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Thursday, January 28, 2016

That One Level Part 3

You're trucking along in a game just fine and then, IT happens. What is IT, you ask? Why, it's the level that trips you up over and over again and makes you wanna crack your controller in two. TV Tropes likes to call these areas That One Level because despite all the colors these levels may or may not have, the stage has you seeing only one color: red.

75cm - Donkey Kong (ARC, NES)

Even by arcade standards, Donkey Kong is a short game, consisting of only four levels, three if you're playing the NES version. By far, the hardest level of the game is the third level 75cm. You've got small, moving platforms, Fire, the game's most prominent mook that can move up and down ladders and the stage lacks the Hammer, so Mario is completely defenseless. But the moving platforms and Fires are the easiest things to deal with. The most infuriating obstacle on 75cm is the freaking Jacks that bounce across the screen. When you work your way to the right side of the screen and get closer to Donkey Kong, these things become a serious threat. Jacks bounce in the exact same pattern each time they cross the screen but this knowledge does little to help you on that last ladder climb to reach Pauline. If you climb the final ladder at the wrong time or are in the wrong position, you're taking a Jack to the face. This single item makes 75cm a game stopper for a lot of new Donkey Kong players. In the NES version of Donkey Kong 75cm is the second stage. 75cm is a stage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and unsurprisingly, its a much loathed stage.

Supply Lines - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2, XB, PC)

If you ever tire of being a taxi driver, popping off rival gang members and increasing your wanted level, there are plethora of missions to do in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, many mandatory, some optional. One such optional mission is Supply Lines, one of Zero's missions, a good buddy of CJ's. In Supply Lines, you take control of an RC plane to shoot down five moving targets in San Fierro, the San Andreas version of San Francisco. Sounds like an easy job, right? The only thing standing in your way of completing your objective is the shoddy controls of the RC plane.

Picture if you will, the most difficult flight based controls in a video game that you've ever played. Now those awful controls of whatever game you're thinking of? That's Heaven. The RC controls here are Hell. Whatever game burned you with bad flight controls has nothing on Supply Lines. Oh and because garbage controls weren't enough to deal with, the RC plane has a limited amount of fuel, placing a time limit on what is already a highly stressful mission. But you're likely to crash and burn the plane a few hundred times long before you come close to getting the hang of the crappy controls. Why are we doing this mission, again? Oh I said Zero was a good friend of CJ's, did I? I don't even like Zero all that much. Screw 'em.

Scrambled Egg Zone - Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (GG, SMS)

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Game Gear and Sega Master System is one of the most difficult games in the entire character's history. The Acts have no checkpoints and every single boss act gives you no rings, meaning failure really stings here. But the real sledge hammer to the face comes in the form of Scrambled Egg Zone. You know those tubes in Chemical Plant Zone in the Genesis version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2? Scrambled Egg Zone is full of these things, taking up most of the level, in fact. These tubes are the primary means of transportation around Scrambled Egg Zone and as you may have already guess, it is very easy to get lost. Take a wrong turn and some of these tubes will send you to your death. If you're searching for trial and error gameplay at its worst, look no further.

King Stage 2 - Mega Man & Bass (SNES, GBA)

Mega Man & Bass is one tough costumer all around. It gives you no E-Tanks, the Robot Masters are some heavy hitters, and depending on whom your playing as, the severity of the migraine this game will give you has varying degrees at specific points. The game has more than its fair share of BS for both characters but King Stage 2 is straight booty no matter how you slice it. For whatever unholy reason, King Stage 2 is a a marathon level. It drags on and on, thanks in large part to the bosses, four of them to be exact, including King himself. King isn't what will make you rage quit. That honor goes to the tank boss and his three forms, more specifically, the first two forms.

Even with the proper weapon equipped, these thing take forever to kill and the first two forms have no life bar, which gives you the impression that these are mid bosses, but they are not. As aggravating as the first form is, the second is unquestionably the worst. You have to contend with the tank's second form while jumping on moving platforms over a bottomless put. That's a challenge in and of itself but Capcom didn't think that was exciting enough, so they decided to have the boss shoot a fist at you, which can destroy the platforms you're jumping on. Oh yeah, and we can't forget about that flash bang attack that whites out the whole screen, blinding you for a second, making it very easy for you to screw up and die. Bass has more options for avoiding the fist attack due to his double jump and Treble Boost but Mega Man? Oh, he is so shafted. King Stage 2 is the main reason some players haven never even finished Mega Man & Bass, myself included.

4-2 The Wild Red Yonder - Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (Wii U)

Most Kirby games are pretty easy. These are, after all, designed with entry level players in mind. Even so, some levels can prove more than a little challenging even for the experienced player. The Wild Red Yonder is one such level. Throughout the course of the stage, a ship frequently blasts Kirby and his Waddle Dee pals with bombs. You can see where these explosives are going to hit but steering clear from the blasts is still some tricky business. These booms from the bombs linger on the screen for several seconds so its very possible to take multiple hits from a single bomb blast. Often there's several bombs hitting the screen at once. To compound the problem, this is an auto scrolling level. The Wild Red Yonder brings the frustration for solo or group parties.


DS90Gamer said...

That Supply Lines mission was hell on earth the first time around and took me umpteen attempts to beat. Strangely enough, I completed it first time when playing the recent PS3 version of San Andreas (I found it easier to just last behind targets and blast them) BUT I was quite shocked at just how bad the flight controls felt - even worse than I remembered.

Reggie White Jr. said...


I've played a lot of aggravating GTA missions but Supply Lines really takes the cake. I'd almost forgotten about the PS3 release of GTA: SA. I might have to check it out.