Monday, 22 October 2012

Crash Bandicoot - Progress Report II

And weeee're back, ladies and gentleman, with Crash Bandicoot! Today, our hero is off to visit his mentally ill friend, Ripper Roo. But first he's gotta go through...


The Rolling Stones? What does Mick Jagger and co have against Crash Bandicoot?


Well, these rolling stone discs are back. A little known fact about these discs are that they were actually the prototype to vinyl records, you can see the grooves for the needle. Unfortunately only one band ever used them, the Rolling Stones, and now they're so bitter, they use it as a creative way to hunt anthropomorphic animals. True story.


The difficulty has been upped a lot. Mainly because they added a lot more rolling discs with a variety of patterns to try and trip you up. And trip me up they did, at least until I became competent with the controls.


GRRR.


A new kind of token. This here is an N. Brio token. Same idea as the Tawna ones, you collect three and you get taken to a bonus level. These ones tend to be a little better at hiding, so I only ever get to one N. Brio bonus stage, and that is not until much later (SPOILERS: I die almost immediately...). God sake, N. Brio, can't you hear me knockin'?


I see that red box and I want it painted black. At this point I was still getting used to the mechanics and physics of Crash Bandicoot and I refused to risk getting that mask. By the end of the game, I'm able to pretty confidently deal with this TNT sandwich situation we have here.


Well, in the game of "Tic Tac Toe: The Wooden Crates vs TNT Crates Edition", Wooden Crates won! Twice. In the same game. Unfortunately, the TNT is a sore loser, so much as touch them and you better just run, forget about the goodies. What you want is right in the middle; it's an extra life. Nothing like an extra life to get you some satisfaction.


Oh yeah, this is what happens when you get crushed by one of the discs, Crash goes sunbathing. (it's hard to tell by the picture, but most of him is flattened and also dead). God, imagine if Crash truly died and ended up in hell? That would be enough for me to give sympathy for the devil.


This part is kinda mean, you just wait for the two discs to just pass each other, jump and then immediately as you land, jump again. There's another disc right after that, just in case you thought Naughty Dog would start being nice to you. They will never start being nice to you! (...at least, until Crash 2). For an added challenge, try to do in one swoop, never stop jumping until you get to the end. Then, and only then, will you be given the title of Jumpin' Jack Flash.


End of the level. No longer will I have to really stretch just to make a Rolling Stones joke. Now, please, gimme shelter, because the next level is...


OH YES.


Giddy up, cowboy!

This is a fun level...as soon as you memorise the pattern. Otherwise it's very trial and error and slightly irritating. But hey...YOU GET TO RIDE A PIG!

Warning, most of the screenshots here are blurry as hell, due to the fact it's all constant motion. I will at some point supply a video of this level to make up for it. In the meantime, please accept this alternate version of events.



"Yo, man, that party was INSANE! Woo! I am sooo wasted right now man. What was that? Would I like a ride home? Ah, you're too kind Pig-dude!"



"Woah, watch out for those spiky pillars, man. If you hit them, you will die and so will I. Heh, alcohol makes me a poet!"


"Two checkpoints, in the same area? HELLS YEAH! BREAK THOSE BOXES MR. BACON!"


"Hey, there's one of those mans with the red shields. What's that, 'pull over the hog'? YOU A COP, BRO? AVOID HIM, OR IT'S INSTANT DEATH! I maybe drunk, but I can still explain game mechanics, brah."


"Let's play some drum! Jump into it to go bouncy!"

We here at SGF HQ apologise for this...uhh...interlude. Back to our regularly scheduled programming...


So the idea of the level is to avoid the traps (the spiky pillars, the asshole men, the pits). While people with really quick reflexes could probably beat this without much problem, for the rest of us it's simply the case of remembering what's coming up. It never changes. In the above picture, to avoid Mr. Asshole, move to the right. In the distance behind the "42" is a drum, you jump into that in order to jump over the bottomless pit. This one is rather hard just because I concentrate on avoiding this man too much and forget I have to jump from quite a distance in order to land on the drum. Too late and you'll jump over it into the pit. Too soon and you'll just hit the damn thing and die.



The spit roasts are easy enough to dodge, you jump over the first, stay grounded for the second and jump over the third and last. After that it's just one more evil man before you're home free.


Oh no.


Anything but this!

Unfortunately, it's the return of the dreaded "gate" level. It's much longer and harder than The Great Gate. Nothing much has changed though, all the enemies and traps from the first level are here as well. The rotating platform section is also back, this time there are three of them, each one getting increasingly longer. Overall, I had over 30 minutes of footage from this level alone. Crash Bandicoot levels are not meant to be that long.


It does introduce an interesting mechanic, using enemies to get items. This will come up a fair amount in later levels, but this level did it first. I think, I could be wrong. I'm a professional, guys, relax.


This is the level where I decide "screw it, I'm killing all of these". And I did. This is actually the precise moment I went from happy-go-lucky to psycho killer. All I wanted was that life. I died getting that life. I just snapped and it was time for revenge. So I killed them all. Now, some might say "what's killing them all going to solve?". And it solves nothing, I know, but it gives me inner peace. I mean, it's better than being angry at them all the time. I don't want, for the rest of my life, to look like this:


GRRRR.


Here is a little interesting, if you break the second crate, the metal crate will fall on the TNT and set it off. You then have three seconds to try and get those two lifes. The TNT will take those crates with it when it blows.


Hehe, this is fun. You know what else is fun?



Skipping parts of the level by finding a hidden path. You know what isn't fun?


Overcooking your Bandicoot. The barbeque is ruined guys, I'm sorry. It just took a second for him to go from raw to burnt. Never hosting a barbeque ever again.



If you don't burn yourself like an idiot, then you'll find the jumps and traps starting getting a lot trickier. It's really fun if you succeed, infinite frustration if you fail.


See this? This is fun, but you've got a strict time limit or else the third one will burn you. It was insult you, causing the other two to say "OHH, YOU JUST GOT BURNED!" and then high five, and then it will literally burn you.



But eventually we get through it, at long last.


And hey, we're on the second island!



And it's another one of these levels, and I cannot complain because I truly do like these levels. But much like the previous level, it's just a slightly longer version of the other level of this archetype, 'Upstream'.




This creek has nothing new to offer. A decent singer, but there's only so many times you can hear it sing that famous Radiohead song "I'm a creek" before it starts getting a bit annoying.


"AND WHAT A DIVE! Minimal splash on entry. Now we're just waiting for the judges score...and it's a 10 ACROSS THE BOARD! Crash Bandicoot of Australia has won gold, with a new Bandicoot Olympic Record".


A path of lilypads. Or a lilypath, as I'm gonna call it from now on.


This is what I was talking about before, with the Dark Venus Fly Trap and the Flying Fish conspiring to kill you. It's not really dangerous, but the window of opportunity isn't that big. It's quite easy to die here.


Well that was nice. But, FINALLY, we get to visit our friend! I brought grapes, because that's what you bring to people in a hospital, right? So, where's our buddy?



Oh, look he's happy to see us!


So yeah, Ripper Roo is annoying when you first meet him. He moves in a pattern, the idea is that the BIG TNT will slowly move downstream and you have to hit it while timing it so Ripper Roo hops on to a square adjacent to it as it explodes. He only takes three hits, but each time his pattern grows bigger and more complicated. Noticing patterns are not my strong point, and I lost every single one of my 15 lives I came into the battle with. The main obstacle is actually the water, even though it tooks barely shin deep, fall in it and it's death. I've now finished the game and I can say that I didn't lose half as many lives to all the bosses combined than what I lost to Ripper Roo. In fact, the rest of the bosses are really easy. Ripper Roo isn't hard either, I was just terrible.

Unfortunately, when I came back the next day, I forgot to hit record. And you know what happened? I beat him, first try, in less than thirty seconds. And I'll never be able to prove it. Lovely. Oh well, at least I got some fireworks...


No, I'm not quite sure what's going on in this picture either...

Next time on Crash Bandicoot: When the levels get hard, the hard gets levels. Or something.

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