SM just confirmed what I always felt inside and never wanted to admit; water levels suck.
My family surprised me on Christmas with one of the hottest items of the 2017 holiday season, the SNES Classic Edition. After Super Punch Out reminded me that reflexes aren’t forever, I wanted to complete Super Metroid again. I’ve not played SM for at least 15 years and wanted to prove that I could finish it in less than 6 hours. After screaming through the first three parts of the game (Crateria, Brinstar, & Wrecked Ship) and obliterated the first two bosses, I hit a HUGE wall in the form of Maridia. Hard to navigate, byzantine, and frustrating Maridia. Maridia is the obligatory water level and I was about two hours in when I got there. When I left, I was over six hours of gametime. Why? Water levels suck.
Water levels exist to alter the physics of a game and add challenge to a character’s existing moveset or introduces a new one. Just like in real life, water hampers movement and bodies have to adapt. However, in virtual space, water levels seem to come with a sizable amount of tedium. What’s my least favorite temple in Zelda: Ocarina of Time? Water Temple. What is the most irritating and maddening part of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES, 1989)? The water level in the dam. Castlevania III, Mega Man 2, and Bionic Commando are all offenders too.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not having First World Problems, I love playing all of those games, but the water levels often feature tedious puzzles or gameplay that feel like the busy work dittos that my grade school teachers gave me in the afternoon. I realize that devs needed to pack in gameplay in difficulty in limited hardware to give consumers their money’s worth, but I could not appreciate the water levels. I’ll do them, but I do it just to get to the end of it. Just like a day in grade school.