the artistry and psychology of gaming


Last Leg Land (Decap Attack)

Last Leg Land (Decap Attack)

I once visited an island known as Eyeland.  It was a strange place that was shaped like a giant skeleton.  Perhaps the most unusual thing about this island’s atmosphere was that it was simultaneously macabre and ridiculous.  There were some morbid elements to the area – many dark skies, voodoo idols, and even empty skulls strewn all about – but the inhabitants and many other details about the scenery were colorful, and even cartoony in some cases.  In a land so rife with contradiction between two polar opposites, you might think that it’d lack the cohesion necessary to form something beautiful enough to take seriously.

Despite that, there are many beautiful areas in the land, and today, I’d like to talk about Last Leg Land.  Last Leg Land is one of the leg-shaped parts of Eyeland, and, coinciding with its moniker, it is shaped like a skeletal leg.  It is a very cold place, covered in snow and ice, though its lakes are not frozen over, oddly enough.  Perhaps even more unusual is the large number of bubbling lava pits found throughout this frigid land.  This is a land of contradictions within a larger land of contradictions, but exploring it is an unforgettable experience.

There is little as beautiful in a cold climate as brown earth lightly sprinkled with fresh snow, and that’s what lay beneath me as an open land of leafless trees and tiny, snow-covered evergreen shrubs expanded before me.  I was high in the mountains, and small clouds of light blue and lavender speckled the sky above.  There were green wooden platforms held up by red wooden posts littered about the area.  A little further on were blocks of solid ice that contained skulls of some large creature.  Even the colors were in contrast with each other; the deep blue ice and deep red and green platforms clashed starkly with the soft brown rock, white snow, and periwinkle sky of this cloudy day.

A little further on was a lake of bright blue, which, despite its bottom of solid ice, is home to lush green seaweed, along with some underwater grass, seemingly oblivious to the biting cold all around.  Speaking of which, the air itself wasn’t terribly cold – just on the cusp of freezing – which may explain both the presence of snow and the liquid state of the water.  While that might seen cold to most, I found it to be a comfortable climate, though, admittedly, I have a large temperate comfort zone.  I took great pleasure in swimming these beautiful waters, with their bright red fish and pink jellyfish, making this lake, and the others like it, perhaps the only areas in Last Leg Land with any sort of chromatic consistency.

A bit further along were some pits of molten lava, which were a strange shade of red: almost perfect red, but with a slight hue of brown to them.  I am still uncertain as to how blocks of ice can float above them without melting, but after crossing, I made my way down a long zigzag of ice back down to the ground, and made my way to a sort of a long vertical shaft.  This shaft had many more zigzags; some were made of ice, some of snow-covered rock, others of wooden platforms, and others still were underwater labyrinths suspended high above the ground, yet contained in ice.  I made the arduous climb, having to avoid even pits of lava somehow contained within blocks of ice, eventually reaching the top.  It was truly a magnificent obstacle course, and I’d recommend traversing it to any explorer looking for a strenuous physical challenge.

At the top, there was one final challenge sprawling out in front of me.  What appeared to be a relatively straight run across the tundra turned out to be the most grueling journey yet.  There were even more zigzags here; you’d go up through as many as 4 runs, then back down repeatedly, progressing forward only a little at a time.  Lava and springboards littered the area, often making progress nearly impossible; perfect timing was a necessity in order to get anywhere.  Near the end of this stretch was what was likely a temple of sorts.  There was a wall erected in the back with diamond-shaped patterns of alternating sepia and light gray brick.  There were only small floating platforms to traverse; the floors were deep pools of lava.  On the other side was a short distance to the end of the area, bringing closure to a beautiful journey not for the faint of heart.

There are those who love bright, warm weather, and those who enjoy looking out over rolling white plains in a heavy snowstorm, but I find my favorite to fall right in the middle.  I love the days in early winter or late autumn, when the grass is brown with death, on a cloudy day right before the first snowstorm of the year.  You have that dazzling electricity in the air, like a precognizant static, just before the snow finally breaks free of its cloudy prison.  The light flakes dance down to the ground, lightly coating everything beneath the tapestry they weave.  The freshly fallen snow has certainly left its mark, but the ground beneath it is still faintly visible.  Sometimes, a breeze will whisper through, tracing light circles in the fresh powder, and it is then that you know that winter has come at last.

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