Crash Bandicoot 4: Beginners Guide (Map, Collectible Items, Gems, Skins, Easter Eggs, etc)

So… a Crash Bandicoot game? Where to begin… OK, well, check out this guide!


Crash Bandicoot – The Story So Far

So you’re never played a Crash Bandicoot game? Where to begin… OK, well, there’s smashable crates, and the crates contain Wumpa fruit, and there’s a Bandicoot, and the Bandicoot was being used in some Science experiments by some bad guy named Dr. Neo Cortex. As things tend to happen when you combine bad guys and science, unexpected results happen – in this case, the Bandicoot proceeds to defeat the bad guy! Then he does it twice more with some other bad guys along for the ride – trapping them in a time prison forever! The bad guys curse the Bandicoot’s name. As you may have guessed, the Bandicoot’s name is Crash. There’s also another Bandicoot named Coco, who is Crash’s sister. And another Bandicoot named Tawna, who isn’t.

Oh, and Masks. Magical masks are kind of a big deal, as you’ll see. There’s a mask named Aku Aku, who helps Crash and Coco. There’s another mask who helps the bad guys. He’s called Uka Uka and he is Aku Aku’s brother.

Ah, almost forgot the… hmm. Not sure what he is. Some kind of mutant croc from…Australia, maybe? Dingodile.

OK, look, this is getting too complicated. I’ll throw together some bios or something that you can look at later, but in the meantime, let’s play!

Select Your Playstyle!

Crash 4 gives you the option to play 2 different ways:

  • Retro – Familiar to classic Crash players, you accumulate lives by collecting Wumpa (100 Wumpa = 1 life), if you run out of lives then you restart at the beginning of the level instead of the last checkpoint.
  • Modern – After you die, your Death Counter will increase, but you’ll always restart at the last Checkpoint. No, it’s not a crutch – these levels are a legit challenge. (Fear not, you’ll die plenty.)

And we’re off!

After decades of being trapped together, Uka Uka uses his magic to tear open their time prison, allowing bad guys Dr. Neo Cortex and N.Tropy to escape – but some unexpected, Universe-threatening side-effects are afoot. Aku Aku senses this, and dispatches Crash towards N.Sanity Peak to find out what’s going on.

Welcome to N.Sanity Island!

Run/Jump/Smash: There’s a whole lot of real estate between you and the end of the level. Run and Jump your way through it!

On the keyboard, use [W,A,S,D] keys to control movement, and use [Spacebar] to jump. You can hold down [K] to crawl.

(This Guide will reference the Default controls for keyboard. If you want to customize your keyboard controls and/or you’re using a gamepad, you can change/view your controls from within the Options menu.)

Use different attacks to defeat enemies, and you can smash Crates to collect Wumpa.

  • Spin Attack [J] – Good to take out most enemies! Also a good way to quickly clear out stacks of Crates.
  • Jump Attack [Spacebar] – Many (but not all!) enemies can be defeated by landing on them after a Jump. Landing on Crates will cause you to bounce off them. (Different Crates respond to bounce differently – see Crate Expectations below!)
  • Slam Attack – After jumping, press the Secondary key [K] to smash piles of Crates below you!
  • Slide Attack – Great against enemies, use [K] while running to start your slide.
  • Double Jump – Need to get a little extra distance? When jumping, you can press the Jump key [Spacebar] again to get a little higher. Or further. Or both!

Tip: Precision jumping in 3d games can be hard to judge, so we added something to help. When jumping, check out the little circle beneath you – it will show you where you’ll land so you can line yourself up for the best possible landing! If you hate help, you can turn it off in the Options menu. (But if you hate help, why are you reading this guide?!)

And that’s just the basics – throughout the game, you’ll also swing on Ropes, glide along Vines, find places to Wall Run, ride animals, and plenty more.

Oh, and as mentioned earlier, you’ll die. A lot. It’s kind of a thing with Crash games. But it’s okay! You’ll get better and Crash will die less. Win/win!

Crate Expectations

Why smash Crates? Because it’s fun! There’s also a lot of stuff inside Crates, some of it is really useful! (Although some of it is really dangerous.)

This isn’t a full list of all the Crate types, but should be enough to get you started.

Regular Crate – Destroyed when landed on or hit with an Attack, worth 1 Wumpa.
Bounce Crate – Bouncing on a Bounce Crate gives 2 Wumpa, allows 5 bounces before destroyed.
TNT Crate – Bouncing on a TNT crate starts a 3-second countdown to an explosion!
Nitro Crate – Explodes when touched* – it’s a good idea to keep away from them.
Arrow Crate – Gives the player a much higher bounce.
Strong Crate – Destroyed only by a Slam Attack.
Checkpoint Crate – SUPER important Crate, you’ll respawn here if you die instead of back at the beginning of the level.
Aku Aku Crate – Gives an Aku Aku mask, which absorbs hits from enemies/hazards. One mask gives 1 hit of protection, collect a second to give 2 hits of protection, and collect a third to become Invincible from all hits for 20 seconds!

(* Technically a Nitro Crate explodes RIGHT AFTER it gets touched. If only there was a way to Slow Time, you might be able to use them as platforms. Ah well.)

Bonus Areas

Do you like smashing crates? Sure you do! Most levels have optional Bonus Areas that you can enter, just step on the Question Mark platform and it will take you to it. Bonus Areas are side-scrolling puzzle areas filled to the brim with crates, BUT you only get credit for the wumpa and broken crates within a Bonus Area if you make it to the exit Platform. If you die in the Bonus Area, you have to retry from the start to get all those goodies. Too harsh? OK, fine – If you die inside a Bonus Area, it won’t cost any lives or increase your Death Count, we’ll just pop you outside and you can decide whether to try again.

You don’t need to do Bonus Areas to complete the level, but you’ll need to complete the Bonus Areas if you want to get ALL the Crates in the level. “Why would I want to do that?” I hear you asking. Well, keep reading until you hit the ‘Collectible Items Guide’ later on.

Quantum Masks

Right, so – Masks. Masks are very powerful in Crash’s universe. In addition to Aku Aku, you’ll be introduced to 4 more Masks over the course of Crash 4. (Coincidence? Maybe!) These Quantum Masks give a special power to Crash or Coco when used. Quantum Masks appear throughout the levels when you need them – if you see a Quantum Mask, you can be sure the next bit of the level will require their usage! Quantum Masks will disappear on their own after they’re no longer needed.

Lani-Loli can Phase Shift items/platforms/enemies in/out of existence.
Akano upgrades your spin power to be ultra-destructive and gives you the ability to ‘glide’ while spinning!
Kapuna-Wa can Slow Time (!!) – but be careful, she can only do it for a short while before time is restored to its normal speed.
Ika-Ika reverses Crash/Coco’s gravity! (Don’t leave footprints on the ceiling, our cleanup crew is already overworked.)

  • Toggle a Mask Power with the I key.

Dimensional Map

After completing N. Sanity Peak (the second level) you’ll be introduced to the Dimensional Map, where you can quickly choose levels and check your progress.

Playable Heroes (and… Villains?!)

Crash’s younger sister Coco is the brains of the family. She’s a tinkerer and a problem solver by nature, possessing an innate inquisitiveness and blue-sky imagination. Her trusty pink tablet is never far from her reach. It’s filled with neatly organized schematics, work-in-progress ideas, and notes to herself. You start the game as Crash, but after completing N. Sanity Peak you can switch between Crash and Coco when you’re in the Dimensional Map by pressing [Tab]!

There are other characters that you’ll control during the game, these occur during specific levels. They have different abilities than Crash and Coco.

Tawna comes from a universe where she’s the hero – a confident, accomplished adventurer. She’s been all over the world and has yet to meet a cliff she won’t dive off, a mountain she won’t climb, a cave she won’t explore. When she accidentally falls into another dimension, she doesn’t even bat an eye. More worlds to explore are cool by her. She has a hookshot ability and has a wicked roundhouse kick.

Dingodile is a creature of simple desires. He just wants to do whatever, whenever, with whoever – none of your business, mate. Dingo would have been happy to lay low and live out the rest of his days in peace… well, relative peace. He finds out the local bat population has taken a disliking to him when they blow up his beloved diner. He takes his explosive revenge, but before he can rebuild, he winds up falling through space and time to another dimension. Dingodile uses his Vacuum Gun to grab Crates – and can put the gun into reverse to hover over gaps!

Dr. Neo Cortex is Crash’s oldest enemy, his arch-nemesis, and, perhaps somewhat awkwardly, his creator. Cortex is your classic mad scientist – though he’s less interested in science as a discipline but instead more as a means to his nefarious ends. He won’t be content until he rules the world, though heaven knows what he’d do with it once he had it. Cortex has a Dash ability, and uses his Ray Gun to transform enemies into different forms – ‘regular’ or ‘extra bouncy’ platforms!

Collectible Items Guide

Crash Bandicoot is big on collecting things. You thought Crates and Wumpa were all there were to collect? Think again, my friend – Crash 4 is chock full of stuff.

There’s a LOT to collect in this game, but you might find that you just want to get to the end of the level and find out what happens in the story. Totally fine! We wanted to make a game that everyone can enjoy, but has layers of stuff to keep them coming back for more for those who want to keep playing past the ‘you win!’ stage.


Each level gives you an opportunity to get 6 Clear Gems on a Normal* playthrough:

  • Collect 40% of all Wumpa in the level
  • Collect 60% of all Wumpa in the level
  • Collect 80% of all Wumpa in the level
  • All Crates in the level broken
  • Finished level with 3 or fewer Deaths
  • Collected the level’s Hidden Gem

(*Yes, I’ll talk about Normal playthroughs later.)

“Why do I want Clear Gems,” you ask? Check out ‘Skins’ below!

Color Gems:
See ‘Color Gem Found’ in the image above? Some levels also contain a well-hidden Color Gem – Red, Green, Blue, Yellow. Collecting a Color Gem in one level unlocks a Gem Path in another level – possibly more than one! Yes, this means that in order to get ALL the Crates in a level that contains a Gem Path, you’ll need to first obtain the corresponding Color Gem in the other level.

No, I’m not going to tell you how/where Color Gems appear. Yes, I might be a jerk for not telling you. But rest assured you will KNOW I am a jerk when you find out how/where they appear.


Collecting the Gems in a level gives progress towards unlocking a Skin for Crash/Coco. You can apply Skins within the Dimensional Map by hitting [Spacebar], then choosing the Skin you want to use.

Skins obtained in earlier levels require you to grab all 6 Gems in a Normal playthrough of the level (There’s that word Normal again…), while Skins available from later levels require up to 12 Gems!

Okay, I can hear you already: “Wait, what? You said there were 6 Gems in a level, how am I supposed to get 12?” Well, remember when I talked about Normal playthroughs? Later in the game you’ll unlock a whole new way to replay levels – N. Verted Mode!

N. Verted Mode

When you defeat a potion-guzzling Boss named N.Brio (about midway through the game), you’ll earn the ability to replay levels in an ultra-weird way – left is now right in this mirrored mode, and the worlds appear in completely different art styles. You’ll collect odd fruit called Bumpa instead of Wumpa (as though Wumpa wasn’t odd? …OK) and the Clear Gems are upside down. Oh, and the Hidden Gems from the Normal playthroughs? They’re available in N.Verted mode, just not in the same positions as Normal mode, because that’d be too easy. Using similar Gem rules with respect to Normal playthroughs, N.Verted playthroughs can give you 6 more Clear Gems, for a total of 12 per level!


After completing a level, you have the option of replaying the level in a special Checkpoint-free Time Trial mode!

Look for the clock token near the beginning of the level, then collect it – a Timer will start, and you’ll race against a speedy Ghost! (For you ‘old school’ players, you can turn off seeing the Ghost in the Options menu.)

In Time Trial mode, many Crates are changed into Time Crates – hit them for time bonuses that stop the Timer.

Reaching the end of the level will measure your time and award you a Relic if you beat the Ghost time. There are multiple tiers of Relics awarded, ranked in difficulty: Sapphire, Gold, Platinum – and the ultra-difficult Purple Relic, which means you beat the best time of our top Crash player on the Toys For Bob Design Team!

There’s a Relic you can earn that isn’t part of a Time Trial. If you get no deaths + all Crates broken on a playthrough of the level, you will unlock an N.Sanely Perfect Relic for that level!

Do you NEED an N.Sanely Perfect Relic? Well, no. While not necessary to collect, the N.Sanely Perfect Relics are the ultimate challenge to be conquered.

Flashback Tapes

When playing a level (starting on Crash Compactor – the 4th level of the game), you might encounter an item that looks strange, like something out of the 1990s. That’s a Flashback Tape, and it harkens back to when Crash and Coco were test subjects for Dr. Neo Cortex many years ago. Collecting one unlocks a Flashback Level, one of the devious side-scrolling puzzles thought up by Cortex to test the Bandicoots.

Sound neat? It is! But here’s the catch: You can only collect the Flashback Tape within a level if you start at the beginning and make it all the way to the Tape without dying. If you die once, you’ll have to restart the level to reset the Tape, otherwise it will remain ghosted and you can’t pick it up. Levels occurring earlier in the game have these Tapes appear near the beginning of the level. In later levels…they’re nearer to the end. (It’ll be a challenge! Who doesn’t love a challenge?)

Once you retrieve a Tape, you can access your newly-collected Flashback Level from one of the special Flashback locations on the Dimensional Map, or from the Menu.

The Flashback Levels have their own Flashback Relics that you can earn by doing the following:

Sapphire: Complete the Flashback Level
Gold: Complete the Flashback Level with 90% of the Crates broken
Platinum: Complete the Flashback Level with ALL Crates broken

This Game Progress screen (from the Save Slot menu) shows every Collectible earned: all Gems, Relics, Flashback tapes, and Flashback Relics. This works out to the game being ‘completed’ at 106%! (Is our math bad? Or is there something about 106% that makes sense? It’s a secret!)

Phew! I’m exhausted. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. (Or maybe I’m just keeping things hidden.) Either way, this Guide should give you more than enough info to make your own mischief for the bad guys and do Crash and Coco proud. We at Toys For Bob are excited for you to play this game – we had a ton of fun making it and it’s been a great pleasure to see so many people enjoying it. Or cursing our names. Or both!

Easter Eggs – SPOILERS(?)

During Crash 4’s development there were several things that came up that we are excited to share with you.

These might be considered *SPOILERS* for the story, so read at your own risk.

Lani-Loli was originally going to be 2 different characters that each popped into existence depending on which ‘phase’ the mask was in.

Akano went through a few design changes – at one point using the mask made Crash/Coco super-heavy and invulnerable to damage, but couldn’t double-jump.

There’s a seamonster mini-boss named Louise that is named after a Toys For Bob team member, Lou Studdert. (You’ll be relieved to know that Lou does not have tentacles.)

You might see some visitors from other Toys For Bob games float past in the background of the Off Beat level.

One of our artists placed some hidden Arcade Game cabinets in one of the Space levels that – as far as we can tell – no one has found yet.

Late in the game, during The Crate Escape mission, you run and jump on giant cargo containers as they fall out of the back of Neo’s Airship. Originally it was supposed to be at a much lower altitude and you’d be buzzing past skyscrapers at ridiculous speeds, but nobody could complete it because of motion-sickness issues.

Music To Our Ears

At Toys For Bob, we’re always looking for opportunities to create fun interactions between audio and gameplay.

In Off Beat, pay attention to the movement of the platforms and the projectiles fired by the horn players. Listen closely to the music which will help you anticipate the right moment to make it through the obstacles. Oh, and don’t forget to lay down some awesome solos with the interactive keyboards and drums!

Check out the robot’s mad drumming skills in the Stage Dive boss fight – our animators used the MIDI note data from the drum track to create bespoke animations sequences for each section.

Once you defeat N.Gin, you’ll also notice that the disabled robot drummer in Overland Map will come alive and start drumming to the beat of the music.

While you’re exploring the Overland Map, also notice how the music instrumentation and style smoothly morphs based on which area of the map you travel to. We had great fun working on these remixes!

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