Like Glue

It happens to the best of us. No matter how skilled, how clever, or how hardcore you may be, it will still happen to you. And when it happens, you will experience a frustration like never before. Sometimes it catches you unawares. You will breeze through a game, happy and carefree, maybe you will even be surprised at how easy it is so far. Then bam. You are stuck.

Metro 2033 - Dark, Atmospheric and sometimes downright Frustrating.
Metro 2033 – dark, atmospheric and sometimes downright frustrating.

This happened to me very recently. I purchased Metro 2033, after viewing the trailer and thinking ‘wow, that looks awesome!’. When started to play it, I could see that it obviously had flaws, but nothing serious, and I was enjoying the story quite a lot. It was all good. Until I reached a level called ‘Frontline’. Now, I tend to get stuck on the most random things in games, and when venting to other gaming buddies I usually get the response ‘Seriously?! I did that bit in 5 minutes!’ followed by laughter and embarrassment on my part, so in this instance it may again be the case, but I don’t care. I was stuck. I tried to do one bit about a billion times and even considered consulting with an online Walkthrough to see what I was doing wrong.

I did manage to get past that nightmarish section eventually, and completed the game without walkthrough guidance (although I did get stuck again later on — amoebas = grr), but the whole thing made me think about the games I have been stuck on in the past. There are a few ‘types’ of gaming stuckness, and I wonder, what is the most annoying way to be prevented from progressing?

There is the Item. You know, when you can’t progress through a door, or across a bridge, without a crank, or a key? If that Item isn’t in your inventory, a lot of hours can be spent backtracking and clicking on things that look like said Item, either in your inventory or in the environment, and asking yourself why the character is ignoring it. The worst thing is that this Item is always in the most obvious place, once you’ve found it, and always results in you saying, ‘Duh!’ to yourself.

Knew I'd forgotten something!
Knew I'd forgotten something!

There is the Boss Battle. Now, in RPGs, being stuck on Boss Battles are the result of two things: rushing through the game because of the story, thus not levelling up enough, or a really unfair level spike (ahem, Lost Odyssey). Either way, this results in trying to defeat the Boss about ten times, getting annihilated, giving up, and then running around in circles on the world map for ages, looking for random encounters, trying to level up.

Hope you've been levelling up!
Hope you've been levelling up!

In Shooters, getting stuck on a Boss Battle is usually about you trying a technique a few times, and the Boss not taking any damage because what you are doing is not what you’re supposed to be doing. This is made even worse when it looks like the boss has taken a bit of damage, so you carry on futile attempts to defeat him, and then you find out that you’re supposed to shoot a lorry/support beam/computer.

There are other ways to get stuck, of course, and I have just highlighted the ones that have got to me the most. Sometimes it’s poor level design, sometimes it’s bad AI. Sometimes it’s just very, very hard. Either way, at some point, it’s happened to us all.







2 responses to “Like Glue”

  1. John Brown avatar

    That last one, get’s me every time. “I have the biggest (insert phallic weapon here) in the world and it’s not even scratching it!! What… I have to… really… I have to use the feather on a stick to make it implode with laughter??!”

    OK, that wasn’t a real scenario but there have been a few pretty close to it!

  2. Markatansky avatar

    This happened to me in Darksiders the other day. I was in a massive circular room with giant spinning circular platforms that despite not touching anything, still managed to make the loudest and most annoying grinding noise you’ve ever heard. I was stuck in this room for ages, to the point where I had to mute the damn game to think about how the hell I progressed.

    As it turns out, the map location for a specific door actually covered about three floors so I was always going to the wrong spot. Having a nice QUIET room to work with would have been nice though. >:(

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