Friday, July 5, 2013

Toughest Tasks in Gaming History - Volume One

Fresh off the heels of Best Boss Battles in Gaming History and Great Levels in Gaming History, we have a new addition to the family. It's Toughest Tasks in Gaming History. Here, we talk about challenges in gaming that we deem as some of the most difficult to complete. If you have achieved any of these, you can walk with your head held up high and your gaming thumbs up. On the first volume of Toughest Tasks in Gaming History, we delve into games like Final Fantasy VII, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Mega Man 10.

The Grandmaster Galaxy: The Perfect Run - Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

Super Mario Galaxy 2 compared to its predecessor turned the difficulty dial up to 11. The final challenge after collecting all 240 stars (both Power and Green Stars) is the Grandmaster Galaxy, putting players' platforming prowess to the ultimate test. There are two stars to get in the galaxy, and the first one is simple enough-- beat the level. However, it is the final star that poses the real challenge: beat the galaxy without taking damage.

The Grandmaster Galaxy is a gauntlet of platforming peril-- lasers, mines, Hammer Bros., Boomerang Bros., and so much more. This player makes it look easy, but let it be known that it is anything but!

Beating the Emerald and Ruby Weapons - Final Fantasy VII (PS1)

RPGs are known for having some of the toughest bosses in video games, and none in the Final Fantasy series come tougher than the Emerald and Ruby Weapons. Don't be mistaken-- you don't actually fight the Emerald and Ruby Weapons at the same time. Boy, would that be a challenge! No, the Emerald Weapon aimlessly prowls the underwater deep while the Ruby Weapon makes its home in the desert surrounding the Gold Saucer. Who knew that a fun heavenly paradise could be so close to hell?

It's best to have the Underwater materia equipped to one of your characters unless you like being rushed with a twenty minute time limit. (And by best we mean have the materia, as this boss has one million HP!) The Emerald Weapon's most vicious attack is Aire Tim Storm, which takes off a multiple of 1,111 HP depending on how many materia a party member has. Other attacks include beams, waves, and simply using its whole body to stomp our heroes when its eyes have been removed from the battle.

As for the Ruby Weapon, it can flat out banish members from your current party, it comes with high defense, some of the most powerful attacks in the game, and can cast status ailments with its two tentacles protruding from the sands. It will be invulnerable to damage unless a single member of Cloud's party is around, so this puts a player's party at a serious disadvantage. The hard-to-obtain Knights of the Round summon (that's a tough task for another day) is not a good idea to use as the Weapon will counter will a gnarly Ultima attack, unless it is paralyzed beforehand. We would rank Ruby Weapon as the toughest boss to tackle in Final Fantasy VII, and all of you PC players getting to experience the game (maybe for the first time, which floors us as old people) can see why so many of us gamers are angry. We were normal people before facing the Ruby Weapon!

Getting All of the Stamps - Nintendo Land (Wii U)

Nintendo Land is criticized as a casual experience (oh no, the casuals are going to take our games!), but it really is a game for everyone. By far a task that a casual gamer couldn't hope to complete would be getting all of the stamps within the twelve attractions of Nintendo Land. Most attractions have five stamps (think of them as achievements) to acquire, but some have five stamps to be earned for each mode (e.g. Pikmin Adventure has Challenge mode and Versus mode medals).

Without a doubt the most challenging of these medals come from the perfect line of medals. These mean completing an attraction flawlessly. For Captain Falcon's Twister Race it's not colliding with anything-- no walls, no bumpers, no other cars-- nothing. But the most difficult of these stamps comes from one of our favorite solo attractions, Takamaru's Ninja Castle. The highly coveted Unstoppable medal requires players to take down EVERY ninja that appears on the screen in both the normal and extra stages. That's hundreds of ninja to hit with your throwing stars without missing any ninja, and some of them just peek in for a quick look so you have to be fast.

Nintendo Land may be a game for all, but the task of acquiring every stamp is not for the feint of heart!

Getting All 180 Emblems - Sonic Adventure 2 (DC)

Sonic Adventure 2 is a fun but incredibly flawed 3D Sonic game that perhaps in retrospect we probably would rate lower playing it today. Also in retrospect, we probably wouldn't have the patience to go after the arduous task of getting all 180 medals on every mission in Sonic Adventure 2. That means reaching specific scores, getting certain times, clearing hard mode, and yes, the most painful of all, raising and racing Chao. It is a challenge that the younger us could do without much problem. Now? We'd probably toss the disc into the ocean... after snapping it in two and taking a dump on it. Sure, the reward is great-- a 3D version of Sonic the Hedgehog's first level, the Green Hill Zone, but is it worth all of the pain, all of the glitches, all of the horrid camera angles, and all of the Knuckles raps?

Mr. Perfect - Mega Man 10 (PSN, XBLA, WiiWare)

The goal of Mr. Perfect is simple to explain but tremendously tough to actually do-- complete Mega Man 10 without taking damage. The only thing that makes this achievement/trophy anything close to possible is the ability to save between levels. Still, you have to make it through a level without damage, which is easier said than done. You have to have the memory of a robot to make your way through each level unscathed. You have to read each Robot Master's movements to an exact science to avoid taking damage, because once you do get hit, you have to begin the level all over again.

We actually have a masochist on our staff that completed Mr. Perfect. Many yells were had, a lot of controllers met the floor, and plenty of cheers were exclaimed upon finishing this most epic task. Considering yourself a Mega Man Master if you have this achievement done!


Perhaps if you haven't tried some of these tasks, you'll get interested in seeing just how hard these are. If not, well, you can take our word for it! We'd love to hear from you which gaming challenges you think are the hardest and why. The comments section awaits!

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