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Piston It Away (ピストン はつでんしょ lit. Piston Power Plant in Japanese) is the twenty-first level in the game and the first level of the fifth warp room in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy remake of the second game. Set in Dr. Cortex's space station, Crash is required to avoid giant pistons, shrink rays and sparky tentaclebot units in order to survive.

Backtracking is necessary to break all 69 crates and obtain the level's clear gem. This level contains a death route, but if the player takes it and finishes it right when they first encounter it, they will miss out on a number of crates past it on the main path. Instead, they must take the main path to the end first - leaving one tentaclebot alive to jump on later - and then they can successfully backtrack all the way through the level to the death route. However, leaving the sparky tentaclebot is not necessary, as it's possible to jump out of the map and back again and thereby avoiding the trouble of saving the tentaclebot (This doesn't work in the N. Sane Trilogy version). From here, all that separates the player from the gems is a series of tricky platforming challenges involving pistons, shrink rays, and floating tentaclebots. Precise timing is key.

In the N. Sane Trilogy, an easer way to obtain the crate gem is as follows: make it to the death route breaking all the crates on the way there, then take the death route platform. Immediately die in the death route. This will cause the platform to remain usable for the duration of the level, and Crash will respawn at the checkpoint crate near the platform. The player can then continue along the normal path to the end of the level and then double back to the death route. For a checkpoint on the way back, save the Bonus Round for the return trip.

Enemies and Obstacles

Enemy/Obstacle Picture Enemy/Obstacle Description
Four legged robot.jpg
*Robot Walker- These enemies will walk back and forth along the path, blocking Crash's way. They can only be defeated by sliding them. It is the first type of enemy encountered in the level.

Piston with a tentaclebot to the right of it

*Giant Pistons-They are obstacles that retract up and down in the middle of Crash's path. They are similar to the log crushers in the snow-themed levels, in which Crash will have to move forward past them while they are up to avoid being smashed by them. For some other pistons, which retract the opposite way, Crash will have to stand on the piston face and wait for it to push up. They are the first obstacle encountered in the level.

Sparky Tentaclebot Unit with arms down.

*Tentacle robots- They are enemies that stand or patrol in Crash's path with their arms either up or down. They can be jumped on when the arms are down or can be slid through when they are up. In the death route, there are a couple of them that float in midair and raise their arms up and down.
*Shrink Rays- These are obstacles that shoot projectiles that will shrink Crash upon hitting him. They are activated when Crash steps on one of the arrow pads. He must try to dodge the projectiles or spin them away if he does step on the pad. When he is hit, Crash will slowly shrink and eventually lose a life.

One standing in front of Crash

*Barricading Lab Assistant- These lab assistants carry a tall shield and try to push Crash with it. They can be defeated by spinning or sliding them back until they fall or crash into a nitro crate. If Crash does not time it properly, he will be pushed back, likely into a pit.



Translation of Aku Aku Hints in the Japanese Version


  • All boxes in this level contain no more than one Wumpa Fruit.
  • This level, Air Crash and Spaced Out are the only levels in this game with an alternate route that leads to an exit back to the main warp room.
    • Unlike the other two levels, the second exit needs to be taken to fully complete this level due to crates, including a Checkpoint, being on the Death Route, or else you could death warp back to the main path and finish it there.
  • In the beta version, it's impossible to get the two gems of the level except with cheats. A coding error causes the game to freeze right before the death route gem.
  • "Dynamo" was one of the earliest names given to this level.
  • This level's title is a play on the phrase "Pissing It Away".
  • If Crash gets hit by the shrink ray without an Aku Aku mask, he will shrink before actually dying, and can even die a second time if he gets hit by an enemy (but only one life is lost). If he enters the bonus round while shrinking, he'll be counted as dying in the bonus round and won't lose a life.
    • In the N. Sane Trilogy, Crash/Coco is instead frozen in place when struck by the ray, negating this.
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