Compactor Reactor (トロッコで せんにゅうせよ lit. Infiltrate with the Minecart in Japanese) is the fifth level and the last level of the first warp room in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. The level is set in a nuclear reactor owned by Dr. Cortex and is the first level in which Crash rides in a minecart. For the second gem, the yellow gem must first be obtained from Gold Rush.
Of the four main elemental factories, this factory represents the element of earth as it takes place in a mine that is accessed through minecarts.
The level initiates outside in a dig site (the exact location of this dig site is unknown, but if one examines the environment, it's possible to see that the dig site is located on a small volcanic island) with a minecart section, where the minecart tracks lead to the entrance of the factory. At two points before the factory entrance, the minecart tracks deviate, and in both cases, there is only one path viable for breaking all of the crates to obtain one of the clear gems. At the beginning of the section, there is an alternate, and more difficult minecart route, which bears a blockage and leads to the other clear gem. This path may only be accessed if the player has obtained the yellow gem.
Entering the nuclear reactor, there are various hazards and enemies, such as lab assistants in lab coats that pitch chemical-filled vials and other lab assistants that wear what appear to be hazmat suits and spray radioactive chemicals, in addition to massive screws that screw either vertically or horizontally, flaming boulders on conveyor belts on their way to a grinder, pressure crushers, and strange screw-like beams as well as laser beams. The level concludes with a large conveyor belt that is strewn with laser beams and leads to the portal.
The player can influence the speed and balance of the minecart Crash rides in by tilting the control stick or using the directional pad.
- Crash was originally going to use the Jeep in this level instead of a minecart. From the promotional trailer which was released when the game was nearly finished, it can be seen that the Jeep was capable of stopping and turning around completely, rather than being semi-automated. It was also possible at one point in development for Crash to run through the mine on foot, but this was changed due to Crash being able to destroy barriers easily.
- Early screenshot shows how the Mech Suit was going to be utilized in this level first instead of in Droid Void, but that was changed in the retail version.
- Proximity crates were originally going to appear on this level, but were cut for unknown reasons.
- Interestingly, every fifth level in the game (not counting boss or secret levels) has the same theme as this level (factory).
- This is the only level in the franchise where the player is forced to leave the level after taking an alternative route. On top of that, it is one of two levels that Crash will always enter the alternative route on a vehicle, the other being Droid Void. Finally, it's possible to miss the gem at the end of the route.
- On the original NTSC-U and PAL versions, this level has 155 crates. On the latest versions, 5 boxes have been removed: two nitro crates shortly before the bifurcation of the road to death, another nitro crate on the first bridge (after the waterfall), in the bonus the TNT crate under the ! iron crate (from 34 to 33 crates in the bonus round) and the last is a high ? crate, lying after the bonus, after the two compactors and before the three spinning lasers, totaling only 150 crates for the level.