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User Info: carlmarksguy

carlmarksguy
9 years ago#1
Someone (rightly, in my opinion) complained that Metroid has some arbitrary, hard-to-solve challenges.

I mentioned THIS game, and now am migrating this (migraine-inducing) game's discussion here!

zoogelio: "Super Pitfall is considered the worst NES game by some. And for good reason, though I would rank games with horrid controls below it. Pitfall Harry is the evil Mario looong before Wario. Deadly Towers, its 1987 difficulty buddy, is also hated for certain design elements. Its an interesting game, but it is hard."

I'd say Super Pitfall and Deadly Towers are large game-worlds which have been made incredibly off-putting for different reasons (and I've won both of them):

Super Pitfall has all the vagueness and large featureless world of Metroid but without a useful weapon and with the lovely one-hit-and-you-die feature. On the upside, its world is much smaller.

Deadly Towers has a seemingly infinite series of "twisty corridores all alike" in the dungeons...but most of them are completely pointless (if I recall correctly; it's been a few years). You can totally map one of the dungeons and find nothing useful, while other dungeons have 2-3 stores with the powerups you need to make the game at all fun to play.
Heroes of the Mustache
http://lamecomics.com/hotm/

User Info: zoogelio

zoogelio
9 years ago#2
Posting here to get this board on the top 10 list because minor games like this, posts never get noticed in (Gamefaqs needs to list for the NES the 100 most recently active topics for older consoles to avoid this visibility issue).

The point of the Deadly Towers dungeons is a super labyrinth one has to venture thru to find the shops and then to find the exit, but it's such a huge maze, it's a maze from which most players never emerge. I'm actually impressed by the size of those multiple dungeons for a 1987 game. The Guardian Legend is also pretty big for an early 1988 game (pre all the MMC chips).


On Super Pitfall, I think Metroid's world is more interesting. It uses a 01 01 1A 12 24 cookie cutter format for construction, but the terrain is interesting. It looks like a truly alien world, which is something I think the absence of hurts Super Metroid (too familiar, too earthy). It doesn't look bad or offensively bland, just ho-hum. It looks like a blanker background version of SMB2, Goonies II and less varied than those games.


Here's to Pitfall Harry, the first evil Mario!

User Info: carlmarksguy

carlmarksguy
9 years ago#3
The point of the Deadly Towers dungeons is a super labyrinth one has to venture thru to find the shops and then to find the exit, but it's such a huge maze, it's a maze from which most players never emerge.

Definitely: the mazes are so huge, and they're so easy to blunder in to, that the "invisible entrance, invisible exit" decision is incredibly odd. Just SHOW the entrance (at worst just put a "hole in the ground" picture, as some of the entrances aren't against a wall), and SHOW the exits, it wouldn't change the fact that 90% of the time you're going to leave the dungeons by dying and continuing.

I'm actually impressed by the size of those multiple dungeons for a 1987 game.

Yes, I keep trying to enjoy it because of the size and map-ability....and while I did win it back in the day, I remember that the most frustrating thing is how so many of the dungeons you could completely map and find NOTHING useful!

The Guardian Legend is also pretty big for an early 1988 game (pre all the MMC chips).

Yes; and unlike Deadly Towers and Super Pitfall, it was almost always fun to play!

On Super Pitfall, I think Metroid's world is more interesting.

Yup, Super Pitfall has rather crude and artless graphics. Though Super Pitfall's Dark World (with the huge towers and mask-wearing characters) is kind of neat, in general it's "brown platform, green platform, bricks, water". Different enough that it has different regions, but nowhere near as awesome as Metroid's bizarre subworlds.

.. It looks like a blanker background version of SMB2, Goonies II and less varied than those games.

Yup. But unlike SMB2, Goonies II, and Metroid, the fatal flaw of Super Pitfall is that you don't have an effective attack, and as flawed as your gun is its further handicapped by very limited ammo, and ONE HIT KILLS YOU. The game's a veritable advertisement for its own "hidden continue" sequence.

Here's to Pitfall Harry, the first evil Mario!

I'm not sure why people say that; I think "the world's first incompetent Mario knockoff" is much more accurate. It'd be like saying "Amagon/Megagon are an "evil Incredible Hulk". They're just USELESS, not evil!

And we didn't even talk about the REAL thing that makes Super Pitfall un-winable without FAQs (other than the Continue code):

SPOILERS
..
..
..

..


..

I'm gonna spoil the most broken part below! So I'll type it without spaces to make it harder to accidentally read:
..
thewarpzoneshiddenintheunshootablecondors.

..

..
[/spoilers]

Everything else I could figure out by myself - jumping, items appear, okay -- I can jump everywhere, eventually I'll win. But THAT....when I read a FAQ and saw that, I was so pissed. At least don't have OTHER versions of that thing floating around...if it was UNIQUE and ONLY ever did that effect, eventually one MIGHT check it out...but yeah.

Ok, that's my biggest gripe with Super Pitfall. But let it be said that I KIND of want to win it again, just so I can play the Second Quest (as I understand it, the map is the same but all the items are shuffled). Then again, I'm stoopidly masochistic when it comes to horrible NES games (as evidenced by my buying (and completing!) a cartridge copy of Heroes of the Lance).
Heroes of the Mustache
http://lamecomics.com/hotm/

User Info: zoogelio

zoogelio
9 years ago#4
Deadly Towers is certainly a brutal game rightfully considered among the hardest NES games for so many reasons, including some you listed:
- Invisible everything- dungeon entrances, exits.
- Dungeon entrances sometimes drop you into the middle of tough enemies and you'll take damage and often even die because the enemies are so close to you.
- No sense of direction. A player doesn't know which tower is the easiest, which the hardest, where to find gear to upgrade or what to even look for to upgrade.
- Stingy enemies. They rarely drop hearts or ludder coins, and when they do, if its even partly on the wall, you can't collect it. And so often the drops disappear by the time you run over there.
So many other hard games have less frustrating features. They are hard because of a conventional challenge, not being a brutal game where it takes forever to get enough coins, to regenerate life, or to find and buy items. I can understand why it could be so hated- unless you are hyper-persistent or have a guide to follow, the game is too impenetrable. A player can't get into it enough to enjoy it. Though enjoyment is something DT's developers didn't take into consideration.


Yes, I keep trying to enjoy it because of the size and map-ability....and while I did win it back in the day, I remember that the most frustrating thing is how so many of the dungeons you could completely map and find NOTHING useful!
And the dungeons have such a random color scheme. No consistency. And the towers, the interior, exterior and boss rooms have different colors. There's nothing to enjoy aesthetically (in terms of continuity). It's like a Jackson Pollack painting.


Yes; and unlike Deadly Towers and Super Pitfall, it was almost always fun to play!
Agreed! Even its difficult-to-navigate Lost Frontier is more fun than DT or SP (albeit with save states).


I'm not sure why people say that; I think "the world's first incompetent Mario knockoff" is much more accurate. They're just USELESS, not evil!
It's evil Mario not just in Harry being weaker and more inept in terms of what he can do than Mario, but the whole game itself is like an evil Mario game (except in it uses large explorable maps instead of horizontal stages). Its evil in the sense that the developer tried to peddle a game that looks like Mario but which kids would get little enjoyment out of.


Both Deadly Towers & Super Pitfall are strange games. They are comprehensive games in their size/detail for that time, yet they are atrocious in their difficulty and frustration factor. With some games, you know the odds are they are going to be crap (LJN) and they usually look/feel shoddy. These look good by 1987 standards but feel not quite shoddy as insane in their design. Play these games and then play a Nintendo, Konami, or Capcom game from 1985-1987 and one can quickly notice the difference. Those games are actually fun. What was the purpose behind making these 2 games so utterly hard and frustrating?

One weird thing about DT is its dungeons are most of the game by size. The titular towers aren't very big at all. DT comes off as being inspired by Zelda, yet the towers don't even remotely compare to Zelda 1's labyrinths. And Goonies II is a much more fun labyrinth than Deadly Towers or Super Pitfall. And sadly, a very widely overlooked game.


That intermediate step between the early single screen "phases" games, arcade style games defined by most of Nintendo's black box games and between the full sized (256kb) games that most people associate with the scope/style of NES games is interesting. It's primarily 1986-1987. SMB1 was the first game to break out from the earliest phase along with Ninja Kid. Notable games in this era:
Ghosts N Goblins, Commando, Trojan, Castlevania I & II, Metroid, Kid Icarus, The Legend of Zelda, The Goonies II, Deadly Towers, Super Pitfall, Mega Man 1, Kid Niki, Legend of Kage, Rygar. I think Metal Gear too.

User Info: carlmarksguy

carlmarksguy
9 years ago#5
Deadly Towers is certainly a brutal game rightfully considered among the hardest NES games for so many reasons, including some you listed:
- Invisible everything- dungeon entrances, exits.


Yup, as we've said, there's no reason for this at all.

- Dungeon entrances sometimes drop you into the middle of tough enemies and you'll take damage and often even die because the enemies are so close to you.

It's one of the worst "hit-bump-hit-again" games around, what with your small damage-knockback and virtually non-existant post-damage invincible-time. If you're above an enemy moving up, it's going to go through you like the technodrome through topsoil.

- No sense of direction. A player doesn't know which tower is the easiest, which the hardest, where to find gear to upgrade or what to even look for to upgrade.

As is said by DT apologists everywhere, you start with way too weak equipment. Either that or every enemy should require about 1/3rd less hits to kill.

- Stingy enemies. They rarely drop hearts or ludder coins, and when they do, if its even partly on the wall, you can't collect it. And so often the drops disappear by the time you run over there.

The only smart move is to milk those Sphere Towers for items. They have no more hitpoints than anything else, and they have about 10 enemies-worth of item drop chances. But there's no reason for the Stinginess!

And Goonies II is a much more fun labyrinth than Deadly Towers or Super Pitfall. And sadly, a very widely overlooked game.

I've often said that "Goonies II" is my favorite game ever. Though I bet I wouldn't have done so well had I not had the Nintendo Player's Guide with me on my first play-through, which told you where most of the key items were (there are quite a few rooms with key items that you have to hit in just the right place....and if you miss them you'll eventually not be able to advance and end up having to search every room over again!)


As far as Super Pitfall, I tried playing it again the other day. And missed 3 out of every 4 shots I took at the snakes and frogs (enemies who you can only shoot when they jump/rise up). Either they should have let you duck-and-shoot, or give you unlimited ammo (it's not like blazing away makes you invincible - you have to time it right or be far enough away or else your shots aren't going to save you!)

Speaking of old-school and impossible...did you ever play Solomon's Key? It's one of the "challenging" game based on its own rules; but I'd say its harder than the first Mega Man.
Heroes of the Mustache
http://lamecomics.com/hotm/

User Info: zoogelio

zoogelio
9 years ago#6
I've often said that "Goonies II" is my favorite game ever. Though I bet I wouldn't have done so well had I not had the Nintendo Player's Guide with me on my first play-through, which told you where most of the key items were (there are quite a few rooms with key items that you have to hit in just the right place....and if you miss them you'll eventually not be able to advance and end up having to search every room over again!)
It seems if you hit in the center of the wall, anything there will be revealed. The targeting isn't that complex... but somethings are revealed with the fist, some with the hammer, or even the glasses, and you have 5 walls to check in each room. Probably the least intuitive part is beating up an old lady for a candle. One of the few video games to promote elder abuse. And I found it strange they made some enemies they use just once, like the Ghost, enemies with unique AI and I think 1 or 2 Lobsters & Eskimos.

And what's interesting is while the game has no bosses or final boss, there is only 1 Ma Fratelli in the game and she has some fairly elaborate AI for what, a 128kb game? Pipsqueaks baffled me too. They seemed like they would be common cannon fodder, the generic rank & files of the Fratelli family, yet besides a brief appearance early on, they aren't found again til way later in the game. And I found it funny you can get multiple Jake Fratellis on the screen at one time.


Speaking of old-school and impossible...did you ever play Solomon's Key? It's one of the "challenging" game based on its own rules; but I'd say its harder than the first Mega Man.
Nope, never played it, but it is another 1987 game (like Mega Man 1). What was it about third-party 1987 NES games that made them so hard vs. other years?

User Info: carlmarksguy

carlmarksguy
9 years ago#7
re, GOONIES II:
It seems if you hit in the center of the wall, anything there will be revealed. The targeting isn't that complex...

I would swear there were about 5 target-spots for HIT and HAMMER in the main facing wall (dead center, and each of the four corner-quadrants), and 3 in the ceiling (left, center, right), and a dead-center target in each of the two side-walls and floor...but I'd have to go back to be sure...

Did you ever play Robowarrior? It's a very odd game, not worthy of note unless you grew up with it as one of your 10-ish Nintendo games. Basically imagine Bomberman, if it was a rather deep adventure game, and you have a VERY finite stockpile of dozens of different items some of which were necessary in certain situations, and which STAY spent if you continue after death.

Add to that a pretty regular abuse of the "if you don't find thing X, much of the level loops over again" (in every dark bonus-item-filled tunnel zone, which you need light source items to see in, there's a hidden exit which if missed, you have to loop; and many levels have a specific hidden item, without which the mid-part of the level keeps repeating until you find it, but with regenerated bombable blocks of course), and you have a game an adult would be hard-pressed to beat.

It's a shame its so punishing, because it has some awesome bossfights (though I've only ever played them with the handy level-select cheat).

In a pre-game genie world (even in the late '80s), it seems like if you're going to program a game which is too damn hard for the target audience, or which has no viable means of continue, you should have definitely included a level-select cheat code! Otherwise people will play it a little bit and, quite justifiably, put it aside forever. (For example, good for you, Ghosts and Goblins!).
Heroes of the Mustache
http://lamecomics.com/hotm/

User Info: zoogelio

zoogelio
9 years ago#8
I would swear there were about 5 target-spots for HIT and HAMMER in the main facing wall (dead center, and each of the four corner-quadrants), and 3 in the ceiling (left, center, right), and a dead-center target in each of the two side-walls and floor...but I'd have to go back to be sure...
I catalogued where everything is and made room maps, though my digital mapmaking skills are weak (my paper mapmaking skills on the other hand...) if I ever made a FAQs for it, and I'm fairly sure I found every item, including the multiple versions of the bomb box and fire box, key holders, etc. There's just 1 target per surface.


Did you ever play Robowarrior? It's a very odd game, not worthy of note unless you grew up with it as one of your 10-ish Nintendo games. Basically imagine Bomberman, if it was a rather deep adventure game, and you have a VERY finite stockpile of dozens of different items some of which were necessary in certain situations, and which STAY spent if you continue after death.
No, never heard of it til now. I wonder if many game companies had little experience making games and ended up making them way too hard, and not in the way of a respectable challenge but in terms of WTF crap like that and Deadly Towers and Super Pitfall. I do know in Japan, the Famicom didn't have too many third-party developers until 1986 or so, and over the late '80s more and more appeared. Perhaps those years were early on their learning curve, when they needed to learn the gameplay has to be enjoyable.
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