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Monday, March 25, 2013

The time I beat a video game

Sit down, kids, and let me tell you a story.

This is the story of the only video game I was ever truly good at. Depending how you define "good at," of course. I beat the whole game and unlocked a special character and it only took me a few hours, so I'd say that qualifies as being pretty damn good.

Except the manner in which I successfully beat the game was ... well, it's not something I'm proud of. Did I cheat? No. What I did was even worse.

The game ... was Star Wars Masters of Teras Kasi ... [flashback music plays]

It was for Playstation -- the original Playstation -- and it was awesome. It was pretty much your typical Mortal Kombat-style fighting game: two characters in an arena, beating the crap out of each other with a variety of weapons and special moves, and the winner is whoever gets best two out of three. 


You could play as most of the main characters in the Star Wars universe -- the standards Luke, Han, Leia; the evil Boba Fett or one of those Sand People (but not Jabba -- he's not very quick on his feet); and you could also be some random people I had never seen or heard of before and am still not convinced were actually part of Star Wars.

Like "Thok." Who the eff is that, Star Wars Masters? You made him up, didn't you.

I chose one of these randoms as my go-to character. Her name was Arden Lyn and she had a giant laser cannon instead of an arm. Her special move was to turn herself into a flaming energy bomb and completely obliterate her opponent. She was the shit.

Look at that beautiful bitch. All pixely and ready to beat some asses.

You also were not allowed to play as Darth Vader. In order to have access to Vader as a character, you first had to beat the game and unlock him.

I wanted this. Oh, Lord, how I wanted this!

So, after playing about 1034381903431 rounds of the game against my brother and sister, a good 80% of those rounds as Arden Lyn, I decided it was time for one of us to step up and beat the game so we could play as Vader. My brother was still too young to be much good at video games, and my sister didn't care nearly enough to devote the time to it, so I knew it was up to me to carry this burden.

At first, I tried beating the computer opponents the old-fashioned way: by randomly hitting buttons as rapidly as possible, trying desperately to stay alive until I built up enough life-power to do my special move. If I didn't kill them with one special move, I'd flail around hitting more buttons until I either won, died, or somehow got enough power to do the move again.

It was highly ineffective.

But as I flailed and pushed buttons randomly, I started to notice something. One of the buttons -- not even a combo, just a straight pushing of Square (or something) -- caused my character to drop down and do a low leg sweep. Also known as a spin kick delivered directly to the shins. 

And this spin kick to the shins, however unglamorous, was extremely effective. You could do it very quickly, over and over again without stopping. And once you got a good rhythm going, it was impossible for the opponent to get any moves in at all. You were hitting them about once per second -- they had no opportunity to take back the momentum. The only defense was to jump away ... and that only worked for about a second until I got back in range for some more shin-kicks. I was low to the ground, unpunchable, unkickable, just a tornado of furious blows delivered right to the easily-bruised tibias. Not even the ferocious light saber stood a chance against my demon kicks!

I shin-swept my way through opponent after opponent. At first, I was just using the shin-kicks to soften them up until I did my special move to finish them off. Eventually, I left off the special move entirely and just shin-kicked my way to KO after KO. I rocketed through the game undefeated. Unstoppable.

Eventually, I had beaten every character in the game ... and then it was time ... to face THE BOSS!!!!


But was I afraid?


I just kicked that motherf***er in the shins like 80 times, and then the credits rolled and we could all play as Darth Vader from then on.

Kickin shins and takin names!!

I'll always remember the lessons I learned that day. That sometimes, taking the easy way out is just fine. That you can win just by keeping your head down and plugging away consistently at a challenge. That you don't need to be flashy to succeed.

Haha just kidding. I sat there for like four hours hitting Square over and over again because I wanted to play as Darth Vader. There's no lesson in that.


The irony is, I was so sick of the game after that that I think we only played it a few more times before moving on to other things. Like the stunt course on Rush 2 for Nintendo 64.

Now THAT was a sweet game.

The trick to winning this one is to always play as the hatchback, and also to not suck.

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