The map and panel icons are bluntly represented by the words "MAP" and "PANEL" in the NTSC-U version. The same applies for the NTSC-J version, except the words are written in Hiragana. In the PAL version, the icons have small pictures instead: a map for the MAP icon and a Crate for the PANEL icon. Go figure.
Since the game was developed in Japan, the character designs reflect their portrayals in the promotional artwork from most games there. While bringing the game overseas, someone saw fit to give Crash a more familiar look to westerners, so his character model resembles the one used in Crash Twinsanity.