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30 Days of Video Games - BONUS: Why Do You Play Games Pg. 142

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Day 6 - Favorite Level


I'm not really sure about what to say. Fuck, man. I think I'll go with Hell from Muramasa.




While the whole game is fucking beautiful, I think that Hell is the best place in Muramasa, especially on the Vita's OLED. Running through the bones of the unfortunate ones that ended up in this place after death while watching the punished souls wandering around in the distance and the inferno flames turing the sky red is just amazing.

The whole place is filled with the strongest enemies in the game, the Oni. You have small ones, huge ones, ones that look like horses, others like bulls and every single one takes a shitload of hits to kill not to mention that during some parts you have to deal with about six at the same time.

This section may be somewhat short, but it sure is one hell of a ride.


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DAY 6!


Oh this level  brings back memories.




Tokyo Rokkaku Expo Stadium!


I remember playing this level over and over again in multi player mode with my brother, It was a cool stage to play death in. There was even a crazy glitch that makes you run outside of the stadium and me and my bro discovered a lot of very cool glitchy areas.

You play this stage in story mode once you are held prisoner by the noise tanks and forced to play death ball with other rivalry skaters that are also held captive by the noise tanks. Looking at this now, it's pretty easy to beat but when I played this stage as a kid, It was pretty challenging at first. Mostly because death was kinda of confusing at first, do we keep the ball as long as we can or do we spray up the enemies? We were so dumb because it was so simple. Where ever you pick up the ball, you gotta do one lap until you reach the same spot where you picked up the ball.


You have to do three rounds, but in the third round, once you finish that one, the rokkaku police interrupts the game and we were face battling some big ass robot with arms and stuff and it was pretty difficult.


It was a nice simple stage to replay it in, the police crashing in was a surprise, the first time going in with the game, I was like "The big robot is BACK!" And it was during the journey of finding YOYO, it's were we find out that YOYO is the enemy! Well the fake yoyo, They faked him to make him look like he abandon the GGs.


Edit: Here is a video of the level.





City escape would of been my favourite stage, but I'm trying to not answer with anything Sonic.



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The Planet Levels in Katamari


There's really not much too say. You start out the game with your small, tiny ball, unable to roll up objects that are bigger than one inch - and after lots and lots of rolling stuff up, you are able to roll up whole continents, buildings, whatever you like. The sheer power you feel makes the levels so much fun in my opinion. It's simply ridiculous, over the top and weird - and that's why I love it.

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~ Doing Things the Hard Way ~

And now, for something completely different!



Day 5/30: Favourite Indie Game
Game Selected: VVVVVV
-PC, Mac (2010, second version owned)
-Nintendo 3DS (2011-2012, first version owned)
-iOS, Android, Ouya, PS Vita (2014)

"Phew! That was scary! At least we all escaped, right guys? ...guys?"



Note to self: do not run too many tabs and applications at once at the risk of browser crashing and failure (COPY YOUR TEXTS WISELY GUYS; YOU SHOULD HAVE MICROSOFT WORD. USE IT.). Anywhosers, finally back from the gym, so let's finally get down to this belated edition of Day 5, and I'm honestly surprised no one even mentioned this game yesterday! Such tragedy, such injustice!


So, allow me to rectify that mistake -- I don't care if it's late, I'm talking about it either way!


Okay, full disclosure, I've barely even played indie games, so I'm lucky enough to even have an entry for this day. That doesn't make this game any less brilliant, however. It's minimalistic as hell in its core design, but holy balls, do not ignore this title. Why shouldn't you? Well I'll tell you!

Presenting VVVVVV, developed by Terry Cavanagh of Super Hexagon fame.
You play the role of Viridian, the Captain of a crew now separated and trapped within an alternate dimension. With no ship and no support, Viridian sets out across this brave new world to find the missing crew members, their shuttle, and the source of the interference that forcibly split their team up. The retraux visuals are inspired by Commodore64-era titles, there are no gimmicks holding you back or helping you forward like a life count or a powerup, and the controls are plenty simple: left, right, and switch gravity, sending Viridian up to the ceiling or back on level ground (no changing while in midair though). Sounds plenty simple, right?
Well, that's where "simple" ends. In its level design, VVVVVV is actually incredibly difficult and very unforgiving, with checkpoints scattered throughout the game's map with good reason. Make no mistake about it, because you will die very, very often. It's predestined fate. Clearing this on your first go without dying hundreds of times is but a pipe dream (no, really, hundreds). 

For those with a passion for exploring and the inner capability of pushing onwards through the arduous obstacles Dimension VVVVVV has in store, however, this pressure cooker of a game might just suit their fancy. A pause or a short break here and there is still highly recommended though because screaming "BULLSHIT!" became a bit common on my end. This game will break you through and through. You will get frustrated. You will yell. You will rage quit. The left and right movements are pretty sensitive, so you might find yourself scrambling to get that sense of timing perfect. Once you've made the decision to flip onto the ceiling or back down, you won't be able to take that back if you've made a bad move. Spikes and moving obstacles are everywhere, and they will punish you accordingly for your lack of patience and/or precision. There is no room for error here.



But Jeffman! Why are you talking as though you actually hate Vee? Don't you know that today's category is the "Favourite Indie Game"? Why aren't you following the rules?! What did "The Man" ever do to make you stick it to him?!! WHERE DID I DO WRONG!?!



Hang on there, slow down, let me finish!


So yes, I might be mouthing the game off like it's the worst thing ever, but it's far from that. Yes, it's Nintendo Hard, yes, it tests your patience to the absolute limit, but that doesn't mean that VVVVVV doesn't have its charms!


The soundtrack, composed and arranged by Magnus "SoulEye" Pålsson, is a popular potpourri of chiptune and electronic goodness. If you don't plan on getting the game, at least get the OST; PPPPPP is gorgeous -- that's how I wound up hearing of the game anyway. This, along with the charming 8bit-composed visuals that make up the entirety of VVVVVV, help keep that ride all the more smooth and plenary from start to finish.



[ From left to right: Vermillion, Vitellary, Violet, Verdigris, Victoria, Viridian. ]


Each room in the game is individually named (one room taking up one screen), usually sticking to a certain theme that room entails. I can't really pinpoint a description for this, so you'll have to experience it for yourself. All I can say is that Terry Cavanagh and Bennet Foddy (creator of QWOP) came up with the names, so make of it as you will.


There's also a level builder tool that you can use, so there's potential for anything to be made possible, really. Share your dastardly creations with your friends and see how they fare!


There is one notorious series of rooms that are completely optional to go through, if only for the sake of getting one of the 20 collectable trinkets in the game. Some succeeded, some gave up and failed. That particular sequence is the aptly named Doing Things The Hard Way route, which is comprised of the room with the same name/Veni/Vidi/Vici!/Easy Mode Unlocked/Your Bitter Tears...Delicious/Getting Here Is Half The Fun, with spikes adorning the walls and the ability of flipping gravity being usable only once at the other end for nothing but a split second. Have fun with trying to get there and get back.


You can see for yourself how the Steam Train/Game Grumps crew handled it here (this stretched a usual 10 minute video into over 30 minutes), or watch how a fan interpreted their reaction at making it in the end.




That positive force you feel when that path complete. You might as well say that you actually beat the game with this out of the way. Danouddadan. Congratulations, you won!


So yeah! This game is a thing. Spooper awesome. Nintendo Hard and brilliant at it.


As said before, the game is already out on Steam and the Nintendo 3DS eShop, but it has yet to hit mobile phones, Ouya, or the Vita. All of these versions are slated for release sometime this year, so hopefully those interested in having this indie title on those devices won't be waiting for VVVVVV for much longer.


sorry i'm such a filthy heathen indie scrub i promise i will change


also did any of you see what i did there


with the peculiar wording




And now, onto the main event for Day 6!



~ Veni, Vidi, Vici, Kirby ~







Day 6/30: Favourite Level


Stage Selected: "Tower of Midbosses"


-Rainbow Resort 7-2, Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland (Game Boy Advance, 2002)

-Nutty Noon 5-5, Kirby: Return to Dream Land (Nintendo Wii, 2011)


"Somehow, despite what an ordeal this has turned into... it's been worth it."



Okay, so the midbosses in Kirby games aren't really anything special individually. They're really just souped up enemies that you'll wind up facing every once in a while throughout the campaign for the chance to gain their own ability. A few hits, they're down, and that's the end of that.


Sooner or later, however, you'll be closing in towards the climax. The final act will soon begin as you will either venture into enemy territory or go up against the final boss for the ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny, but there is one last thing standing in your way before you can get there. A lonesome tower now looms before you. Whatever you're aiming for lies within its peak. The howling wind is your only comfort.


Kirby then walks inside... and is immediately subjected to do battle as you'll have to climb up not just any tower, but an outright gauntlet of all of the game's stronger monsters. A (super freakin' catchy) song of desperation plays while you have to fight against midboss after midboss after midboss with little to no reprieve, and that sense of urgency in the music paired with the endless onslaught from all these baddies really, really catches on.


Let me tell you now that whaling on all the mini-bosses never felt so intense or satisfying. Whether you're having a hard time or you're breezing through, you're now a one-man army tearing his way through the enemy's biggest stronghold, leaving no survivor in your wake. Fucking. Badass.


It's all the better if you go up to the tower through the secret entrance, where you'll wind up fighting through a different string of midbosses instead. Now you know you've conquered the places.


This was my most favourite part in all of Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland, a Game Boy Advance remake of Kirby's Adventure for the NES in '93, and it really stuck with me as a kid. With this remix of the Vs. King Dedede theme blaring in through the handheld's speakers, I felt such a huge rush scaling up the tower while taking on everything that moves.


Fast forward to 2013 when I finally got ahold of Return to Dream Land for the Wii. For the most part, I co-op'd it with my little brother, and we breezed through it all just fine. Sure, it was mostly easy, but it was cute, it was colourful, and hey, you can't knock down fun if it's quality. 


Magolor's ship is all but repaired, and the last missing piece lies within Nutty Noon. Just the one left before he can travel home to Halcandra again. We got through levels 5-1 through 5-4 just fine (enjoyed a neat remix of Grape Garden, that's a lovely song right there).


And then I hit Nutty Noon 5-5.


I couldn't find it in me to start moving right away. The eerie silence got to me first; it was pretty jarring that there was absolutely no music playing.


Then there was that familiar wooshing of the wind.


"...bullshit. Dude. No way."


I finally began to walk forward along the clouds, and just up ahead, there's a tower. I climb up the tower -- even the entrance's design was the same as back then. One door with the hidden entry in the grate just above.


"Noooooooo fucking way."


I enter, only for there to be silence again, but the room full of copy abilities was a pretty clear indicator of what was to come, just beyond that one last door. I walk through the entrance with bated breath, and then...


















I am so lucky nobody was home at the time because I was cackling and raving like a lunatic while going to town on the mini-bosses. There wasn't much to them before, but that nostalgia. Oooooooooh my god this stage was the absolute best. Of course, there was still amazingness incoming with the final fight against Magolor and his second phase tune C-R-O-W-N-E-D, but I was happy with the tower stage here alone. This made Return for me.


Best Kirby right here. Fucking. Badass. Again. Awesome job, HAL. (;w;)b Much thank for the callback.


I hope to see this same format return in a future Kirby game someday -- same idea, same song, same everything. Let the nostalgia build up again over the next few years and surprise me like that once more, HAL.


also kiah again thank you so so much love you lots ;w;7


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God dammit my internet crashed and I lost the post


Anyway this topic is dang HARD because I can barely remember all the games I've ever played let alone the parts that really stuck with me, so poo. Oh well I'll go with the obvious one.


Day 6ix - Favourite Reveru


Ikana Canyon ~ The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask




I think most anyone who's played Majora's Mask fully knows why I'm mentioning this place. This isn't just the single most impactful place in the Zelda series to me, but the biggest impact a place in a game has made on me.. ever, probably. The first time I came to this place as a kid, I was so freaked out! I would be so squeamish and careful and take days (ingame days.. not real days) to work up the courage to make any slight moves out of fear of Link getting possessed or something else nasty. It was the shocking mummified version of an innocent girl's own father locked in her basement and springing out of a cupboard surrounded by creepy objects that really made me not wanna go back there for a while. The music, the appearance of the place, it was all impeccably creepy. There is nothing accidental or "reading too deep" about how horrifying this place is. There's fridge logic here and there, but that's only because we already know that with Ikana Canyon, this is the reality for this region now, this utterly and completely haunted province is all that's left of a formerly wealthy kingdom.


Not just that, but the Stone Tower, the region's Temple, is one of the creepiest and most thought-provoking Zelda Dungeons I've ever experienced, and the gravitiy gimmick of exploring the dungeon from multiple angles just makes it even more of a "final, epic puzzle" (forgive the usage of the word epic) to round off the Majora's Mask experience. And the music, jesus the music for Stone Tower really gives you the feeling that everything you've done in Termina so far has led to your final challenge here, a challenge that, from looking up the tall, trap-filled Tower from its entrance, seems like an impossible task for a single kid to tackle. It's things like taking on Ikana Canyon and Stone Tower that make Majora's Mask's iteration of Link stand out to me more than any other Link in the Zelda series, because damn if this isn't an impossible trial, and holy shit that kid's actually managed it despite all the horrors and corruption of the land wanting his head on a platter.


And that's not even mentioning the Elegy of Emptiness' statues, commonly thought to represent a dead (yea, dead) husk of Link's various forms.. considering all of Link's additional forms in the game are the souls of the dead.


And no, I'm not going to talk about the overrated-ass creepypasta. This fragment of the game was always sublime 

without that le epic internet meems, for its own reasons.


All those Honourable Mentions..:

  • Labyrinth - Cave Story
  • The Moon - Zelda: Majora's Mask
  • Slimy Spring Galaxy - Super Mario Galaxy 2
  • True Ending - 999
  • Kingdom of Zeal - Chrono Trigger
  • Hyrule Castle - Zelda: Wind Waker
  • Cloudtops - Zelda: Minish Cap
  • Operation 009 - The Wonderful 101
  • Nibelheim - Final Fantasy VII
  • Twilight Town - Kingdom Hearts series
  • Sector 6 - Metroid Fusion

(apparently I like places where shit goes down)

And I'll have to leave that there.. sorry to all the wonderful inspiring levels I failed to mention :(((

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Day 6 - Favorite Level




So Mega Man X finally makes it's jump off of the SNES and into the fifth generation of consoles. Naturally, Capcom would want to show off all the changes they made in this console leap, and they would want to do it as soon as they started playing. This level is the result of that.


This level perfectly shows off everything that X4 has to offer right off the bat. The level shows off the vastly improved stage spritework to it's fullest degree, featuring moving spotlights, destructible terrain, a robot dragon fighting you from the foreground and background, and in the second half of the stage, you're exploring the area's destroyed remains, changing the look of the stage completely. The stage also has some pretty great songs too, both X's and Zero's versions of the track are some of my favourite songs in this series, both getting you pumped to beat the shit out of whatever you're going to be faced with in this level. The stage's level design, while being somewhat simplistic, is also a nice precursor to what the rest of the game's level design will be like, having a lot more emphasis on fluid movement and reaction times than in previous installments in the series, and it's easy enough in this level to where you'll be adequately prepared for the stages that follow. Overall, it's a great start that shows off everything that's in store for you during your run of this game.

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Day 6 - Favorite Level


This seemed like a really daunting question at first, but after a few seconds of thought the answer became extremely obvious:




The Milkman Conspiracy level from Psychonauts


For those who don't know how Psychonauts works (for SHAME), the game takes place in a summer camp...for psychics. The camp itself acts as a hub world while the actual levels are surreal landscapes inside people's minds that reflect them in some way. They start out simple enough with things like a warzone inside a drill sergeant head, but after a certain point you start diving into the minds of some truly insane people. This is one of them. Meet Boyd Cooper.




I don't want to go into too much detail about who he is and why he's insane (because anyone who hasn't played the game NEEDS to do it right now), but the inside of his mind is a very 'interesting' place, even by Psychonauts standards. It's a twisted and disjointed 50's American suburbia filled with happy little girl scouts and shadowy government spies totally normal people doing totally normal people things, like baking pies or trimming hedges.


To be honest, I wouldn't call The Milkman Conspiracy the best level in the game by technical standards. The level has little platforming for a platforming game, and it can be really cryptic at one or two points. I had to look up an FAQ on my first playthrough to get past a locked gate, and I don't think I ever would have figured that part out on my own. But even so, this level is definitely a fan-favorite and arguably the most memorable for one simple reason: it's friggen' hilarious and delightfully absurd.


The main humor comes from the government agents, who are supposedly undercover but don't look their parts while doing nothing but standing around holding something relating to their supposed job. As for their dialogue, well...




It speaks for itself.

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Day 6 apparently - Favourite "makes Ninja's choice look like a toxic waste dump" Level



I couldn't find a better pic....


Yes another Wario thing, get used to it >:V. Anyways this stage is Glittertown. A really bright lit casino stage in the middle of a desert, filled with enemies, treasures, and giant roulettes operating by causing small earthquakes :V. I have a thing for the casino type levels, since they're always the brightest and most colourful of all stages, and this one is no exception. It also includes neat gimmicks like the aforementioned roulettes, water fountains that spray at varying heights that can be ran over (don't question it), and platforms that are only visible when the spotlight shines on them. Plus the stage has some very nice music (lifted from Wario World, but still nice). Listen here.

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Train Your Brain (Bugs Bunny Lost In Time)


The very last level of the game, and one hell of a fun!



It's a marathonic series of puzzle linked together with platforming sections, combined with a musci that makes it feel like you're really doing something epic.


And after a particularly hard puzzle (I believe it's called "Master Mind"), when you think it's finally over and you can catch a break...



...a last race against a green alien, like in the cartoon (and the loading screen, which foreshadows what's to come). A last exciting challenge that will keep you on the edge of your seats. Awesome.




Rickety Race (Donkey Kong Country 2)



After the painful Bramble Scramble, this is a genuinely entertaining level. To sum up: it's a RACE on ROLLER COASTERS. It means that the only way to do an overtaking is by throwing the opponents off of the rails. One hell of a competition biggrin.png

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Day 6 - Mambo's Favourite Level (that's not in a Sonic game!)


Hmm, this is tough... I guess I have many favourite levels! XD But this is one that springs to mind:


Assassin's Creed Revelations: The Prince's Banquet


Ezio, Yusuf and their Assassin buddies have to break into Topkapi Palace to ensure the safety of the Prince of the Ottoman Empire. To do so, Ezio beats up some minstrels and gives his Assassin accomplices their costumes. The level itself involves Ezio walking around in a ridiculous costume, playing a lute and singing whilst using Eagle Vision to point out any would-be attackers to Yusuf, for him to kill them.


This level is absolutely hilarious! Walking around in tights, singing songs about all of Ezio's past assassinations, past lovers etc is so funny.



Yeah, this one is up there in the favourites list for sure! biggrin.png

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It was difficult to avoid Sonic this time, since very few of my favourites games have a specific level or mission that stands out from the rest. It's a good thing that this one is still fresh in my mind...


(Spoilered in case you plan on playing South Park: The Stick of Truth any time soon. It's more fun if you don't expect it.)




Yep. South Park: The Stick of Truth provides many a guffaw, but its depiction of the Kingdom of Canada is something special. It's such a hilarious idea, designing it to look like a classic top-down RPG. There's even an 8-bit version of "Blame Canada" playing in the background. There are so many great little moments, like when you're after the Duke of Vancouver's balls, about to attack the Bishop (if you've played the game, you know the line), discovering Canada-themed items, getting hit with 'Bear Balls' for the first time, hearing comments about the Dire Wolves or just conversing with listening to the irritable prince. Even the flatulence can be pretty funny here, given the context.

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My favorite level is...

Bramble Scramble from DKC2! Being probably the only bramble level in the game that doesn't rely entirely on blast barrels or racing gimmicks, this is a stage that really keeps you on your toes and causes you to hone your precision platforming skills so you aren't skewered by a prickly branch because of a goof. My good buddies Squawks and Squitter also show up to help you out, so that adds to both the variety and the plain old fun. (Shootin' eggs and webs like a boss!) Plus, did I forget to mention the TON of secret goodies laying about typical of any DKC level? Finally, the best and most famous part of Bramble Scramble...

MOTHATRUCKIN' STICKERBRUSH SYMPHONY! Oh...my...GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDD, is this track fantastic. Although the bramble levels are usually giant pains in the neck, you last through them not because you absolutely love them, but because THIS track is backing you up every time. Levels and music like this are why DKC is my absolute favorite platforming series. DAT ATMOSPHERE.

Before I go, there's an honorable mention I'd like to make:

The Forest Maze from Super Mario RPG is also an absolutely fantastic area with beautiful music, terrific atmosphere, and a boss fight with an interesting gimmick. The only things that held it back from being my #1 are the "ehness" of most of the enemies that reside in the forest and the fact that it kinda stretches what a "level" is. XD

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Day 6: Favorite Level

Ant Agony - Crash Twinsanity


The final and probably the hardest level in all of Crash Twinsanity, better known as my all-time favorite Crash Bandicoot game. This level leads to the final boss, and really feels like it's the end. The music is pretty epic and I love it, but all the music in this game is great, just the music in this stage really calls out "This is the finale." This level basically makes you use the skills you mastered through-out the game all at once to finally reach the end. I think this level is designed rather well, and I love how long it is. This was the level that came to mind when I thought of my favorite level, so yeah, here it is. 

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Day 6: Favorite Level


I agonized over this question for a bit. Out of all of the games I've played and the even more numerable stages contained therein, I'm only supposed to pick one that's a favorite? The broadness confounded and frustrated me, until I realized, hey, I probably do have an easy contender for "favorite level." It's literally a stage that makes me positively exclaim when I happen upon it and fills me with adrenaline before it even begins:




Nuketown 2025 from Black Ops 2. As much shit as the CoD games get, the thing they have going for them for the most part is that they are genuinely fun. The fast-paced, run-and-gun style of battle is a breath of fresh air from slower and more strategic choices, making it easy to pick up and difficult to outright master due to a welcome human element in multiplayer that ensures constant surprise, growth, and an addictive quality even within its own limitations. And no other stages encapsulates what has made CoD a genuine tour de force in gaming than Nuketown, an extremely small and cramped nuclear testing facility. There's two houses with a street in the middle. Cars and fences on each side, as well as an open truck in the middle, provide just enough cover to keep it from being too much of a ridiculous bloodbath. But with enemies always two steps away from you, Nuketown delightfully keeps you on your toes and the adrenaline pumping in extremely quick matches. And with it being stuck in a random playlist- never given to you outright as with every other CoD stage- the fun never wears thin. I could probably play this stage for the rest of my life and never tire of it.

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I was gonna say Terminal Velocity and then I stopped myself. The problem is that we all play Sonic so much it's always on the forefront of our minds...


Day 6: Favourite Level



Deep Space from KH: Birth by Sleep. I love how vast the world looks and the kinda anti-grav platforming that (Terra?) has to do that fun kingdom rider game that's there for no reason really. When I heard when in the timeline this was gonna be in, I had my doubts about leaving Lilo out of lilo & stitch. But maaaan, if this was an episode of the TV series, it'd be one of my faves. The way the characters interact with Stitch and Aqua with this universe's character make the main cast stand different to each other more. And I do like the whimsical style this world has which still maintains the seriousness of a prison ship/council ship with certain touches like the cells. The music has to be the best part.

The grid from KH 3D is a good 2nd but while I like the flowmotion elements...the level design kinda irked me while I loved everything else about the world..but ohhh, so close, man. I wish it could've taken this spot.

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Okay this is a pretty vague one.  Rocket: Robot on Wheels is far from my favourite game, but boy what a first impression it made.


It was a collectathon 3D platformer in the wake of Mario 64 for the N64.  The setting was a giant theme park.  Most levels had a unique theme, such as Ancient Greece, Arabian Nights, and a Candy Haunted House etc, but the opening stage was, naturally, a fairly typical theme park setting.


Across all the 20 or so tickets in this stage (Rocket's Stars/Puzzle Pieces, etc), you do the following:


  • Race a hot dog car
  • Climb to the top of a giant robotic t-rex
  • Play various sideshow games like hoopla and launching tennis balls into the gaping mouths of puppets of the presidents of mount rushmore
  • Go through a twisty turny bee themed funhouse
  • Design a roller coaster

Like seriously, this opening level almost had too many fun distractions and varied gameplay, because all the subsequent levels were fairly disappointing and revolved around a singular gimmick rather than being a veritable playground of challenges like this one was.



I really hope there won't be a day on favourite hub stages or anything coz here's another one that isn't even really a level:




I adore the Lobbies in Phantasy Star Online.  I could spend hours in them.  I have in fact, just sitting around chatting to people and messing around.  They're so gorgeously designed too (each lobby has a different colour scheme and various different designs rather than trees - such as waterwheels, planetarium type maps, stained-glass windows etc.  There's also a few with totally unique designs, such as the original Dreamcast version's lobbies, or a silly football game arena you can play with people).


Music is amazing too:


I've listened to this song for hours throughout my life due to hanging out in the lobbies and never get bored of it.  It fits the vastness yet laid-back and relaxing design of the lobbies perfectly.



FINALLY - I was about to end this post but I have just one more.





Spirit Temple from Ocarina of Time.


I adore this level so much.  The fact that part of it you do as Child Link was such a lovely throwback to the earlier gameplay after you thought you were done with it.  Yeah you've already returned to the Present Day to do Bottom of the Well, but something about going through a brand new space, completely out of the way of all the other areas accessible to Child Link, felt so special and lonesome in a nice way.  The overall atmosphere of the temple was so warm and inviting after the plain Fire and Water Temples and gruelling Shadow Temple (something that I feel was lost with the duller colour palette in OoT 3D, I confess).  Finish it off with a fantastic - and funny boss fight and it all serves as an absolutely pleasant experience - perfect as the final "normal" temple, before you head off to the dark and threatening Ganon's Tower to finish the game.


And of course... the music took this all up to eleven.



Why has no other Zelda game had a dungeon theme as beautifully atmospheric yet as melodic as this one?  At least no Zelda game has to me.  Without a doubt the start of my obsessed love with sad music adding an overwhelming feeling of emotion to an otherwise fairly unemotional space in a gameplay context.



I want to rattle off a list of other honourable mentions but it was starting to do that which made me remember Spirit Temple - I fear there'll be more I love too much to not chat at length about that haven't come to mind yet, so I'll just stick to these.

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Well, I was going to with N.Sanity Island from Twinsanity as an alternative to Seaside Hill, but...


1. That'd make this the fourth out of six days with Crash.

2. Apparently other people have jumped on the Twinsanity train for today anyway.


So I'll just say that Twinsanity as a whole has top notch levels.


Instead, I'll use a different repeat for today's question;




Dinos Upstairs (Fur Fighters)


I had a lot of fun with Toy Story 2 for its premise; it's a platformer from a toy's perspective, and with it came some neat levels for the whole house exploration angle. Dinotopolis as a whole takes this premise and puts it on crack. You have to get to the damn place by digging a patch of dirt in a whole different level and use a certain character to get into the secret passage (and the fall in this tunnel can kill you on the other side). The result is you being the size of a flea (and you're already a stuffed animal) in a world where Dinosaurs didn't go extinct and live mostly as people do. Not only does it flesh out the concept of a tiny object being the focus in a normal environment and seeing what interactions can be had, not only does it make things ten times more fun than level in Toy Story 2, but it adds a ridiculous twist which brings with it both surreal concepts that you couldn't get with just people and more insane danger (these dinosaurs bathe in lava. Spyro would not want to live here). 


This does raise a question though; if all of Dinotopolis is like this, why Dinos Upstairs in particular? My answer is this; if there's anything I love, it's throwbacks and references. Part of Generations' lasting charm that makes me go back to it is how Speed Highway and City Escape have references all over the place which I can look out for while exploring. While it doesn't have references to previous games per se (although the game does have references to other games; the World Quack Centre has a shop advertising "Shenmoo", for example), it's full to the brim with references to other levels and characters, as well as reference to the absurdity of the entire world's concept (see picture for example). What also tips it is the very final part of the level, which I find one of the most adorable sections in a video game ever. 

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Favorite level? That's a tough one.


I adore the Capital Wasteland in Fallout 3 and New Vegas in the sequel.






Whilst I would never class the Fallout 3 games as particularly impressive graphically, the design and structure of the main world is bloody amazing. It's open-world gameplay at it's finest. I love so much being able to move in any direction and just get lost exploring. Finding new areas. Searching for useful weapons and new quests. I've spent dozens of hours wandering the vast wasteland and I bet there are tons of secrets I've yet to uncover. I literally gush over the amount time that must have been spent designing this area which succeeds in creating a thought provoking post-apocalyptic atmosphere. There really is nothing quite like it.......accept for the also excellent New Vegas.



House always wins.




You can see the the top of the Lucky 38 Casino from miles away, enticing you to try and find a way to reach it to see what's inside....

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Day 6: Favorite Level


Eh? Pretty vague question. Even for someone who doesn't own that many games this is tough one to pick out.




Mystic Mansion (Sonic Heroes)


Yeah yeah, avoid Sonic related answers, but stick with me here, and I don't make this choice lightly. Mystic Mansion is by far one of the most creative levels in the Sonic series. Despite it being one of the longest levels in the game, it never feels dull due to the way the level progresses. With mysterious switches altering the room, bringing inanimate objects to life, or transporting you somewhere completely different, the layout constantly becomes more warped, twisted and distorted as you progress with all manner of ghosts and illusions constantly appearing.




Highway 17 (Half-Life 2)


For starters, I love desolate coastal settings in video games, and whenever I think of Half-Life 2, I always remember Highway 17. What makes it a personal favorite of mine though is the fact that it's the first real 'quiet' part of the game. Serving as a bridge between the horror town Ravenholm and the claustrophobic Nova Prospect, this part of the game feels like down time between all the action and plot development and really gives you a chance to take in the atmosphere. It really drives home just how dystopian the world has become, with what little interactions with other lifeforms being either small resistance camps being bombarded by gunships, Combine scouts, or ravenous Antlions infesting the sandy areas. Gameplay wise it's the most open section of the game with very few tight spots to engage enemies in, there's plenty of leg room to move around and move between cover points.

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Day 6 - Favourite Stage


Oh dear... This is one of the few times that my memory is letting me down... Due to playing a lot of games, a lot of the stages just blur though without remembering much if anything about it other than I liked this stage or I don't like this stage and in case of open world games, the stage is more or less the game (excluding any linear missions or off stage events). Some linear games like Uncharted have stages that are similar parts to each other and older games where the stages share the tilesets (e.g. Super Mario Bros, Wonder Boy) also doesn't help with the memory. Could go through the easy route and name a favourite Sonic zone however even then it is tricky to choose one and already done it in the 30 Days of Sonic thread. Another thing is that I also worried about naming courses on a racing game series since there could be a chance that the topic might pop up (otherwise I would talk about Casino Town from OutRun 2006, Special Stage Route 11 from Gran Turismo, Harbour Town from Burnout Legends, Riveria from Sega Rally 2 or Koopa City from Mario Kart 7).


Hmmm... Space Zone 2 from Super Mario Land 2 (Jetpack Joyride in 1992), North Yorkshire from Silent Scope 2 (surprisingly hard to find a screenshot of it and looks like Bolton Abbey), Chicago from Perfect Dark (music suspiciously like Thunder Force IV), Silo from GoldenEye, Arms Black Market from Virtua Cop or the Rocky and Mugsy stage from Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time but can't remember the certain stage or the name of it...




(The first screenshot in this thread that I actually took instead of getting one of the Internet due to unable to find it at the time of the post)


This was a hard choice however I went for this one since the memories of the other choices are quite foggy or in the case of North Yorkshire never completed the stage. The Arms Black Market from Virtua Cop. While I did play it once in the arcade, before getting the Elite Edition game on the PS2 and found a way of playing the original (would have happily played this on the Wii or the PS3 however Sega didn't bring it out) as well as playing the tennis version on Sega Superstars Tennis, I actually played and enjoyed it on a Tiger handheld. The Tiger handheld is a low tech version of the game that had its gun and the stage was Arms Black Market. While it was an appromiation of the stage, it was fairly faithful well as faithful as it can be. When it came to the other versions, somehow Arms Black Market managed to impress me with each version.


What makes it my favourite stage was not because it was quite fixed screen but also the setting. A wharf/port/shipping area with some good looking early 3D graphics and the blue skies making what can be considered a normally uninteresting area in a game into an exciting one. Adding towards the area is the music, the music used in the stage (as well as the Attract mode) is quite funky/swanky (not the arcade version, couldn't find it but it is close enough) and really like it. Gameplay wise what I really like about this stage was that while easing the player into the game with shoot bad guys and save hostages is that by playing well, you can get into a rhythm of shooting enemies and for me can be quite relaxing if you get combo after combo plus the boss is energetic with its own fast paced music.


It is also strange that the first stage is not only just my favourite stage of the game but also my favourite stage of the series (well 1 and 2, haven't had the opportunity to play 3). Also when I unlocked it on Sega Superstars Tennis, played the stage quite a bit and still ends up being one of my favourite minigames in that game.


Again like the previous entry, struggling however for a different reason this time.

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Most of the levels I personally enjoy the most, come from Sonic games and have a highway like theme.


Day 6: Fav. Level



Sonic CD - Stardust Speedway:


The original japanese soundtrack really helped make this level one of my favourites. Even though the level itself is rather tricky to navigate with all these bends, turns and loop-da-loops. I enjoy the challenge, zipping up, down and all around.

Ad to that the tension of the Metal Sonic boss fight, that to this day, still has me nervous. Jumping randomly just encase Metal blasts through and I'm not prepared.


It was also cool hopping around some type of Eggman shaped monument or robot. If it was a robot, I would've loved to fight it.


Other levels that I enjoy like this are Speed Highway, City Escape, Radical Highway, Empire City, Casino Night Zone and Tropical Resort.

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Favourite level... difficult choice here. I'll list a few:

Half-Life - Questionable Ethics


Everything about the mission is awesome, from the pacing to the atmosphere. You start off with virtually no weapons, moving further to learn how much the scientists knew before the cascade, eventually pitting the military against the aliens, to leaving the level as a walking armory. It's a great sequence in terms of progression.


Bioshock - Fort Frolic


Chilling and fascinating, the entire level was just such a freakish thrill ride. It is essentially a combination of challenge, unique atmosphere, immersion and epic action, especially if you explore and listen to all tapes and clues instead of racing through. Notably, Fort Frolic is the intermission in the middle of the game. It's a Bizarro episode, like Jerry Seinfeld would say, halfway through the storyline that is more or less isolated from the rest, but manages to be incredibly interesting in itself.

Half-Life 2 - Highway 17


The level is composed mostly of running along the coastline with your buggy, which itself is cool, but between each vehicle section there is a great sequence after another. First you have to use cranes to clear a beach, then you have to destroy an airship over a town, then (my favourite) make a run under the destroyed bridge, then defend a settlement against an invasion... along the way there are various outposts you can find, all full of detail which truly shows the bleak state of the world, even moreso than the previous levels.

Spyro 2 - Zephyr


I think this one is mostly for the novelty of the characters being at war with the inhabitants of another level you'll play later, but it's genuinely such a fun level: blowing things up all the time, herding "cowleks" (who look like a mix between cows and elephants) back to their pen, helping Romeo and Juliet meet each other by planting seeds to make giant platforms... and one of the most cheerful, happy background themes in any game.

Half-Life 2 - Ravenholm


"Geez, another Half-Life level?" Yes, indeed, and a wonderful one. In a game that so far had only flirted with horror elements, to suddenly force you to go somewhere so terrifying and paranoia-inducing made for a very interesting level. The level starts off with a very surreal feel, with Father Grigori's voice sounding above that hell-forsaken town. It's one of the most twisted scary scenarios I've seen in a game; horror games full of jump-scares? Those do nothing to me. But a zombie town carefully built around terrifying details and elements with genuine desperation, that's genuinely unsettling.

Fallout: New Vegas - Vault 11


One of the greatest contained stories in a level, and it's not only a sidequest but a completely unmarked one.
Like all Vaults in the Fallout world, Vault 11 was built as a nuclear shelter but with a social experiment in mind. This one presents that through the environment; nothing is directly told to you, but you discover it through audio tapes and exploration, which is a great way to use the interactive aspect of video games for storytelling. The experiment in question, based on the real-life Milgram experiment (about how people obey authority orders even if they violate our own personal ideas, values or morals) is that the inhabitants must kill one vault member (the elected overseer) every year, otherwise they would all die. Sacrifice one for the good of the rest. They complied with these rules, not knowing the alternative, for years upon years until only 5 remained.
Finally, the guilt that was burdened upon only 5 people became too much. They didn't give a sacrifice and typed into the machine that they wouldn't do it ever again. Instead of killing them all, the machine deployed a holotape that explained that they were "shining examples of humanity" who should be proud of themselves. The vault doors were open and they were free to leave. The guilt still looming over all of their heads, four killed themselves, and it's unknown what happened to the fifth.
The underground sacrificial chamber is where all the past sacrifices had their last moments. You can go there, and you'll see a sort of instructional video about how your sacrifice is for the good of the others, and then turrets/robots will activate and try to kill you.
Vault 11 isn't just one of the darkest and most interesting levels I've played in a game, it's also a fantastic example of how a game should use its unique characteristics - interactivity, making the players look for things themselves, revealing plot through the environment - to tell a story. I have to say, Fallout as a franchise, and especially New Vegas, has massively upgraded my expectations of gaming as a storytelling form. It's incredible.

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Day 6: Favorite Level


Metal Harbor (Sonic Adventure 2)


Welp, there's Sonic again. I couldn't not put Metal Harbor for this, though. This is the one level, without fail, that I will play every single time I pop in SA2. Blazing up and down the ramps, grinding on the railings, skydiving off an active missile, and snowboarding to the goal all while that sweet guitar rocks on in the background. Hell yeah. Wanna be an even bigger daredevil and let the countdown tick just to do another lap around the missile and get a few more rings? Go right ahead and do that. The level isn't that big and there isn't much to explore besides a few crevices here and there, but its not meant for that. You're supposed to race through as fast as you can and look as cool as possible while doing it.



Catwoman Sections (Batman: Arkham City)


Now every time I pick something relating to Sonic for my number 1 favorite, I have to put a number 2 as well. And while not necessarily a level, it basically functions as such. The Catwoman Sections in Arkham City are great. Playing as Catwoman is a nice change of pace from Batman as she's quicker, more agile, and uses her whip in combat. Her entrance into the safe room filled with Two-Face's goons is badass as you're just given control of her immediately and are able to take them all out flawlessly. Her sections leave you feeling satisfied, but at the same time you want to play as her more because of how fun she is in combat.

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Day 6: Favorite Level


Man, looks like I'm talking about Battle for Bikini Bottom again. My favorite level would have to be the Jellyfish Fields area from this game.



(pic is a little blurry but whatevs)


What can I say, I just really love this level, man. The task you're given is to help Squidward recover from jellyfish stings by scaling Spork Mountain, otherwise known as the home of King Jellyfish, on the other side of Jellyfish Fields, and getting some of his jelly, which apparently has healing properties when it comes to jellyfish stings according to Spongebob. Once you do make it to the summit, and confront King Jellyfish in his showering, after a short battle he promptly tips his crown to you, bestows some of his jelly in the form of a bottle with a sipping nipple on top of it, and leaves with a brief case in hand, or tentacle, I should say. But that's getting ahead of myself.


This level serves as the very first in the game, and prepares you for what's to come later in the game. There are simple enough enemies, such as jellyfish, and the above pictured Fodder, and as you progress they introduce two tougher enemies, in the form of Ham-MER (a robot using a literal ham as a hammer) and Tar-Tar (a robot which shoots tartar sauce), which they do with other levels, but I particularly like how it's done in this level, it being the first one. The layout is sort of linear, but there's certainly nooks and crannies spread about, and one or two secret locations, with lots of stuff to collect. You start in a lake-side expanse, progress down a slide to an area where you have to battle a wave of robots to rescue Patrick, who takes the helm for a while until you get through a dangerous cavern, and Spork Mountain, where you take on King Jellyfish, and proceed down another slide, to finally deliver Squidward the remedy.


Man I can get lost in myself just screwing around by doing things and having fun in this level, like finding your way to the top of the Jellyfish Rock statue, and finding the off-to-the-side fountain area, or just like running about, and man it has a great theme to listen to while you do it, too.



But yeah, that's my favorite level, n' stuffity stuff, so yeah man.

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