|Fumbling in the Dark|
|Collectibles:||1 Clear Gem|
Fumbling in the Dark is the second and final secret hidden locked-room level in The Adventures of Crash Bandicoot and Acquaintances. Crashie can't access it without the Skeleton Key-o'-Cortex from Jaws of Darkness. Why would Uncle Cortie lock off such a beautiful corridor of his beautiful lametastic castle tower? This is where he keeps all of his ultra-valuable Dr. Neo Cortex memorabilia, of course! It's so ultra-valuable that he has decided that it mustn't be seen by anyone. Not even lightbulbs! As such, Crashie has to spend his second and final night with his friend-with-light-based-benefits, Aku Aku del Blanc. And throughout their nocturnal sexcapades, they'll have to keep an eye out for the perpetually swinging Extra Sharp Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese Slicers. They'll also have to avoid hordes of Uncle Cortie's Patented Single-File Rat-tle Units and A-Wrath-nids of Cortex who would love nothing more than to turn Crashie and Blancie's night together into a sexy bioluminescent threesome. Or perhaps a foursome. Mayhap even a moresome!
Decoding the Mystic Hall of Treasures: Fetishistic Retrocortiephilia That'll Make You Moist, with the Sticky Liquid Incarnation of WISDOM and KNOWLEDGEEdit
Everybody loves Neo Cortex. Yes, it's true. That's a genuine professional scientific fact. Everybody loves Neo Cortex, just like everybody loves Raymond Chandler, at least according to his overrated dark and gritty sitcom. Two people love Neo Cortex even more than most people. Those people are Neo Cortex himself, and also Professor Montahue Fritzwhimbly, world-renowned curator of the famed N-Tural History Museum. As Neo Cortex was not available for interview at the time of wikipublication of this article, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Crashie Wiki tracked down Fritzwhimbly, to learn the fascinating secrets behind Fumbling in the Dark's famed stash of Neo Cortex memorabilia. Admit it, all this time, you were curious about it! The inefficient curiosity factories within your brain were working overtime just to produce the sheer amount of curiosity you had about all the fun little doodads and souveniers and thingamajigs and things in this level! It's true, I'm sure of it! Well, anyway, the point is that I am your Saviour, for I have compiled everything that Professor Fritzwhimbly taught me, into convenient list form. Of course, I had a little help from your friend and mine, the classic baseball-themed romantic comedy released in 1988, Bulletpoints Durham!
- Park Bench Dedicated to the Memory of László Lajtha: A park bench that Neo "Uncle Cortie" Cortex used to sleep on. You see, when he first graduated from the McDonald's Hamburger University School of Evil, he wasn't an instant overnight success in the field of professional evil. For a period of one and a half months, he was a homeless bumster. He was forced to sleep on this bench, and despite its uncomfortableness, he began to think of it as a safe place. It was almost as if the very spirit of beloved Hungarian ethnomusicologist László Lajtha was watching over him and granting him spiritual protection! Cortie later disproved this with science, of course, but nonetheless he still loved the bench. He loved it so much that he stole it from the park many years later! And, just to be safe, he had numerous identical backups of the bench made, too.
- Uncle Cortie's "Happy Chair": A chair, belonging to Uncle "Neo Cortex" Cortie, that he associates with happiness. This is because it was the chair he was sitting in the night he received his very first lapdance, at the world-famous Moulin Cortex. He sunk obscene amounts of money (and, presumably, professional science) into buying up a local strip joint, simply so he'd own it and be able to force its one resident stripper to do the non-penetrative sexy sexy to him. Because he's a pathetic douche, you see. She thought it was weird that he brought his own monogrammed chair for the proceedings, but nonetheless, wanted to please her new boss. Because of these sexy memories, Uncle Cortie loved his chair a lot - so much that he had numerous backups made. (Obviously, Dr. Neo Cortex was not amused when, many years later, in Crash and Cortex Are Twins, Apparently, he discovered that the stripper was none other than his mother. Then again, no one else was amused, either. Fuck you, Traveller's Tales!)
- "Dr. Neo Caricature-tex": During his wild college days, Neo loved blowing off steam by going on a 300-mile road trip with his best buddy, Dr. Nitrus Brio, to the world-famous Plywood Vista Quasi-Amusement Park. They'd guzzle a bunch of Brio's Home-Brewed Beer-kers, then head on to ride the park's infamous Super Cork Coaster. They'd vomit everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. Eventually, this caused them to ban Neoie and Brioie from the park, forever. Nitrie didn't care about this all that much, but Cortie would forever be affected, forever consumed by the longing desire, for one more magical day of high-speed upchuckery. His only remaining material souvenier from those trips was a wacky caricature of Neo Cortex, drawn by one of the park's resident caricature "artists". He loved it so much that he had numerous backups made.
- Flag of the United States of Cortie-merica: For a period of roughly five months when he was eight years of age, Sideshow Neo Corwilliger experienced an intense fascination with Betsy Ross - history's second-greatest widow! As she was most well-known for knitting the original American flag, using pheasant feathers for knitting needles, the Texa-Cor Star decided that he would follow in her footsteps, and knit the first flag for the United States of Cortie-merica, the nation he one day dreamed of being President of the United States of Cortie-merica of. He soon outgrew his fascinations with both Betsy Ross and uniting things of any sort, states or otherwise, but he still cherishes his N-tastic flag, which continues to remind him of his innocent carefree borderline-not-professionally-evil childhood. He loves it so much that he has had numerous backups made.
- "Axewell Shieldstein": Three years prior to this game, Chocolate-Covered Cortie-al Cherries was in a pickle. His professional scientific career was stalling, like a motorcar which was having mechanical problems such that it stalled a lot. He decided to take a temporary sabattical from professional science. Beefy Bean-and-Cheese Brio-rito suggested that they try their hands at the exact opposite profession - sketch comedy! On July 29, 1993, "Uncle Cortie's Infinite Brazilian Spiny Tree Rat Theorem" took the stage for the first and last time, in the famed Sydney Opera House. (I can't think of any other famous theatres in the Australia region, so we're going with that.) They were, by all reports, terrible. The Neomeister's signature character was Axewell Shieldstein, a comically lovable axe-wielding maniac who was completely naked aside from the shield he carried around, to protect himself from his own murderous wackiness! It was his most successful character, too, because he led with the Axewell sketch so the audience hadn't uniformly decided they hated him yet. Subsequent sketches were marred by audience members throwing tomatoes, empty cups, and grenades. (Bribribribribri's characters were all shitty impressions of dead Aussie politicians he remembered from his youth - also terrible, if you were curious.) After the abject failure of "Uncle Cortie's Infinite Brazilian Spiny Tree Rat Theorem", Chocolate-Covered Cortie-al Cherries Again abandoned the sketch comedy dream in order to return to his old dream of professional science, something he is obviously equally awful at. Still, he keeps the costume around, to remember the good times. Hell, he loves it so much, he even had several backups made!
Hmmm. I'm beginning to think that "loves it so much" is actually a euphemism for some sort of disturbing obsessive-compulsive disorder on Neo Cortex's part. Cool.
- This level's name is probably based on something mothers everywhere do after turning the lights out, a sly reference to this level being an extension of its predecessor. It can be assumed that the development team - especially Jason Rubin! - has fond memories of their mothers, evidenced by this pair of levels, which should not be denied. (Fuck you, Marky Mark Not-Cerny-or-Mothersbaugh!)
- Alternately, it could be a sly and convoluted reference to Nintendo's famous Chargin' Chuck enemies, from the Super Mario World video game. These enemies were famous for playing the sport of American football, and in this level's title, they are fumbling the ball, because they are unable to handle the PlayStation's radical new darkness mechanics, a surprisingly pointed jab at Nintendo for not letting Naughty Dog develop this series for the Nintendo Entertainment System 64. If this is the case, then one can very safely assume that this was made a secret level so as to hide it from Crashie composer Mark Mothersbaugh, who might've taken offense to this, since he composed the theme song to the Super Mario World cartoon series. Never forget: MARK MOTHERSBAUGH WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT.
- True to this level's castle theme, the multitude of falling platforms in this level (and also retro-ported to Lights Out) were originally intended to be donuts, in the grand tradition of the Donut Lifts in Bowser's Castle at the end of Super Mario Bros. 3: Mario Gets Some Tail!. The development team quickly realised, however, that it was difficult to make donuts look donutty from the constant behind-the-back camera angle this game employed. As such, they were ultimately replaced by the more easily rendered, yet nonetheless equally desserty, Iron Brownie Lifts.