Thursday, April 30, 2009

Henry Hatsworth in The Puzzling Adventure - Nintendo DS

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What started out as an enjoyable and fullfilling game, quickly turned into a trudge fest of epic proportions. I cannot think of another game ever that has been so promising and then such a letdown due to the extreme difficulty it transforms into.

For those of you who don't know, Henry Hatsworth (the awesomely stereotypically English gentleman above) engages in a typical platformer on the top screen of the DS while a match three puzzle scrolls by on the bottom. As enemies are killed on the top screen, they take the place of a colored block in the puzzle and then you need to transfer to the bottom screen (which pauses the upper screen platforming) and match three with the enemy as one of the three to get rid of him. Failure to do so will bring them back up to the top screen as a wickedly devious and hard to kill flying block. Think birds on Castlevania with an attitude and then you get the idea.

The game starts off easy - waaaaaaay easy - and introduces you to the cast of characters whom are all lovable and fun, including your nemesis Weaselby. You learn basic attacks and how the systems work. Then, somewhere around level three it starts to hate you. 3-6 (the boss of world 3) seems to be the breaking point for a lot of people, but I made it through ok, but I finished wondering just how hard world 4 was going to be.

Really, really hard as it turns out.

I played through the 4th world, stumbling here and there and got pissed at the DS a few times, slinging it into a corner, upsetting a few cups on my desk in the process. But it was the 4th world boss that took the cake. I must have played him 20-30 times, just brutally going forward, trying to beat it through sheer dogged determination, which frankly, did nothing. Then I studied his patterns, milked the puzzle for upgrades and eeked out a win. I was stoked and at that point, I knew that world 5 was the last level in the game and I was determined to beat it.

I played 5-1 another 20 or so times and eventually started only playing one life at a time due to the sheer level of frustration involved. It was beyond brutal, but I needed to pass 5-1. I eventually did, stopping frequently in the puzzle world to fully charge up my hearts, add bonuses and change into the powered-up robot which happens after connecting a number of three's in the puzzle world.

Somehow, I beat 5-2 in one shot and felt that maybe I could actually finish this game. I had read on a few forums that 5-1 and 5-2 were the hardest levels in the final world and that the last two were just really, really long, but not as hard. I set at 5-3, determined to make it through. Around two days into playing the world, my resolve was broken. I was back to playing a life at a time and the frustration was exceptional. I began to hate this game and decided that in order to preserve my mental health, I would sell it or trade it, which I ended up doing on Goozex.

It wasn't that the game needed just a high level of skill to beat it. There were so many cheap areas where you could only move a little forward, take out an enemy, then forward again to take out another one and so on. It wasn't like Mega Man, where you have really tough platforming with tricky enemy placement. It was like taking some average platforming and scattering a ton of enemies with a myriad of different attacks on them and then somehow trying to stay on said platforms while enemies were shooting, jumping and pounding the ground all around you. Not going to happen. The levels are designed ok, but its the enemies and enemy placement that really kills it. Typically, you'll slug through a number of them and then wait to use puzzle bonuses to power back up, but this takes alot of time and there are very infrequent checkpoints, making it very, very tedious to beat a level.

I'm not sure what the hell EA was thinking when they shipped the game with that kind of ramp up in difficulty. It obviously is targeted to casual players with the puzzle elements, but there is no way a casual player could beat this. Unless they could 1 life Castlevania III without trying.

12 comments:

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dave said...

fucker

drboom said...

ts/dr

drboom said...

Seriously, the game did evoke some pissy moments and I tend to stay away from game which have a low reward to high difficulty ratio.

I definately encourage all of you to give it a shot at some time, but be aware this is not as fun as say Duck Tales or other NES platforming classics.

LaserGun said...

My first impression of this game was that it sucked, I really wasn't a fan of the theme/setting at all, but I kind of just forgot about it and gave the game a chance.

I gave up at level/world 3 because of how easy I found it, I didn't like having to pause the game every 45 seconds to chain puzzle blocks -- it's a very clumsy mechanic. Also I didn't like how I felt over-powered and could spend ages chaining weak enemies and if I lost any health or needed more energy for the weapons I just had to pause the game and chain some blocks.

I'm surprised to hear the game gets hard, I only died once and have something like x25 lives. I guess I'll give the game some more time this week to see myself.

I also wrote a small review of the game on my blog too, it's more of a review mocking the internet's general reaction to the game.

drboom said...

It definitely does get harder. Try playing through world 4 and you'll see what's up.

For really fun hardcore platforming, you should check ot Prinny for the PSP. Good stuff.

altais said...

any tips on how to beat 3-6??

drboom said...

Best thing to do is find some you tube clips. Been too long for me to remember that stage.

ashsmom said...

how do you get past the first level in 5, once I got out of level 4 my game showed 5-? what the heck is that all about? I played through and got the treasure chest but it keeps taking me back to the beginning instead of the next level, the game is frustrating but I find that I have decided I won't let it beat me. Would appreciate any info on level 5.

drboom said...

Been so long since I played this - I don't have an answer for you. Sorry.

I can tell you that I never encounteredt a glitch in the game - maybe you just found an extra stage? I just have no idea how you finish it to move on.

Best of luck and good luck for sure on 5-2 and 5-3.

Grimwinter said...

3-6 (the boss of world 3) seems to be the breaking point for a lot of people

This is exactly where I'm stuck at. I have lost more than fifty lives on that level and I can't seem to make it beyond the big nurse and the old man.

I decided to re-play earlier levels but the loot from the chests are minimal so I'm just scrimping by to try to buy upgrades but it's taking a long time.

This game is addictive but I think it's starting to wear off. I keep hearing that the difficulty after 3-6 goes SKYhigh and if I can't make it through this level, I don't know what makes me think I'll have any luck beyond this point.

drboom said...

I didn't find anything after that crazy hard until 5, but the difficulty is stupid on this game - and this comming from a guy that loves NES era platformers...