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FableFox

No escape = no fair

6 posts in this topic

To cut to the chase, I'm playing Two Crude Dude for Sega Genesis. DO NOT ASK.

Now I want to talk about game design. There is a level boss (a human rhino) that you just cannot evade, cannot jump, cannot block, cannot whatever. I google around and I realize that you just let him hit you (cost you health) then stop and use this split second timing to lift him up and throw him down. If you a little bit late, he will throw you instead.

[url="http://www.gamerhelp.com/genesis/TwoCrudeDudes/100343.shtml"]http://www.gamerhelp.com/genesis/TwoCrudeDudes/100343.shtml[/url]

There is no other way. And using the difficulty I'm playing (medium, I think), due to his life bar, your life bar, and the amount you have to pick and throw him, you will lose a life. There is no other way. Isn't this a bad design?

At least for Contra, you can play start to end without dying. But this...
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It sounds to me like a really good way to frustrate the player. A lot of the appeal for those older arcade games was the difficulty though - if it wasn't difficult, it probably wouldn't have brought in as much money as an arcade game. Is there some previous power-up that could help you get past that point in the game? Have other people beat the game on that difficulty level?
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I think there should always be skill, timing, or strategy involved in a way, regardless of the game...the player should always have something they can do to stop themselves from taking damage, to stop an enemy from getting away, etc.
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Having no choice is, for me, bad game design. There should always be a "what if...?" or "if only...!"- not a big huge "AS IF!" - every time a challenge presents itself. To leave the player with no other option than taking a hit seems unfair and, depending on the overall style of the game, might or might not be bad design. In this case, and as a general rule, yes - it's bad to force the player into a situation with no favorable outcome.
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I'll chime in and agree that whenever a game provides you with a situation that it expects you to survive, it should give you the ability to do so. Some games are just designed to defeat the player, and I suspect many old arcade games follow that mold. Heck, the developers might not have even tested the entire game on the harder difficulty and realized that it was unwinnable. They just crank up the enemy's damage and HP and off you go.

Of course, that's not to say that there won't be situations where the developers don't expect you to win, and it's all bets off at that point. These should be clearly used as a story telling device (i.e. the first shootout with Gunther in Deus Ex) or for optional fun though, which in this example I doubt was the case.

A third distinct case would be where you are expected to be able to survive, but are forced to take damage in some way, as in the example given. This is a bit of a cheap shot by the developers too, and I'm a firm believer that whenever these sorts of situations are used, the developers should do one of two things:

1. The required damage can take you to 1HP but not kill you
2. You can survive it if you're skilled enough (i.e. have enough HP when you get there)

It's still a cheap shot, but forcing a player to lose a life seems a bit much, and was probably poor design or testing more than malignancy I'd think.
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[quote name='Moe' timestamp='1313513724' post='4849921']
It sounds to me like a really good way to frustrate the player. A lot of the appeal for those older arcade games was the difficulty though - if it wasn't difficult, it probably wouldn't have brought in as much money as an arcade game. Is there some previous power-up that could help you get past that point in the game? Have other people beat the game on that difficulty level?
[/quote]


Nope, nope, nope. I went there with almost perfect health bar. I think you just have to lose a life here and re-coup it back with score later (I think).

I think one of the poster is right when s/he said that developer just put some math to the hp based on difficulty level. And they probably just play around until completion using all the lives. I admit that the game is still win-able, it just that you will obviously lose a life here. (you have 3).

But interesting really, since almost all other bosses have pattern. And these pattern are not safe spot (except for the very first boss - where you have 3 ledge to breathe). And I will check other boss later (haven't played the game in a long time).

But I really think the mistake is in the design AND the math.

I'm not trying to be perfect here, but I think (since this is a game where your character have both health and lives), if you are skilled enough with good reflex, you should be able to find a pattern (even though not precisely repeating) that allow you to overcome the enemy.

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If used sparingly, I can see a situation where you are basically forced to take some losses in order to win to be acceptable. It should feel however like if you tried a little harder, you might have been able to escape without a scratch. And again, used SPARINGLY :) But seeing how much a player is willing to sacrifice could be an interesting mechanic in a certain type of game. Obviously in the game mentioned it was either a mistake or just badly done.
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