In Crash Bandicoot the lead protagonist, Crash, must make his way through all of the games platforming challenges and boss fights to reach the lab of the Nefarious Doctor Neo Cortex. If the player completes a level with all crates smashed and without losing a life, they are awarded with a Gem. Also if the player completes the level in the time trial they get another Gem for completing it under a certain time.
Crash Bandicoot is kidnapped by the evil Dr. Neo Cortex who has the intent of transforming the poor marsupial into an ultimate warrior for his army of super animal soldiers. This army was created, according to the games manual, to get back at those who made fun of Cortex in the past. Crash is disregarded as another failed attempt and manages to escape Cortex's clutches by jumping out of the window of Cortex Castle. As Crash Jumps Cortex's minions prepare Tawna Bandicoot, believed to be Crash's girlfriend, for experimentation. Crash washes up on the shore of N Sanity beach and must fight his way through three Islands in order to save Tawna from Cortex. Along the way Crash faces an array of bosses including the enraged Papu Papu and a host of Cortex's failed experiments including; Ripper Roo, Koala Kong and Pinstripe Potroo. As Crash nears Cortex Castle he faces Dr. N.Brio, Cortex's right hand man, and finally Cortex himself atop Cortex's blimp. As Cortex castle burns, Crash beats Cortex and he falls to his supposed demise. In the last shot of the game we see Crash and Tawna flying off into the sunset on a bird.
The game has twenty-five normal platform levels, as well as two secret levels and six boss battles. The player must make their way through a limited environment whilst defeating enemies, avoiding pits and breaking crates, each of which contain some kind of bonus. Crash's only forms of attack are jumping and spinning. The majority of enemies can be defeated by using the jump attack, but enemies that cannot be defeated by the jump attack must be defeated by using the spinning move. This move can also be used to hit enemies into other enemies or crates. In some levels, Crash will ride a hog, which he has limited control over. In levels such as these, the player must avoid obstacles such as enemies while continuously going forward at fast speed on the hog. Some levels have the player being chased by a boulder, in which Bandicoot must run towards the screen while jumping over gaps.
The player can collect masks called Aku Aku. They help protect Crash against enemy attacks, collecting three of them gives temporary invulnerability.
The player can obtain icons in crates that depict Crash's face, these give him an extra life. Lives are more like a stock in that when Crash has one life left it means he has one extra go left, if you are at zero lives and die you will be taken to the game over screen
Bonus Stage Icons
These icons depict faces of Tawna, Cortex and Brio. If crash collects three matching icons in a level he is taken to a bonus stage.
Wumpa fruit are found throughout the adventure in crates, if Crash obtains 100 Wumpa fruit he is rewarded with an extra life and his Wumpa counter returns to zero.
Crash Bandicoot's journey is split into three large sections with roughly a third of the game happening on one of three Islands known loosely as the Wumpa Islands, named after the fruit that crash collects on his journey. The islands are sometimes known as N.Sanity Islands however this is more referential to the first of the three. The game never specifies where these islands are situated exactly with some reference to Australia and others to South America due to the Mayan ruins found littered on the islands.
The First Island
The First Island consists of a Native homeland, well away from the industrious Cortex, yet crash still faces challenges thrown at him by nature and angry tribesmen.
N.Sanity Beach - Shows the basics of the game, Crash must fight crabs and turtles on his way into the Island.
Jungle Rollers - Begins to ramp up the difficulty with moving obstacles, living plants and skunks.
The Great Gate - Introduces a side scrolling style of platforming up a large Native wall, crash must avoid natives and monkeys as he travels.
Boulders - The first level with the now trademark running from Boulder Crash Bandicoot level The camera is in front of Crash instead of behind so fast reactions are needed.
Upstream - A level where there is no solid ground, if crash falls in the water he loses a life.
Papu Papu - Boss, see below.
Rolling Stones - A more complex level based off Jungle Rollers.
Hog Wild - The first in another famous style of Crash level, Crash rides a boar who never stops so all crash can do is steer left and right throughout the level.
Native Fortress - A more complex level in the style of The Great Gate.
Papu Papu is the first boss in the game and therefore he is fairly easy to beat requiring only three hits. Papu Papu is not one of Cortex's animal warriors but is instead a rather territorial Chieftain of the Native N.Sanity Island tribe. He is an overweight human who's bad back leads to his downfall. The battle against Papu Papu takes place in his hut within a circular floor where Crash must dodge Papu Papu's attempts to hit him with a club.
The Second Island
The second Island is full of ancient ruins and dangerous animals The Island itself is centered around an enormous tree.
Up The Creek - A more Complex level in the style of Upstream.
Ripper Roo - Boss, see below.
The Lost City - A side scrolling level set in the twilight hour of an ancient Mayan city, lizards and seesaw platforms await Crash here.
Temple Ruins - A level set in an ancient temple where there are few platforms above a dark abyss, Crash must avoid snakes and spears to proceed.
Road To Nowhere - A level where Crash makes his way across uneven bridges above an endless drop some panels fall instantly, some after a while others are even made of ice!
Boulder Dash - Another level where Crash must escape a moving boulder. (contains the first Key).
Whole Hog - (secret level) - A much harder level in the same style as Hog Wild.
Sunset Vista - A more Complex level in the style of The Lost City.
Koala Kong - Boss, see below.
Ripper Roo is met at the top of a waterfall in front of some Mayan ruins that appear to be modelled on his face. Ripper Roo is a failed experiment of Dr. Cortex's, whether he is working for Cortex or just fighting Crash due to his own insanity is unknown. Ripper Roo is a Kangaroo who has been placed in a makeshift straight jacket though he still has control of his legs allowing him to jump large distances. Crash must jump the platforms atop the waterfall, minding where Roo himself jumps and time a large TNT explosion to coincide with Ripper Roo's jumping pattern. Ripper Roo proved a popular character and appeared in the games Sequel, Cortex Strikes Back.
Koala Kong is a parody of the ape in the famous film King Kong, he appears as a large Koala who is into body building. Koala Kong's intentions aren't full known, though it is believed that he is more so under Cortex's command than Ripper Roo. In this battle Crash must dodge the rocks being lobbed at him by Koala Kong and relay them back at him with his spin attack, minding that he does not hit a mine cart instead.
The Third Island
The third Island is where Crash will face his toughest enemies and cortex's factories and plants. At the end of the long island is the towering Cortex Castle, where Tawna Bandicoot is being held captive.
Heavy Machinery - A side scrolling level set in Cortex's factory.
Cortex Power- A level set in a Nuclear power plant of Cortex's, crash must jump vats of toxic waste and avoid being electrocuted.
Generator room - A level where crash is being overlooked by Cortex himself, avoiding cameras and falling platforms over a dark abyss.
Toxic Waste - Crash must make his way up a straight and narrow path avoiding barrels full of toxic waste being thrown by Ripper Roo's henchmen.
Pinstripe - Boss, see below.
The High Road - A more complex level in the style of Road to nowhere, this level introduces Hogs to the mix.
Slippery Climb - A side scrolling level where crash must make his way up a wall in the drenching rain with a multitude of birds, henchmen and prisoners after him. Perhaps the most notorious level in the game.
Lights Out - A level where Crash must find a glowing Aku Aku in order to be able to see and make his way through the level. This style of level is now famous in the Crash games. (contains second Key).
Fumbling in The Dark (Secret Level) - A more complex version of Lights Out.
Jaws Of Darkness - A more complex level in the style of Temple Ruins. (Note: this temple is supposedly Uka Uka's resting place.)
Castle Machinery - A more complex level in the style of Heavy machinery, Crash can see the end of the level at the start but must go the long way round.
Nitrus Brio - Boss, see below.
The Lab - A level in which Crash must make his way through Cortex's main lab, avoiding his henchmen and bouncing toxic blobs.
The Great Hall - A mere bypass unless you have acquired all gems in the game, If you have a path of gems will lead you to your reward.
Cortex - Boss, see below.
Pinstripe is a Potroo dog who is a parody of the typical gangster, wearing a pinstripe suit and weilds a tommy gun. Pinstripe is one of Cortex's henchmen and is in charge of the Cortex Power plant at the bottom of the third Island. In this battle Crash must find cover from the spray of bullets until Pinstripe's gun jams, leaving him open.
Nitrus Brio is Cortex's right hand man, he is a short human with two Frankenstein like bolts in his head. Nitrus Brio begins by throwing jumping blobs at Crash, when Crash destroys all of these blobs Brio will become angrier and finally drink a potion himself to become a large Hulk like monster, at this point all Crash needs to do is Jump on his head to defeat him.
Cortex is the final boss in the game, being its lead antagonist. The final battle takes place above Cortex Castle on top of the Zeppelin that Cortex owns. The battle is simple yet long, Crash must avoid all shots that Cortex fires until he fires a green shot. Here Crash must spin it back at cortex to damage him. The longer into the fight, the more green shots it takes to harm Cortex. Upon defeat Cortex plummets towards the island landing in the area of the Lights out level, this has significance in the next game in the series.
There are two secret levels in the game being 'Whole Hog' and 'Fumbling in the Dark' These two levels are obtained by acquiring a key in the levels before them. In order to complete the game 100% the gems must be collected from these levels. Some level gems are special and unlock extra paths that weren't accessible before in previous levels. These path's will award the player in some way, by allowing them to bypass a level or acquire a vast amount of lives.
The level before the final boss is called the Great Hall and appears to contain no challenge at all, but if the player has acquired every Gem in the game, including the ones from the secret levels, then a pathway of gems emerge and the player can follow this trail to bypass the last boss and find the 100% complete ending. In this ending Tawna has found a large bird which her and Crash escape on, what happens to Cortex is unknown and it is likely that this ending is not the canonical one. This ending also has an epilogue where we are told what the characters did after the game, again a lot of these clash with the events of the second game, this ending is non-canon.
During most levels Crash could find the faces of either Tawna, N.Brio or Cortex hidden in crates throughout the level, If he gained three matching faces then access to a bonus stage was unlocked, if Crash could complete the level then the player got the option to save or get a password for their current progress.
The game was created as the brainchild of Naughty Dog's Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin, Crash went through various stages in design, some pictured below.
Jason Rubin was under the idea that everyone loved to smash things and thus the idea that crash would spin and break creates was thought up.
The Music was created by music group, Mutato Musika who wrote the music for all future Naughty Dog games except for the Uncharted franchise. The music differed a little for the Japanese version of the game, where Sony Executives wanted boss music and bonus level music to be more ' video game like'.
To Naughty Dog, Crash Bandicoot was a way of showing how proficient they were with using the technology of the Playstation hardware and their artistic minds. The game was quickly funded by Sony Computer entertainment who saw Crash Bandicoot as their very own Mario. The game was published by Universal. It can be argued that Crash Bandicoot had certain environmental messages within the game with the nature versus pollution theme running throughout the game, it is not known whether this was wholly intentional or not.
Crash Bandicoot's reception was mainly positive with game critics, The game has an 80.4% on Game Rankings after many positive reviews. The game got a negative review from some who compared it's linear paths to more free roaming aspects found in games like Super Mario 64.
The game was still praised for its graphics, when the game was re released on the PSN in 2007 IGN praised it for still looking impressive.
Crash Bandicoot was a definite commercial success and it's success brought about two sequels and a Kart racer by Naughty Dog, During the Playstation era, Crash was portrayed as Sony's mascot character.