Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bad Levels in Gaming History - Volume Two

We've mentioned a lot of levels that we deem the greatest in video game history, but we also like talking about those levels that irritate us to no end. It's been since March 2012 since our first segment, and now your long wait for Bad Levels in Gaming History - Volume Two is over. The worldwide nightmare is over! Speaking of nightmares, this segment talks about those levels that have poor design, are frustrating as hell or simply just aren't fun. Today we have a wide variety of games, from Halo to Mario, and Grand Theft Auto to Sonic the Hedgehog. Get ready to get stressed out remembering these design atrocities!

If you missed Volume One, click this link!

Cortana - Halo 3 (360)


The original Halo's Library level was seen as a level that was very repetitive, due to the swarm of Flood enemies players had to take down as Master Chief. It would be assumed by people that Bungie wouldn't let another level like that go near another Halo game. You'd be wrong.

Meet Cortana-- no, not the hologram character that Master Chief cherishes-- we're talking about the eighth playable level in Halo 3. The level has you entering an area full of brown, the innards of some kind of living thing, full of gooey sounds as your feet slush their way on top of who knows what. And maybe we don't want to know what either. Halo 3's Cortana is repetitive as all get out, with Master Chief needing to blast through wave after wave of enemies through curved hall after hall until he reaches the core of the Flood's (bullet sponges) lair. 

Phew! All done, right? It turns out you have to go all the way back through the labyrinthine corridors of the level and reach daylight again. Did we forget to mention there's more enemies to deal with this time? Halo 3's Cortana is just poor design. It stops being fun halfway through the level, and then it requires you to backtrack through an already boring interior. 

Earth - Darksiders II (Wii U, PS3, 360, PC)


When Death reaches Earth, Darksiders II has a bit of an identity crisis. It completely forgoes the hack and slash God of War-esque combat the game has been using in lieu of something more akin to a third-person shooter. Death acquires a weapon that serves as a shotgun of sorts to deal with the endless amounts of enemy fodder that charges at him. This section of the game takes Death through a dreary apocalyptic city setting, through the sewers, through the underground tunnels, and through dilapidated city streets, taking out enemies at every turn. Like Halo 3's Cortana, this is as repetitive and mind-numbing as it sounds. 


It's baffling why the developers decided to integrate shooting elements into Darksiders II. Not only does it not fit with Death, but it simply doesn't fit with the rest of the game. The fact that you need to follow the game's rule of three (i.e. collecting three of these, doing three of this action) doesn't help things either. It's a negative part of a game that is otherwise rather great. 

Supply Lines - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2, XBX, PC)


If you thought the Grove Street boys had dirty mouths, wait until you play this optional mission in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. You'll be cursing like a sailor on a rap album. Supply Lines is one of Zero's missions in San Fierro, the San Francisco of San Andreas. This mission requires you to remotely control an RC plane, which handles about as well as a Walmart shopping cart with two wheels. Your objective is to go after five targets through the city streets of San Fierro: three vans, one motorcyclist and one courier on bike, and shoot them down. 


Seems simple enough, no? Well, factor in that you must do this with a limited fuel supply and the mission gets exponentially more difficult. At least in the PlayStation 2 version you have to be thorough and plan your flight path to perfection. Any dilly-dallying means you won't have enough fuel to reach and destroy all of your targets. Supply Lines is one of the most maddening missions in a Grand Theft Auto game, and we as gamers are just lucky enough that this mission was purely optional. Your humiliation is complete, Zero.

Pinna Park Episode 5: The Runaway Ferris Wheel - Super Mario Sunshine (GCN)


It's not every day that we get to list a level from a Mario game in a Bad Levels in Gaming History segment, but Super Mario Sunshine, a game of many bad firsts, delivered for us. One of the biggest problems we, as well many others, had with the game was the atrocious camera. The most egregious example of this monstrosity (we miss you, Lakitu, from Super Mario 64) is witnessed in Pinna Park's Episode 5: The Runaway Ferris Wheel. 


This episode requires Mario to reach the top of the amusement park area's Ferris wheel to collect the Shine Sprite. This is performed through climbing up fences, while avoiding electrified enemies. This is easier said than done, because the electrified beings are not only the biggest threat to you successfully completing Mario's mission. No, the biggest threat is without a doubt the camera, which you will be fighting with constantly in a futile effort to see what you're doing. Seeing as this level is a vertical one, you might see yourself falling back to the bottom of the long climb, resulting in you having to redo everything all over again. An episode worse than what you'd see on Roseanne season nine, The Runaway Ferris Wheel from Super Mario Sunshine feels worse than a sunburn from a day at Gelato Beach.

End of the World - Sonic the Hedgehog (PS3, 360)


You could easily pick any level from the 2006 reboot of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. There's Dusty Desert's Silver the Hedgehog level, where at the tail end you need to push billiards through a next to impossible obstacle course. There's all those cursed mach speed sections that are unwieldy at best and traumatic at worst. But, the level we are taking from the plague that was Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) is the final level of the game. Yes, Sonic the Hedgehog built up to this horrid moment through all of its awful levels leading up to End of the World.


End of the World has players switching between multiple characters as they go through a nightmarish city setting searching for Chaos Emeralds to revive the fallen titular hero of the game. Not only does the camera not do any favors, but there are an abundance of black holes that will suck players up, instantly causing them to lose a life. Everything about the End of the World is what we loathe about Sonic the Hedgehog-- the 2006 game, not the series, mind you. There's shoddy camera work, glitches abound, enemies that take too many hits to bring down, cheap deaths to be had, and so much more. 

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What levels do you think are horribly designed? Do you agree with our picks? Let the SuperPhillip Central staff and community know in the comments section!

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