7/6/06 02:27 pm - Aquatic Hell
There are five, maybe two-hundred, design atrocities that have haunted my gaming career not least of which is the dreaded “water stage.” Typical traits of these bastard levels include, but aren’t limited to: the ability to drown, floating controls, slow movement, automatic scrolling, and obscured vision.
No one enjoys water stages and those who say they do are liars. Fat, ugly, hateful liars. Yet there they are, polluting our otherwise wonderful games. I can only assume they are used to interrupt regular, enjoyable stage progression so that the player isn’t allowed to have too much fun.
I recently received Sonic Rush for the DS and there I was, having a good old time running my little polygonal hedgehog through the woods at blazing speed when whatever Sega-induced buzz I was working on is permanently killed by Stage 2: This Stage Is Nothing But Water.
Water stages in Sonic games are probably the most ludicrous and cruel of all water stages simply because the games are supposed to be built around speed. This doesn’t make similar stages in Super Mario Brothers any less worse, of course, nor the sequences in Half-Life or Quake 2 where you have to swim from point A to point B before you very short oxygen supply ran out. The justifiably obscure Bravoman, tries to mix it up by turning the platformer into a shooter for the water stages. This only makes the game suck even more.
The one possible exception would have to be Donkey Kong Country and that is only because of the incredibly relaxing, 80s-synth-like background music featured in those rendered watery stages. DKC was one of those games that if you hit pause the music would continue. Being the ultra geek that I was I had my SNES rigged up through a separate receiver so I could pause the game, turn off the TV, and simply chill to that wondrous tune.
I’d like to say that I’ve since gotten a life but here I am complaining about video games in my online journal. It’s like the water stage of my existence.