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Why I never had problems with pattern recognition

Posted 10-09-2008 at 11:43 AM by VorpalBunny
I owned a few Contra games. Most notably, Contra: Hard Corps for the Genesis. It's one rare instance where the American release is harder than the Japanese one. You died in one hit instead of two, and all the cheats were disabled (yes, even the Konami code). It's one of the most cruel and unforgiving games I've ever played, and dying at certain points made the game so hard and unbearable I was almost certain to never make the same dumb mistake ever again. Unlike the other games in the franchise, you could collect up to 4 weapons, but if you lost your C or D weapon at a certain point in the game, the next spots would be so hideously difficult you ended up resetting the game and starting from scratch. If you lost your homing weapon while fighting a boss (which happens to be the only effective weapon), not even prayers could save you. I ended up memorizing every single last weapon drop and boss pattern just to get through the game, and a first time playthrough was next to impossible.

It took me over a week just to get past stage 5, and with the branching storyline, mastering the game took close to a month. The game itself was so hideously difficult, the experience after beating it for the first time was one of surrealism and disillusionment. There's more punishing games out there, but for me, this one was like the cruel taskmaster I kept going back to for more, without being totally unfair. There's almost always a safe zone that's hinted out beforehand, but a second of indecisiveness would mean life and death.

I've been through far worse, and this is where the early Megaman games come to mind. My first memory of being robbed of a game was while playing the ancient PC copy of Megaman, specifically the part involving the trademark disappearing platforms of doom over a bed of instant killing spikes. One of the blocks appears directly over your head out of nowhere, and missing the jump kills you because there's nowhere else to jump to. It's one of the most unfair moments in gaming, simply because NOBODY could have timed the jump the first time around. You made 5 jumps to platforms that appear IN FRONT of you, and expect the next one to also appear in front of you like the last 4 did. Then it appears right on top of you, and it's solid so you get knocked down when you try to jump over on top of it. What you are left with is a platform that's going to disappear below your feet in a few seconds, in the middle of a row of deadly spikes, and a cruel reminder of what to do the second time you make it to the same spot. If you ever wanted to make someone feel how cruel and unfair life is, make them play Volt Man's stage D:

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  1. RoflKnife's Avatar
    Go play "Unfair Platformer" =D.
    Posted 10-09-2008 at 12:47 PM by RoflKnife RoflKnife is offline
  2. VorpalBunny's Avatar
    I played through that and Syobon Action. Arbitrary and unintuitive deaths FTL D:
    Posted 10-11-2008 at 06:11 AM by VorpalBunny VorpalBunny is offline
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