Thursday, September 12, 2013

Game 9: 2nd Space

Look at that little apple go. It's just zooming along like an offroad apple should. Go go, offroad apple, but make sure your little Robin Hood hat doesn't fly off. Then you'd be totally naked except for your goggles.

Um anyway this is 2nd Space. It's an unlicensed game by Sachen, a Taiwanese company that is apparently well known among bootleg connoisseurs. They created a ton of games for the NES and GB without the permission of Nintendo. Which is fine by me because Nintendo's licensing policies back in the day were apparently just awful.

So, let's not delay any further. Push start for me, will you? Thanks, that's a dear.

Here in 2nd Space (no one knows what 1st space is) we have two options. Those options are Slow...and Fast. Which do you choose?
Obviously you choose fast, because you are CRAZY RUNNER
I choose fast partially because I like the zooming apple picture, but mostly because I like the subtitle "crazy runner." Heck, that's what I would have named the game myself, because 2nd space doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Alright, let's get started with this. I'm ready for anything. I'm hoping that it's a side-scrolling racing game, or maybe some sort of driving/shooting game set in space, or maybe a fruit war with-
Oh, nevermind. It's just a maze game
Crap, I hate maze games. Not only do I suck at them, I think they're super boring. I draw the line at Ms. Pacman, no other maze game will ever please me.

Oh well, I probably won't be playing this for very long considering how extraordinarily fast it is. Ms. Apple zooms across the screen like an excited bird, flipping back and forth at the slightest touch of the D-Pad. She also stops on a dime as soon as you let go of a direction. This is fine in theory, but in practice it makes turning corners extremely difficult, since you have to hit the button at exactly the right time or end up getting stuck just before or after the turn. They should have just gone with the Pacman theory of "never stop moving ever unless you straight up ram face first into a wall."

As I drive all over the maze, the black tiles start to fill in. Okay, so the goal is to fill in all the tiles, no biggy. The enemies start to appear in the upper right corner and bounce erratically all over the screen They're not restricted to the maze, they just sort of...float around.
That flower looks harmless, but it actually plays Nickelback songs on loop 
It also turns out that completely surrounding a block of tiles flips them over to reveal some picture. So in essence it's a combination of Qix and Pacman. Unfortunately, the flipping animation takes forever and pauses the entire game while the animation completes, so I'm constantly stopping every time I fill in a block. It's like driving in a traffic jam, except...no, it's exactly like driving in a traffic jam.

I quickly fill in all the tiles, deftly avoiding the evil fire shooting flower. I am then presented with the next level. So that's pretty much the flow of the game, I suppose, just flip tiles until your fingerprints wear off and your nose starts bleeding.
Also, I am now being chased by a gaping maw with tentacles. Lovely.
So far, this game is neither difficult nor interesting. Obviously this has been a bad sign before (see 1942) so I'm not taking it to mean much of anything. I zoom about and complete a few levels. Disappointingly, the picture underneath never seems to change, so the motivation of getting new pictures has already died. That's the breaks with these unlicensed games.
It is a nice building though. Especially the hovering kanji bit
I do get killed once by stupidly running straight into a deadly flower, but it's mostly out of boredom. Then, things start to get interesting. And by interesting I mean really hard.
Protip: those mummies are bastards.
Yep, that's me losing my last life to the projectile of a damnable mummy. Those things are clever little buggers, following me about for a while before drifting off to exactly where I need to go to finish the maze. I spent a good long while just wandering about the zones I'd already completed waiting for the mummy to go somewhere else, then he shot me to death. Hateful creatures, one and all.
Go ahead! Punch me right in the face 9 times! I like it!
Luckily, continuing from a game over merely erases your score, and you start right where you left off. By now I'm starting to notice something: a lot of these monsters look like they were pulled straight out of Japanese lore. I'm not super familiar with it except from video games, but it does seem reminiscent to me. That's not remarkable in itself, but it does make me re-evaluate the identity of Ms. Apple. I think she might actually be a daruma with wheels. Which still makes no fricking sense.

In any case, I finally finish level 5 and get the full picture that I was half-heartedly uncovering before.

Uh....yay?
I am hoping that this game is only 5 levels long because I'm finding it dreadfully boring even when it's difficult. Alas, the game continues past its quintet of dullness into...oh wait is that a gigantic deadly flower that moves at the speed of sound?
Yes, yes it is.
Ah crap that thing is so fast, and gigantic. And it keeps shooting at me oh god this is a nightmare.

This is what I really hate about maze games. So often they change from being a docile little boring thing to being decidedly terrifying. The reason I love Ms. Pacman is because it starts out dreadful, throws me right into the deep end and tells me to punch ghosts. This game just wastes my time for 5 levels and then becomes impossible.

I do manage to finish a few levels and my horror subsides. The big ol' flowers aren't too bad after all, they just threw me off at first. And this new music that's playing is nice, it has that weird farty instrument that they used in Wario Land. I think I can handle a little more of this game for sure. 
Aaaaand nope
WHAT IS THAT it's terrifying! It's like some detached gaping maw wearing four jester hats, and it's even faster than the flower was. WOW no this isn't gonna happen folks.

Unsurprisingly I quickly die, sacrificed to the unholy amalgamation of clown and Cthulhu. 

I think that's going to be it for 2nd Space. It's close to what I would expect from an unlicensed maze game on the Game Boy starring an off-road two wheel drive daruma statue. Which is to say a bizarre combination of madness and mundanity resulting in something that just ends up being uninteresting.

Ah well, at least I get to say I piloted a daruma straight into the gaping maw of death, and came back to tell the story. Everyone likes a good story. 

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