THE PERFECT PLATFORMER! Ep. 15: Auto-Scrolling Levels (Collab-o with bigjoe91) (Happy New Years!)
You know what your new years resolution should be? To not read the tl;dr more often. :)
Editor's Note: This is Flapperdoodle's 128th blog on ScrewAttack!
Bigjoe.... why are we moving to the left without trying...?
It's like some invisible force is pushing us! Watch out Flaps! It's a lava pit!
*jumps, avoiding being eaten by a blargg*
OK, I think we're good... oh no... JOE! THE SCREEN!
It's going up now! *climbs several ladders* What is this madness?
I... don't... know... WAIT! I think I know...
Then tell me! We don't have much time!
It's everyone's favorite show where we take a look at the best of the best features in the best of the best platformers!
Oh I see! And the screen moving is a way for you to tell people you don't have many ways to go and that this show is hitting a dead end?
Actually. ANYTHING BUT! HORRAY!
*pops open champagne*
So we're here to talk about one amazing platformer concept, right?
Yup... and I think you know what it is.
Of course! Impatient people beware because we're talking about Auto-Scrolling Stages!
... oh Bigjoe... so much to learn. Everyone, please welcome BigJoe91 to a very special episode of...
Thank you! Thank you! Calm down people. Now breathe slowly and stop squealing.
BigJoe, tell dem peoples who you are!
Well for the 3 of you that don't already know me, I'm a fairly consistent blogger and retro gamer with a very special place in my heart for platformers. So just to reiterate, this isn't a top 10, right?
No Joe. This is just a simple listing show. And today, we are gonna combine our minds to produce a list of the best auto-scrolling levels in platforming.
There are plenty of stages in platformers that expect you to speed-run through without thinking twice. Auto-Scrolling stages are just the opposite, YOU have to adjust to the speed the game is imposing on you. A stage is considered auto-scrolling the moment it restricts your movement to a specific direction and pacing. The examples we'll set for you are pretty straight-forward. HA! Get it?
Yes, and it's quite interesting how auto-scrolling levels have become used more often than you'd think. Nintendo uses it like hell, and that's especially apparent in some of their retro games, and even if you don't realize it, some levels are actually auto-scrollers. It divides gamers often, with some loving it, with others hating it. I personally am indifferent to them, but either way, today we are here to enlighten you on the positive. Let's go.
The Airship Boss Levels (Super Mario Bros. 3)]
Airships are a staple in the Mario franchise, much more than you probably know. They've been seen all over, especially in this common era of Mario, so why not take some time to admire the older stages from the 3rd Super Mario Bros. game? These airships were brutal guys. They had cannonballs, bullet bills, monty moles, and flamethrowers on you at every turn. There was no time to talk, cause if you got distracted for the tiniest second, you'd get hit by something. These were some of the hardest levels in the game, and it all led up to a Koopaling battle that was for sure worth the trouble. Plus, did we mention that you CAN'T let the screen kill you? It just keeps you moving...
You're right about the difficulty Flaps. It's a great example of auto-scrolling stage since it forces you to plan your path based on what you see AND have killer reflexes to dodge these bullets. The worst part of these stages is the internal challenge they cause in the player. There are plenty of alternate paths over and under obstacles. You constantly have to judge the risk factor of choosing a path over the other. I also hate when the game trolls with you. The screen pushes you forward but still puts SLOOOOOOOW obstacles your way... I absolutely despise/love these never ending screws. Couple that with the fear of falling of and the boss after you're already exhausted and stressed, you got yourself a pretty challenging stage.
Revenge of Meta Knight (Kirby Super Star)
Why are the best auto-scrolling stages the darkest stages in their games? Kirby Super Star is no exception. It's all dreams, food and flowers until you get to Metaknight's Halberg. The best part of the auto-scrolling parts in Metaknight's revenge is that you destroy the airship as you go. You have a feeling of urgency when you run around and the dialogues of the baddies just enhance that feeling of urgency. Kirby auto-scrolling sections are always known to contain many obstacles. Your choice of power-up is absolutely critical in these situations! And when the golden lobster starts chasing you, the panic just sweeps you away.
Indeed, this is one of my personal favorites. It's great how it starts... and it's great how it ends. The entire game of Revenger of Metaknight is a great story, but then we add these fast-paced and fun auto-scrolling levels. And they are perfectly added in the game without feeling overdone or too annoying. There are normal parts, and then there are the true parts where you got to think on your feet. I was a bit annoyed the ending wasn't auto, but it kinda felt like it with the constant need to go fast. Either way though, Metaknight's Revenger is a great way of showing that the Kirby series can do some good with auto-scrolling. Whether up or to the right, it never feels tiresome. It's challenging... but not cheap. Just the way I likes it.
Castle Crush (Donkey Kong Country 2)
Oh man Joe... we are about to journey through a WHOLE new frontier. If you think the Airship levels are hard, take a gander at this bad boy. Castle Crush is a level where you stay on solid ground, but continuously move up as enemies begin to crowd your platform. You gotta do anything BUT stay on your toes, ironically. Zingers, Spinys, and even Krooks are all here, and they all wanna mess with ya. But Diddy and Dixie won't have this, and neither will Rambi, as he joins in too. Tip: don't lose him. You have no idea how much easier this level is with him. Seriously... Castle Crush dude... rough...
It is rough and again we see the main enemy of every auto-scrolling stage: the player. DKC2 keeps you on edge by encouraging you to reach the bonuses and grab all the DK coins which brings the question: How much are you willing to explore? Who knows when you can end up crushed under the next floor realizing there was only a banana bunch there? Patience, planning and reflexes are still the key here. Panic only brings death in these stages. You can't jump on porcupines! Remember it!
The Very Looooooong Cave (Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island)
Speaking of collectables, at least DKC2 had only two bonuses and one DK coin to collect. Yoshi's Island had 20 red coins and 5 stars! And that brings us to the long long (long) cave. Let's face it, this stage is sloooowly moving forward and you don't see much of the screen at once. There is so much lava in that stage and so many bats coming out from nowhere. This is definitely one of the hardest auto-scrolling stage I ever did if only because it's hard as hell to collect everything on the first try in this long long long long long stage....
While this one isn't as difficult just to get through, there's a lot of stuff to keep in mind if you wanna 100% it. Seriously, every corner has a secret. Flower here, watch out for enemies for a red coin here, a chomp rock here, GEEZ. My god man, Yoshi's Island is a mania at times. And the scrolling doesn't make it much easier. I love 100% levels in that game... but I remember trying this one, and I nearly blew out my brain socket. It's hard, not for the faint of heart for collectormen. But for people wanting run-through... be my guest.
And, that about does it for this episode! Thanks to BigJoe91 for joining me!
Thanks for having me Flaps! I could go on all day talking about this, but something is pushing me out of this blog!
I say, steer in with the skid good buddy...
I'll keep that in mind! See you next time!
Alright, thanks for reading everyone! Since this will be my last blog before the 2012 ends, I wanna take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Years! It's been a fantastic 2012 for me on SA, and let's hope 2013 is even better. Be sure to also leave suggestions for episodes down below, and you may just see them as a future episode!
- Larry :)
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