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Prerelease:Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

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This page details prerelease information and/or media for Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back.

Early draft of the logo first displayed at E3 1997. Has considerably different lighting and choice of font colors.

Early Preview

Screenshots of a very early version of the game can be found in old magazines, including NEXT Generation, Computer and Video Games Issue 190 and Electronic Games Monthly Issue 95. They were taken from the earliest build currently known.

Warp Room

Crash 2 Early Warp Room.jpg Crash 2 Early Warp Room 1.jpg

Just about everything is different in this old Warp Room. Most notably, the Cortex hologram appears from the center in a straight angle, rather than being projected by the flying camera bot. There is no lift in the middle of the room and both the surroundings and the crystal/gems display above each level is different too. According to Naughty Dog co-founder Andy Gavin, it was quickly put together for the E3 1997 booth of Crash Bandicoot 2, which does indeed use this warp room.

Diggin' It

Crash 2 Early Snow Level.jpg Crash 2 Early Snow Level 1.jpg

Diggin' It featured a considerably different color scheme and layout, with trees and totems on the side instead of icy rocky cliffs with ice. The first screenshot shows an unknown section of the level, while the second one shows the ending. The floor is entirely covered of a pinkish snow.

Sewer or Later

Crash 2 Early Sewer Level.jpg

This screenshot shows the area where you usually get the crystal from in Sewer or Later, but the object placement is quite different.

OPM / NextGen Magazine Trailer

This trailer comes from an old Official PlayStation Magazine demo disc. There are lots of early elements.

  • The trailer shows an old version of the logo, which uses different colors.
  • The old Universal Interactive Studios logo is also shown.
  • The HUD from the first game is being used.
  • Crash is using his normal spinning animation in jetpack-themed levels. In the final version, he has a new one for when he's using the jetpack.
  • The ice is not reflective in the snow and bear levels.
  • There's a different object layout before and after the "Hard" Path in Sewer or Later. This object placement is never seen in the final version.
  • The player would simply fall into the "Hard" Path. This would become the Yellow Gem Path in the final version, using a platform to enter.
  • There are no electric eels in the sewer levels.
  • The pits with moles were longer and had a very different shape. In the final version the pits are smaller and have a big square shape.
  • The see-saw turtle on Turtle Woods isn't supposed to be there.

Talkative Crash Trailer

  • The player controlling Crash while a hologram is being projected, which is not possible via normal means in the final version.
  • Cortex's animation was probably not ready at the moment, because all it shows is his head, frozen.
  • The Warp Room has different fonts and icons for the level entrances and items.
  • It's hard to tell, but the lift in the middle is missing.
  • An older version of the red space bomb which homes in on Crash is used instead.
  • The giant pink ostriches didn't originally squat when Crash steps on them.
  • An armored armadillo was going to appear near the last ostrich along with a TNT crate, which isn't there in the final version.
  • There's a mushroom appearing in the middle of a pit instead of next to the wall. This was presumably changed because it made getting out of the pit a bit difficult.
  • The trailer appears to show an incomplete part of the Hangin' Out, which was removed entirely from the game. There doesn't seem to be anything ahead of Crash, which explain the grayness. It also shows an upward mesh. There aren't any in of these in the final version, where they're all parallel to the ground.
  • Crash can't slide on ice.
  • There's a Lab Assistant moving and flaming upwards as (in-game) Crash is above the ceiling for the sake of the video.

CD Consoles Preview

Starts at 26:24. It seems to be the same build used in the previous trailers.

  • At 26:32 and 27:10 you can see Crash flying right after sliding.
  • At 27:02 and 27:39, an early version of Diggin' It can be seen. The level design seems to be the same one used in the earliest known build. The floor is entire covered by a pinkish snow, and some glitches can be noticed in the ground. The player is located at the end of the Death Route path.

E3 Prototype

Off-screen footage was recorded of the prototype being played on the show floor.

  • In the first footage, the game seems to be running in a demo mode.
  • The HUD from the first game is still being used.
  • It shows the first ice-skating segment of Snow Go. The 3 iron boxes with the Life Box were initially placed a little further ahead.
  • Ruination once featured a stone signpost denoting the "easy" and "hard" paths through the level where is actually the silver gem route in the final game. The green gem replaced the platforms leading to the "Hard" part.
  • It also seems to be much more empty, no fruits, masks, boxes and almost no enemies.
  • It's hard to tell, but there's no boss bar in Tiny Tiger's level.
  • The word "Bonus" flashes normal instead of blinking the letters B, O, N, U and S.
  • The sewer-themed levels had a very different level layout and path, which doesn't exist in the final version.

Early Magazine Screenshots

This prototype was used as preview in some magazine scans, but it's hard to determine if it's one of the builds mentioned above, but since the text font used in the levels is already the final one, it's likely to be a newer build.

It's possible this version was a tech demo and only a few levels were chosen to be available, which could explain why Hang Eight and Tiny Tiger were in different locations, despite older builds showing Hang Eight at the final location. It could also be the same one used at E3 1997, as the same levels shown in the magazines are present in that build, and Tiny Tiger is also the boss.

PlayStation Pro Issue 14

Crash 2 Prerelease WarpRoom.png

  • Snow Go is the level 6 here.
  • The Red Gem wasn't added in the level yet.
  • The lift stuck out of the hole in the middle.

Electronic Games Monthly Issue 98

Crash 2 Early 2nd Warp Room.png

  • Hang Eight is the level 9 here. Note that in the older build used in the Talkative Crash Trailer, Hang Eight was the level 2 just like the final version.
  • Tiny Tiger is the level 10 in the second Warp Room and has its own portal.
  • Tiny Tiger is called Taz Tiger here. The pause menu for the NTSC releases still displays his early name.
  • Polar is missing, although it's hard to say Bear It is present here.

MTV GameBrain Prototype

Back in 1997, MTV produced a one-off show called GameBrain that covered new video game releases. The staff received a prototype of Crash 2 for display in one of their programs, and it shows plenty of changed and removed material.

  • The game now uses the final logo.
  • The final HUD is present.
  • Crash had to jump to use the Warp Room's lift.
  • Snow Go and other snow-themed levels have different instruments in the music.
  • Old snow effects.
  • There are missing boxes at the beginning of Snow Go (Nitro, Aku Aku box and TNT).
  • Crash turns into an angel when he and Polar hit the Lab Assistants' iron boxes. He also flashes during the animation.
  • The word "Bonus" flashes normal instead of blinking the letters B, O, N, U and S.
  • The blue gem was initially switched with the red one.
  • The lift stuck out of the hole in the middle.
  • Whenever Crash walks into a warp vortex, he doesn't display his usual animation where he's sucked into it. He just walks right through the vortex instead and screen simply turns white.
  • In Snow Go, going against the camera reveals nothing but fruit, so either the Nitro switch was initially placed elsewhere or this version predates Nitro switches entirely.
  • Hang Eight originally only had one Gem.
  • The beginning of the level had a different layout.
  • Crystals used to have a distinctive red color, instead of the well-known pink one.
  • Bonus lifts were displayed at an incorrect angle in river levels.
  • Crash spawns in boss fights without doing a warping animation.
  • Ripper Roo doesn't flash white when hit.
  • Crash has his normal animation while using the lift, instead of giving a thumbs-up or pointing down.
  • The levels in Warp Room 1 don't show any crystals or gems collected, however the player still can access the next Warp Room.
  • Air Crash only had one gem at first.
  • Polar wasn't sitting next to the Bear It level either.
  • The falling icicles have a different sound effect.
  • The Bonus sections were using the same music as the main levels. It can be heard.
  • Crash's looking at the camera animation before riding on Polar lasts a little longer.
  • There's no Nitro switch at the end of Bear It.
  • Cold Hard Crash was the original name of The Eel Deal. Cold Hard Crash since became the name of the snow level in the fourth warp room.
  • Crash Crush scenery was similar to Crash Dash.
  • Some levels used the same warp passages from Warp Room 1.
  • Plant Food had a lot of whirlpools with Nitro crates next to them, which never happens in the final version.
  • It also shows a particular tough segment due to the wooden fence on the left.
  • The floor texture at the begin of Bear Down was darker.
  • Polar has no voice.
  • The floor textures of Un-bearable are all covered with snow.
  • We can see a hole just before an another "Bear chase". There's no instance of that in the final game.
  • Tiny doesn't jump diagonally, so he can't skip platforms to catch up with Crash. He'll just repeat Crash's moves instead, making the fight a lot easier than in the final version.
  • In some BONUS levels Wumpa Fruits don't show up but they are here nonetheless.
  • Crash doesn't dance when he defeats a boss.
  • The spitting plants used to be colored just like the regular carnivorous ones (purple with white spots), instead of plain red.
  • Their seeds had a big explosion with a different effect.
  • Some sections of Diggin' It were covered with snow.
  • Diggin' It has also holes that aren't present in final version.
  • Bees and bee-hives had different models.
  • There's no Nitro switch at the end of Rock It/Pack Attack.
  • The Box counter at the end of each level was very different. Instead of a rotating ghostly Box and a "n/n" display (where "n" is the corresponding number), there was some text that said "BROKE n OUT OF n BOXES".

Sony ECTS September 1997 Playstation CD

These very early screenshots came from a pack of six CD-ROMS containing a variety of press releases and multimedia, compatible with PC and Macs of that vintage, produced for the 1997 European Computer Trade Show. Some of these screenshots matches the same ones used in the NEXT Generation preview, meaning that could be the earliest known build.