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Nitrus Brio, commonly called N. Brio, is an evil scientist and a recurring antagonist in the Crash Bandicoot series. He is commonly credited as the inventor of the Evolvo-Ray, a device that turns ordinary animals into soldiers for Neo Cortex.[1] N. Brio first appeared in the original Crash Bandicoot game as Cortex's right-hand man, but his allegiance has varied throughout the series since, working with Crash in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, working for N. Tropy in Crash Twinsanity, and even working with Cortex again in Crash Bash, Crash: Mind Over Mutant, and Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time. N. Brio commonly uses potions both as weapons and to transform himself.



Crash Bandicoot[]


Dr. Nitrus Brio in the first Crash Bandicoot game.

At the start of the series, Brio is Cortex's assistant. While he is somewhat loyal, he has his doubts over whether Cortex's plans will actually work. Brio acts as the penultimate boss of the first game, attacking Crash by throwing beakers at him. Some of these explode and some of them transform into sentient blobs that attack Crash. Finally, the battle reaches a climax with Brio drinking one of the same dangerous potions and transforming himself into a hulking monstrosity to combat Crash. The castle goes up in flames soon after his defeat.

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back[]

Nitrus Brio reappears one year later in the form of a hologram when Crash got his first gem, attempting to convince Crash Bandicoot to gather the gems for him instead of crystals for Cortex. Double-crossed, Brio no longer works for Cortex by this point and seeks to destroy his space station with a laser beam. He also threatens to destroy Crash if he does not comply. When Crash continues to gather Crystals, Brio recruits Ripper Roo, and creates the Komodo Brothers and Tiny Tiger to assassinate Crash. Brio finally manages to convince Crash to gather the 42 gems needed for the laser to be operational, and gives him the honor of activating the weapon, destroying Cortex's space station.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time[]

Taking place after Warped, Brio returns in It's About Time, once again serving Cortex and N. Tropy on their road to multiversal conquest. He is also a boss in Tranquility Falls, where he has transformed the residents with his potions. When Crash and Coco arrive, he challenges them to complete his tests and defeat his diabolical creations. He also suggests that he plans to betray Cortex at some point. Once the bandicoots defeat him in Trouble Brewing, he transforms into a pterodactyl-like creature to attack them, but gives up after laying an egg. He then flies off while scattering N. Verted gems and Bumpa Berries across the multiverse, unlocking the N. Verted Mode.

A past version of Brio appears when Crash and Coco travel back in time to Cortex Island, 1996. He avoids getting involved with the two Cortexes' bickering. Eventually, he and past-Cortex subject the past Crash to the Evolvo-Ray, exactly as it occurred in the original Crash Bandicoot.

Brio assists Dr. Cortex with his experiments during the Flashback Tapes, though he also runs some of them without Cortex's knowledge. During this time, he plots insubordination, intending for Crash to be his ally. These plans are never realized, however, since Crash escapes Cortex Castle. Brio is routinely humiliated by Cortex throughout their conversations.

In the game's normal ending, the egg he laid can be seen on Crash's couch. In the 100% ending, Brio is put on display in the taxidermy wing of Ripper Roo's Curious Cabinet of Curiosities after being mistaken for a flying squirrel

Other major appearances[]

In Crash Bash, Brio is called by Uka Uka to fight on the Evil side in the battle against Aku Aku's Good side. Similar to Cortex, he uses a blue ray gun to stun his opponents. He has the same characteristics of Cortex. In the Crate Crush levels, he has a very powerful throw, a high jump, fast running speed, but a weak laser. His battle cry is a stock laugh sound effect that was also heard in the Disney films Fun and Fancy Free and Aladdin. In the Tank Wars mini games, he has a green laser that bounces off walls. Much like Cortex, in the Pogo Pandemonium and the Polar Push mini games he has a jetpack.

In Twinsanity, Brio teams up with N. Tropy to defeat Cortex and gain the Evil Twins' Treasure. He appears alongside N. Tropy in a boss fight, immediately following Crash's escape from N. Gin's battleship, in which Brio, at Tropy's request, drinks a potion to transform himself into a large, green frog-like monster. While in this form, he bounces around on the iceberg trying to squash Crash. He then appears (in his human form) alongside N. Tropy and N. Gin again in the Evil Twins' fortress, claiming the Twins' treasure for themselves. However, they are thwarted by Spyro the Dragon, who had been trapped in the Twins' vault, when he breathes fire on them.

Brio reunites with Neo Cortex once more in Mind Over Mutant which he aids in the development of the NV, a personal digital assistant that can control both mutants and bandicoots. He uses recycled parts from the Junkyard to mass-produce NVs and create a new space station for Doctor Cortex. Throughout the game, he claims to be the inventor of numerous things, including recycling, and also claims to have an interest in falconry and "classical" cheeses. He is found in the Junkyard with a brainwashed Crunch Bandicoot by Crash and Aku Aku, who are then attacked by Crunch under Brio's orders. When Crunch is broken free from the NV's control, Brio is forced to reveal the whereabouts of Uka Uka, who is acting as the source of the negative mojo needed to control those wearing NVs. He is then told to leave the island. He reluctantly complies, but promises the trio that it isn't the end.

Brio repeats his role as boss in the N. Sane Trilogy remake of the first game, and helps Crash in the remake of the second game.

In Nitro-Fueled. Brio appears as a playable racer as part of the Spooky Grand Prix. He can be unlocked in the game's Pit Stop for 1500 Wumpa Coins, his driving status is shown below:
Speed: 4/7
Accel: 7/7
Turn: 3/7
Difficulty: Intermediate
Driving Style: Acceleration

N. Brio appears in On the Run! in his monster form as a boss character. He attacks by beating his chest to make blocks fall from the sky to form obstacles, and by throwing large boulders at the player. Like all bosses, he is defeated by chasing him and throwing Boom Berries at him to reduce his health bar to zero, then using the Portal Weapons crafted beforehand to send him back to his own dimension.

N. Brio features as a playable character in Crash Team Rumble. He is in the Blocker role, which makes a N. Brio player's main goal blocking players on the other team from depositing Wumpa Fruit in their bank or activating gem platforms.

Crash Team Rumble attributes
Health: 2.75/5
Capacity: 2.5/5
Combat: 3/5
Mobility: 2/5
Difficulty: 3/5
Playstyle: Blocker
PS4/5 Controls XBox One/S Controls Move
X A Jump
"It's jump! You can double jump!"
Square X Flask Smash
"Swing a flask like a club in front of you or hurl one to the ground if used in mid-air. A flask tossed in mid-air will launch Dr. N. Brio up a bit."
Circle B Transform
"Change into Brute form and smash....everything? Transforming in and out leaves you vulnerable, so choose when to Transform carefully."
R2 (HOLD to AIM) RT (HOLD to AIM) Slime Monster
"Toss to spawn an aggressive slime monster. Slime monsters can contest Gems."

Other media[]

Brio is a minor character in the original Crash Bandicoot manga, which follows an abridged version of the first game's events. Brio appears in the first chapter, but does not take a prominent story role until the second. Brio and Cortex attempt to thwart Crash's plans to rescue his friend Tawna from Cortex Castle. However, Cortex wastes all of Brio's potion by drinking it, then accidentally shoots him with his blaster. As a last resort, Brio initiates the castle's self-destruct sequence, though everybody survives.

N. Brio appeared briefly in the Crash Team Rumble promotional comic titled "Catbat". He and Cortex are responsible for the creation of Catbat. They were intended to be another of Cortex's animal soldiers, but N. Brio failed to properly secure their straps and couldn't hold them down, allowing them to escape.


Physical Appearance[]

Human form[]


Promotional art of N. Brio for the first Crash Bandicoot game.

Nitrus Brio is a human character whose most prominent features are his tall, bald head and two bolts embedded in his temples. He is typically depicted with fair skin, large brown eyebrows, a protruding lower lip, and a snaggletooth. His neck, body, arms and legs are thin.

In Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bash, N. Brio wears a long green lab coat with pointed shoulders, teal sleeves, a triangular red coat collar and red boots. In these games only, he also has a five o'clock shadow above his upper lip. In Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy's remakes of the first two games, his collar is green and his boots are teal instead.

In Crash Twinsanity, N. Brio wears a dull green lab coat with a black hem and stripe down the side in the same style as Neo Cortex's coat. His skin appears darker, and his eyebrows are nearly black.

In Crash: Mind Over Mutant, his coat is dull green and double-buttoned with a black sash around his waist. He also wears black boots and gloves.


N. Brio's latest appearance in Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time and Crash Team Rumble.

In Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time and Crash Team Rumble, N. Brio wears a light green coat with a purple stain on the collar. He also wears teal pantashoes, as well as a teal, silver-buckled belt with holsters for his potions. In these games, his eyes are yellow-tinged.

Other forms[]

N. Brio is a character that often transforms himself using potions. He has taken a few distinct forms throughout the series, though they are all large, green-skinned, and retain the bolts in his skull.

Crash Bandicoot Doctor Nitrus Brio Hulk

Nitrus Brio's other form from the first Crash Bandicoot game.

In Crash Bandicoot, N. Brio transforms into a muscular version of himself. This form has a large upper body and thin legs. It returned in On the Run! as his main form in the game. In It's About Time and Rumble, back spines were added to the design. This form was called his "mutagen" form in On the Run! and is his "Brute" form in Rumble.[2][3] He briefly takes on a similar form in one of the stylized animated cutscenes of Mind Over Mutant, becoming larger and glowing green.

N. Brio has had two other unique forms in the series. In Crash Twinsanity, he takes on a less humanoid form with a large mouth, a large-bellied body that he bounces around on, sharp teeth, clawed digits and three-toed feet. It's About Time features a winged, pterodactyl-like form for Brio seen only in a cutscene after he is defeated.

In the original Crash Bandicoot only, N. Brio's monster form has teal cuffs around his wrists, red boots, and gray underpants. In the N. Sane Trilogy, the wrist cuffs are absent. In It's About Time and Rumble, his shoes break, revealing red socks with white polka-dots underneath. In On the Run!, he wears a thin white spandex top, patched purple shorts, and pink boots, all of which are torn. He also has a smiley-face and purple triangle sticker on his left pectoral. In Twinsanity and Mind Over Mutant, his outfits do not change when he transforms.


Brio is a shy and meek man, which serves as a contrast to Doctor Cortex's megalomania. He has never had people respect him or take him seriously (a fact he laments in Crash: Mind Over Mutant), resulting in a low self-esteem. It is this weakness that originally caused him to join Doctor Cortex in his plot for world domination. However, it is also this weakness that allowed Cortex take the full credit for an invention that Brio was more responsible for attaining any sort of effectiveness, resulting in the development of intense inner-contempt and jealousy of Cortex on Brio's behalf. The most notable examples of Cortex stealing from Brio was the first functional Evolvo-Ray, which Brio did not actually create, but perfected its original faulty design into a more effective weapon. This betrayal on Cortex's part is a continuing source of disdain for Brio and is the prime motive for his abandonment of Cortex following the events of Crash Bandicoot.

As a way of making up for his mistake of allowing Cortex to take credit for his inventions in the past, Brio has developed a notable level of self delusion, as he cites himself as being the actual inventor of the Evolvo-Ray (even though he only perfected it). This worsens even further where he constantly, almost impulsively reminds anyone in his presence of his inventions, even crediting himself with several other things that he couldn't possibly have created, like recycling, slinkies as well as claiming to have written a bible. This trait carries over to Nitro-Fueled, as he credits the Skull Rider kart (previously named Bone Machine), Crunch's vehicle in Tag Team Racing, as his invention.

In the earlier games, he stuttered and occasionally laughed like a madman whenever he spoke. In the N. Sane Trilogy, his personality in the first game is more solidified. He now acts like a bumbling but cautious assistant with incredibly eccentric mannerisms, a strong stutter, and much more manic laughter. In Nitro-Fueled, he is also shown to be very sensitive, as he shows discomfort when hit even when he's shielded.

Behind-the-scenes information[]

Creation and early development[]

Nitrus Brio was created by Naughty Dog as a boss character for the first Crash Bandicoot game, fought early on in Cortex Castle. His personality was designed as a foil to Neo Cortex.[4] His talent in biology was also made to complement Cortex's technological abilities.[5]

Crash Bandicoot PS1 Nitrus Brio January 95 Concept Art

Concept art of Nitrus Brio by Charles Zembillas, published in The Crash Bandicoot Files: How Willy the Wombat Sparked Marsupial Mania.

The earliest known artwork of Nitrus Brio, produced by concept artist Charles Zembillas, was first made public in The Crash Bandicoot Files: How Willy the Wombat Sparked Marsupial Mania.[6] It is dated to January of 1995. By this point, his design was essentially finalized to what would appear in the final game. Other concept art included in the book depicts Brio without bolts in his head; though it is undated, it suggests earlier work was done. A number of concepts for Nitrus Brio's monster form were done as well. Potential design elements included spiky claw and club arms, a cobra body, tentacles, a metal chest plate, and neck spines. Eventually, the simpler muscular form seen in the final game was decided on.

A draft of the Crash Bandicoot series production bible, created February 20, 1995, established N. Brio's early personality. He was designed to be a foil to Cortex, with their dynamic being compared to that of Spock and Captain Kirk of Star Trek.[5] Where Cortex was obstinate and emotional, N. Brio would be calm and logical, to the point of seeming emotionless. He was worshipfully devoted to Cortex, who treated him with contemptuous affection in return. Though N. Brio attempted to be a "voice of reason" to Cortex, he was frequently ignored and would take the blame when their plans went awry. When this happened, he would voluntarily tighten the bolts in his head as self-punishment.

A history of N. Brio was also provided in the February draft. The only child of two research scientists, he excelled in school and soon became arrogant, considering his peers as inferiors.[5] This changed when Neo Cortex enrolled in the same high school as him. Despite being just six years old, Cortex competed intensely with Brio and bested him every time. By the end of the semester, Brio lost all of his self-confidence, viewing Cortex as his intellectual superior. He installed bolts in his own head as a show of devotion. Two years later, the pair would enact a plot to destroy the town where they lived in a nuclear explosion. They then traveled the world for many years in search of greater knowledge and a place to live, eventually settling on the archipelago then known as the Lemurian Islands.

Nbrio monster concept 3

One early concept of the Brio-Monster.

Cortex and N. Brio together created an army of animal soldiers, including Willy the Wombat (the working name of Crash Bandicoot).[5] In the February draft's script of the game's opening cutscene, portraying Willy's creation, N. Brio accompanies Cortex, but has no speaking role. Elsewhere in the bible, the Evolvo-Ray's flawed creations are attributed to Cortex tampering with N. Brio's design. Believing that Cortex could do no wrong, and that the other henchmen were doomed to fail against Willy, N. Brio would use the Evolvo-Ray on himself in an attempt to increase his own intelligence. Instead, he'd devolve into the vicious "Brio-Monster".

A later edition of the bible, created May 5, 1995, added that Cortex and Brio left a trail of destruction wherever they traveled, arriving on the islands while fleeing from the law.[7] No further changes were made to N. Brio's character or history until August 15, 1995. In this version, Cortex installed the bolts in Brio's skull, which he would tighten to punish him.[8] Instead of using the Evolvo-Ray to transform himself, Brio would instead drink a mutagen he'd designed to replace both the Evolvo-Ray and Cortex Vortex. Tawna Bandicoot would spend her time as prisoner in the castle attempting to reason with Brio. In the revised script for the opening cutscene, Cortex addresses N. Brio directly to criticize him for the Evolvo-Ray's failures.

In the final game, N. Brio remained as Cortex's right hand and as a boss at Castle Cortex. In his fight, he transforms himself using a potion. N. Brio would also be given spoken lines in the game's opening cutscene. Though his dynamic with Cortex is evident in their dialogue, their history together was not included in the game. N. Brio and Tawna never interact, either.

Development in later appearances[]

The sequel to the original game, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, depicted N. Brio as somewhat manic in contrast to the stoic personality with which he was originally designed. Naughty Dog chose to develop his character further because they felt Cortex's bullying had made Brio "surprisingly sympathetic".[9]

In Crash: Mind Over Mutant, N. Brio's character was written with the voice actor, Maurice LaMarche, in mind.[10][11] He was included in the story in part because writer Chris Mitchell was fond of his "personality issues". The developers at Radical Entertainment also hoped that the return of an older character from the series would be popular with fans.

In Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, N. Brio's reptilian form was created by concept artist Nicholas Kole as a potential transformation during his boss fight.[12] Toys for Bob, the game's developers, determined that his "brute" form from the first game worked better for gameplay. The design was used for his post-boss fight cutscene instead.


  • In the Japanese version of the original game, it is revealed in the Aku Aku hint for the level Castle Machinery that bouncing on the green blobs hurts N. Brio because the green blobs are N. Brio's evil souls.
    • In the N. Sane Trilogy, a different reason is revealed as to why they hurt him; when jumped on, the blobs spray a green juice into N. Brio's face.
  • Crash Twinsanity is the only game in which N. Brio appears, but has no speaking lines.
  • Brio's theme in Cortex Strikes Back is somewhat hard to hear because Brio is talking over it. How it was supposed to sound remained a mystery for 15 years until Josh Mancell shared the song.
  • His name is a pun on the word "embryo," and in Crash: Mind Over Mutant, he says that his name "sounds like a fetus."
  • Nitrus Brio's first name is derived from "nitrous oxide", commonly known as "laughing gas".
    • In the Russian version of Crash: Mind Over Mutant, N. Brio's name has been localized as "Н. Брион" (translit. "N. Brion") to accommodate the pun on the Russian word for "embryo" which is "эмбрион" (translit. "ėmbrion"). In the Russian localization of Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, his name is stylized as "Эн-Брион" (translit. "Ėn-Brion"), maintaining the primary pun but removing the implication of his first name starting with the letter N.
  • N. Brio is the first character to speak in the first Crash game, making him the first character to speak in the entire series.
  • In the N. Sane Trilogy remake of the Crash Bandicoot, instead of 9 hit points, he has 7 hit points when facing his normal form, and 3 Hit Points when facing his monster form, which adds up to 10 hit points. However, the 7th hit point automatically goes down when Brio drinks his potion which turns him into a monster.
  • In Crash: Mind Over Mutant, he shouts the word "Hadouken", a reference to the character Ryu from the Street Fighter franchise.
  • Curiously in Crash Twinsanity, N. Brio and N. Tropy are shown as working together despite never sharing a scene in prior games, on top of that in each of their respective games it is never both of them that are present.
  • He is one of the characters from the original Crash Bandicoot not to have made an appearance in Crash Team Racing, along with Tawna and Koala Kong. However, his beakers are included in the game, called "N. Brio Beakers".
  • Although Brio has a new outfit in Mind Over Mutant, most cutscenes show him wearing his old uniform from the first Crash game.
  • The monster he turns into in Crash Bandicoot bears a slight resemblance to The Hulk, as well as the Monstar form of Bang from 1996 feature film Space Jam.
  • Dr. N. Brio may be influenced by the character Dr. Jekyll from Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
  • The bolts lodged into his head are based on the Monster from Frankenstein, as the character similarly has bolts in his neck.

Additional information[]



  1. Crash Bandicoot manual, p. 20. "Not as pushy or driven as his boss, Dr. N. Brio has relegated his position to chief henchman of Dr. Cortex. Actually, it was Dr. N. Brio who created the Evolvo-Ray, but his lack of self-esteem let the other (more twisted) Mad Scientist take the credit."
  2. Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!. In-game character description of Nitrus Brio. "Doctor Nitrus Brio's mutagen form. Angry, green and has a fondness for spandex."
  3. Crash Team Rumble. N. Brio's moveset overview. "Change into Brute form and smash....everything?"
  4. Making of Crash Art. Naughty Dog, Inc.. Archived from the original on May 24, 1998 "Dr. N. Brio is a foil for Dr. Cortex. Meek to Cortex's strength, Logical to Cortex's emotional, successful (his inventions work) to Cortex's failure."
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Crash Bandicoot - Production Bible. Crash Mania. Archived from the original on December 30, 2022
  6. The Crash Bandicoot Files: How Willy the Wombat Sparked Marsupial Mania, p. 145
  7. The Crash Bandicoot Files: How Willy the Wombat Sparked Marsupial Mania, p. 142
  8. Crash Bandicoot production bible (August 15, 1995). Naughty Dog, Inc.. Archived on February 27, 2020. Accessed July 18, 2023.
  9. Crash Bandicoot — Interviews "R" us. All Things Andy Gavin. Archived from the original on January 31, 2023 "Brio turned out to be surprisingly sympathetic (because Cortex picks on him) so we thought it would be amusing to develop that a bit."
  10. Joe McGinn (lead designer): "We know you love the old characters like N.Brio." / Chris Mitchell (game designer, writer): "I'd had a voice actor in mind for N.Brio for a long time now and always liked his little personality issues so it was fun to put the two together."
  11. Voice of Dr. Nitrus Brio - Crash Bandicoot. Behind The Voice Actors. Archived from the original on June 17, 2018. Originally sourced from an unknown representative of Radical Entertainment on the CrashMania forums (now defunct).
  12. The Art of Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, p. 141. "Nick [Kole] was riffing on the idea that N. Brio might have other potions that turn him into other forms. ... Despite the great designs, the boss battle worked best with just the brute. We loved the pterodactyl so much that we used it in the end-of-level cutscene."