Crash Bandicoot - Unused Content - Stormy Ascent

Hacking the games makes it possible to find things that aren't present with regular gameplay, but are still there in the disc. These are often leftovers from beta versions from when the games were still in development. In some cases, entire removed levels can be found in the discs, and Crash Bandicoot is one such case.
A long lost level
A long lost level

A long lost level

(contributed by Hacc)

Stormy Ascent is the name of a level that was found 13 years after the game's release by veteran Crash hacker Hacc. It has the same theme as Slippery Climb, and despite being inaccessible through regular means, it's complete and fully functional. This brings the question: why was it removed then? Well, you remember Slippery Climb, right? It's one of the toughest levels in the game. Compared to this level, Slippery Climb is but a mere tutorial. Stormy Ascent is the hardest level in the game, and quite possibly the entire series.

Despite its name, Stormy Ascent features a very convoluted layout, forcing you to traverse every possible direction, including downward. Enemies are abundant (particularly the beaker-throwing Lab Assistants) and there are tons of those moving platforms with weird patterns. The level's not impossible to beat, but it's extremely frustrating. If it hadn't been removed, it would have prevented a lot of people from finishing the game, especially when you consider that you can't lose a life if you want a gem in this game.

The level was finally officially released in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy in 2017, a whole 21 years later. It also features an all-new bonus round created specifically for it. Like the original thing, it's once again hidden in the game's data, but here it's locked behind a paywall thanks to being on-disc DLC. Oh well.

Bonus Gone
Bonus Gone

Bonus Gone

(contributed by RikoTheFoxKid)

As if the level itself wasn't hard enough, it was originally supposed to home the second Cortex bonus round. This is not immediately obvious because the Cortex icons not only do nothing in this level, but they're also glitched up and appear messy, possibly due to them having been moved to Jaws of Darkness. The two screenshots presented above have one of the icons highlighted inside a blue line for easier reference, as it's a bit hard to notice due to it being no more than a bunch of crazy pixels. Proof that this was supposed to be a Cortex icon lies in the second screenshot, as Cortex icons always appear in the bottom-right corner of the screen when you press the Triangle button to display the HUD (just like how Tawna icons always appear in the bottom-left corner and Brio ones in the middle).

The N. Sane Trilogy version of this level replaces the Cortex icons with Brio ones. Collecting all 3 of them takes you to an all-new bonus round created from scratch.

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