An amateur speedrunner believed he had hit the jackpot last week when he discovered a rare version of popular platformer Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back at a local antique shop. He’d almost missed the game, as it had been well-hidden between two dilapidated grimoires and a candle in a skull, but he found himself strangely drawn to the object.
Surprisingly, the speedrunner got the copy for free.
“I tried paying with my credit card, but the shopkeeper steepled his long, gnarled fingers and wailed, ‘Your mortal currency will not save you from the true price you must play,’” the speedrunner explained from his well-lit, locked bedroom. “I assumed he just wanted me to pay in cash, since I’m pretty sure those little shops often like to fudge their accounts.”
“I tried reporting the store to the local police department,” he added, “but the cops could find no record of an antique store at the address.”
The game appears to be a rare version of Crash 2 that never saw public markets. A note daubed in reddish-brown ink on the inside cover urges the reader to destroy the copy before it’s too late, leading the runner to believe that “it was an early build that they didn’t want to get leaked.” The case is covered in burn marks, dents, and large gashes, which seem seem to indicate that there were many attempts to demolish the item, though all failed.
A playthrough showed that much of game seems to be very incomplete or buggy. A majority of characters, including Crash himself, appear to have unrendered eye textures, leaving empty eye sockets, and corrupted sound files, with many characters emitting piercing screams in place of their regular noises. Moving animations also appear to be broken, as limbs and heads on characters tend to rotate in unnatural ways, such as Crash’s head slowly spinning around to face the player.
In speedrunning terms, the game is a mixed bag. “On one hand, the screen will randomly flash an image of a decomposing Crash Bandicoot with blood funneling out of all orifices. This can really mess up my movement, especially in times where frame-perfect accuracy is necessary,” the player stated before pausing to check behind the curtains. “On the other hand, pressing triangle+x+triangle causes Crash to rip off his lower jaw, creating a trail of blood that’s perfect for speeding up movement, kind of like ice physics.”
Furthermore, according to the player, Game Over Abuse is impossible in the glitched copy. Any attempt to end the game, including turning off the game and even removing the batteries, will lead to a faux “Game Over” screen, except that the text will read “DEATH IS THE ONLY ESCAPE.”
For the last week, the gamer has been playing obsessively, neglecting food, drink, sleep, and even human contact. “Yeah, it’s pretty bad. I’ve been playing 20 hours every day, and I always seem to lose track of time when I game,” admitted the disheveled runner. “I’ve been playing so long, that I’m even beginning to see characters from the corner of my eye and hear game noises whispered into my ear.”
The speedrunner then paused, before aggressively asking if anyone else had seen them as well.
At the time of writing, the player was obsessively ranting about “the perfect 100% completion” — although strangely enough, instead of researching game files, he was poring over the floor plans of his family home and SGDQ studios.