In Crash Bandicoot, every possible save file has an associated password. These passwords can be shown at the completion of a Tawna bonus round, or at the end of a level when collecting a gem or key. A password can then be entered by choosing that menu option on the game's opening menu. This provides a way for players to return to a certain save point in the game without having a memory card.
There are two types of passwords:
- Regular passwords are eight characters in length. They can contain the buttons , , , and , but never begin with . These passwords correspond to save files that don't contain gems, but they may contain keys.
- Super passwords are twenty-four characters in length. They can contain the buttons , , , and , and always begin with . These passwords correspond to save files that contain gems.
There are passwords for save states that cannot arise by playing the game normally. For example, the password is a password for a save state that has every level available, but no gems. This save state is at the Dr. Neo Cortex boss fight, but normally it is not possible to save at that boss fight without getting all gems, because the last Tawna bonus round is in The Lab.
Similarly, loads a game that is saved at the Hog Wild level. Such a save state cannot arise while playing the game normally because the Tawna bonus round in Rolling Stones saves at the Rolling Stones level, and there is no bonus round in Hog Wild. These passwords can be found by trial and error. Since there are too many save states that can arise with different combinations of gems, passwords are generated algorithmically, as opposed to being manually programmed by Naughty Dog.
Entering the following password loads a 100% save state of the game:
- There are possible sequences of buttons that can entered for regular passwords, and possible sequences of buttons that can entered for super passwords. However, only a very small fraction of these are valid passwords.
- Andy Gavin said that in 1996, Sony required the game to have a password system so that players without memory cards could enjoy the game, but that this was no longer required by 1997, which is why later Crash games do not have a password system.