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Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (Japanese: クラッシュ・バンディクー4 さくれつ!魔神パワ Crash Bandicoot 4: Sakuretsu! Majin Power (lit. Burst! Devil Spirits (i.e. the Elementals) Power)) is a Crash Bandicoot platformer. It's the sixth Crash Bandicoot game, the fourth chronologically, and it was the first game to feature Crash Bandicoot on the PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox. On December 4, 2007, the game was released onto the Xbox Live Marketplace as a downloadable game on the Xbox Originals Service.
In the game's story, the evil mask Uka Uka is enraged with Doctor Neo Cortex and his cronies for failing in the name of villainy. Focusing on defeating Crash Bandicoot, the talk of Cortex's secret superweapon comes up and the doctor reveals thay he has created a strong warrior of unbelievable power. Requiring a power source, Uka Uka recommends the Elementals - a group of malevolent masks bent on causing global chaos. The kindhearted Aku Aku quickly finds out and confronts Uka Uka. Luckily each Elemental can be placed back into their hibernation state with a total of five ancient crystals, so it's up to Crash and Coco Bandicoot to find them from different spots around the world with the use of Coco's VR Hub System whilst overcoming Cortex's superweapon.
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex was originally intended to be designed by Mark Cerny (who designed all the games in the series thus far) and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was Mark's unnamed PS2 game under development. The game under Cerny's direction was to be a free-roaming title with puzzle elements that would see Crash traveling between different planets. In early 2000, when Universal approached Traveller's Tales to be the development team behind the game, Tales produced a 3-D rendered demo of Crash running through a volcanic level. Development of the game's engine began in mid-2000. On September 21, 2000, Universal Interactive and Konami announced that they had entered an agreement that would enable Konami to publish a Crash Bandicoot game for next-generation game systems, with Universal Interactive handling the production of the games. The agreement served to break the Crash Bandicoot franchise's exclusivity to Sony-produced consoles and effectively made Crash Bandicoot a mascot character for Universal rather than Sony. After Universal fell out with Cerny and Sony, Traveller's Tales was forced to alter the game from a free-roaming title to a standard Crash title. Traveller's Tales had to begin development of the game from scratch and were given only twelve months to complete the game.
The character Crunch Bandicoot was designed by Craig Whittle of Traveller's Tales and Sean Krankel of Universal. The concept of battling mini-bosses within the game's levels was dropped to uphold the fast and frantic pace of the series' gameplay. Multiplayer capability was also considered before being dropped. An earlier draft of the story featured an alternate version of the game's climax and ending, which involved Crash battling Crunch in a mechanical robot suit. At the end of the fight, Crunch would destroy Crash's suit with a bolt of electricity. The resulting debris would render Cortex unconscious, destroy the remote control device controlling Crunch and start an electrical fire in the space station. As the Bandicoots escape to resume their beach-going vacation, the ruins of the space station would crash-land onto the island of Cortex's original settlement, conveniently allowing Cortex and Uka Uka to resume their world domination bids.
The majority of the characters and vehicles in the game were built and textured by Nicola Daly and animated by Jeremy Pardon. The main game systems and game code as a whole were coded by John Hodskinson. The game's music is composed by Andy Blythe and Marten Joustra of Swallow Studios. A rearranged version of the original Crash Bandicoot theme by Mutato Muzika also appears in the game. The game's sound effects were created by Ron Horwitz, Tom Jaeger, John Robinson and Harry Woolway of Universal Sound Studios. The game's voice actors were cast and directed by Margaret Tang. Only two of the series' original voice actors reprised their roles for the game: Clancy Brown voices the dual role of Doctor Neo Cortex and Uka Uka, while Mel Winkler provides the voice of Aku Aku. Debi Derryberry inherited the role of Coco Bandicoot from Hynden Walch, while Corey Burton voices the returning villains Doctor N. Gin and Doctor Nefarious Tropy, taking over for Brendan O'Brien and Michael Ensign respectively. Kevin Michael Richardson provides the voice of new character Crunch Bandicoot, while the Elementals, consisting of Rok-Ko, Wa-Wa, Py-Ro and Lo-Lo, are voiced by Thomas F. Wilson, R. Lee Ermey, Mark Hamill and Jess Harnell respectively.
The Xbox version of the game was announced by Universal Interactive on January 31, 2002. The Xbox version features reduced loading times and improved graphics that take advantage of the Xbox's console's more powerful hardware.
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex is a platform game in which the player controls Crash and his younger sister Coco, who must gather 25 Crystals and defeat the main antagonists of the story: Doctor Neo Cortex, his new super weapon Crunch Bandicoot and Crunch's power sources, the renegade Elementals. Much of the game takes place in a "Virtual Reality (VR) Hub System" created by Coco to help Crash gather the Crystals.
The VR Hub System is split up into five "VR Hubs"; initially, only the first VR Hub is available. Each VR Hub has five teleportation portals to different levels. The goal in each level is to find and obtain the Crystal hidden in the area. In some levels, the Crystal will be located at the end of a level or must be earned by completing a specific challenge. After completing all five levels in a VR Hub, a sixth teleportation portal to a boss level will appear. By defeating the boss, the next VR Hub will become available for play. When all 25 Crystals are collected and Doctor Cortex and Crunch are defeated, the game is won.
Crash and Coco start the game with four lives. Crash and Coco lose a life when they are struck by an enemy attack or suffer any other type of damage. More lives can be earned by instructing Crash or Coco to collect 100 Wumpa Fruit or break open a special crate to collect a life. Crash and Coco can be shielded from enemy attack by collecting an Aku Aku mask. Collecting three of these masks allows temporary invulnerability from all minor dangers such as enemies and Nitro Crates. If Crash or Coco run out of lives, the game is over. However, the game can be continued by selecting "Yes" at the "Continue?" screen.
Each level (except vehicle levels, Cortex Vortex, and Knight Time) contains a "Bonus Platform" that leads to a special bonus area, where the player must navigate through a maze and collect everything in sight. Once a bonus area is completed, it cannot be played again.
Besides crystals, gems and colored gems can be collected for 100% completion. Gems are rewarded to the player if all of the crates in a level are broken open or if a secret area is completed. Colored Gems are found in special levels and lead to hidden areas.
Relics can be won by re-entering a level where the Crystal has already been retrieved. To obtain a Relic, the player must initiate the Time Trial mode and race through a level in the per-designated time displayed before entering a level. To begin a Time Trial run, the player must enter a level and activate the floating stopwatch near the beginning of the level to activate the timer; if the stopwatch is not touched, the level can be played regularly. The player must then race through the level as quickly as possible. Scattered throughout the level are yellow crates with the numbers 1, 2 or 3 on them. When these crates are broken, the timer is frozen for the number of seconds designated by the box.
As no lives are lost in the Time Trial mode, the level can be played through as often as the player desires. Sapphire, Gold and Platinum Relics can be won depending on how low the player's final time is. The first five Relics the player receives unlocks access to a secret level. Every five Relics thereafter open up another level in the Secret Warp Room. The levels in the Secret Warp Room must be won before the game can be 100% completed.
However, the percentage system gives 1% for every boss, crystal, gem, and relic. There are 25 crystals, 30 relics, 46 gems, and 5 bosses, which gives a total of 106%- so a truly 100% game is 106% on the game screen. Once the game has been completed with the true ending, Crunch cannot be fought again.
"Do We Have A Plan?"
(Uka-Uka in the first cutscene of the game)
After the events of Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, somewhere outside of Earth's orbit, Uka Uka holds a "bad guy convention" in a new space station that currently acts as the base for Doctor Neo Cortex and his minions Doctor N. Gin, Doctor Nefarious Tropy, Tiny Tiger and Dingodile. Uka Uka denounces the group as "imbeciles, fools," and "nincompoops" and questions their ability to do anything right. Unveiling a line graph moving heavily downward, Uka Uka announces that the group's track record for spreading evil is "pathetic". Doctor Cortex proclaims their innocence and that Crash Bandicoot is really at fault. Irritated, Uka Uka declares that he will not let anything stand in the way of evil, especially not a "brainless orange marsupial". He concludes that Crash must be eliminated. As he speaks, Tiny attempts to clutch a hologram of Crash Bandicoot that has appeared over the middle of the table, only to have it disappear in his hand. Doctor N. Gin nervously reminds Uka Uka that Crash always finds a way to defeat them and contemplates the possibility that Crash may be just too good for them. However, Uka Uka at this point will not take excuses and threatens the group into thinking of one good plan on the spot. As Doctor Cortex disgustedly laments his situation, Doctor Nefarious Tropy recalls a secret weapon Cortex has been working on in his laboratory. Although Cortex denies anything of that sort, Doctor N. Gin doesn't catch on and reminds Cortex that Tropy is referring to the super-secret weapon Cortex has been laboring over day and night since the last time Crash defeated him, ignoring all of Cortex's non-vocal attempts to tell him to keep quiet on the subject. Uka Uka impatiently ends the discussion and asks the group what they have planned. With no choice at hand, Cortex decides to reveal the existence of his genetically-engineered weapon, which he claims possesses unbelievable strength. However he reports that the weapon is missing a power source. In a scene only present in the instruction manual for the game, Uka Uka tells the group a story about a battle that happened thousands of years ago between the Ancient Ancestors and the Elementals, a group of renegade masks who controlled the natural elements of earth, water, fire and air and used their powers to ravage the globe. The Ancient Ancestors were able to imprison the Elementals through the use of the Crystals, putting the Elementals in a state of hibernation. Cortex deduces that if they unleash the Elementals' destructive energy, they'd have enough power to bring the secret weapon to life. The weapon would be capable of crushing mountains, demolishing entire cities and, as Uka Uka hopes, wiping Crash Bandicoot off the face of the Earth forever. Cortex laughs sinisterly as he prepares for Crash Bandicoot for his wrath.
Climate ChangesMeanwhile, Crash and Coco are jet-skiing near N. Sanity Beach as Pura and Aku Aku soak up the sun's rays. Suddenly, they are all startled by a loud rumble, which draws their attention to an erupting volcano in the distance (Py-Ro and Rok-Ko). Clouds begin to flood the sky (Wa-Wa and Lo-Lo), and Aku Aku seems to suspect something. Coco warns Crash about an incoming tidal wave (Wa-Wa attacks), which sweeps them both onto the shore with the others. Aku Aku immediately blames Uka Uka for the strange weather occurrences and disappears to find out what he is planning.
Meet The Elementals
Aku Aku arrives at a temple in the middle of hyperspace, where Uka Uka has been waiting for him. Aku Aku demands him to reveal his schemes, but Uka Uka claims "just some old familiar faces dropping by for a visit," at which point Rok-Ko, Wa-Wa, Py-Ro and Lo-Lo appear, right in front of Aku Aku. Aku Aku is shocked and reminds him of the chaos the masks are capable of, telling him that their release could spell disaster for them all. Py-Ro orders an attack on Aku Aku, who manages to escape to tell Crash and Coco.
Coco's VR HUB System
Elsewhere, Crash is drying off after his encounter with the tidal wave while Coco is on her laptop. Aku Aku suddenly bursts inside and tells them about the Elementals, instructing them to collect the crystals to imprison the masks and save the Earth. Coco delivers a status update on her VR HUB System she'd been working on, announcing that it is nearly complete. Aku Aku happily decides that it is time to test it out in order to retrieve the crystals. The group enters a workshop where Coco's device is located, and with a tap of a few keys on her laptop, Coco activates the VR HUB System, allowing Crash to collect 25 crystals, and fight Cortex and Crunch.
Cortex moans over his defeat then Uka Uka comes up and reminds him Crash may have collected the crystals but since he doesn't have the gems, they can use them to bring The Elementals back once again before Crash gets the gems.
The True Ending
Cortex moans over his defeat. Then Uka Uka furiously attempts to attack Cortex, but misses and inadvertently releases Crunch from his mind control by damaging the machinery in the space station. Crunch wakes up dazed, but has no time to get his revenge on Cortex as Uka Uka's blunder causes a critical power overload that could destroy them all. Cortex suggests that they use the escape pods, but Uka Uka is angry at Cortex for ducking out of the way. Meanwhile, Coco arrives in a spaceship just in time to pick up Crash, Aku Aku and Crunch. Later, Crunch expresses his gratitude to Crash, Coco and Aku Aku for believing in him. Coco then wonders if that was the last time they'll see Cortex and Uka Uka, which Aku Aku has a hard time believing. Elsewhere, having blasted off in an escape pod and landed in the middle of an icy wasteland, Cortex is chased around an iceberg by Uka Uka, declaring that he will get his revenge on Crash.
VR HUB System and Levels
There are five chambers in the warp room, twenty-five main levels, five boss arenas and a bonus room with five more. (Boss fights are in bold)
|Chamber||Character||Level Theme||Level||Items||Boxes||Relic Times||Enemies/Hazards|
|Crash||Snow||Arctic Antics||147||: 1:15.00||Seal; Penguin; Humpback Whale; Skier Lab Assistant|
|Crash||Flying; Farmland||Tornado Alley||15||: 2:00.00||Other Planes, Tornado Generators|
|Bamboozled||125||: 1:15.00||Dangerous Edges; Zebras|
|Crash||Chase; Nightmare Castle||Wizards and Lizards||129||: 1:15.00||Knight; Wizard; Bat; Dragon; Fire Pit|
|Crash||Minecart; Mineshaft Factory||Compactor Reactor||150||: 1:45.00||Drills (top); Vial Throwing Lab Assistant; Drills (sides); Radioactive Lab Assistant; Flaming Meteorite; Rotating Gears; Pillar; Green Laser|
|Crash||Boss; Atlasphere; Jungle||Rumble in the Roks||Tip Toe||N/A||N/A||Crunch's Atlasphere; Flame Rocks|
|Crash||Chase; Jeep; Jungle||Jungle Rumble||150||: 2:00.00||Archers; Rhinos; Giraffes; Hippos; Zebras, Lions, Elephants|
|Crash||Submarine; Scuba||Sea Shell Shenanigans||99||: 1:23.60||Jellyfish; Charging Fish; Shark; Mine; Scuba Lab Assistant; Diver; Anglerfish|
|Coco||Oriental||Banzai Bonsai||Super Body Slam||154||: 1:30.00||Stork; Orange Fish; Ninja Lab Assistant; Lizard; Gong Banging Lab Assistant; Fire Flame|
|Crash||Flying; Volcanic Island||That Sinking Feeling||12||: 3:30.00||Other Planes; Tier|
|Crash||Submarine; Sunken Base||H2 Oh No||165||: 1:35.00||Purple Jellyfish; Mine; Charging Fish; Scuba Lab Assistant; Lionfish; Diver; Vial Throwing Lab Assistant; Electrical Liquid; Radioactive Lab Assistant; Flapping Fish; Green Laser|
|Crash||Boss; Pump Station||Drain Damage||Double Jump||N/A||N/A||Crunch's Water Beams; Water Rays; Sinking Platforms|
|Crash||Nightmare Castle||The Gauntlet||136||: 1:30.00||Trap Door; Knight; Battle Axes; Mallet; Flaming Coal; Spiked Wall; Crusher; Torture Devices; Wizard|
|Coco||Chase; Scooter; Oriental||Tsunami||101||: 1:30.00||Bearded Trolley Man; Kart Ninja; Flapping Fish; Ninja Lab Assistant; Tsunami|
|Crash||Race; Jeep; Desert||Smokey and the Bandicoot||34||: 1:20.00||Pits, Tiny, Dingodile, N.Tropy, N.Gin|
|Crash||Atlasphere; Snow||Eskimo Roll||82||: 1:25.00||Holes; Tiny; Penguin; Dingodile; Fire Pits; N. Tropy|
|Crash||Copter; Volcanic Magma Lab||Fahrenheit Frenzy||147||: 2:00.00||Lava; Plasma Cannons; Furnace; Radioactive Lab Assistant; Vial Throwing Lab Assistant; Green Lazer; Pillar; Claw Robot|
|Crash||Boss; Mech; Flaming Village||Crashes to Ashes||Death Tornado||N/A||N/A||Crunch's Flame Wall; Fire Rocks|
|Coco||Chase; Snowboard; Snow||Avalanche||113||: 1:35.00||Penguin; Skier Lab Assistant; Avalanche|
|Crash||Mech; Space Station||Droid Void||169||: 2:00.00||Cyborg Lab Assistant; Rotating Lazer; Claw Robot; Electricity; Green Droid; Hovering Robot; Blown Up Ship; Vial Throwing Lab Assistant|
|Coco||Flying; Space||Crashteroids||14||: 1:54.36||Other Ships; Astreroids|
|Crash||Submarine; Scuba||Coral Canyon||85||: 1:14.17||Octopus Tentacle; Jellyfish; Mine; Lionfish; Charging Fish; Shark; Anglerfish; Scuba Lab Assistant; Diver|
|Crash||Flying Fortress||Weathering Heights||140||: 1:37.34||Radioactive Lab Assistant; Claw Robot; Cyborg Lab Assistant; Vial Throwing Lab Assistant; Sharp Fan; Blown Up Ship; Steam Vent; Green Lazor|
|Crash||Boss; Flying||Atmospheric Pressure||Fruit Bazooka||N/A||N/A||Crunch's Air Ball; Air Shards; Air Whip; Air Storm|
|Crash||Volcano||Crash and Burn||138||: 1:45.00||Boxing Crab; Monkey; Lizard; Suicidal Bird; Lava; Rock|
|Crash||Desert||Gold Rush||209||: 2:15.00||Inflating Cactus; Swooping Vulture; Kicking Horse; Scorpion; Dynamite Explosion|
|Crash||Atlasphere; Castle||Medieval Madness||166||: 1:40.00||Fire Pits; Giant Wheels; Tiny; Pushing Obstical; Dingodile; N. Tropy|
|Crash||Chase; Mech; Space Station||Crate Balls of Fire||110||: 2:20.00||Claw Robot; Hovering Robot; Radiation Rays; Green Droid; Blown Up Ship; Anti-Plasma|
|Crash||Space Station; Generator||Cortex Vortex||155||: 1:45.00||Harmful Gate; Hovering Robot; Door Pushing Lab Assistant; Electric ceiling; Vial Throwing Lab Assistant; Electric Floor; Cyborg Lab Assistant|
|Crash||Boss; Space Station||Crunch Time||Speed Shoes||N/A||N/A||Rok-Ko's Rock Showers; Wa-Wa's Ice Blocks; Py-Ro's Fire Panels; Lo-Lo's Electric Grid|
|Coco||Nightmare Castle||Knight Time||112||: 1:20.00||Trap Door; Knight; Mallet; Spiked Wall; Crusher; Torture Devices; Wizard|
|Crash||Race; Minecart; Desert||Ghost Town||65||: 1:10.00||Crunch|
|Crash||Race; Copter||Ice Station Bandicoot||20||: 1:08.00||Unknown Polar Bear|
|Crash||Atlasphere; Space||Solar Bowler||86||: 1:00.00||Tiny; N. Tropy|
|Coco||Snowboard; Snow||Force of Nature||111||: 1:15.00||Skier Lab Assistant|
Despite mixed to positive reviews, Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex sold quite well especially the PS2 version which made the "Greatest Hits" lineup and sold over 3 million copies. The GameCube and Xbox versions sold fairly well too but not as much as the PS2 version, though the Gamecube version sold well enough to be included in the "Player's Choice" lineup.
- Crunch & Rok-Ko: In a style of the atlasphere levels with Crunch in a much larger atlasphere made of rock.
- Crunch & Wa-Wa: Crunch is in water form and can attack using power beams.
- Crunch & Py-Ro: In a style of chase and mech levels with Crunch throwing flaming boulders at Crash, he needs to 'cool' down.
- Crunch & Lo-Lo: Crunch is a tornado and has a lot of power moves.
- Dr. Neo Cortex, Crunch & the Elementals: Cortex does not attack you, but, Crunch jumps on four buttons of an Elementals color sending their powers: Rok-Ko sends flaming rocks raining down, Wa-Wa just sends a few ice cubes that freeze Crash for a second, Py-Ro sets the floor on fire so watch your feet, Lo-Lo uses electricity that come from the front and back.
Gameplay differences from Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped
For the most part, the gameplay in The Wrath of Cortex can be thought of as being the same as in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped but with different levels and some new vehicles, and with Crash's movement feeling slightly different. Most of the elements of gameplay (such as crates, bonus rounds, crystals, gems, relics, unlocking levels and warp rooms, etc.) is the same from Crash 3, but there are some differences.
- Instead of the super belly flop as in Crash 3, the powerup given from the first boss fight is the tip toe, although the super belly flop is awarded in the red gem path of Banzai Bonsai.
- Gems cannot be awarded during time trial mode in The Wrath of Cortex like they could in Crash 3.
- Death routes and gem paths cannot be accessed in time trial mode in The Wrath of Cortex (in addition to bonus rounds), whereas in Crash 3, only bonus rounds were off-limits in time trial, provided that Crash had the requirements for entering the special paths.
- Unlike in Crash 3, there are no secret warps inside levels that warp to new levels.
- All of the sixth warp room levels in The Wrath of Cortex are separate from the main levels. This is unlike in Crash 3, where two of them were secret entrances to other levels.
- In Crash 2 and 3, when Crash or Coco dies and returns to the previous checkpoint, the crates and enemies that are no longer intact are the ones that were hit prior to hitting that checkpoint. This is different in The Wrath of Cortex, where the crates and enemies missing are the ones that were hit (at any point) and positioned previous to the checkpoint in the level.
- The decision by Traveller's Tales to program the game in this way led to limitations in designing levels, because in this game, it must always be clear which crates and hazards are previous to any checkpoint and which are after. Whereas previous Crash games often featured split paths, and sometimes gem paths or death routes came back to the main level, this is not the case in The Wrath of Cortex. Levels are very linear, and gem paths and death routes always dead end at an exit to the level, and are never required for box completion. The four atlasphere levels are slightly less linear, with split paths at certain points (many of which dead end) but any path through those levels still passes by every checkpoint crate.
- There is no multicolor gem path, like Crash 2 and 3 both had.
- Aku Aku crates twist in and out a little bit while unopen.
- Unlike in Crash 1, 2, and 3, jumping off enemies onto other enemies, or spinning enemies into each other, or jumping from an arrow crate or bouncy platform onto an enemy never gives wumpa fruit or lives in The Wrath of Cortex. Therefore, the extra items cheat is absent in this game, although that was not an intended feature of Crash 2 or 3, either.
- Body slamming on a bounce crate never gives any wumpa fruit, unlike in Crash 2 and 3.
- Coco is fully playable in some platforming levels, unlike in Crash 3 where she was restricted to vehicle levels outside very short transitions. Her abilities and animations have some key differences from Crash, even if her gameplay mechanics still mostly work as a more limited variation of his (if not nearly to the same extent as in Warped). She can also now utilise two of the unlockable special abilities (the Super Belly Flop and the Speed Shoes).
- In addition, Coco's gameplay is now more personalised, the hud details such as the life icon now have her likeness when playing, compared to Warped where they always displayed Crash regardless of the character playing.
- On a minor note, Coco's model is much smaller than Crash in this game compared to Warped. Her stats are affected by this, giving her a slightly stunted run and jump and a smaller hit radius.
- All vehicles are mandatory regardless of whether or not they are on foot levels, getting hit when using them (without an Aku Aku mask) will cost the player a life. This is in contrast to certain vehicles in Warped, that could be ignored or dismounted from, allowing Crash to continue the level on foot.
- Bosses have health bars in The Wrath of Cortex that don't make it clear how many hit points are required, unlike in previous Crash games.
- In The Wrath of Cortex, nitro switch crates explode the nitros and the crates adjacent to the nitros are also exploded. This is unlike in Crash 2 and 3, where the nitro switch crates only explode the nitros on the screen at the time, and simply make the other nitros disappear.
- There is no special gem for completing the game with gold relics or better like there was in Crash 3. This makes earning the second ending easier as only 25 sapphire relics are required to be able to collect all the gems instead of 30 gold.
- The platinum relic time appears in The Wrath of Cortex on any level where Crash or Coco has obtained a gold relic. In Crash 3, for the times to appear, Crash needed to reach the game's second ending as well, even though platinum relics could be obtained previous to this.
- Traveller's Tales never released their developer times, although only in the NTSC version of Crash 3 did Naughty Dog release theirs.
- The Fruit Bazooka can be used in boss fights unlike in Crash 3. Also, checkpoint crates can now be broken with the Fruit Bazooka, unlike in Crash 3.
- Aku Aku invincibility only lasts for 10 seconds in The Wrath of Cortex, as opposed to 20 seconds in Crash 1, 2, and 3.
- Whereas in Crash 2 and 3, Crash and Coco could only have Aku Aku invincibility in platforming levels, in The Wrath of Cortex, Crash can be invincible while on certain vehicles.
- Aku Aku masks don't go away upon entering time trial mode, unlike in Crash 3.
- The Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment system is far less sophisticated than in Crash 2 or 3, with the only aspect being that Aku Aku masks can be granted upon several deaths at the same point.
- Certain physics feel slightly different compared to the previous titles. Crash feels slightly slower and clunkier to control. He also climbs the ceiling grates at a significantly slower pace.
- All collectable items (Crystals, Gems, etc.) can be shot with the Bazooka to collect them, unlike Crash 3 where you could not shoot them.
This game has more vehicles than before, in fact, most of the levels in the game involve riding vehicles, and there are lots of variants;
- "Crash-Glider/Coco-Ship": The glider is playable in Tornado Alley and the boss Atmospheric Pressure while the Ship is only playable in Crashteroids. Both can Barrel Roll like planes from Warped but the Ship can shoot lasers where as the Glider can shoot Flaming Wumpa Fruit in Tornado Alley and lasers in Atmospheric Pressure repetitively.
- "Atlasphere": A large blue hamster ball big enough to fit Crash, this vehicle can only move and it has no attacks but is strong enough to break crates and fling away small enemies (like penguins), just by simply running over them.
- "Minecart": This is used in Compactor Reactor and for the race in Ghost Town. It moves from side to side to smash crates on those sides, down to go slower and up to go faster.
- "Jeep": A camo-colored jeep which is driven in to escape a herd of rhinos in Jungle Rumble and and to race in Smokey and the Bandicoot, the Jeep can't stop in the chase in Jungle Rumble, but can oddly stop in Smokey and the Bandicoot. Also the Jeep has no attacks.
- "Submarine": A yellow sub is used to navigate the depths of the sea in Seashell Shenanigans, H2 Oh No, and Coral Canyon, the sub can drop mines and shoot Torpedoes.
- "Firefly": This flying firefly-like plane is only playable in That Sinking Feeling, the firefly has a lock on target missile system.
- "Scooter/Snowboard: The scooter is only used in Tsunami, it has no attacks. The snowboard controls just like the scooter and is used in Avalanche and Forces of Nature. Both are only used by Coco.
- "Copter Pack": A helicopter pack, which controls are just like the jet pack from Crash Bandicoot 2, is used to maneuver through the volcano in Fahrenheit Frenzy and race through the rings in Ice Station Bandicoot just like Rings of Power from Warped with the exception that there are only 10 more rings in this course. Crash can spin while using this.
- "Mech": There are two mechs; a red one only used in the boss fight Crashes to Ashes, and the yellow one that is playable in Droid Void and Crate Balls of Fire. The red one can spray water, while the yellow one can shoot Wumpa Fruit.
Bonus Unlockable Mini-Game
A mini-game called Crash Blast can be unlocked by these doing these steps. This is only unlockable in the GameCube version.
What is needed:
- The GameCube version of The Wrath of Cortex
- A GameCube to Game Boy Advance Link Cable
- A Game Boy Advance and GameCube
What players need to do:
- At the title screen, select load Crash Blast
- Connect the link cable to the Game Boy Advance
- Select Load and let the game load up
To learn more about the minigame, see the Crash Bandicoot Blast page.
- The load times per level differ with each version. The original PS2 release suffered from a lengthy 45 second approx load time. The Greatest Hits/Platinum re-release modified this to a much smaller 15 second approx load time. The Xbox and Gamecube versions have an even shorter 5-10 second approx load time.
- The GameCube version includes the option to play Crash Blast via GBA link.
- Certain relic times were altered for the Xbox and GameCube versions.
- Certain cosmetic details are altered or absent depending on the console version.
- The GameCube version is noticeably downgraded, using more simplistic lighting and suffering occasional texture errors. Some scenery such as that in the warp room has also been simplified.
- The Xbox version adds fur texturing to Crash and Coco. It also adds a larger number of ambient sound effects to certain levels.
- The PS2 version lacks life meters for certain bosses. It also features a larger number of lighting or shadow effects in particular levels and bosses.
- The neat lighting effect that projects Coco's shadow into the panels halfway through Banzai Bonsai isn't present in the Xbox and GameCube versions.
- The loading screens for all three versions also differ significantly.
- Medieval Madness underwent some minor layout changes in the Xbox and Gamecube versions: the 2 big platforms just after the treacherous wooden ramps were reduced to a single one, and the elevator after the wobbling platforms up ahead moves much slower. It's music track is also replaced with that of The Gauntlet.
- The music in the PS2 and GameCube versions does not loop smoothly, having a brief pause before restarting each track. This is fixed for the Xbox version. Curiously, the exclusive Medieval Madness track is exempt to this in the PS2 version and loops properly.
- Players can start the game and instantly finish it at 106% by making a new game and setting the name to Wombat (Xbox and GameCube versions only).
- The last boss fight, Crunch Time!, features a health bar for Cortex in the Xbox and GameCube versions, showing his entire body next to it.
- On the NTSC PS2 version of the game, pressing SELECT as Crash grabs the stopwatch on Wizards and Lizards will teleport him to the end of the level. This does not work on any other level on the Xbox/GameCube versions or PAL PS2 versions of the game.
- In Crash's house during the opening cutscene to the game, a ringtone-esque recording of the Wrath of Cortex theme plays in the GameCube version before Aku Aku makes his appearance. In the PS2 American version, the music does not play. However, it does in the European version.
- All versions of the NTSC-J game have the title screen altered to feature the Japanese logo and the "Crash-Bandy-Kuu!" theme music play.
- Additionally, like in the NTSC-J versions of the first 3 games, this game's has Aku Aku telling you hints when you open some of his crates. This time they are much fewer (around 6 per Warp Room) and the animation is looped without lip synching.
- During time trial mode in the PAL version of the game, the records will always end on an even digit.
- As with previous titles, collecting masks earns hints from Aku Aku in the NTSC-J version.
As expected from the heavy retooling of the game throughout development, some remains are leftover in the final product unused. A lot of which is accessible via hacking or Action Replay cheat code:
- At least two unused levels can be accessed in an incomplete form (a Cut Glider Level and Fire Island). The early warp room used in the E3 prototype can also be accessed, but its level geometry is not solid.
- In addition, the prototype on-foot revision of Ice Station Bandicoot is also used in game, albeit as an inaccessible background in the final level. Its remains are solid and similarly can be accessed via hacking.
- Several unused models, including the discarded tribesman mini-boss and multiple animal stampede from prototype builds.
- Two unused voice clips from Coco and Aku Aku. Coco's voice clip is from the cut glider level, while Aku Aku's are instructions after defeating Rumble In The Roks (practically a word for word recreation of his dialogue after defeating Tiny in Warped).
- Unused animations for Coco, exiting the level with or without items, much akin to those in Warped. In the final game, you always exit the level as Crash.
- Unused compatibility to toggle the game's display to both 60hz and widescreen in the PAL Gamecube version.
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex received generally mixed to positive reviews, with some critics criticizing the game for making little changes to the formula established by its predecessors. Louis Bedigian of GameZone wrote a positive review, saying that "any Crash Bandicoot fan would be a fool not to go out and buy this game. I started playing at 2am one night and did not stop until three in the afternoon!" Doug Perry of IGN described the game as "a decent playing and pretty looking Crash Bandicoot game. It's nothing terribly special, but it's not bad, not bad at all."Official U.S. Playstation Magazine felt that "when the strongest feeling I get from a game is the desire to play its predecessors, something's not quite right." Game Informer criticized the "outrageously bad load times", saying that they "keep the game from being average." Shane Satterfield of GameSpot concluded that the game "maintains the status quo and fails to deliver a fresh, compelling experience." Star Dingo of GamePro cautioned that "if you were hoping the new management would give Crash a big kick in the pants, however, this is one pair of pants you will find quite unkicked." Electronic Gaming Monthly criticized the trial-and-error gameplay, saying that "when forced to blindly jump, die, then discover what you missed, where I come from, that’s just cheating."
Play Magazine noted that "they've caressed the music to great effect, made the bosses a bit more challenging, [and] adhered to a massive replayability standard that would drive any developer to drink." Game Informer felt that "every little morsel of platforming goodness in The Wrath of Cortex has already been done to death on the Playstation." Carlos McElfish of GameZone warned that "if you are looking for an innovative and original experience that does justice to the series you’ll have to look elsewhere." Official Xbox Magazine concluded that "this is a game for those who want what Crash has always had to offer – good graphics, jump-and-spin gameplay, and tons of collectible items. Nothing more, nothing less." Hilary Goldstein felt that while Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex was "a fun game for the most part," "it fails in some areas, like proper game balance and correct use of surround sound." Shane Satterfield of GameSpot passed off the game as "a slightly updated version of the orange marsupial's 1996 debut on the PlayStation." Star Dingo of GamePro concluded that "love it or hate it, Wrath of Cortex Xbox is more of more of the same."Electronic Gaming Monthly felt that "save for a few additions to WOC, like some cool hamster-ball levels, it's almost identical to its predecessors."
The GameCube version rated the lowest among critics out of the three versions. Ben Kosmina of Nintendo World Report promised that "gamers experiencing the wacky mascot for the first time may enjoy it." Michael Lafferty of GameZone described the game as "safe, sterile and redundant." Matt Casamassina on IGN concluded that "at the end of the day this is the same Crash game I played so many years ago without any real innovations or evolutions."Nintendo Power praised the "sheer variety" of the gameplay. Kilo Watt of GamePro said that "graphically, this version is slightly below the recent Xbox release but in line with the competent PlayStation 2 iteration." Electronic Gaming Monthly agreed that "Wrath on the GC is much more polished here than on the PS2," while Play Magazine denounced the GameCube version as "a shell of the other two console versions, so I beg you to pass."
Despite the less-than-stellar reviews, the PlayStation 2 version sold over 1.95 million units in North America. As a result, the game was re-released for the Platinum Range on October 11, 2002, for the Sony Greatest Hits line-up on October 15, 2002 and for the tBest line-up on October 17, 2002. The three regional re-releases were recoded slightly, having quicker load times than those of the original version. The Xbox version was re-released for the Xbox Classics line-up on April 11, 2003. The GameCube version was re-released for the Player's Choice line-up in Europe on October 22, 2004.
- The game's plot completely ignores the ending of Warped and offers no explanation of how Cortex, N. Tropy, and Uka Uka were able to escape their fate at the end of that game when they were trapped in a time warp that resulted in both doctors being reduced to infants. It simply puts them all up in a space station once again, discussing how to take down Crash, conducting evil business as usual, as though the previous game's ending never happened at all.
- This is the only game in the Crash series that:
- Py-Ro was originally intended to be fought after Lo-Lo. Uka Uka's dialog wasn't changed to reflect the switch.
- If Crash is left alone for long enough, he will start to juggle a wumpa fruit, or pull one out of his ear.
- Switch Crates and Nitro Switch Crates count towards the crate count.
- On the back of the case, it says that Coco is playable for the "first time ever on foot", but she was playable on foot in Warped before riding Pura and was playable on foot in Crash Bash while in the Warp Room and the Crate Crush games.
- In Arctic Antics and all other snow-themed levels, whenever Crash stands on the moving Bonus Platform, he will start shivering after a few seconds.
- The mech suit that Crash uses in the levels Droid Void and Crate Balls of Fire bears a striking resemblance to the one from the 1986 classic horror movie, Aliens.
- Wa-Wa is voiced by R. Lee Ermey, who is known for playing Gunnery Sgt. Hartman from Full Metal Jacket and Sergeant from Toy Story.
- Py-Ro is voiced by Mark Hamill. Hamill is best known for his role as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise and the voice of The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, marking the first celebrity voice role of a character in the Crash Bandicoot history.
- Lo-Lo is voiced by Jess Harnell. He is best known for providing the voice of Wakko Warner in Animaniacs and Spyro the Dragon in Spyro: A Hero's Tail and Spyro: Shadow Legacy, and he would later voice Crash Bandicoot in Crash Tag Team Racing onwards.
- For unkown reasons, N. Gin's voice does not have a metallic filter applied, as it did in all games before, and most games since this one.
- The last video game that Crash is voiced by Brendan O'Brien.
- Coincidentally, there is a song called Elements by a production trio called Neo Cortex.
- Mark Hamill and Clancy Brown have also worked together as The Joker and Lex Luthor, respectively, in several shows in the DC Animated Universe.
- In Crash Twinsanity, Cortex breaks the fourth wall by saying: "Well the past few years have kind of been slow, Wrath of Cortex didn't do as well as we'd hoped and...."
- From this game onwards, Coco is voiced by Debi Derryberry, a voice actor well-known for playing tomboyish girls. She is also best known for providing the voice of Jimmy Neutron in the Nickelodeon animated series of the same name.
- In Tornado Alley, Coco can be heard saying "Looks like Neo's using them to make the tornadoes!" This marks the first and presently only time that Dr. Neo Cortex is mentioned by his first name.
- This is the first Crash Bandicoot game ever to verbally mention Aku Aku's name.
- Many returning characters received a dramatic makeover; Pura has whiskers; Cortex is shorter with stretched eyes (he also received an attire change in early footage); Tiny's eyes show only pupils; Coco has a larger snout and is much smaller and more childlike, Aku Aku got more feathers on the top of his head and is shaped like a trapezoid, instead of a rectangle.
- A mistake in the opening cutscene occurs when Aku Aku arrives at Crash's house and opens the door, players hear the door open about one second later.
- In Crash Tag Team Racing, the first battle arena is called Jungle Rumble, possibly a reference to level 6 from this game. Fittingly, Crash's Tier Three car of the same game (the "Crikey") heavily resembles the jeep utilised in this level.
- Every chamber except the the sixth one has the fifth level with a laboratory theme that represents the element of the boss. Compactor Reactor is a lab inside a cave and represents Rok-ko. H2 Oh No is an underwater lab and represents Wa-wa. Fahrenheit Frenzy is a lab inside a volcano and represents Py-ro. Weathering Heights is a lab inside a plane and represents Lo-lo. Cortex Vortex is a lab in space and represents Dr. Neo Cortex.
- Level 13 is titled Smokey and the Bandicoot. This is a reference to the movie Smokey and the Bandit.
- Level 28 is titled Ice Station Bandicoot, which is a reference to the movie Ice Station Zebra.
- Polar was originally going to have an appearance this game, but was cut for unknown reasons.
- However, he can be seen in the concept art of the game.
- The game was originally going to be a free roam game. However, the concept was scrapped and the free roam concept wasn't used until Crash Twinsanity.
- The game has 3,311 boxes in total, higher than any other Crash game so far.
- The music file for the level "Bamboozled" is named "roknrol", possibly meaning that Rock n' Roll was the early name of the level.
- Multiple professional reviews and analyses of the game referred to a wumpa fruit mini game that was playable during the loading screens. No presence of it has been found in any build of the game. Similar statements of a gimmick using "Elemental Crates" was also stated but similarly absent in any form or footage of the game.
- Michael Jackson is listed in the game's credits as a "game programmer". Whether or not it is a reference to the famous pop singer or a different person with the same name is unknown.
- Not counting the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, this is the last Crash game to use warp rooms as well as the classic style of the gameplay itself.