Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ghost's Angry Review - Top 10 Most Personally Frustrating Moments in Video Games

This is your standard spoiler warning.  If you don’t want any spoilers for any games mentioned then don’t even bother.

Ghost here, thanks for joining! 

NO I’m not doing that.  I’ll tell you when I’m doing Mother 3 so GET OUT OF MY REVIEW!
Good riddance!  So frustrating!  You know he’s not the only thing around here that’s frustrating.  Life in and of itself has more twists, turns, and irritations that anyone can number.  At times you just want to scream rant and rave about things and video games are no exception.  If you search anywhere on the internet I’m sure you’ll find copious amounts of nerd rage about one aspect of a video game or another choice of a company.  The Video Game industry for all it has given to us has also given us plenty to be annoyed with as well.  Between the poor executive decisions, not listening to fanbase, legalities, porting of games, poorly created hardware and casual pandering, it’s enough to make you eat your own hat.

So with that spirit in mind I’ll do something just as frustrating and make a top 10 list.  This week’s session will be the Top 10 Most Personally Frustrating Moments in Video Games.  Now this isn’t a list of the most frustrating things in video game history this is just my personal list of what really has irritated me with my own personal experience.  If you want to tell me your own list, please do so in the comments section.  Now this is the first top 10 list I have ever created so don’t expect greatness.  So, without further buildup let’s hop right into


Luigi’s Mansion
Boos in the Basement

Have you ever wondered what a crossover between Super Mario Bros and the Ghostbusters would be like?  Well this is the game for that!  Luigi’s Mansion was one of the first games to be released on the Gamecube and is considered by myself and others to be a novelty as far as the Mario games are concerned.  Not only are all of the traditional elements of Mario games missing, such as power-ups that change the character, jumping on the heads of enemies, and platforming is completely gone.  Most notable of course is that in this game it is Luigi who gets the spotlight for the first time ever.
...er…well the first time he’s been in the spotlight on a GOOD game.

But if you know anything about this game you already know the topic that I’m going to bring up, the 40 Boos.  For those of you fortunate to not have knowledge of this game let me enlighten you to the annoyance.  A little before the mid-point of the game, Luigi opens a trap door and released 40 Boos who fly through the walls and into every single room in the Mansion.  WHAT? Wait wait wait… So they can go through walls like normal ghosts but are stopped by trap doors??? What a load of crap!
You have to track down every single one of these Boos which isn’t necessarily a problem, except for the fact that unlike most of the other ghosts in the games, these bad boys are not pulled backwards by the vacuum.  They also can travel from room to room.  Normally that’s not much of a problem except when you get to the basement.

Now looking at this map I know you’re going to say “What the heck?  There’s barely any rooms there How can this be worse than upstairs where there are 20 some rooms?”  Well I’ll tell you.  The ones in the basement tend to favor going through walls more so than the others.  The problem with this is the Cellar room.  In this room you have to go to one end, step on a switch, walk on the ceiling, go to the other side, step on a switch and end up on the floor again.  It’s a rather tedious process and when a boo likes to go back and forth from the room above the cellar to the room across the hall with the cellar being the only method of getting from point a to point b it gets old REALLY fast!!

Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2
Chapter 15: The Falling Ship

I love the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series.  If you have never had the pleasure of playing one of these games then you have done yourself a great disservice.  The adventures of Kyle Katarn across a galaxy far far away rival that of the original movies, and are hands down better than the prequel movies.  Shadows of the Empire is widely considered a gem in earlier Star Wars games, but I have to say that Dark Forces and Jedi Knight blew it out of the water.  How many other star wars games have bosses as awesome as THESE?!


Now since I’ve told you something that I like, I have to mention something I hate, and that something is timed escape levels.  You know the kind!  Something is about to die or explode and you only have a couple of minutes to get there before you’re dead.  I’m looking at you Metroid Prime!!  Well Unfortunately Dark Forces 2 has a level just like this in which you have to escape a falling starship to get aboard your x-wing knockoff and escape doom.  The corridors are a maze and you have only one minute and 30 seconds to navigate it.  
 Asking me to navigate through a falling ship in only one minute and thirty seconds is like asking a five year old to take a nap after 3 cups of espresso.  There’s going to be jitters, paranoia, and someone is going to have a mess on their hands.  Amidst this chaos in the level, you’ll get turned around constantly and lose your ability to even think straight.  It’s more like this

I ABSOLUTELY HATE stuff like this and will avoid it at all cost.  Luckily there’s a cheat code to skip a level in this game so… thereisnotry.

Museum Madness
The Hall of Ecology

This is one I’m sure many of you have never heard of before as this game belongs in the desolate wasteland of Educational Games. I know I know, put down your pitchforks and sit back down I’m not about to make you actually learn something!  Museum Madness is a PC game from 1995 and to further show how old this is, its system requirements were Version 5 of DOS.  I used to play this all the time as a child because despite its educational nature it was actually somewhat enjoyable.
You play as a high schooler who has gone to a museum with the aid of the museum’s robot.  He is there because all of the exhibits have come alive, and as long as we don’t see Ben Stiller anywhere I think we’ll be safe.
Each level is a different exhibit in which you solve puzzled based on your knowledge of history, science, technology etc.  I remember the Revolutionary War and the Deep Sea Exhibits being particularly fun and goofy.  Every exhibit/level was unique and fun enough to play multiple times with one exception.  The Hall of Ecology.

The Hall of Ecology is quite possibly the most tedious and ridiculous puzzles I’ve ever seen in a child’s educational game.  There’s a difference in testing the intellect of children, and bludgeoning them over the head with a challenge that’s beyond insane.  What challenge is that?  It’s a “simple puzzle challenge”

This thing is brutal!  It’s extremely slow moving and incredibly unforgiving as each time you almost get the sections lined up you have to completely ruin the whole thing to get one segment where it’s supposed to be on the edge.  I remember spending 45 minutes solid and getting nowhere. I asked my dad to attempt it and he spent 30 minutes with no luck.  I also recently watched a Let’s Play of that level and the LPer had to cut out 15 minutes of him moving tiles around cause he got confused.  And it’s because of this ONE level the game was never finished.  If you are making a game for children and including a challenge that adults are having great difficulty solving… well…

Pokémon Red, Blue, and Special Yellow
Battling Against Psychic Types

There are very few gaming fans out there that don’t recognize the powerhouse that is pokémon and its very influential first games.  There is a school of thought still existing that the original games and the original 150 pokémon are the only “real” pokémon out there and everything else is worthless junk. I cannot deny that the originals are classic and still just as good as they were in 1998.  Except there’s one thing that people tend to ignore when talking about these games, and that’s a LARGE oversight by Gamefreak (which was corrected in the follow up games  Gold, Silver, and Crystal)
As any pokémon fan would know, each pokémon has one or two types and each type has its own weaknesses and strengths as you can see above.  Fire is strong against Grass, Ground is strong against Electric, and the list goes on and on.  Those with a second type can either help them in their weaknesses or even worse, make them weaker to other types.  Overall with 150 pokémon to choose from the type coverage was pretty vast and easily balanced with one exception, psychic types.
Since there are no dark type pokémon in Generation 1, psychic types are only weak to bug type attacks and ghost type attacks.  Those of you that know the roster of Gen 1 already know the problem here.  There is only one family of ghosts, that being Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar respectively.  There are two problems here however.  The only ghost type move that wasn't one with a set amount of damage on it like Nightshade was the move Lick.  Lick was so weak nobody used it and also for some reason Lick wasn't effective against psychic types despite it flat saying that ghost types are strong against psychic types.  Secondly, all three stages of this pokémon are also poison type which is weak against psychic attacks making them entirely useless in the long run. 

So what about bugs?  Well we’re S.O.L. here too.  All the bug type attacks are very weak ones or ones that hit multiple times for tiny damage.  There aren’t any real showstoppers in the bug type attacking range, but what about the bug type pokémon? NOPE!  All of the very strong bugs with high stats are either also poison type giving them the same problem as gastly, or have no bug type attacks at all.
 This is why those of us who grew up with the first games were terrified of Sabrina, and we thought Mewtwo was the ultimate pokémon that no one could stand against.  He was a deity in this game and for the right reason.  Unless you had a pokémon of high enough level to destroy a psychic type with a normal damaging attack, you really didn’t have much of a chance and that level of oversight is just frustrating.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Acquiring the Megaton Hammer

It should come as no surprise to those who know me when I say that Ocarina of Time is my favorite game of all time.  Yes people tend to overrate it but it really is good enough to be deserving of the #1 spot in my gaming heart.  However it’s not without its irritations.  Ask any Zelda fan about this game and they are bound to still fuss about something; Epona’s Race, Shooting arrows while on horseback, The Water Temple, Saving the game in a temple warps you back to the opening of the temple, the fact that it’s not Majora’s Mask.  There are a lot of little things that can be brought up, but none of them compare to my irritation and rage about one particular part of the game…

Now I know what you might be thinking.  This really isn’t that difficult of a part of the game.  You just walk into a room, step on a floor switch, walk up a ledge, and get the hammer.  If only it were as easily done as it were said.  The problem exists in the ledge you must traverse.  It is immensely tiny and curved forcing you to have 100% exact footing or you will plummet to a level below meaning you have to run all the way around all the obstacles and rooms you’ve been in before to try it again.  How tiny is this ledge you ask?  Here allow my good friend Pai Mei to illustrate.
 OK so it’s not quite THAT thin of a walking area but it might as well be.  Every time I attempt this game I end up falling off this stupid freaking ledge over and over again.  They say the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Well I can safely say each time I attempt getting this hammer, I show clear signs of insanity for 30 minutes or longer because I keep expecting success but end up with failure.  I have yet to acquire this thing without the use of a floating cheat code. It’s THAT annoying.

Purchasing the Game

Pikmin is one of those series that passed me by.  I saw it in a K-Mart display a few times but never really cared about giving it a real chance to shine and obviously the same goes for its sequel, Pikmin 2.  The games just held no real appeal for me at that age.  However now that I’m older and in want of more gaming experiences I looked to the miniscule Olimar after his inclusion in Super Smash Bros Brawl.  I watched a few videos and figured that I would give the game a shot.  I knew that Pikmin 2 was the superior game but since it usually sold for around $50 in this area and the original game sold for only $9. I would go with the original.

Also at this time the re-release on the Wii was there but I decided I wanted the original.  So I went to my local Gamestop to purchase Pikmin if they had it and to my amazing surprise they had four copies!  I quickly bought it and brought it home.  Instantly I went for my Gamecube, booted it up and inserted the disc, grabbed my controller and waited for the game to start.  And what did I get?

I thought that perhaps my Gamecube was dusty so I cleaned it off and tried again to find the same issue. So I looked at the back of the disc.  It was fairly scratched up but nowhere near as badly as my Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee disc.  So I grabbed Godzilla and put it in the Gamecube and it booted up instantly.  Maybe something was wrong with the Gamecube’s laser and this disc.  So I decided to place the disc in my Wii to try that.  Got my GCN controller in place, and went to the game channel to play the disc.  It left the menu and I was fairly satisfied…UNTIL

Must be a problem with the disc then.  I tried the Godzilla disc in the Wii just in case and it booted up normally.  So I marched out the door and back to Gamestop to swap the discs since that one didn’t work.  No problems at all with that because this happens often with older games.  The employee gave me another disc that was less scratched but was better than the one I originally had gotten.  I drove back home and placed it into my Gamecube and my Wii.


Another trip back to Gamestop and this time they were questioning my ability to use the Gamecube.  I explained how I had placed other Gamecube games in both systems and it worked.  They were convinced I knew what was going on and thought I must just have bad luck.  So the associate pulled out the other two remaining discs.  One of which was in near perfect condition so he gave me that one and sent me on my way.  I get back to my house and place it in my Gamecube and Wii.


Trip #4 to Gamestop.  As soon as I walk in the door the guy and his manager both echoed the same response almost in unison.  “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??”  At this point the manager is falling over himself apologizing for wasting my time and gas with this ridiculous errand and gives me the last disc hoping that it will work.  I’m sure you know the drill by now.

At this point I could only laugh.  2 hours wasted trying to get a store’s entire stock of Pikmin to work and not a single one did.  When I showed back up the manager was furious!  He assured me that he was going to have a staff meeting within the week to discuss methods of testing games to make sure they work after they are traded in, if not before they would even accept them for Gamecube games specifically.  It was an absolute nightmare and I STILL don’t have Pikmin cause I’m not about to do this charade anymore.

Super Mario Sunshine
Ricco Harbor Red Coin Challenge

Oh Mario, why am I not surprised that your franchise has appeared on here twice?  Mario and I have had a very rocky history together and that’s mostly due to the fact that most Mario games hit that sweet spot in my gaming abilities between the crossroads of amazing excellence and shoveling cow dung.  I love video games but I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m abysmal at them, especially platforming games which are what the majority of Mario contains (or used to).  Super Mario 64 however changed that outlook slightly.  Now instead of being terrible at jumping around 2 dimensional platforms, I can now also make the Italian plumber die from 3 dimensions of me not being able to see or estimate how far I should walk/jump.

3D Mario games however have also set a standard of annoyance many other games can’t even fathom.  Particularly revolving around collecting coins, which was made worse with Super Mario Galaxy, something that unfortunately won’t be making this list despite the terror it holds on many gamers.
However I will be focusing on a completely different coin challenge.  The Red Coins in Super Mario Sunshine.
Red Coin Challenges are pretty standard.  You have to collect all of the red coins to pass the level.  However the one in Ricco Harbor had me wanting to aid bowser in the destruction of Mario permanently.  There are red coins all over the ocean and in order to reach them you have to climb on top of a blooper and surf across the waves and then on into a cave within the associated time limit.  Now that doesn’t sound too bad does it?  It’s just a squid-like creature so it shouldn’t be that difficult to navigate.  Let’s hop on one and see.
HOLY CRAP!!! The second you jump on one of these they jettison into the water almost faster than you can breathe!  You have to know exactly where each and every obstacle and red coin is and know the EXACT way to get all of them in a perfect path.  If you miss a single one you will not have either the time or the maneuverability to go back and get it.  If you miss one you might as well just restart the level cause you’re going to fail anyway. 

I tried this over and over and over again tossing my Gamecube controller to the ground several times in the process just out of sheer rage.  Something this unforgiving might be acceptable toward the end of the game, but this is like World 2!!!  Forget that crap!


 Kingdom Hearts – Sephiroth Battle  AND  Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories – Marluxia Battle

Of course I had to include Kingdom Hearts in here somewhere.  I’m too much of a fanboy not to.  Kingdom Hearts is known to have some pretty tough bosses, especially when it comes to the hidden or additional bosses that are entirely optional.  However I couldn’t think of just one boss battle to put here so I had to go with a tie between Sephiroth in the original and Marluxia from CoM.  The reason for the tie is because of a very different mentality between both of them.
Sephiroth was included in Kingdom Hearts as an optional final boss in Olympus Coliseum.  After you have beaten all of the cups, two new fights emerge; one against the Ice Titan, and one against Sephiroth.  Now the Ice Titan, like the other two optional bosses Kurt Zisa, and the Phantom, took me about thirty minutes to finally whittle down and defeat with difficulty but it was able to be done.  So I decided to face off against the villain from Final Fantasy VII himself, Sephiroth.

And two minutes later my derriere was on a golden platter thanks to him.  I added cheat codes to increase my health, and give myself all megalixers to help combat him.  Still somewhere around the 2 minute mark, I became minced burger meat at his hands.  It was such a difficult task that I was instantly overwhelmed and couldn’t even get mad over it.  You know how something happens, and you just have to sit down and go “WOAH… what the heck was that?”  The battle against Sephiroth went kinda like that.  Now you could fight him again in Kingdom Hearts II and he was dumbed down so that I could actually defeat him after only 8 tries, but at least it was doable.  Now I realize he is SUPPOSED to be this hard and frustrating which is why I almost didn’t put him on here, but the more I thought about how it just left me almost breathless, the more I realized he is very deserving of this spot.
Now that may have you wondering why I put Marluxia on here on the same lines as someone THAT powerful.  Truth is that he is nowhere near as strong as Sephiroth nor do I believe he was intended to be this way.  The problem with Marluxia is that he too, is someone I could never beat however he is not optional.  There is a second entire segment of the game where you fight as Riku and escape the tower with Mickey Mouse that I have NEVER had the pleasure of playing because I can’t beat Marluxia at all.

Why can’t I beat him?  THOSE STUPID CARDS!!!  I used cheat codes to give me all the best cards, and give myself invincibility in order to defeat him but because the coding is funky, cheat codes don’t work well with this and somehow I get healed every time which gets rid of my invincibility and he keeps blocking and outdoing my card combinations.  I have tried this on both the GBA and the PS2 version innumerable times and I can’t do it at all.  In fact, there are several other people I know who have been denied the joy of playing the second half of this game because they can’t beat Marluxia due to the cards and idiocy of the game as a whole, and when I can’t play an entire portion of one of my favorite game series, something is terribly wrong that leaves me incredibly angry!!

Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi
Unlocking Kid Goku

It seems almost poetic that a video game based on an anime where people do a lot of screaming and rage would be included so high on a list that made me scream with rage.  Don’t get me wrong I am a fan of the DBZ series though not a diehard fan.  The Budokai and Budokai Tenkaichi series were quite fun because I do enjoy fighting games and this gave me a lot of fun characters to play around with.

However it is in the pursuit of getting extra characters that made me angrier than I had ever been at that point with video games.  I read online that you had to finish a set of challenges in order to unlock the last character I needed, Kid Goku.  Well when it got to the last challenge, it was my one guy with one life against 5 other guys.  Needless to say they slaughtered me over and over and over and over.  I tried for close to an hour to defeat them slowly getting angrier as I did until I just snapped.  I don’t really remember much after that but when I finally came back to a calm state apparently I had shredded the strategy guide into confetti with my bare hands.  YIKES!! 

Now this one is kind of short because even though I remember the circumstances, and I remember the rage, I performed a Google search on unlocking this character in all iterations of the Budokai games and I see no record of what was told to me about unlocking Kid Goku.  Meaning I probably tried something incredibly difficult and shredded a perfectly good strategy guide for no reason at all… wonderful!

And my Number One Most Personally Frustrating Moment in Video Games is…

Super Smash Bros Brawl
Wifi (All of it)

Yeah Yeah I’m sure very few of you are surprised here if you know anything about Smash Brothers.  Now as I said in the Mario Sunshine portion, I really do love video games, but I REALLY suck at them, this is especially true for fighting games, and even more so Super Smash Bros.  Smash Bros is my second or third favorite game series just due to the inventiveness and the meshing of characters and franchises all in one place.  It has something for everyone and I am very passionate about it.  That’s where the problem comes in.   I’m passionate about something I’m not very good at.  As you know, the more passionate you are about something, the more emotional you will be about it, and the angrier you will get when you fail.  And I used to fail often at this game turning me into a redneck version of that German kid screaming about Unreal Tournament.
Not pretty

First off I have to say that the connection issues are more common than zubat in a cave.  You can spectate all day within seconds, but if you try to join a wifi battle, be prepared to sit there for twenty minutes while it tries to find someone to pair you up with then right as the battle starts it will disconnect you entirely so you have to log back into wifi and attempt it all over again, hearing that same music OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER.
I’m pretty sure Satan has this theme on repeat.

Not only that but the sheer unpredictability of those who you will fight against.  I’ve been in battles where people are stomping all over me, I’ve been in battles where all three people were teaming up against me, and I’ve been in battles where everyone sits around for 2 minutes using taunts until the sudden death happens in which case it’s a race to see who can survive the bombs the longest.  I JUST WANT TO BASH SOMETHING IN THE FACE!! Not all this ridiculousness.

But the really sad thing about this is that I am so passionate about this game yet there are a metric buttload of people out there much better at this game than I am.  Let’s pick someone at random shall we?  How about…Daman Mills.
Seems like an average enough kid right?  Looks like he’s enjoying himself there, normal kid, not into drugs or wild parties; he probably enjoys anime and just hanging out with friends.  But don’t let that fool you!  The second you put Smash Bros Brawl in and hand him the controller, this normal kid turns into Jason Freaking Voorhees.  That’s right!  Many a night he has spent taking Ganondorf, one of the WORST characters in brawl, and murdering other people on wifi for hours on end, thus killing the hopes and dreams of adults and children alike with every warlock punch KO he can squeeze out of the machine.  Who would have thought that a digital sadist lurked beneath that bleached hair?
Actually.... I should have seen that coming.

How do I know this?  Because I was once one of those poor unfortunate souls who ran across him in his reign of terror.  It was I who attempted to fight the good fight, and it was I who lost more than pride.  No literally… I broke a flipping computer chair after a 45 minute session of him slaughtering me left and right.
Yeah.. I wasn’t joking!!

When a game frustrates you so badly that you literally break furniture not only is it beyond the limits of that which should be tolerated but it’s also a pretty good sign that I need help (Thankfully I don’t break furniture anymore, though with some games I  probably wish I still did) 

So there you have it.  That’s my Top 10 list of the most personally frustrating moments in video games.  As I said before this is just my list of my personal frustrations and nightmares and I’m sure you have your own.  Please feel free to mention some of your frustrations and irritations in the comment section on here or as a comment on Facebook where I linked this.

This is Ghost, fading into the darkness.
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If you want to see my other Video Game discussions and reviews, click here!

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