Stormy Ascent (あらしのしろ lit. Stormy Castle in Japanese) is a cut level from the original Crash Bandicoot and a downloadable level in N. Sane Trilogy, where it becomes the thirtieth level (including boss fights) in the game. The level is similar in vein to Slippery Climb, consisting of fast retracting steps, vertically and horizontally-moving vultures, vial-throwing Lab Assistants, many iron spikes, and moving platforms in complicated patterns, but it is a more challenging and harder version of the aforementioned level.
Stormy Ascent is not accessible through normal means in the original game, but it can be played by using a GameShark code. Naughty Dog removed this level due to its extreme difficulty as it is essentially a harder version of its counterpart Slippery Climb (which is already considered one of the hardest levels in the game), and also due to the numerous bugs that Naughty Dog could not fix before the final game was shipped. It is also the last level of the Crash Bandicoot prototype. Collecting Cortex tokens in this level increases the frequency of split-second freezing; collecting the three tokens causes the game to crash in the retail versions of the game because no Cortex bonus round corresponds to Stormy Ascent, and the game does not assume a default bonus round (unlike in the prototype). The clear gem in this level does not count towards completion, nor total gem count.
In response to a question that was asked on a blog article, some Naughty Dog members explained their thoughts about this level being cut. Andy Gavin said, "Stormy Ascent was just cut because it was too long and too hard and we ran out of time. I wish we had put it in as some kind of easter egg, as it was an awesome level, one of my favorite in the game. Long, a bit brutal, but it looked great, and had a real rhythm to it." Jason Rubin said, "There was never anything sadder than dropping a level that close to completion. The work that went into making a level like that is incredible. To see it on the cutting room floor was always a tragedy."
Stormy Ascent was eventually added to N. Sane Trilogy as DLC for the remade version of Crash Bandicoot in July 2017, available for free during 1 month and afterwards having a cost of 3.99USD (or 2.99€). The original game designer of the level and former Naughty Dog employee Taylor Kurosaki commented how at the time he was still learning about difficulty curves and hence why the level ultimately had to be cut. When Vicarious Visions was tasked to remake the trilogy, they challenged one of their best Crash players in the development team to play the original Stormy Ascent as part of their work to remake the level. The level contains a new bonus round that can be accessed by collecting 3 Brio Tokens instead of Cortex tokens like in the original. Completing Stormy Ascent and obtaining its clear gem increases the maximum percentage to 105% and raises the gem and relic counter to 27/26.
Enemies/Hazards that appear
- Evil Hands
- Iron Spikes
- Lab Assistant
- Retracting Steps
- Moving Platforms
- The Brio bonus round of this level did not exist in the original Crash Bandicoot. It was created by Vicarious Visions for N. Sane Trilogy.
- The placing of the Brio tokens also differs from the placement of the Cortex tokens in the prototype version of the game, with the final token being in the middle of the level instead of at the end.
- On the back of the PAL Crash Bandicoot case, one of the pictures has the level Stormy Ascent on it.
- Two achievements can be obtained in this level in the N. Sane Trilogy listed under the Lost Treasures DLC; one for obtaining the gem, and one for scoring a gold or platinum relic.
- The Stormy Ascent DLC for N. Sane Trilogy was available free-of-charge during its first month on the Playstation Store (July 19 to August 19).
- The Stormy Ascent Gameplay Launch Trailer for N. Sane Trilogy shows the Beaker Throwing Lab assistants throwing beakers with green goo, but the actual in-game level has them throwing beakers with purple goo instead.
- This level has the most Lab Assistants as enemies in the entire Crash 1, with six lab assistants, while Slippery Climb and The Lab have a combined total of five lab assistants.
- In N. Sane Trilogy, a cutscene will play upon the first visit to the map screen after installing the Stormy Ascent DLC, showing another section of Cortex's tower rise and reveal the level and teleporter to N. Sanity Beach.
- However, this change is not reflected in either of the ending cutscenes.
- Originally in N. Sane Trilogy, the developer time of 2:53.50 was not shown in the credits, but the developer time was added into the game via update on June 29, 2018.
- N. Sane Trilogy contains a glitch where, if the player beats Dr. Neo Cortex before finishing Stormy Ascent, the 1% of extra game completion for completing Stormy Ascent will not be added, thus making the maximum completion percentage 104% instead of the intended 105%.