Saturday, May 14, 2011

Video Games That Made Me Scream!

I've played a lot of games over the years. Some made me cry, but those are the exceptions. The normal reaction is to SCREAM MY HEAD OFF! Usually in frustration, but sometimes in genuine fear.

The first game I remember screaming over was


Mario 3

As a kid, Super Mario Brothers 3 was the coolest game in existence, and like every kid my age, beating the game was no problem until I tried it without warp whistles. Damn pipe world always got me. Either that or Ice Land.

I remember one day i was playing it with my father. Hit level 6-5, which was always tough for me as a kid. It involves getting a leaf, stunning a turtle and flying the shell up to a hidden platform and using it to break blocks so you can enter the pipe and reach the exit.



Now it's easy, but I was a kid back then. My coordination wasn't always that good, so the level gave me a lot of trouble. What's worse is I'd done it many times before, but sometimes I couldn't get the movements down as fast as I needed to. If you take too long to get up to flying speed, the turtle wakes up and you have to start over. For a little kid, being that coordinated on a time limit so tight is pretty frustrating.

So when I failed for maybe the third time at the level, my father joked to my mother "hey, hon, finally a level Jimmy can't beat!"

I turned to my father and yelled "YES, I CAN!"

There was a pause. My father got the Mt. Rushmore look on his face. Then he told me to shut off the game and lighten up. He was right. It was just a game. But I was pissed off, like any true gamer would be. I knew I could beat the level, but I just couldn't get Mario up there with that turtle shell fast enough, and that's what pissed me off so much.


Corridor 7

Boy do I hear a lot of bad reviews about this one. You don't have to remind me: yes, I know it's a Wolfenstein clone, the controls are awkward, it's derivative and there are few projectiles to dodge so pretty much if the enemy is looking at you while his gun is going off, he's hitting you.

I don't get why everybody hates this game. Wolfenstein 3D had these exact same shortcomings. The same, sometimes unresponsive control scheme, NO projectiles to dodge, NO lighting effects and fewer weapons. Corridor 7 added variable lighting to the environments and even a little strategy.



Some enemies you have to hide from because they're too powerful. The game even had mines you could lay to take out tough aliens, and you had to lure them over the mines. Some weapons even allowed you to set them off from a safe distance. Did Wolfenstein do that? Hell no! Forget strategy! Just stand in one place and keep shooting--Hitler will die in no time! In so many ways Corridor 7 was better, but everyone hates on this game because it's a clone.

I'm attached to Corridor 7 because it was the first PC game I ever played. Before Doom, I had Corridor 7, and playing a computer game on my first PC was the greatest experience of my life! This means it was the scariest game ever! Aliens around every corner, some of which are invisible or disguised as filing cabinets and potted plants, and it's my mission to fight them! In games like Wolfenstein and Doom, killing the enemy is not required. The goal is to get to the exit. In Corridor 7, killing all the aliens on each floor is your goal, so it forces you to fight them! That was horrifying for someone who'd spent his whole gaming life on Mario 3 and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Yes, I was scared! The game even makes sure you're scared. At totally random moments, a disembodied alien face pops out of nowhere and flies straight for you! You can't hurt it, and it doesn't hurt you, but it happens at the most unexpected moments and it scared the piss out of me every time! Multiple times I screamed for several seconds, unloading shot after shot into empty air it scared me so bad! My buddy, Andrew, did the same thing when we took turns playing the game together. We both screamed whenever that phantom alien appeared, especially when health was low and we were just barely surviving, and yet we still had to face the enemy.

Scary stuff for the early '90's.


Ratchet and Clank

This applies to the whole series, but especially to the original game released in 2002. It's painfully difficult. Enemies shooting at you from all directions, walking upside down on metal vents and falling off because the camera keeps changing perspective, and you only have three hits! Sure, I upgraded to 6 eventually, but holy shit 6 hits is the bare minimum to survive!



The game is a third-person blaster. Ratchet and Clank's quest is to stop Drek, a business tycoon, from stealing parts of other plants to construct a new planet for his people. Ratchet doesn't care, until Drek's plan hits close to home. The story is pretty light until Ratchet finally gets on the ball and starts taking this seriously. That's when I started to care. Until then, the difficult gameplay kept me going, as well as the outstanding soundtrack from David Bergeaud.

The challenge comes from the obstacle course levels, unforgivingly spread-out checkpoints, and the lack of strafe. Guess Insomniac didn't think to put that in there until the sequel.

Then there's the final boss, Drek himself. Remember the final boss of Doom? Remember how disappointingly easy it was? Well, Drek is a REAL final boss! He's freakin tough! He gets a couple thousand hit points, and you only get six! Somehow you have to survive all three of his forms, ammo is scarce and bolts (currency) run out quickly so you can't buy more ammo after you finally run out. You have to scavenge ammo on the final boss! I died a hundred times trying to defeat him! I screamed so much I cracked my voice. Good thing the roommates weren't home or I'da had a lot to answer for.

But it's difficult for all the right reasons. It's unforgiving, but success is always possible and none of the challenges are unfair or uncalled for. It's a fantastic game, but hoo boy did I scream all the way to the end.

Twenty years after yelling at my father I'm still screaming at my games.

And yet, I keep on playing!

5 comments:

  1. I remember that screen in SMB 3 well. Ever play Battletoads for the NES? The turbo tunnel has caused fits for many a gamer.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, I remember Battletoads! Could never get past that bike tunnel. I would've mentioned that game, but I never owned it myself. Only played it a few times at a buddy's house and we didn't get far so I didn't bother trying to succeed. Thus, I never tried hard enough to yell at it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I rented it two or three times. Just enough to despise it!

    Every Megaman game other than Megaman II also made me do some cursing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Never played Megaman as a kid, but recently I tried it, and yes, it would've made me scream my head off as a kid.

    Ever hear of Lordkat? He plays difficult video games until we win! Some of them I remember and I don't know how he tolerates these things long enough to beat them.

    http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/bt/lk/uww

    ReplyDelete
  5. He's definitely got my respect. I've only beaten four or five of those games.

    ReplyDelete