Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Toughest Tasks in Gaming History - Volume Three

Games are generally a means to relax, a means to unwind. However, sometimes they're a way to challenge a player to a point of absolute frustration-- the type of frustration that has one gnashing their teeth, slamming their fists to the ground, and pounding their heads through a wall with such unabashed rage! GAAAAAAH!

Well, maybe that's just me. In all seriousness, Toughest Tasks in Gaming History brings you a series of challenges that are some of the hardest, most difficult to complete. On this volume we look at Mortal Kombat, Rock Band 2, and GoldenEye 007. Consider yourself a gaming pro if you're completed some of the tasks seen on this volume as well as the past volumes seen here:

Volume One
Volume Two

My Kung Fu is Stronger - Mortal Kombat (Multi)

Some tasks are tough due to requiring a level of skill that many gamers might not possess. Other tasks are tough due to being ridiculously time consuming. Mortal Kombat's My Kung Fu is Stronger is the latter. It requires you to take a character and win 100 times with them, get 100 different -alities (like fatalities or babalities), get 150 X-ray attacks, spill 10,000 pints of blood in battle, and play as them for at least 24 hours.

Those requirements for just one character are crazy enough. The actual "okay, that's way too nuts" portion of this tough gaming task is that you have to do this with not just one character in the Mortal Kombat roster but all of them! That's 28 characters you have to complete this checklist of chores with. While I wouldn't want to perform a fatality on the developers for this kind of obnoxious achievement, I think some form of lesser punishment would be adequate.

The Bladder of Steel Award - Rock Band 2 (PS3, 360, Wii)

Next up is a game that has you rocking and rolling, thrashing and shredding, and just laying down the funk no matter which song you play. After you've had some practice, you can attempt the ultimate challenge in Rock Band 2, the one that separates the Jimi Hendrix's to the Milli Vanillis. It's The Bladder of Steel Award, and it's one that lives up to its name. It tasks you with playing through all of the songs in the game in succession, and without being able to pause. No, you cannot disconnect your controller, and no, you cannot hit your system's guide button. Harmonix was no doubt smart to the various cons players would try to perform to get around the task at hand.

The Bladder of Steel Award requires a lot from the player, including an entire morning and afternoon dedicated to completing this task, the ability to play through each song without taking any breaks, the ability to not accidentally hit the Start or Guide buttons when getting ready to unleash your Overdrive, an optional buddy to help you along the way, and yes, the eponymous bladder of steel. (Or maybe you can have a friend hold a cup in front of you, but that would just be weird.) Regardless, make sure you have the time and the motivation if you want to even dare to complete this achievement.

00 Agent Completed - GoldenEye 007 (N64)

Rare's GoldenEye 007 was a monumental game in terms of importance. It led the way for first-person shooters to become popular on home consoles instead of just on PCs where they had once exclusively been on, and the game brought forth one of the most addicting multiplayer modes up until that point, one that remains rather fun to this day. (And one that was pretty much a last-minute addition to the game.)

Beyond the multiplayer modes of GoldenEye 007 was a single player campaign, one that featured an impressive array of objective-based missions that closely followed the events and locales of the 1995 film. The campaign itself was pretty challenging but more so with the hardest difficulty, 00 Agent.

00 Agent met players with harder enemies, less health for James Bond to work with (and by design, there was no regenerating health, only occasional body armor to utilize), more objectives to complete, and death coming faster than you can blink. It all added up to a difficulty that almost required players to exploit the AI to overcome the hardships of this mode, especially in the Aztec level, one of the hardest levels in an FPS to this day. If you managed to beat GoldenEye 007 on the most challenging difficulty, then you definitely deserved your 00 status!

Beat Very Hard in Story Mode - F-Zero GX (GCN)

I reviewed a hard-as-nails futuristic racer last week, but that isn't quite on the same level in quality and challenge as F-Zero GX, one of my favorite arcade racers of all time. This Nintendo and Sega team-up brought blistering fast racing, gorgeous visuals, a stunning soundtrack, and a mighty stiff difficulty that challenged even the best of racing game players.

There are actually two tasks in F-Zero GX that are incredibly hard to do. The one I will focus on relates to the Story Mode, which is nine chapters starring Captain Falcon as he is tasked with completing varying mission goals, such as collecting doodads around a track before time runs out, cautiously racing through a section of track without dealing much damage to his vehicle (else the bomb attached to it will explode), and taking on various AI rivals.

The Normal difficulty poses a good deal of challenge already. It's when you get to the Very Hard difficulty, the one that unlocks a new racer for every mission you complete on that difficulty, that will send the calmest of players raging and wanting to chuck their controller at the screen. Yes, as I said, the rewards for completing Very Hard are very good, but the arduous task and amount of practice required to get them is one of my biggest personal gaming achievements. But it's also one I have no desire to ever try to do ever again!

All S-Ranks - Contra: Shattered Soldier (PS2)

Simply beating a game in the Contra series is already difficult enough of a challenge for even the most seasoned of action game players. Contra: Shattered Soldier on the PlayStation 2 kept that tradition very much alive with its classic unforgiving level of challenge given a more modern presentation with its 3D polygonal characters and environments.

Shattered Soldier offered a nastier challenge for players other than simply beating the game. That was to beat the game with an S-Rank overall. How was this accomplished, you ask? Essentially by shooting and destroying anything and everything that moved-- and then some! This increased your personal Hit Rate in a level, and the goal was to at least get 97% per level to get an S-Rank. As each death that you faced meant your overall Hit Rate would decrease, you could basically only die once per a given level to keep your Hit Rate at above the required amount to keep your S-Rank dreams alive, and the ability to view the game's best ending. Requiring machine-like responsiveness and the ability to remember each level from top to bottom (jumps and enemy placement, for starters), getting the S-Rank was a hard task in an already hard game.

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