Doctor Neo Cortex is a human scientist who practices experimentation on animals, evolving them into sentient beings.
Neo Cortex is a very stout human with black hair and unnaturally yellow skin. His eyes are colored black and have bags under them, and he has a black beard. Cortex has balded considerably since his early thirties; there is only a small amount of hair on the top of his head and on the sides and back of his head. One of Cortex's most noticeable features are his large head/forehead, and the "N" on said forehead. By age 48, his hair and beard had started to gray, though most of the hair is still black.
He typically wears a white labcoat, but the rest of his outfit changes with his age. From the first game to Wrath of Cortex, he wore yellow rubber gloves, black pants, and black boots. His sleeves were also black. However, Cortex's outfit changed slightly by Twinsanity; his labcoat now had a red "N" logo on it and the sleeves were white, his pants were now white, and his gloves and boots were red with white highlights on them. In Crash Tails, his outfit now consists of a white labcoat (with no symbol on it), black gloves with yellow highlights, black pants, and black boots.
Cortex embodies many of the classic traits of psychopathy, being short-tempered, reckless, having no apparent conscience (as cited by Doctor Nefarious Tropy in Crash Twinsanity), and frequently manipulating others to get what he wants.
Like many stereotypical villainous mad scientists, Cortex holds a grudge against other scientists for ridiculing his outlandish (yet workable) ideas, and was originally driven towards world domination by the desire to prove his colleagues wrong. This no longer seems to be the case, as it is revealed in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped that Cortex is working under the orders of Uka Uka, one of the only two individuals that Cortex fears (beside Madame Amberly). Although Cortex talks big and acts confident in most of his appearances, he can be shown to become nervous (sometimes downright spineless) when put in the face of extreme and immediate danger (i.e. confronting Uka-Uka, running out of ammo while fighting enemies, etc.).
Another notable personality trait is his stubbornness and inability to plan ahead or learn from his mistakes; he often relies on his minion Tiny Tiger to eliminate Crash by himself, despite the fact that Tiny is too incompetent to do so alone. This impulsive behavior is first witnessed in the opening cinematic of Crash Bandicoot, in which Cortex refuses to heed the warnings of his then-henchman Doctor Nitrus Brio and tries to make Crash the general of his army, despite numerous past failures. Cortex can become quite irritated or agitated when things don't go his way.
Cortex is not above lying and deceiving others to fulfill his evil desires, most of which include gathering Crystals to power up his doomsday weapons. He frequently uses the gullible Crash Bandicoot to complete these deeds, most evident in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, claiming in the game to use the weapons for "mass helping people" as he puts it. His egotistical tendencies also cause him to alter facts about his life, claiming himself to be the most popular student in his school, even though in reality he was an object of hatred among many students, one going as far as to toss a dagger in his direction. He also owns an airship which he uses from time to time, a possible reference to his inflated ego.
For most of the time, Cortex doesn't care for the lives and feelings of others, caring only for himself and what he wants. While this seems to be the case in most games, the one moment in which Cortex actually shows concern for someone else is in Crash Twinsanity, in which at one point his niece, Nina Cortex, is kidnapped by an evil version of Crash. It is at this point clear that Nina is the only living thing that Cortex cares about, with the latter going as far as thoughtlessly putting himself in danger of being mauled by the ferocious Evil Crash during the level "Bandicoot Pursuit". Besides this instance, Cortex is largely unempathetic, seeing others only as tools for his quest in world domination (although presumably he likes N. Gin, Tiny and Dingodile really, as he puts up with them despite their past failings). It is unknown whether Cortex feels any regret for replacing Nina's hands with metallic death-traps, though this is unlikely, given Cortex's psychopathic tendencies.
Cortex spent his youth as the youngest son in a family of circus clowns (later said in the strategy guide for The Wrath of Cortex). Unlike his family, which loved the spotlight and making people laugh, Cortex spent most of his time reading science books. He was always teased, and at the age of three, had an "N" embedded on his head for "nerd" by a particularly evil group of circus performers. But soon, the torment stopped, after a "freak" explosion wiped out his entire family, leaving Cortex to fend for himself - though a sibling may have possibly survived, as Cortex's niece, Nina, is well known to him; however, Cortex may have married (or at least been in a relationship) and been Nina's father himself, as in Twinsanity, he says "My daught... err... NIECE!" - this was when Cortex decided that he would not rest until he ruled the world.
Academy of Evil yearsEdit
At the age of four, Cortex enrolled into Madame Amberly's Academy of Evil, a school for evil children. It was here that Cortex met up with his life-long associates, Nitrus Brio and N. Gin. But soon, the torture of bullying caught up with Cortex again, and he and Nitrus Brio decided to sneak out and go to high school, where they thought they would be revered for being the youngest people to ever graduate.
At the age of eight, both Cortex and Brio enrolled in high school. But even here they were mocked by the cruel teenagers, a tradition that became the story of his life. It was also at this age in which Cortex made his very first prototype of the Evolvo Ray on his own, although credit is given to both N. Brio and Cortex. He then made his pet parrots Victor and Moritz be his first test subjects. The experiment went wrong, sending the two twins into the 10th Dimension where they learned skills from the dimension and later returned for revenge on Cortex in Twinsanity.
They suffered through high school together until another "freak" explosion blew up the entire building, as well as most of the surrounding town. By some amazing coincidence, they were far away from the detonation, two miles underground in an abandoned plutonium mine.
Prior to Crash BandicootEdit
They decided to split and went on a world-smashing rampage. The terrible twosome, calling themselves the Cortex Commandos, left in their wake a trail of charred earth so monumental that they became international criminals. Seeking sanctuary from the various forces against them, they found three deserted islands off of the coast of Australia and set up shop. Soon, realizing that his puny body couldn't crush a fly, Cortex figured the only way to take over the world was to create an army that would do his bidding for him. In memory of his and Brio's "glory days", Cortex named them the Cortex Commandos. In a moment of diabolical genius, Brio came up with the ideas for the Evolv-O-Ray, an energy force capable of mutating common animals into intelligent super-beasts; and the Cortex Vortex, a device that trains the mutated animals to obey their master. Cortex, however, did not see one small problem with the machine.
Together, the doctors began experimenting with the animals and plants from the surrounding islands. Some of them were not so successful, like Ripper Roo, an insane creation that went wrong. But none of them compare to possibly Cortex's greatest mistake ever - Crash Bandicoot. One quiet evening at Cortex Castle, Cortex had just captured two eastern barred bandicoots; one male and one female. Cortex planned to have the male be the general of his army. The male is the first to get zapped by the Evolvo-Ray. It is then raised into the Cortex Vortex, though Brio insists that the Vortex is not ready. It turns out he was right as the male, Crash, is rejected by the machine. Cortex is furious, as he gives chase trying to capture the freed bandicoot. Crash escapes by jumping out the window, but leaves his bandicoot girlfriend (Tawna) in the clutches of Cortex's henchmen. She is used as a lure by Cortex in order to get Crash back. After a time, Crash arrives at the castle, where Cortex confronts him on his hoverboard atop his airship. However, he is defeated when Crash destroys the hoverboard by lobbing Cortex's projectiles back at him, and apparently falls to his death. In the non-canon ending, it is stated that after Crash foiled his plans, Cortex simply "disappeared". The game, however, hints at his return, stating But evil geniuses are harder... to squash than cockroaches.
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes BackEdit
In the intro, it is shown that Cortex survived the fall from his hoverboard and landed in a cavern beneath Cortex Castle. After lighting a match, Cortex finds a well hidden Crystal, causing him to laugh menacingly. The match he lighted then burns out, with him saying D'oh! One year later, Cortex got a new partner, a cyborg named Doctor N. Gin, and has just finished building a new Cortex Vortex in space. The crystal that Cortex found in the cavern turned out to be a Master Crystal, but N. Gin informs him that they will need 25 slave crystals to harness the power of the solar flux which Cortex needs to enslave the human race. None of his former henchmen on Earth help him now, so he locates Crash and warps him to a Warp Room where Cortex (as a hologram) tricks Crash into getting the crystals for him with a promise that he is using it for good purposes to stop the planets aligning. He sometimes drops hints of his real plan as Coco Bandicoot starts hacking into the hologram and tries to tell Crash what's really going on. By the time Coco finally tells Crash, he has already given the crystals to Cortex. Crash then fights Cortex in space with jet packs, attempting to stop him from reaching the Cortex Vortex. The evil scientist loses once again and blasts off into outer space yelling "You haven't seen the last of me, Crash Bandicoot!". However, the Cortex Vortex is still in space, so after Crash collects all the gems, Dr. Nitrus Brio (Cortex's henchman from the first game) helps blow it up with a plasma cannon. However, a part of it falls towards Earth and destroys a temple, freeing an evil mask.
Crash Bandicoot 3: WarpedEdit
It turns out that evil mask, Uka Uka, has been working with Cortex and is the younger twin brother of Aku Aku, who imprisoned him in the temple to protect the world from his wrath. Uka Uka is upset that Cortex lost the previous crystals and gems, meaning there is no power source. But, now that he's free, he can continue to enslave the world, and with a time travel genius named Doctor Nefarious Tropy by his side, he'll make sure Cortex succeeds. Together, they build the Time Twister Machine in order to retrieve the crystal's and gem's from their original places in time. However, Crash and Coco start retrieving them. Throughout the game, Cortex and Uka Uka talk to Crash and Coco via a warp vortex. Cortex is also seen watching the two battle with Tiny. By the end, he becomes mad and has his boss fight with Crash under the Time Twister while Uka Uka battles Aku Aku. Cortex loses and falls down a hole onto a platform below, where he lets out his frustration: "Defeated again! This is not fair! 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." Uka Uka, however, still has high hopes, as Crash and Coco don't have all the gems. Eventually, though, they do get all the gems and fight Cortex and Uka Uka together. When the two villains lose, a warp sphere starts to engulf them, Tropy, and the entire Time Twister Machine. Luckily, Crash, Coco, Aku Aku and the other animals escape. Meanwhile, in another time period where the humans have been reduced to infants, Cortex and Tropy are seen fighting over Uka Uka while stretching him.
Taking place three years after the events of Wrath of Cortex, Dr. Cortex and Uka Uka wash onto N. Sanity Island frozen in an ice cube. It melts and Cortex rounds up several of Crash's old enemies to ambush him. He also appears as the first boss, right before Mecha-Bandicoot. After stunning Coco and disguising himself as her, he lures Crash to an arena for the "birthday party" and does battle with Crash. Defeated once again by Crash, the two get into a brawl in a mine in which the two reluctantly agree to work together to escape. After escaping the mine, they encounter the Evil Twins, who claim they will destroy the Wumpa Islands. After Cortex doubts it, they take out his brain, causing him to flee in terror.
Crash later finds him and Cortex tells about his love of the Wumpa Islands, and envies the Tribesman, and after mentioning the bumblebee being humble, he is swarmed by bees, causing him to run blindly on a bridge full of traps, which Crash must protect him from. After being chased by bumblebees, a bee-hive falls on his head, later attracting a bear. Crash helps him escape all of these, but after escaping the bees, he ends up getting captured by Papu Papu, who hoists him high on a totem pole with intentions to cook him. Crash rescues him, but causes the totem pole he was on to fall down the nearby waterfall. He is later seen at Farmer Ernest's Farm, where he zaps Mr. Ernest with his ray gun and takes the crystal that was promised if they got rid of the worms infesting his land. Soon, they confront the Evil Twins once again, who reveal they came from the tenth dimension and proceed to bring to life a totem statue, Tikimon.
The Evil Twins leave after their defeat, and soon Cortex gets an idea. Insisting they go to his brand new base; the Iceberg Lab where he attempts to open the main entrance with a remote, which doesn't work. Then Cortex insists they take a different route. He is later seen talking with his penguin minions who are demanding the crystal Cortex found. Then he tries to bribe them with fish to let him keep his crystal. But, the bribing doesn't work and they growl at him until Cortex shoots one of the penguins. Then he and Crash continue their journey until they accidentally free Uka Uka, who was frozen in a cave. Uka Uka then tries killing both of them because of their history with each other, by making himself a body of ice. The duo defeat Uka Uka.
After revealing the Twins' plan, Uka Uka allies with him, saying it was his job. Crash and Cortex eventually reach his Iceberg Lab where they confront the Evil Twins. They bring out Aku Aku and Uka Uka who end up paralyzed by the Twins. Armies of Ants are then sent to kill them. Eventually, they destroy all of the ants and the Evil Twins then flee. After they leave, Aku Aku and Uka Uka question Cortex about the Evil Twins and how they said that he ruined their lives. Crash and Cortex team up to defeat the Twins. Then, Cortex shows Crash the Psychetron, a device capable of teleporting to different dimensions. Cortex then says that they need six crystals, but they have four. So, Cortex has the idea of going to N. Gin's battleship to get the 2 crystals, where they go to a balcony in a mountain and where Cortex thinks how are we going to get to N. Gin's Battleship in time?, causing Crash to push him off and use him as a makeshift sled.
They eventually reach the Battleship where Cortex lies in the snow, humiliated, where Dingodile hears their intention of getting the Evil Twins' treasure. After Crash is launched back to the Iceberg Lab, Cortex is standing there, where he goes to the Psychetron room and gets attacked by Coco, who thinks Cortex has kidnapped Crash. After kicking him in the groin, she sends him into the Psyhcetron controls, screwing it up, and paralysing Coco. Then the two go to Cortex's Airship and to the Academy of Evil to find Nina Cortex, the only one capable of fixing the Psychetron. While flying, they are ambushed by the Evil Twins and an army of ants. Cortex eventually defeats them and they reach the Academy of Evil where Cortex accidentally finds a hidden staircase to the boiler room under the central fountain. Crash later finds him in the boiler, where he gets stuck in a pipe. Crash and Cortex eventually find Dingodile in a large boiler room, where he threatens Cortex to give him his cut of the treasure that he thinks that they found in his Australian accent. Cortex then replies to him that he doesn't know what he said, then Dingodile shoots the platform he is on and it flies up.
He is later seen in the classrooms where he nearly gets hit by toxic spray coming out of the walls and quickly slides under it. He then orders Crash to attach the airship to a secure area while he goes to look for his niece, Nina. After going through many hallways and classrooms, he finds his niece, who willingly scares him with a fake dummy of herself. Then, when he tries to shake hands with her, they clamp onto his hand. He then sends Nina out and he goes to the fountain area only to find that Crash had misunderstood his orders and detached the airship, then Nina later catches it. He later meets up with her in a room where they are ambushed by ants and Nina leaves. After defeating the ants, Cortex wanders into a large acid room, where he meets up with the founder of the Academy of Evil, Madame Amberly. She mocks Cortex and the two eventually get into a fight. Cortex later snaps all the ropes supporting Madame Amberly and she falls into the acid pit.
He later finds Crash and the three head to the airship, where Cortex remembers the origin of the Evil Twins, on how he was eight years old building an Evolvo Ray prototype, which he used on his pets, Victor and Moritz, and how the machine messed up and the two parrots disappeared. Then, they land at the Iceberg Lab where they warp to the Tenth Dimension. When they arrive there, Evil Crash, Crash's counterpart, comes out and kidnaps Nina. They go to a balcony pursuing Evil Crash, where Cortex thinks on how they are going to save Nina, when Crash once again pushes Cortex off the balcony and uses him as a make-shift sled. After pursuing Evil Crash to his house, Cortex attempts to save Nina but ends up getting chased by Evil Crash. Crash eventually saves him and they reach the Evil Twins' base, where Cortex and Nina go in, with Crash following them. They meet up in the Evil Twins' treasure room where they meet N. Trophy, N. Brio, and N. Gin there, when Cortex states that the treasure is stolen property. Spyro the Dragon then comes out and burns N. Tropy, N. Gin, and N. Brio.
They meet up with the Twins in their massive throne room, where they have a discussion. Cortex then orders them to go into their cage, which they obey. Then angrily, they transform their cage into a large robot, the Deathbot, then the three fight the robot. Nina takes out the shields, making it vulnerable, leaving Cortex to destroy the weapons. Mecha-Bandicoot then hops in front of him, revealing Crash piloting it. After Crash destroys the Deathbot, they flee in terror, soon to be eaten by Evil Crash. After this, they all return to their dimension, where Cortex betrays Crash, activating the Psychetron, but it malfunctions and sends Cortex into Crash's brain, where he confronts thousands of Crashes doing the Crash Dance; at this instance, he screams.
He later escapes from Crash's brain and the two are sent to the psychiatrist, where they practice trust exercises, where Cortex will fall backwards and Crash will catch him. But Crash is distracted by a Wumpa Fruit that rolls up to his foot and Cortex falls backwards and sits up and replies "I hate bandicoots" and then falls backwards again. Cortex also uses a teleporter in this game.
- "Moron! This bandicoot will be my general and he will lead my Cortex Commandos to world domination. This time I shall reign triumphant! We are closer than ever before! Quickly, into the Vortex!" -Cortex, Crash Bandicoot
- "Three Crystals. Not bad. I see you're getting the hang of it. I need to conserve power. I will contact you after you retrieve the fifth crystal." -Cortex, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
- "Who, what?! Where was I? Oh. Tiny was a good fellow. He hated everyone and everything, but a good heart nonetheless. Please be more reasonable with my minions next time." -Cortex, Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped
- "Uka Uka, it's not our fault! That wretched bandicoot is to blame!" -Cortex, The Wrath of Cortex
- "How do I get into these situations?" -Cortex, The Wrath of Cortex
- "Get ready to face my wrath, Crash Bandicoot!" -Cortex, The Wrath of Cortex
- "Crash Bandicoot, my old nemesis. How the heck are you? Still gathering Crystals? Old habits die hard, don't they? Meanwhile, my days have been spent on something much more intriguing. Meet Crunch, my newest creation!" -Cortex, The Wrath of Cortex
- "Can't you EVER let me win?! What do you want from me, you cretin?!" -Cortex, The Wrath of Cortex
- "It's true, blondes do have more fun!" -Cortex, Crash Twinsanity
- "Surprised to see me, Crash? Like the fleas in your fur, I keep coming back! Three years I spent alone in the frozen Antarctic waste! And I missed you, and so I've organised a little gathering, like birthday party except... the exact opposite. And look, all of your friends are here! You are so very popular. Let's start handing out the presents!" -Cortex, Crash Twinsanity
- "This is from Tiny, this is from Dingodile. Ripper Roo, you shouldn't have! Pinstripe, how thoughtful. Oh, dear, 2 of the same! Well, don't worry; I kept the receipt." -Cortex, Crash Twinsanity
- "The check bounced? Are you sure? Well, these past few years have been kind of slow. The Wrath of Cortex didn't go as well as we'd hoped, and..." -Cortex, Crash Twinsanity
- "I'm an evil scientist, what do you expect? This isn't a game." -Cortex, Crash Twinsanity