Any programmer worth his salt wants to create a villain that strikes terror in the heart of his players. Throwing creepy looking monsters at us, followed by ghoulish foes, one after the other, is their attempt to stop Player One from reaching the end. If they succeed, we quake in our gamer boots at the sight of a real spooky baddie.
But sometimes, a weird phenomenon takes place. Programmers pull an ol' switcheroo and a tiny minion ends up being a major pain in the ass. Here is our tribute to the little guys that left us with twitchy eyeballs and a warm, piping slice of humble pie.
Beating your first koopa troopa is easier than flicking a paper football. So when you finally meet up with the Hammer Brothers, it seems like it should be a cake walk. After all, you're programmed to believe that once you smash a turtle, another turtle should be just as easy. That's science.
Wrong. The Hammer Brothers are real jerks. They don't move in a predictable pattern like most baddies. They hop around like Dance Dance Revolution pros, showering a barrage of evil, evil hammers at your plumber's crack. Once I waited fourteen full minutes for a gap before I got the nerve to race under them. But just when I thought I was home free, I got hit with the HANDLE of a rogue hammer. It wasn't even the hammery part!
Try saying "Heaven Smile" without grinning. Go ahead. I'll wait. You can't. It's impossible. The words "heaven" and "smile" bring about visions of giant bouncy castles filled with cheap beer and meatlover's pizzas.
But there's nothing heavenly or smiley about these guys. First off, they are completely invisible. Your only hint that you could run smack dab into one is a maniacal giggle that would make Stephen King's Pennywise whimper. But once you switch over to first-person mode to reveal the Heaven Smiles in all their gradient glory, it may be too late: they are already running after you. And they can only be killed by aiming at certain pressure points.
And if you unload and manage to miss completely? They latch onto your trembling ass and explode on contact.
Ghosts N' Goblins is notorious for being one of the hardest games of all time. But the first crop of baddies aren't really that bad. The hordes of undead that emerge from the soil explode in a fantastic display of juicy bits with a only single shot of your medieval javelin. "Pfff, I knew this wasn't that tough," I said with a cocky sniff. These quarters are going to last me all afternoon.
But what's this? A dopey little winged red guy sitting on his haunches innocently making flower necklaces at the very edge of the screen. He doesn't look so tough. Then BAM! The Red Arremer is all up in your grill. His flying and diving pattern can't be analyzed or manipulated. He keeps you guessing his next move: zigging and zagging, changing it up by landing and hobbling over to you with his stupid bandy-legs, hocking loogies of doom and taking massive chunks out of your armor. Ultimately, you are left in a graveyard alone, humiliated, and in your heart undies.