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Crash Bandicoot is a linear platform game developed by Naughty Dog for the PlayStation. Released initially in 1996, it is the first entry into the Crash Bandicoot series. This game starts with the series' protagonist, Crash Bandicoot being experimented on by Doctor Neo Cortex, the main antagonist of the series and his assistant N. Brio to become the latest addition to Cortex's animal army created from enslaved animals across the Wumpa Islands. After the failed experiment, Crash escapes and resolves to save his captured girlfriend and fellow bandicoot, Tawna. The game was emulated on the PlayStation Network on December 4th, 2006, allowing it to be played on the PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3. The game has sold at least 6.82 million copies globally since its original release.

A complete remake of the game was released alongside Cortex Strikes Back and Warped as part of the N. Sane Trilogy.


In its development stages, both the game and the character were initially called Willie the Wombat. The company had shopped the prototype around and after reaching a deal with Universal Interactive Studios, began developing the game further into what is known today as Crash Bandicoot. When the game was developed, Naughty Dog had only ten employees working for them.


The gameplay in Crash Bandicoot is noticeably simpler than the series' later iterations, as Crash does not learn any new skills throughout the game. He is only able to walk, jump, and spin. If Crash touches an enemy or suffers any other type of damage, he loses a life and returns to the last checkpoint, if not the start of the level. Lives are earned by either collecting 100 Wumpa Fruit, or by breaking open crates, some of which contain an extra life. Crash can protect himself from damage by picking up an Aku Aku mask. If he collects all 3 masks, he will briefly become invincible. The game is over once Crash loses all of his lives, but the player can choose to continue by selecting "Yes" at the game over screen.


Button Movement
X Jump
Square Spin
Circle Rotate the map
Triangle View Inventory
Start Pause
Select Return to map


There are three Islands on the game, between which 26 levels are divided as follows (the 6 boss levels are indicated in bold):

N. Sanity N. Sanity Beach 49 Clear gem N/A
Jungle Rollers 38 Clear gem Tawna Bandicoot Token
The Great Gate 26 Clear gem Tawna Bandicoot Token
Boulders 16 Clear gem N/A
Upstream 14 Clear gem Tawna Bandicoot Token
Papu Papu N / A
Rolling Stones 46 Clear gem Brio mug Tawna Bandicoot Token
Hog Wild 24 Clear gem N/A
Native Fortress 42 Clear gem Tawna Bandicoot Token
Middle Up the Creek 15 Clear gem Tawna Bandicoot Token
Ripper Roo N / A
The Lost City 31 Green gem Brio mug Tawna Bandicoot Token
Temple Ruins 67 Clear gem N/A
Road to Nowhere 33 Clear gem Tawna Bandicoot Token
Boulder Dash 35 Clear gem N/A
Sunset Vista 50 Clear gem Brio mug Tawna Bandicoot Token
Whole Hog 24 Clear gem N/A
Koala Kong N/A
Cortex Heavy Machinery 33 Clear gem Brio mug Tawna Bandicoot Token
Cortex Power 41 Clear gem N/A
Generator Room 44 Orange gem Tawna Bandicoot Token
Toxic Waste 26 Blue gem Tawna Bandicoot Token
Pinstripe Potoroo N / A
The High Road 18 Clear gem Tawna Bandicoot Token
Slippery Climb 1 31 Red gem Brio mug
Lights Out 15 Purple gem N/A
Jaws Of Darkness 65 Clear gem Brio mug Tawna Bandicoot Token
Fumbling In The Dark 18 Clear gem N/A
Castle Machinery 24 Clear gem N/A
Dr. Nitrus Brio N / A
The Lab 24 Yellow gem Tawna Bandicoot Token
The Great Hall N / A
Dr. Neo Cortex N / A
Stormy Ascent 34 Clear gem Brio mug
1 - Sunset Vista and Slippery Climb are swapped in the NTSC-J release of the game.
J - In the original NTSC-J release.
R - N. Sane Trilogy version only.


Crash Bandicoot PS1 Intro Crash and Evolvo-Ray 1

Cortex (right) and Brio (left) put Crash under the Evolvo-Ray

Somewhere southeast of Australia lie three little islands, teeming with wildlife. On one of these islands resides Doctor Neo Cortex, who along with his assistant N. Brio is trying to create an animal army known as the "Cortex Commandos" to achieve world domination. Crash Bandicoot, a peaceful bandicoot, is slated to become the army's general. Dr. N. Brio has created a machine known as the Evolvo-Ray, which is capable of giving animals anthropomorphic traits. Dr. Cortex eventually subjects these creatures to the Cortex Vortex, a device designed to brainwash animals and make them obedient to him. Despite Dr. Brio's warning that the Vortex was unstable, Cortex rushed the newly evolved Crash into the Vortex, which rejected him. Crash then seizes the opportunity to escape, with Cortex in pursuit. He eventually breaks through a window and escapes by falling into the sea. Cortex orders that the second bandicoot he caught be prepared for the Vortex: Tawna, Crash's girlfriend. Crash washes up on the beach of his home island and sets out to save Tawna before Cortex can use the Vortex on her. There, Crash meets a floating tiki mask known as Aku Aku, who provides Crash with assistance in the form of masks that will take damage for him.

Cortex decides that Crash must be stopped before he can return for Tawna and sends out his best henchmen after him. Cortex's plan is foiled when Crash reaches his toxic waste factory, wherein Cortex's machinery is powered and shuts it down during a battle with Cortex's top minion, Pinstripe Potoroo. Crash soon enters Cortex's sinister castle, where he confronts N. Brio in his lab room. The mad doctor drinks a potion to turn himself into a monster pounding the ground, which causes the castle to go up in flames.

Crash Bandicoot PS1 Crash and Tawna reunite 2

Crash and Tawna finally together

With his plans ruined, Cortex faces Crash atop his airship. Crash eventually gains the upper hand and manages to destroy Cortex's Hoverboard, causing the Doctor to seemingly fall to his death. Crash is finally reunited with his beloved Tawna. The couple take the airship and fly into the sunset.

Alternate Ending[]

The game also features an alternative ending, which can only occur after gaining 100% completion. If Crash collects all the gems and follows the path the which appears in The Great Hall, Crash finds Tawna waiting for him on the balcony. Crash and Tawna escape together on a friendly vulture, and the epilogue is as follows:

Papu Papu started a Big & Tall Shop using money he received by selling Cortex Castle to a resort developer.

Ripper Roo received intense therapy and a few years of higher education, and wrote the book "Through the Eyes of the Vortex", pondering the consequences of rapid evolution.

Koala Kong moved to Hollywood, started an acting career, and is working with a speech therapist to improve his diction.

Pinstripe moved to Chicago and started a sanitation company.

Dr. N. Brio revisited his earlier hobby of bar tending.

Dr. Cortex is said to have disappeared. His whereabouts were then unknown, but led to the start of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, which picks up immediately after the events of the first game.


Crash Bandicoot Characters

The cast from left to right: Aku Aku, Papu Papu, Ripper Roo, Pinstripe, Koala Kong, Tawna, Crash, Dr. Neo Cortex and Dr. Nitrus Brio

All of the characters are voiced by Brendan O'Brien, except for Aku Aku and Papu Papu. Tawna and Koala Kong do not have any type of speaking role. Ripper Roo's laughter is a retuned recording of Dallas McKennon from Lady and the Tramp.

Crash Bandicoot: The game's protagonist. Once an ordinary bandicoot, he was taken from his home by the evil Dr. Cortex to be the general of his Cortex Commandos for world domination. Crash gained his jump and spin attack from the Evolvo-Ray, but was rejected by the faulty Vortex. Although Crash escapes by jumping out the window, Tawna (his girlfriend) remains in the clutches of Cortex's henchmen, motivating him to return to the castle and rescue her.

Aku Aku: A magical mask who protects Crash from enemies and Crash's best friend. He can be found inside special crates scattered throughout the island to help Crash on his quest.

Doctor Neo Cortex: The game's main antagonist. Mocked and ridiculed by the scientific community, Cortex seeks revenge against humanity by making an army of mutant animals (the Cortex Commandos) to help him take over the world. Alongside his colleague, Dr. Nitrus Brio, he began messing with the island's ecosystem, turning animals into mutant soldiers. It seemed like Cortex's plan was going well... until Crash was made.

Doctor Nitrus Brio: A biochemist who works with potions and vials. Being his boss' assistant led to some rivalry and it was actually N. Brio that made the Evolvo-Ray, but his low self-esteem allowed for Cortex take the credit.

Tawna: A female bandicoot who was Crash's girlfriend at the time. She is another bandicoot Cortex tried to evolve and mutate, and is being held hostage at Cortex Castle.

Papu Papu: The portly, ill-tempered leader of the tribesmen on N. Sanity Island. Though unaffiliated with Cortex, he attempts to kill Crash when he awakens the chieftain from his nap.

Ripper Roo: The perfect example of an experiment gone wrong, Ripper Roo was Cortex's first test subject and it shows. One too many shots from the Cortex Vortex produced an insane kangaroo who had to be restrained with a strait-jacket. He is presumably, like Crash, a Cortex Commandos reject. His boss fight takes place atop a waterfall on Wumpa Island, far away from Cortex's headquarters.

Koala Kong: A musclebound mutant koala. He is quite vain and prone to showing off, giving Crash the opportunity to spin boulders at him during his boss fight.

Pinstripe Potoroo: A trigger-happy potoroo mafioso armed with maniacal laugh and a signature Tommy gun. Pinstripe maintains the radioactive Cortex Power plant on Cortex Island. Once defeated, he accidentally fires his gun into the generator's core located in his office, shutting down the plant for good.


Crash Bandicoot received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the game's graphics and unique visual style, but noted the game's lack of innovation as a platform game. The game would later go on to become one of the best-selling PlayStation games of all time. The game sold about 700,000 units in Japan, becoming the first non-native title and franchise to achieve commercial success in the country. As of November 2003, Crash Bandicoot has sold over 6.8 million units worldwide. The game's success resulted in its re-release for the Sony Greatest Hits line-up on September 15, 1997, for the Platinum Range on March 1998, for the Best For Family line-up on May 28, 1998 and for the PS one Books line-up on October 12, 2001. Crash Bandicoot was the first non-Japanese game to receive a "Gold Prize" in Japan for sales of over 500,000 units. The game spent nearly two years on the NPD TRSTS top 20 PlayStation sales charts before finally dropping off on September 1998.

The game's graphics received positive comments. Dave Halverson of GameFan referred to the visuals as "the best graphics that exist in a game" and the design and animations of the titular character as "100% perfection". John Scalzo of Gaming Target described the environments as "colorful and detailed" and mentioned the snowy bridge and temple levels as his favorites. However, he noted that the boss characters appeared to be noticeably polygonal compared to the other characters due to their large size. Nevertheless, he added that this flaw was excusable because of the game's age and that the game's graphics were near perfect otherwise. A reviewer for Game Revolution singled out the scaling technology for praise and declared it to be "the new standard for PlayStation action games the same way SGI did for 16-bitters after Donkey Kong Country." Additionally, he described the texture-mapping precision as "awesome", the shading as "almost too well done" (and made the game more difficult with the pits appearing to be shadows and vice-versa), the polygon movements as "very smooth and fluid", the "quirky mannerisms" of the title character as "always refreshing" and the backgrounds as "breathtakingly beautiful (especially the waterfall stages)". However, the reviewer said that the ability to adjust the camera angle even slightly "would have been a definite plus (at times the ground itself is at 75 degree angle while Crash constantly moves at 90 degrees, putting a slight strain on the eyes)." Zach Meston of GameSpot, while comparing the game to Super Mario 64, noted that the game "may not offer the graphical smoothness or versatility of Mario's vast new world, but its brilliantly colorful and complex jungle environments boast true diversity of shape and texture - kind of a tiki room Cabinet of Dr. Caligari." A reviewer for IGN noted that "gorgeous backgrounds and silky smooth animation make this one of the best-looking titles available for the PlayStation.

The gameplay received mixed responses. Both John Scalzo and the Game Revolution reviewer compared the gameplay to Donkey Kong Country, with Scalzo describing the game as having a "familiar, yet unique" quality that he attributed to Naughty Dog's design, while the Game Revolution reviewer concluded that the game "fails to achieve anything really new or revolutionary" as a platform game. Zach Meston described the gameplay as "flat as roadkill on a four-lane highway" and noted that players may enjoy the game "purely as a test of jumping abilities". The IGN reviewer said that the game "isn't a revolution in platform game design. It's pretty much your standard platform game". However, he noted the game's "surprisingly deep" depth of field and use of different perspectives as exceptions to the platforming formula. Jim Sterling of stated that the game has aged poorly since its initial release and cited the lack of DualShock thumbsticks, a poor camera as well as substandard jumping and spinning controls.


See: The Crash Bandicoot Files: How Willy the Wombat Sparked Marsupial Mania


See: Crash Bandicoot (game)/Gallery

Names in Other Languages[]

Language Name
Japanese クラッシュ・バンディクー
Kurasshu Bandikuu

This game was developed in English and was officially localized into Japanese only.

Voice cast[]

Language Voice actor Character
English Brendan O'Brien[a] Crash Bandicoot
Neo Cortex
N. Brio
Andrew Dawson[1] Aku Aku
Dallas McKennon[b] Ripper Roo
Japanese Kappei Yamaguchi[c] Crash Bandicoot
Shōzō Iizuka[c] Neo Cortex
Mitsuru Ogata[c] N. Brio



  • When coming up with the idea of how the game should be played, Naughty Dog decided to turn the screen so Crash would play running in and out rather than left and right. They jokingly called this "Sonic's Ass Game" since the player would always be looking at Crash's backside.
  • According to developer Andy Gavin, Naughty Dog wanted Crash to animate similarly to the old Looney Tunes cartoons with squash-and-stretch physics. This was achieved with "vertex animation", which allowed infinite points of articulation as opposed the more common and stiffer "skeletal animation," which could only use a limited amount.
  • A set of 2D animated cutscenes were created by Universal Cartoon Studios, but were never put into the final game, primarily because of Sony wanting to push the 3D graphics. They were not seen until producer David Siller uploaded them to his YouTube page in 2015.

Characters and Plot[]

  • This is the only main Crash game to not feature Coco Bandicoot, having been introduced in the sequel.
  • N. Brio is the first character to speak in the entire Crash series.


  • This is the only game in the series to feature the orange gem and bonus round tokens.
    • Furthermore, this is the only game in the series where the player can save the progress: either finishing a bonus round, typing a password or collecting a gem.
  • There are only 840 boxes in the game (or 1,122 counting the Bonus Rounds) in the PAL and NTSC-U versions of the game, the lowest in the whole platforming series.
  • The Wumpa Fruit in the game and its next two sequels are not actually 3D objects. They are instead animated sprites that always face the camera, giving them the illusion of being 3D (a technique known as 'billboarding'). These Wumpa Fruit were reused in the second and third game, Crash Bash, The Huge Adventure/XS, N-Tranced and Purple/Fusion.
  • Crash always starts with two Aku Aku masks during boss battles.



  1. Listed in the credits of the NTSC-U and PAL versions of the game.
  2. Stock sound effect originating from Disney's Lady and the Tramp.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Listed in the credits of the NTSC-J version of the game.


  1. "Everybody seems to love the Aku Aku [sound]. It was actually one of the guys that I work with. He had a deeper voice than me so he did that one. It was Andy Dawson." - Mike Gollom, Crash Bandicoot sound designer. Uploaded April 20th, 2020.