Within their secret lair in deep space, Dr. Cortex and his cronies are sour over their previous defeats by Crash Bandicoot. Uka Uka is giving them an intense chewing out, they still haven't conquered the world and their current evil productivity is pathetic. Within their convension over how to eliminate their nemesis, N. Gin brainlessly mentions Dr. Cortex's super secret project, Crunch Bandicoot, a super mutant with unbelievable strength. However, he requires a completing element. Uka Uka immediately devises upon releasing The Elementals, an destructive band of Elemental masks that had previously been imprisoned by Aku Aku, that can be used to power Crunch as well as bring chaos and destruction to the entire planet. Once again it is up to Crash and his sister Coco to save the day.The sixth installment in the Crash Bandicoot series and the fourth platformer title. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex was also the first title in the series to make a leap to a sixth generation console. It was developed by Travellers Tales' Knutsford division and originally released on the PlayStation 2 and later ported to the Xbox and Nintendo GameCube.
Tropes Used In This Game:
Advancing Wall of Doom: In "Wizards And Lizards", you have to run from a giant dragon, while in "Jungle Rumble" to take control of a jeep to drive away from a herd of rhinos. And let's not forget the tsunami in the aptly named 'Tsunami'.
Bag of Spilling: Crash loses all of the powers he gained from the previous game, and has to re-obtain them the exact same way he did in Warped!. The only change is that the first ability was altered to the tiptoe move and the super body slam was moved to a bonus area.
Blackout Basement: The secret level "Knight Time", which is essentially a slightly tweaked variant of "The Gauntlet" albeit with only a wandering fire fly as lighting to guide your way through the level.
Bonus Feature Failure: Many of the alternate vehicles and gameplay modes are actually more limited and unwieldly to play compared to Crash himself. Coco in particular works to same effect as Crash diluted to just his primary moveset.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Crunch as it turns out, after the Elementals are defeated, the "missing element", ie. Cortex's control over his mind, is missing once again.
Cat and Mouse Boss: The third boss, a molten lava mutation of Crunch chases after you. The tables turn after you make your way to a mech with an freeze projectile.
Demoted to Extra: Cortex and Uka Uka's minions, N. Gin, Tiny, N. Tropy and Dingodile appear only briefly in the introduction, following which they appear only as hindrances in a couple of levels. Cortex and Uka Uka themselves act as The Unfought, due to Crunch acting as the boss in all five hubs.
Well, in a sense, both Cortex and Crunch are Final Bosses. Crunch is responsible for most of the attacks, but it's Cortex you have to attack, and it's his picture next to the health bar.
Divergent Character Evolution: In Crash Bash, Coco was an alternate for Crash in terms of gameplay, having an identical spin attack. Here Coco has obtained kick attacks in their place. Granted it could be taken with a grain of salt since her abilities overall still work to the same effect as Crash's (albeit with a lower number of abilities). Arguably keeping her with identical moves as Crash would have actually been more productive.
The Dragon: Crunch to Dr. Cortex. Cortex himself is this to Uka Uka.
Dull Surprise: Coco and Crunch noticeably never change facial expressions no matter how they're supposed to be feeling at that moment.
Dummied Out: The game 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 helecopter 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.
Expressive Mask: Aku Aku and Uka Uka. Even more so in beta footage where Aku is animated constantly miming chatter during gameplay.
Extended Gameplay: Akin to Warped after collecting all the crystals, there are the gems, time relics (of three different difficulties) and five hidden stages. Furthering on and collecting all these goodies can expand your completion percentage to 106%.
Follow the Leader: The Wrath of Cortex for the most part emulates the mechanics exactly as Warped had previously. It wasn't the last game in the series to follow this method.
Gimmick Level: The number of gimmick levels literally outnumber the standard ones, with a noticeable impact on the game's quality.
Goofy Print Underwear: The Knight enemies (who for some reason have no pants?) wear white boxers with red dots.
Hub Level: Coco conveniently enough just finished whipping one up as the Elementals attacked. And it looks near exactly like the one in Warped as well.
Knight of Cerebus: Though Mark Hamill's hammy acting ensures he is still somewhat entertaining, Py-ro comes off as much more sinister and manic than his bretheren, even refered to as the strongest and most evil mask in the manual. He was in fact meant to be the final Elemental boss, though was switched with Lo-lo for unknown reasons.
Loads and Loads of Loading: The original PS2 version infamously suffered from tediously long loading times. You could be waiting up to a minute just to play each level. The "Greatest Hits"/"Platinum" versions as well as the GameCube and Xbox ports fixed this to a more tolerable fifteen or so seconds.
The Many Deaths of You: As usual, the developers take great fun in imagining any possible amusing manner Crash can lose a life, ranging from being torched to ashes, turned into a bat or freezing into a mini iceburg. Coco gets in on it too, though not nearly to the extent.
Minecart Madness: The start of "Compactor Reactor". "Ghost Town" is a minecart race.
Never My Fault: After another failure, Uka attempts to smoke Cortex with an energy ball as punishment, which misses and hits the circuitry of the space station, causing a breakdown.
Uka Uka: This is all your fault! If you hadn't ducked out of the way, none of this would have happened!!!
No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Though there are slightly more frequent use of widened pathways or secret areas than the previous titles, it loyally follows their very linear structure. Apparently the game was originally planned to subvert this and act as a free roamer.
Pointy-Haired Boss: Uka seems to have converted into one since the previous titles, even frequently managing a Mr Spacely-style bellow of Cortex's name.
Off Model: The large majority of the cast seem a little "different" from previous titles, the game's designs seem to base themselves more on the early CG promo art for the series than the actual in game graphics of the earlier games.
Pass Through the Rings: "Avalanche" has you snowboard through rings as a gem minigame, also used in "Ice Station Bandicoot" in a race against a magic carpet riding polar bear no less...
Villain Decay: Uka Uka's Villain Decay really sets in in this game. Rather than being the menacing force of evil he was in Warped and Crash Bash, he comes across as a petty, loud-mouthed jerk who contributes next to nothing to Cortex's schemes. Even when he finally loses his patience with Cortex and attacks him, he fails to hurt him in any real capacity. He somewhat recovers from this decay in Crash of the Titans, only to go through it again in Mind Over Mutant.
What Could Have Been: The Wrath of Cortex was originally planned to be a sandbox exploration game, much in the vein of Crash Twinsanity developed afterwards. As the project traded hands however, the developers shyed away from differing the game too much from the traditional Crash gameplay, to the point of remaking it into a borderline carbon copy of Warped.
What Happened to the Mouse?: The Elementals disappear after the final boss battle, their fate never explained. What becomes of them only makes sense if you have read the manual, which explains that the crystals are used to imprison the Elementals once again.
X-Ray Sparks: During the Lo-lo boss fight, Crunch's skeleton appears when he charges up electrical attacks.