressure pad in the floor), he will shrink down into nothing, losing him a life.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: During the fight with N. Gin you throw Wumpa fruit rather than jumping and spinning to attack him.
  • The Unfought: N. Brio never makes it as a boss, despite Cortex insisting that he is the true enemy. This is because Cortex is the true Big Bad.
  • Victory Pose: For the first time ever! Ladies and gentlemen! I present to you ... the Crash Dance!
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can attack or jump on Polar in the second Warp Room. Doing so enough times even grants you several extra lives!
  • Video Game Lives: The rules of the last game carry on over to this one.
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: One of The Many Deaths of You. There's a variant that appears if killed by a Nitro crate where Crash is playing the didgeridoo.
  • World of Pun: An awful lot of the level names are puns.
  • X Must Not Win: According to the manual, N. Brio will do anything to make sure Crash and Cortex fail, even if means dooming the planet. As it turns out though, there's a good reason Brio did what he did: the world isn't actually in danger.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Happens to Crash in the sewer levels and the Advancing Wall of Doom levels whenever he hits an electric fence. His boxer shorts also become visible.


Alternative Title(s):

Crash Bandicoot 2, Crash Bandicoot 2 Cortex Strikes Back