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After...THAT, the game went back to the board screen. It was all I could do not to burst out screaming, and my hands were shaking so bad I could barely hold the controller.
I knew the game was going to test me if I kept playing. But I had no idea it would go so far. Or that it was even capable of doing what it just did. I could feel my brain going haywire as I asked myself "Did the game just read my mind?"
That didn't seem possible. But what other explanation was there?
It was then that I could no longer deny what now seemed obvious: This game is alive. And not only that, it also can establish some kind of mental connection with the player.
And yet...I couldn't convince myself to stop playing. I don't know if it was the game messing with my mind, or just my stubborn curiosity, but even with the previous revelation, I really wanted to see this through to the end. Even more than I did before I beat Dementia.
Terrifying as it might be, even dangerous, I knew that if I quit playing, I would never be able to stop thinking about it. If I tried to restart the game, it might go back to being normal again. How many people ever get to witness something like this firsthand, let alone be able to take screenshots of the whole thing?
Fucked up as it was, this was the experience of a lifetime.
But even so, I couldn't take any chances with my health. I had the TV remote right next to me, ready to turn the TV off in case I felt I was in actual danger. And if that didn't work, I would pull the plug out of the wall, or just run out of the room.
Surely, that would be enough...
Whatever powers the "game" has, it seemed to be confined to what it can show on the TV and, whatever its "mental connection" could do. The latter was what worried me. I still didn't know what I was dealing with, so I wasn't about to underestimate it.
I took a break for a few minutes to calm my nerves. And then it was back to the game.
And speaking of TVs: There was a TV screen icon right below the white forest I had just left, and because the first animation was so bizarre I figured I'd try another to see what happens. Although I expected the same animation, I actually got a totally different one:
Weird. The music for this one was the Neptune board music. Fitting I suppose, since it's a fishman and all. I can't help but what wonder what the point of these things are. There was one more TV screen icon so I figured it must have a unique animation of its own. I was going to make sure to see what it was before I left Entropy.
But then it was time for another level. The gold brick icon was the closest thing, so I went to that, and I started up in a "Gold Labyrinth" level.
My health and power were refilled. Not sure how or why, but I was glad not to be heading in the unknown nearly dead. I also noticed that my Mothra sprite had shrunk to half its original size.
The music was a slow, ominous drum beat, with female vocals kicking in about a minute into it. Quite haunting.
The Gold Labyrinth itself was an anomaly. I'm not sure how this level would have played out if I was using Godzilla or Anguirus, because flying seemed necessary just to get around this place.
Another thing that caught my attention was that when you go left, your monster actually turns and faces the left. That sounds stupidly obvious, but in the original game you were only supposed to move to the right, so when you tried to move left your monster ended up walking/flying backwards.
This level was apparently gigantic in size, because every time I thought I had reached an end to it, or thought I was going to end up back where I started, I encountered something totally new. Things like lava blockades, new enemies, and statue faces.
And I found one statue face at a dead end with a wide, open eyed stare. The night Melissa died, she had an expression on her face that looked exactly like this the whole time. Even when she got hit by the truck, she still had that same expression. I can't help but feel like something really is staring at me from behind the screen when I look at this:
I really didn't want to be reminded of that night anymore, so I left the statue almost as soon as I found it. I needed to find the exit anyway, which proved to be no simple task. It felt like this level stretched on forever in all directions. I must have wandered around the level for at least fifteen minutes before I finally saw something.
It was a creature that wasn't gold. Seemingly the only one of its kind in the level. Lacking any kind of hover ability like the other creatures, it just walked back and forth on the platform.
But it wasn't long after I found it that a flying machine swooped down and grabbed it, and then flew off with it. The machine apparently had not seen me, so I decided to follow it, to see where it was taking the creature.
The machine stopped at a room with a large cauldron-like object in the center. The machine hovered over to the cauldron and dropped the creature into it.
The creature came emerged from a hole in the cauldron's side, now adorned in the same gold color as everything else. The machine flew off. I'm not really sure what to make of this, but I'm glad I came upon it, because I found the exit soon after.
When I got back to the board I realized that the bosses hadn't moved at all. A bit odd, but it didn't bother me, it made planning my route through Entropy easier. There were still two new icons to explore, the Indigo Cliffs and a black version of the labyrinth.
Since there were only three black labyrinth icons (which were surrounded by bosses) I played the Indigo Cliffs first.
It was a lot like the blue/green mountains. The level graphics had the same "shredded" look to it, there's also a recolor of the clouds and moon from the Toxic Waste Dump. The music, (if you can call it that) was merely a deep rumbling noise.
One of the first things I encountered were these multicolored creatures with big heads emerging from a small cave in the ground.
They all made a synchronized shaking sound, and they walked to the right in a group after emerging from the cave, ignoring me.
Having no other way to go, I followed them on their route. More and more emerged from the cave, until the group had about a hundred creatures. Eventually, the pathway ended in a cliff. I was shocked to see that upon reaching the cliff, all the creatures began jumping off into the abyss:
I've seen enemies walk off cliffs before, but I've never seen NPC's commit mass suicide like this. Very unsettling way to start off a level.
I continued on, flying over various strange animals like the ones shown here:
Another group of multicolored "bobbleheads" was jumping up and down, only to be snatched up by large birds, which I'm fairly certain are sprite versions of the Giant Condor from Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster.
I defeated some of the Condors in battle, but it bothered me that these bobbleheads seemed to be so eager to die. If the game itself is alive...perhaps the creatures in these levels are also "alive"? And some have very unhappy lives, if this behavior is any indication.
But what provokes them to do this? In the back of my mind, I almost suspect that the glowing moon in the sky is the reason...
At the end of the level, I saw yet another group of the bobbleheads, marching up to a large monster and being devoured.
This was starting to disgust me, so acting on impulse I fired off eyebeams at both the monster and the bobbleheads. I destroyed the cave.
The monster became angry, and ran through the remaining bobbleheads to fight me. Although it lacked any ranged attacks, it was relentless. But it was no match for me.
I was in the home stretch now, up to the bosses. My plan was to go through Battra first, then Megalon. After that I would watch the last TV screen, play the Black Labyrinth before fighting Mechagodzilla. And lastly, going through the chase with the hell beast. I was curious to see if it would be in a new form again.
But first things first, time to beat up Battra.
As I expected, he started off in his Larva form. The music was Varan's battle theme.
Whenever the game puts in a new Godzilla kaiju with more than one form, that other form always shows up. For a game that's otherwise inexplicable, it's rather startling in its consistency and accuracy with the new kaiju bosses.
The fight started off simple. Larva Battra fought in a similar fashion as Maguma did, charging back and forth and occasionally firing off lightning from its horn.
During the fight, I noticed that Mothra's combat capabilities had been altered in my favor:
- The eye beams did 2x as much damage as they did originally, now they were as strong as Godzilla's punches. The poison powder was similarly improved, it also did this nice thing were it would actually HIT an enemy when you used it.
- In the original game, even though Mothra could fly, she was unable to fly over an opponent. You would get knocked back the same way as if you just ran straight into them, which was extremely annoying. But not any more! I could change direction and fly around, which was a big help because:
Fighting Imago Battra is much like fighting a clone Mothra, although Battra is distinctly faster and stronger. No longer impeded by its slow-moving Larva form, Imago Battra was a fearsome opponent.
Although it lacked the horn lightning, it now had a new, more powerful eye beam. Battra could change direction just like I could, so this battle involved a lot of flipping and flying around. It was pretty damned fun, to be honest.
So after defeating Battra, I was excited to see what Megalon would be like. But first I went through an Indigo Cliffs level, and shot through a lot of the creatures for the health-power-ups.
So about Megalon. His music was Gigan's theme. Makes sense, since Gigan was his battle partner in Megalon's one (and so far, only) film appearance.
He was a lot like Moguera, but faster, and with more weapons. He'd start out charging off with his drills.
I liked to fly back and forth around him, which seemed to really annoy him. After a few seconds, he'd step back, turn around and start spitting out grenades. Those were a pain, because they bounce when they hit the "ground".
Lastly, he started spamming his lightning beam. It only went straight forward, so it was easy to duck under it and then shoot him with eye beams.
Overall, I'd describe him as Strong, Persistent, but Dumb.
I was now nearing the end of Entropy. I had just taken down Megalon, and I started up the last Tv screen, to see what I'd get this time.
The result was unpleasant.
The music for this gruesome scene was the Password theme.
I couldn't figure out why this animation was so sinister and violent in comparison to the other two. The whole game seemed to be growing more malevolent.
As I went on to finish Entropy, I began to feel...drained. It's hard to describe. Like I had suddenly became tired when I wasn't before. Most likely it was just the tension from all that had happened in this game getting to me, but who knows.
The last level type on Entropy is what I call the "Shadow Labyrinth". The scenery was recolored from gold to black. The music was an evil ambiance, similar to the UNFORGIVING COLD loop but distinctly different.
The music was my first sign that this level was going to be distressing. I traveled through the maze for about a minute, and I noticed there weren't any creatures hovering around. It was an odd transition from the gold Labyrinth, which was overrun with creatures, to this level that had nothing at all. But then this might be a good thing, maybe there wouldn't be any obstacles and I could get through the level with ease.
Then the screen went dark.
And immediately I snapped out of my "daze" from a few seconds earlier. Everything had been darkened so that the only thing I could see was the Mothra sprite. I couldn't tell where I was going and I ended up frantically running into walls. I heard a noise, the sound of a crowd running through a hallway.
And along with the running, came the roars. Loud roaring sounds, which I would describe as something like a rabid dog the size of an elephant, screaming with fury. And I could tell that whatever was making this noise, there were lots of them.
I knew there was something there, but it wasn't until I did some screencap editing that I got to see what my pursuers looked like:
But at the time I couldn't see where they were, or where I was going. I was literally running blind, and this mob of beasts eventually caught up with me. All I could think was "NO!" as I saw my lifebar rapidly declining. The monsters had taken me down to half of my total health, when I was saved. The "light" came back on, and the attackers had disappeared.
And so the challenge of this level was revealed: Find the exit before the lights go out and a pack of monsters maul you to death.
I was in panic mode now, moving as fast I could go while trying every path I could find for a way out. As I played through the level, the lights went out a total of three times. The second time, I would have been dead meat had it not been for one of the wide-eyed statues:
As I stayed close to it, the monsters seem to all avoid me until the light came back. The statue warded them away, somehow. I was safe as long as I stayed near the statue, but at the same time I had to leave to find the exit.
The Shadow Labyrinth turned out to be much smaller than the Gold Labyrinth, as it only took about six minutes to navigate to the end. But before the exit, there was a row of halls leading straight down, with no way out once entered. You either got to the exit before the monsters reached you, or you died. Thankfully I made it out.
Only one more boss, Mechagodzilla. I started the battle, and got something unexpected:
Not only did my life shoot back up to 100% again (It seems to do that randomly), but instead of a replacement boss, I was fighting Godzilla.
But any Godzilla fan worth their salt can figure this out. Mecha-Godzilla started off like fighting a clone Godzilla, but his disguise burned away after only three life bars. Usually a transformation only occurred at the halfway point.
At this point it was like fighting Mecha-Godzilla in the normal game. Felt kinda nice to fight one of the original game enemies for a change. Although he wasn't exactly like normal, he also had a rainbow beam and finger missiles. This prevented me from doing the old trick of backing him in the corner and hitting with eyebeams in a spot where he can't hit me, but that was always a cheap trick anyways.
But after getting him down to half his health, something weird started to happen. His sprite started to glitch, in much the same way as Gezora had way back in the first world. After a few seconds, the glitches began to form a new shape…
And thus the game had created "Not-Mecha-Godzilla", and I discovered that this visual glitch was somehow related to the game recreating things. The human face on this one gives it a very uncanny look.
It was one of the stronger Replacement monsters, and had the most firepower. Pictured here is its Mouth Beam, which I got caught in the middle of.
Even though it was a bit stronger, it was also slower than its original counterpart and couldn't jump around as much. I won the fight by constantly staying out of its line of fire, bombarding the machine with Poison Powder as I flew over it.
One last thing to do: The hell beast chase. Oh boy. "Might as well just get this over with," I thought.
The Entropy "End Chase" ended up being exactly what I was afraid it would be: A Labyrinth level. All the other chases, although difficult, were extremely straight-forward. You just had to run to the right and not get touched.
But this took all the simplicity out of it. There was no telling how big this labyrinth would be, or where the exit was. And now not only did I have to constantly backtrack to find my way out, I also had to avoid getting one-hit killed by the red monster.
And for those first thirty seconds, it didn't show up. But I knew it would, and as I started picking up the pace, I heard a loud flapping noise:
And there it was, in a "flying form". It flew with bat-like wings, and was as fast and relentless as ever. For reasons already stated this was probably the most nerve-wracking of all the "End Chases", and as such I had to keep my focus on the game and not taking screencaps.
However, I did take one of the red monster doing something I found very interesting.
I had managed to lose it by going through a different path than it apparently expected, and it was blocked from attacking me by one of the organic walls of the Red Labyrinth. Or so I thought.
It tried clawing through the wall for a second before opening up its mouth and tearing the wall apart with the intestine jaws.
But those brief milliseconds that the monster was held back might have been the key to me finding the exit. The path to exit was long and complex, but from what I remember I went up, and then back towards the left. I'm still not sure why I chose that particular way. Just a lucky hunch I suppose.
I was sweating profusely, but my luck had saved me yet again. I hoped that it wouldn't run out before I finished the game. There were only two more worlds to go.
Next was the penultimate world, called "Extus":