It's February 2007, at precisely 7:30 PM. Having just wrenched myself from a mammoth four hour Crackdown-session, I head down to the shops for some diabetes-inducing nourishment. As I walk past the rows of terraced housing, the roads slick with rainfall, I find my gaze drawn to the rooftops and windowsills. I'm not sure why, but I scan the five hundred yard stretch of road until I reach the bend. Then it suddenly dawns on me; I was looking for Agility Orbs.
I have a serious problem.
499, And Counting
I have to ask; why do we love Agility Orbs? After all, they're just static power-ups located across the environment in abundant numbers. Some require an approximation of skill to reach, but they're a passive pick-up with a passive effect. I didn't have the same love, say, for the Blast Shards in Infamous, despite serving a largely identical purpose.
Maybe it's because their - almost hypnotically - beautiful. Scattered confetti-style across Pacific City, a luminous breadcrumb-trail with benefits. The reward is instant, tactile. Or maybe it's the music? The soft humming that increases once you close in, followed by a wonderful tinkling as you suck it all in. Perhaps it's because, with each Orb gathered your filling your Agility skill and increasing your chances of replicating Neo's leap of faith across the City's high-rise sprawl.
Or maybe it's because, at heart, we're all little kleptomaniacs. We love collecting things, if not for the rewards then just for the simple pleasure of achieving a seemingly impossible feat. I hate to admit it, but on both Crackdown 1 and 2 I'm stuck on 499 Agility Orbs. It's maddening, but it's also the only reason I continue to play both to this day. I'm almost certain I'm the victim of a cruel glitch. Forget the cake. It's the last Agility Orb that doesn't exist.
In Crackdown 2, Ruffian took the docile, stationary Agility Orbs and bred them to be harder, faster. The result? Renegade Agility Orbs. Like their cousins, they hover on rooftops, pulsing with promise. However, draw near and they'll make a run for it, weaving in and out of scaffolding and comm towers as you desperately leap and bound in pursuit.
They're fantastic, and a wonderful example of how to improve on an already brilliant feature. Not to mention you have Renegade Driving Orbs, which require Stig-style skill behind the wheel to chase down. And then the usual roster of Hidden and Online Orbs, located in Pacific City's many off and online niches.
And yet, I can't help but always go off in search of my old favorites, the Agility Orbs. I'm drawn to them like a fly to the flame, following their sprinkled path across the rooftops or climbing to the highest vantage point to sight out the stragglers. I refuse to bow to guides to find my last Orbs. To this day, I pop in the Crackdown disc and bunny-hop across Pacific City; hoping, praying to find that last glowing Orb...
Love Agility Orbs, too? Stuck on 499, or are you just too damn good and have all 1000 Orbs across Crackdown 1 and 2? Well why not show off in the comments section below? Go on. You know you want to!