Thursday, August 5, 2010

Geek Rant Topic 08: The Water Level

When All Else Fails, you call Mousa the 14, that one ranting geek.

I told myself I would do less video games but someone brought the topic up in the Video Games forum and I was out of things to rant about. Don't worry, next post will be about M. Night Sham-ylan's (No, that was not a typo) The Last Airbender (shudders).

Now, Video games, especially ones that aren't for the faux hardcore gamers, tend to have a huge variety of worlds characters explore. There are forest levels, desert levels, lava levels, food levels, music levels, mountain levels, cloud levels, tornado levels, the list goes on and on and on and on and on and on. So with all these colorful and delicious flavors we inevitably have the water level.

The most infamous of them all is the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's Water Temple which has been known as that one level that makes you quit, cry, or resort to GameFAQs, Gamespot , and 3 brands of strategy guides. While it doesn't seem so bad nowadays to some, many gamers still dread it's existence and recount memories of it's difficulty, it's tediousness, it's ability to make you backtrack five times over so you can do everything necessary to face the boss. This probably wouldn't get such special mention if Nintendo didn't make a frikkin' tradition of it! That's right, in a majority of the Legend of Zelda games you are most likely to be faced an absurdly difficult underwater level that will drive you bonkers! The ones I've personally played in Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons were my first experience with the Zelda brand water levels and I've hated them ever since.

But that's not just it. That one level didn't scar me for life, I've always had an irrational fear and loathing of water in video games. Or is it irrational? Let's see the reasons why water levels should, by all means, scare the living daylights out of people....

1) Back in the good old days, before swimming mechanisms were implemented, and sometimes today, hopping into a body of water had the same effect as falling down a bottomless pit. Fun!

2) When you are swimming, you are a moving target, a slow moving one. In my first video game ever, Banjo-Kazooie for the Nintendo 64, the very second level was a Treasure Island and I thought swimming around looking for plot devices would be fun. Then the music plays and Cruncher the Shark makes food puns as he tries to catch up and eat you! I was 6. Never wanted to touch water in a video game again....

3)Just the very idea that your movements are now limited. You can't walk normally, your controls are now equal to that of a person floating around in space, only water is not frictionless which means you move slower, assuming you are allowed to do anything besides swim. Your aim is off, you can't move as fast as you want....

4)In quite a few games, you really can't fight, or fight efficiently because you're too busy using your arms are legs to SWIM and half your items wouldn't work under water like bombs or arrows. So we're back to numero 2 and 3.

5) You have TWO LIFE METERS. You know, instead of one, and the second one is more dangerous. Your "second life mater" is how long you can hold your breath before dying. Sometimes if you get injured it goes down quicker. And once you run out of air, you lost a life, and it's horrifying envisioning yourself drowning!. Which means you have to come up for air periodically or find bubbles, which means you're wasting time whilst trying to complete an objective, or if you go straight for the objective you're as good as dead.

So to people who like water levels, How in the good lord's name is this not scary? Oh whatever, like it matters, I'm not advocating their disappearance, just a thought on those dreaded water levels.

I thought this would be longer...

-Good Bye, Good Luck, and Imagination Is Your Greatest Power
Mousa the 14

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