Hey there, it’s me again. Before I start on World 6, I want to talk a bit about a conversation I had with Zach. I hadn’t talked to him in a while, and I think we got off on the wrong foot, so I was attempting to remedy that. I wanted to maintain a good relationship with the only other person (that I know of) who has played this cart. We had a much longer conversation this time, and he shared some things of a more personal nature that I’m not going to post here. What I will post is this –
Zach: As far as what’s happening with your game, if I were you, I’d just stop. You don’t need me to tell you that Warlock character has bad intentions. All things considered I think you had a pretty good run, you had a very interesting experience. I’d just let it be, and not press my luck any farther.
Me: I get where you’re coming from. But I just can’t do it. I really want to see this through to the end.
Zach: Why? What are you expecting to get out of it? At least for me, I had the excuse of not knowing what I was getting into. You’re aware of it, you know you’re putting yourself in danger, and you’re still keeping at it anyway.
Me: If you didn’t want people playing it, why did you sell it?
Zach: It wasn’t because I wanted to “spread the experience”, I couldn’t bring myself to destroy it. I just wanted to be rid of it. It’s yours now, and you can do what you want with it. But you asked me my opinion and I gave it to you.
Me: Well, I’m not expecting a reward or anything. But in some weird way, I’ve grown attached to it (the game’s setting). Especially my little buddy Usol. If nothing else, I want to try and help him out.
Zach: Your “little buddy”? Have you considered this is a setup? For all you know, Usol, or whatever he is, is part of some kind of trap, and this “game” ends with you dying of an aneurysm.
Me: It’s crossed my mind before. But I didn’t get that vibe from him. You know the sort of sensations you get from certain characters? He felt real to me. Like a scared little kid.
Zach: You’re setting yourself up to be manipulated.
Me: Yeah, maybe. But I can’t just abandon him. If the situation was reversed, I think he would help me. And besides, aren’t you even a little curious about what’s behind that gate?
Zach: “Curious” isn’t the word I would use to describe it. I get a sinking feeling in my stomach every time you upload one of these. Have you considered that whatever is behind that gate, is locked up for good reason? It bothers me how little caution you have about this. But whatever. Do what you want.
Me: Let me ask you this: do you feel that playing through the game was a mistake for you?
there was a long pause
Zach: I don’t know. I still don’t really know how I feel about it. Part of me wants to think that ultimately, those other worlds are better off for it, and she’s in a better place now. Another part of me feels like I was just being tricked into doing someone else’s dirty work.
If you’re implying that this is getting personal for you in a similar way as it did for me, I might be able to understand. If you must do this, so be it, but proceed with caution. There’s nothing I can do to help you besides talking about it.
It continued on a bit after that, but we changed topics.
Sometimes I do feel a bit stupid keeping with this, having no idea what I’m really doing or what sort of danger I’m putting myself into. I could just call it quits and be done with the stress of it, but… No. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life wondering “what might have been.” It’s never been about getting anything out of it. I may not understand what’s going on in that world, but anyone can see that it needs help. If I don’t help them, who will?
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s finally delve into World 6: Alkali.
Pretty cool name.
Whoa. This board is enormous! Easily the biggest one I’ve encountered yet, tons of unique level types too. I’m a little intimidated. Let me list them off –
And last but not least, the ever-welcoming SIN.
Three bosses, Mechani-Kong, Moguera, and Mechagodzilla. All robots, probably tying into the theme of this world, which seems to have a strong industrial vibe.
Wait a minute, what the hell-
It’s not letting me move past those Vaba Wall tiles! I’ve never seen the game do that before! I don’t know what that’s about, but I don’t think it would be wise to start with one of those levels. It could be some bullet hell endurance thing. The only other level type available to me now is the “Sun-Baked Wastes”, so I’ll start with that.
Okay, that’s different. I’ve never seen anything like this come up before either, a new control scheme? Nice of the game to let me know at least, this looks more complex than the original game.
WHOA. Now it’s a top-down perspective, like the original Zelda. This is neat! I wonder if all of Alkali is like this? It’s trippy see this smaller Godzilla sprite moving around like this, I didn’t expect it at all. There’s a new thing on the heads-up display, a counter labeled “Daru”. No idea what that’s about yet. This level’s music is minimalistic, I’d call it “desert ambience”. Not much to it.
Fortunately, this level gives me a lot of wide open space to run around and get used to the controls, which are smooth and responsive. My whole body tensed up the first time I tried jumping over the chasm, but it works. I checked out the inventory screen, but there’s nothing in there yet.
It’s our first enemy, a bronze robot that I’m assuming is called “Dirgun”. And they know Godzilla’s name!
The Dirgun can walk around in 4 directions like I can, fire a little bullet from their mouth, punch and kick. Slow, and easily dealt with. Though he doesn’t drop health or energy when destroyed, but little coins that add up on the “Daru” counter. A bronze coin is worth 5 Daru. You can find them lying around in some areas.
That’s great and all, but I’m not seeing any health or energy capsules., which is worrying me. How am I supposed to regain my health here? I’m going to have to play this very carefully until I figure that out.
Two more enemy types – A hovering bronze drone and a little silver walking robot. Both are just simple turret enemies. I also found out you can destroy the rocks in these levels. I was hoping they’d have health capsules, but they only have Daru coins. I did find one silver coin, which is worth 20 Daru.
That’s a really big skull up there, I wonder what creature that belonged to. I hope any living ones don’t ambush me on a precarious land bridge like this one.
I reached the end of the level, but I was just wandering around. I don’t know if I found the exit, or if there is no exit and the level ends on a timer, or what. I’ll try Vaba’s Wall now.
That’s quite a wall indeed. I’m guessing the Humpty Dumpty looking fellow on the rails is the titular “Vaba”. Let’s see what his deal is. He has a strange musical theme. It’s like jaunty classical music, but more intimidating. It reminds me a little of “Montagues And Capulets” by Prokofiev.
Oh great, you have to pay a toll to get through. I figured it would be something like that. Back into the wastes to grind for some more money. At least the toll isn’t that bad…though this is just the first Wall, and there’s at least two more after this one.
Got the 300 Daru, now back to Vaba’s Wall.
Oh come on! You couldn’t have mentioned that before? For Pete’s sake. Fine, I’ll go grind again so I can get a damn card. But first, we might as well see if we can get any useful information out of this guy. Namely, where the health power-ups are at.
That’s what I suspected. Nice to have a straight answer, though I’m not thrilled at the prospect of having to pay to regain my health every time. That does make me wonder though – At the moment I’m barricaded outside the Bronze Sector, and can’t reach the Market. I’m not too worried for myself, but what happens to someone else who doesn’t have the money and is desperately low on health?
Sheesh, that’s cold. Just straight up “Pay my entrance fee or DIE.” What a lovely place Alkali must be. And I’m not even through the gate yet!
After going back and forth to the Wastes to grind, now I can pay the fee for ID Card. This feels like I’m at some kind of Alien DMV in Purgatory, where instead of waiting in lines, you have to fight giant robots that want to kill you, and then pilfer pocket change from the debris.
20,000 Tons? Does the Godzilla I’m playing actually weight that much, or is that just statistics from the movies or something? Whatever, this part was ridiculous. Now I can FINALLY enter the Bronze Sector.
Gotta say though, it does feel damn satisfying seeing Godzilla stride in through that gate. I hope entering the Sin Gate later feels as nice.
Godzilla’s finally in, but Rodan –
In the midst of all the grinding and dealing with Vaba, I completely forgot about Rodan.
Please tell me that Vaba isn’t going to do what I think he’s going to do…
Oh God, I’ve got to do all of that AGAIN? You’ve got to be kidding me! Maybe I can reason with him.
That went over about as well as I expected. I don’t think he realizes that Rodan and Godzilla are both controlled by *me*, but it doesn’t matter. Welp, back to the grindstone! I’m going to get a drink and some snacks, something is telling me that Alkali is going to take a while. Just a feeling.
I suppose it’s probably a good idea for me to get used to playing Rodan with this new control scheme anyway. I think Godzilla will be fine for the moment just sitting where he is, so I’m going to do what I need to in order to get Rodan past the stupid wall.
He handles pretty much the same as Godzilla. Oh, I can’t believe I hadn’t mentioned this before now, but this is Rodan’s energy attack. It’s a blast of mist from his mouth. It reminds me of the Fire Breath in the Kirby games. Speaking of fire – the mist is flammable. If it gets hit by enemy fire, the clouds of mist burst into flames. So that’s fun.
He can also fly, though you can’t reach a high altitude in this top-down view. Handy for getting out of an ambush, but not much else.
Hey, wait a minute. Rodan can fly. I’ve got an idea forming here. A wonderful, awful idea.
I have to do this right in front of him, so better move fast! Go go go!
The screen even scrolls upward to show the 6 drones that have been on the other side of the wall this entire time. I get the impression they could be stacked side to side across the entire length of it.
This was totally not worth it.
Ugh. Of course “mercy” involves giving him more money. This sucks, but it’s better than having Rodan get shot to death. It was my own fault for trying to cheat. I should have known better.
Went back through the Wastes, didn’t see anything new to document. Here’s Rodan getting his ID card.
And with that, I’ve finally got both monsters past the Wall. But doing so used up nearly all my money. So you know what that means- I need to get more! Back to the Wastes. The two other icons on the board send me to slightly different versions of the level.
There wasn’t anything new, until I got to the end of the level and encountered a miniboss guarding the exit. It’s some kind of blue snapping turtle creature with snail eyes.
He doesn’t have any attacks besides chomping at you, and launching himself at you with rockets from his feet. This new tackle ability is good for getting out of the way, which is good because I really don’t want to lose any more health.
I’m mostly running away from him and using the heat beam as much as possible, to keep Godzilla away from his beak. He doesn’t drop any Daru after death, oddly.
The other variation doesn’t have anything different besides the colors.
Time to head to the Market to stock up on supplies.
I get straight to the point and tell him what I’m here for.
What? That’s dumb! Why do I have to buy things I don’t want or need?
Alright, fine. I just have to roll with it, this is the only Market the Bronze Sector has. At least it’s just one per order. I proceed to look through Dohnbar’s inventory.
These three toys are called “Dhynk”, “Pinky” and “Radon.” A typo for Rodan?
And another three, called Eyebis, “Freind” which has to be a typo for “friend”, and Wooly.
Rather sparse selection, but that doesn’t matter. All I need is the health stuff, which is represented here by “PACAKAGED MEAT” and “ENERGY DRINK”. I’m assuming the meat replenishes the Health meter, and the drink replenishes the Power meter. The plushies are all 5 Daru each, which is great! I’m not going to go broke having to buy them.
I bought 3 meat packs, 3 drinks, and 1 plush. I would have bought more, but he ran out of the meat and drinks.
I’m not being subtle about the fact that I’m just buying all the supplies I can get and only 1 plush each time. Hey, I’m complying with his store policy! He’s not complaining. My only concern now is how often this guy restocks.
Heading into the Slums next.
As soon as I started up the level, I paused and went to the Inventory screen. I do like the way that the Inventory organizes your items by alphabetical order. Anyway, it’s the moment of truth, we’re going to find out just how much of a pain Alkali is going to be. Selecting the Meat Package and…
It replenished 5 blocks! That’s not bad at all, 10 Daru for restoring half my health. I just hope I won’t need to use them constantly. I’m not loving this change in gameplay mechanics, but I was expecting much worse after dealing with Vaba.
I’ve stood here for a couple seconds and there’s no sign of anything attacking me. Just some very soft, melancholy music. It suits this dismal looking place. While I’ve got some time to breathe, I want to see if the plush toys are capable of doing anything.
I choose you Pinky! Go forth and attack!
…Well, it doesn’t do anything it seems. It really is just a plush toy.
Some guy just ran up and stole it! “Hey! That’s mine, you little asshole! Get back here!”
Is he running back to his parents?
Oh damn. That looks like it hurt.
Fine, it’s not that a big a deal to me. Why do they assume I’m going to hurt them over this? Especially the grandma, who had nothing to do with it?
“I would like to know more about Alkali”
I’m not sure how to answer that question in a way that will make any sense to her…I’ll just say “I’m from Planet Earth, it’s in another solar system.”
“Can you explain why Alkali has Sectors, and big walls between them?”
“Avidus” sounds like one of those SIN monsters I’ve been fighting on each world. So they aren’t native, but an invasive force of some kind. The story she’s telling strongly suggests Avidus came here intentionally to carry out a plan. Until now, I had the impression they were just mindless beasts. Though Exalton having his face carved into the bricks of his area was a detail that didn’t fit with that idea.
I’ve got more questions, but I just realized I haven’t even asked the name of our new friend here.
“My name is Carl, and don’t worry about what happened earlier. I forgive Yad. In fact, he can keep Pinky. Consider it my gratitude for the information you’ve given me.”
“What do you mean by that?”
So in Alkali, if a child steals something, it’s common to retaliate with murder! Goddamn, no wonder she was so tense. Does that qualify as “legal execution” like Vaba was talking about? The farther I go, the worse this place gets.
“What can you tell me about Avidus?”
It’s giant and “lives at the eastern edge of the Gold Sector” -exactly where the SIN icon is on the board. That confirms what I suspected.
“What happened to the rest of your family?”
“That’s awful! Why do they gain from preventing someone from seeing their deceased family?”
In her position, I wouldn’t either. Poor Arba, she didn’t deserve this. I considered telling her that I’m here to destroy Avidus, but I decided against it. I noticed that satellite in the sky over her tent, I don’t want to risk saying something that could cause trouble for them.
“Thank you for your help. I hope things will get better for you and Yad.”
I feel bad for them, but at least they were able to give me some useful information. I tried to talk to some other residents, but they either ignored me or asked for money.
I feel it’s time to move on, so I’ll try the Excavation Site next.
The site is enormous, with 8 more layers ascending into the background. The music has a heavy industrial mood, fitting with the image of robots hauling thousands of tons of dirt and stone. The first one I encounter is yellow, with striped armor plates, pipes on its back, and arms like an excavator. His only attack is to wave it’s arms around. Like the Dirguns, they drop 4 Bronze Daru when destroyed.
The next type looks like a bulldozer with arms and legs. Clearly these robots are designed for construction, but they’re programmed to defend the site from intruders as well. This type doesn’t walk, but rolls forwards on treads within it’s legs. The spikes on the frill beneath their head, and the big sickle shaped blade on the tail kick up clouds of dust as it charges at me. It takes more damage than the first robot did.
It may be hard to see, but there are silver pods in the background behind the robots. I’m not sure what those are for – maybe recharging stations?
As you may have noticed, there are more robots in the background, walking around on the background layers. The machine in this center of this screenshot appears to be a gigantic escalator that they use to travel up and down the layers. I also notice a silver robot up in the sky, flying with propellers.
The third robot type resembles a long-necked dinosaur with 4 tread-feet and a drill for a mouth. The long neck gives it a greater range of attack than the previous two. I focus my attacks on the head, and keep my distance from it.
The fourth type is the most annoying, and the only one that uses a projectile. It has the same body as the first robot, but gray, with a large barrel on he back and a different head. It spits goop that hardens on contact, temporarily immobilizing whatever body part gets hit. It’s similar to the Frost Breathers from Gelid, but these guys don’t have to get up close to attack.
These are the last two types, a chunky green robot with a dump truck bed on it’s back, and a variant on the long neck which has a hook on a wire instead of a drill. The green robot doesn’t have any weaponry, but does have the toughest armor, and takes the most hits to defeat. The yellow long neck isn’t much different to the red, but being able to throw it’s hook on a wire gives it an even longer range of attack. I save up my heat beam to use on them.
Another mini-boss! A humanoid robot twice the size of the others, with a claw on it’s back holding a wrecking ball.
He can fire the wrecking ball out on a chain, similar to the yellow long neck with its hook. I dodged the first time, but he hit me on the second try. I didn’t time my jump right, and he cut and a bar and half off my health.
I’m down to less than half my health, no more playing around. I let off a full-powered heat beam, and he staggered for a second. Now he’s getting in close and trying to punch me. I’m faster, so I dodge those and alternate between punching him in the face and using tail whips.
I keep dodging until my power meter fully restores. The claw on his back waggles before he uses the wrecking ball attack. I use that moment to fire off another full-powered heat beam, and that takes him down. He drops 100 Daru!
The Bronze City reminds me a lot of the Mecha City levels from Monster of Monsters, though this place has structures that look like buildings and houses. They also look like they’ve been shot at on a regular basis. For a technological marvel, it’s very poorly maintained. I’d guess this city got hit hard during the war Arba mentioned.
The first enemies I encounter are Dirguns and those flying drones from the Sun-Baked Wastes. Aside from the change in perspective, they’re the same as the ones from before.
Two new enemies appear soon after that. That silver robot with the propellers that I caught a glimpse of in the Excavation Site is here! It holds boulders with it’s 4 claw-like limbs and wires, then drops them when it gets close enough. It can’t do anything other than that. Its easy to avoid as long as I’m paying attention.
The other is a green ape looking cyborg thing with bronze armor and a turret on its back. It walks around, jumps, and the turret auto-aims to match Godzilla’s position when it sees me.
Most of the enemies in this level are Dirguns. That little silver thing with the tentacle on the front also reappears here. Only other thing I have to comment on here is the music – this is probably my favorite track so far! Heavy industrial beat similar to Excavation Site, but this is quicker and more upbeat. It gives me a feeling this city used to be a very productive place, before it became a wreck.
The last level type in this sector is the Bronze Factory. Like most everything else here, it’s shabby and dirty. It looks like the floors haven’t been cleaned in weeks. Everything but the lights hanging from the rafters have some sort of stain on them. The music is a steady beat of thumps and clanks with an intermittent sound that makes me think of a deep brassy horn. It sounds like an anthem for prolonged hours of repetitive labor.
In the background, there are windows revealing an odd purple sky, and a huge circular fan. I guess that’s meant to cool down the workers? That seems really inefficient. Speaking of the workers, they panic and try to run away as soon as I enter the level. But some unknown voice puts a stop to that.
The workers get back to the assembly line, and attempt to ignore the brawl happening in front of them. I’m facing the same enemies as the Bronze City, with the exception of the cyborg ape thing. Just when I get to thinking this will be an unremarkable level, something alarming happens.
One of the workers suddenly drops dead, only to be immediately replaced. That one-eyed robot with the propellers grabs the body and takes off. This must have been what happened to Arba’s son and daughter-in-law. What are they doing with them?
After walking through the end of the assembly line, I end up in this area. There’s a shoddy brick background and no windows, it looks like I’m a lower region of the factory, underground perhaps. The floor is a collection of conveyor belts that keep me moving forwards, and there are large crushers striking down from the ceiling. My path got blocked by this one, and I had to punch it until it retracted.
Only one enemy type here, some strange orange robot with a jackhammer piston in place of legs. Its only attacks are trying to stab me with its piston spike, and punching. It has an odd movement when it gets hit, as if its trying to correct its balance.
Oh God. They’re taking the dead workers to a slaughterhouse?! Is this where the packaged meat comes from?!!
That is absolutely horrid. This is the worst thing I’ve seen yet. Is Alkali society comprised of cannibals? Or worse still, do they not even know this is happening? Are they making them eat their own family members without realizing it?! I really don’t want to think about that.
Alerted to my presence, the blue butcher robots start attacking me. All they can do is run, jump and stab. But they’re fast, and those knives hurt. I take out four of them before exiting the level.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that genuinely sickened me. I’ve lost my appetite. What do I even do with this information now? Do I tell Arba?
…No. Nothing good would come of it. I couldn’t imagine what it would do to someone, knowing their child got literally butchered. I hate that I’ve been been buying the end product of this. Sadly, as repulsive as it is, I really don’t have any choice if I want to get through Alkali, I HAVE to keep buying them.
Eugh. This went from semi-enjoyable to horrific very abruptly. But I have to remind myself that “enjoyment” isn’t what I’m here for at this point. There’s a friend of mine who still needs help. I’m trying to get what I’ve just seen out of my head, moving onto the first boss.
I’m worried about this one. Kong gave me a lot of trouble back on Corona.
His special attack is a glowing pink ball of light that he emits from that bulb on top of his head. It arcs downward and is easy to dodge by jumping.
Another special attack! He creates a swirling purple spiral in front of his face that waves up and down. It stays in position with his sprite as he moves, as if he’s emitting a spotlight.
I got hit by it and it turned Godzilla purple, and left me unable to move for a few seconds. Mechani-kong gets some cheap shots in while I’m trapped.
This battle is getting dangerously close, so I’m hitting him hard. In response he reveals one last special attack – he can pull grenades from his belt and throw them. This one is the hardest to dodge, but I can hit the grenades with attacks to knock them off trajectory.
The robot gorilla’s all out of tricks, and I send him down to Davy Jones Locker. I didn’t need any bizarre glitchy assistance this time! Now we’re heading into the Silver Sector… after another lovely visit with Vaba. I can hardly wait.