The Cortex Vortex is a machine bcreated by the evil Dr. Neo Cortex that makes animals and even humans, already subjected to the Evolvo-Ray and transforms them into mindless slaves for the mad scientist. It is featured in both Crash Bandicoot (as a brainwashing contraption in it's first appearance) and Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (as the "Cortex Vortex Space Station").
The first Cortex Vortex was built by Dr. Cortex at his Castle on the Cortex Island and it has made any animal obey Cortex and when combined with the Evolvo-Ray, would make mutants for Cortex part of his plan to create his own army. However, it was still at the prototype stage, giving the mutants (Ripper Roo, Koala Kong, and Pinstripe Potoroo) distinct personalities. Despite this, Cortex insisted on using it on his newest mutant, Crash Bandicoot who would "lead my Cortex Commandos into world domination".
However, the machine failed to work on Crash, who escaped the castle. Cortex tried a different approach: subject Tawna Bandicoot to the machine.
However, Crash arrived in time, burned down the Cortex Vortex along with the rest of Cortex's Castle, and saved Tawna.
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
Immediately after the events of the first game, Cortex discovered a new power source: Crystals. After spending a year building a new Cortex Vortex (which would be big enough to enslave the whole planet), his new sidekick, Dr. N. Gin informs him that he has only found the "Master Crystal". 25 more "Slave Crystals" are needed to power the machine. Fearing his life and realizing that Crash has defeated all of his willing participants, Cortex tricks Crash into gathering the crystals for him, stating that it will help the world.
When Crash delivers the crystals, Coco reveals Cortex's true intentions. Cortex tries to escape with the crystals to the Cortex Vortex, but Crash defeats him and leaves him stranded in deep space. Dr. Nitrus Brio then tells Crash that if he gathers Gems, he can blow up the Cortex Vortex still situated in space. Crash complys and after collecting all of the Gems, Brio uses a laser to destroy the second Cortex Vortex.
Crash Bandicoot: Warped
The Cortex Vortex Space Station had a very minor, but important role in Crash Bandicoot: Warped. A piece of station plummets down to Earth and collides with an underground temple, freeing an ancient evil known as Uka Uka.
Design and Uses
The original Cortex Vortex works by raising the subject into a large chamber with an interior lined with televisions. The televisions will then revolve around the subject while broadcasting signals directly into their brain; brainwashing them into loyal soldiers. However, the success rate of the machine varies due to constant malfunctions.
The second Cortex Vortex is much bigger than the original and needs a larger power source to activate it. The Power Crystals alone are insufficient to energize the machine, but they can be used to contain and harness a massive solar flux that has enough energy to rip the Earth apart. Once it’s power requirements are met, the Cortex Vortex can fire a single blast which will turn everyone on Earth into Dr. Cortex’s mindless slaves.
- The Cortex Vortex has been seen in a portrait in the level War of the Whirls in Crash of the Titans.
- A level in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex is also called "Cortex Vortex".
- Certain indiviuals are immune to the effects of the Cortex Vortex most notibly Crash.
- After defeating Cortex in Crash Bandicoot 2, the Naughty Dog logo can be seen on one of the Cortex Vortex space station's wings ine of the game's endings.
- The device has a very poor success rate as nearly all of it's subjects have abandoned Cortex's plans or even outright betrayed him at some point.
- In a prototype of the first Crash Bandicoot game, the Main Menu shows Crash's girlfriend Tawna being sent to the Cortex Vortex.
- Curiously, Tiny Tiger, despite supposedly working for N. Brio at the time, has a personalized boss lair inside the Cortex Vortex Space Station in the second game. In a twist of irony, Tiny would later prove more loyal to Cortex than any actual subject of the Vortex itself.