So in my slow and steady way over the past few days, I finished tackling World 2-2 and World 2-3 on normal mode.
Normal Mode – World 2 Zone 2
World 2-2 was done with Dulfy’s secrets and full baubles guide in hand, mostly because I hate assassins and wanted the level done and over with in one fell swoop.
My latency or my reflexes simply -cannot- sidestep those red ones around 50% of the time, so I just eat the damage if necessary and flail away – sometimes I sneak up on ’em and use scenery or bombs or slingshots to help.
Of course, because I am a maniac who likes to discover things on my own at the same time, I did it on normal mode instead of infantile mode as recommended – Dulfy’s clientele being mostly people who just want direction to the end ASAP – using my own judgment to find jumps to the next checkpoint when Dulfy discussed moving back and forth on rainbows.
I had the time set aside, though I was a little terrified that my router would overheat and disconnect like it sometimes has a tendency of doing. It behaved this time around, but you never know.
I found the majority of the level surprisingly tolerable, though it is simply a freaking HUGE level and still way too lengthy for the average player to take in, if you ask my opinion. This was after the patch, so I guess things got tweaked to a decent difficulty.
I rather liked the piranha and octopus feeding mechanic. I found it both entertaining to figure out and accomplish. The in-game cues were sufficient for me to solve it without need to refer to any external guide.
I didn’t have problems with the bell like some apparently did – maybe coordinating one person is easier than trying to get five people properly situated where they’re supposed to be.
I got by with the dart and block puzzles. The first set I’d solved in infantile before, the second set was exasperating and sneaky but I basically brute forced it by trying to push every single block until it couldn’t be pushed any further, while trying (but not often succeeding) to minimize deaths.
I LOATHED the dart pagoda. I understood the theory fine. Check every pillar for those dart traps, map out a safe route (be it in your head or on paper,) do your best to navigate it and curse and swear if you moved a pixel into the line of fire or didn’t see that one trap WAY across the room.
My major issue was how it slowed down the pace of the game mode to a crawl. Part of the fun of the SAB for me is hopping around like Super Mario at a good clip. This turned into a nervous tiptoe around every corner, checking every possible surface for protrusions. The instant I sped up, an accident was bound to happen.
There were so many fucking floors, for another. All looking identical on the surface, but some floors you run on the outside, some you run inside and what have you. I was also fretting about how I was going to remember the run down after I hit that gong at the top, given that UP was so annoying.
Between my crappy memory and unwillingness to physically map every single dart trap at the time (my main goal then was finish the level, not MAP the level,) my lives were dropping off like gassed flies and I was in severe danger of running out of lives, continue coins AND baubles to buy more coins.
And above all, I didn’t want to have to quit halfway and fully complete this goddamn level one more time.
You might be able to guess that I caved in to convenience at this point and bought the Infinite Continue Coin to ensure that didn’t have to happen. (At least I held out till -after- patch fix.)
It was good I did, because as suspected, the gong run down was sensitive to latency and it took quite a number of attempts.
Eventually, each part got done, I got the full experience (and then some – repeated backtracking to Shortcut Eagle without rainbows is interesting, to say the least) and I suppose I can now join the rest of the cohort happy to skip past most of the huge level with the shortcut.
Do we forgive its design simply because there’s an approved way to skip past most of it though?
Normal Mode – World 2 Zone 3
World 2-3 is still incomplete in terms of full secrets and baubles, mostly because I was hoping to tackle both at once as the information came out. But I couldn’t wait any longer for normal mode completion, so I jumped into it headfirst.
Again, not too bad mostly, if really really long.
Mind you, my judgment at this point is colored by ownership of the ICC.
I would have hated the backtracking from accidentally falling off cliffs and icy slopes if doing it without the equivalent of a convenience cheat code. To save myself climbing time, I threw myself off into the abyss at points after falling too far, preferring to consume a life and wind up at the checkpoint, rather than navigate the entire course again.
I did do most of it without the cheat code that everyone has the potential to own though. Ie. the flute.
As I hadn’t actually earned the Ice Song, I didn’t feel good using it. (Not sure if it would even work without having visited the secret first.)
I didn’t use Gatekeeper’s Lullaby because I felt like daring the timing for most of the way until the last set of icy bridges which looked way too intimidating and it suddenly occurred to me that I should give that a try to see if the opposite of opening closed mouths worked on open mouths.
And I did stop to check a section of guide when I encountered the area I suspected would yield Moto’s Finger by accidentally reading one too many threads on Reddit, on the not-goddamn-coming-back-again-for-it principle.
As usual, latency made this part REALLY interesting, mitigated only by the ICC and a near-ish checkpoint.
That whole nonsense about playing one note first before jumping, then another note on the first cloud, and then two on the second, and the last two on the third? Out the fucking window. -My- flute holds the first note for an extremely long time. It lasts for the cloud before, the first cloud, and if I’m lucky, I might get the next note on the second cloud.
Play another note on the second cloud? Poof, it’s gone and I’m falling. Play two notes on ONE cloud? If you like to gamble, maybe.
But since we Oceanics and Asians are so fucking hardcore playing with the latency we have, as long as there’s a doable workaround to hit upon, we will figure it out. Eventually.
Alternate strategy tip for those still trying: I ended up bouncing from cloud to cloud in a continuous cycle. Use the cloud before as well. Those four clouds will keep you afloat as long as you get the timing down as they respawn. Then toot a note as and when you can. That mouth will open at some point.
I suppose I’ll revisit both zones a few times more. I’m sure I’m doing something wrong when the Storm Wizard goes into his charging phase because I get constantly hit, even keeping at a long distance and dodging. His second charge will get me. I have an ICC, may as well practice.
I also love digging in every suspicious nook and cranny. While I did take my time in both zones exploring and found a few chests and things, I’m sure there’s more. I’m just not sure how viable it would be to run these for diggable baubles, given how long and annoying they can be on normal.