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Villain Overview
Get ready to face my wrath, Crash Bandicoot! MOWHAHAHAHA!
~ Dr. Neo Cortex

Dr. Neo Periwinkle Cortex is one of the two main antagonists of the Crash Bandicoot video game series (alongside Uka Uka). He is an evil genius who uses his intellect in his plans of world domination. Although his intentions are to destroy Crash Bandicoot, he and Crash had worked together, in the 2004 Crash Bandicoot video game, Crash Twinsanity, appearing as the deuteragonist, forcibly working with Crash to stop the game's antagonists, the Evil Twins, he and Crash also worked together in Skylanders: Imaginators teaching Imaginator Skylanders how to use certain weapons and is a sensei along with Crash.

Personality

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Dr. Neo Cortex's new look in Crash of the Titans and Mind over Mutant.

Cortex tends to be very bossy, conceited, and authoritative because of his knowledge, which also makes him a coward, leaving the hard work for his minions. He is also extremely obstreperous, pompous, loud, and boastful, but also very sophisticated and refined. Cortex is also known to have a temper, which he can sometimes lose if things don't go his way, and can get so bad that he will even engage in a physical brawl with his tormentors, regardless of the situation.

History

Crash Bandicoot

Doctor Neo Cortex

Doctor Cortex

Neo Cortex has always been a knowledgeable scientist. However, he was mocked by the scientific community for his absurd theories. Cast aside by them, he isolated himself on a distant Island off the coast of Australia, where he started to devise his plans to get revenge and rule the world. Alongside his partner Nitrus Brio, he created the Evolvo-Ray, a machine capable of evolving animals at unbelievable speed. Cortex had also created the Cortex Vortex, a machine designed to brainwash every creature that was first exposed to the Evolvo-Ray. Cortex wanted to create an unstoppable army of mutant animals to succeed in his goals. However, an experiment involving Crash Bandicoot soon goes awry, allowing Crash to escape the laboratory. Crash would eventually return to Cortex's castle to save his girlfriend Tawna and confront Cortex on top of his blimp. Cortex battles Crash, but is soon defeat and sent falling towards the island below.

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

However, Cortex survived the fall and uncovered large purple crystal hidden in a cave. After studying it, Cortex discovered that it was the "Master Crystal"; a martial harboring great power. One year later, Cortex is trying to harness the Master Crystal's power to energize a second Cortex Vortex aboard his space station. But Cortex's new right-hand Dr. N. Gin informs him that the Vortex still needs the remaining 25 "Slave Crystals" to reach its full potential. Unable to retrieve the crystals by themselves due to lack of troops, Cortex decides to trick Crash into gathering the crystals for him. Crash is soon transported to a Warp Room (an chamber built to give easy access to different locations throughout the world) and is greeted by a hologram of Neo Cortex, who tells him that by collecting crystals he will help the world survive a solar flux that has enough power to tear the Earth apart. Unfortunately for Cortex however, both Crash's sister Coco and his former partner Nitrus Brio (who double-crossed him) hacked the hologram signal and unmask Cortex's true intentions: to harness the solar flux's energy with the crystals then use it to power his new Cortex Vortex and brainwash the entire world. Crash once again defeats Cortex as he tries to escape, and using N. Brio's laser device, destroys the Vortex for good.

Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped!

In another strange turn of events, the pieces of the Vortex fall and collide into an ancient sealed temple. Evil laughter spreads across the island, as the evil shaman mask Uka Uka had been accidentally freed from his confinement. Uka Uka finds Cortex and mocks him for his incompetence and failures, since it turns out that Cortex was working for Uka Uka all the time. Cortex begs for another chance, so Uka Uka called upon his trusted friend Dr. Nefarious Tropy to construct the Time Twister, which could create portals leading to different points in history and could be used to retrieve the crystals from their original locations in time. Aku Aku, sensing the danger, sent Crash and Coco to the Time Twister to stop Cortex once again. Crash eventually located Cortex and fights him while the two masks fight each other. The battle ends with Cortex and Uka Uka being sucked into a time portal as the Time Twister could no longer stay in one piece and broke apart.

Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex

After returning to the present, Cortex began working day and night on a secret super weapon that he hoped to use against all who opposed him in his global conquest. However, Cortex still needed a great enough power source to make his weapon operational. During a "bad guy" meeting, N. Tropy and N. Gin mentioned Cortex's super weapon, which forced the doctor to spill the beans on his creation. After Cortex revealed why his weapon can't be used, Uka Uka realised that by reawakening a group of evil magical masks called The Elementals, Cortex could use their power to finally activate his weapon; Crunch Bandicoot. Although Cortex does succeed in freeing the Elementals and awakening Crunch, Crash and his allies still managed to fight back use the energy of Power Crystals they've collected. In Crash's final battle with Crunch, Cortex used an machine to aid the latter, but an enraged Uka Uka accidentally damaged it, which freed Crunch from Cortex's mind control and caused an explosive chain reaction on the villain's space station. Cortex and Uka Uka flee using an escape pod but became stranded somewhere in the arctic.

Crash Twinsanity

Eventually Dr. Cortex and Uka Uka become frozen in a block of ice, which thaws out after three years at sea. Cortex then heads to Crash's home on N. Sanity Island to paralyze Coco Bandicoot and dress up as her in order to lure Crash into a trap. Neo claims to have missed Crash and has organized a special gathering of the marsupial's foes which he describes as "like a birthday party except... the exact opposite." Cortex tries to blast Crash before unveiling N. Gin piloting his latest creation, a giant robot named Mecha-Bandicoot. Crash manages to defeat Mecha-Bandicoot but damages Cortex's hoverboard in the process, sending both Cortex and Crash falling into the caves below the island.

Infuriated by his defeat, Cortex gets into a fist fight with Crash, which causes the pair roll deeper into the underground catacombs until they reach a Power Crystal. Cortex grabs the crystal before large digging machine pops up from beneath him and creatures called Ant Drones emerge from it. Crash gets rid of the Ant Drones and then Cortex proposes an temporary truce so they can work together to escape the catacombs. Upon reaching an exit, Cortex leaves Crash but is confronted by a pair of mutant parrots called the Evil Twins who used their powers to remove Cortex's brain from his head which makes him flee in terror.

Crash catches up with the doctor who begs the bandicoot to help him before being attacked by swarm of bees. Crash aids Cortex through a number of hazards while Cortex gets a beehive stuck on his head and gets chased by a bear. Things then go from bad to worse when Dr. Cortex is captured by Papu Papu and his tribe. Crash finds Cortex tied up to a totem pole in the tribe's village. But instead of saving him, Crash grabs the Power Crystal on top of the structure which causes it to collapse into the river. Cortex breaks free from his bonds and joins Crash in meeting an emu named Farmer Ernest who will give the pair a crystal if they get rid of some worms in his garden. However, Cortex just shoots and paralyzes him to obtain the crystal before meeting the Evil Twins again and being forced to battle a statue brought to life named Tikimon. After hearing that the Evil Twins came from another dimension, Cortex decides to go to his iceberg laboratory where he has a machine that can help defeat the villains.

Neo Cortex and Crash arrived at the laboratory only to find that they can't gain access to enter it. So the duo climb the snowy glaciers to find an alternate entrance. During their climb, the pair free Uka Uka who was trapped in a wall of ice. The evil mask tries to kill them using a body made from ice but is defeated and convinced by his twin brother Aku Aku to join them on their quest. Inside the lab, the Evil Twins appear once again and reveal that Cortex had ruined their lives at some point in the past. Although Cortex himself doesn't remember doing such a thing. After defeating an onslaught of Ant Drones, Dr. Cortex shows off a massive machine called the Psychetron which can serve as a gateway between dimensions. However, they have yet to collect enough Power Crystals to use it. Cortex tells Crash they need to quickly head for N. Gin's battleship before it can set sail. Outside the lab, Cortex believes they won't be able to make it in time but Crash decides to use the doctor as a snowboard and slides to their destination. Later Crash meets up with Cortex after gathering enough crystals for the Psychetron. But before Cortex can use them, Coco appears and knocks him into some equipment which damages the machine. Coco is again paralyzed and Cortex explains he now needs the help of his niece Nina Cortex to fix the Psychetron before setting a course for Madame Amberly's Academy of Evil.

Arriving at the academy on his airship, Cortex fondly remembers his time at the school before entering it's sewer system to find a way inside. Making their way through the sewer, Crash and Cortex are soon confronted by Dingodile who believes the pair have treasure and wants a piece of it. Cortex doesn't know the villain is talking about so Dingodile launches him into the ceiling. Later, Cortex meets Crash in the academy and tells him to make sure that his airship is anchored properly while he fetches his niece. Afterwards, Cortex goes back through the academy but is shocked when he comes face to face with the school's headmistress Madame Amberly and engage in battle. Cortex defeats her and heads back to his iceberg lab, during which he suddenly remembered that the Evil Twins are actually his two pet parrots Victor and Moritz. Which he unintentionally sent to a different dimension after his first experiment with the Evolvo-ray at the age of eight. Cortex then fixes the Psychotron with Nina's help, and the group are sent to the tenth dimension; home of the Evil Twins.

Upon arrival, Nina is kidnapped by Evil Crash; Crash Bandicoot's tenth dimensional counterpart. Cortex manages to catch up to them and sacrifices himself to save Nina, causing Evil Crash to chase after him. Crash aids Cortex in escaping Evil Crash and then the pair venture into the Evil Twin's headquarters to confront them. Cortex angrily tells the twins that playtime is over and commands them to return to their cage. However, the twins transform their cage into a giant Death-bot and try to destroy him. Working together, Cortex, Crash and Nina defeat the Death-bot and the twins are eventually devoured by Evil Crash. With the twins defeated, The trio returned to the lab where Cortex tries to bury Crash using the Psychotron. But the machine malfunctions and instead sends Cortex into Crash's brain.

Crash of the Titans

Cortex returns again to hassle the heroes after Uka Uka showed him how to create Mojo Mutations (or "Titans"), which are animals that have been mutated using life energy called Mojo. After some taunting, Cortex uses his airship to capture Coco and Aku Aku before freezing Crunch and flying to the Mojo Temple. After Crash catches up with him, Cortex reveals his plans to build a giant robot called the Doominator to destroy Wumpa Island and conquer the world. Cortex then tries to eliminate Crash with a Yuktopus Titan, but it fails and Cortex flees using his rocket boots. Returning to base, Neo Cortex finds at Uka Uka has replaced him as head of operations with his niece Nina Cortex and then spends most of the game tied up and hanging upside-down inside Doominator robot's head. Cortex eventually gets free from his bonds after Crash defeats Nina and saves his niece from the Doominator's destruction. Cortex then reveals that he is proud of Nina for betraying him and promises to be more evil from now on, although he still intends on punishing Nina for her treachery.

Crash: Mind over Mutant

After many years since their fallout, Neo Cortex reunited with his old colleague Nitrus Brio and together work on a new plan for world domination. The two doctors began freely distributing a multi-purpose headgear called NV to the inhabitants of Wumpa Island. But with secret intent of transforming them into brainwashed monsters under their control. With no one to oppose him, Cortex plans to distribute the NVs worldwide and enslave humanity. However, Crash and Aku Aku were not exposed to the NV's effects and manage to confront Cortex aboard his space station. Cortex claimed that was going to beat Crash with his bare hands and then drinks one of N. Brio's mutagen potions, transforming him into a hulking giant. When the two heroes once again defeat Cortex, the doctor throws a tantrum that causes his space station to fall towards the earth below. The effects of N. Brio's potion then wear off and Cortex makes his getaway in a flying saucer.

Other Games

Crash Team Racing

Neo Cortex is one of the playable racers in the game. In adventure mode, he can be selected to stop Nitros Oxide from conquering the world.

Crash Bash

Serving on Uka Uka's team, Cortex works with N. Brio, Koala Kong and Rilla Roo to defeat Aku Aku's team in a series of challenges and to conquer the world.

Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure (XS)

Using his Planet Minimiser, Dr. Cortex shrunk the entire world to the size of a grapefruit, in an attempt to gain dominance over the Earth's inhabitants. However, Crash confronted Cortex and tricked him into causing his Minimiser to malfunction, temporarily fusing Cortex with his henchmen to create a monster called Mega-Mix. Mega-Mix chased Crash through the villain's space station, but ended up trapped within it's wreckage.

Crash Bandicoot 2: N. Tranced

Cortex doesn't appear in the game's story mode. Instead, he is a playable character in game's multiplayer mode.

Crash Nitro Kart

Cortex served as one of this game's many playable racers. In adventure mode, Cortex, N. Gin and Tiny Tiger are captured by Emperor Velo XXVII to serve as contestants in his intergalactic racing tournament.

Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage

In this crossover game, Neo Cortex teamed up with Spyro's nemesis Ripto to trick both Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon into fighting each other, but this plan backfired when the two heroes decided to team up instead. Eventually, Cortex and Ripto pilot a giant mech to destroy their enemies, but are again no match for the protagonists. Neo Cortex also had an antagonistic role in Spyro the Dragon Orange: Cortex Conspiracy.

Crash Tag Team Racing

Once again serving as a playable racer, Cortex and his allies wound up in Ebenezer Von Clutch's racing theme park, helping Von Clutch find his Black Heart Power Gem to win ownership of the park. However, when that failed, Cortex tried to destroy his foes with a laser-mounted shuttle, only for Crash to stop him by throwing a chicken into one of the shuttle's turbines.

Crash Boom Bang

Cortex is one of the playable characters who aid The Viscount in his search for the wish-granting Super Big Power Crystal.

Skylanders: Imaginators

After years of toiling, Dr. Cortex had finally completed his Matrix Chamber; a machine he planned to use to attract an unstoppable army of loyal minions. Unfortunately for the doctor, Fake Crash stole the machine, forcing Cortex to work with Crash and other heroes to get it back. After the Matrix Chamber is destroyed in battle, Mags rebuilt it into an entertainment system, much to Cortex's horror.

Quotes

Moron! This bandicoot will be my general, and he will lead my Cortex commandos to world domination. This time I shall reign triumphant!!
~ Dr. Neo Cortex to Dr. Nitrus Brio.
You fool! You think I'm unaware of the situation? If we don't have any friends left on the surface, then we need to find... an enemy!
~ Dr. Neo Cortex to Dr. N. Gin
Surprised to see me Crash? Like the fleas in your fur I keep coming back.
~ Dr. Neo Cortex
You know, Crash, for all these years, I've been wrong about you. Your creation was a mistake, and your existence has been a constant reminder of that mistake. But now I learned something from all of this: I learned that you can't get run away from your mistakes, but you can bury them! I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOUR RIDICULOUS FACE AGAIN!
~ Dr. Neo Cortex

Cast

English
Brendan O'Brien (1996)
Clancy Brown (1997–2003)
Lex Lang (2004–present)
Debi Derryberry (child; 2004)
Corey Burton (baby; 2017)
Japanese
Shōzō Iizuka (1996–2005)
Yōsuke Akimoto (2006)
Noriko Suzuki (child; 2004)

Trivia

  • His full name interestingly happens to be a pun on the neocortex, a part of the brain.
  • What is also interestingly known is that Doctor Cortex's full name is derives from Greek and Latin origins meaning that his name "Neo Periwinkle Cortex" translated as "New Bark Flower" or "New Flower Shell".
  • The "N" on his forehead likely stands for his first name "Neo". However, the back stories say it was tattooed on his forehead at age 3 for "Nerd".
  • When Doctor Neo Cortex was an infant, he still had a beard. Strangely enough, he did not have a beard when he was 8 years old.
  • In one concept design, Dr. Cortex appears to have a hunched back.
  • Doctor Cortex bears a very strong resemblance to the British actor Roger Delgado. This could most likely explain his somewhat British accent and debonair in Crash Bandicoot 2-3 with him finishing a sentence with a "ta ta for now". Ironically, to some of his minions (namely N. Gin) Cortex is replied to gracefully as "The Master", a role Delgado was famous for playing in the British TV series Doctor Who.
  • Dr. Cortex's nationality can debated among fans as to weather he is British or Hispanic in origin, some evidence can be pointed out that he is British given his elegance and cunning in the sequels made by Naughty Dog, along with his ending catchphrase "Tata for now" and him sporting a cup of tea in Crash of the Titans (stereotypical traits of British people). It can also be proven that Dr. Cortex favors big game hunting as a hobby since he kills his own Titans for fun and hangs their heads as trophies. It may also be possible that Cortex is of Asian descent with his skin tone being yellow, having high intelligence and as he points in Crash Tag Team Racing that his family's metaphor is "Revenge is a dish best served with fava beans" which are commonly grown in Asia.
    • His first part of the sentence is a reference to the Klingon proverb "Revenge is a dish best served cold" from the Star Trek franchise.
    • His second and final part of the sentence is a reference to Hannibal Lecter's famed catchphrase "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti." from The Silence of the Lambs.
  • Doctor Cortex has always been the last boss in the main PS1 crash Bandicoot games.
  • Through most boss fights with Doctor Cortex, each theme goes through subsequent pattern, going from slower to faster and then slower again.
  • In Crash 1's level 'Generator Room', the 'N' on his forehead is missing whenever he appears on the TV screens.
  • In Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, Doctor Cortex is revealed to have red irises. However, promotional art from Crash Bandicoot have shown Cortex to be having pink irises.
  • When he is turned into a baby at the end of Warped, the 'N' on his forehead is lower case.
  • Cortex has appeared in three stages (adult, child in Twinsanity, and baby in Warped).
  • Cortex's middle name has been revealed to be "Periwinkle" by Ebenezer Von Clutch in Crash Tag Team Racing.
    • Cortex's initials are, ironically, "NPC" (an acronym for "Non Playable Character" in videogame lingo).
    • Since then, Cortex's full name has been revealed to be "Neo Periwinkle Cortex". However, since the game itself was never canon, the middle name is somewhat debated by Crash Bandicoot fans. However, he does refer to himself as "Neo Periwinkle Cortex" in the Nintendo DS port of Crash of the Titans.
  • Cortex, along with Crash, N. Gin, and Coco are the only 4 characters that are playable in all of the Crash racing games.
  • In CTTR, one of Cortex's quotes is: "1.2 gigawatts of power!". This is a reference to Doc Brown from the Back to the Future franchise.
  • Ironic to the general opinion about them, the Spanish dubbing of the Titans duology has the most similar portray of Cortex in the games where he was voiced by Lex Lang. Being Twinsanity the least similar.
  • In CTTR, Cortex has a chance of saying "Burn baby, burn! ...Disco Inferno!" when destroying another racer's car. This is a reference to the famous song "Disco Inferno" by The Trammps.
  • In Crash Tag Team Racing, it is implied that Cortex had once served in the Vietnam War, in the Da Nang Air Base. This give much of clue of what Cortex's age was during the war, though it is highly unlikely what year he did join. If he did serve at Da Nang back in the beginning of the war he chronologically would be 37 years old during the years of the Naughty Dog trilogy.
  • Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced is the only game not to feature Cortex because he blundered to stop Crash Bandicoot again. But he does appear on multiplayer mode.
  • Doctor Cortex appeared in all main series Crash games as a final boss except Crash Twinsanity, and Crash of the Titans.
  • Dr. Cortex is one of the few characters to ever break the fourth wall during the series, along with Coco, Dr. N. Brio, Tiny, Ebenezer Von Clutch, Dr. N. Gin and certain Crash of the Titans enemies being the only others.
  • Apart from Dr. N. Brio, Dr. Cortex is the second mad scientist to ever actually resurrect prehistoric animals back to life (i.g. the Titans).
  • In Crash: Twinsanity, there was a glitch that enables the player to play as Doctor Cortex at the Iceberg Lab level.
  • In Crash: Twinsanity​, Cortex will frequently perform acts of superhuman speed in order to reach distance or to return to Crash Bandicoot after he has thrown him. This ability cannot be used during stages where he is a playable character.
  • Doctor Cortex once called Nina his daughter but covered it up when he saw Crash Bandicoot coming up behind him. Which means only the doctor knows the real relationship between him and Nina.
  • After Crash: Twinsanity, Cortex seems to have somewhat befriended Crash in a way. In Crash Tag Team Racing, Crash helps Cortex out a lot, though they are still enemies. This might be a direct homage to DBZ characters, Goku and Vegeta who started off as enemies once and later off befriended one another despite their history.
  • In Crash of the Titans, Doctor Cortex proves to be more ruthless and maybe even evil compared to Naughty Dog's Dr. Cortex as it shown in one of the last levels that his Titans' heads are placed on mantles in the corridors of the Doominator.
  • Despite Doctor Cortex claiming that Crash Bandicoot is his worst creation, logically Crash is Cortex's best creation. Being able to operate many mechanical items with ease, being able to fend of any enemy or boss, being able to survive most conditions and hazards. Crash mostly appears to be brave, running into dangerous situations with a clear head (whatever that may be for Crash). There have been times (other than boss battles) that he's even outsmarted and reacted to events faster than his creator, like in Twinsanity. Even if it does mean Cortex gets put through some pain and distress.
    • This technically makes Ripper Roo Doctor Cortex's most destructive creation. Despite being almost hyper intelligent, he is completely unstable, highly destructive, and extremely erratic. The irony of it is that Cortex was not able to control Crash and is rather annoyed on his personality, it is also that Cortex's high bolstered ego is what also ruined his chances of controlling Crash, if he had listened to Doctor N. Brio and took more caution into the Cortex Vortex machine, he most likely would have complete control over Crash to this day.
  • According to the famed actor Clancy Brown during an interview, he stated the reason why he stopped doing the voice of Dr. Cortex was because Universal Studios gave minimum wages to the actors and that he was never told about the Crash Bandicoot games (Wrath of Cortex and Crash Nitro Kart) during the time. Another reason for voice actor Lex Lang replacing Clancy Brown was that in an interview, Lang stated that parents did not like Clancy's impersonation of the character and thought it was too mean for younger audiences and wrote letters to Universal about the problem.
  • Because of his appearance and personality change in Crash of the Titans and his voice being provided by Lex Lang, Cortex has met mixed receptions among his fans. Some fans have preferred Cortex's original appearance and have favored Clancy Brown as the iconic voice for Doctor Cortex while others are more accepting of the changes and have praised Lex Lang for his voice work of the Doctor.
    • Lex Lang actually started voicing Cortex in Crash Twinsanity.
  • In the original versions of the first three games, Doctor Cortex uses a different boss icon for each of them. In Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, Cortex uses the same boss icon for the remastered versions of the first and second games. Since the icons Cortex uses in the original first and second games are very similar anyway, it is understandable why the developers did not trouble themselves in making his icon different for all three remastered games.

Navigation

           Crash Bandicoot Villains

Humans
Dr. Neo Cortex | Dr. Nitrus Brio | Dr. N. Gin | Dr. Nefarious Tropy | Nina Cortex | Madame Amberly | Papu Papu

Mutants
Crunch Bandicoot | Dingodile | Evil Coco | Evil Crash | Evil Twins | Fake Crash | Koala Kong | Komodo Brothers | Pinstripe Potoroo | Rilla Roo | Ripper Roo | Rusty Walrus | Tiny Tiger

Other
Ant Drones | Emperor Velo XXVII | Lab Assistants | Nitros Oxide | N. Trance | The Elementals | Tikimon | Uka Uka | Willie Wumpa Cheeks | Zam and Zem