YMMV: Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

  • Awesome Music:
    • N. Gin's boss battle theme.
    • The entire soundtrack can be filed under this, but Piston It Away deserves singling out, as you can clearly hear Mark Mothersbaugh's Devo roots in that tune.
  • Disappointing Last Level: The final warp room introduces the jetpack mechanic, which is featured in two of the last five levels. In contrast to the rest of the game's free-flowing fast-paced platforming, the jetpack uses a completely different control scheme to the rest of the game, is awkward and finicky to use, and requires the player to move extremely slowly and carefully around tightly enclosed areas. Additionally, the camera is positioned directly behind Crash rather than above him facing downwards, as in the other levels, which makes discerning the relative positions of obstacles even harder than it ought to be. The final boss battle against Cortex is based around the jetpack mechanic - as in, the mechanic that was only introduced five levels ago in a game 25 levels long. And the final boss battle is extremely anticlimactic - Crash just chases after him and spin-attacks him three times, and he doesn't even attempt to defend himself or fight back. The only thing that makes the battle challenging is the awkward jetpack controls.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Ripper Roo, the Komodo Brothers, Tiny Tiger, and especially Dr. N. Gin.
  • Even Better Sequel: Pretty much everyone agrees that Crash 2 and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped are much better designed and more enjoyable than the original game.
  • Gameplay Derailment: Trying to grind some more lives on Turtle Woods? You think the moment when you fall into pit with cyberrats is annoying? Well, there is a legit way which, if doesn't work at first, is possible to pull off with some skill: just jump above the pit through the faux-walls. In fact, this trick was one of the many objects of this game's Tool Assisted Speedrun, kindly demonstrated here.
    • Same moment in "Un-Bearable" is also avoidable, but this time, with a simple slide jump.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • A glitch involving the bonus areas in Hang Eight and Plant Food make getting their second gems, which involve speed-running through said levels, much more manageable.
    • Death-Warping. Once you collect a crystal or gem, it will remain in Crash's inventory as long as he remains in the level, even after he dies. Since extra lives are handed out like confetti, simply killing yourself the moment you get a gem from an alternate path seems far more appealing than backtracking manually.
  • Growing the Beard: This game is seen by many as this for the series.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The bees in Diggin' It and Bee-Havin' make a distinctive buzzing which, if you're coming from the opposite direction, should make you scrabble for the nearest cover.
  • It Was His Sled: Cortex is the Big Bad.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The level "Un-Bearable". To elaborate: Most levels in the game where you run towards the screen have you running from a boulder. However, in this level, you are chased by a large polar bear with a creepy grin...
    • "Diggin' It". That frightening buzz and the killer bees coming with their stings ready... it gets worse in Bee Having where a group of bees come together and only a well-timed spin can defeat them all, if you fail, the will get you.
    • The Game Over screen.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: So you decided to play it safe and avoided destroying any crates next to the nitros, thinking that you'll be getting them anyway since triggering the green !-block at the end of the stage causes all of them to explode? Too bad, since that only affects the nitros and nothing next to them. Time to start the level again.
  • That One Level:
    • "Cold Hard Crash", a nightmare if you're trying to get the "destroy all crates" gem. You have to play through the first half of the level without dying to reach the Death Course, a difficult, checkpoint-free path covered in crusher traps and nitro mines, almost entirely on slippery ice. When you reach the end of the death course, you need to activate a switch and do the course BACKWARDS to get the new crate the switch spawns at the beginning of the level, at which point you take the platform back to the main level and complete it. Oh, and there's a single, hard-to-find crate hidden just offscreen. Missed it? DO THE WHOLE THING OVER AGAIN.
    • To some players, the jetpack levels in the final warp room also count.
    • "Bee-Having". Grenade spitting plants, swarms of bees that chase you, and a TON of Nitro boxes make this an extremely tricky level to finish.
    • "Road to Ruin" and "Ruination" are also among the hardest in the game. Swiveling, tilted platforms, very narrow platforms, and monkeys that throw logs at you (though you can always spin the logs away). On top of that, there's one bit in Ruination where you find a helpful little ! crate, and a bunch of wire frame boxes ready to appear for you to destroy so you can get the gem! Smack the block, and...no wooden crates, just a field of Nitro Crates with barely any room to maneuver. Good luck!