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Proto:Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back/September 29th, 1997 build

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This is a sub-page of Proto:Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back.

Hiddenpalace.org logo.png  This prototype is documented on Hidden Palace.

The September 29th, 1997 prototype of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back is a review version of the game dated a few weeks before the final NTSC-U release version. It was released on May 1st, 2021.

Cheat Features

Warp Room Codes

In the warp room, three button combinations can be inputted:

  • Press Right, Down, Down, Left, Down, Circle, Square, Triangle = Give all colored gems, unlock the elevator, and open all secret entrances.
  • Press Right, Down, Down, Left, X, Circle, Circle = Trigger the hologram cutscenes by pressing R2. They will play in chronological order of appearance (except for the annoyed Cortex easter egg scenes and the two Brio scenes, which are the last ones).
  • Press Right, Down, Down, Left, Down, Circle, Triangle, Circle = Turn off active cheats.

A life sound effect will play upon entry.

General Differences

Modification dates on the files are identical to the final NTSC-U version, suggesting the dates in the final game are inaccurate. Therefore, it is not possible to estimate what the approximate build date of the final release might have been, although one can safely assume that it was sometime in October.


Sep 29 Final
  • The sound that plays in the Naughty Dog screen is different.
  • The "Demo" notice in attract mode only appears in Sewer or Later, Bear It, and N. Gin demos, although the text is black and doesn't flash.
    • Demo inputs are different.
    • After the attract ends, it returns to the startup screens.
    • Skipping the attract will put the player into the warp room, rather than returning to the title screen.


Crash2 Sep29 CrashInvincibilityFrame.png
  • Music volume is defaulted to 75% as opposed to 100% in the final game.
  • The bonus round music tracks don't loop properly and they just start over.
  • Crash's invincibility frames that flash after taking damage or during Aku Aku invincibility is white in this version.
    • His back and part of his shoes textures are not affected though, causing to remain unchanged while the rest of his body is flashing white.
    • Aku Aku also change colors during this state, featuring colorless feathers, white nose, and bright body.
    • Like in Crash Bandicoot, Aku Aku flashes when Crash takes damage as well.
  • There are no sound effects for warp room actions, such as when Crash dances, rolls out, or takes items out of his pocket.
  • Skipping Crash's dances will also skip the hologram cutscenes.
  • Leaving a level prematurely after collecting the crystal or gem will make Crash leap out triumphantly of the portal even if he has earned nothing.
  • If you have any crystals or gems, and use a secret exit, Crash won't take them out of his pocket in the warp room.
  • The gem of secret levels will be invisible when Crash takes it out of his pocket in the warp room.
Sep 29 Final
  • Polar makes a very different sound.
  • Touching a bounce crate above Crash while he is performing a body slam will collect the Wumpa fruits, rather than automatically breaking the crate regardless of how many bounces are left.
  • You need to hold L2 instead of Triangle to replay a boss fight.
  • Holding down R2 allows you to skip boss fights when going to the next warp room. Attempting to skip the final battle will softlock the game, though.
  • If Crash is awarded an Aku Aku mask upon entering a level while also carrying two masks, he will be able to start the level with invincibility.
    • The game will crash when attempting to load Jet Pack levels due to the missing invincibility form code, as you normally can't become invincible in these levels.
  • Locked crates always provide a single Wumpa fruit which is also picked up instantly, rather than dropping the pickup out of the box.
    • They are immediately counted when the crate is broken, rather than moving to the HUD.
  • Locked crates cannot be instantly destroyed with Aku Aku invincibility.
  • The death route platform moves very quickly.
  • Boost pads only trigger if you run or stand on them - spins and slides make them useless.
    • Running on them during the invincibility frames state does not trigger either.
  • Performing a slide spin when passing through electric fences won't harm Crash.
  • When losing a mask after being electrocuted, Crash won't act as if he had been hurt by jumping up in pain shouting "ouch".
  • Crash can still be electrocuted by electric fences while invincible.
    • If the invincibility ends while he still in the electrocution state, he won't lose the mask.
  • In the pause menu, the analog calibration option is called "Analog Pad" instead of "Calibrate".
    • There is no screen centering option.
  • Leaving a boss level prematurely or loading a save file right after having defeated them will make Crash spawn in the current warp room of the boss, rather than the first level of the next one.
  • Quitting the game will return to the startup intros instead of the title screen.


River Levels

  • The ? indicator on the bonus platforms is sideways. The same applies to the exits.
  • The timer continues even if you are inside the bonus.

Chase Levels

  • Tree trunks placed on the right side of the scenery features a different root flare.

Polar Levels

  • The angel death animation plays when hitting the iron crates of the parka lab assistants.
    • Oddly, the "woah!" sound effect will play twice and Crash's model will flash.
  • Crash twirls around the checkpoint once instead of twice after respawn.

Sewer Levels

  • The pair of rats encircling gem or bonus entrances will immediatelly despawn from the screen when the player goes slightly forward.
    • Defeating just one of them and then going back will respawn it.
  • The top wall texture of the tunnels in the hanging mesh sections is different.
  • Grating floors inside hot tunnel segments feature a different pattern.

Ruins Levels

  • The logs thrown by gorillas lack a sound effect.

Alpine Levels

  • Some decorations in the scenery are different, such as one of the tree trunks placed on the right side of the scenery featuring a different root flare, and some snow textures with rough shading.
  • Spitter plants can be defeated when touching them during the invincibility frames.
  • The texture mapping of the snow patches on the floor is slightly unfinished at some parts.
  • The player can move while jumping out of diggable soil.
  • Crates do not automatically break when Crash approaches them from below while navigating under the soil.
    • He is also not able to jump out while under the crates.
  • If Crash gets stung by bees while landing on a boost pad, his death will not be overriden.

Night Jungle Levels

  • Rats don't emit particles when defeated.
  • The text that reads "CHECK POINT" when opening checkpoint crates is black.
  • Warping particles are invisible.

Cutscene Differences


  • It's totally impossible to skip the opening cutscene. However, you can pull up the HUD if you want.
  • The rock textures on the surface and edges surrounding the two mushrooms next to Cortex in the cave scene are simpler.
    • The larger mushroom is more detailed.
  • The reflection of Cortex's arms is present on the cave floor.
  • The scenery has flickering issues in the Cortex Vortex in space scene.
  • The lab assistant texture in the N. Gin's scene is darker.

Normal Ending

  • There is no crab on the beach.
  • There are no stars in the space background.

True Ending

  • There are no stars in the sky and space background.
  • Cortex doesn't laugh at the end of the credits.

Warp Room

Crash2-Sep29 SecretWarpRoom.png
Sep 29 Final
  • The warp sound effect is different.
  • On the load/save screen, Crash doesn't animate at all, except for blinking.
  • The default save file icon when starting a new game re-uses the Crash sighing image used in the empty slots.
    • Exiting a level through a secret warp will also display the empty slot icon, rather than the last level you were.
  • Even when saving to your own save file, you get the "Overwrite?" prompt.
  • The elevator has a larger detection area.
  • The clear gems for Totally Bear and Totally Fly are placed behind the portal frames.
  • There are no stars in the sky of the secret warp room.
  • You cannot carry any Aku Aku mask you collected throughout a level when accessing the secret warp room.
  • Skipping the hologram cutscenes just before they appear will cause the camera to return to normal but the hologram will still show up, allowing the player to move around while the character is talking.

Level Differences


  • There are no dropping tree leaves in the scenery.
  • The two birds inside the exit portal are missing.

Turtle Woods

  • The sky has a orange tone as opposed to blue in the final game.
  • The two birds next to the exit passage are missing at the end of the level.
  • The ground before the exit passage door has a low relief.
  • If you get the box gem before the blue one, the box counter won't re-appear saying that zero boxes have to be broken, as a hint.
Sep 29 Final
Crash 2 Sep13 TurtleWoodsElevatorUnderside.png Crash 2 TurtleWoodsElevatorUnderside.png
  • The platform that carries you out of the secret area has a different textures on the underside.

Snow Go

  • In the bonus round, there is a blue crystal cluster in the Wumpa section that was removed in the final game.

Secret Path

  • There is no wall in the background reflected by the first mirror.
  • There are some unfinished models along the walls, in the fall part to the red gem.

Hang Eight

  • Draw distance is not set up very well, causing several black polygons to appear during the blue gem transitions.

The Pits

  • The sky has a blue tone as opposed to orange in the final game.
  • There are no birds or dropping tree leaves in the scenery throughout the level.
  • Crash will not display his warping animation when respawning in the checkpoint on the right path.

Crash Dash

  • Electric fences don't emit the buzz sound effect.

Ripper Roo

  • Ripper Roo doesn't flash white when stunned.
  • The grunt when Ripper Roo notices Crash or takes a hit is absent.
  • The sound effect when Ripper Roo falls face down on the ground after being knocked out is different.

Snow Biz

  • The red gem platform is a little far to the right.
  • There is some ice crystals embedded in a wall on the left side of the gem rise.
  • There are two blue crystal clusters before the second checkpoint that were removed in the final game.

Air Crash

  • In the secret path, the jet board can embed itself partially into the wooden fences on the left side.

Crash Crush

  • The electric fence after the first checkpoint doesn't emit the buzz sound effect.

The Eel Deal

  • In bonus round, the bottom part of the scenery has flickering issues.
    • The exit platform doesn't have holdsters.

Komodo Bros.

Crash2 Sep29 KomodoBros.png
  • The swords thrown in the air in the cutscene are missing. It also lacks any sound effects or voices.
    • Skipping the cutscene won't skip the brothers' performance, causing the player to be able to move while they are still in the cutscene animation.
    • The cutscene replays every time you respawn.
  • If you enter the fight with two masks, you'll get temporary invincibility.
  • Instead of dodging Komodo Joe's spin attack, Crash is additionally able to spin on him while spinning in order to push him away - although unlike earlier builds, this feature is less intuitive here, as the player is more prone to be hurt in the process.
  • Some sound effects are missing.
    • There is no sound effect when Komodo Joe is spinning.
    • No sound plays when Komodo Joe gets dizzy.
    • Komodo Moe doesn't make a grunt when Komodo Joe crashes into him.
  • You can keep any Aku Aku mask you had after the battle.

Plant Food

  • If you make it to the end with both all crates and still within the time, you only get the yellow gem. You must kill yourself to get both gems.

Sewer or Later

  • Crash will not display his warping animation when respawning in the first checkpoint.
  • There is an extra collision step on the gem pad, forcing the player to jump in order to collect it.
  • The music doesn't change in the yellow gem path.

Bear Down

  • There are black textures in the edge of the snow stairs.
  • There is a misplaced geometry on the left side of the scenery right before the first checkpoint.
  • Another misplaced geometry can be found on the right side of the scenery before the crystal.
  • Crash makes Polar's footprints at the end of the level.

Road to Ruin

  • The bonus platform is located on the right side of the level.
  • The death route exit platform is misplaced and clips through the level's geometry. That makes the player accidentally trigger the platform when walking close to it.


  • You must wait for the giant bear to break the planks to open the checkpoint, otherwise the secret area will be sealed off when you respawn outside of it.
  • In the hidden area, the lowest metal box near the second Aku Aku crate is missing.
  • You won't lose your invincibility when you exit the hidden area.
  • Electric fences in the final chase section don't emit the buzz sound effect.

Hangin' Out

  • There are more hot pipes in the right side of the scenery before the first hanging mesh, causing them to clip through the grating floor.
  • The top right textures at the beginning of the first hot sewer tunnel wall have a greyish tone.
  • The top textures of the second hot sewer tunnel walls have a greyish tone.
  • Invisible barriers are missing around the scenery in the crystal area to prevent the player from getting stuck.
  • The bonus respawn point is placed further ahead.

Diggin' It

  • A piece of snow texture is missing next to the second timed electric fence.
  • Another piece of snow texture is missing near the bonus round.
  • The bonus uses the default wall background texture instead of a dark green tone.
Sep 29 Final
Crash2 Sep13 DigginItPostBonusLayout.png Crash2 DigginItPostBonusLayout.png
  • The area right after the bonus lacks the pits. The final game has several pits on both sides of the path, and there was only one boost pad.
  • There are three boost pads afterwards leading to the right path.
  • The scenery on the left is unfinished after the second spitter plant in the death route.

Cold Hard Crash

  • Falling icicles do not trigger TNT crates.
  • There is no mask in the topmost box of the death route.


  • The color sometimes gets messed up on the last three moving pillars.
  • The music doesn't change in the green gem path.


  • Regular electric fences feature the same floor textures as the timed ones.
  • The first diggable soil has the old grey texture color in the right edge.
Sep 29 Final
Crash2 Sep29 BeeHavingElectricFence.png Crash2 BeeHavingElectricFence.png
  • Oddly, something went wrong and the electric fence before the second checkpoint is not present, with only its floor textures being there - part of the pit ahead is also erroneously covered by the snow textures.
  • The bonus uses a green wall background texture instead of an acqua green tone.
    • The exit platform is misplaced.

N. Gin

  • N. Gin's voice volume is too quiet.
  • All sound effects are missing, with the exception of the electrical malfunction, which is also quieter.
  • Missile wings are colored black and lack the fire trail effect.
  • When the battle starts, N. Gin pops out instantly instead of slowly flying down.
  • The explosion particles of the missiles cannot harm Crash.
  • If destroying both arms at the same time, the health bar will lose only one point instead.

Piston It Away

  • The background has drawing issues at some parts and during transitions.
  • Certain dynamos throughout the level use the regular texture without the "N" emblem.
  • Part of the floor on the right corner of the scenery before the exit passage is missing.

Death Route

  • The camera is more zoomed out at the entrance.
  • The cylinders on the left corner of the scenery at the beginning were replaced by a dynamo instead.

Spaced Out

  • Some decorations in the scenery are different, such as certain dynamos using the regular texture without the "N" symbol, while a few extra details were removed.
  • In the bonus round, there is a wall missing between the two dynamos behind the first stack of crates.

Gem Path

  • The background has drawing issues in the blue gem path.
  • A few cylinders on the left corner of the scenery at the beginning of the green gem path are missing.
    • There is no pit between the first two shrinkrays, and an extra life is also present.
  • A giant round structure on the left corner of the scenery at the beginning of the red gem path is missing.
    • There is no dynamo in the scenery behind the last pusher lab assistant.

Totally Bear

  • The snow has a greenish color.
  • The floor next to the totem pole has a graphical issue before the TNTs section.
  • Crash makes Polar's footprints at the end of the level.

Dr. Neo Cortex

Crash2-Protos CortexBoxTally.png
  • The box tally can display a weird negative number of seven digits covering the life counter.


The credit list is almost complete, although it contains some roles and names that are either missing, or entirely removed.

Sep 29 Final










  • The credits start with Crash Bandicoot..., while in the final game it was changed to Crash Bandicoot 2 Cortex Strikes Back.
  • Missing Joe Pearson in the first Special Thanks list.
  • Missing David Siller and Terry Smith in the Special Thanks list from Universal Interactive Studios row.
  • Missing Chris Deering in Special Thanks list from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. row.
  • Missing Head of Internal Testing, Lead Testers, and Testers roles.
  • American Exitus is credited in an unique list called Production Design. In the final game, it was moved to the Character Design and Art Direction.
    • Removed Joe Pearson from Character Design and Art Direction role.
  • The voice cast list is called Voice Characterization and credits only Brendan O'Brien instead of having single rows for each character.
  • Missing Animation Reference role.
  • The last Special Thanks list is called "Thanks" only.
    • Removed Tom Boyd, Dan Burnash, and Kojiro Umemura.

Soundtrack Differences

To do:
Upload clear versions.

One of the biggest differences is the music. Almost all levels have slightly different music tracks:

Level Sep 29 Final Notes
Title Screen
File:Crash2 TitleScreenTheme.ogg The sound effect is in a lower octave and samples are in different quality.
Warp Room
File:Crash2 WarpRoomTheme.ogg Some instruments are missing.
Some instruments are missing.
Jungle (Bonus)
File:Crash2 JungleBonusTheme.ogg
Jungle (Hard)
Slightly different instruments, and volume is different.
Some different instruments, volume and tracks.
Snow (Bonus)
File:Crash2 SnowBonusTheme.ogg
Snow (Hard)
The theme is glitchy and cut off one of the instruments due to too many instruments being played at once.
River (Bonus)
File:Crash2 RiverBonusTheme.ogg The theme lacks one instrument.
River (Hard)
The theme has a higher-pitched instrument.
Chase (Bonus)
File:Crash2 ChaseBonusTheme.ogg
Chase (Hard)
File:Crash2 PolarTheme.ogg
The lack of instruments and the different lead at the end of the score. It sounds very similar when comparing the "pre-console" version.
Sewer (Bonus)
File:Crash2 SewerBonusTheme.ogg A wrong instrument is used, which makes it hard to hear without getting an earbleed.
Sewer (Hard)
Ruins (Bonus)
File:Crash2 RuinsBonusTheme.ogg
Ruins (Hard)
The theme has one extra clean guitar instrument not present in the final game.
Alpine (Bonus)
File:Crash2 AlpineBonusTheme.ogg
Alpine (Hard)
The theme has high release applied to some of its instruments.
Dynamo (Bonus)
File:Crash2 SpaceBonusTheme.ogg
Dynamo (Hard)
Jet Pack
File:Crash2 JetPackTheme.ogg The theme is glitchy and has cut-off notes.
Ripper Roo
Komodo Bros.
Tiny Tiger
N. Gin
Dr. Neo Cortex

Save Information

The information stored on a memory card when saving the game differs in this version compared to the final NTSC-U release.

Info Sep 29 Final
Product Code ASH2-94900 SCUS-94154
Identifier 00983802 00992731
Region 0x5243 America