Gaming's 9 most important crates

4. The Is-It-A-Box Crate, as seen in Mario Kart 64 (1997)

Is it a box, is it a block? No, it’s blatantly a lopsided Crate spinning around at a nice jaunty angle. That’s not a Crate, you might be thinking, it’s clearly not made out of lumber. Where are the cleats, the skids and the sheathing? Hush. This is the Mushroom Kingdom, and flashy question mark Crates are exactly how they roll over there. Like all good Crates, they hold precious cargo. Besides, if they were too sturdy, like their wooden colleagues, they would cause extensive damage to both Kart and driver upon impact. It’s important to consider safety, as these karts are going at over thirty miles an hour.

The race organisers in Mario Kart admirably go to the trouble of meticulously filling their Crates with an abundance of advantageous items. One of Mario Kart’s most famous power-ups is the one where you’re given a Crate of exactly the same dimensions as the one you broke to get the item in the first place, only more evil. Wait a second, you might be thinking, it’s physically impossible to store an item in an item of the same mass and volume. Look, it’s the Mushroom Kingdom, OK?

5. The Polite Exploding Crate, as seen in Crash Bandicoot (1996)

The two are often lumped together, but it’s already been established that a Crate is not a Barrel. The latter object is famous for being very good at exploding, often when shot. That’s exactly how the less bad-mannered Barrel likes it. The Crate, on the other hand, spends most of its time standing still, tall and proud, reciting its mantra of being a noble container waiting to deliver ammo and health to valiant heroes. But the Crate sometimes thinks about alternative career options, such as in Crash Bandicoot when it took on the exploding Barrel at its own game. These Crates are notable for being extremely polite, informing of their imminent self-destructions with a 3 second countdown. Let’s be honest, no Barrel would ever do that.

There are plenty of other Crates to be seen in Crash Bandicoot, including mean ones that are green and full of acid, special ones that hold copy after copy of Wumpa Island’s benevolent witch doctor Aku Aku and trusty regular ones which reduce themselves into piles of wooden shards at a moment’s notice. Smash all the crates in a level and you’re even rewarded with a crystal so shiny it must be worth an absolute fortune. It’s a tough world, but it is all part of a Crate’s life.

6. The Deceptive Crate, as seen in Half-Life (1998)

Crates were obviously famous before Half-Life, but their popularity peaked in 1998 when developer juggernaut Valve took a break from not releasing any games to show the world a little title called Half-Life. The game is so obsessed with Crates there’s even a puzzle where you have to jump across some giant ones in the very first chapter. The invading alien armies of the game were well aware of the mass popularity of the enduring wooden boxes, and would often hide nearby to catch unsuspecting health-and-ammo gatherers in their moments of greatest need. Pure evil.

Black Mesa’s workforce were so obsessed with Crates that they’d leave them absolutely everywhere, often to remind themselves of all the good things they were working towards. They’d also requisition a Crate for absolutely anything, usually hiding a trifling handful of ammo in each. Not to mention the zillions scattered about the place containing nothing whatsoever. Black Mesa’s last annual report before the Resonance Cascade revealed that 83% of the facility’s expenses were Crate based. Rest in peace, Black Mesa.


  • guiarherodrummer1998 - December 12, 2009 11:19 p.m.

    dude. that's pretty hilarious. I find it funny though, that Bowser would look for uneaten bananas in those MK64 Item boxes. By the second or third grand prix the bananas go bad, its not pleasant.
  • patri0t - December 12, 2009 3:47 a.m.

    the companion cube wish it were a companion crate right about now
  • gyromne - December 12, 2009 2 a.m.

    mercenaries had call-in crates. but good article btw
  • sofaku - December 11, 2009 12:08 a.m.

  • RedAppolyon - December 10, 2009 11:35 a.m.

    Hellooooooo!!!! Companion crate!!!!!
  • NanoElite666 - December 10, 2009 4:58 a.m.

    Glad to see I'm not the only one noticing the absence of the various crates of the Ratchet & Clank universe. How could you forget about them? After all the ammo, health, and sweet sweet bolts they've held for you over the years? Shame on you GamesRadar...
  • FunkeeMonk - December 10, 2009 3:08 a.m.

    What about ratchet and clank i mean really what the hell i love that game it got me into gaming
  • Defguru7777 - December 9, 2009 11:44 p.m.

    @John-117 I thought I'd have to be the one to bring up Ratchet and Clank's crates! Bravo on your crate expertise good sir!
  • BanHer - December 9, 2009 6:55 p.m.

    Dude. Where's Portal? I mean... come on, you can't have Crates without Portal.
  • bonerachieved - December 9, 2009 6:28 p.m.

    This article was so badass! haha awesome
  • DoctorCrazy - December 9, 2009 5:36 p.m.

    You know what I find funny? I recently picked up a copy of F.E.A.R. Files for $10 bucks, and thats the first game ive played in a lonnnnng time with ammo-health crates, and then low-and-behold a few days later GamesRadar has a crate article. Coincidence? I think not.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - December 9, 2009 4:07 p.m.

    Ah, crates.... :)
  • Maffiaso - December 9, 2009 4 p.m.

  • crumbdunky - December 9, 2009 3:27 p.m.

    No mention of Ratchet and Clank here? Seriously fellas that's really poor as no other series uses so many(bolt,ammo,bomb,camo(invicible),raritanium and those that switched between types too)crates, has done more with crates OR has so many in a given game. R&C is virtually synonymous with bloody crates! Had you done a feature on Xbox FPS games and ignored Halo it might, nearly, be a comparable mess up as this is the most glaring ommission I can remember in a long while from you lot! Some nice points in the article but when I got to the end without a mention of Incomniac's sterling efforts in fowarding the cause of crates in the medium I was truly amazed. I may not sleep now-oh, the injustice! Unless, of course, I'm just imagining the millions of crates I've battered for bolts/ammo/etc over the length of the series. Have I been hallucinating for the past seven years or so? OR is this an effort to play down Sony's long term publishing commitment to crates? Is GR involved in a MS scheme to take crates exclusively to Xbox platforms? Mmmh, IDK.
  • TommyG - December 9, 2009 1:46 p.m.

    There's the one near the start of the Ocarina of Time. You need to wake up lazy Talon with a Cucco, then push that crate to get into Hyrule Castle. Without that crate, Link never gets into the castle, never meets Zelda, and never saves the world. That's a pretty important crate.
  • michaelmcc827 - December 9, 2009 5:12 a.m.

  • smallberry - December 9, 2009 5:05 a.m.

    Yay for Douglas Adams reference. Nice article.
  • Cwf2008 - December 9, 2009 3:58 a.m.

    Lol i like the care package picture "Don't be ammo...Don't be ammo..." Lol even it hates being ammo. But wheres the Companion Cube (c'mon you know its technically a crate)
  • Coconut265 - December 9, 2009 3:16 a.m.

    What? Where is Companion Cube?!?! Companion Cube is clearly a crate, and one of particularly sensual and inviting design. Its perfectly angular beauty and the promise to never stab you makes it the greatest crate ever to exist in life. Companion Cube is, at the very least, the Jesus of crates.
  • TheCreamFilling - December 9, 2009 3:12 a.m.

    Error: the "crate" in the second Halo 2 picture is not a crate, it's an ODST drop pod. Also, I always liked the crates from the Command & Conquer series, it was a fun gamble: it could reveal the entire map, give you some cash, or it could be a nuclear explosion!

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