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I tried for like 2 hours and I've finally got one in the last 10 seconds. I really wonder what the developers thought when they made this minigame, have they even tested it? They should have seen that the reward is extremely low compared to the other minigames and it's so luck based (sometimes you only get crappy scorpions and if you're lucky you see one silver scorpion in a run where it just runs away). And the silver scorpions are just worth 10000 which is still very low.
The small scorpions can also run through objects or just glitch-run into a wall which is very annoying and often they just bury themselves when you reach them.
And they run faster than Travis, so how is the player supposed to catch one of these? They are very bright so they are hard to see on the rather bright ground and combined with the fact that they usually run into the high grass it's very hard to keep track of them. And they just appear randomly in a random angle around you. In my opinion this is just bad game design.
What I found out after many attempts was that they always run in a certain pattern:
Run away from you (very fast and in a random angle) - wait a moment (when you're close) or wait until you get close to them - run away again - wait - ...
They always use this pattern and your chance of catching one is when they stand still. And that's also your only chance of getting close to them, but it seems that they stand still as long as you don't approach them. After some run-wait cycles you will eventually get closer to them (if you haven't lost track of them yet). A mistake I sometimes made was trying to pick them up even though the wait phase was almost over. Then they will just run away because of the slow pick-up animation. In that case you should run after them for one more cycle just to make sure.
And to avoid them running into high grass, you should run in a very wide (and I mean "very wide" so that you don't make them run away) arc around them and approach them from the grass. They should move away from the grass then.
It's better to use shadowy places because they are easier to spot because of the dark ground. I preferred the small upper left corner of the field (when you look at the NMH2 map when the minigame is loading or just run in a straight line from the starting point) where the highways first go above the field. This area is shadowy and there is a spot without any grass there and it seemed to me that more scorpions spawn there for some reason. Usually I saw ~1 silver scorpion in like 4 runs, but there I saw one silver scorpion in every 1 or 2 runs. I just ran back and forth in this spot until a silver scorpion spawned. Picking up other scorpions is risky because you might see a silver scorpion while you're picking up another scorpion and then you can pretty much forget it.
What I never understood was a 8-bit sound that is randomly played during the game. It goes down as if you're missing something. At first I thought it indicated that a silver scorpion spawned but that's wrong, I think. Does anyone know more about this?
Anyway, all in all this minigame is just a horrible mess in terms of game design. I just wanted to catch a silver scorpion once (haha OCD). It's more fun just to run around in this wide field to explore and see how Santa Destroy has changed. I thought that there might be some secrets (like a troll face from Suda or a hidden message) but I only found Bishop's grave, which is a nice touch but I haven't found anything other than that. Maybe it's possible to glitch out of the field and explore the city? The credits make it seem that the city was fully modelled but somehow removed from the game.
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But fortunately I enjoyed playing the other minigames so I also tried a bit to go for high scores:
Bug Out 49650 (beat last stage without losing a life)
Lay the Pipe 51402 (perfect bonus on last stage)
Coconut Grabber 63600 (get all coconuts in the last stage)
Pizza With a Vengeance 42000 (no accident on last stage, most tedious one because you always have to restart from stage 1)
Man the Meat 66000 (only "Delicious!" on last stage)
Tile in Style 10840 (memorize one solution, lose on purpose and then beat the puzzle)
Getting Trashed 101000 (using the known trick that uses the time bonus after dying on purpose)
Stings So Good 10000 (well, I just wrote a long rant about that)
By the way, did you know you can get a turbo start on Pizza with Vengeance? I discovered it when I was just playing around. You have to press and hold down A when the screen shows "1" and then press A one more time right before "GO" appears. At least this method always worked for me.
As someone who occasionally plays bullet hell games, I particularly liked the Bizarre Jelly minigame where I beat hard without losing a life on my first try so I just thought that beating hard in general unlocks the special difficulty, so I guess I was just lucky there. I also went for a high score on this one:
I think this is the highest possible score because I killed every enemy and destroyed all parts of the first boss. And you get the most points per enemy on special difficulty. The number of lives does not influence the score (as far as I know). I used Strawberry because of the wide angle shot which makes the stage very easy, but the hidden boss is MUCH harder because of the small size, so good luck if you want to try it. Sometimes it becomes a real bullet hell (especially the last attack pattern which requires quite some skill and I can't dodge it consistently), but it was challenging and I liked it.
(Tip: If you mash the A button, you shoot faste than just holding down the A button)
As for the entire game, compared to the first NMH game, some things are better than the predecessor (more straightforward, death match mode, more save slots, more variety in the music...), other things are worse (cheap final boss, Naomi is useless after 20% of the game, scorpion minigame, lower replay value...) but overall I like NMH 2 more.
What stood out negatively (besides the scorpion minigame) was the level design on some stages. The Guan Supermarket has -way- too many enemies, as well as the housing complex (where you fight Alice) which could have ended a map earlier whereas Rank 7 and 3 (Ryuji and Cpt. Vladimir) have no enemies. They should have balanced this better. Also, some mechanics are never explained, the parry in particular which is crucial for the final boss. I never knew about it until I read about it on GameFAQs and that was after I already beat the game once. And of course the final boss (the second phase) which is just cheap to many players and badly designed leading to frustration for many new players because they get comboed by the teleport punches or thrown out of the window (which is a completely unnecessary one-hit kill), so I also made another topic that shows what to do against the cheap attacks:
And some things in the story are never explained. Why did Travis go to the Skelter Helter fight in the first place? Why does he say "finally, there she is" in the ending when he already has visited her many times before? Why did a person fall from above when you talk with Sylvia at Burger Suplex? Is that a troll-foreshadowing of what awaits the player in the fight? Well, it's a Suda51 game, so I guess I shouldn't expect much in terms of the story :)
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