Part 9: Act 9Oh look, it's an update!
Act 9 (Baldurdash | blip.tv | Youtube | Download)
Well, it's the last stage of the game. Unfortunately it's a bit of a lackluster, especially after a great stage like act 8. It's a boss gauntlet with two autoscrolling levels. The fights are pretty tough and are made infinitely more difficult and infuriating if you want the secret bonus points. Curse this whole 100% run thing.
9-1: Fatal Contraption - An elevator shaft of death. Not too bad when you get the timing right, but you'll probably spend a few lives here. Involves some pretty annoying sections, like those spiky corridors. Try to walk, you die. Jump too late, you hit the spikes, fall back, get squished and die. Jump too early, you take too long and die. Aside from that it isn't that bad, and it gives you two extra lives that I never get because I find the left route to be a lot easier.
Trouble Bruin can't hurt you himself, only a shot from his Super Finagler will deal damage and it's fairly easy to avoid, since once he fixes on a target he won't move the cannon anymore. And weirdly enough I wasn't far off with the whole scavenging the machine from the trash thing, since in the Japanese version Bruin actually says he found it in the garbage chute!
Two SPBs to be found, first one from Cocoa, the brown enemy. They can be annoying when they jump around and it's totally possible to miss the point here, but it's nowhere near as nasty as the second one. Not only did they reuse an old idea from Act 4 where you had to destroy the hammer blocks, it's stupendously hard. You have to grab Slammer Head at the latest possible moment. If you're half a second too early you will not have enough time to break the final hammer block. It's an astonishingly huge dick move, since if you miss it (and you will, oh yes you will, many many times) you have to kill yourself. And that's the last chance to kill yourself too, if you go past that point the game takes you to 9-2 and there goes that bonus point. Yes, even if you go to game over and continue the game it will start from 9-2.
9-2: Far Trek - Oh, boy. Speaking of annoying SBPs. Not getting hit by the lasers is difficult enough but maneuvering around avoiding Trouble Bruin is the toughest section in the game, hands down. If you forget about the bonus point (do it, it's not worth it) this fight is a million times easier, but it's still not a walk in the park. I find that the lasers go all over the place and I never figured out a pattern. With all the shit blocking your view in the foreground you'll be struggling to survive. I hate this level, not only because of the SBP, not because it's difficult, but because it is boring and not fun at all. I don't even feel like talking about it, it feels like a chore to even finish a sente
9-3: Finale Analysis - HEATHER TO THE RESC--
So... what did that accomplish, anyway?
As you might imagine, the final boss of the game is not easy. Back when I played this game as a kid at my friend's house, we made it this far maybe 10 times only to lose all our lives and continues and had try start all over again. You're absolutely jittery and scared if you ever make it this far, so you'll be panicking over everything way too much to even try to understand how the boss works. Once you do, you start panicking over getting the right head for the job. Very difficult indeed.
Basically Dark Demon has 5 different attacks, depending on what colour his crystal ball will be and the trick is to pick the right head for the right attack. I just grab Slammer Head and hope he doesn't use the multicoloured one since you can only avoid it with the Pin Head. All in all, if you want a safe fight, you should use Pin Head the whole time, except maybe with the pumpkin things that you should clear out with either Pig Head or War Head.
If you don't feel bad about cheating, the absolute best strategy for the fight is to pause the game whenever the colour appears. Then you'll have all the time in the world to think what the attack's going to be and pick the right head for the job. The circling heads disappear really quickly if you're doing it legit, there's barely enough time to register the colour, look at the options and pick the right head! Add to that the fact that your heart is racing faster than ever because you actually made it this far and you probably keep forgetting what colour does what! Most of the time you just completely panic and end up with Melon Head or something stupid.
On the other hand, if you're hardcore, you'll grab Slammer Head, hit D.D. with it and switch over to whatever head works against the attack. I've managed to pull it off a couple of times, but both of those ended in failure in the video, so I didn't bother showing it off.
But practice makes perfect and when you eventually memorize the colours you'll defeat the boss in no time. Or not. But you might. And if you do, you can enjoy the long, perplexing ending and the awesome curtain call. Who/what the hell is Smiley, anyway? this question will be answered in the extra video!
The bad dude behind all the bad stuff that's been going down. He's an asshole.