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Neo Periwinkle Cortex[1] (commonly referred to as N. Cortex, Dr. Cortex or simply Cortex) is the main antagonist of the Crash Bandicoot series. He is a professional evil scientist who holds a grudge against humanity and attempts to take over the world. However, his arch-nemesis and creation, Crash Bandicoot, constantly foils his plans, over and over.



Crash Bandicoot[]

Crash Bandicoot PS1 Neo Cortex Boss Screenshot

Neo Cortex's boss fight in Crash Bandicoot.

Cortex, along with his assistant N. Brio, began experimenting with the animals and plants[2] from the Wumpa Islands. After capturing all the critters and experimenting on them, little did scientists know that from this process would surge Cortex's arch-nemesis - Crash Bandicoot, one day, Cortex and Brio captured two bandicoots; one male and one female, the male was the first one to be mutated, then the female, Tawna, Cortex then put Crash's skills to the test in a nine-month training programme[3] and after that, he sent Crash to Cortex Vortex to become the general of his animal mutant army, although N. Brio warned Cortex about the machine state, Cortex proceeded nonetheless and for his surprise, the Cortex Vortex rejected his new creation and Crash fleed from Cortex Castle, leaving his girlfriend in custody by the scientists.

After Crash has faced all of his minions such as: Ripper Roo, Koala Kong, Pinstripe Potorro and N. Brio, Cortex then fights Crash on his airship, with him shooting energy beams from his ray gun and Crash dodging and redirecting them towards Cortex, then the scientist falls from his hoverboard into a cave, where he lits a match and finds a crystal, Cortex laughs and plans to use the crystals to have his revenge on Crash, the match goes out and he's left in the dark.

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back[]


Cortex discovers the crystal

One year after his previous encounter with Crash, Cortex, in his newly Cortex Vortex as a space station is seen with his new partner, N. Gin, who informs him that they will need 25 slave crystals to harness the power of the "solar flux" which Cortex needs to enslave the human race and they doesn't have any henchman anymore, so he locates Crash and warps him to a Warp Room where Cortex (as a hologram) tricks Crash into getting the crystals for him with a promise that he is using it for good purposes to stop the planets aligning.

He sometimes drops hints of his real plan as Coco Bandicoot starts hacking into the hologram and tries to tell Crash what's really going on. By the time Coco finally tells Crash, he has already given the crystals to Cortex. Crash then fights Cortex in space with jet packs, attempting to stop him from reaching the Cortex Vortex. The evil scientist loses once again and blasts off into outer space yelling "You haven't seen the last of me, Crash Bandicoot!". However, the Cortex Vortex is still in space, so after Crash collects all the gems, Dr. Nitrus Brio (Cortex's former right-hand man from the first game) helps blow it up with a laser cannon. However, a part of it falls towards Earth and destroys a temple, freeing an evil mask.

Crash Bandicoot: Warped[]

Cortex begging

The iconic scene showing Cortex begging for Uka Uka's forgiveness

In Warped, it revealed that the evil mask, Uka Uka, has been working with Cortex and is the younger twin brother of Aku Aku, who imprisoned him in the temple to protect the world from his wrath. Uka Uka is upset that Cortex lost the previous crystals and gems, meaning there is no power source. But, now that Cortex's bumbling actions have set Uka Uka free, he can continue to enslave the world, and with a time traveler named N. Tropy by his side, he'll make sure Cortex succeeds. Together, they build the Time Twister Machine in order to retrieve the crystals and gems from their original places in time. However, Crash and Coco start retrieving them. Throughout the entire adventure, Cortex and Uka Uka talk to Crash and Coco via a warp vortex. Cortex is also seen watching the two battle with Tiny Tiger. By the end, he becomes mad and has his showdown with Crash under the Time Twister while Uka Uka battles Aku Aku. Cortex loses and falls down a hole onto a platform below, where he lets out his frustration: "Defeated again! This is not fair! Maybe I should retire to a nice big beach, with a nice big drink and a woman with nice big... bags of ice for my head." Uka Uka, however, still has high hopes, as Crash and Coco don't have all the gems. Eventually, though, they do get all the gems and fight Cortex and Uka Uka together. When the two villains lose again, the Time Twister Machine malfunctions, causing a warp sphere to engulf them, N. Tropy, and itself. Luckily, Crash, Coco, Aku Aku and the other animals escape. Meanwhile, in another time period where the humans have been reduced to infants, Cortex and N. Tropy are seen fighting over Uka Uka in a tug-of-war.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time[]

IAT Doctor Neo Cortex

Cortex's appearance in It's About Time

Neo Cortex is both a playable character and the third and fifth boss in It's About Time. His blaster's "blockification" function allows him to turn enemies into platforms that help him cross gaps or reach high places. He can also dash in the air.

With Uka Uka's help, Cortex and Nefarious Tropy escape from the time prison they were trapped in at the end of Warped. Their plan for multiversal conquest involves using the Rift Generator machine to open up Quantum Rifts—gates between dimensions—all across the universe. When Cortex is defeated in the 11th Dimension, he becomes frustrated with his endless cycle of fighting and losing to Crash. His plans are suddenly hijacked when N. Tropy and an alternate-dimension version of himself threaten to reset the timeline, erasing everyone else from existence. Cortex has no choice but to ally with the bandicoots and take the Tropys down.

With the Tropys defeated and the Rift Generator stopped, Cortex captures Kupuna-Wa, the Quantum Mask of time, and uses her power to open one last Quantum Rift. Crash and Coco follow him back to their own dimension in 1996, just prior to Crash's creation. Cortex tries to convince his past self not to make Crash his general; Past Cortex is too stubborn and writes him off as a doppelgänger. Future Cortex knocks him out and fights the bandicoots again, using the powers of the Quantum Masks against them. He is defeated and banished to the end of the universe, where he can finally get some peace and quiet. Meanwhile, Past Cortex recovers and the events of Crash Bandicoot play out as normal.

Cortex designed and oversaw the trials shown in the flashback tapes. In his commentary, he offered various insights and trivia about the development of the Cortex Commandos. He developed a fatherly affection for Crash, and became bitter after his escape. Coco Bandicoot, created as his replacement, also escaped.

Cortex appears in the 106% completion ending, where his relaxation is disturbed by Uka Uka's sudden arrival at the end of the universe.

Other major appearances[]

Doctor Neo Cortex 4

Cortex in his kart

In Crash Team Racing, Cortex takes part in the race to beat the crabby alien, Nitros Oxide, who threatens to turn the world into a parking lot if he wins and make its inhabitants his slaves. He doesn't share the more heroic characters' motives for taking on Oxide, but he still desires to stop the invader so that nobody else will be able to conquer the Earth before he does. Cortex is seen in the intro laughing evilly, while powering his kart with a device resembling the Evolvo-Ray. Cortex's garage resembles a dark and dingy laboratory, where he keeps his kart plugged into a large gas tank, with a giant ray gun aimed down at it. He can be seen typing something on a small handheld device while in this room. His kart's stats are the same as Crash, Komodo Joe and Fake Crash, having even acceleration, speed, and turn; his home track is Cortex Castle. In the epilogue, Cortex discovers and names a new element in the periodic table, which several lawsuits failed to change: Element 117, Cortexrulestheworldium.

In The Wrath of Cortex, Cortex had built a new space station. Uka Uka holds a meeting to discuss evil with Dr. Cortex, Dr. N. Gin, Dr. N. Tropy, Tiny, and Dingodile, and claims that their attempts at evil are pathetic, although they say that Crash is to blame for their failures. N. Tropy lets on that Cortex is working on something in his lab, which Cortex denies. N. Gin then foolishly tells Cortex that N. Tropy was probably referring to a super secret weapon he was making day and night since the last time Crash defeated him.


Cortex discussing his plans

Cortex then admits he was and is almost finished making a super weapon of unbelievable strength. The power source is the final solution, at which point Uka Uka thinks of The Elementals. Cortex agrees that once he has the power of the Elementals, then he'll have a weapon that's stronger than Crash and will wipe him off the face of Earth. With an evil laugh, he declares "Get ready to face my wrath, Crash Bandicoot!". The only way to get rid of The Elementals is to gather 25 Crystals, which is what Crash and his friends set out to do. Like before, he talks to Crash, but this time via hologram. He also introduces his newest creation and super weapon: Crunch Bandicoot. However, even with the aid of The Elementals, Crunch keeps losing, and eventually Cortex's space station is destroyed (again) and Crunch becomes a member of the Bandicoot family, while Cortex is being chased by an angry Uka Uka on an iceberg, declaring that he will get his revenge on Crash. Portraits of Cortex are seen on stained glass windows in Wizards and Lizards.

Cortex appears as a playable character in Crash Nitro Kart, in which he drives for Team Cortex, in a well-rounded kart, with N. Gin, Tiny, and N. Tropy. In the story, he is abducted (along with other characters) by Emperor Velo XXVII and is forced to compete in the Galaxy Circuit. In the end, the trio is stranded on Terra, but eventually return home.

In Twinsanity, after the events of Wrath of Cortex, Dr. Cortex and Uka Uka wash onto N. Sanity Island frozen in an ice cube. After three years in hiding on an iceberg, Cortex rounds up several of Crash's old enemies to ambush him. After stunning Coco and disguising himself as her, he lures Crash to an arena for the "birthday party" and does battle with Crash. Upon being beaten once again, he orders N. Gin to send out the Mecha-Bandicoot to deal with Crash, only for the bandicoot to defeat it, causing it to explode and sending the two brawling into a mine in which they reluctantly agree to work together to escape. After escaping the mine, they encounter the Evil Twins, who claim they will destroy the Wumpa Islands. After Cortex doubts it, they take out his brain, causing him to flee in terror.

Crash later finds him and Cortex tells about his love of the Wumpa Islands, and envies the Tribesman, and after mentioning the bumblebee being humble, he is swarmed by bees, causing him to run blindly on a bridge full of traps, which Crash must protect him from. After being chased by bumblebees, a bee-hive falls on his head, later attracting a bear. Crash helps him escape all of these, but after escaping the bees, he ends up getting captured by Papu Papu, who hoists him high on a totem pole with intentions to cook him. Crash rescues him, but causes the totem pole he was on to fall down the nearby waterfall. He is later seen at Farmer Ernest's Farm, where he zaps Mr. Ernest with his ray gun and takes the crystal that was promised if they got rid of the worms infesting his land. Soon, they confront the Evil Twins once again, who reveal that they came from the Tenth Dimension and they proceed to bring to life a tiki statue.

The Evil Twins leave after the statue's defeat, and soon Cortex gets an idea. Insisting they go to his brand-new base; the Iceberg Lab where he attempts to open the main entrance with a remote, which doesn't work. Then Cortex insists they take a different route. He is later seen talking with his penguin minions who are demanding the crystal Cortex found. Then he tries to bribe them with fish to let him keep his crystal. But the bribing doesn't work, and they growl at him until Cortex shoots one of the penguins. Then he and Crash continue their journey until they accidentally free Uka Uka, who was frozen in a cave. Uka Uka then tries killing both of them because of their history with each other, by making himself a body of ice. The duo defeat Uka Uka.

After revealing the Twins' plan, Uka Uka allies with him, saying that destroying the world is his job. Crash and Cortex eventually reach his Iceberg Lab where they confront the Evil Twins. They bring out Aku Aku and Uka Uka who end up paralyzed by the Twins. Armies of ants are then sent to kill them. Eventually, they destroy all of the ants and the Evil Twins then flee. After they leave, Aku Aku and Uka Uka question Cortex about the Evil Twins and how they said that he ruined their lives. Crash and Cortex team up to defeat the Twins. Then, Cortex shows Crash the Psychetron, a device capable of teleporting to different dimensions. Cortex then says that they need six crystals, but they have four. Cortex has the idea of going to N. Gin's battleship to get the remaining required crystals, so he leads Crash to a lookout in the mountain that the Lab is built on. Cortex leans over the railing as he desperately tries to think of a way to reach the ship before it sets sail, only for Crash to kick Cortex over the edge in order to use him as a sled and reach their destination in good time.

They eventually reach the Battleship where Cortex lies in the snow, humiliated, where Dingodile hears their intention of getting the Evil Twins' treasure. After Crash is launched back to the Iceberg Lab, Cortex is standing there, where he goes to the Psychetron room and gets attacked by Coco, who thinks Cortex has kidnapped Crash. After kicking him in the groin, she sends him into the Psychetron controls, screwing it up, and paralyzing Coco. Then the two go to Cortex's Airship and to the Academy of Evil to find Nina Cortex, the only one capable of fixing the Psychetron. While flying, they are ambushed by the Evil Twins and an army of ants. Cortex eventually defeats them and they reach the Academy of Evil where Cortex accidentally finds a hidden staircase to the boiler room under the central fountain. Crash later finds him in the boiler, where he gets stuck in a pipe. Crash and Cortex eventually find Dingodile in a large boiler room, where he threatens Cortex to give him his cut of the treasure that he thinks that they found in his Australian accent. Cortex then replies to him that he doesn't know what he said, then Dingodile shoots the platform he is on and it flies up.

He is later seen in the classrooms where he nearly gets hit by toxic spray coming out of the walls and quickly slides under it. He then orders Crash to attach the airship to a secure area while he goes to look for his niece, Nina. After going through many hallways and classrooms, he finds his niece, who scares him with a fake dummy of herself. Then, when he tries to shake hands with her, they clamp onto his hand. He then sends Nina out and he goes to the fountain area only to find that Crash had misunderstood his orders and detached the airship, then Nina later catches it. He later meets up with her in a room where they are ambushed by ants and Nina leaves. After defeating the ants, Cortex wanders into a large acid room, where he meets up with the founder of the Academy of Evil, Madame Amberley. She mocks Cortex and the two eventually get into a fight. Cortex later snaps all the ropes supporting Madame Amberley and she falls into the acid pit.

He later finds Crash and the three head to the airship, where Cortex remembers the origin of the Evil Twins, on how he was eight years old building an Evolvo-Ray prototype, which he used on his pets, Victor and Moritz, and how the machine messed up and the two parrots disappeared. Then, they land at the Iceberg Lab where they warp to the Tenth Dimension. When they arrive there, Evil Crash, Crash's counterpart, appears and kidnaps Nina. They go to a balcony pursuing Evil Crash, where Cortex thinks on how they are going to save Nina, when Crash once again pushes Cortex off the balcony and uses him as a makeshift sled. After pursuing Evil Crash to his house, Cortex attempts to save Nina but ends up getting chased by Evil Crash. Crash eventually saves him and they reach the Evil Twins' base, where Cortex and Nina go in, with Crash following them. They meet up in the Evil Twins' treasure room where they meet N. Trophy, N. Brio, and N. Gin there, when Cortex states that the treasure is stolen property. Spyro the Dragon then comes out and burns N. Tropy, N. Gin, and N. Brio.

Cortex and Victor

Cortex and Victor

They meet up with the Twins in their massive throne room, where they have a discussion. Cortex then orders them to go into their cage, which they obey out of habit. They then transform their cage into a large robot, the Deathbot, beginning the final battle. Nina takes out the shields, making it vulnerable, leaving Cortex to destroy the weapons. Later, the Mecha-Bandicoot hops in front of him, revealing to be Crash piloting it. After Crash destroys the Deathbot, they flee in terror, soon to be eaten by Evil Crash. After this, they all return to their dimension, where Cortex betrays Crash, activating the Psychetron, but it malfunctions and sends Cortex into Crash's brain, where he is surrounded by thousands of Crashes all doing the Crash dance. Cortex screams, Crash is unbothered, and the story ends.

He later escapes from Crash's brain and the two are sent to a psychiatrist, where they practice trust exercises, where Cortex will fall backwards and Crash will catch him. But Crash is distracted by a Wumpa Fruit that rolls up to his foot and Cortex falls backwards and sits up and replies "I hate bandicoots", then falls backwards again.

Cortex appears as a playable character in Crash Tag Team Racing. In the story, he and his minions, N. Gin, and Nina are chasing after Crash, Coco, and Crunch near a roadway when they stumble onto Von Clutch's MotorWorld. There, Ebenezer Von Clutch, the owner of the park requests his help in finding the missing Power Gems, as well as Von Clutch's Black Heart Power Gem in which Cortex agrees to do so, seeing that he can use the park for a new base in planning his schemes, hoping to get rid of the Bandicoots once and for all.

Later on, Cortex, covered with bandages on his head is upset that some sinister force has upstaged his plan. This turned out to be true when Willie Wumpa Cheeks, the park's mascot was the true thief, despite that everyone had thought that Crash was the one who stole the Power Gems and Von Clutch's Black Heart Power Gem. Just as Willie is about to be interrogated, Cortex shows up in a flying machine and shoots him, turning him into a blob before targeting the Bandicoots. Luckily, Crash manages to stop him by throwing a chicken into the motor of the machine, sending the evil scientist and his cronies flying out of the MotorWorld.


Cortex's airship in Crash of the Titans

In Crash of the Titans, Cortex uses mojo to mutate the island's residents into titans using a method taught to him by Uka Uka called Mojo Mutation. He arrives at Crash's house and kidnaps Coco and Aku Aku, but loses Aku Aku's cage in the forest. He proceeds to the mojo temple to drain it of all its mojo. He then challenges Crash atop the temple with his Yuktopus. After the Yuktopus had failed to kill Crash, Uka Uka replaces him with his niece, Nina Cortex, who continues his plan of creating a giant robot called The Doominator and use it to destroy all of Wumpa Island. Almost all the minions agree that Nina is a better leader than Cortex. After Nina's defeat, Cortex tells her that he's proud of her, but he'll still "spank [her] stupid" for what she's done.


Cortex as a mutant

In Crash: Mind Over Mutant, Cortex had sent Nina to Evil Public School for betraying him, then reconciles with his old colleague Dr. Nitrus Brio to invent the NV, a personal digital assistant that controls whoever uses it by transmitting bad Mojo, unwillingly supplied by Uka Uka through the use of a milking machine. He later engages in a fight with Crash inside his new Space Head space station, empowering himself with the use of a mutagen formula stolen from N. Brio. Upon losing the fight, Cortex throws a tantrum, causing the Space Head to plummet towards Earth. Returning to normal, he escapes the Space Head in a smaller shuttle with an unnamed Znu. In this battle, he can burp or fart which stuns enemies, punch the ground, and perform a spin that will instantly defeat any enemy on contact.

Cortex appears in the N. Sane Trilogy, reprising his roles in the remade versions of the first three games.

Cortex reprises his role as a playable character in Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled.

Cortex's infant version, Baby Cortex, also was added as a playable character in the Post-Grand Prix update, and is available for purchase from the Pit Stop for 1500 Wumpa Coins.

Cortex features as a playable character in Crash Team Rumble. He is in the Booster role, which makes a Cortex player's main goal activating gem platforms and collecting relics to activate relic stations. His playstyle is largely the same as in It's About Time, with a few key adjustments made and new moves added to suit the game.

Crash Team Rumble attributes
Health: 2/5
Capacity: 2.5/5
Combat: 4/5
Mobility: 3/5
Difficulty: 5/5
Playstyle: Booster
PS4/5 Controls XBox One/S Controls Move
X A Jump
"It's jump! Press again for a Vertical Dash."
Square (HOLD) X (HOLD) Shoot
"Rapid-fire low-damage raygun blasts. Hold to lock-on to nearby enemies!"
Square (HOLD), R2 X (HOLD), RT Transform Shot
"While holding the shoot button, tap the piano button to fire a Transform Shot. Dash into transformed foes for a big knockback."
X, X A, A Vertical Dash
"Propel the doctor upwards. The propulsive blast does some damage."
Circle B Dash
"Propels the doctor forwards. Can dash twice in a row."
R2 (HOLD to AIM) RT (HOLD to AIM) Piano Drop
"Hold to aim then release to summon a heavy piano. Climbing high and dropping pianos from above can be a deadly strategy."

Spin-off titles/other games[]


Promotional art of Cortex in Crash Bash

In Crash Bash. Cortex is later (in the middle of a new scheme) forced to participate on the bad side in a battle of good and evil by Uka Uka and Aku Aku. Cortex is also joined with old henchmen, N. Brio and Koala Kong, and newcomer Rilla Roo. In the minigames, both the doctors have great stats but also have their weaknesses. In the Crate Crush minigames, whilst Cortex has a terrific throw with the boxes his ray gun is very poor. In the Polar Push minigames, Cortex has a jetpack which pays off nicely but he can only use it once at a time and it takes a while for his boost meter to fill up again. He has the fastest weapon in the Tank Wars minigames which is a laser but is quite weak.

In Crash Bandicoot Carnival, the Japanese version of the game, Cortex's epilogue mentions his attempt to rule the world using a giant mech modeled after the Lab Assistants. He nearly succeeds in completing the robot, until Tiny unwittingly ruins his plans by removing one of its screws.


Cortex attempting to steal the Viscount's map

Cortex appears as an unlockable playable character in Crash Boom Bang!. He is also invited to the Viscount's search brigade. However, he is not fooled by his message, eventually betraying him in order to take the Super Big Power Crystal for himself. He steals the map, however, when he is getting away the Viscount grabs it, causing it to rip. He is also seen when Crash obtains the wish given by the Power Crystal, shocked along with the rest of the group.

In the intro cutscene for The Huge Adventure, set in a space station orbiting the Earth, Uka Uka is upset with Doctor Neo Cortex for failing him once again, but Cortex promises a plan that will bring Earth's inhabitants down to size. Cortex then introduces his Planetary Minimizer, which he immediately uses to shrink the Earth down to the size of a grapefruit. The situation is brought to Aku Aku's attention when Cortex taunts the now-microscopic people of Earth. Seeing this, Crash was sent out to gather the Crystals in order to restore the Earth back to normal and stop Cortex.

After Dingodile, N. Gin, and Tiny have been dealt with, Cortex decides to take matters into his own hands by defeating Crash. Unfortunately for him, the marsupial has instead tricked the mad scientist into shrinking the colored gems, causing not only the Minimizer to malfunction, but also fusing Cortex and his minions into a monster known as Mega-Mix, who then chases after Crash down the space station's hallway. Luckily, Crash manages to escape on a space motorcycle, and Coco uses the Crystals to return the Earth back to its original size. In the end, the space station had not only exploded, but Mega-Mix was also destroyed, with the villains still inside.


The fight with Cortex in Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure

In N-Tranced. Cortex is playable in the multiplayer mode in an Atlasphere. He is also seen on the game over screen, with Uka Uka obscuring his face.

In Ripto's Rampage. Doctor Neo Cortex and Ripto from the Spyro the Dragon series had joined forces to rid themselves of their respective nemeses Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, by genetically modifying Ripto's "Riptoc" minions and disguising them as Crash and Spyro, leading the two protagonists to believe they are against each other. The two heroes eventually discover this and work together to defeat the two evil-doers. Spyro eventually ends up tagging Cortex with a transmitter which leads both Crash and Spyro to Cortex and Ripto's headquarters in outer space, where they are defeated.

Dr. Cortex appears in Skylanders: Imaginators as a playable character. He is a Tech Sensei of the Sorcerer Battle Class.

Dr cortex figure

Cortex is also responsible for setting into motion the events of the Adventure Pack level Thumpin' Wumpa Islands. After 20 years of planning, Cortex intends to use the rhythmic nature of Wumpa Island to power his Cortex Matrix Chamber and build an unstoppable army. However, despite his belief that none of his henchmen will be around to spoil his plan, Fake Crash hi-jacks the robot and starts dancing poorly, causing terrible vibes to happen across the island that threaten to shatter it. Cortex, now working for the Skylanders, must make amends and stop Fake Crash.

Cortex appears in On the Run! as the main antagonist and a boss for Crash or Coco to defeat. Not satisfied with merely conquering the world, he expands his prospects to conquer the entire multiverse, summoning henchmen from other dimensions all across space-time to achieve his goal. He can also be fought as a boss himself, as well as his robotic replica, Robo Cortex.

During his boss fight, Cortex attacks the player character by firing a laser beam down a lane and shooting balls of plasma from his ray gun. 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.

Robo Cortex, meanwhile, attacks by firing rockets into the ground to leave fiery craters and shooting lasers from his eyes down one lane. He is defeated in the same way as regular Cortex and all other bosses.

During season 3, Battle of the Dragons, there is a small plot point where Cortex approaches Crash and Coco for a truce, asking them to gather ingredients for him so that he can create a "reverse ray" to de-age Dark Spyro back into a harmless dragon egg, ending his attacks. This tactic proves successful, with Dark Spyro being sent back to the Dragon Realms at the end of the season.

Other media[]

In the manga adaptation of the first game, Cortex is first seen alongside Brio and Tawna in the first issue, observing Crash from his castle tower with a surveillance robot. Despite Crash's confidence, Cortex asserts that he will never even make it to the castle, as the island is full of traps.

Eventually, Crash and Aku Aku arrive anyway. Cortex sends spiked saucers to chase them out, though this fails. He has also prepared a trap in the observatory where Tawna is held, though it lands on his own head rather than trapping Crash. Cortex and Brio then team up against Crash. Cortex drinks a potion which causes him to become more feminine; he and Crash argue over who is more beautiful. Cortex also accidentally shoots Brio with his ray gun, then tearfully blames Crash. Promising to avenge Brio, he triggers a trap door underneath Crash, who recovers by bouncing back up on a jump crate. Eventually, Cortex is defeated by Crash's spin attack, causing Brio to initiate the castle's self-destruct sequence. The manga ends with Cortex and Crash popping out of the rubble unharmed, dressed as women and showering each other with compliments.

Page 10

Cortex appears as the main villain in Dance! Then Jump!, where he plans on turning everyone into his mindless slaves with his newly built Super Cortex Vortex. The Vortex requires Power Stones as an energy source, however. Cortex contacts Crash from space and tasks him with gathering the Power Stones, telling Crash that he will save the world and become irresistible. He even decides to tag along and help Crash find them when he grows tired of waiting, which leads the two into comical situations. He often appears and uses his inventions to either help search for power stones or to manipulate Crash into doing his bidding, which almost always backfires on him.

In Skylanders Academy. Cortex was only mentioned by Crash in "Crash Landing", in that he was going to stop the doctor from taking over the world and creating an army of evil Mutants.


Physical Appearance[]

Cortex and N

Cortex as he appears in Crash Tag Team Racing

Cortex is generally depicted as a short, typically yellow-skinned and large-headed human with a giant "N" symbol located on his forehead[4], bigger lip with a spiky goatee, bald head with hair on the sides of it and a thick black strand on top, and with large red/dark circles under his eyes. He usually wears a lab coat with black arms and legs, accompanied with yellow gloves.

However, like every other character in the series, his design, outfit, and personality is varied and altered.

Cortex's first design change occurred in Crash Nitro Kart, where he now wears a full lab coat, accompanied with red gloves and boots, his "N" symbol became metal-plated and his circles are black.

Cortex's second design change occurred in Crash Twinsanity, where he keeps his outfit from Nitro Kart but he becomes taller.

In Crash Tag Team Racing, his design is not similar to that of Twinsanity, but this time he has a zipper to close his lab coat, his shoulder pads and his black suit over the coat returned. Apparently he has shrunk and is too small compared to Crash, his gloves are still red but they have something like a buckle to adjust them. Cortex now has gray eyes. In Crash Boom Bang, he returned to his original design. In Crash of The Titans and Crash Mind Over Mutant, like the other characters, he was altered: his head is no longer triangular but somewhat rounded, looking more like a human, his robe changes design once again, without shoulder pads and having a gray belt on him, gloves and pale red boots, his hair is now blue and is shorter, but straighter. Its large ears are also notable, In addition to its lips, they are smaller and somewhat human.

In Skylanders Academy, its design is very similar to Charles Zembillas' sketches, but with a high collar and visible buttons. In the N.Sane Trilogy, his original design returns, but with more details such as textures in his hair and clothing, and for Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled it shares this same design.In Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time and Crash Team Rumble, he is redesigned again, returning to have a somewhat rounded head like in Crash of The Titans, bluish hair, visible black boots, gloves with a small opening in them ( just like Crash and Tawna in this games). He has smaller eyes than usual and his nose and lips are a pinkish tone. A more noticeable detail is that his "N" has a small slit in it. For Crash on The Run!, he appears to have visible gray in his hair and his eyes are very similar to what he had in Crash Nitro Kart.

The top of its head is usually depicted as unusually flattened or almost flattened towards the top, and in some cases somewhat rounded. Cortex is a short person in most of his games, rarely being taller than Crash in any of them (with the exceptions of Crash of the Titans, Crash: Mind Over Mutant and, to a lesser extent, Crash Bash and Crash Twinsanity).

As a child at the Academy of Evil, Cortex's appearance was largely the same, the biggest difference being a full head of hair, trimmed eyebrows and lacking a beard. The N on his forehead is also depicted as lowercase rather than uppercase.


Doctor Neo Cortex

Cortex laughing evilly

Cortex embodies many of the classic traits of psychopathy, being short-tempered, reckless, having no apparent conscience (as cited by N. Tropy in Crash Twinsanity), and frequently manipulating others to get what he wants.

Like many stereotypical villainous mad scientists, Cortex holds a grudge against other scientists for ridiculing his outlandish (yet workable) ideas, and was originally driven towards world domination by the desire to prove his colleagues wrong.[5] This no longer seems to be the case, as it is revealed in Crash Bandicoot: Warped that Cortex is working under the orders of Uka Uka (Aku Aku's evil twin), one of the only two individuals that Cortex fears (the other being Madame Amberley). Although Cortex talks big and acts confident in most of his appearances, he can be shown to become nervous (sometimes downright spineless) when put in the face of extreme and immediate danger (i.e. confronting Uka Uka, running out of ammo while fighting enemies, etc.).

Another notable personality trait is his stubbornness and inability to plan ahead or learn from his mistakes; he often relies on his minion Tiny Tiger to eliminate Crash by himself, despite the fact that Tiny is too incompetent to do so alone. This impulsive behavior is first witnessed in the opening cinematic of Crash Bandicoot, in which Cortex refuses to heed the warnings of his then-henchman Doctor Nitrus Brio and tries to make Crash the general of his army, despite numerous past failures.[6] He is shown however in It's About Time to have regretted his stubbornness in unwittingly creating Crash as his future self is shown to get more and more frustrated in how his past self will not listen to him and even outright laments it by saying "Do have any idea how stubborn I used to be?" something that Crash, Coco and Aku Aku are shown to for once agree with him, which also implies he is at least relatively less stubborn then he used to be. He also is shown to smart enough in realizing that although he wants to stop his past self from creating Crash he cannot kill him as that would result in his own death. (as well as a potential time paradox) Cortex can become quite irritated or agitated when things don't go his way, especially in Crash Tag Team Racing; while most other characters express mild annoyance when Crash fails to perform an errand for them, Cortex scolds and lashes out at him the minute he comes back empty-handed, calling him a "blithering imbecile", "cantankerous twerp" and saying "You're the worst mutation I've ever created!". Mutually supportive relationships with other characters is also evident in the crossover game Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage, in which Doctor Cortex temporarily teams up with Spyro the Dragon villain Ripto to destroy both Crash and Spyro, only to start bickering with Ripto at one point.

Crash Twinsanity Airship

Cortex's main transport - his airship, from Twinsanity

Cortex is not above lying and deceiving others to fulfill his evil desires, most of which include gathering Crystals to power up his doomsday weapons. He frequently uses the gullible Crash Bandicoot to complete these deeds, most evident in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Tag Team Racing, claiming in both games to use the weapons for "mass-helping people" as he puts it. His egotistical tendencies also cause him to alter facts about his life, claiming himself to be the most popular student in his school, even though in reality he was an object of hatred among many students, one going as far as to toss a dagger in his direction.[7] Cortex's vain side becomes most obvious in Crash Tag Team Racing, in which he often calls himself beautiful and pretty.

During It's About Time, Cortex is notably more tired and pessimistic due to the stress of fighting and losing to the Bandicoots, to the point of constantly rambling for a full decade according to N. Tropy. While genuinely tired from the constant fighting with Crash, Cortex's obsession with finally triumphing over Crash as well as potentially stopping his greatest blunder proved to be his great undoing as he couldn't control himself from an opportunity to permanently end Crash once again, leading to another defeat.

For the most part, Cortex doesn't care for the lives and feelings of others, caring only for himself and what he wants. While this seems to be the case in most games, the one moment in which Cortex actually shows concern for someone else is in Crash Twinsanity, in which at one point his niece, Nina Cortex, is kidnapped by an evil version of Crash. It is at this point clear that Nina is the only living thing that Cortex cares about as well as being one of his only redeeming qualities, with the latter going as far as thoughtlessly putting himself in danger of being mauled by the ferocious Evil Crash during the level "Bandicoot Pursuit". Besides this instance, Cortex is largely apathetic, seeing others only as tools for his quest in world domination (although presumably he likes N. Gin, Tiny and Dingodile really, as he puts up with them despite their past failings). It is unknown whether Cortex feels any regret for replacing Nina's hands with metallic death-traps, though this is unlikely, given Cortex's psychopathic tendencies.

Behind the scenes information[]

Creation and early development[]

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  • His name is a pun on the neocortex, a part of the brain.
  • According to Brendan O'Brien during an interview, Dr. Cortex's original voice was a take on Brendan's own father, the famous Golden-Age Actor, Edmond O'Brien.[8]
  • According to Clancy Brown during an interview, the reason why he stopped doing the voice of Dr. Cortex was that Universal paid actors minimum wage, and that he was never told about the Crash games (Wrath of Cortex and Crash Nitro Kart) during the time. In another interview, Lex Lang added that parents felt Brown's portrayal of the character was too mean for younger audiences, and wrote letters to Universal about the problem.

Additional information[]



  1. Cortex's middle name was revealed to be Periwinkle by Ebenezer Von Clutch in Crash Tag Team Racing.
  2. Crash Bandicoot manual page 3: For starters, there's a creep named Dr. Neo Cortex who owns three of the nicest little islands just southeast of Australia. He's up to some strange experiments with the local marsupials and other critters, and it doesn't look good.
  3. Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time
  4. Cortex's bio in The Crash Bandicoot Files: At the age of three they tattooed a large "N" for nerd on his forehead.
  5. Crash Bandicoot NTSC-U instruction manual, page 19
  6. Doctor Nitrus Brio: But Doctor Cortex! We have not determined the cause of past failures!
    Doctor Neo Cortex: Moron! This bandicoot will be my general! And he will lead my Cortex Commandos to world domination! This time I shall reign triumphant! (Crash Bandicoot)