Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Toughest Tasks in Gaming History - Volume Six

Caution: These five new gaming tasks are not for the weak-spirited! Some gaming tasks are so challenging, so deviously difficult, that to complete them is to be considered a true achievement in this hobby. That's where "Toughest Tasks in Gaming History" comes in with five more daunting gaming challenges that will make many weak in the knees and--for some--in the stomach, too! 

Before or after checking out Volume Six's menagerie of challenging gaming tasks, be sure to look at the past five installments with these readily available links!

Volume Two
Volume Three
Volume Four
Volume Five

Beating Ultra-Nightmare Difficulty - DOOM Eternal (PS4, XB1, PC)

Anyone who has played DOOM Eternal (such as myself) can tell you that even on the easiest difficulty, if you don't have the basics mastered, don't keep moving, and don't ration your ammo well, you're gonna die. The demons of Hell are no slouches, and they don't believe in playing fair. They'll gang up on the Doom Slayer at any time, overwhelm him with an arsenal of attacks, and dish out immense damage.

When it concerns the game's most challenging difficulty, Ultra-Nightmare, you need to be on the very top of your game to survive even the first encounter. You need to have mastered the brutal yet elegant ballet of running, gunning, chainsawing enemies, and keeping your ammo levels in check to clear each and every tough combat encounter DOOM Eternal throws at you. Death comes fast in DOOM Eternal's Ultra-Nightmare, and dying in this mode ends a given run in its entirety as our favorite Doomguy only has one life to live. DOOM Eternal's "one error and you're dead" mode is one that's not for the feint of heart, and one that will give plenty of players who try this nightmare of a mode many restless nights!

Become a "Cast Master" - Animal Crossing: New Horizons (NSW)


We move on to a game that is decidedly QUITE tonally different from facing off against the demon hordes of Hell. It's Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the zen-like experience that has players doing a myriad of otherwise mundane tasks in real life, but in the world of Animal Crossing, they're therapeutic and fun. Really, Animal Crossing a series is all about rest and relaxation in gaming form, and New Horizons continues that trend to perfection.

...Well... almost. In the game, there are achievement-like tasks that reward Nook Miles for completing them. Some are as simple as collecting or making a certain amount of furniture, watering enough flowers, or logging in to play a specific amount of days. Those are easy enough, but there's one Nook Miles task that is head and shoulders above the others in its level of challenge.


That Nook Miles challenge is none other than "Cast Master", a task that can be a "reel" pain in the tuchus. It requires the player to catch a certain amount of fish without missing any. It's basically a successful fishing streak. The highest amount of fish to catch in a row in Cast Master is 100. That means you can NOT, under any circumstance, let a fish go either by pulling up your rod too early or too late, or else you have to start over from 1 fish all over again. Believe me, it's absurdly easy to psych yourself out and mess up your streak. Plus, some fish nab the line so quickly and retreat, resulting in a sad, pitiful end to your streak as well. It's especially painful to witness your streak end in the 90s... Yep, that be me with that blemish on my otherwise perfect fishing record. Sure, the reward for Cast Master is only some Nook Miles, but the personal achievement you'll get for completing this tough task is reward enough in this player's opinion!

Clearing Every Time Trial with a Platinum Relic - Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)

Three games with a multitude of levels in them, and in each game--Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped--there is a trophy for getting all of the Gold Relics in each level in each of the three games in the trilogy. That's difficult enough, as the Crash Bandicoot original trilogy is notorious for being a challenging one. Having to rush through levels--all of which contain no checkpoints in time trial mode--make death-defying jumps to successfully cut precious seconds off your time, and do so all while evading enemies and other deadly obstacles is certainly not for the timid of platforming fans.

Now, the Gold Relic times are challenging enough as they are, but the Platinum Relic times are even stricter with the times needed to earn them. They require you to make perfect runs through levels, performing dangerous shortcuts, throw caution to the wind, and nail pixel-perfect jumps while memorizing every platform and facet of each and every level in the game. Sound difficult? Well, I wouldn't have this on a "Toughest Tasks in Gaming History" edition if it wasn't! Thankfully, if you want the Platinum trophy on all three games in the trilogy, you need not aim for the Platinum Relics, but if you do, you'll be undisputed as one of the better platformer players in the hobby.

Complete the #Ego99 Challenge - Super Mega Baseball 3 (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)

Super Mega Baseball 3 is a sensational baseball game that skillfully blends simulation qualities with an arcade game feel. It's easy to jump into a game and quickly get accustomed to the controls and the various features of the game.

One such feature is the Ego system, which allows you to ramp up the AI up to level 99 to determine the difficulty. The game even has it where you can ramp up specific aspects of the AI, such as pitching, hitting, and fielding, for instance.

So, what is the #Ego99 Challenge, and what makes it so arduous to the point that few players have been able to actually complete it? With the #Ego99 Challenge, a player has to play and win an exhibition game against a computer team of all Ego 99 players, the absolute hardest-hitting, exceptionally difficult AI around in any baseball game that I've played. This team demands perfection against their opponents, and if you don't have it, you'll find yourself severely struggling against them.

Plus, if you think you can bring custom players into the fold to help "even the odds", you're mistaken. The #Ego99 Challenge must be completed with standard teams, so no customization is available as an option. I was definitely taken out to the ballgame, as well as to the cleaners when I attempted (and utterly failed) this tremendous challenge.

Mastering "Dark Agent" Mode - Perfect Dark Zero (360)

Our final tough task of this volume of Toughest Tasks in Gaming History takes us back a generation to the launch of the Xbox 360. (It seemed like a good opportunity to bring up a launch title with a new generation of gaming consoles coming out tentatively this year, after all. I do have a method to my madness.) With a new Halo nowhere to be found at the Xbox 360's launch (for obvious reasons), the first party first-person shooter offering from Microsoft was Perfect Dark Zero, a prequel to one of my favorite shooters of all time.

Heck, just trying to live up to the original Perfect Dark is its own kind of "tough task in gaming history"--which PDZ failed to do--but in the game itself, we're talking about another difficulty-related achievement. That would be clearing Dark Agent mode, the hardest of difficulties in Perfect Dark Zero.

As you can expect, Dark Agent is an even more dastardly and dangerous version of Perfect Agent difficulty, which is an already-hard mode. Dark Agent increases the damage delivered to Ms. Joanna Dark, ups the accuracy of enemies, and makes it so there are no armor pickups to give some much needed security to Jo at all. Unlike other difficulties in Perfect Dark Zero, the lengthy levels are only made deadlier by a total lack of checkpoints, save for the very first mission. As you can probably imagine, Perfect Dark Zero's Dark Agent difficulty rounds out to be a particularly daunting achievement to go after, even in co-op (which is a separate achievement anyway).

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