Crash Bandicoot Theme Song
Speaker Crash Bandicoot Theme SpeakerReverse

Crash Bandicoot (Japanese: クラッシュ・バンディクー Kurasshu Bandikuu) is a platform game made by Naughty Dog in 1996 for the PlayStation, featuring the character by the same name. While playing, Crash Bandicoot must fight Doctor Neo Cortex and his henchmen in order to save Tawna, his beloved bandicoot girlfriend, from Cortex. This game was made when Naughty Dog had only ten employees. As well as being originally released on the PlayStation, it was also emulated on the PlayStation Network on December 4, 2006, through which it can be played on the PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita and, as of Operating System update 1.70, on the PlayStation 3. It has sold 6.82 million copies globally. A complete remaster of the game was released on the 30th June 2017 along with Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped as part of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.


The gameplay in Crash Bandicoot is noticeably simpler than the series' later iterations. Crash doesn't learn any skills throughout the game, he is able only to walk, jump and use a spin attack. The only animal that Crash can ride in this game is a warthog.


There are three Islands on the game, between which 32 levels are divided as follows (the six boss levels are indicated in bold):

Island Level Type Level Items Enemies/Obstacles Bonus Rounds
N. Sanity Island Beach, Jungle N. Sanity Beach Clear gem Crab; Turtle
Jungle Jungle Rollers Clear gem Rolling Stone; Skunk; Venus Fly Trap Tawna token
Native Village Wall The Great Gate Clear gem Flame; Rolling Monkey; Shield Native; Spiked Pillar; Turtle; Venus Fly Trap Tawna token
Boulder Chase Boulders Clear gem Boulders
River Upstream Clear gem Flying Fish; Venus Fly Trap Tawna token
Boss/Native Village Hut Papu Papu N/A Papu Papu; Papu's Scepter
Jungle Rolling Stones Clear gem Rolling Stones; Skunk, Turtle; Venus Fly Trap Tawna tokenBrio token
Hog Hog Wild Clear gem Shield Native 2; Spiked Pole
Native Village Wall Native Fortress Clear gem Flame; Rolling Monkey; Shield Native; Spiked Pole; Turtle; Venus Fly Trap Tawna token
Wumpa Island River Up the Creek Clear gem Flying Fish; Venus Fly Trap; Rolling Monkey Tawna token
Boss, Waterfall Ripper Roo N/A Ripper Roo; Water; Big TNT
Ancient Ruins The Lost City Green gem Bats; Flame; Lizard; Sliding Pillar Tawna tokenBrio token
Dark Temple Temple Ruins Clear gem Bats; Closing Pillar; Flame; Snake; Spear; Spider
Bridge Road to Nowhere Clear gem Hog; Turtle Tawna token
Boulder Chase Boulder Dash Clear gem Boulder; Venus Fly Trap
Hog Whole Hog (requires key) Clear gem Shield Native 2; Spiked Pole
Ancient Ruins Sunset Vista1 Clear gemKey Bats; Flame; Lizard; Sliding Pillar Tawna tokenCortex token
Boss, Mines Koala Kong N/A Koala Kong boss 3, TNT, Boulders
Cortex Island Factory Heavy Machinery Clear gem Holoprojector; Pipe; Steam Pipe; Spiked Saucer; Crawling Tawna tokenBrio token
Electric Pipes Cortex Power Clear gem Electric Orb; Electric Pipe; Machine Gunner; Robot; Slime
Powering Station Generator Room Orange gem Holoprojector; Power Pipe; Television Screen; Steam Pipe; Spiked Saucer Tawna token
Toxic Plant Toxic Waste Blue gem Barrel Thrower; Bouncing Toxic Waste Barrel; Waste Barrel; Slime Tawna token
Boss, Office Pinstripe Potoroo N/A Pinstripe Potoroo boss 4; Machine Gun bullets
Bridge The High Road Clear gem Hog; Turtle Tawna token
Castle Exterior Slippery Climb1 Red gem Bird; Evil Hand; Lab Assistant; Spike; Stairs Brio token
Dark Hallway Lights Out Purple gem Rat; Swinging Blade
Dark Hallway Fumbling in the Dark (requires key) Clear gem Rat; Swinging Blade; Spider; Deadly Spider
Dark Temple Jaws of Darkness Clear gemKey Bats 2; Closing Pillar; Flame; Snake; Spear; Spider Tawna tokenCortex token
Factory Castle Machinery Clear gem Pipe; Holo-Projector; Crawling; Steam Pipe
Boss, Potions Room Dr. Nitrus Brio N/A Dr. Nitrus Brio boss 5; Deadly Potions
Castle Interior The Lab Yellow gem Blob; Electric Pillar; Lab Assistant Tawna token
Pent House The Great Hall N/A N/A
Boss, Airship Dr. Neo Cortex N/A Dr. Neo Cortex boss 6; Laser Zapper
Removed Level Castle Exterior Stormy Ascent Clear gem Birds; Evil Hand; Lab Assistant; Spike; Stairs Cortex token

1 - Sunset Vista and Slippery Climb are swapped in the NTSC-J release of the game.

Crates and other items


Cortex and Brio

Cortex (right) and Brio (left) put Crash under the Evolvo-Ray

Somewhere southeast of Australia rest three little islands, teeming with wildlife. Two humans, however, have been experimenting with the local furry creatures in order to form a destructive and evil army of mutants. Doctor Nitrus Brio creates a machine called the Evolvo-Ray, an invention capable of turning animals anthropomorphic, but his ever pushy employer (and main series antagonist) takes the credit. One night in his castle, Doctor Neo Cortex has just captured two bandicoots; one male and one female. They are both put under the Evolvo-Ray and both work successfully. Dr. Cortex plans to make the male the leader of his Cortex Commandos for world domination and inserts the evolved male (Crash) into his patented Cortex Vortex, a mind-controlling device designed to brainwash mammals and turn them into evil henchmen, even though Dr. Brio warns Cortex that the Vortex is not ready. Crash turns out to be an utter failure and is rejected by the Vortex. He is then chased by Cortex throughout the lab, who is attempting to catch him, but the marsupial accidentally breaks through a window and falls into the sea, but Tawna (the female bandicoot and his girlfriend) is still in Cortex's clutches. Crash washes up on the beach of his home island, having survived the fall, and sets out to save Tawna before Cortex can do anything terrible to her.

Knowing full aware that Crash will come back for Tawna, Cortex sends out his best henchmen (one of them also being a failed experiment) to stop him.


Crash and Tawna finally together.

Cortex's plan, however, is foiled when Crash eventually reaches his toxic waste factory and shuts it down when battling the C.E.O. and Cortex's bodyguard, Pinstripe. Crash soon enters Cortex's sinister castle. He confronts N. Brio in his lab room, where the mad doctor drinks a potion and turns into a monster pounding the ground, which causes the castle to go up in flames.

With his plans ruined, Cortex faces Crash atop his airship. After a long fight, Crash watches in awe as the rocket platform that Cortex stands on explodes, and Cortex apparently falls to his death. Crash is finally reunited with his beloved Tawna. The couple take the airship and fly into the sunset.

Little does Crash know that Cortex will return.

Alternate ending


The alternate ending

Instead of the other ending being the true ending or an extension like in other games of the series, the first game has an entirely different ending, an alternate ending if you collect all the Gems and take the new route in The Great Hall. Here, Crash finds Tawna in the castle, but does not fight Dr. Cortex. Crash and Tawna escape together on a friendly bird, and many stories are told of the bosses.

Papu Papu started a Big & Tall Shop using money he received by selling Cortex Castle to a resort developer.

Ripper Roo received intense therapy and a few years of higher education, and wrote the book "Through the Eyes of the Vortex" which talks about rapid evolution.

Koala Kong moved to Hollywood, started an acting career, and is working with a speech therapist.

Pinstripe moved to Chicago and started a sanitation company.

Dr. N. Brio revisited his earlier hobby of bar tending.

Curiously, the epilogue mentioned that Cortex disappeared. This may be due to Crash apparently never fighting him, thus he never accidentally rediscovered the Crystals in the sequel. Obviously, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back shows Cortex's fall from the original ending, though that doesn't mean that the other characters didn't receive their closure. For example, "Dr. Roo" is mildly referenced in the sequel, and Papu Papu and Pinstripe weren't even seen until Crash Team Racing.


Crash Bandicoot Characters

The characters of CB.left to right: Aku Aku, Papu Papu, Ripper Roo, Pinstripe, Koala Kong, Tawna, Crash, Dr. Neo Cortex and Dr. Nitrus Brio.

All of the characters are voiced by Brendan O'Brien, except for Aku Aku and Papu Papu who are voiced by David Siller, and Tawna and Koala Kong who aren't voiced by anyone. Ripper Roo's laughter is a re-tuned recording of Dallas McKennon doing the laughter from Lady and the Tramp.

Crash Bandicoot: The hero of the game. Once just an ordinary bandicoot taken from his home by the evil Dr. Cortex to be the general of his Cortex Commandos for world domination. Crash gained his jump and spin attack from the Evolvo-Ray. But when he was raised into the Cortex Vortex to become evil, he was rejected by the machine and gets chased by an angry Cortex. Although Crash escapes by jumping out the window, he left Tawna (his bandicoot girlfriend) in the hands of Cortex's henchmen, so he sets out on a long adventure to save her.

Aku Aku: Crash's best friend. He is a magical mask who protects him from enemies. He is first seen on N. Sanity Beach in special crates. He helps Crash on his quest and wants to stop Cortex himself. Aku Aku does not speak in this game.

Doctor Neo Cortex: The main antagonist. Cortex was mocked and ridiculed by people, so he sought revenge against humanity by making an army of monsters he called Cortex Commandos and take over the world. He then joined with another mad scientist, Dr. Nitrus Brio and told him to make a machine called the Evolvo-Ray along with the Cortex Vortex. When N. Brio finished, Cortex took the credit and, because of his low self-esteem, Brio didn't say anything. Together, they begun messing with the island's ecosystem, turning animals and plants into mutants. It seemed like Cortex's plan was going well. . . until Crash was made.

Doctor Nitrus Brio: A supporting villain. Being his boss' assistant led to some rivalry and it was actually N. Brio that made the Evolvo-Ray but his low self-esteem let Cortex take the credit. He seems to be obsessed with potions and vials. He stutters frequently and is nervous about what he's doing.

Tawna: A female bandicoot who was Crash's girlfriend at the time. She is another bandicoot Cortex tried to evolve and mutate. She is also the sole purpose Crash goes on his journey.

Pinstripe Potoroo: A mafia-style, fancy dressed, mutated potoroo armed with a Tommy-Gun and a maniacal laugh. Pinstripe was in charge of the radioactive Cortex Power on Cortex Island and even had an office. It is possible that after his boss fight when he shoots the reactor at the back it stops pollution going into the sea, it could also be one of the reasons the castle lit on fire.

Ripper Roo: A perfect example of an experiment gone wrong. This was Cortex's first test subject and it shows, unfortunately, he had one too many shots from the Cortex Vortex resulting in an insane kangaroo with a straight-jacket and crazy eyes. His fight with Crash took place at the top of the waterfall on the second island where he was probably sent to stay.

Papu Papu: The fat leader of the tribesmen on N. Sanity Island. He is the only boss who was not working for Cortex. He only tried to kill Crash because he got woken up from his nap.

Koala Kong: A mutated koala who has enough build on him to be a bodyguard. Despite how big he is, Koala Kong is not the brightest mutant as shown in his boss fight where he is showing off his moves giving Crash time to spin a boulder at him.


April 8, 1996

The most well-known and earliest prototype of the game contains many differences, but most notable of all, is the five cut levels, one of which is inaccessible and is called the "Lava Cave". Other notable differences are an entirely different main menu, a changed level order and map, and N. Brio's boss fight being sometimes impossible to finish due to a glitch (which, while still present in future versions, was less common). Even when the "glitch" didn't occur, N. Brio required an extra six hits, which likely was never intended since there were not that many dots (used to represent hit points).

May 11, 1996

Psx.exe 31012015 120959 0681

Naughty Dog logo.

This version was used in the E3 of the same year, and is very close to the final version in many aspects (such as crate physics, the map using 3D islands, levels having names, crates positioned more like in the retail version in most levels and the addition of music and gems). Most of the levels on the first two islands are far more similar to the final version as opposed to the April prototype. However, there are plenty of differences from the final version, including but not limited to, far fewer mugs in Native Fortress, The Lost City and Temple Ruins, as well as the existence of TNT crates in Sunset Vista, and hazards in Whole Hog that were cut in the final version, including small walls with Tribesmen peeking over it, and boomerangs spinning around the screen. Some of the music has slight changes when compared to the final version, such as N. Sanity Beach's main theme having an extra part in the beginning, the lack of an "intro" in N. Sanity Beach interior's music, and some slight note changes in Jungle Rollers' and Sunset Vista's music. The music also plays before the actual level (or map) begins. However, dots are still used as health indicator for bosses, and Aku Aku invincibility still not giving a speed boost. Aku Aku still has colorful sprinkles coming out of him in his 2nd form, and warps being colorful sparkles too. Warps also have a smaller hitbox, making it possible to reach The Great Gate's yellow gem path without the yellow gem (this is still possible in the final version, but much harder). Road to Nowhere was still placed in the third island, this Temple Ruins connects to Boulder Dash, which connects to Sunset Vista, followed by Jaws of Darkness. The HUD was also complete by the time of this, but isn't positioned like in the final version.

Gems are harder to get in this version, considering that Crash can't die to get them, even if he still has not gotten a checkpoint. Level completion screen also works differently when Crash collects a gem: First, all previously collected gems don't "scroll" at the bottom. Second, the acquired gem appears near the gem count, with a different sound effect. Crash also doesn't celebrate or say anything. Thirdly, since this version can't be saved, a message appears under Crash, saying "PRESS BUTTON TO RETURN TO MAP". When Crash misses crates, it all works the same as in the final version, but the missed crate counter disappears a split second after the last box falls on Crash's head, and is replaced by the same message. There is no sound effect of when the player presses any button either.

Psx.exe 31012015 122419 0513
Bonus rounds function exactly like they do in the final version of the game, except that when returning from a bonus round to a level, the loading screen displays the text "RETURN TO ROUND" instead of the level's name. This version of the game can't be saved (although Tawna bonus rounds still "save" the game for when the player goes to the main menu and presses the Start button again).

The third island can't be accessed, so the player can't get gems in Upstream, Rolling Stones, Native Fortress, or Jaws of Darkness. The third island levels (which include Road to Nowhere and not Jaws of Darkness due to original level placement, and also doesn't include Castle Machinery which wasn't yet created) can be accessed only via hacking. These levels were far similar to their respective versions in the April prototype, such as crates on the sides of the bridge in Road to Nowhere, the eventual blue gem path in Cortex Power not requiring the blue gem, the bugged N. Brio boss fight, and some extremely slow doors in The Lab. This suggests that Naughty Dog worked on improving the levels in the first two islands, and waited to work on third island, which probably explains why the island was inaccessible. However, some things were fixed by the time, as Crash no longer has to hit the electric lab assistants with his back to them, as was necessary in the April prototype.

Papu Papu's starting animation can't be skipped, but Crash only gains control instead of skipping the animation. Crash has no celebration in all boss fights either. The gem paths in Boulder Dash and Lights Out (the latter of which is only accessible via hacking) have no crates, presumably because at one time, they were to contain the keys to Whole Hog and Fumbling in the Dark, instead of the Cortex bonus rounds, which would explain why even in the final version, these levels are shown as having the keys. Sunset Vista did not have a Cortex bonus round, Whole Hog's key was held in Jaws of Darkness instead. Stormy Ascent was going to contain the other Cortex bonus round, presumably for the key to unlock Fumbling in the Dark, and the tokens are included in the E3 version, but not the bonus round.

Psx.exe 31012015 122847 0569

End of Jungle Rollers demo.

The Demo Mode is slightly different: The text "LOADING DEMO" appears while loading a demo, "PRESS START" when on-going and "LOADING MAIN MENU" when it ends, instead of the usual "LOADING" when starting and ending a demo and "DEMO" when on-going.


Crash Bandicoot received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the game's graphics and unique visual style, but noted the game's lack of innovation as a platform game. The game would later go on to become one of the best-selling PlayStation games of all time. The game sold about 700,000 units in Japan, becoming the first non-Japanese title and franchise to achieve commercial success in the country. As of November 2003, Crash Bandicoot has sold over 6.8 million units worldwide. The game's success resulted in its re-release for the Sony Greatest Hits line-up on September 15, 1997, for the Platinum Range on March 1998, for the Best For Family line-up on May 28, 1998 and for the PS one Books line-up on October 12, 2001.Crash Bandicoot was the first non-Japanese game to receive a "Gold Prize" in Japan for sales of over 500,000 units. The game spent nearly two years on the NPD TRSTS top 20 PlayStation sales charts before finally dropping off on September 1998. The game's graphic's received positive comments. Dave Halverson of GameFan referred to the visuals as "the best graphics that exist in a game" and the design and animations of the titular character as "100% perfection". John Scalzo of Gaming Target described the environments as "colorful and detailed" and mentioned the snowy bridge and temple levels as his favorites. However, he noted that the boss characters appeared to be noticeably polygonal compared to the other characters due to their large size. Nevertheless, he added that this flaw was excusable because of the game's age and that the game's graphics were near perfect otherwise. A reviewer for Game Revolution singled out the scaling technology for praise and declared it to be "the new standard for PlayStation action games the same way SGI did for 16-bitters after Donkey Kong Country." Additionally, he described the texture-mapping precision as "awesome", the shading as "almost too well done" (the reviewer claimed it made the game more difficult by making the pits appear to be shadows and vice-versa), the polygon movements as "very smooth and fluid", the "quirky mannerisms" of the title character as "always refreshing" and the backgrounds as "breathtakingly beautiful (especially the waterfall stages)". However, the reviewer said that the ability to adjust the camera angle even slightly "would have been a definite plus (at times the ground itself is at 75 degree angle while Crash constantly moves at 90 degrees, putting a slight strain on the eyes)." Zach Meston of GameSpot, while comparing the game to Super Mario 64, noted that the game "may not offer the graphical smoothness or versatility of Mario's vast new world, but its brilliantly colorful and complex jungle environments boast true diversity of shape and texture - kind of a tiki room Cabinet of Dr. Caligari." A reviewer for IGN noted that "gorgeous backgrounds and silky smooth animation make this one of the best-looking titles available for the PlayStation.

The gameplay received mixed responses. Both John Scalzo and the Game Revolution reviewer compared the gameplay to Donkey Kong Country, with Scalzo describing the game as having a "familiar, yet unique" quality that he attributed to Naughty Dog's design, while the Game Revolution reviewer concluded that the game "fails to achieve anything really new or revolutionary" as a platform game. Zach Meston described the gameplay as "flat as roadkill on a four-lane highway" and noted that players may enjoy the game "purely as a test of jumping abilities". The IGN reviewer said that the game "isn't a revolution in platform game design. It's pretty much your standard platform game". However, he noted the game's "surprisingly deep" depth of field and use of different perspectives as exceptions to the platforming formula. Jim Sterling of stated that the game has aged poorly since its initial release and cited the lack of DualShock thumbsticks, a poor camera as well as substandard jumping and spinning controls.


See: Crash Bandicoot (video game)/Gallery


  • When coming up with the idea of how the game should be played, Naughty Dog decided to turn the screen so Crash would play running in and out rather than left and right. They jokingly called this "Sonic's Ass Game" since the player would always be looking at Crash's backside.
  • According to developer Andy Gavin, Naughty Dog wanted Crash to animate similarly to the old Looney Tunes cartoons with squash-and-stretch physics. This was achieved with "vertex animation" which allowed 3-4 points of articulation as opposed the more common and stiffer "skeletal animation" which only used single points.
  • Tiny Tiger, the Komodo Brothers and Doctor N. Gin were originally created for the game by the artist Joe Pearson, but their introduction was pushed over to the sequel Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back.
  • An early build of Crash Bandicoot had a different health bar in which each hit point was demonstrated by a dot.
  • In the Japanese version of this game, Papu Papu has 5 hitpoints instead of 3. He also swings his club faster every hit, making the fight harder.
  • In the Japanese version, different music was used for most of the boss fights.
  • Crash is the only character with black irises.
  • Boulder Dash is a pun on the phrase "balderdash."
  • The level Rolling Stones, is a reference to the music band "The Rolling Stones."
  • The level "Up the Creek" is a reference to the 1984 movie of the same name.
  • Tawna appeared in many of the Crash games following this one, in pictures and such, as Easter Eggs. She is rarely seen in person though.
  • Although the rocketsled Cortex stands on in his boss fight explodes, in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, he stands on it when fighting Crash in his boss fight.
  • In the intro video, a bunch of cages can briefly be seen. The entire top row cages say "kangaroo" above them, probably because they failed many times trying to create Ripper Roo. On the second row they say "Iguana", "Potoroo", and "Koala". The iguana cage might be a mistake, considering there are no evil iguanas in the series; it may also be supposed to say "komodo dragon" for one of the Komodo Brothers, as they were originally intended to be a boss fight. The bottom row has 2 cages marked "Bandicoot", one obviously being Crash's and the other being for either Coco or Tawna.
  • If Crash misses some crates in a level, they will come down on his head after he has finished the level. This only happens if Crash has completed the level without losing a life.
  • This is the only Crash game to:
    • Not feature Coco.
    • Use passwords (not present in the Japanese version).
  • When Crash is falling out of the window of Cortex Castle in the intro, Cortex can for a second be seen running from the previous scene in the distance.
  • The Wumpa Fruit in the game and its next two sequels are not actually 3D objects. They are animated sprites that always face the camera, which gives them a 3D look (this type of objects is known as billboards). This was necessary due to hardware limitations. These Wumpa Fruit were re-used in the second and third game, Crash Bash, The Huge Adventure/XS, N-Tranced and Purple/Fusion.
  • In one of the prototype versions, some levels and bosses were in a different order, including the unused level Stormy Ascent.
    • In addition, four levels never made it to the final version.
  • Originally, if Crash was idle on the level select map, he would have done a goofy dance.
    • This idle animation data is still on the disc.
  • Rarely, a glitch will happen in which Crash will leave the bonus area but the screen will not. Tawna will continue to look to where Crash left and the music will continue to play. Although the glitch is rare, it more commonly happens in the early bonus stages.
  • Crash always starts with two Aku Aku masks during boss battles.
  • There are only 840 boxes in the game (or 1,122 counting the Bonus Rounds) in the PAL and NTSC-U regions, the lowest in the whole series (not counting the racing games).
  • This is the first and only Crash game so far with:
    • The orange gem.
    • Bonus round tokens.
    • Keys.
  • The box art for both the PAL and NTSC-U regions of the game feature the prototype Jungle Rollers in the background.
    • Similarly, the back of the PAL box has a picture of Stormy Ascent on it, and also the prototype version of Temple Ruins. The background of the back of the box is also a picture of the prototype version of the first island.
  • 2D opening and ending cutscenes were animated for use in the game, but Sony rejected them because of the game's focus on 3D graphics.
  • The game was featured as the 49th top console games in the Guinness World Records 2009 Gamer's Edition book.
  • In Uncharted 4, Boulders is playable as part of an Easter egg.[1]
  • Crash returned the favor to the Uncharted series in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy:
    • You can briefly see Uncharted 4 on Coco's laptop in the intro scene of Crash 2. Even better, it's the scene where Nathan and Elena are sitting on the couch playing Crash Bandicoot in Uncharted 4
    • There's also a picture of Nathan Drake on a table inside Crash's house in the intro scene of Warped.



Start a Discussion Discussions about Crash Bandicoot (video game)

  • N. Sane Trilogy Versions of the First 3 Games' Levels

    7 messages
    • No, not THQ!!!! In 2019, a new Crash game will be released, made by Activision and Vicarious Visions. Now, I may be wrong, so just tell me if I am. 
    • also Disney and WBEI
  • The Validity of Simplicity

    3 messages
    • Interesting points.  However, I actually think Crash had the right set of moves in Crash 2.  Adding the slide and slide-jump to the mix rea...
    • First of all, thanks for watching! Secondly, you've uncovered my ruse. While writing the script, my memory lumped all Crash 3 abilities...