November 28, 2004

Arrrrrrgh!

As I hinted some days ago, I've been playing Metroid Prime 2 recently. It's a tough game; there are some monsters and puzzles that are really tough to beat. Since Wednesday, I've been stumped by something called the Spider Ball Guardian. It's more of a puzzle than a monster, but it takes good reflexes, precise movement, a cool head, and considerable speed at just the right times to beat it. As I'm still afflicted by this nasty cold, good reflexes and a cool head have been in short supply.

To make matters worse, the Spider Ball Guardian is badly placed in the game. In the Metroid series of games, you're exploring a fairly large environment and you can only save your game in particular rooms called Save Stations. You collect equipment as the game goes on; each piece of new equipment gives you some new capability that allows you to do things and go places you couldn't previously go. Most such pieces of equipment are guarded by something extremely nasty, and it often takes several tries before you can beat the nasty what-ever-it-is. Consequently, there's usually a Save Station fairly close by so that you can save your game and not have too far to travel for each successive attempt--and also so that you can save your game quickly once you defeat it.

In the case of the Spider Ball Guardian, though, it takes a good five minutes just to get from the Save Station to the place of battle. And then you need to try to defeat the Guardian, which is a long, drawn out process; it easily takes fifteen to twenty minutes. I figured out how to get most of the way the first day; it's the last bit that's been causing me trouble. And since I'm practically quivering by the time I get to it, I've been making no more than one or two attempts per day.

You may ask, why go to all this effort? If it's so annoying, why not just stop playing? It's partly a pride thing, I suppose, but mostly it's because I've complete less than half the game. If I can get past the Spider Ball Guardian, I've got many hours of enjoyment left in this thing.

Anyway, I felt cooler and calmer this morning (although still sick), plus, with the help of the folks over at Game FAQs, I'd figured out a new angle that might make the timing a little easier. So I sat down, and gave it a try. And I did it! I beat the Spider Ball Guardian! I recovered the Spider Ball (a truly neat gizmo), and headed back towards the nearest Save Station.

And then the power went out.

(We shall here observe a moment of silence--because, with four small children in the house, I was not able to express myself as I might have preferred to, and consequently had to fulminate silently.)

The good news is that the new angle worked pretty nicely, and I should have an easier time of it next time. The bad news is that although the power is back on (it was off for only a few seconds) we're having a wind storm this morning and the power could easily go off again at any time. It probably won't...but I think I'll wait until the wind dies before I give the Spider Ball Guardian another try.

Update: I managed to beat the sucker and save my game after the kids went to bed this evening. Woo-hoo!

Posted by Will Duquette at November 28, 2004 09:56 AM