I almost finished Cave Story on my 3DS. I always try to finish every game I started but I made exception for this one.
Cave Story is a very good game. I enjoyed playing it. 3D was interesting but towards the end I disabled it because I felt it’s easier to play without it, game is not created with 3D in mind and it looks like two flat layers — background and front. You can walk only on front layer. Because of this you can get flat building on the back and roof for some reason pumping forward.
I felt like I needed to finish this game because very good ratings on Metacritic. Cave Story is the second best game for 3DS, first is Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D which I finished. I can see why the rating is so good. Created by single indy developer, good music (was annoying only in the Labyrinth). I also didn’t played any classic side scrollers like Mario, Metroid or Castelvania. I played Mario but only for short periods of time because I didn’t have console or Mac / PC. Cave Story was an opportunity for me, a modern classic with interesting not linear level design, perfect weapons, RPG elements, deep story and unique world. I felt mostly satisfied playing it.
My first problems is difficulty levels. I couldn’t decide which one to choose. Tried easy then felt guilty and switched to medium. I would peak easy now but I couldn’t change it during the game.
Another problem, the game doesn’t have auto-save which is fine but when you get into save room you can’t pick a slot for the save, you can have only one slot and you will override your previous saves every time. This made experiencing alternative ending impossible for me, I had to start from the beginning to make another decision in the end of the game. I decided to watch “let’s play” video on YouTube instead.
Sometimes I felt that game built to annoy me. When you die in a boss fight you can’t just start over, you start over from the save spot and you have to make your way to the boss room again. This means repeating same series of actions again and again. Because of medium difficulty level I died around 40 times before I could defeat Monster X and I also had to use the cure pill which is the only one chance to restore your health during the game. Deleting final boss without this cure is almost impossible.
Final boss is not just a boss, it is multiple amount of bosses one after another without ability to save the game. You have to defeat them at one streak. Bosses tend to transform during the fight and becoming more aggressive as they loose health. I had go to the YouTube to figure out how to defeat Monster X and I did it for another bosses too, including the final battle. People in YouTube were using very advance weapons, I didn’t have it and I couldn’t go back and get it. Without cure and without advance weapons my chances for finishing the game is almost impossible and this is game developer fault.
I can understand desire to preserve old graphics and sound effects but why we have to bring technical limitations with it — inability to change difficulty, inability to have multiple save files — this ruined the game for me.