Gaming is about challenges, or if you're into MMORPGs, gaming is about challenges and calling people gaylords. Regardless, game designers go to extreme lengths in order for you to test your skills, with rewards to follow. Sometimes, though, the rewards are simply not worth the agony of the accomplishment.
The Tube Race portion ofEarthworm Jim
's third level is famously hard, a white-knuckle ride through an underwater obstacle course where you're caught between running out of air and careening into cavern walls. Now, this is the only achievement on the list that you actually have to do, so the payoff is getting to the next level. What's frustrating is that the mastermind behind this devilish deathtrap is a goldfish, and once you come face to face with him, you simply knock over his bowl and walk away. Sorry, but after coming through the level shaking with adrenaline fatigue, the game really should've let you take your time with the bastard.
Modern gamers are spoiled by the fact that pretty much any game of epic size comes with its own map. Final Fantasy XII is no different...except in the Great Crystal level of Giruvegan. The level disables your map, and forces you through a series of near identical looking puzzles. You go through it once, but have to return if you'd like the sword Excalibur.
The thing is, you can pick up weapons that are inarguably better through much less maddening wandering around. The Zodiac Spear outclasses Excalibur in every way, and the Masamune and Tournesol were both less aggravating to get and better to use. It's not like weapons are character specific or anything, or that you even need more than three sets of gear at any one time. As far as we're concerned, they can keep the stupid thing.
By doing 100 Super Jumps in a row, you can get the best armor in the game, the Super Suit. The thing is, we've played this game for hundreds of hours, and the only way we ever accomplished this feat was through saving our state in an emulation every third jump or so. Even then, it took us almost two hours to accomplish this task. Video evidence above notwithstanding, doing 100 Super Jumps in a row is almost impossible.
But it's worth it, right? Best armor in the game? Not really. The Lazy Shell is ten times easier to get, almost as good, and since you only really need one ultimate armor to keep Toadstool alive and able to heal everybody, there's no real point in putting yourself through the nightmare.
Your quest is noble. A rich family pissed off a tribe of spider demons that turned them into spider-monsters who only say, "Yarrgh! I'm cursed." You hunt throughout Hyrule for 100 of the little bastards hidden in the most hard to get locations. As you kill more of them, members of the family are uncursed and they reward you with some pretty nice loot.
After 50, though, there's not a single reward until you kill them all. You won't accomplish this until the game is almost over. The reward? Infinite money, which would be great if you hadn't reached a point in the game where you don't need to buy anything, and even if you did you already have plenty of cash. We would've preferred the photo negatives of Zelda naked that they used to blackmail the Royal Family into financial security.
The real reward for working through the Riddler's challenges in Batman: Arkham Asylum is experience points that can be used to enhance your abilities, though you'll likely get plenty to do the job just in the regular course of playing.
And yes, if you persevere and solve every single one of the riddles, then you'll get 30 seconds of audio where the Riddler is arrested. Frankly, since we know he just escapes to become even more annoying in Arkham City, it doesn't seem worth tracking down that last set of Joker's teeth to destroy. After five hours of searching the same location where apparently we missed one, we gave up and just beat the snot out of the Joker until we felt better about ourselves...exactly like Batman!
Searching for things in Resident Evil 2 is pretty straightforward. Walk up, press X, if nothing happens move on. However, some person that almost certainly suffered from a combination of OCD and meth addiction went through searching Albert Wesker's desk 50 times and was rewarded with some film. When developed, it shows a picture of Rebecca Chambers in a basketball outfit.
Look, we know that this was before the Internet and we had to rely on whatever bits of Rule 34 that were allowed to breed in captivity, but think of the poor bastard who searched every other bit of furniture in the game 50 times after this hoping that somewhere there was more revealing pictures to come.
Mortal Kombat II was full of awesome secrets, including three secret characters to battle and...well, that was really about it, despite the trolls of the world desperate to sell you the secret to the Kano Transformation and the ability to play as Ermac.
The game's most pointless secret, though, was that after 250 consecutive wins, you got a new challenge in the form of Pong. Yes, that Pong. By contrast, you can play Pong for free right here, right now.
We loved Track & Field on the original NES, and looked very much forward to playing it on DS. It was a lot of fun, but we'd forgotten how intense button mashing can be. We actually injured our arm playing this game, and that seems to be antithetical to the point of playing a sports video game.
But we powered through, and our reward for a gold medal in every event was unlocking the final secret character. The game's referee was tops in every attribute. Finally, getting those gold medals was going to be easy! Wait....
DKCR was a brilliant classic-style side-scroller that could be both incredibly addictive and fiendishly difficult. Beating the game wasn't too far outside the realm of normal difficulty, but the challenge lay in finding all the puzzle pieces and K-O-N-G letters in each level. In previous games this unlocked extra boss fights, or whole new endings. Surely the power of the Wii would unlock even greater magic.
Nope. After hours of frustrating precision jumps, the timing of which required concentration that would shame a Jedi and reflexes enhanced with Spider Sense, the game's ultimate reward is...a mirror world. The same game you just played, but in reverse. Seriously, this is Nintendo's laziest contribution to gaming, and someone needs to have a talk with them before a mirror-themed serial killer gets born out of this crap.
Of course, if games don't provide you with these worthless quests, we can always trust gamers to make them up themselves. Take for instance this man, who decided to spend time that could've been better used to help the homeless, learn to play a musical instrument, listening to brilliant, cutting edge music, or even just furiously masturbating to instead collect 1,000 troll skulls in Skyrim. Then he filled his house with them, presumably because he's tried the same thing in real life but was stopped by all those pesky security measures at the graveyard. It's things like this that make us fear a remote-controlled military.
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