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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 escapes through a window 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.

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So begins Crash Bandicoot for the Sony PlayStation, 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, belly-flopping or Coco. Just traditional spinning, Goomba Stomping and Crash's girlfriend, Tawna. 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, were remastered on the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC with updated graphics and new features, as part of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.

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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.
  • Abandoned Laboratory: The end levels of the game are mostly set in Cortex's labs, as you progress through them towards Dr. N. Brio. Even the level after Brio is part of the lab, and features metal boxes that, instead of making wooden crates appear, open doors.
  • Absurdly Short Level: The penultimate level, The Great Hall, only consists of a short hall with a Bottomless Pit you have to jump over, after which the finish is a few steps more. There's an alternate path if you've collected all of the gems in the other levels, which leads to a different ending with a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, but even that path only extends the level by about 30 or so seconds.
  • 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.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: After a few deaths, you'll get a free Aku Aku mask to help you.
  • 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.
  • Battle Theme Music: Though every boss in this and all subsequent Crash Bandicoot games has their own battle theme, there's an unusual trait both Nitrus Brio and Neo Cortex share in this regard: In this game, they have their own bonus stages accessible from certain levels; while Tawna's bonus stages have a relaxing rural music, those of the mad scientists use the same music heard in their respective battles. This means Cortex's music has a triple function: It's a Leitmotif, a battle theme and a bonus stage theme, and somehow it fits at all times. Same with Brio's music.
  • Bear Hug: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy changes Tawna hugging Crash in the standard ending to this, being done in a tight and affectionate manner on Tawna's part.
  • 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.
  • Bleak Level: The temple levels "Temple Ruins" and "Jaws Of Darkness" take place in abandoned, dark temples. The only sources of light are the lit fire torches in the background, filled with smashing traps, and accompanied with a foreboding, spooky soundtrack.
  • 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 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 
  • Bragging Rights Reward: There's a secret path with a tons of extra lives. However said path is A) in Castle Machinery, which is rather late into the game, and B) needs to be unlocked by getting the Green Gem, which is obtained via No Death Run in The Lost City. If you got it, you probably don't need that many lives anyway, especially since gems require a No Death Run.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: There are three kinds of bonus levels, reachable through collecting sets of tokens throughout a level. Tawna's bonus levels are breathers, where the player can collect extra lives, and save the game or get a password. Brio's bonus levels consist of much more challenging jumping puzzles, with bigger rewards to match. Cortex's bonus levels are the hardest, with absolutely devious platforming challenges. Sadly, only Cortex's levels are obligatory for 100% Completion, because beating them unlocks extra levels... but should you fail them, you'll have to restart the stage you came from for another chance, and one of the bonus levels happens to be located in the game's most difficult level, Sunset Vista.
  • 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.
  • Cathartic Exhalation: If a level is finished after losing a life (to signify that you're completely denied of the level's Gem), Crash will let out a sigh when he steps on the level's "finish pad" before he's teleported out of it. It also happens at the end of Bonus Rounds.
  • Checkpoint: The C-crates. Breaking one will allow you to restart from there if you lose a life. However, losing a life in the first place will prevent you from getting the level's gem even if you've tried to break all the crates.
  • Checkpoint 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. It was due to issues between the game's developers and the distributors (Universal), so they explained Tawna's subsequent absence by her having dumped Crash for Pinstripe.
  • Competing Product Potshot: One ad had a guy dressed as Crash show up at Nintendo headquarters with a megaphone, to taunt "Plumber-Boy". "You're hurting my elbow!" When Crash started appearing on Nintendo consoles, Nintendo Power had a faux-interview with Crash in which this trope was lampshaded with Crash saying something to the effect that his antics in the commercial were "Nothing personal, it was all business related."
  • Completion Meter: Unlike the sequels, the game only has "Great! But you missed X crates" when you don't manage to crash all crates in a level, which gives you a gem; you need all gems to reach the secret second ending.
  • Continuing is Painful: There's an unintentionally unique example of this: the save system doesn't remember how many lives you have. While not a problem in the early portions of the game, every level after the second boss is difficult enough to make this a problem, because if you turn the console off, loading up the save later will give you the default amount of 5 lives. To make things worse, you are taken back to the last level you saved the game in, which isn't always the last level you actually got up to. The end result, historically, is that many PS1s were left on overnight simply to preserve the collected lives.note 
  • Convenient Cranny: The Indy Escape levels have you running away from a boulder until you find a small shelter that lets you in but will block the boulder.
  • 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).
  • Cutting Off the Branches: There's the standard ending where Crash defeats Dr. Cortex, and the 100% Completion ending where Crash and Tawna escape the castle, but Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back makes it apparent that the former is canon by having the game start immediately after Crash caused Cortex's hoverboard to malfunction and send him plummeting to the island below.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Dr.Nitruous Brio is this as he possesses a whopping NINE hits! (10 in N.Sane Trilogy)
  • 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 European/Australian versions, 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 Entendre: "Up The Creek," named for a common bowdlerization of the expression "up Shit Creek without a paddle."
  • 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. And 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.
  • Downloadable Content: The Stormy Ascent level in N-Sane Trilogy, which was originally cut from the game's original version.
  • The Dragon: Dr. Nitrus Brio is this to Dr. Neo Cortex, serving as the penultimate boss of the game.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Collecting every gem in the game unlocks a split path at the Great Hall that allows you to escape with Tawna and completely skip the Final Boss fight.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: At the end of the level Jaws of Darkness, you can see a carving on the wall that looks to be an ancient statue of Uka-Uka. After all, it is the same temple that gets destroyed at the beginning of Warped, leading to his freedom.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This game differs in many ways from the subsequent entries in the series:
    • This is the first of only three Crash games with a world map; the second was N-Tranced for the GBA 7 years later, and the idea of a world map wouldn't be touched upon again until Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time 24 years later.
    • Saving is rather non-standard, involving either earning gems or completing certain types of bonus rounds. Once completed, these cannot be repeated to save the game later.
    • 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. His run cycle is also different from the more exaggerated one seen in 2 and 3.
    • 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, Tiny and Dingodile are completely absent. And the only female character this game does have is Tawna, who wouldn’t reappear until Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, 23 years later.
    • Gem paths mostly consist of static platforms of gems that you have to jump your way into the side path of the level, although some are floating platforms that fly up towards the side path of the level like they exclusively do in the sequels. With one exception, 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 have a second gem.note  Additionally, this is the only game in the series to feature a clear gem path and for particular colored gems paths to appear in multiple levels.
    • There are six colored gems instead of five. The extra colored gem (orange) is absent in all subsequent games.
    • Crash, while still a Heroic Mime, was a bit more vocal in this game. He lets out a shout in the main menu, he utters an "Uh-oh" in the opening cutscene, he sings "Da-da-daaah!" when he gets a gem, and shouts "Yee-haw" whenever he beats a boss. Most games since then limited his vocabulary to him saying "whoa" whenever he dies, with the Radical Entertainment titles turning him into The Unintelligible.
    • This game lacks the "standard" death animation of Crash turning into an angel when there's no animation specific to whatever just killed him. Instead, the entire screen blacks out while he spins around and then comically falls to the ground.
    • TNT crates (which have a countdown) are the only explosive crates, with Nitro (which explode on touch) only appearing from the second game onwards. They also flash randomly and also on each second they're counting down.
    • Levels in the series traditionally have punny, alliterative or otherwise humorous names; not so much this one, where they have more straightforward names like "The Great Gate", "The Lost City", "The High Road" or "The Lab".
    • Until you collect a level's gem, a scene plays at the end either telling you how many crates you've missed or rewarding you a gem. Later games add a crate counter at the end of level that contains the gem for you to pick up.
  • Easy Level Trick: The otherwise Nintendo Hard bridge levels that are "Road to Nowhere" and "The High Road" can be cheesed if the player gets Crash to jump onto the bridge ropes and walk across them, bypassing all the invincible wild boars and the plethora of pitfalls.
  • Epic Fail: When you beat a stage, you're beat over the head with the crates you missed. In the N. Sane Trilogy Updated Re-release, Crash physically reacts to the crates, covering his head - after ten crates, he takes a knee; after twenty crates, he flops on the ground, covering his head. After 30 crates, he gives up and just lets them pummel him. The same happens to his sister Coco.
  • Eternal Engine: The third quarter of the game 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.
  • 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 inexplosive barrels at you.
  • Eyebrow Waggle: Crash does this before jumping on the warthog in "Hog Wild" and "Whole Hog".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Freaky Electronic Music: The levels Heavy and Castle Machinery, Toxic Waste, Cortex Power and especially Generator Room are all part of Big Bad Dr. Neo Cortex's bases and they all have industrial music accompanying them. In particular, the minimalistic feel of the themes make all of those stages more ominous.
  • 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: The 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.
    • As detailed in Violation of Common Sense, both Temple Ruins and Jaws of Darkness hide crates down bridges that are completely invisible until you step on them and have no suggestion that there's any reason to cross them in the first place (the crates are Behind the Black).
    • 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.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: The levels get increasingly brutal and unforgiving as you progress, especially if you're trying to get the gems. The bosses, though? Most of them will hardly give you any trouble once you figure out their patterns.
  • Hood Ornament Hottie: While Tawna has no cars to bend over, the way she presents the player's completion at the end of her Bonus Rounds heavily evoke a trophy girl presenting the winner of a race.
  • 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 unused 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: Many levels in the first island are set inside a tropical jungle, often combining the setting with Ruins for Ruins' Sake. In addition to dealing with tribal mooks, wild animal enemies and pitfalls, Crash also has to keep an eye on harmful gizmos like swinging donut rocks, sinking lily pads in the river, spiked trunks, flames that periodially ignite with greater force, and in one case (later again in a level from the second island) a large boulder that forces him to perform an Indy Escape.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: In the Native village zones, there's a Native holding a shield who will attempt to Shield Bash Crash off the platforms. Attempting to spin on them causes them to block it with their shield, and attempting to jump on them causes them to hoist their shield above for a short while to block the Goomba Stomp. To kill them, Crash needs to jump on them to make them raise their shield above for a short period, then spin them when their shields are still above their heads.
  • 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.
  • Leap of Faith:
    • Both Temple Ruins and Jaws of Darkness feature areas where you have to walk across what appears to be a normal pit that in fact has either invisible boxes or Temporary Platforms that appear only when Crash steps on them.
    • Road to Nowhere has a section at the end accessed with the Red Gem where there are, you guessed it, pairs of gold planks that only appear when Crash steps on them, with big gaps in-between. The High Road does it even worse: you have to do it from the start of the level going BACKWARDS.
    • The Heavy Machinery level has a pit where the edges are flanked at the bottom by two enemies who kill Crash on contact. Jump down, and you'll find a few boxes as well as one of the N. Brio tokens.
  • Level in the 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.
    • The levels Road to Nowhere and The High Road have Crash cross a prolonged, decayed bridge above the dense clouds in the sky. Crash has to watch for the fragile parts of the bridge to avoid falling, and use upside-down turtle shells to jump large gaps.
  • Lily-Pad Platform: The two river-based levels both contain lily pad platforms amongst the obstacles. They sink almost immediately, serving as temporary platforms.
  • Lone Wolf Boss: Papu Papu, the first boss in the game and the only one located in the first island. Every other boss in the game is either a scientist working with Neo Cortex, or an animal Cortex mutated. Papu Papu, on the other hand, is just the leader of a Wacky Wayside Tribe that Crash stumbles through.
  • 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.
  • Made of Indestructium: Iron Crates, which often serve as stepping stones or bridges, and cannot be destroyed by any means. Fortunately they don't count towards the crate totals.
  • Mad Scientist: Cortex and Brio. Their intention is to use their technology and intelligence to mutate animals and train them as their loyal minions. Crash manages to escape from their laboratory, but Tawna remains captive.
  • 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.
  • Marathon Level:
    • Sunset Vista. It is the longest level in the game, and is often claimed to be the longest in the original trilogy. The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, which added time trials to all the levels in the first game, has a five minute time for the Sapphire relic in a game where most Sapphire times average 1-2 minutes, sometimes 3 for other very long levels.
    • Stormy Ascent, which was not made available in the initial release and is even more intimidating in this regard. The N. Sane Trilogy officially added the level as Downloadable Content and its Sapphire time is 7 minutes. The Gold relic time is the longest by a huge margin as well, at 4:30, and the Platinum is not much shorter.
  • 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.
  • Meaningless Lives: Lives are not quite as meaningless in this game as they are in future installments. Loading the game or using a password resets your lives to 5, and you're going to need as many as you can get. However, collecting the green gem opens a shortcut in the level "Castle Machinery", which will take you to the exit in 10 seconds and give you 25 extra lives.
  • 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]".
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: Happens during the intro: the ordinarily silent Crash lets out an "uh-oh" when he realizes he's run through one of the windows of Cortex's castle in an attempt to flee.
  • One-Winged Angel: After taking enough damage, N. Brio will drink his own concoctions and turns into a giant green monstrosity.
  • Password Save: Just beating the levels without collecting the gems earns you 8-character level passwords, but collecting a gem expands that to a 24-character Super password, which also keeps track of gems and keys, and which the game initially hides by only showing the first 8 character spaces before inputting a Super password. Unfortunately, these don't record lives, which can make later stages a pain.
  • 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. Defeating him involves timing the TNT's detonations against his predictable movement patterns in order to catch him in the explosions.
    • Cortex is an example of a Guide Dang It! puzzle boss. He spends the battle shooting three different-colored laser shots at you: pink, green, and blue. You have to work out that you have to spin the green shots back at him. Other than the different color, there's absolutely nothing to clue you in that you're supposed to do something with those shots, and even then, because the rule throughout the rest of the game has been that laser shots will kill you, most players would never think to spin into them. Unless you've seen this boss beaten before, there's almost no way you'll ever figure out how to beat this boss aside from sheer luck or consulting a guide.
  • 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. It's unknown when those buildings were created, let alone by whom, but they pose a major challenge to Crash due to numerous threats like walls that push him into a deadly fall, lizard-like enemies that hop between platforms, bat swarms, and overall a devious level design.
  • Save-Game Limits: The only way to save your game (or collect a password) is 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 restore the game, you snap back to just five lives.
  • Save Point: The game has two methods of saving, but both come with caveats:
    • Tawna's Bonus Stages act as save points, allowing you to save your progress and, depending on the case, either consider the current level complete (even if you don't reach the end) or at least allows you to resume from the start on your next session. However, in order to access those stages, you need to collect all Tawna-related collectibles (three in total) located in the level; also, if you fail to complete the bonus stage, you'll have to repeat the whole level (including getting Tawna's items again) to have another chance. Also, the Gems and Keys collected are not saved this way, and not all levels have this type of bonus stage.
    • Collecting a Gem in a level by breaking all crates will allow you to save the collection, but not the level's completion (also, all crates must be destroyed without losing a life, or else the procedure won't work). The same applies to collecting a Key in Neo Cortex's bonus stage, which in turn is unlocked after you get all three items with Neo's face marked in them (and make sure not to fail the round, or else you'll have to repeat the entire level to restart the process).
  • 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.
  • Skippable Boss: Collecting all gems prior to reaching The Great Hall unlocks a new path that allows Crash to escape with Tawna and completely skip the last fight with Cortex.
  • 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". These levels are dark, spooky temples overrun by bats and filled with dangerous traps (such as spears, torches and falling columns).
  • Temporary Platform: Platforms of both "crumbles if you stand on them" type and "goes on and off" type exist, and get 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).
  • Throw a Barrel at It: Used against Crash by Pinstripe's Mafia goons in Toxic Waste. They're the primary cause of the Corridor Cubbyhole Run of barrels, and the last two of them even throw bouncing barrels which are far trickier to avoid.
  • 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.
  • Toxic, Inc.: Four of the later stages in the game take place within Cortex Power, a nuclear power plant built by Neo Cortex and managed by Pinstripe Potoroo and his gang. The power plant in question is unsafe and dirty, and is responsible for polluting the nearby bay with radioactive waste. Cortex Power is shut down during the events of the game (Pinstripe Potoroo accidentally shoots out the main reactor when he is defeated), but this seems to cause a blackout in the later stages set inside Cortex's Castle.
  • Trigger Happy: Pinstripe really loves to fire his Tommy gun around.
  • Turtle Power: Turtles are regular enemies. Their shells also make excellent springboards.
  • Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: When Dr. Neo Cortex and N. Brio are trying to brainwash the newly created titular hero.
    Dr. Cortex: Quickly! Into the Vortex!
    N. Brio: But Doctor Cortex, the Vortex is not ready! We have no idea what it could do!
  • 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.
  • Violation of Common Sense Oooooh boy is the first Crash game in love with this:
    • Right at the end of the very first level, there's a large gap with a bridge of crates that provide the only means of crossing it. In order to get the Gem for breaking all a level's crates, most players assume you have to bounce on each individual crate, one-by-one, to get it. Turns out the more effective solution is to go back to the third Aku Aku crate to get invincibility and walk across it, as walking across a crate with invincibility will incur a 1 second delay on the crate breaking. Not that the game ever tells you this, and few players would try given that in all other situations, invincibility breaks crates instantly!
    • Up the Creek has this on two levels. There's a ! Crate that doesn't appear to do anything at all after you hit it, as nothing changes later down the level. You're expected the backtrack through the level and find two crates on the banks on the river. What pushes it into this trope is that, unlike all other crates revealed by ! crates, there's no wireframe to let you know crates will appear there to begin with! On top of that, to get there you have to go over a line of lily-pads that sink when you step on them (which you had to do to get to the ! crate). The game never tells you that the lily-pads rise back up if you wait for a few seconds, so most players will assume they can't go back!
    • Temple Ruins contains another good one. Mid-way through you'll see a Wumpa Fruit floating just over the edge of a platform. If you walk left to get it (rather than jumping and turning around in mid-air like a sane person), you'll reveal a line of crates that form a bridge to a large stack of crates. You're expected to make what appears to be a suicidal walk off the edge to reveal it!
    • In both Road to Nowhere and The High Road, there are hidden Golden Planks of the bridge that, surprise surprise, are completely invisible until you step on them, with no suggestion that you should even go down that path until you make the leap of faith.
    • In Heavy Machinery, there are a bunch of crates hidden down on a platform that you can only reach by jumping down what appears to be a pit that would kill you like every other pit in the game. Your only "tell" are a pair of drones hovering down in the pit (and these drones kill Crash on contact, so the player has no reason to go after them).
    • Possibly the most infamous example in the franchise comes from Jaws of Darkness. Late in the level you'll cross a line of falling platforms. To get all the crates in the level, you must walk left off the first one, revealing a completely invisible falling platform. Keep going left to reveal a whole bridge of them, leading to a stack of crates you need to get for both the Gem and the Key for another level.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Available after 100% Completion. They are as follows:
    • Papu Papu sells Cortex's ruined castle to a real estate developer to raise money to support his tribe's welfare.
    • Ripper Roo undergoes extensive therapy and higher education, getting a doctorate in psychology and writing a book about his experiences called Through the Eye of the Vortex: A Study of Rapid Evolution and its Consequences.
    • Koala Kong moves to Hollywood to become an actor, paying for counselling to improve his diction.
    • Pinstripe moves to Chicago to work at a sanitation company before attempting to work his way up to becoming a state governor.
    • N. Brio goes back to his old hobby of tending bar after Cortex's disappearance.
    • As for Cortex, while he hasn't been heard from since after his defeat, the game notes that scientists like him "are harder to squash than cockroaches."

 
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Papu Papu

Papu Papu is the very first boss in the Crash Bandicoot franchise.

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