Crash Bandicoot's arch nemesis proves that sometimes, mad scientists can be the good guys

Doctor Neo Cortex in Crash Bandicoot 4
(Image credit: Activision)

First impressions matter; it's always going to be hard to win someone over when you perform torturous experiments and kidnap their girlfriend on the first meeting. It's fair to say that Dr Neo Cortex and Crash got off on the wrong foot, and maybe the bandicoot has a good reason to dislike his sworn enemy. But is Cortex really all that bad? Sure, he's done a few wrong things in his time, but he's almost too much of a bumbling buffoon to be a real threat, always fumbling over inventions that typically blow up in his face, and with no real control over his so-called minions. 


It's not like he's a completely heartless evil genius either: Cortex cares for Crash, if only because he's fiercely protective of the idea that only he should be allowed to take him down. He'll work to save others to further this cause if need be. 

When Cortex's home is threatened by the interdimensional Evil Twins in Crash Twinsanity, he steps up to help the bandicoot save the world. Even if he still has plans for revenge, surely we can look past that and recognize his willingness to work for the greater good. He even does it again (albeit only temporarily) in Crash 4, when he helps to fight N Tropy! So what if he betrays Crash just moments later? His heart is in the right place. Yet we refuse to recognize his acts of kindness. 

Neo Cortex is a tragic villain. He's not all that intimidating, he's constantly betrayed by both his subordinates and allies, and he's never praised when he tries to help others. The only thing that could be worse is if the N on his forehead were replaced with an L for loser! Maybe we should cut him some slack.

This feature first appeared in PLAY magazine - Subscribe here to save on the cover price, get exclusive covers, and have it delivered to your door or device every month.

Alicia Haddick is a freelance writer based in Japan specializing in gaming, film and animation coverage on the industry and indie gaming scene in Japan. After graduating with a degree in Japanese, they moved to Japan to work within the country they center much of their reporting. They have particular experience with covering events in Japan such as Tokyo Film Festival, Bitsummit and Tokyo Game Show, and specialize in broaching the language gap between Japanese and English while reporting on the ever-exciting and constantly-changing world of entertainment in Japan.