Monday, March 24, 2008
N+ Digital Masochisim
I remember some games from my childhood that were truly impossible to beat. NES games, mostly. Ghosts n Goblins comes to mind particularly. Maybe some of the Ninja Gaiden sequels where you had limited continues.
The memories of playing these games and never conquering them haunts me to this day, and those memories came flooding back when I downloaded N+ from the Xbox Live Arcade.
This game makes Super Mario: The Lost Levels look like Barbie Horse Adventures.
The game popped up on the Arcade at around 3 am one night a few weeks ago. In a bleary eyed haze, I downloaded the trial and started wall jumping around.
"This looks fun!!!" I texted to Darth Mikal. "MEGA-FUN" he texted back, an obvious reference to the Mega-Man series we both hold dearly and play regularly. So I dropped the 800 points and started cracking.
The first few levels were great. Just some casual platforming, coin collecting, anything anyone who likes Mario would enjoy. I got a bit farther, and the gaps to jump started to grow, the mines became plentiful, and missles began chasing me non-stop. "That stupid %$#@*& mother-loving missle!!!!!!" I yelled out loud as I stood up and tossed the controller in disbelief. My cats looked at me like I was insane. This little arcade game was actually going to be challenging.
Little did I know, not only would the game become increasingly difficult, it would reach a level of near impossibility quite rapidly. Not just hard, as in, your skills are not up to par hard (Ninja Gaiden). This is masochistically hard. And another, dirty little word: Cheap. Finding the right path to the exit becomes not simply a test of skill, but one of luck and patience. Because, there is only one possible route to take through that field of chain guns, missles, mines, and sentry drones, and if you dont hit the exact right combination of pixels at the exact fraction of a split second, you die instantly. And you will die. Constantly. Actually, there is an achievement in the game for dying 1,000 times. I earned it quickly.
A few days later I received a text from Darth, master of Ninja Gaiden, Mega-Man, Omega 5, and all things hard. "AGAGHAGHAGHAUUAGAGHAGHA" He was playing N+, and it was slowly driving him insane.
An hour later: "Noooooo! nononononono NO NO NO!!!!"
Two hours later: "This game is not good for your health man."
He was right, as I had long since given up on beating it. I got the acheivement for completeing the first set of levels, which was hard enough, and after doing that, I could tell what the game was devolving into, and wanted no part in it. I really hope that one day Darth beats it, but for his sanity's sake I sincerely hope he nevers tries, and just goes back to Ninja Gaiden on Master Ninja. At least that game is fun.