In Crash Bandicoot, Gem Paths are used to pick up Crates in specific levels, which are a necessity to acquire the levels Clear Gem. A single Coloured Gem can unlock multiple routes. For example, after obtaining the Red Gem from Slippery Climb, the player has access to the Gem Paths found on Native Fortress and Road to Nowhere. Taking these Gem Paths allow the player to break the Crates formerly inaccessible in the level, leading to the player obtaining the clear Gem in that level. Both of these levels are originally found before Slippery Climb and so the Clear Gem on these two levels is unavailable at first. This game also exclusively features the Clear Gem Path in the 'castoff' level, The Great Hall. If the player obtains all of the Clear Gems in the game (which also requires every Coloured Gem), the entire path is complete, allowing the player to access the 100% complete ending.
In Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, unusable Gem Paths are not defined by the trails of small gems, but rather by a skeleton of a large, flat, platform gem of the appropriate colour. When the player obtains the appropriate gem, the platform solidifies, and the player is able to jump on the platform, which will carry them away to the Gem Path in another part of the level, rather than contained inside the same path like in Crash Bandicoot. But the idea of multiple Gem Paths unlocked by one Colored Gem was kept in this game. For example, the Red Gem will unlock the Gem Path in Snow Biz, and a portion of the Multicolor Gem Path in Spaced Out, which requires all of the Colored Gems to complete. This game also keeps the function of the Gem Paths of obtaining the rest of the Crates for a single level. This is the only game that does not have an individual Gem Path for the Purple Gem.
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped follows the exact same rules as Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. All Colored Gems unlock a single Gem Path, and a portion of the multicolour Gem Path similar to the one found on the previous instalment's Spaced Out, now found on the Egyptian themed Bug Lite level, along with allowing the player to collect the rest of the Crates in a single level.
In Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, the concept of a Multicolor Gem Path from the two previous instalment's on the levels Spaced Out and Bug Lite is scrapped, and the Colored Gems will only unlock one Gem Path per Gem. The platform design changes in this game also. The platform is now similar to a Death Route platform, but has the emblem of the corresponding Colored Gem on it. Sometimes, the Gem Path blends into the level, like it does in Compactor Reactor, and is simply a fence with the emblem of a Colored Gem. Other than this the concept is the same, and Gem Paths in this game, like all of the others, allow for the player to pick up the rest of the boxes in a single level.
Like in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, the colored gems only unlock one path per gem. Like Crash 2 and 3, the platform is a colored outline until you retrieve the Gem. Like the Bonus and ending platforms, when Crash steps on a colored gem platform, he will be teleported to the gem path. There is no Purple Gem in this game, but the other original colours are kept.