Crash Bandicoot Continues

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This is a fictional joke story written by DaveTheUseless. Don't take it seriously, fellas.

This story is the sequel to Crash Bandicoot Origins. A third part (to serve as the final piece of a trilogy) has been in the planning stages for a long time since.

I was just a kid. Then again, I guess that's a moot point, because so were you, before. I mean, seriously, we were sperm and egg cells that fused and eventually became the adults we presumably are now. That's pretty nuts.

Anyway, I was at a garage sale wen I bought the game. There was a garage band playing at the garage sale, which I guess was pretty witty. I asked them to play "Free Bird", an their mohawked lead singer responded with "Here, have this bird for free", flipping me the finger. Oh well.

I was always a fan of Crash Bandicoot. Ever since I was a promise of future loin fruit in my momma's womb, I guess. Then again, Crash Bandicoot wasn't a thing yet, when I was born in the 80s. The guy wanted 3 bucks for the game, but he settled on $1.25 and a McDonalds coupon. This meant that I'd temporarily go hungry to play as the famous orange marsupial, but it was a sacrifice I was prepared to make. The guy at the yard sale told me he never played the game because 'he already lived it'. Said his name was Lewis, and that this copy of the game was gifted to him from his time as an intern for Naughty Dog. He said all this in a really sad tone of voice, which really should have tipped me off then. "You'll never know what I have lost...", Lewis muttered, voice trailing off. Well... wow!

When I got home, I put on my "Free Bird" MP3, rocking out to it as if to defy the rude punk rocker from earlier. I couldn't help but feel unnerved by Lewis's comments from earlier. He was nice enough to leave me his phone number if I needed help, but... why would I need tips from a guy who never played the game?

The goofy intro started out as normal—or so it would've, if it wasn't for one glaring omission. Crash's eyes were missing! In their place, jammed right into Crash Bandicoot's polygonal eye sockets, were wumpa fruit—the mango-esque food items that Crash collects throughout each level, kind of like Super Mario coins! I was button mashing the start button in the hope of escaping this horribly disturbing sequence... but even when I selected for a new game, there was an excruciatingly slow fade out of the screen. I felt as if I was being taunted, but then, out of the black... a horribly disfigured, claymation Crash Bandicoot with serpents slithering out of his eye sockets suddenly appeared on screen, coupled with a realistic scream of unbridled pain unlike any that I had ever heard in a videogame! The scream played out in a stop motion, claymation style, before going to black midsequence. After... however many seconds, a dusty gray text appeared on the TV, stating five obtuse words that I couldn't make head nor tail of: 'the apple of your eye.'

I had to wonder about this copy of this game. Maybe it was a prank that the guys at Naughty Dog played on Lewis. I mean, that would make sense. Feeling more than a little startled, I checked my phone for companionship. A text...from Lewis. The man I met at the yard sale! "Remember: if you need tips, I'm around." That was nice of him and all, but it felt unnecessary. Unless he knew something I didn't know...

The first level was N. Sanity Beach. I remembered this stage from when I played this game as a kid, so it checked out. It began with Crash making the same confused face tat I always remembered him making here. In fact, it took me a minute or two of gameplay before I realized something was off.

Crash Bandicoot wore jeans. This was likely a conscious design decision by Naughty Dog to make Crash more hip and relatable, the way Sonic's angry stare and finger wag gave him attitude, and a leg upon other mascot competition. But, this time, in this copy of the game... Crash was wearing dark, gray sweatpants. Something else was off, too: his jump. It was slower, and didn't go quite as high. The cutesy noises Crash would make when hit were replaced with moans and grunts, too. This was... just really depressing, honestly. But even all these little things couldn't prepare me for what happened when I hit my first question mark crate...

Usually, when you hit a ? crate, you get something sweet: a massive amount of Wumpa fruit, for example. But this time was... different. Crash Bandicoot warped in a dark purple mist, and reappeared in what was obviously a game show set! The host was a younger, dark-skinned gentleman wearing suspenders, with a goofy smile on his face. This was all fine—I guessed—until the text showed up...

"Hello, Lewis." Lewis. ... Lewis!? As in, my Lewis? Our Lewis? This copy of the game must have been specially made for him! "Welcome to the Bonus Round! And now for your BIG question!" There was a pause, before more on-screen dialog appeared. "What is love?". A free-form dialog box and a cursor appeared. Using my PlayStation controller, I could shift through alphanumerical characters and compose an answer... but I had no idea how the game wanted me to consider this question. I thought things over a little, before pressing in an answer and submitting it, to the host's disapproval. He shook his computer animated head. "WRONG!!!", he exclaimed, pressing a lever that electrocuted Crash Bandicoot into a pile of ashes!!!

Crash reappeared where I had initially hit the question mark box. I had lost a life. A loud, drawn out moaning sound played. I thought about the answer that I submitted some more. 'Goodness.' Love isn't goodness, according to this hacked version of Crash Bandicoot? Maybe the game was looking for a more specific answer. I sprinted through the rest of the level, spinning through turtles, collecting wumpa fruit, and otherwise having a very good time... until I had beaten the level.

At the end of the stages in the first Crash Bandicoot, there is a check by the game to see if you smashed all the crates in the level. If you do, you get a silver clear gem. If you don't, you get to watch wooden crates smash against Crash Bandicoot's head, as if to punish him for not being more astute. As for this copy of the game... I could feel my eyes bulge and my jaw practically snap toward the floor, when I saw...

It looked like pills. Lots of them. They were falling from the sky, engulfing the orange marsupial. There was no way to control Crash and escape them. He was being smothered. Before my very eyes. And I was helpless but to watch. When the screen was finally covered in its entirety in little white and yellow pills, a gloomy, gray text like the one from earlier appeared on screen. "ALL THE UNWANTED CHILDREN. DID THEY NOT DESERVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE LOVED?". I stared at the screen, fumingly angry before springing to my feet to go shut off my PlayStation gaming console.

That was when my phone rang.

... It was Lewis.

"L... Lewis?", I began. "The... the game they gifted you is crazy, man."

There was a lengthy pause. Then a sigh. Then a... moan. Deep, dark and reminiscent. ... Reminiscent of the moan from the Crash Bandicoot game I was playing...

"Do you remember what I told you earlier?" "About getting in touch if I needed help?" "The other thing." "The deal we made about the McDonalds coupon?" "No. Keep going." Well, this was seriously confusing. "I don't remember, man. There was that garage band, but that has nothing to do with anything...". Then my heart practically burst out of my chest. On the other end of the phone call, I could hear animalistic grunts. "Uh... Lewis? Everything... alright, man?". It was so interesting to be this concerned about someone I barely knew. "Think about what I said earlier, will you?" And with that, I heard a beep. Phone was dead. Conversation over. I was alone with my PlayStation again. Just me and this strange, strange gameplay disc of mine.

I cracked my knuckles and went back to the game, pressing through that birth control scene I had just witnessed. I was expecting to return to the game's island map, en route to the Jungle Rollers level, but instead...Crash was in a cemetary. A fully 3D cemetery that he could walk 360 degrees around in. There was the sound of crying, but I had no idea which direction it was in. I tried to move Crash to the east, away from the cemetary gate, but a disturbing, ghostly, drawn out sigh was heard when I tried, and I could no longer move Crash at all. The morbid gray text from earlier! Now, it read. "Why?". Confused and concerned, I tried to get Crash running again. Now the text read "Why bother?"... and the free form textbox from earlier appeared again!

I scratched my ear, as I often do when I'm bewildered. The last time the game asked me a question, it seemed offended by my response. What could it possibly want me to say now? Lightning strikes illuminated the garden of the deceased, as if to suggest...well, to be honest, I'm not sure, but it sure felt like the game was trying to teach me something. "Why bother...", I repeated the question on my TV set to myself again. I pressed in my answer. "Love." Suddenly, the screen froze up. Perhaps this meant... I won? But no... no, that wasn't what it meant at all...

The camera zoomed further, and further down to Earth until it narrowed in on Crash Bandicoot's fuzzy orange face. While this happened, everything on screen was eerily still, as if time itself had stopped on itself. Then... then Crash Bandicoot winked at me. Once. A pause. Then again. Then really fast. Rapidly. In a booming, lightning fast succession, until...

Stop motion. Claymation. Crash Bandicoot melted before my very eyes into a pile of blood, guts, bone, and sinew. Crash Bandicoot games were known to have humorous death scene animations, but this was just eerie and depressing. A sudden ambient composition that resembled unmitigated, unbridled despair played, while lightning struck the Crash Bandicoot goo pile corpse again and again, as if to mock my answer. The screen filled up, flooded with dusty, gray, ominous text: "Why bother? Why bother? Why bother? Why bother?". It must have been a minute or two of the camera zooming in on the text and the sullen ambient orchestration crescendoing before the text disappeared and the camera took us to the source of the sobbing. It was Crash Bandicoot's blonde-haired girlfriend, Tawna!

My mind raced with a million questions. How did she know in advance that he was going to die? If not, what was that sobbing that occurred before Crash's death about? Why had they chosen to go to a graveyard in the first place?

I really, really needed someone to share this startling series of experiences with. I called Lewis, but there was no answer. I left a voice mail, in tears, begging for him to pick up the phone. But it wasn't happening. The game wasn't changing to any new scenes or levels, either: it was just Tawna sobbing at a grave, again and again and again.

I lost track of time when the doorbell rang. Happy to have any sort of distraction from this horrifying scene, I went up and opened the door... to be greeted by a police detective. "Hello there, sir.", he greeted me. "This was addressed to you from a man named Lewis Diggs. The boys down at the station thought you should have it. I agreed." "I'm not sure I follow", I replied, though in my heart I actually knew where this conversation was heading. "Mr. Diggs has passed away, sir." "Was...was it painful?", I instinctively asked without thinking. "Found him fried, sir. Horribly burnt. Melted away as if by acid.", he responded, keeping a still expression on his face. "My sympathies if he was a friend of ours, sir." He handed me a package, and I thanked him before noticing that he was wearing an orange lapel pin that looked like a canine paw. I had closed the door before bothering to read the caption on it. At this point, I was really exhausted of today's events, but also morbidly curious. I ripped open the package to find two curious items: a several page letter, and a mango-esque fruit that resembled the wumpa objects from the game. Hoping to find some quick answers, I skipped ahead to the last paragraph of the letter, which read...:

"I'm satisfied that I've written enough about this. It's getting physically harder and harder for me to write, and I noticed that I can't get myself to speak too many words, either. Just let it be known what's really going on here. I know no one can help me, so I'm making a fresh start, far away. Hopefully where Dr. Neo Cortex will never find me again—and life will cease to imitate art. With love, Lewis."

With love? To me? A guy he sold a game to at a yard sale? Well, whatever. I took the mango and rolled it around in my hands, inspecting it. Looked healthy enough to eat, and I had little in the fridge other than condiments. Lewis seemed like a friendly enough guy, and furthermore, he worked for Naughty Dog. Maybe, before he passed, he meant to gift this to me as a Crash-themed present. Still...he must've been terribly lonely. I took a bite into the mango before spitting out. YUCK!!! What was this: some  sort of tropical hybrid of acidic island fruit and fish-filled garbage? The worst part of it all was that I bit into something sharp that had cut the roof of my mouth. Before I knew it, I was woozy... and I passed out.

When I woke up, I was... flabbergasted. I was in the dirt. Some kind of ditch. It was too tall for me to climb out of. I didn't know how I got there, but somehow, there I was—and I felt...different. I looked downward to realize that my dark sweatpants had been removed + replaced with stylish blue jeans. Someone had changed my clothes while I was asleep. Suddenly, I heard a rattling from the ground, and felt a mild shaking. Little armadillo creatures? What... ? I didn't know why or how, but I felt an instinctive urge that they were trying to kill me. Obviously, I couldn't run away, so I did what suddenly felt natural...I jumped on them, and they miraculously flipped over and...and then they disappeared. A platform rose from the ground, someway, somehow. I lept on the thing, and onward and upward I soared, like a Mexican jumping bean, up and out of the pit! When I looked around at my new surroundings, I was greeted by a familiar sight, but not an environment that I had ever experienced before in the flesh... it was a cemetary. The cemetary! The one the emotional scene from the game was based off of! I felt a chill run down my spine as I ran and ran, hoping for the entrance and a way back home. But then I heard it...crying? It was if some sort of predestined force overtaken me! I went running—racing—into the direction of the familiar sound...until I saw her. A beautiful, blonde-haired girl, maybe somewhere around my age. She lifted up her head as the sobbing stopped, and she stared directly into my soul with piercing, otherworldly eyes... "Lewis? Are Lewis?" Predestiny overtook me again—this time, in the form of my voice. "T-Tawna?" "Lewis?" "Tawna!" Emotion took over me, as I let out a hard sob for being reunited with the woman I always loved.

When I woke up, I was strapped in a hardened, metallic chair. I could see beakers, desks, filing cabinets—I was in a lab. "Very interesting", a readily identifiable short man with an 'N' tattooed on his forehead asserted. "Very interesting, indeed." He let out a contorted, sinister chuckle. "It's good to have you home, Lewis.", he began, with an ominous foreshadowing in his voice. "I'd say you've been... remastered." I let out a shrill scream as the small doctor proferred me a mirror. An exposed marsupial belly, piercing, green eyes, and a black-nosed snout stared back at me, as I lost my mind, spinning like a tasmanian devil, forcing my way out of the straps that bound me, leaping out of the laboratory window and into the ocean blue before me. With that...I was finally free.

The End

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