Hey guys! Here with a pretty n. sane proposal; Crash and PE are not things between which a correlation has often been drawn. And truth be told, for a little bit I faltered about whether I wanted to write up this proposal, but after checking out the unanimous "yes" they've been getting on TV Tropes, y'know what, yes, I'm pretty fairly confident they count. I decided to make this a double proposal as these two characters work together and are also just two versions of the same person.
What's the Work?
Crash 4: It's About Time is the fourth entry in the mainline Crash series. That's right, the first mainline Crash game since the 90's, created by the studio Toys for Bob who are famous for the remakes of Crash and Spyro. It is a considerably more story-driven game than the original Naughty Dog trilogy. The plot (to put it plainly) is about Cortex returning alongside N. Tropy after they unintentionally create a rift in the multiverse. They cooperate to create a Rift Generator to dominate the entire multiverse, so Crash, Coco and others must travel to collect the 4 Quantum Masks who can help them bring an end to this evil plot.
Who are the Candidates? What do they do?
N. Tropy is a major antagonist in the franchise who's existed since the third game, Warped, being the creator of the Time Twister and ally of the maniacal mask Uka Uka. In his first appearance he didn't get up to much. Aided the baddies in world domination. Tried to kill Crash. Wound up getting de-aged into a baby and shot off to a random dimension along with fellow baby Cortex and unaffected Uka Uka, where they would remain for decades to come.
In Crash 4, N. Tropy is visibly embittered and way more sadistic than he ever let on in the third game. When Uka Uka has seemingly spent all of his life energy to tear a rift in the multiverse for the villains to escape through, N. Tropy callously orders Cortex to leave their former leader there to die as he has outlived his usefulness before laughing cruelly.
After they set up base, N. Tropy sets to working on a Rift Generator with which the 2 evil scientists are to take over the entire multiverse. N. Tropy is the much more enthusiastic of the two, as Cortex has been sincerely worn out by his endless cycle of fighting with Crash Bandicoot. When Cortex's two most loyal minions, N. Gin and N. Brio, fail to dispose of Crash, N. Tropy sends Cortex to finish the job.
Cortex however is defeated and begins to lament his predicament, asking Crash if there's no way out of their ceaseless struggle. N. Tropy reaches him through a hologram and berates him for his failure. He then reveals that he's betraying Cortex as he has found a new undisclosed partner, and he also reveals his true, shockingly heinous plan. Instead of simply ruling over the multiverse, that is every dimension ever, he rather wants to destroy the multiverse, that is every dimension ever, and remake it in his own image so that he can be a god. Not only this, but he specifically makes it a sadistic point to glory in the imminent non-existence of Cortex, Crash, Coco, Tawna and the four Elemental Masks. With an ambition this cruel, his new partner certainly has to be a nasty piece of work...
And she is. N. Tropy's partner is merely an alternate dimension female version of himself. Beyond wanting to commit multiversal omnicide and consequently kill everything in existence, she is established as being a regular mutilator of animals and exterminator of bandicoots. She reveals, whilst making ready to kill alternate dimension Tawna, that she killed alternate Crash and Coco right in front of her and relished in her screams, which N. Tropy remarks, visibly excited by the thought, is "delicious". This double murder devastated alternate Tawna to the point that she grew obsessed with flying solo (her inability to "solo" things is something Female N. Tropy doesn't miss an opportunity to mock her for), and even momentarily tied up main-world Crash and Coco and left them behind, as she couldn't go through losing them again. Yes, this Crash Bandicoot character is responsible for 2 permanent deaths that, while off-screen, have a permanent emotionally scarring effect on a major character.
The Tropies attempt to kill all our heroes and get on with their plan but are ultimately thwarted and tossed into a random dimension, though the 100% ending makes it clear they may return with more malicious schemes.
N. Tropy has always been played straight, especially for a Crash game, and he is no different here. The female Tropy is played incredibly menacingly, to the extent that she could probably fit in franchises more altogether serious than Crash. The only shade of comedy in their characters is when they occasionally flirt, which is played more for its creepiness/self-indulgence than any detraction from their evil, which leads me to...
Nah. They flirt, but it's not presented as a loving relationship. As stated above, it is played way more as a disturbing, sexual and thoroughly narcissistic affair. Most of their flirting is a mere concerted fondness for sadism. N. Tropy is for instance basically aroused when F!N. Tropy describes slaughtering alternate Crash and Coco to him, and F!N. Tropy is merely intrigued in how "fun" they can make things when N. Tropy suggests giving the heroes a "sporting" chance. Another segue here. Before the final battle, N. Tropy suggests they give the heroes this aforementioned "chance", but only for the express purpose of making the fight more twistedly fun for the Tropies. So not honorable.
The Tropies vaporize the heinous standard. The only characters in the Crash franchise who come close are the Evil Twins who wanted to destroy one dimension for an entirely tragic and vengeful reasion. Crash 4 however renders the game from which they originate non-canon along with the rest of everything post-Warped, but even if they still figured in this proposal, they only wanted to vaguely "destroy" one world whilst the Tropies explicitly want to "erase it all" and reset all timelines in the multiverse, killing everyone. The characters accept the weight of this too, Cortex remarks he really wouldn't like to be "wiped from existence", and Coco cuts small-talk short at one point, stressing that "existence could end at any moment". So the omnicidal threat, beyond being by light years the most heinous thing in the Crash universe, is not presented with any vagueness at all. Also, the sheer sadism of the two Tropies is unprecedented in a game in the series, and so is the fact that F!N Tropy actually succeeded in mercilessly killing both Crash and Coco for good in her timeline.
On the whole, as surprising as it is to say it, I'm of the belief that the N. Tropies from Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time fit the bill. Can't say I expected baddies in this series to even get near that level of depravity.