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My Journey to 100% Celeste

My Journey to 100% Celeste

Back on the 23rd of June 2018, I purchased a precision platformer named Celeste. Since I was still in my infancy with gaming, I didn't know what I was getting myself into, but I still bought it, and shortly thereafter, I tried the game and completed it... I suffered every second of the way.

Those who have read Coming into Gaming Late — My Experience will know that I have only been what I would consider a "gamer" since 2018 (with some of the most excellent titles released). Though my journey began with God of War (2018), I soon delved into Celeste and died way too many times, but I still completed my goal and reached the peak of the mountain. Now, five years later, I've revisited Celeste and finished everything I left undone.

Favourite Achievement

1UP Achievement2

There are a lot of achievements that I loved throughout my time as I tried to complete my experience, but despite how many of them were memorable, I think I'd have to give this to 1UP!. This achievement has you getting five berries back-to-back without gathering any of them as you unlock the Super Mario easter egg and get a "1UP!"

This wasn't one of the hardest achievements at all, but what this meant to me was unmeasurable. I remember the first time I tried passing the first level and dying hundreds upon hundreds of times. Now, after having finished so much, I was not only using tricks I could only dream of doing, but I was also able to pass most of the world without touching the ground. And soon thereafter, I also passed it and got my first Golden Berry.

Seeing the progress I'd made was cathartic and emotional in a way. Like the great analogy to mental health and overcoming that Celeste is, I saw the progress I'd made, and I felt... good. Nostalgic for the struggle that I once had but still powerful and empowered by passing through it. This achievement, even over "Wow" and "Thanks For Playing", showed me how far I had come because it forced me to revisit something I'd struggled with before.

Least Favourite Achievement

Wow Find the Moon Berry

My least favourite achievement was definitely "Wow" — finding the hidden moon berry in the ninth chapter (Farewell). This means that you have to pass through the entire final slide (an arduous task already) and then add an extra section of platforming. The biggest issue I had with the moon berry is that you don't get a good checkpoint, meaning you need to pass the entire first part again so you can start practising some of the most challenging jumps you are given.

Truth be told, this didn't feel like the gratifying ending I wanted it to be. The difficulty of not having a proper checkpoint wasn't as rewarding as reaching the peak of the mountain or finishing Chapter 7 C-Side, and since I left this one for last, it was all the less enjoyable.

Notable Mentions

Thanks For Playing Complete All C Sides Celeste

There are various achievements that I felt noteworthy — from Celeste, which is finishing the main game, to Impress Your Friends, which is getting all of the Strawberries — but I think this section definitely has to go to Thanks For Playing (Complete all C-Sides) and any of the eight B-Side achievements.

I was reluctant to pick up the journey and terrified of trying to pass these challenges. Finishing the B-Sides was something I never thought I could dream of doing, and each new Chapter I had to face on its B-Side was a new moment of hesitation and doubt, wondering if I'd be able to surpass it. After finishing Chapter 8 B-Side, and getting Say Goodbye, the C-Sides seemed insurmountable.

Yet, once I started picking them up, I started to enjoy them so much more than any of the B-Sides and most of the main game combined. These short and sweet chapters were all too enjoyable to pass with new skills and techniques that the game gave me. And although I got stuck in Chapter 7 C-Side, for far longer than I'd like to admit (I had 500 deaths), finishing it and reaching Granny at the end felt like the correct ending to the game, and I felt unstoppable.

Was it fun?

Should You 100 Celeste

Although I'd love to say that the entire journey was a blast, I do have to admit that some of the slides had me cussing more than a sailor — a self-hating sailor, but that's beside the point. Despite that, however, I think Celeste is some of the most fun I've had finishing a game 100% in a while — every challenge felt impossible, and every time I finished it, I felt undefeatable all over again.

Truth be told, if I'd finished Celeste when it first released without the hassle of Chapter 9, I would have had few — if any — problems at all with this run. The final Farewell slide and its subsequent moon berry achievement are definitely low points for the game that is otherwise an ever-rising peak of enjoyment.

Should you do it?

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Despite this being one of the most enjoyable 100% achievements I've ever accomplished, I don't think I can confidently recommend it. While some of the most difficult challenges are entirely optional (like the ever-taunting Golden Strawberries), I felt that the Wow achievement to get the moon berry really boggled the experience. And although I hold a very special place in my heart for Farewell due to its difficulty and themes relating closely to my life and current personal struggles, I didn't feel it lived up to the ending that the original Celeste provides.

While I heartily recommend at least attempting B- and C-Sides for all of the chapters just to see how far you can go because of the exhilaration of completing each new slide, the arduous challenge of actually completing some of them might be off-putting and control-yeeting rage-inducing that I don't want to recommend for an experience centred around mental health, overcoming, and the beautiful ending that the base game offers outside of these additional bonus challenges. Perhaps, after all, this is a peak best left unconquered.

Artura Dawn

Artura Dawn

Staff Writer

Writes in her sleep, can you tell?

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