—Lab Assistants, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
Lab Assistants are Dr. Neo Cortex's henchmen that Crash Bandicoot encounters throughout the Crash Bandicoot series. The lab assistants are used as minions who try and stop Crash from foiling Cortex's plans. They appear throughout the Crash Bandicoot series disguised in different outfits and costumes that usually correspond with the theme of a level (except in Crash Bandicoot where they always have their scientist-themed look on). They also have their own methods of attacking Crash depending on their disguise. The most prominent features of the Lab Assistants are their glasses and lanky frame, both of which appear on all forms of lab assistants that Crash may encounter in the game.
Later in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, a secret room in the central hub displays how the lab assistants are mass produced and sent into different time periods. This suggests that the Lab Assistants are actually robots created by Cortex to serve as henchmen. When Crash destroys Cortex's time traveling machine though, Cortex lost a line of his production of Lab Assistants. However, in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, Cortex is seen again with more Lab Assistants, implying that Cortex may have more than one way of creating Lab Assistants.
The Lab Assistants were seen in the original Crash Bandicoot, where they are seen taking Tawna hostage. They served as henchmen for Dr. Cortex during the game. The Lab Assistants are found later on certain levels in the third island. They use different types of chemicals and electricity to attack Crash in these levels.
Crash Bandicoot features the least variety of Lab Assistants in the series, with them making an appearance only in the third island of the game. Aside from the Lab Assistants that hold Tawna captive in the introduction, only two forms of Lab Assistants appear in the game.
- Beaker-Throwing Lab Assistants - In the level Slippery Climb and The Lab, (as well as the deleted level Stormy Ascent) there will be various Lab Assistants that toss chemical beakers in Crash's direction. Crash can avoid the beakers by standing clear of the path of the beakers landing spot. Crash can defeat this Lab Assistant by simply spinning him away when he is not tossing a beaker.
- Electric Lab Assistants - These Lab Assistants appear in the last level of the game, The Lab. They will usually stand near the edge of the path, create an electrical barrier in front of Crash and walks towards him when he's in range. If Crash touches the electricity, he will get shocked and either lose his Aku Aku mask, or lose a life as a result of the electricity. Every few seconds the Lab Assistants will lower their electric barrier. This gives Crash a chance to spin them back towards the edge, where they can only be defeated by being knocked off of a ledge.
The Lab Assistants return in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back as henchmen for Cortex once again. In this game, the Lab Assistants play a larger role as an adversary that Crash must try to overcome. The Lab Assistants in this game are more specialized than they were in the original game. In this game, they perform different jobs throughout the game including working in sewers and in space.
The Lab Assistants make more frequent appearances in this game, and take on more specialized roles than the previous Crash Bandicoot game.
- Parka Lab Assistants - In the Polar levels of Cortex Strikes Back, Crash will encounter a pair of Lab Assistants lifting and dropping heavy metal crates. Crash must judge when the Lab Assistants will lift or drop the crates because he must either jump over the crates or run under them depending on the position of the crates. These Lab Assistants cannot be defeated.
- Sledge Hammer Lab Assistants - These types of Lab Assistants appear in Diggin' It and Bee-Having. They are dressed as lumberjacks and carry a big sledge hammer. Their form of attack is trying to pound Crash with their large sledge hammers. They are more dangerous when Crash is hiding in the soil, because their sledge hammers have the ability to harm Crash regardless of whether or not he is hiding under the ground. When Crash is underneath the soil and gets hit by the sledgehammer, a gravestone will come out of the ground.
- Welder Lab Assistants - In the sewer levels of this game, these Lab Assistants can be found working on the ceiling. They are carrying welders and will quickly aim them towards Crash, pausing every few seconds to reload the welder. The flames from the welders are unavoidable and Crash must wait for these assistants to pause and reload, during which he has the opportunity to spin them away.
- Space Lab Assistants - In Rock It and Pack Attack, these Lab Assistants will create electric barriers that will electrocute Crash if he flies into one of them, similar to the electric Lab Assistants from the first game. They can be defeated when their electric current is down by spinning them into the fire that is blocking the path.
- Hunter Lab Assistants - These Lab Assistants only appear in the secret areas of Unbearable and Bee-Having. They will fire bullets towards the left side of the screen in a linear path. Crash can avoid these bullets by predicting their path of travel.
- Barricading Lab Assistants - These Lab Assistants are found in Piston It Away. They carry a large door-type object and shove it towards Crash when he gets near them. Crash can spin them towards an abyss, where they will fall down and scream loudly in a high pitched voice, as they do in The Lab in the original Crash Bandicoot. Their grunts are recycled from the Parka Lab Assistants.
- Other Lab Assistants - In the boss fight against Tiny Tiger they can be seen going down a pipe to the left of Crash. They only serve as background enemies and pose no threat. A regular Lab Assistant also appears in the intro cutscene for the game.
The Lab Assistants return in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped as Cortex's henchmen yet again. The Lab Assistants play even a larger role than the past games, and now coincide with themes of each level. It is revealed in Warped that the Lab Assistants are drones mass produced by one of Cortex's machines, and are warped all over the world using the Time Twister. The player can visit this room once they earn at least five Relics.
The Lab Assistants play even a larger role in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, where they appear in almost every level in the game. Their role in each level usually fits the theme of each level as well.
- Wizard Lab Assistants - These Lab Assistants appear in the Medieval-themed levels, and attack Crash by sending magic spells towards his direction. Crash can avoid these magic spells by running in different directions around them. If a magic spell does hit Crash, he will turn into a frog.
- Knight Lab Assistants - In the Medieval-themed levels, Crash will come across Lab Assistants trying to pull a sword out of the ground. Every few seconds the Lab Assistants will manage to pull the sword out and swing it around in a circle. If struck, Crash will be split in two as his lower half will walk away, leaving his upper half floating and concerned. He can spin the knights away when they are trying to pull the swords out.
- Double-Headed Lab Assistants - Just as the name implies. They are only found in one level in the game; the last medieval level, Double Header. However, in the Japanese version they have one head instead of the usual two. They like to swing their giant clubs at Crash. They are also the largest version of the Lab Assistants. Crash can defeat them by jumping on their heads, although they don't actually die unless hit by Crash during mask invincibility, but rather just fall on their backs, whose stomach can be used by Crash to jump higher. Getting hit by their clubs causes Crash to get smacked onto the camera.
- Frog Prince Lab Assistants - When Crash is attacked by a frog with no Aku Aku mask, the frogs will kiss him and reveal themselves to be Lab Assistants disguised as princes.
- Oriental Lab Assistants - Only appears in Coco's riding tiger levels. There are several variants of these. One type likes to sit in the middle of the track and lift bricks. (weight lifting or working on the Great Wall of China?) Another runs around and carries buckets on their back, another wields a staff for defense and another opens a trap door for Coco, allowing Coco to boost up over a castle wall.
- Scimitar Lab Assistants - There are a few types in the Arabic-themed levels. The first type walks away from Crash holding a scimitar, then comes slashing at him after turning around. The next one stands in the same place and throws blades at Crash.
- Genie Lab Assistants - Also appearing in Arabic-themed levels, the genie Lab Assistants hover using their carpet and will encase Crash inside a magic jar if he touches them.
- Wave Lab Assistants - Appearing in the prehistoric levels, these Lab Assistants tend to hide in the swamp water, when Crash gets close enough they leap out and jumps on him pulling him under water, then they stand up revealing themselves.
- Triceratops Riding Lab Assistants - This variant was originally supposed to appear in the chase sections of the prehistoric levels, chasing down Crash on a Triceratops. However the idea was later scrapped due to technical reasons, and the triceratops appears chasing down Crash independently.
- Egyptian Lab Assistants - There are multiple types of Egyptian Lab Assistants. The first likes to pull a lever, which drops a giant concrete block that can crush Crash. Then there are ones that have flamethrowers, that will try to burn Crash by moving their flamethrowers from left to right. Then there are two types of mummies, one that jumps around in a sarcophagus, and the other in a spiked sarcophagus, with the top half of it cut off and the mummy sticking out.
- Pirate Lab Assistants - They only appear in the Levels with Coco riding her Jet Ski. They sit in crow's nests and swing an anchor around in the pool trying to knock out Coco. They will extend their anchor as Coco gets closer and cannot be defeated. Once they knock Coco off, they can be heard laughing.
- Sailor Lab Assistants - Also appearing in fifteenth century-themed levels, the Sailor Lab Assistants will sail around their boat in a specific path. If Coco hits them in the sides, both the boat and jetski will break, and the Lab Assistant will hit Coco with his stick. Coco can kill them by landing over their boats.
- Some lab assistants appear to be piloting the smaller planes in airplane levels.
Post-Naughty Dog era
The Lab Assistants continue to show up in various appearances. They appear as enemies in The Wrath Of Cortex (with the "Afro Assistant" featured in the game's credits), as well as Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure, Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced, and Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage. Statues of Lab Assistants make cameos in Crash Nitro Kart in the Tiny Temple track, and they host assorted mini-games in Crash Boom Bang!.
- Blocking Crash's way dressed as a knight.
- Blocking Crash's way on skis.
- Dressing up as a wizard.
- Dressing up as a royal servant while blocking Crash's way.
- Throwing potions at Crash.
- Spewing toxic acid at Crash.
- Shooting a harpoon gun at Crash.
- Blocking Crash's way in a diving suit.
- Dressing up as a ninja.
- Banging gongs with beaters.
- Dressing as a wagon carrier intending to run into Coco.
- Driving a car intending to run over Coco.
- Shoots a laser at Crash.
- Dancing with Crash in credits.
- Blowgun Lab Assistant - These lab assistants appear in the level Down The Hole (Level 14) and in the Red Gem path of the level Temple of Boom (Level 3) and shoot poisoned arrows from their blowgun at Crash.
- Sewer Worker Lab Assistant - These Lab assistants (already appeared in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back) attack with their welder.
- Lab Assistant with nacelle - These Lab Assistants (Already appeared in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped) will try to defeat Crash with their laser.
Roles (Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced)
- Genie Lab Assistant - These Lab Assistants flying in a magic carpet,appear in Arab levels(already appeared in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped),There is a variant of this enemy that actually looks like a Genie and attacks by shooting magic balls.
- Mummy Lab Assistant - These Lab assistants (already appeared in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped) exists in 3 types: the first is out of the sarcophagus, the second is inside the sarcophagus, the third is inside in sarcophagus barbed.
- Caveman Lab Assistant - These Lab Assistants exists in 2 types: the first is throwing a lance, the second spits fire.
- Egyptian Lab Assistant - These lab assistants (Already appeared in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped) pull a lever which a giant block, the second type is using the flamethrower.
- Arabic Lab Assistant - These Lab Assistants (Already appeared in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped) use a sword, making them only vulnerable when their back is turned.
- Flame Thrower Lab Assistant - These Lab Assistants mainly reside in Fire Mountains. They carry around flamethrowers that shoot out a stream of fire, they usually walk back and forth or just stand in one spot
- Flying Lab Assistant - These Lab Assistants mainly reside in Teck Park. They wear Jet Packs and carry around a giant laser cannon to fire at Crash.
- Crash Bandicoot
- Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
- Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped
- Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex
- Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure
- Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced
- Crash Nitro Kart
- Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage
- Crash Boom Bang!
- Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
- The fact that there are so many variants of Lab Assistants makes them similar to Nintendo's Shy Guys, which also have the most variants of Nintendo enemies.
- There was supposed to be a "Prehistoric" Lab Assistant riding the Triceratops in Warped, but it was later scrapped due to technical reasons.
- Although they were revealed to be androids in Warped, a hint was given out in the two levels of Crash Bandicoot 2, Rock It and Pack Attack, as the left half of the assistant's face had been replaced with metal.
- Their scream is a fast high pitched Howie Scream.
- They are programmed to do a certain action repeatedly, but occasionally stop and do something else (usually to mock Crash for a few seconds before returning to their duties), showing they may have personalities. If not, they may have one hive-like personality or a shared personality.
- Although they seem serious and only have one goal (to stop Crash), they seem to have a sense of humor. This is shown in the Arabian levels in Crash 3 where they are seen cutting Crash's shorts, revealing his underwear. After that they laugh childishly.
- A Lab Assistant also appears in Crash Boom Bang!, in one of the minigames, in which it serves the cards to the player.
- These enemies have been featured in almost every Crash game.
- In the Japanese version of the game, lab assistants are divided into "researchers" and "workers".
- They bear a small resemblance to Eustace from Courage the Cowardly Dog.
- In the motorcycle levels in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, instead of having their hands on the wheel like it supposed to be, their hands are straight down with nothing on the wheel. This is most likely an animation glitch.
- In the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, there is a small Easter Egg where the number plate on the back of their cars says "96-17," a reference to the year in which the first game was released and the remaster.
- The wheels on their cars are actually sprites in the original game. This technique was also used in Crash Team Racing in all of the karts.
|Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure|
|Protagonists||Crash Bandicoot | Aku Aku | Coco Bandicoot|
|Bosses||Dingodile | Doctor N. Gin | Tiny Tiger | Doctor Neo Cortex | Uka Uka | Mega-Mix|
|Items||Crates | Wumpa Fruit | Crystals | Gems|
|Levels||First Chamber (Jungle Jam, Shipwrecked, Temple of Boom, Frostbite Cavern, Just in Slime) | Second Chamber (Snow Crash, Rocket Racket, Just Hangin', Shark Attack, Ruined) | Third Chamber (Snow Job, Ace of Space, Sunken City, Down the Hole, Blimp Bonanza) | Fourth Chamber (Star to Finish, Air Supply, No-Fly Zone, Drip, Drip, Drip, Final Countdown)|
|Enemies||Bird | Eel | Electric Eel | Frog | Jellyfish | Lab Assistant | Lizard | Penguin | Polar Bear | Pufferfish | Rat | Scrubbing Bubbletron | Seal | Shark | Sparky Tentaclebot Unit | Spike Lizard | Squid | Steam-Powered Hover-Spike-O-Trons | Venus Fly Trap | Yeti|
|Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced|
|Protagonists||Crash Bandicoot | Aku Aku | Coco Bandicoot | Crunch Bandicoot | Fake Crash|
|Antagonists||Doctor Nefarious Tropy | N. Trance | Uka Uka | Evil Crunch | Evil Coco|
|Items||Crates | Wumpa Fruit | Crystals | Gems | Gem Shards | Super Slide | Rocket Jump | Death Tornado Spin | Crash Dash|
|Levels||First Chamber (Island Intro, Prints of Persia, Lagoony Tunes, Globe Trottin', Pharaoh's Funhouse, Runaway Rug) | Second Chamber (Tiki Torture, Hoppin' Coffins, Barrel Roll, Flockful of Seagulls, Magma Mania) | Third Chamber (Run from the Sun, Now It's Istanbul, Mister Lava Lava, Water Logged, Slip-N-Slidin' Sphinx) | Fourth Chamber (Rocks Can Roll, Rock the Casaba, Eruption Disruption, Spaced Out, King Too Uncommon) | Fifth Chamber (Wild Nile Ride, 101 Arabian Kites, Fire Walker)|
|Enemies||Arsonist | Beetle |Crocodile | Lab Assistant | Monkey | Scorpion | Seagull | Shark | Snake|
|Cortex's mother | Doctor N. Gin | Doctor Nefarious Tropy | Doctor Neo Cortex | Doctor Nitrus Brio | Ebenezer Von Clutch | Lab Assistant | Madame Amberly | Nina Cortex | Papu Papu | Park Drone | Shield Native | Tribesman|