Cortex Castle (クモクモ キャッスル lit. Castle of Spiders in Japanese) is the fourteenth race course featured on Crash Team Racing and Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled. It is based on Cortex's castle from the first Crash Bandicoot game, and it is the home track of Doctor Neo Cortex. In Adventure Mode, it is one of the first tracks available in Citadel City along with N. Gin Labs. It is in the Green Gem Cup along with Roo's Tubes, Coco Park and Polar Pass and it is in the Nitro Cup.
Being one of the final tracks, Cortex Castle is quite hard; more so than N. Gin Labs. The track features near endless sharp corners and edges as well as several jumps. Obstacles in it are spiders that hang from the ceiling. Hitting them will spin the characters out.
The Nitro-Fueled remake adds quite a few aesthetic additions to the track. Many Lab Assistants can be found performing tasks around the castle. Banners of Dr. Neo Cortex wearing a crown, along with Nina Cortex, Dr. Nitrus Brio, and Fake Crash (wearing a jester's cap) are strewn across the castle walls, as well as statues of Cortex. Inside the church-themed section with the shortcut, the stained glass windows have been given more dramatic art, showcasing Cortex's ego. On the home stretch after the big jump, the stained glass windows feature relief portraits of Cortex wearing the blonde wig when he was impersonating Coco in Twinsanity, when he was turned into an infant in the secret ending of Warped, and his normal self.
The track begins with a sharp turn to the left then another to the right shortly after over a large ramp with a boost pad on it. There is a brief straight with a stage hazard in the form of a spider that drops down in the middle before a sharp turn upwards to the right leads to a fork in the road. Each side continues uphill before joining back up towards a doorway containing a sharp upwards to the right, leading to a wooden pathway outside of the castle. The track sharply turns left before return to the right, with a boost pad to the left before sharply turning left upwards as the track returns inside. There is a sharp u-turn back to the right before quickly turning back to the left, with two more spiders in the straight ahead. At the end of the corridor is a sharp u-turn to the left, going uphill back outside.
The track continues straight wards for a while with a boost pad on the left towards the end, before curving to the left down large wooden stairs. At the bottom of the stairs is a right-angle turn to the right before going back inside. The road gently goes upwards around the walls with two right-angle left turns. Alternatively, upon going inside, players can take a sharp turn to the left to a separate small section of track, cutting the corner. After this is a giant leap back down to the track below. At the bottom are two final spiders before a sharp turn to the right, then a brief straight with a boost pad before a final sharp turn to the right back to the finish line.
- C: At the corner of a ledge after the hedge section. If the player is fast enough, there is a chance to grab it without falling.
- T: Floating in midair over the huge jump near the end.
- R: Hanging above the drawbridge at the entrance of the castle. The player will have to jump for it.
Crash Team Racing
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
- This track is heavily based off the original Cortex Castle design from Crash Bandicoot, including the enemies such as the spiders.
- On the Adventure Map, surrounding the portal to this track, there are five stained glass windows which show the mug shots of the bosses in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped.
- The Nitro-Fueled remaster, however, changes these to simply be various depictions of Cortex.
- One of the glass windows in the remaster depicts Uka Uka with the words "Game Over", which references the Game Over screen from Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure, Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.
- The track can be compared to the Crash Nitro Kart race track Clockwork Wumpa as they both take place inside a castle. Both tracks have tight corners, and they both contain ramps.
- In Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, there are banners of Cortex, Dr. Nitrus Brio, Nina Cortex, and Fake Crash throughout the stage.
- In Nitro-Fueled, in the stained-glass section before the finish line, an organ joins in on the background music.