Doctor Nitrus Brio (also known as N. Brio, or simply Brio) is a scientist who formely worked under Doctor Neo Cortex. He serves as the secondary antagonist of Crash Bandicoot and Crash Mind Over Mutant, and the false main antagonist in Crash Bandicoot 2:Cortex Strikes Back. Brio's loyalty has fluctuated throughout the series, working on his own accord in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, with Doctor Nefarious Tropy in Crash Twinsanity and even returning to Cortex's side in Crash Bash and Crash: Mind over Mutant. His name is a play on the word "embryo" (a fact that he himself alludes to in Crash: Mind over Mutant). As of Crash Bandicoot 2, he was replaced by Dr. N. Gin.
Pre-series historyLike most of the characters in the series, Brio's age is uncertain, though a piece of Crash Twinsanity concept art suggests that Brio is the same age as Cortex and N. Gin. As a child, Nitrus Brio was a classmate of Neo Cortex and N. Gin in Madame Amberly's Academy of Evil. Brio is responsible for taking Neo's original faulty Evolvo-Ray and refining it into a fully functional weapon. However, his lack of self-esteem allowed Doctor Cortex to take full credit for the creation.
Naughty Dog era
Crash Bandicoot : Doctor Nitrus Brio (Boss fight)
At the start of the series, Brio acts as an assistant to Cortex. While he is somewhat loyal, he has his doubts over whether Cortex's plans can actually work. Brio acts as the penultimate boss of the first game, drinking a potion and transforming himself into a hulking monstrosity to combat Crash. The game's epilogue states that Brio rediscovered his true passion for bartending following the events of the game.
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
Nitrus Brio reappeared in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, attempting to convince Crash Bandicoot to save the world by gathering the Gems he needs to destroy Cortex's space station instead of the Crystals that Cortex needs to control the Earth. When Crash continues to gather Crystals, Brio recruits Ripper Roo and creates the Komodo Brothers and Tiny Tiger to assassinate Crash and keep him from gathering the Crystals for Cortex. Brio finally manages to convince Crash to gather the 42 Gems needed for the laser to be operational, and gives him the honor of activating the weapon, destroying Cortex's space station.
Traveller's Tales era
In Crash Twinsanity, Brio teams up with Doctor Nefarious Tropy to defeat Cortex and gain the Evil Twins' Treasure. He appears alongside Tropy in a boss fight, immediately following Crash's escape from N. Gin's battleship, in which Brio (after being instructed by N. Tropy to "get changed") drinks a potion to transform himself into a large, green frog-like monster. While in this form, he bounces around on the iceberg trying to squash Crash. He then appears (in his human form) alongside N. Tropy and N. Gin again in the Evil Twins' fortress, claiming the Twins' treasure for themselves. However, they are thwarted by Spyro the Dragon, who had been trapped in the Twins' vault, when he breathes fire on them.
Radical Entertainment era
Crash: Mind over Mutant
Brio reunites with Neo Cortex once more in Crash: Mind over Mutant, in which he aids in the development of the NV, a personal digital assistant that can control both mutants and bandicoots. He uses recycled parts from the Sludge Junkyard to mass-produce NVs and create a new space station for Doctor Cortex. Throughout the game, he claims to be the inventor of numerous things, including recycling, Slinkies, and endings. He is found in the Junkyard with a brainwashed Crunch Bandicoot by Crash and Aku Aku, who are then attacked by Crunch under Brio's orders. When Crunch is broken free from the NV's control, Brio is forced to reveal the whereabouts of Uka Uka, who is acting as the source of the negative Mojo needed to control those wearing NVs. He is then told to leave the island, but promises that it is not the end.
Crash Team Racing
While Brio does not appear in Crash Team Racing, a brand of beakers used as weapons during the races feature his name.
Brio is a shy and meek man, which serves as a contrast to Doctor Cortex's megalomania. He was designed as a foil to Cortex: opposite in charisma and scientific success, meek to Cortex's dominating behavior, cautious and calculating to Cortex's emotional outbursts and impulsive behavior, patient to Cortex's impatience, and successful to Cortex's failures. He has never had people respect him or take him seriously (a fact he laments in Crash: Mind over Mutant), resulting in a low self-esteem. It is this weakness that originally caused him to join Doctor Cortex in his plot for world domination. However, it is also this weakness that allowed Cortex take the full credit for an invention that Brio was more responsible for attaining any sort of effectiveness. Most notably was the first functional Evolvo-Ray, which Brio did not actually create, but perfected it's original faulty design into a more effective weapon. This betrayal on Cortex's part is a continuing source of disdain for Brio and is the prime motive for his abandonment of Cortex following the events of Crash Bandicoot. As a way of making up for his mistake of allowing Cortex to take credit for his inventions in the past, Brio has developed a notable level of self delusion, as he cites himself as being the actual inventor of the Evolvo-Ray (even though he only perfected it) and also credits himself with several other things that he couldnt possibly have created, like recycling, slinkies, as well as claiming to have written the Bible. In the earlier games he stuttered and occasionally laughed like a madman whenever he spoke. This could be a result of the bolts in his head, or too many failed potions. Overall Brio acts like a bumbling but cautious assistant with incredibly eccentric mannerisms, a strong stutter, and maniacal laughter. Later he acts more like an insecure lunatic know-it-all and managed to get rid of his stutter and laugh problem.
Brio appears as a taller figure than Doctor Cortex, with an equally tall head, which has twin electrode-like bolts attached to the sides ala Frankenstein's Monster. While Cortex and N. Gin wear white lab coats, Brio wears a green one in most of his appearances, but wears a lab coat similar to that of Doctor Cortex in Crash Twinsanity. In some instances his labcoats do not feature sleeves. Unlike Cortex, who has black hair, Brio has almost no hair to speak of, with his eyebrows being the only pieces of visible hair on his body, though a piece of concept art for Crash Twinsanity suggests that Brio had a strand of blonde hair on his head during his childhood. In Crash Twinsanity, Brio's skin has become more wrinkled, and has noticeably darkened, taking on an almost grayish hue. Possibly due to the not insubstantial amount of mutagenic chemicals he's been known to ingest over the years. According to Cortex the mutagen tastes like "peppermint barf, with a hint of..."
- N. Brio is the first scientist to have brought back an extinct animal, Tiny Tiger, who was a thylacine. The second to do the same is Dr. Cortex. Of course they turn these animals into mutants anyway.
- Brio is the only character who's design was never changed by Radical Entertainment during its development of Crash games; his model looking like a merge between his original look and his Twinsanity look. Although Brio has a new outfit in Mind over Mutant, most of the cutscenes show him wearing his old uniform from the first Crash game.
- In every Crash game, Brio always wears clothes similar to Cortex's, with different colors.
- In Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, Brio returned to the ruins of Cortex's Castle and used it as a base to send his minions and oppose Cortex and Crash. At the end of the game, Crash and Coco go there to bring their gems to Brio.
- N. Brio and Crash are accidentally responsible for liberating Uka Uka from his temple prison and gave Cortex one more reason to hate them both, as he has been forced to take orders from Uka Uka ever since.
- N. Brio is one of the characters from the Naughty Dog's era of Crash Bandicoot not to have made an appearance in Crash Team Racing, the others being Koala Kong, Komodo Moe, Tawna, and Baby T. However, his beakers are included in the game, and recalled "N. Brio Beakers".
- N. Brio was initially considered to be included in Crash Nitro Kart, along with Ripper Roo, the Komodo Brothers, Rilla Roo, and Nina Cortex.