Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy is literally around the corner, with only three days to go at time of writing. That means it’s time to rank the best Crash Bandicoot boss fights to decide which is the very best!
One of the things I’m most looking forward to experiencing in the remade trilogy is the bosses – they were always one of my favourite parts about the original Crash games, from their designs right down to their music. Not only that, but Crash managed to amass easily one of the best and most-loved gallery of rogues in gaming.
So without further ado, here’s my top 10 Crash Bandicoot boss fights. Note, I’ll only be including bosses from the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy of games (so the only ones that matter – whoa! Controversial? Probably not.) I’ll be looking at the design of the boss fight, the music and how fun it was, among other criteria. Here goes.
Honourable Mention. Tiny Tiger (Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back)
Alright, so maybe this list is already starting off differently to most. I’m not saying Tiny’s debut fight is bad by any means (hell, it beat almost every boss fight from the original Crash Bandicoot) but in a series with so many standout battles, this isn’t one of them.
Tiny’s fight is fittingly scary to begin with – it’s claustrophobic and the music is low, almost a growl. However, the boss fight itself is laughable. Despite Tiny clearly being a bulky character, he instead flails around trying to jump after you on a series of tiny (ha!) platforms that proceed to flash and drop to what one can only presume to be oblivion below.
Simply get Tiny to follow Crash until he jumps into a space where a platform has just fallen. Repeat twice more and you win. Hmm…considering Tiny’s ferocious introduction where he rips through a metal door, you’d think the fight might be a bit more physical.
10. Doctor Neo Cortex (Crash Bandicoot)
“Darn you Crash Bandicoot!”
Yes, the only boss from the first game to make it onto this list is the final one. This is the only time in the trilogy you really go one-on-one against Cortex. In the second game, he’s pretty much just running away, while in the third game he’s aided by Uka Uka. There’s a sinister tone to this fight, helped by a low, creeping rendition of Cortex’s theme.
Cortex’s burning castle provides the ultimate backdrop for a final battle as you struggle to dodge his gun blasts atop his zeppelin, which now circles the exploding fortress. It’s epic and really provides the feeling that this is Cortex’s final stand. In terms of an actual boss fight, it can’t really match those that came after it in terms of complexity, but it was tough in its own way.
9. Dingodile (Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped)
“Break out the buttah, we’re gonna make toast!”
Well, if I didn’t get flak for Tiny, I know I’ll get it for this one. I’ll start off with the good – I like Dingodile’s theme music. It’s catchy and quirky and fits the fight well. The fight itself is a little bit strange – somehow these enormous crystal walls drop from the sky to encircle Dingodile himself, which you must break through in order to reach him. Once you’ve done that, simply attack him and you’ll set off his nuclear backpack, which detonates.
Yeah, it’s definitely satisfying watching the pack on his back explode, but the fight is a little underwhelming. There’s no real way for the difficulty to ramp up as Dingodile’s only real way of attacking you is by blasting his flamethrower in a straight line. But perhaps my biggest issue with this fight is Dingodile himself – he’s never really been a character I particularly warmed to.
I like him well enough, don’t get me wrong. However his design has never really appealled to me, so unfortunately, his boss fight loses points.
8. Tiny Tiger (Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped)
“Crash, leave them for Tiny, or Crash get crushed!”
Seriously, who keeps giving this guy boss fights? Kidding aside, this fight is way better than the first time you face off against Tiny. First of all, the guy has seriously upgraded – he’s now got himself a coliseum, a never-ending army of ravenous lions and a cool helmet.
The fight is more physical this time around as well, with Tiny free to jump around the arena trying to squash you before actually attempting to spear you with a trident. Unfortunately that proves to be his undoing as he gets it stuck in the ground (three times to be precise, you’d think he might learn) allowing you to smack him one.
You have to love how the crowd relentlessly boos you every time you hit Tiny, even when he’s clearly losing. Definitely a way better fight than the first time around, but Tiny just isn’t that interesting and the music here isn’t all that either.
7. Doctor Neo Cortex (Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back)
“Nooo! You haven’t seen the last of me, Crash Bandicoot!”
This is probably the most controversial entry on this list and I’m alright with that. Okay, I appreciate how disappointing this fight is. You’ve worked your way through the entire game only to be met with…this. A simple chase sequence through an asteroid field where you must hit Cortex three times in order to win. That’s it. That’s the final boss.
In my opinion however, this fight gets about as much right as it does wrong. For starters, the music in this fight is some of the best in the entire series. It’s easily one of my favourite boss themes. Not only that, but I think it’s important to try and understand what Naughty Dog were going for here with this fight.
It’s important to remember that you’re quite literally on the brink of Cortex taking over the world at this point. There are real stakes in this fight – if Cortex manages to succeed in escaping you and passing through the portal at the end of the chase, his plan comes to fruition and that’s that. So yes, the fight is lacklustre, but there can be a real sense of urgency. It’s just a shame Cortex himself doesn’t put up a fight – the asteroids damage you and so do the mines, but Cortex simply flies.
It’s disappointing, but I see the good in it.
6. Ripper Roo (Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back)
“Bwa hahahaha eh hehehe ha!”
There’s definitely a bit of bias going on here – Ripper Roo was always one of, if not, my favourite Crash Bandicoot character. I guess Naughty Dog saw something in him too, since he is the only boss (aside from Cortex of course) to return from the original game. There’s more to him this time though – aside from just being absolutely bonkers, he now has a PhD and you have to call him Dr. Roo! Character development!
Aside from that frankly hilarious and random piece of characterisation though, there’s a lot to like here. Ripper Roo is more aggressive here than he was before, spreading TNT and eventually death-dealing Nitro boxes all across the arena floor. The first few times you fight him, it can be daunting having absolutely no idea where the increasingly small safe zone is to stand in.
As the game’s first boss, he’s a great opener. He’s not too difficult, but he isn’t exactly a pushover either and the setup for the fight is a unique one – unlike Tiny’s fight in this game, which is practically a rehash of Ripper Roo’s fight in the last game. The music in this battle isn’t really anything to write home about, but it’s a solid first boss.
5. Komodo Bros. (Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back)
“Heh heh heh heh…”
When a fight starts with two Komodo dragons tossing scimitars back and forth, you know it’s going to be awesome. Much like Dingodile after them, the Komodo Bros. are something of a one-hit wonder, managing to garner a fanbase despite only showing up in the one game (not including the spin-offs). A lot of that is probably down to how cool their boss fight is.
Sure it’s easy, but look at it! The Arabian themed arena is gorgeous for starters and bursting with colour. The boss is also unique in that it’s two versus one – Komodo Joe spins erratically around the arena while his brother, Komodo Moe, slings swords at you like it’s going out of business. Only when Joe gets dizzy can you spin him into his brother, dealing damage to both of them. It’s a great fight mechanic that unfortunately doesn’t reappear.
Add on top of this the fact that their theme music is honestly one of the best tracks in the entire trilogy and you’re onto a winner. It’s undeniably an easy battle, but then there aren’t many that are hard to be fair. The Komodo Bros. earn serious points for their style and uniqueness.
4. Doctor N. Gin (Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back)
“Doctor Cortex will be very displeased with your resistance! Prepare to die Crash!”
If there’s one thing you can always count on N. Gin for, it’s a great boss battle. Cortex’s insane assistant with a rocket sticking out of his head, N. Gin suits up for his fight against Crash, in which Crash has to throw wumpa fruit at his enemy to gradually damage and finally destroy N. Gin’s robotic mech.
N. Gin boss fights generally have two things – awesome soundtracks and truckloads of health. This boss is no different, having the largest health bar in the game and an incredible theme. The music fits perfectly, with a rough, metallic sound to it and the boss fight itself is easily the game’s most creative. N. Gin deploys an assortment of artillery to try and defeat Crash, including missiles, lasers and an enormous, green energy blast that wipes out entire platforms.
N. Gin is also probably the most challenging boss fight in Crash 2, but by allowing Crash to hurt N. Gin at almost every part of the fight by throwing fruit at the exposed sections of his mech, the player remains engaged consistently. It’s a great battle. The best part though? It’s really just a warm-up for what’s to come…
3. Doctor Neo Cortex and Uka Uka (Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped)
“Crash Bandicoot for the last time…give the crystals to me!”
So here we are, the final boss of the trilogy. It’s fittingly epic, as you face off against not only Cortex once more, but the evil mask that’s been giving him orders this whole time – Uka Uka. Except you’re not alone as Aku Aku steps up to the plate to duke it out with his brother!
It’s a setup worthy of the finale for sure. As Crash, you’re tasked with avoiding Cortex’s blasts and his mines, while attempting to approach the scientist. At the same time, the two masks are engaged in an increasingly explosive battle which you must avoid at all costs. Eventually, when Cortex’s guard is down, you can smack him down a shaft in the centre of the arena for some damage, before he’s fished out again by Uka Uka.
The fight itself is pretty good and rather multi-layered for a Crash Bandicoot boss battle. Music-wise, it’s also a winner. Cortex’s Warped theme is excellent. The only downside is that once again it’s a little easy, especially for the final boss. Cortex again suffers from only having three pieces of health, having been vastly out shined by the previous boss (who we’ll come to later).
What’s great about this though is Cortex’s characterisation, not just here but in Warped in general. By this point, he really doesn’t care anymore. It’s funny to see him basically being pushed around by Uka Uka. Plus, defeating Cortex will earn you the immortal line “Maybe I should retire to a nice big beach, with a nice big drink, and a woman with nice, big…bags of ice for my head!”
Yeah, I definitely didn’t get that as a kid.
2. Doctor Nefarious Tropy (Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped)
“Now you’re on my time you little skunk! Give me the crystals!”
This fight is just straight up amazing. Despite being a newcomer to the series, Tropy provides you with easily one of the coolest boss fights in the trilogy. Thanks to his no-nonsense attitude, Tropy is a certified badass and master of time – in fact, the battle takes place inside his Time Twister machine, which the villains have been using to collect crystals scattered across the ages.
This means that during the battle you run the gamut of themes, with both Asian and Arabic-styled backdrops throughout. Tropy will attempt to attack you from afar using ranged attacks from his tuning fork, before morphing the ground into a series of precariously placed platforms. Traverse the platforms successfully and you’ll be able to land a hit on him.
Unfortunately Tropy suffers once more from a lack of health – it would have been great to have even one more health point and maybe see a prehistoric or medieval background as well, to make the most of the Time Twister. To make up for this though, Tropy has one of the absolute best boss themes in the trilogy. It’s weird and popping and fits perfectly with his theme of cogs and pistons.
1. Doctor N. Gin (Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped)
“So, you want to go a few rounds? When this is over, we’ll see who is obsolete!”
Here we go – the best boss fight in the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy. N. Gin is back with a vengeance in Warped and has brought with him an all-new series of mech suits and space ships to do battle with. So where better to fight this menace than in space itself, right?
Yeah, you quite literally race across the surface of the Moon fighting N. Gin, with the Earth in the background. Uh, yeah. That’s cool. Eventually the boss splits off into a second stage, with N. Gin gaining even more health, and you take off into the blackness of space for the final showdown. Yes it’s a vehicle boss fight, but it’s a good one. Piloting the spacecraft, which by the way, is being flown by Coco, is fun and intense, especially with N. Gin’s new mech spouting off all manner of weapons. I mean, N. Gin literally uses Gatling guns in the first part of this boss.
So not only do we have an epic stage, we also have excellent music – the theme here is easily on par with the previous N. Gin track, if not superior. It’s also really cool to fight a boss as Coco for the first time, proving Crash’s sister more than has what it takes to duke it out with the baddest of enemies in the game. Add to the fact that this is really the first time a Crash boss has multiple stages and it’s a hard fight to top, which is bad news for Cortex.
That’s my list of the top ten bosses in the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy! Don’t agree? Let me know your list in the comments and follow the blog for more posts, including a review of Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy in the very near future! Thanks!