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Sliding Scale of Collectible Tracking

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So you're working on a Collection Sidequest in a game, and you've managed to find 99 out of 100 collectibles... but you have no idea where that last pesky one is hiding. So you cave in and find a strategy guide to tell you... only unless you have a very good memory or you've been keeping track yourself, have fun checking every location to try and find the one you missed.

As a result, if you're going for 100% Completion in some games, it's better to just use a guide from the beginning or make notes to keep track of your progress, otherwise tracking down the last few could be painful.

This trope is about how hard or easy the games makes tracking down hidden collectibles.


Permanently Missable Content

Not only is there no way to know which item you missed, even if you figure it out there is no way to go back and get it. Your only option is to start a new game and make sure you don't miss it next time around.

  • The crafting components in Dragon Age II are like this. It's especially bad since there are a couple which are in locations where you'll have only seconds to grab them before an automatic cutscene gets triggered and you lose out. A DLC added a shop that would allow you to buy replacements for ones you missed, but this only helps with the ones in the first and second acts of the three-act game; miss the ones in the third act and you're out of luck.
  • Nearly all collectibles in Epic Mickey function in this way, most notably with the Gremlins and Pins. The game does not tell you how many there are, which ones there are, where they can be found, or whether you've obtained all of the ones in a region, and once you complete most parts of the game, the game permanently locks Mickey out of the area. There are also mutually-exclusive collectibles, where once Mickey obtains one, he cannot get another. The only solace is that every collectible has a unique name, so you can look up the ones you've obtained and compare it with a list in a guide.
  • The vital jigsaw pieces in Jigsaw are sometimes hidden extremely well, and you need to find every single one just to finish the story. You have a device that tells you if you're still missing any in a given time period but, considering that you can't backtrack during a time period to search, this can only help so much. The second collection quest, sketching every animal in the game, gives you no indication at all of whether you've missed something, and you may not even realize the quest exists until it's far too late to complete it.

Not Even Keeping Count

Not only does the game not tell you which items you've collected, it doesn't even tell you how many you have or how many are still missing. You might be one away, you might have 50 to go, you'll hopefully be able to tell once you have them all. Tends to occur with collectibles that the games doesn't expect you to collect, but some players still do for a Self-Imposed Challenge.

Could Be Anywhere

You could get it if you can only find it, but it could be anywhere in the entire game and there is no way to identify the ones you have.

  • Crackdown has the hidden and agility orbs. You don't need to find them all to max out your characters abilities (there are more orbs than you need and you can level yourself up other ways) but there are achievements attached, and the orbs could be anywhere in the sprawling Pacific City.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has this version with the "Threads of the Webspinner", a side-quest which requires you to find multiple (read: 26) individual pieces of Sanguine equipment. The quest giver will only tell you about a few of the pieces, while the rest are on seemingly random NPCs scattered throughout Vvardenfell. (Some are even possessed by non-hostile NPCs in towns, virtually guaranteeing that you'll get a bounty for killing the holder.) Even worse, if you don't find out about the quest before you start uncovering some of the items, you may have accidentally left them behind or sold them. While each has a rare enchantment, they aren't very powerful and are usually outclassed by other equipment you have at that point, which makes leaving them behind quite easy to do if you don't know what they are. The game offers no real means of keeping track of which ones you've found and turned in, either. The items will only appear as a topic in quest giver's dialogue once you've acquired them so that they can be turned in, meaning the only way to keep track is to know 26-X, with X being the amount of them which appear in his dialogue. Finally, the only reason most people bother with the quest at all is the final reward: a one-of-a-kind spell which includes the unique "Fortify Skill" effect. It is the only way to get that effect (which is very useful for spellcrafting and enchanting) the vanilla game. The Tribunal expansion makes this effect purchasable, making the quest even more pointless.
  • The Hidden Packages and other such collectibles in the Grand Theft Auto games. The photos/gang tags/horseshoes in San Andreas were limited to individual cities, while the oysters were all found in water, but could be anywhere in the world. Exception: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories gives you an option on your map to display the red balloons you have found and popped.
  • inFAMOUS has 350 Blast Shards for you to collect in Empire City. A tad easier than the other games listed here since you can press R3 on the PS3 controller and momentarily reveal the locations of blast shards within your minimap. But given the small size of your minimap and some the shards being stuck in really obscure locations, you'll still likely to use a game guide. This was fixed in inFamous 2, see It's here below.
  • The Metroid Prime Trilogy games have the Energy Tanks, Missile Expansions, Ammo Expansions, and Power Bomb Expansions. You can see how many of them you have, but not which ones they are or how many are left, save for a counter on the menu screen that tells you what percentage of all the items in the game you have.
  • [PROTOTYPE] has 200 'landmarks' and 50 'hint orbs' scattered around New York City. They don't appear in your point of view until you get close. Good luck.
  • Spider-Man 2 has:
    • 130 Buoy Tokens
    • 150 Skyscraper Tokens
    • 37 Hideout Tokens
    • 75 Secret Tokens
    • 213 Hint Markers
    • Of all these, only the hint markers are shown on the map, but because the map is rendered in-game and they're so high, you can see the skyscraper tokens if you zoom in all the way and look closely.
  • The random collectibles from the space stage of Spore. Literally could be anywhere. Except for Earth which has a fixed location.

It's Here Somewhere

The game tracks your progress in individual sections of the game (often levels) so you know when you have every item in a particular area and don't need to search there further. (The game might not tell you the total number that can be collected in each area, but you can always look that up in a guide.) How helpful this is depends on how big each section is — at least you're not wandering the entire world, but you still might have a lot of ground to cover as there is still no way to know which items you've found within an area, only how many.

  • Alice: Madness Returns has a chapter select feature that gives a brief overview of the collection progress of the four available kinds of collectibles. X over Y, where X is the number of location unique collectibles found and Y is the total in that chapter.
  • Assassin's Creed tells you how many flags/feathers are left in each city. Because of the size of the cities though, and the number of flags in each, it's still a trial. Assassin's Creed II breaks down the locations of the feathers into city districts.
  • Banjo-Kazooie and its follow-ups do this as well, keeping track of the number of items you've collected in each level. And between all the different types of items you need to collect, you're going to be looking at that summary page a lot.
  • Donkey Kong 64 has a very large amount of collectible items, so there's an option in the pause menu showing how many of them are collected/missing in each level.
  • Jak and Daxter games show you how many of each collectible you have found in each of the levels.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time tells you how many golden skulltulas are left in each area, but some of those areas are not small.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, there's also a sidequest involving finding four jewels. Their locations are provided on the Overworld Not to Scale, but it's up to you to search the individual screen for a secret entrance.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks has rabbits to catch. You can check at the collectors location how many of the five different types you found, each of which corresponds to the five terrain types. However, you can make things much easier by using the trademark map notes to mark each spot you find one at. However, the game doesn't really tell you how many Force Gems you need to track down, and you need all of them to reach all of rabbit locations.
  • Metroid: Zero Mission and Metroid Fusion will tell you if you've collected all missiles, power bombs and energy tanks in each area. Metroid: Samus Returns and Metroid Dread track collection percentage per-area.
  • In Michael Jackson's Moonwalker for the Sega Genesis, you have to find all the kids in each level (it's not a sidequest). They're often hidden behind doors and other objects, and the game gives no indication of where you've already checked.
  • Both Modern Warfare games and Call of Duty: Black Ops have enemy intel laptops to collect, and they show how many have been found on each level. Fortunately, there are only about 3 on each level, so it's easy to check each location.
  • Prince of Persia (2008) has 1001 light seeds throughout the kingdom. Fortunately each area only has 45 and progress is tracked on the map, so you know the places you still need to look.
  • Psychonauts, in addition to the individual identification mentioned below, tells you all the collectibles you've found in a level (save the ammo/extra life capacity upgrades). Thankfully, it discriminates by section in most cases, so you usually only have to look through one third of the level if you're missing something.
  • Rocket: Robot on Wheels only tells you how many tokens and machine parts you've got. The game uses Individual Identification with the tickets, with each one graded based on difficulty and coupled with a hint.
  • The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants uses this for both the mandatory purple objects/hats/balloons/exit signs/nuclear rods and the optional "evidence" .
  • Spyro the Dragon has gems in levels and the games tells you which levels in which you don't have all the gems. However, in 2 and 3, (and others?) you could use Sparx to point in the general direction of a gem or gems.
  • Stray: The main collectible is Memories for your Robot Buddy. The chapter select menu tells you how many Memories are in a level, and how many you have found, e.g. "Slums 5/7."
  • The blue coins in Super Mario Sunshine fall in here. There are 240 scattered around the world, and you need them all if you want to get all the Shine Sprites (though not all Sprites are needed to complete the game). The game does keep track of how many you've collected in each area, but you don't have any way of identifying which ones you've picked up and which ones you haven't.
  • The Collectopaedias in Xenoblade Chronicles track the items found in that area. Some of the Collectopaedias allow you to trade for those items, but for later ones, you are left tracking item orbs for that one final item you need to finish the Collectopaedia. Luckily you only need one of each item to complete it.

Individual Identification

Each item is uniquely identified, so you know exactly which ones you have and haven't got. The game only helps track what you've got though, it doesn't give hints on what's missing, but this makes it much easier to use a guide to help you if you get completely stuck.

  • Crackdown 2 shows every orb you've collected on a somewhat obscure map (it's under the achievements tab, and you need to select the achievement for the type of orb you're looking for) and allows you to 'ping' for orbs about once every ten seconds - if any orbs are near you, they'll show up on your radar briefly.
  • Each collectible you can find in Heavenly Bodies is identified by your notebook in the section on the level they're hidden in. Once you have them, they are displayed on a shelf to the left of the level select screen.
  • In La-Mulana, every ROM and piece of equipment (except for a few that replace each other) has a unique position on the item screen.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has two other collect the MacGuffins: the Twilight Bugs (It's Here) and the Golden Bugs (Individual Identification). The Twilight Bugs are shown on your map, when you get to them you need to look for the telltale electric flickering. The golden bugs are much, much more annoying, as the only clue to their presence is a faint jingle and the fact that they're shiny, other than that, you're on your own.
  • In Ōkami, feeding all of the animals can fall under Permanently Missable Content, as one dog can only be found when you travel back in time to defeat Orochi. Each of the Stray Beads, however, is numbered, can be gotten until you reach the Point of No Return, and has the area it's in listed.
  • The Pokedex in Pokémon is a combination of Individual Identification and It's Here!: it starts out completely blank but whenever you encounter a Pokemon, either in the wild or in a trainer battle, some information on it is added to the Dex, including where you can find it. Of course, the information the 'dex gives you is limited to what route you can find the Pokemon on, and not whether you have to fish, surf, listen to the radio, or whatever to find the thing. And it doesn't help for evolutions that you can't get in the wild, some of which can get rather obtuse.
  • Most of the collectibles in Psychonauts are easy to find and not too numerous, except the hundreds of figments floating around every level. Fortunately the game tracks every single one. By itself this is no help for locating a missing figment within the world, but at least being uniquely identified lets you use a guide to tell you where the missing ones are.
    • Emotional baggage. There's five different kinds, and each mental world has one of each, which you have to reunite with their tags; the collection screen tells you both what tags you have, and if you've taken them where they need to go. The Scavenger Hunt also tells you which items you have, and the campers' brains are listed off, but the latter isn't very helpful.
  • Sniper Elite 5: The game tells you how many of each type of collectible are in each area (e.g. letters, intel, mementos). When you find one, a greyed-out silhouette on the list will turn into a picture of whatever you found.
  • Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3: The main collectibles are historical artefacts and prestige rifles. They are unique, and on lists. Items that you have not found are greyed out on the lists. If you visit a "point of interest," then the game will tell you if something is there via map icons.
  • The hidden treasures in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves are listed so you can find the ones you missed, as well as a count of how many treasures you've found in each chapter. Unfortunately the treasures are listed in the order you found them, rather than in the order you can find them, so it's harder to identify which you're missing.

Here's a Hint

Some games make it easier by having a hint to prod the player in the right direction, which might be a pointer to the general area to search, or clues to the actions needed to uncover the collectible.

  • Batman: Arkham Asylum naturally has clues to the Riddler puzzles. There are also maps to be found that will put question marks on your map screen to denote the general location of unsolved puzzles. The game also randomly displays the clue to one of the unsolved riddles in the area whenever you enter a new area of the island.
  • Batman: Arkham City is somewhat easier, but still falls in this category. You can as before find maps to the various Riddler puzzles and trophies, this time by interrogating the Riddler's spies in other groups. Also, if you see a trophy but can't reach it or don't have time to go after it, you can permanently (until you retrieve the trophy) tag it on your map.
  • In Beyond Good & Evil you get detectors to show you where the Animals and Pearls are on the map, though you still have to figure out what to do once you get there. The pearls and animals are also individually labeled. The PA-1's, the Heart Containers, on the other hand, are "Could be Anywheres"—there's no hint to how many there are in-game, and some are quite well-hidden.
  • In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, the fortune teller in Naribwe will give you a hint on where a Djinni is if you give him a piece of armor.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games have a useful feature: if you have the Compass while in a dungeon, it will play a little jingle when you enter a room with a key that has not yet been collected.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has the fortune teller who, if you ask for her to foretell matters of the heart, will give you a clue to a heart piece you haven't collected yet.
  • The Power Stars in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy (and similarly, the Shine Sprites in Super Mario Sunshine) are individually identified; the name also provides a hint as what you need to do to collect it.
  • Star Pieces in Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door have features connected to them to help Mario find each individual piece. For Paper Mario, an in-game character will describe the location of a randomly-chosen Star Piece Mario hasn't yet found. For The Thousand-Year Door, Mario can equip a radar. Also, the I Spy badge in the first game shows a message above Mario and plays a short jingle when a Star Piece is hidden in the area. You don't even need to buy this badge: Rowf gives it to you for free once you get back his calculator from the Shy Guys.
  • Most Ratchet & Clank games tell you how many Skill Points are on each world and give you their names, which are usually hints as to how to achieve them. (In the first game, you only got this information in a New Game Plus.)
  • Red Dead Redemption has a subquest where you can find some buried gold using treasure maps - the catch is that these maps are in no way integrated with your normal map. Instead they show where the treasure is in relation to landmarks (such as an arrow pointing to a campsite on a mountain, then another arrow pointing to a pass visible from that campsite, and so on.) Each treasure cache has the map to the next location inside, meaning that when you run out of maps, you've found all the gold.
  • Tunic:
    • Manual pages are mostly visible in the world, but a few are hidden behind puzzles. You will know how many there are after you have found the contents page.
    • Fairies are hidden behind puzzles. The manual has a checklist with approximate locations (some in Cypher Language) and a hint about how to summon a location-finding helper. Understanding the hint and solving the puzzles are your problem.
    • Secret treasures: hints about treasure locations are scattered throughout the manual, and the hidden display room will tell you how many treasures there are. Understanding the hints and finding the room are your problem.

It's Here!

The game makes it as easy as can be, showing the player exactly where they need to go. So long as you follow the instructions, you can't miss any. Other games might only provide this level of help once the player has made sufficient progress on their own, or purchased the help.

  • Assassin's Creed II shows the locations of the codex pages on the map, only removing them when you have collected them.
  • Cozy Grove: Quests mostly involve finding items which are scattered across the island. These all have hints (e.g. "Near three skulls tied to a stake"), but if you can't find them you can buy hints from an NPC for 100 Old Coins, and these will put a marker on the exact spot.
  • In Hollow Knight, once you obtain the Collector's Map, you have the location of any Captured Grubs that you may have missed while exploring.
  • inFAMOUS 2 used the same system as the original, where the collectible blast shards would appear on the mini-map when you "pinged" them. When you complete 60 side missions (which isn't possible until you've almost completed the game) you unlock an upgrade to this ability that will also highlight the next nearest blast shard not visible on the map. You can use this to track down any errant shards you missed, using it to point you in the right direction until you get close enough to locate it on the mini-map.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess shows you where treasure chests are located in rooms of dungeon areas. But only after you find the map and compass first!
  • MARDEK has a map screen that shows you the exact location of all secret passages and treasures, including those not in chests, so long as you've gone reasonably close to them.
  • Metal Gear Solid: There are some places where you can find the SOCOM (your main hand gun) in the beginning of the game (most players will find it in a supply truck). If you fail to pick it up, it will just appear next to you in the first shoot-out with the guards in Meryl's prison, but you still can refuse to pick it up technically.
  • Later Metroid games, starting around Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, give you a way to show all the remaining collectibles on the map after a certain point in the game. But not log scans; you're still on your own for those.
  • Ratchet: Deadlocked goes a step further than the other games and tells you exactly how to get each Skill Point. On the other hand, there are a lot more of them than in any other game.
  • Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts: Every level has six collectibles (usually posters or notebooks), which are worth a bit of cash and count towards 100% Completion. Map icons show exactly where they are.
  • Vexx has a rhyming hint and arrows to show you the way to each Plot Coupon. (You can turn off the arrows if you like on the pause screen.) However, this doesn't stop some of them being Nintendo Hard to reach.
  • Yoku's Island Express leans toward the easier end of the scale — you can purchase trackers that show you where almost all of the collectible are (provided you've already been to that area). However, the trackers do not help you find cosmetic upgrades for your ball, some of which open items, quests, or areas of the map. Those must be found on your own.