the artistry and psychology of gaming


Blaze Area (Maze Hunter 3D)

Blaze Area (Maze Hunter 3D)

Today’s world is a rather unusual one.  It takes place in a labyrinth floating through outer space.  Little is known about this celestial object, but it is said that those who are able to make it to the core are regarded as legends.  Once you enter, making it to the core is the only way out.  There are five areas, Metal, Rugged, Jungle, Ice, and Blaze, and each section has four different mazes.  In each maze, you must find the key, then make it to the exit.  The task is more difficult than you might imagine, however, since each maze has monsters spontaneously materializing at random points, and most mazes have multiple depths, some as many as five, with three of which being traversable.  Throughout the mazes, you’ll find suits and boots to help you, as well as balloons floating by that will temporarily empower you should you manage to burst one.  For the most part, though, your only weapon is an iron bar, so be prepared to test both your mind and body to the limit.

The area I’d like to tell you about today is the final one, the Blaze Area.  This part of the maze can only be described as intense.  My father warned me about it when I was younger, but nothing could have prepared me for the sheer volume of monsters appearing all around the sadistically designed quartet of labyrinths.  Whoever designed this particular part decided to hide the key on the opposite end from the exit, meaning that you’ll be spending a great deal of time wondering how many horrific creatures are hiding around the bend.  It sure is beautiful, though.

All but one of the mazes in the Blaze Area have five depths, though only three can be traversed.  The very top, which cannot be reached, has a strange gleam to it that makes it look like a white-hot flame, with small bits of light yellow and yellow-orange.  The next level down, which is the highest traversable level, has a bright, wavy pattern of bright red fading to a golden yellow, making it look like a sea of incandescent fire.  The middle layer, also unreachable, is diagonally striped in dark red, a brighter red, and pale yellow.  The next level down has a flaming pattern of bright and dark red with some bubbles periodically showing in the floor, looking like a seething pool of magma, though it can be safely walked upon.  The bottom level has a very similar design, but is suspended above empty space, so you have to watch your step.  The walls are a deep purple and the exit is a light and dark purple checkerboard square that flashes yellow when activated.

The first of the four mazes is simple enough; you begin on the top level and work your way to the bottom.  The overall design on each layer is just a square around the layer beneath it.  The second maze is a very long, twisting path with only two traversable layers.  It’s extremely straightforward, but as I said, it twists and winds like an agitated serpent, making it much longer than it would ordinarily be.  The third labyrinth is where things get complicated.  This one has just a flat maze, that is to say the only layers it has are the one you’re on and the one above it that serves as a wall.  The path is long and there are many long branches that lead to dead ends.  You have to make your way to the other side of this vexing structure to acquire the key, only to make your way back almost to the starting point to find the exit.  The last maze is a three level, long, winding road that you have to backtrack halfway to the beginning after acquiring the key, then take another long, winding road.  The exit is across a long gap that drops into the blackness of space, so mastery is required right up to the very end.

While this space labyrinth is great training for any adventurer, particularly those that need help with their sense of direction, it’s a horrible place to find by happenstance.  Each area is absolutely gorgeous, but it is quite taxing, even from the very beginning.  Like many of the placed I have visited, it is difficult to say exactly what its true purpose was, but given that it has a computer that stores those skilled enough to make it through and adds them to its hall of fame, it is very likely that its original purposes were that of training and competition.  As far as who built it, perhaps no one knows, not even that old computer that keeps the whole thing running.  Personally, I like it the way it is: just one of those strange things you run into as an adventurer that you wonder if anyone would even believe.  Trust me, fledgling adventurer, you’ll find a lot of them in your travels.

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