So, you’ve done it — You’ve braved the perils of Crash Bandicoot 4’s levels, defeated all of the bosses and are now staring down Cortex Castle, the game’s final level! Congratulations!
You’ve come this far having mastered the art of jumping, spinning and sliding, as well as using each of Crash’s masks of power. All that stands between you and a coveted Platinum trophy is this level and the final boss himself. So, why a guide for this specific level, you may wonder.
Well, dear reader, this isn’t just your normal run-of-the-mill Crash Bandicoot 4 level. In fact, it’s not your average platformer level, period. Some people call it “The Level from Hell!” Others see it as a cruel joke made by the developers. And others have just simply given up.
Wondering if it’s actually that hard? Yes. It is.
And, honestly, there’s not much one can tell you about how to make it through Cortex Castle with all of the boxes and the Hidden Gem. We have managed, however, to amass a few tips you can use to make it through this grueling test of patience and skill.
Be Prepared to Die…A Lot
Crash Bandicoot 4 isn’t the type of game where “prepare to die” is a mantra – even if its death scene are always hilarious! Oh boy, how many hours we’ve spent laughing whenever we accidentally touched a Nitro box or jumped too far!
Sure, there are sections that require good timing and on-the-fly use of your skills and power-ups, but, even a below-average gamer with some platforming experience can make it through relatively fine. Cortex Castle doesn’t just toss that all out the window, thankfully! It mounts them onto a ballista, aims for the moon and manages to reach beyond.
I hate saying this but Cortex Castle in Crash Bandicoot 4 is the “Dark Souls” of Crash Bandicoot levels. With that in mind, your first tip is to simply reframe in your mind the concept of dying repeatedly. The slogan of the Soulsborne player is that every death teaches you something. The same can be said about Crash 4’s final level.
It’s a gauntlet of challenges that starts off simple enough and quickly kicks it all into high gear. You may have thought you got good by clearing out all the other levels and bosses but this level presents itself with a time-old adage: “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”
The key skill you need to develop as early as possible is your ability to swap masks on the fly.
Imagine having to use Lani-Loli at the start of a jump and, while in mid-air, switch up for some time-stopping action, then immediately after landing, slide or spin your way through some hazards. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what will be expected of you in Cortex Castle.
If you’ve played through the Crash Bandicoot series, you might realize that obtaining the third gems in your third run-throughs would require a level of adeptness in such skills. This will especially be so in Crash Bandicoot 4 if you want to get all of the boxes and the Hidden Gem to get your coveted Platinum. Your mastery of swapping masks and chaining skills will be what makes or breaks your run and yourself.
You might want to spend some time in the early sections getting used to flipping the laser barriers. Specifically, you’ll want to train yourself to be able to kick off your jump by flipping the laser away and then turning the platforms on for your landing. The timing is exceptionally strict. This is likely why this skill is tested almost immediately at the start of the level. Use that initial opportunity to allow your fingers to learn the timing as it only gets worse from there.
Handling Nitro Boxes
Another skill you will need to master is using Kupuna-Wa to deal with Nitro Boxes. These can easily become your worst nightmare in Cortex Castle. Thankfully, the slowdown effect of this mask allows you to activate them and get out of harm’s way. It’s a tricky technique that you’ll have to spend a bit of time getting used to, just like the laser flipping. Do your best to commit it to memory as early on as possible.
Dark Spin Activations
This is the skill that will be required to get the Hidden Gem in Checkpoint 8. You need to be able to activate, deactivate then reactivate Dark Spin at a moment’s notice in order to avoid TNT boxes and to make it to the point where the Gem is located. This will include mixing in slides and double jumps in order to make it to the prize.
The best tip here is to just practice several times continuously turning Dark Spin on and off so your fingers get used to it. Believe us, when you finally grab the Hidden Gem, you’ll be thankful you did so!
Crash Landing on that Prize
That’s pretty much all that can be said when it comes to tips for Crash Bandicoot 4’s Cortex Castle level!
Always remember that it’s okay to take breaks if you feel it’s getting too much. Try again tomorrow in order to avoid any burn out – it’s still a beautiful game after all!
Also bear in mind that there are others out there who’ve suffered just as much as you have, so take solace in the fact that it’s a tough challenge you’ll eventually overcome!
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