Cold Hard Crash (ゆきやまは つづくよ lit. Snow Mountain Continues in Japanese) is the eighteenth level and is the third level of the fourth warp room in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy remaster of the second game. It is the final Arctic themed level in this game. This level features the highest crate count in the game, the highest in the original Naughty Dog trilogy, and one of the highest in the series, at 155. This level also features a death route where Crash can collect an additional gem.
Cold Hard Crash is split into three different parts: two outdoor and one indoor part. The first part of the level begins outdoor and features various enemies like penguins and seals. In addition, there is also icy terrain that Crash will skate across, making it harder for him to maneuver. Eventually, he will take a lift that will lead him into the interior portion of the level.
The indoor portion of the level features different obstacles including falling icicles and log crushers. There is also a skull platform that the player can ride to the death route portion of the level, if he reaches it without dying. The death route features a tougher path with more obstacles, more ice, and a bunch of Nitro crates. It is highly recommended for the player to have two Aku-Aku masks before entering the death route, as Crash can get a third one inside. At the end of the path, there is a clear gem that Crash can collect. In addition, the player must traverse the death route and return back to the skull platform in order to collect every crate. At the end of the death route and indoor area, it will take Crash back outside to the final portion of the level.
The final portion of the level is similar to the first portion of it where Crash is in an outdoor environment. This time around though, Crash must avoid Rolling Stones as he jumps across gaps. At the end of the level, Crash will reach the portal to return to the Warp Room.
- Cold Hard Crash is infamous among many fans for being one of the hardest levels in the game to obtain the box gem due to the ice physics, the Nitro Crate placements, and tricky platforming. The fact that players will have to take the death route, breaking every crate, and then having to backtrack to the platform to get the rest of the crates has also been criticized by fans as they wouldn't know that unless they play this game enough to understand the level, meaning that if they fall through the death route exit, they wouldn't be able to get the rest of the crates, then they will have to start all over again.
- This level's name is a pun on the phrase, "cold, hard cash".
- This is the longest level in the game and for a time, held the record for the most crates in a Crash Bandicoot level with 155. This record was broken when Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex introduced Gold Rush, breaking the two-century mark with 209 crates.
- This is one of five levels in this game where, after completing the bonus round, it is possible to die before the game is finished adding the bonus round crates to the crate total. This causes a glitch where it is possible to get credited with breaking more crates than there are in the level. The other levels in this game where this is possible are Snow Biz, Diggin' It, Bee-Having, and Night Fight. In Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, this is possible in Sphynxinator and Flaming Passion.
- If this glitch is performed carefully, it can be used to get the box gem without going through the death route, or by doing it without backtracking.
- In the bonus round, it is common to miss the crate floating off-screen above the two bounce crates. The hidden crate can be hit by bouncing on top of the floating bounce crate by jumping from the ledge. In the N. Sane Trilogy, this crate is visible.
- The death route contains a basic crate with a standalone Aku Aku mask inside. This is the only such crate in the game. Other crates with Aku Aku masks inside have a picture of Aku Aku on them and the mask is automatically obtained.
- The exit of the bonus round is connected to a hole after the descending ice section. This suggests that originally the bonus round exit platform would lift Crash up to that section of the level, instead of returning back near the entrance to the bonus round. This was probably changed due to the excessive backtracking already required in the level as it would be unfair to players that wanted to get the box gem as a significant portion of the level, which includes the death route, can be missed and will become inaccessible. This might also be the reason that, when using the bonus glitch, the camera continues to move, unlike other levels where this glitch is possible.
- Due to graphical limitations, Fake Crash cannot seen in the Nintendo Switch version of the N. Sane Trilogy, as ice walls do not have reflections.
- In the N. Sane Trilogy, the alternate route music continues when the skull platform is used to return to the normal route, up until the third checkpoint past the platform.