The Let's Play Archive


by berryjon

Part 10: Short Essay for Level 10

I said it in the video, and I'll say it here. This is my favorite level in the whole game. It has good pacing, an actually challenging boss fight at the end when I don't get stupidly lucky. The terrain is varied and interesting even as it's not that divergent. That you keep going up and up and up lends itself to the low-key tenseness of the level.

That this is the fastest Start-To-Mercury Bow in the game has nothing to do with it, I'm sure.

This level introduces the worst combat move in the game, one that I am not alone in deriding as the worst option in the game. What is it, you ask? Well, it's her Willow Kick. This is the result of her going K + K + (beat)(F+K). Which is to say that she will kick twice, and you either screw up your timing resetting the combo, or you perform a more normal K+K+K combo. But, if by the grace of some random go, you pull it off, Konoko will do a quick back-flip, which is her 'Anti-Air' move.

Do I really need to tell you how having such a move at the end of a combo is useless? If it was an independent move, like her spin-kick, which is L/R + (F+K), it would be a nice option to have. Maybe B+F+K? But instead, we got what we got, and I have yet to find a person who will defend it.

I don't expect any of you to throw yourselves into the fire to try. No thank you.

This level is also our first introduction to Ninjas as regular enemies, and they don't disappoint. I still hate them, but their combat style, combined with the sometimes unforgiving environment and all the bottomless pits you encounter make each Ninja something to worry about. That second one though, ready to ambush you for grabbing the Shield? He can ruin your day with just a single hit to know you off the ledge.

Like what happened at 2:15!

Of course, Ninjas also have the lowest health of any enemies in the game, so once you catch them, it's game over for them.

But going back to the environment, this is the only level with an active environmental effect. The rain that comes and goes through the level is, as far as I can tell, rendered in the game engine for as I watch the video again while writing this, I can see the rain streaks pas in front of the camera and behind Konoko while at the same time, pass in front of her.

I just wish the sound design included a low-key rain backdrop to the whole thing. Nothing serious, but it would have been neat. I dunno, I think I was spoiled by Urban Chaos and how it handled things like leaves and rain while in motion.

But on the other hand, most of this game's environments are indoors to one degree or another. So it may have been a technical limitation where they couldn't section off the rain into one area or not another, and had to have it either everywhere or nowhere. I mean, can you imagine the Airport level if there was rain inside the Terminal buildings?

I can't.

So, let's talk Mukade. Mukade is another cybernetically augmented super-soldier for the Syndicate, on the same level as Barabus. In fact, he reports to Muro just as Barabus did, and him dying here leaves Muro without a proper lieutenant to delegate to.

In terms of combat, he's like all the other Ninja, a slippery little bastard that with duck, dodge and weave around your attacks while pummeling you in return. I get ridiculously super lucky in my fight with him, make no mistake about that. I was quite ready to try, try and try again to beat him, but managed on my first go during the recording run.

Anyway, time to talk spoilers about his character, and why Konoko is acing so weird.

You see, Mukade has a Daoden Chrysalis, and it's the reason he's been able to survive the cybernetics. After the Syndicate got their hands on Muro and the research, they started to invest in that research, just without Doctors Hasegawa or Kerr, so they had to start from the notes and with experiments to figure out what the hell they were doing.

Muro and Konoko both have full-power 'Prime' Symbiotes, while Mukade has one of the first Second Generation symbiotes. Not as powerful in general, but good enough for what the Syndicate wanted. While he was a little kill-crazy, that was mostly seen as an upside by his superiors, who were content to have an augmented assassin of his caliber on the payroll, as well as acting as a proof of concept for later revisions and generations of the Symbiote.

We actually see Third generation symbiotes in some enemies. If someone busts out a supermove and they're glowing a little? They have one. Like the Red Furies and their Ten Shadow Punch for example.

Anyway, what Mukade is getting at here with his little spiel is that for some strange, vaguely defined reason that might as well be 'Anime!' for all I know, Symbiotes can 'resonate' in the presence of each other, letting the person know that another symbiote is nearby. This is more pronounced in Muro, who knew that there was a "Special Agent" coming that Barabus might not be able to beat, and Mukade, who's just plain crazy.

Konoko, because of her delayed and more curated development, had no idea what she was feeling.

In a way, it's like the 'Immortal Sense' from Highlander: The Series. That vague premonition that someone is there, but as this is the first time Konoko has felt it, she doesn't know how to deal/process/ignore it and it bothers her. That this happens with Mukade and her chase of him across the city only made it worse. She's internalized the sensation as 'prey'. And she reacts accordingly.

But guess what? Barabus never had one!

See you next time, with the one level that really did a number on the game's engine.