If I could tell you the amount of lives I’ve lost to “Luigi’s Purple Coins” from Super Mario Galaxy, we’d be here all day. Easily the most frustrating level of all time (although the final boss from Beyond Good & Evil comes mighty close), “Luigi’s Purple Coins” was just brutal. Just in case you’ve never experienced this hell-hole of a course, it’s one of the purple comet levels in the Toy Time Galaxy. Your goal is to collect 100 of the 150 purple coins on the flat, 8-bit Luigi-shaped planet, but each pixel of said 8-bit Luigi planet disappears whenever you touch it. Oh, and you’ve only got three minutes to complete it. Good luck!
But it wasn’t really the time limit or the disappearing platforms that made this level so harrowing– although they certainly made it a lot worse! Oh no– the worst thing about this level was the sheer level of skill you had to employ in order to collect all those wretched coins in the first place. It was the ultimate test of your platforming prowess, as some coins required you to long-jump over lakes of instant-death goop while others involved several leaps of faith across the depths of space. There was hardly any time to rotate the camera either; one wrong move and it was game over. It really made you think on your feet, particularly when, after all that toil and strife, you had to make it all the way back to the starting point when that ever elusive star finally appeared to reward you for your troubles. So if you accidentally hoovered up all those coins near the beginning and made all the platforms disappear, then shame on you!
If no one else will say, I definitely will. I hate the Water Temple from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. You all know you thought about it! Seriously, the original Nintendo 64 version of this dungeon has to be one of the most obtuse, confusing, and deliberately frustrating dungeons ever conceived.
Not again! It’s too soon to go back to that hell!
The water level mechanic was neat at first, it really was. But then you have to start backtracking. You have to climb up and continuously shift the water level in the temple by playing Zelda’s Lullaby. Okay, that’s not too bad, but wait there’s more! Link can’t equip the Iron Boots like a regular item in the original, so every time you need to dive into the water you have to open up a pesky menu to equip the damn boots. These are great annoyances but the part that just drives me over the edge are the keys. If you glaze over so much as one small key (unless you have the locations memorized, you probably will) you’ll end up at a locked door, and you’ll have to turn around and scour every nook and cranny you might not have noticed. Keep in mind that in order to do this you have to go back and re-adjust the water levels for the umpteenth time. Oh and throughout all of this Link can’t even use his sword underwater. Screw the Water Temple.
I’m so glad they fixed many of these problems in the 3DS version of Ocarina of Time. Nintendo put nice color coded lines leading you to where water levels can be changed. The Iron Boots also became an equippable item that could be taken on and off with a simple touch. The developers somewhat remedied the key issue by pointing out to players when a block moves that a key might be there with a short cutscene. It’s still a pretty dumb place though.
Two words: Rainbow Road.
M. Noah Ward
Generally I try to forget negative experiences in a game. It’s not that I want to relive them even after I’ve bested them, especially when they’re hard work. And an easy answer for me in this set of Staff Stories would be most any clock tower level in the older, side-scrolling Castlevanias. Spinning gear platforms and sine-wave travelling Medusa heads? No thanks!
How could any part of this game be frustrating? It’s adorable!
But, and I feel a little guilty picking on a Kirby game (a Kirby game!), but there’s one section in an early level of Kirby’s Epic Yarn that drove me nuts, whether I played it by myself or with a friend. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it here before, and even on the podcast, but Cool Cave, you are a nasty ketchup stain on an otherwise perfect canvas of living patchwork, yarn and buttons. This water-dripping cavern of a stage contains a common platforming challenge: a maze of ever-rising platforms that, if you allow them, will gravely damage you if you let them squish you at the top edge of the screen. The catch of this little area is that the set of platforms isn’t something that cycles in ten seconds: it takes about 45 seconds for the whole thing to scroll by, and you have to dexterously leap and run through them with perfect timing. Did you fall off or get squished? Well sit back to wait for the whole thing to cycle back around and try again.
This absolutely drove me bonkers, and while I do tend to forget most game events that make me this angry, this little challenge has stayed with me. Not recommended: playing the stage co-op with your mom who is not a good platform genre gamer. You might just give her an uncomfortable memory of your rage on display.
So now that we’ve told our stories, we turn the forum over to you guys — so which levels/courses/enemies/dungeons have left you in fits for various reasons. Sound off in the comments! Until next time, this has been Staff Stories.
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