Crash Bandicoot is a platform game published by Sony Computer Entertainment and developed by Naughty Dog for the PlayStation. Crash was released in North America in 1996, but the development started in August 1994 with the title character, Crash, being designed by Charles Zembillas and Joe Pearson. The development of this game took place entirely in Los Angeles, California, after the entire staff had moved there from Boston, Massachusetts. Crash Bandicoot was the main focus of the Naughty Dog team during its development, so much so that ideas for another game, Al O. Saurus and Dinestein, were thrown out. Sony officially became publisher of the game during March 1995. In April that year the game went Alpha and was officially unveiled to the public in May of 1996 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, where it was well received. [Info from Wikipedia]
From these old screens we can see some changes in the development, like a different boss bar or different colors for the characters and the background. Crash usually only picks up the same type of fruit in the game (they’re called Wumpas, and look a bit like apples), but in those beta screenshots there are a lot of different fruits. There’s a pineapple, a strawberry and a green fruit which is hard to recognize. The Aku Aku mask in the pineapple screenshot is different too. It seems like a 2D sprite, actually. And Papu Papu (the large man with the club) has a yellow hair ornament, instead of a blue one. For more informations you can check the Crash Mania website, that has donated these images for the U64 Archive!
In June 2009, Psx-Collector shared with Crash Mania some screens and info from an early playable demo that he found. In this beta there’s no music or gems, the Brio boss fight is unbeatable, Tawna’s colour scheme is different, the “TNT Crates” are “POW Crates”, there’s a different Cortex Power Entrance, a couple of removed robot enemies, an harder design of Sunset Vista and Different Crate Placement! Thanks a lot to HPZr :)
Also, an unused level was found hidden in the game’s code: as we can see from a video in GarlandTheGreat’s Youtube channel, that area is completely playable:
I must say this is the hardest and quite possibly the best Crash Bandicoot level ever. It’s a shame they left it out of the game, as it only would have made an already excellent game better. Yeah, it’s hard, but it’s not that hard to beat normally. After all, there are three checkpoints here, contrary to Slippery Climb, which only has one. Getting the gem, however, is a nightmare, and I needed close to 50 attempts.
There are three invisible tokens (probably Tawna) on this level, but the bonus stage it unlocks doesn’t exist, so getting all three will crash the game. You can see it in jbreckmckye’s video. So, in order to get the gem, you have to avoid getting one of these. Location of tokens: 0:27, 3:21 and 4:48. I didn’t get the first one.
Some more info on the Stormy Ascent unused level were shared to us by Luis: the ‘invisible’ icons is actually Cortex. Because when pressing triangle, the pixels shows in the bottom right corner like the Cortex icons. It shows that Stormy Ascent is supposed to be the home of the 2nd Cortex bonus round. These were moved to Jaws of Darkness, which is why these pixels are left behind.
Thanks to kieranmay for the contribution!