Platinum: A Coming of Age

The new Crash Bandicoot: The N-Sane Trilogy just dropped and I’ve been playing it as much as I possibly can. Crash was a a huge part of my childhood, and this game brought out a whole new side of me. Before I was very content to just type in the cheat codes and play whatever levels I wanted without caring about my life-to-death ratio.

Things have changed.

Now I’ve found myself on a personal mission to complete the journey of 100% without the use of cheats my child self could only dream of. Admittedly, there are parts of the levels and design that make this much easier. But then there’s the concept of relics. More specifically, platinum relics.

Crash Relic

My current life summed up in an image

The concept was originally brought to life in the original Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. The idea is simple. Beat a level in a certain amount of time, and you’ll get a relic. A sapphire relic is given for an acceptable amount of time. A gold is given for an impressive amount of time. A platinum is given for a near flawless run through a levels various challenges.

For the most part, I never really was able to get down the whole relic chasing thing back when I was a kid. It was too tough for me to try and see the bigger picture of a level and to try to speed through it all. Maybe it was all a part of my general lack of skills in gaming when I was younger.

I was always the kid who loved to game but never had any skill to be truly considered an expert at them. Warcraft III, Crash Bandicoot, Paper Mario, and Medal of Honor were all games that I played with very skilled people and I struggled to keep up. It was a bad feeling, and until a bit later in my life, it was one I had to live with.

Once my would-be-wife got me playing Dragon Age: Origins in my early college days, I was determined to finally start improving my skills. Over time, I felt that I was honing in on something.

Through either luck or practice, I noticed myself slowly becoming better at games in general. Suddenly I could keep up with my friends in games like Starcraft II, Super Smash Brothers, and Call of Duty. I felt a sort of renaissance of my skills and it really felt great.

It all culminated when I picked up Heroes of the Storm during it’s launch week. Something about the way the characters were made just drew me into a genre I had previously avoided like the plague. I sucked at first, but over time I learned how to use the mini map. How to predict where players would naturally go. When the timing of bosses and objectives would be best. Now I’m at a point where people come to me to play because I make it fun AND I’m good. Slowly but surely.

(I’m only probably a platinum (~irony~) player in terms of my MMR because I dug myself a deep hole to begin with and I play with mostly Silver/Gold friends… but excuses aside I feel I’m pretty good!)

All of that in mind, Crash Bandicoot relaunches and I was one of the first in line to pick it up. These games had been my childhood and now I come back with a different mindset and a whole new skill set. I was ready.

My journey began and the first thing I noticed was that the relics were now in the first game. This was unprecedented for me, and I was totally taken aback. Never in my entire time gaming had I gotten anything close to a gold relic. Sapphire was my benchmark back in the day. I felt like in order for me to continue on to the 2nd Crash game, I had to complete the first one completely though.

That meant all 26 gems.

That meant all 26 relics.

Set realistic goals, I told myself. You know getting the relics is going to require patience and a willingness to replay levels over and over until you succeed. So I went for the first levels relic. I did not get it.

Damn, looks like I’d be right back where I was when I was a boy. Relics a far cry dream. Yet…

I took time to study the level now. I found ways to shorten jumps, to break the time freeze boxes without wasting time. It took a hot minute and a few attempts, but I managed to get a sapphire relic on the first level.

But I felt I could do it faster.

I reloaded the level and on my second go of it, I hit a near perfect run and made it all the way to the end in a personal best time.

For my efforts, I was given a gold relic. That’s when I knew I had to get the platinum relic. The feeling of triumph I had would only be sated by the platinum status.

Now I took to studying platinum runs, seeing the level in the way they did. They way they used every possible box and jump to maximize their time. And after about two days of practice, I held in my possession the first platinum relic.

Thus my weeks of work began. I trucked through the levels both long and hard. Learned all the sequences and cycles I’d have to time just perfectly in order to get my goal. The relics are some of the trickiest things I’ve had to work for in any game. Yet I feel I’m making up for my childhood self’s greedy cheating ways.

He had no idea the level of patience it would require to obtain these shiny objects.

And now I write to you on the other side of my journey. Well, almost. I have 1 platinum relic left to obtain and then I’m off to the second game. The fact that I can sit here and type that I have all the gems and nearly all the relics is something I never thought I’d say. It’s a culmination of my years of being bad forcing me to become better. It’s a right of passage I jumped over when I was a boy.

It took me long enough, but now I see my beloved Crash in a whole new light. I may never be able to slow down again!

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