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Crystals, also known as Power Crystals in some of the later games, are bright purple minerals that have a lot of energy. Due to their power, they are coveted by villains, especially Neo Cortex, who uses them as a power source for his inventions. Crystals first appear in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and have since appeared in almost every Crash Bandicoot game.
In several main series installments, there is a Crystal in every level, usually found near or at the end. The games usually have a total of 25 Crystals, owing to there being the same number of levels.
Crash Bandicoot series
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
In Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, Neo Cortex lands in a cavern that contains a large Master Crystal, which he decides to use to harness the power of the upcoming planetary alignment and use it to power up his new Cortex Vortex and enslave the Earth. But a year later, it is discovered that 25 "Slave Crystals" scattered across the surface are also needed for the Cortex Vortex to reach full power. Without any earthbound operatives left under his control, Cortex decides to deceive Crash into collecting the Crystals for him. Thankfully, Coco manages to reveal Cortex's plot to Crash just before he can hand the Crystals to him. After pursuing and stranding Cortex in the depths of outer space, Crash discards the Crystals into space, so that they may never be used again. The Master Crystal is presumably lost when Doctor Cortex's space station is struck down by N. Brio's laser beam.
Crash Bandicoot: Warped
In Crash Bandicoot: Warped, Uka Uka and Doctor Cortex decide to gather the Crystals in their original places in time using N. Tropy's Time Twister so that Uka Uka can achieve ultimate power and enslave the Earth. Once again, Crash manages to foil this plot and banish Uka Uka, Doctor Cortex, and N. Tropy to a prison in time.
Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex
In Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, the Crystals are needed to subdue the destructive nature of the Elementals. Each Elemental can be returned to their hibernation state with a total of five Crystals.
Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced
Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced is the first game in which the Crystals are named Power Crystals. In the game, the Power Crystals are needed for Aku Aku to replenish his diminished power and open new areas in Hyperspace to allow Crash to proceed in his journey to defeat N. Trance.
In Crash Twinsanity, the Power Crystals are needed to power Cortex's Psychetron and make the leap to the 10th Dimension. Six Power Crystals were needed at first, but thanks to Coco's intervention, four more Power Crystals were needed. There are 12 Power Crystals to collect.
Crash Team Racing
Crash Nitro Kart
In Crash Nitro Kart, the Crystals have the same role as in Crash Team Racing, and are used to achieve Purple Tokens.
Crash Tag Team Racing
In Crash Tag Team Racing, Power Crystals are a dark purple color. They are needed to unlock the Jump Pads throughout the park and gain access to the stolen Power Gems. There is a total of 142 Power Crystals to collect, which includes those in on-foot mini-games.
In Crash Bash, the Crystals are wanted by Aku Aku and Uka Uka for different reasons; Aku Aku wants the Crystals to never be used again as they're too dangerous to be left lying around, while Uka Uka wants to use the Crystals to achieve ultimate power and enslave the universe. The fate of the Crystals depends on which side the playing character is on.
Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage
Crash Boom Bang!
In Crash Boom Bang!, it is revealed that a wish-granting Super Big Power Crystal, a big crystal with smaller crystals sticking out of it, is known to exist in an ancient lost city. The Viscount decides to use the contestants of the World Cannonball Race to find it himself, promising the winner one-hundred million dollars for its discovery. The normal Power Crystals can be used as items during minigames.