… Ah. There really wasn’t much to laugh about, was there? Anyway, welcome back to our weekly Top 10, ladies and gentlemen, where we take a topic that you choose and we choose the best of the best in that category. Today’s subject is a little bit experimental, as we’re going to be looking at our Top 10 Mad Scientists and write up our thesis about their potentials for the top spot. We’ve taken a lot of candidates and we felt like we’d do something a bit different for this one. We’ve put a pinch of this and a dash of that together to give birth to a list which shows off the best of the best of these mad scientists. Creation is a powerful tool; so let’s see what these scientists can bring to life! (more…)
Level design is never an easy job, especially when you have to manage a large variety of levels and worlds. However some levels are so dreadful, that even years on, we as gamers raise our arms in frustration and say “Ah, sod this!” With all this said though, we’re not on about levels that are poorly made per se, but just levels that are genuinely bad to us.
So whether the level is downright frustrating because of how hard it is, or if the level is simply terribly designed, we’ve got you covered in this Top 10. Now it’s time for us to exit stage left and check out our best of worst levels!
10. IntelliLock – Mystery of Time and Space (MOTAS)
Ah the Intellilock, a lock that was designed to be incredibly intelligent, or so you would think. Actually, this lock is pretty smart in that it puts you through a rigorous game of “hey, press the right button!” There’s a lot of buttons you can press and when you press the right one, they all change to become another puzzle in amidst the already annoying puzzles. One moment, you could be looking at crosshairs, the next you could be given a simple number puzzle.
The issue with Intellilock isn’t that it’s a bad lock per se, or even that the level around it is bad. Instead, it makes you seriously think and it slows down your whole gameplay through Mystery of Time and Space. MOTAS as it’s affectionately known, is a flash game which you can play absolutely for free (just click this link). It’s really good fun, but when you come to the Intellilock screen, be sure to have a good memory or a strong logical brain!
9. Shalebridge Cradle – Thief: Deadly Shadows
This is a bit of an awkward one, and would have been placed far higher in the list if it weren’t also one of the best levels in Deadly Shadows. Throughout the game so far you’ve possibly walked the City streets merrily koshing or stabbing your way through a world that’s all too easily unburdened of life and valuables, and extinguishing every light that would reveal your presence, and a few you probably didn’t need to.
Welcome to the Cradle, half orphanage, half insane asylum, leave everything you’ve learned at the door. None of the lights can be extinguished, space is limited, and every occupant died a long time ago, but that hasn’t stopped them shambling the halls. If you’ve grown comfortable playing the master thief Garrett, be prepared to be made most uncomfortable, and otherwise freaked out, unnerved and generally annoyed. You’ll hate it, but it’ll make you want more.
8. Caustic Caverns – Borderlands 2
Good idea to replace all the water with acid, adds an element of risk, especially if you have to cross said acid a few times to get to essential locations. But jumping isn’t difficult in Borderlands, better make the acid bubble and splash so that it’s harder to dodge, OH and maybe if you put treasure and things in places you can only reach by jumping into said bubbles just as they burst! That’ll be great.
What else? What else? What if this is filled with creatures that can throw you great distances into the acid, or things that fly so you can’t look at where you’re going, or creatures that spend half the fight underground?! That’s sounds like a lot of FUN! PEOPLE WILL HAVE FUN! And now that we’re all having fun, let’s have a lot of quests in there, a lot more than any of the other dungeons in the whole game! Or at least let’s make it feel that way.
7. Kaizo Mario World
Kaizo Mario World is a trial-and-error game or “rage game”, I.E a game just like I Wanna Be The Guy. It’s a game where you might jump over a pit which would be an insta-kill, just to have a bullet bill fly at you JUST as you jump. Of course, this would go and kill you anyway. It’s the type of game that was made to intentionally annoy the hell out of you – and it’s pretty brilliant at it.
I’ve seen people die whilst just walking in that game. I’ve seen people die by being inactive. I’ve seen deaths by star blocks, deaths by chomps and deaths by goombas… Who appear out of nowhere! Kaizo Mario World is the ultimate test of patience. It’s not really a bad game at all, it’s rather clever in fact. But it’s such a bad idea for how a level works, that it deserved a mention. Please note: Kaizo is actually a fan based ROM Hack, so if you don’t own the official game, you’re not likely going to be able to play this legally! Still, it’s highly amusing to have a look at people dying pretty regularly on it!
6. Test Chamber 18 – Portal
One of the final phases of preliminary testing of the Aperture Handheld Portal Device, subjects are required to traverse elaborate corridor networks, and resolve a rather awkward puzzle in order to complete the chamber.
Test Chamber 18 is a bit of a doozy, and is often referred to as one of the hardest puzzles in the game, more than a few people were trapped in the little chamber for a very long time. The turrets add very little complexity, as they’re easily dispatched, but the solution is not all that obvious, and being trapped in that side room by a sliding panel, and some parts requiring rather narrow timing add little stressors that make the puzzle just a little harder.
The exit is a series of tall platforms reached by hurling oneself higher and higher, tempering your relief at completing the chamber with a little vertigo and nausea. Not to worry, there’s time enough to settle your stomach before the cake.
5. Safari Zone – Pokémon Red/Blue
Games seem to really love completely removing their own fundamental mechanics occasionally just to screw us over. The Safari Zone is just a prime example of exactly how gleefully the modern masters like to upset their fans. The whole point of pokémon is to pitch your pokémon against another pokémon and slug it out through means of tactical application of their various powers or abilities to whittle the opponent down far enough to defeat or capture it. The system works, and it would certainly be a great deal harder if you were just throwing rocks at your opponent, or if they could just run off whenever they liked.
Welcome to the Safari Zone, where your pokémon are removed from you and you have a limited time to throw rocks and/or bait at a kangaskhan until it either wanders off or actually stays in the damn Safari Ball. Oh, and your supposed to figure out that there’s a particular method when you’re 10 and don’t have a clue about strategy and just blast everything with hyperbeam until your PP runs out? Yet more proof that children should never be permitted to play children’s games.
4. Robot Masters before Dr. Wily – Mega Man games
The Robot Masters are the big baddies of the Mega Man series. Mega Man 2 is my all time favourite Mega Man, probably along with many other people. I’d always fight Metal Man first, then I’d take on Wood Man. Next I’d kill Bubble Man, followed by Air Man, then Flash Man. Crash Man is next, Quick Man and finally Er… Zippo Man. Heat Man, that’s his name! Then once you defeat all of the Robot Masters and take their powers, you can go to the middle section, which is Wily’s castle. Defeat the enemies before the big skull part and boom! It’s time to fight Wily.
Actually, no it’s not. Instead, you just find 8 doors that you can step through. Each of these doors have lights above them, indicating that they’re currently still active. All you have to do is go in and de-activate all of them. How hard can this be? Well, it can be incredibly hard if you’re only getting by with the skin of your teeth. You have to now fight all 8 of the Robot Masters all over again… And guess what? You don’t heal all of your health between fights either. Good luck, Mega, you’re going to need it!
3. Biker Tunnel – Battletoads
Have you played Battletoads? If you have and you’ve played this game with a friend, you know that most of this game is one massive mess. It’s a great mess, a glorious one at that. People only really took it seriously after it became subject to a bit of an internet meme targeting shops like Gamestop for a pre-order of Battle-Toads for the Nintendo Wii. All thanks to the above video: isn’t the internet an awesome place?
Nevertheless, it let people see the insanity that was Battletoads, inciting many people to then actually get frustrated with the games absurdly high difficulty. One moment, you’re playing a typical beat em up, with massive boots to kick the butts of your enemies. The next moment, you would be driving along a tunnel on a bike, with obstacles coming into contact with you every second. Don’t worry; that’s not all you have to contend with. Ramps are the only things that will save you from falling into the massive pits and you even have to hit those at the right speeds, else you’ll just lose. The Battletoads really had all odds stacked against them!
2. Water Temple – Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
If you thought the Water Temple wasn’t going to make our list, then you were only fooling yourselves. Yes, the Water Temple clocks in at a whopping number two on our list, which is totally understandable, considering the infamous nature of this level. People go so far as to call levels “the Water Temple of this game” when referring to the worst levels of whatever game they’re playing. At least, I’ve certainly referred to levels in such a way.
Regardless, the Water Levels is interesting in that it has 5 layers, which sees you navigating all 5 layers just to get through it. If it were just a case of having to do each layer, that’d not be so bad, but you need to go back and forth between the layers just to progress. You know something’s up when they admitted they made it easier during the remake for the game on the 3DS, because they felt guilty for how hard this level was. Traps, layers, puzzles – It threw everything it had at you and only the patient would survive.
1. Rainbow Road – Mario Kart
Wait a minute, before we continue, how come we’ve got a second Mario item in the Top 10? Aren’t we only supposed to have 1 entry from each franchise? You’re absolutely correct, it’s one entry from each franchise. However, Kaizo Mario World is a fan-made ROM Hack, which does not count as part of a franchise. With this out of the way with, let me now explain why Rainbow Road not only makes it into the Top 10, but why it’s our number one pick.
Rainbow Road is infamous amongst people who have played through Mario Kart, in any of it’s various iterations. When you start playing Mario Kart, you get frustrated by the players who are throwing those red shells at you and the people who leave banana’s behind. You get frustrated that people are better at drifting than you are and you want to just give everybody the Luigi Death Glare whenever they try to pass you and you hit them with a shell.
Rainbow Road stops everyone dead in their tracks, because now instead of contending with other contenders, you’re fighting with the game itself. You now need to try to get this road, this wavy, moving, wiggling road, to treat you a little bit better. In the Wii version, for instance, the Rainbow Road has the occasional ripple in the ground, allowing you to gain speed for making a jump off the ground itself… But that doesn’t always help, as it can throw you full speed off one of the many curved sides of the road. There are no railings to save you in this exceedingly long level! It’s a nightmare to navigate and the colours can be highly disorientating.
There are so many levels out there, but to call them all the worst would be a massive overstatement. However, we thought we’d show off two more levels that at least deserves a mention; One isn’t even really a proper level!
Tomb of Horrors – Dungeons & Dragons
Omitted by a small technicality, the Tomb of Horrors is a module for D&D that is used by DMs when they are sick to death of their group, it’s veritably infamous for how cruelly it tortures those adventurers foolish enough to try its entrances. Sudden death is abundant, puzzles are difficult, and non-lethal penalties are dramatic to say the least. The place is the current final resting place of the demi-lich Acererak, and is a death trap riddled with hazards, monsters and deceptions of a most sadistic nature.
Expect loss of limbs, change of gender, altered philosophical views, and the very real possibility of just starving to death. Being a challenge for medium-high level characters, most of these penalties would be a mere setback, even death would be a revolving door. Would be! But the necromancer Acererak isn’t so polite as to let you die like normal, death is an absolute, no coming back from this one.
Kill Screen – Pac-Man
So we all know and love Pac-Man and I’ve mentioned this highly broken screen many times before on this website, however it’s interesting to note that this is technically a playable level, even though it isn’t really a proper one. What I mean by it not being a proper level, is that this level isn’t supposed to be like this, but it’s just a memory issue with the game, where it doesn’t know what you want to do with all of the fruit ever.
Rotten fruit aside, the Kill Screen is infamous in Pac-Man. Having supposedly been beaten only once before, which is seemingly unverified, the Kill Screen is basically the end of the line for the most hardcore Pac-Man players. Some modern versions of the game include it just as an Easter Egg to those who figure it out and get that far. On the plus side, at least the screen is visually different than the 255 maps that preceded it!
I’ve had enough of going through dungeons and caverns filled to the brim with krakens, because how many of these guys can fit into such a small space? Not to mention that there are fire monsters inside of this water cave, how did this even make it past play-testing!? Nevertheless, we’re done for this week’s list and now it’s once again over to you, our audience, to decide what we do for our next list.
Did we mention those levels that were so dastardly to you? What about the order in which we ranked these worst levels? Do you think we unfairly put any of them in, or do you think we were justified in our reasons? Did we miss any out?! As always, life isn’t fair, but you can help us make it right by telling us your personal worst levels in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. Help us check through these games for the future of mankind’s sake: We’ve had enough of these worst levels!
Cosplay is still a major passion of mine, something that I go through a roller-coaster of emotions for. In the New Year, I intend to be doing a few new costumes and picking up the slack on ones I’ve sort of left by the side. These are my costume plans for the New Year, along with what characters you should expect me to be working on.
With all of the posts I’ve made about my next cosplay costume which has made very little progress this week (I was incredibly unwell at the time, oh woe is me), I thought I’d spend this time talking about the character behind the costume and have a quick look through the various franchises, looks and different media of Mega Man. It’s time to grab your Mega Buster and bust some robot masters!
whether you know him as Mega Man or Rock Man, there’s no denying this mega robots place in the history of gaming!
Mega Man (main series)
Starting at the beginning, the infamous bad-box art Mega Man. The original game of the blue bomber was a major hit, but it wasn’t until Mega Man 2 did these series of games truly hit their stride. Mega Man is now an iconic video game character, even though many fans seem to argue that he hasn’t been given enough love and attention as of late.
These original games were action platformers, with you controlling Mega Man himself to defeat 8 Robot Masters (usually), before taking on the big bad boss at the end (usually Doctor Wily). Jokingly, fans and detractors of the series alike mock Mega Man for the amount of times he has believed that Doctor Wily wasn’t involved in the schemes to kill him. I mean there are always Robot Masters involved for one!
Mega Man X
Developed by Capcom, the same makers as the original Mega Man series, this series was a little different to the original games. In this, robots (Called Reploids) and humans lived in relative harmony.
Because of how advanced these reploids were, some of them were prone to going rogue (Becoming Mavericks). This game series used much more advanced hardware and these games are high intensity action. You follow Mega Man X and his partner, Zero, as they bring the Maverick group Sigma to justice.
Mega Man Battle Network / Anime
Very different series and followed the story of Mega Man and his human friend Lan Hikari, as they go about different networks , fighting off powerful viruses instead of robots. There was an anime of this version called Mega Man NT Warrior.
These are super cheesy, which is probably why these are my favourite Mega Man games other than the classic Mega Man games. This series of games are RPGs, which is completely different to the standard action platformer that we’re accustomed to. Worth checking out if you are a fan of handheld games.
He has had his shares of ups and downs over the years, but each part of the Mega Man multiverse is unique in it’s own way. I personally loved the classic games and the Battle Network ones, as they were so different to one another and followed two different timelines. It’s arguable that these aren’t even the same characters, although we always end up seeing familiar faces.
What’s your favourite Mega Man franchise? As always, comments below, on Twitter or on Facebook. We’ll see you all soon!
Those who regularly read this website will be fully aware of how much I love cosplay, as well as the amazing community it boasts. Honestly, find yourself some cosplayers and get stuck in, because they will make you feel right at home. With this said, it occurred to me recently that it’s really close to EGX Rezzed. You’ll see posts leading up to Rezzed as well as posts on the event in the coming weeks, as well as hopefully getting a few interviews and speaking to the wonderful attendees and cosplayers.
For those who are unaware, EGX Rezzed has a heavy focus on new indie game titles that will be coming out. This is a chance for developers to interact with existing fans and potential new audiences alike. It’s a chance for attendees to get their hands on said games and for people like myself to talk and interview developers. I will be there from Thursday 12th March until Saturday 14th March, so if you’re there come and say hello. You can also speak to the team at 1001-Up who we met last year thanks to Rezzed being at the same time as Kitacon last year.
So, I’m currently working on a new costume..! Since this event is entirely about video games, I got thinking about what video games I have really enjoyed in the past and what would actually be a recognisable character. So here’s the candidates:
- Zidane Tribal – A rebuild and actual fix of that atrocious first ever costume. I decided against this one, as I’m still on the path of losing weight, which would make this costume that little bit more believable.
- Pac-Man – But then I got thinking about how awkward it would be, interviewing and running around as a big yellow spot.
- Fantastic Dizzy – This had the same problem as Pac-Man, as I’d be a big white egg… But worse still, I doubt many people would have got the character!
- World of Warcraft Shaman – But then I realised how much effort would go into the build. I would need more than a month.
But then I thought about it and I figured one of my all time favourite games is Mega Man II. This was the Mega Man game that most people have played at some point, but if you’ve not had a go, just download it from the Nintendo eShop. It’s worth your investment… and it’s not exactly expensive.
I will be attending Rezzed, approaching people as the Blue Bomber himself, Mega Man. I’ll document my progress on this website but for now, let’s discuss what I need to make the costume right:
Helmet – I will be making this out of EVA Foam. I’ve seen an incredible tutorial on YouTube from a guy who calls himself Evil Ted Smith… Seriously, check out the below video, it’s so worthwhile. If you’ve never used EVA Foam to make a helmet before, this video will help you out. I know that the process makes a lot more sense to me now and amazingly, I somehow already have all of the materials he’s suggested.
Glove/s – I think I’ll make the shapes out of craft foam, stick them all together, then smother them in PVA and polish it right up.
Underwear armour..? – I have no better way to describe his crotch-armour, so the underwear I will be making out of EVA Foam. This’ll be two simple pieces that simply snaps together.
Boots – The boots will likely be EVA Foam once more. They’re quite pointy, which should be quite easy shapes to work with… The one thing that won’t be so easy: My large feet. For a short person, I really do have large feet.
Megabuster – The Megabuster I will make out of upholstery foam, coat with craft foam, then possibly put a shiny material over it, or I’ll just gloss up the craft foam. I’ll also get a light to shine through the Megabuster and will do something simple with the energy meter effect on the buster (that yellow rectangular part).
The “clothes” – So the light blue behind the armour parts also needs to be considered. I could go with some tight fitting clothes, but I figured: This is Mega Man. He wouldn’t be wearing clothes… but there’s no way in hell I’m going to paint myself, as that’d not look right either. So what am I going to do? Get myself a Zentai suit, of course!
Am I being too ambitious with this project, or am I being just ambitious enough? If you were a game developer at Rezzed, would you chat to Mega Timlah? As usual, let’s discuss further in the comments below, over on Twitter or on Facebook. I’ll keep you all posted as to how this costume is going!