The Cortex Vortex is a spherical brainwashing device built by Dr. Neo Cortex, which he uses to make animals mutated by the Evolvo-Ray do his bidding. The Vortex's name is derived from the dozens of video screens inside it that rapidly revolve around a subject's head. The intended brainwashing results vary wildly according to the subject and the exposure. Some of them actually become crazy, as was the case with Ripper Roo and, to a much lesser extent, Crash Bandicoot, the latter of whom was never successfully brainwashed.
Dr. Cortex built a much larger and more powerful variation intended to be used on the entire planet from space. This new Cortex Vortex took on the form of a giant laser, and it required all of the Earth's power crystals to be activated. Crash Bandicoot prevented it from being activated, and it was soon destroyed by a laser built by a vindictive Nitrus Brio. The wreckage plummeted towards Earth and landed on Uka Uka's temple prison, unleashing him in the process.