Things are quiet for Crash Bandicoot and his friends, but as tradition holds, adventure finds a way to wake Crash up from his slumber. While Coco is improving her kart in the garage and Crunch discusses the latest diet with Aku Aku, a bright light engulfs their entire house as it gets lifted towards the sky. Meanwhile, Cortex waddles back and forth inside his castle trying to come up with a way to defeat the bandicoots and conquer the world, as usual. Tiny, who wants to prove himself useful, is sent to check on N. Gin and his experiment by Cortex, probably so he'll stop interrupting his thoughts. At that moment, the same bright light that sucked the bandicoots into the sky earlier works the same magic on the tower these baddies are staying in.
Back in Crash's house, the lazy bandicoot finally wakes up and notices an unusual number of aliens cheering all around him. His entire house, it seems, was transported to a coliseum set in a meteor in outer space. Wondering what exactly is going on, he's joined by Coco and Crunch as they notice Cortex, N. Gin, and Tiny nearby. Cortex begins to lash out at the bandicoots, but he's suddenly interrupted by a holographic projection of the real culprit – an alien who introduces himself as Emperor Velo XXVII, the self-proclaimed ruler of the galaxy.
Emperor Velo explains that his subjects love to watch intergalactic races, and he's heard of the earthlings' racing prowess after they beat Nitros Oxide in the past. Like everyone else he's captured, Crash and the others are met with a simple proposal: either race in Velo's courses or face the destruction of their home planet. Everyone accepts to take part in this championship and show Velo a thing or two... which will be easier said than done, because the emperor has many veteran racers at his disposal.