Free Mask! is the first episode of the second season of Crash Bandicoot: N-Ventures!. This episode serves to set up the basic plot of the new season, very loosely based on Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, introducing us to Dr. Nefarious Tropy and his Time-Twisting Machine, as Cortex embarks on a journey to rescue the notorious hippie, Uka Uka. During production, this episode was known as The Great Uka Rescue-ka!
One day, Dr. Neo Cortex has invited his best friend, Dr. Nefarious Tropy, over for a delightful luncheon. In a soulful blues number, Cortex, Tiny, Pinstripe, and Ripper Roo relate how sick they are of losing to Crash Bandicoot, time after time after time. Tropy looks into his magical crystal tuning fork and finally sees why they keep losing: Crash is being protected by the almighty tribal mask dude, Aku Aku. And there's only one man who can oppose Aku Aku's love: his evil twin brother, Uka Uka, who was last seen in the 1960s. It is at this point that Nefarious introduces his Time Twisting Machine, which the two use to travel back to Wumpa Island, 30 years in the past! They run into Uka Uka, who is apparently a hippie, protesting President Nixon. Before they can warn him, however, he is locked up, for saying nasty things about the President! Tropy realises that they'll have to travel back in time and try again, but he accidentally sends them too far back, to the prehistoric area, where they are attacked by a fearsome gigantic Rillarooroodon, the last in existence! Cortex and Tropy try their hardest to make an escape, but they soon find themselves cornered. In a last-minute spark of brilliance, Cortex invents the Devolvo-Ray, which he uses to reduce the beast into a smaller, more cooperative, mammalian form, which he dubs Rilla Roo. With his new minion in tow, Cortex orders Tropy to warp them back to the 60s. Meanwhile, Crash, Coco, and Aku Aku are watching Wumpawood Squares on Wumpavision. Just as the middle square, containing the comedy duo of Labby Larry and Beaker Bill, prepares to answer a question, however, it is interrupting by a Special Wumport, Wumporting that the Rillarooroodon has gone extinct! Coco finds this highly suspicious. Meanwhile, in the 1960s, Uka Uka is about to be apprehended by the police again, but he is saved at the last second by Cortex, who heroically swings in to grab him away. Unfortunately, the landing isn't as smooth as they had hoped, and Uka Uka suffers a concussion. Cortex is so angry about this that he chops down a nearby tree, out of anger, but Tropy knows what will cure a concussion - ice, and lots of it! As such, he warps them back in time to the Ice Age. Meanwhile, Crash, Coco, and Aku Aku's attempt to watch The Wumprice is Right is interrupted by another Special Wumport, declaring that Wumpa Fruit has somehow gone extinct because a "small yellow gentleman" destroyed the last Wumpa Tree in the 1960s. Crash is enraged, and decides to storm Castle Cortex immediately! Meanwhile, in the Ice Age, Uka Uka is cured of his concussion, but unfortunately is frozen into a comical giant block of ice. Cortex panics to the point of weeping, whereas Rilla Roo attempts to lick it, unfortunately getting his tongue stuck to it in the process. Just when all hope seems lost, a tall, dark stranger approaches. It's Dingodile, who uses his amazing flame breath to free Uka Uka and Rilla Roo. Cortex is so impressed that he offers Dingodile a job right there on the spot. Dingodile eagerly accepts. Just then, Crash, Coco, and Aku Aku warp in, apparently having stumbled through the Time Twisting Machine accidentally! Cortex, Tropy, Rilla Roo, Dingodile, and Uka Uka attempt to escape to the present via a time portal! Unfortunately, Crash, Coco, and Aku Aku are able to follow them through said time portal. Even more unfortunately, said time portal does not lead them to the present, but rather, back to the 1960s, as it was the same time portal they'd arrived through earlier! This time, Cortex and Tropy have the foresight to immediately flaunt their sciencey costumes, convincing the local police force that they're establishment. Police Chief Bumbly (Kevin Michael Richardson) apologises for harassing Uka Uka earlier, and agrees to leave them alone from now on. Coco panics, wondering who will stop them now that the police won't. But Aku Aku has a plan. He sends Crash to distract Team Cortex with a series of futile Spin Attacks. While they are focusing on this, Coco sneaks away and plants a Wumpa Fruit Tree Seed, saving Wumpa Fruit for all eternity, and Aku Aku sneaks up behind Tropy and quickly grabs away the Time Twisting Remote with his feathers! Aku Aku gloats to his brother, then sends himself, Crash, and Coco back to the present. Back in the present, the trio relaxes after a job well done. Crash flips on the Wumpavision and basks in a Special Wumport about the un-extinction of the Wumpa Fruit Tree Plant, while Coco reads a news story about it on her Online Internet Web Laptop. Back in the past, Uka Uka is yelling at his minions for failing him, when he is approached by his fellow hippies (Jim Cummings). They are prepared to lynch him for siding with nasty establishment-types like Cortex and Tropy and the police. Fortunately, Tropy is able to appease the hippies by performing a soothing folk song on his magical crystal tuning fork. The lyrics include a plea for the children at home not to grow up too fast, because there's no time like the present.