After the last battle with Crash Bandicoot, Cortex is thrown down to Crash' island. In a cave he finds a crystal which he finds out holds great powers. Cortex plans to use these powers for an improved Cortex Vortex which will turn everyone on Earth into his mindless slaves. But in order to do that he has to find 25 other crystals to power the Cortex Vortex. He recruits his old enemy, Crash, to find them, but Crash doesn't know about Cortex' evil plans.
In The Simpsons sitcom, episode Lisa Gets an "A" (10th season), Lisa plays video game called Dash Dingo. It's parody of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. The music that plays when the game starts is similar to the music when the Crash game starts. Also, the evil floating Australian head is a parody of the Crash games' villain, Doctor Neo Cortex. The game also revolves around finding and devouring "seven crystal babies", referencing the Azaria Chamberlain disappearance and the Crystals in the aforementioned game.
The game has a different title theme in the Japanese version, which uses a light-hearted, lyrical song; this can be compared to all other versions of the game, which use an instrumental track.
1997 (Vol. 3, Iss. 3) - Best Arcade/Platform Game of the Year