Part 18: 18 - BeatDown Fortress
18 - BeatDown Fortress
[Last time we had just arrived at CloudRunner Fortress and the Queen had flown off ahead (who wants to bet that was a bad idea?), leaving us to catch up to her. Our obvious goal is up ahead, but unsurprisingly it is barred.]
[Heading to the gate reveals a ladder leading down to the water. In this area we meet one of the more bizarre enemies in the game:]
[I...really don't know what the fuck these are. It looks like one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' head with some crazy mushroom/turtle shell on top. I almost don't want to name it, as though giving it a name would somehow bind the madness that formed it. I guess CrazyTurtle works. Anyway, they're just generic water enemies; get close to them in the water and they rush you to deal a little damage by slamming into you. The only reason they lift their shell/head/thing is so that you can shoot and kill them. ]
[Our real purpose, though, is this platform. Stepping on the button will begin a timed race that requires us to hop madly across the floating boxes to reach the goal which can almost be seen over on the far left side of the screenshot. This is actually the first really challenging minigame so far. However, that doesn't take one thing into account:]
[You are given 30 seconds to do this, and that's pretty much exactly what you need. The problem is that the first time you start the race you get a fucking cutscene that cuts you down to 27 seconds.]
[In truth, I actually slip and fall off because I was trying to do it one go. Because I have no time to spare I'm forced to immediately turn and jump (the penultimate jump lands you on the very edge of the box so you have very, very little room to readjust without turning around and lining up your jump) and I miss the last box. You can actually swim through the sparkling rings, except that the current is very powerful so when I fell short I won't be able to push forward in time.]
[There isn't much to say about this race, but this section deserves a little special note. The way the ledges cutoff gives the impression that you'll take a leap going off them, which can easily trip you up and send you plunging into the water if you redirect yourself to try and cut across.]
[Yeah, that's much better. Stupid cutscene.]
[ Thankfully, they also immediately drop you off at the ladder rather forcing you to swim up-current.]
[Getting past the gate we meet a new enemy watching the spiral stairway. These ShockBots will zap you with electricity if you move through their spotlight. You have three options for dealing with them: shoot them to turn off their light for a few seconds (usually long enough to run by), to hit the shield as soon as you move into the spotlight so the damage is ignored, or just run by. Guess which I'm going to do?]
[The door at the top is locked, so we'll need to sidetrack a bit.]
[A switch down the ladder opens the door, but the entire point of this was to reveal a Boost Pad that we'll come back to later.]
I hear something...
Holy shit, time for some real confrontation?
Now where is he?
I do not know what you're talking about.
You will tell me. Where can I find the fox?
He will find you.
[Scales tosses her to the ground and...]
[Scales gets the best animations. It's sort of ruined by the goofy sound-effects of zapping and whacking that follow after.]
That's...not a good idea. One might even say a...bad idea.
See? That's not the face of someone you can just freeze and whack.
The famous Fox McCloud. How nice of you to pay us a visit. Why don't I show you some of our hospitality.
Yeah, way to go.
Is that really what you should be worrying about?
Meh. Look at the walls of the cell.
Um, wow. Damn.
We have a TELEPORTER?!
Yeah, I built it a little while ago. For kicks.
[Exploring the other cells right now is totally pointless since they contain boxes we can't break.]
Thank you for this sage advice.
[I've got no clue what this guy is supposed to be. His only noteworthy feature would appear to be his bony/spikey head, which would make him some sort of pacychephalosaur, I guess, but there's no explanation why he's here, and...well, you'll see.]
[As mentioned, the staff is just lying there in plain sight, ready to be grabbed. Just move in stealthily (hold R to strafe and tilt the analog stick very, very slightly to move silently and:]
Aw shit. Grab the staff and freeze their asses!
You're running? Seriously?
I...you...WHY DIDN'T YOU GRAB IT?!
Well, great, now we'll never get out.
Oh for god's sake.
[Yes, they put you back in the cell and replace the stone. Well, they don't actually, the game just resets back to when you first got dumped into the cell, even Slippy's message about a disguise gets sent again. Anyways, the real trick is that the guard wakes up when you step into a pool of water. No matter where in the room the puddle is and no matter what speed you're going, the guard wakes up and you get your ass beaten.]
[This room is our real goal. It's a slight inversion of prior puzzle mechanics. If you'll notice, the bomb is actually a timed bomb (the red dot on top of the bomb), and there's a switch nearby that causes the whirlwind to power up such that it can lift things up into the air whereas it currently only slows you as you fall.]
[So, just drop the bomb in the whirlwind and stand on the button.]
Hi, Fox, I've been studying the mission.
I'm so glad I merited some attention after you finally made that bloody translator.
[The subtitles are mistimed sometimes, this frame is the very first in which Slippy's head appears in the communicator. The lipsynch is not broken, and the subtitles are completely gone before the speech ends. Always struck me as odd that these little hiccups never got caught.]
[This is our reward. In the same way that the Frost Blast made combat a joke, the SharpClaw Disguise completely negates the need to fight. Just toss it on at any time and the enemies will continue to mindlessly charge you, but they won't actually take any swings. Another great feature of the disguise is that it doesn't actually require a continued supply of energy, just the initial cost. Of course, you can't use your staff.]
[It also gives you super-strength or something, because Fox can't normally lift boxes and bombs with these symbols on them, but the Disguise lets you do so.]
[Wake the guard up by stepping on a puddle and he mistakes you for a SharpClaw (which is bizarre because of how tiny Fox is by comparison) and you can snag your staff.]
[Notice how slight Fox appears.]
Oh for fuck's sake!
Payback for not having to pick up the disguise, I guess.
[Back at the other end of the room are four switches. The first one we open releases the pachycephalosaur.]
...you must first activate the Wind Lifts.
The power supply to the whole city is down. These Wind Lifts will only work if you restart the generator.
[While we could have left this area before, we would've ended up cockblocked without this key.]
[Bafomdad count: 12]
[The last thing of note down here is a CloudRunner in a cage opposite the pachycephalosaur. He just pops out and flys off. I'll give Rare some credit and assume he flew out the hole I just blew open.]
[More targets, more shooting, more doors opening.]
[This room is just a whole lotta climbing. The ShockBots will happily zap you and knock you down if you climb as Fox, so we go into SharpClaw mode and they ignore us. Because it doesn't drain crystal energy you can just leave it on and leisurely climb up.]
[Three short climbs and we arrive back in the courtyard where Scales beat our asses.]
[The main area only contains ShockBots now and Scales is long gone. Oh well. Maybe next time.]