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Koala Kong is a recurring character in the Crash Bandicoot series. He appears as an antagonist in the first Crash Bandicoot game, appearing more frequently after the release of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. He is an anthropomorphic bodybuilding koala,[2] inspired by characters played by Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone.[2][3] Being an antagonist, he is generally characterized as athletic, self-absorbed and easily outwitted.

Appearances[]

Crash Bandicoot[]

Koalakongboss

Koala Kong's boss fight in Crash Bandicoot.

Koala Kong first appeared as the third boss of the original Crash Bandicoot game. Like Crash Bandicoot, he was a subject of the Evolvo-Ray and Cortex Vortex, which turned him into one of Neo Cortex's Cortex Commando animal soldiers.[4][5] Crash, who escaped Cortex, must defeat Koala Kong in order to make it back to Castle Cortex and rescue his girlfriend Tawna Bandicoot.

Koala Kong's boss fight occurs at the end of the second island in the game. His arena is in a crystal-filled cavern with a railroad track and a river of lava. He quickly throws rocks at Crash from across the lava while TNT Crates fall from the ceiling. Once per phase, after throwing a particularly heavy rock to the ground, Koala Kong stops to flex his muscles. Crash can spin the thrown rock to deal damage and start the next phase.

In the game's 100% ending epilogue, Koala Kong moved to Hollywood and landed a role as a movie star. He also started seeing a speech therapist to improve his diction.[6]

Koala Kong reprises his boss role in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy's remake of the original game. A newly added animation plays when he is defeated: he beats his chest and roars at Crash before being carried away by a passing minecart.

Other major appearances[]

Crash Bash featured Koala Kong as a playable character, summoned to play for Uka Uka's team in a contest between good and evil. Like Tiny Tiger, he has a powerful kick and a far throwing range in Crate Crush minigames, but is slow-moving. If the player beats the game as Koala Kong, the Evil ending is earned, wherein Uka Uka steals the crystals and uses their power to doom the Earth. In the Japanese version-exclusive epilogue, Koala Kong moved back to Hollywood after winning the tournament. His popularity as a celebrity plummeted after he adopted a particularly uncool victory pose.[7]

Neon Circus 04

Koala Kong wearing his Circus skin in a promotional image for Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled.

Koala Kong was also introduced as a playable character in Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled with the Neon Circus Grand Prix update that launched November 8th, 2019.[8] He was originally unlocked by completing the Bronze Tier of the Nitro Gauge. As of the Gasmoxia Grand Prix update on February 20th, 2020, he was made purchasable from the Pit Stop for 1500 Wumpa Coins. His default Driving Style is Speed. Like the other playable series antagonists in the game, Koala Kong uses Uka Uka as his Invincibility Mask.

In Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!, Koala Kong was added as a boss in the Season 3 update, "Battle of the Dragons", on June 10th, 2021. He attacked by slamming the ground and rolling boulders at the player character. Like all bosses, he was defeated by chasing him and depleting his health with Boom Berries, then using the Portal Weapons crafted beforehand to send him back to his own dimension. A Koala Kong themed skin for Crash was also added in Season 4, "Survival of the Fastest", on July 15th, 2021.

Minor appearances[]

Komodo Joe (Crash Twinsanity)

Koala Kong in concept art for Crash Twinsanity.

In Crash Twinsanity, Koala Kong makes a cameo in the cutscene just before the first boss fight against Mecha-Bandicoot. Cortex organizes a "birthday party" (really an ambush) for Crash, which Koala Kong and his other former foes attend. Additionally, a piece of concept art unlocked by obtaining purple gems in the game depicts Koala Kong cheating at a card game he's playing with Cortex's other animal minions.

Minecarts with Koala Kong's face painted on the sides can be seen in Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, in the level Toxic Tunnels.

A patch resembling Koala Kong can be seen sewed onto Catbat's "Cutebat" skin in Crash Team Rumble.

Characteristics[]

Physical appearance[]

Koala Kong Promotional Model

Promotional art of Koala Kong for the original Crash Bandicoot game.

Koala Kong is a grey anthropomorphic koala with a heavily muscular upper body and thin legs. He small eyes, round black ears with pink insides, and virtually no neck. He wears a red sleeveless top with long mustard-colored pants.

In his debut in the original Crash Bandicoot game, He has a black nose, a tuft of black chest hair, black cuffs around his wrists, and a rope tied around his waist like a belt. He also has a sloped lip, a reference to the facial paralysis of actor Sylvester Stallone, who inspired the character.[2][3]

In Crash Bash, Koala Kong's chest hair and the rope around his waist were removed.

In Crash Twinsanity, Koala Kong has a red nose, no eyebrows, grey ears, and brown spiked cuffs around his wrists. His chest hair and rope belt returned. His lip is no longer lopsided, and it would remain this way throughout the rest of his appearances in the series.

Koala kong nitro fueled

Koala Kong's appearance in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled.

Koala Kong's appearance in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy's remake of the first game gave him spiked black wrist cuffs, as well as a spiked black belt with a skull symbol on the front in place of his rope. His chest hair is gone, and his lopsided lip is seen only in the icon next to his health bar in his boss fight. His model in this game would be reused in Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled. His appearance in Crash Bandicoot: On the Run! retained these design elements as well, though his overall appearance was made to match the game's art style.

Personality[]

Koala Kong is often characterized as vain. In his boss battles in both the original Crash Bandicoot game and in On the Run!, he flexes to show off his muscles between attacks. Similarly, in Nitro-Fueled, he poses in his kart when hopping and on the podium after winning a race. His in-game profile in On the Run! describes him as self-absorbed,[9] while his promotional profile states he "acts overconfident and is easily distracted".[10] The source of his pride is his muscular physique, which he purports to have gained through his diet.[11] Koala Kong gained celebrity status by working in films, described in his epilogues in Crash Bandicoot and the Japanese version of Crash Bash.[6][7]

The original Crash Bandicoot manual also describes Koala Kong as unintelligent.[4] In Nitro-Fueled, on the podium upon losing a race, he becomes so frustrated that he punches his own head in.

Behind-the-scenes information[]

Creation and early development[]

Koala Kong was initially created as one of Neo Cortex's minions and a boss character for what would become the original Crash Bandicoot game. He was planned to be the second of two bosses on the first island, fought on top of a giant tree.[12]

Joe pearson koala kong

Initial concept art of the character by Joe Pearson.

Concept work for Koala Kong began with three initial concept designs drawn on an unknown date by Joe Pearson, each with varying features.[13] However, the core traits — a koala character with a round silhouette, sleeveless arms, no neck, and a scowling expression — were decided early on. Pearson also produced one of the earliest drafts of the series' production bible on February 20, 1995, which includes a script for the opening sequence of the game.[14] At this point, the character was named Koala Khan. He briefly appeared along with Cortex's other animal creations in the castle.

Crash 1 frustrated kong concept

Concept art by Charles Zembillas.

More concept art was drawn by Charles Zembillas, included in the May 5, 1995 edition of the production bible published in The Crash Bandicoot Files: How Willy the Wombat Sparked Marsupial Mania. His design had been mostly finalized to what is seen in finished game (see § Physical appearance, above), with the exception of having spiked wrist bracelets. The May 1995 edition of the bible made no major changes to the original opening sequence script, and thus it still called the character Koala Khan.[15] Everywhere else, he was referred to as Koala Kong. This edition also added information on Kong's history and personality. Formerly a small and meek koala bear, the Evolvo-Ray transformed him into a muscular creature over seven feet tall and six hundred pounds heavy.[2] Doctor Cortex's first experiment, Ripper Roo, had been driven insane by the Cortex Vortex; to avoid a similar outcome, he chose not to subject Koala Kong to it. Left to develop naturally, Kong proved to be intellectually slow, so he was ordered to watch television to become smarter. He soon became obsessed with the Rocky film series. He adopted the main actor's persona as his entire identity, down to mimicking his speech patterns and referring to others as "Adrianna". He compensated for his lack of intellect with strength and endurance, convinced that he, like Rocky, could win any fight as long as he got back up after being knocked down.

In August of 1995, a new edition of the production bible made changes to his story. Rejecting the notion that the Cortex Vortex was flawed, Cortex made Koala Kong its second subject.[3] His personality resulted from being exposed to action films starring Sylvester Stallone for two days during treatment. Pinstripe, another of Cortex's henchmen, employed Koala Kong as a personal bodyguard. While the opening sequence script was revised in this draft and includes the name Koala Kong, his role in it did not change.

In the final release of Crash Bandicoot, Koala Kong's boss fight was moved to the end of the second island inside a cave. While his sloped lip remains as a callback to his Rocky-inspired personality, his history and interactions with other characters aren't referenced anywhere in-game. The spikes on his wrist bracelets also do not appear in his design, though they were added in the game's remake in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Further, none of the animal henchmen appear in the game's opening cutscene.

Trivia[]

  • Some Crash Bandicoot series media depicts Koala Kong as a hybrid character. The Prima strategy guide for Crash Bash states that Koala Kong was made from a koala and an ape.[16] His name in the Vietnamese version of On the Run! translates to "Koala Gorilla".[17]

Gallery[]

Main article: Koala Kong/Gallery

References[]

  1. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Lands on PS4 June 30. PlayStation.Blog. Archived from the original on June 8, 2023 "Who are the voice actors?" / "Fred Tatasciore (Dingodile, Koala Kong, Komodo)"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The Crash Bandicoot Files: How Willy the Wombat Sparked Marsupial Mania, p. 169
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Crash Bandicoot production bible (August 15, 1995). Naughty Dog, Inc. Archived on February 27, 2020. Accessed June 4, 2023.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Crash Bandicoot manual, p. 21. "When Dr. Cortex made this bruiser, he dedicated way too many protons to the muscle department and too few to the brains."
  5. Implied by the existence of a cage labeled "koala" in the room with the Cortex Vortex, seen in the first Crash Bandicoot game's introductory cutscene.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Crash Bandicoot. Koala Kong's epilogue. "Koala Kong moved to Hollywood and landed a motion picture deal of Universal proportions. / Currently he is working with a speech therapist to improve his diction."
  7. 7.0 7.1 Japanese release of Crash Bash. Koala Kong's epilogue. 「まあ、せかいてき だいスタ〜の オレさまがかちのこったのは と〜ぜんだね。と〜ぜん!」/ じしんマンマンのあくやくスタ〜、コアラコングはそういいのこして、ハリウッドのえいがスタジオにかえってしまいました。/ ・・・しかしそのご、コアラコングはにんきがガタおちになってしまったそうです。/ カッコわるいキメポ〜ズをつかいはじめたのがげんいんだということですが・・・。("Well, as the world's biggest star, my victory was just the obvious result. Completely obvious!" / Koala Kong, the supremely confident celebrity villain, made sure to leave his parting line and returned to his movie studio in Hollywood. / ...However, after that, Koala Kong's popularity plummeted. / His habit of using such uncool victory pose may have been the reason for that...) Translation by J. Lazarillo (@TheRealCaptainPanda).
  8. Discover the Joy of the Big Top in the Neon Circus Grand Prix in Crash™ Team Racing Nitro-Fueled.. Activision. Archived from the original on January 20, 2021
  9. Koala Kong's in-game character profile for Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!. "This self-absorbed koala loves only two things: his muscles and... his muscles. He believes brute strength and an overactive ego are the one-two punch to success. He also loves his muscles."
  10. Koala Kong's promotional character profile for Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!. "Despite his name, Koala Kong is actually not a mix of koala and gorilla, but an evolved koala with gigantic muscles. Luckily, Koala Kong often acts overconfident and is easily distracted, which bandicoots should be able to exploit!"
  11. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled. Neon Circus Grand Prix CTR TV cutscene. Koala Kong: "Errragh! The secret is in the diet."
  12. The Crash Bandicoot Files: How Willy the Wombat Sparked Marsupial Mania, p. 165.
  13. Crash Bandicoot - Artwork - Joe Pearson. Crash Mania. Archived from the original on March 27, 2023
  14. Crash Bandicoot - Production Bible. Crash Mania. Archived from the original on December 30, 2022
  15. The Crash Bandicoot Files: How Willy the Wombat Sparked Marsupial Mania, p. 22
  16. Crash Bash: Prima's Official Strategy Guide, p. 3. "When Dr. Cortex made this bruiser from a Koala bear and an ape, he dedicated way too many protons to the muscle department and too few to the brains."
  17. Seen in Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!, which was localized into Vietnamese
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