the artistry and psychology of gaming


Rounds 61-70 (Bubble Bobble 2)

Rounds 61-70 (Bubble Bobble 2)

The Cave of Monsters is a truly spectacular place.  As I’ve mentioned before, it has a large section that appears to be outdoors.  This section isn’t just the underwater area that I talked about before, however.  In this particular section, there are four distinct areas, each of which has two color palettes.  Throughout this section, you’ll see cheerful forests, a European-looking city, the aforementioned underwater area, and one other area that might be intimidating to some.

Chambers sixty-one on are a frightful sight.  They look a bit like the end of the world because they are the end of this section of the cave, or at least that’s my supposition.  Oddly, the first half of this section is a lot more intimidating than the one that comes after it, so perhaps this supposition is ill-founded.  While their construction is the same, the second half has this odd pastel palette that looks like late dawn, which, while unusual, doesn’t fit the motif very well.  Be that as it may, the preceding area more than makes up for it.

Upon leaving the soft, silvery underwater area, you’re greeted by a sky that’s on fire.  The deep red skies are accented by the brighter red flames leaping into them.  A dark blue rock wall stands between you and immolation, as you stand upon emerald green stone.  Upon closer inspection, one notices skulls embedded into the floor and walls, and it becomes obvious that it is actually constructed of bone.  Similarly green gears and chains are found all over, making one ponder their purpose.  If this is some sort of factory, what would it produce?  Or is it perhaps a statement against the dangers of the Industrial Revolution?  In any case, it is one of the many great mysteries of the cave.

Chamber 61 is where you begin your journey through this hellish motif, and it is an intimidating point of entry.  You drop down through the burning skies to be stuffed in a small alcove far below.  The chamber is laid out in four columns, and this is the only one with ledges for climbing.  Gears litter the area, but the only ones that can be fully seen are down another shaft.  Chamber 62 is a labyrinth with its rock wall absent at the bottom.  Curiously, there are no flames at the bottom, so it is unclear as to where they stop as far as their lower range is concerned.  In Chamber 63, there is a box with narrow openings crafted from the green bone.  One can enter from the bottom or the top, and untold horrors await within.  The creatures here might look cute, but they’re no less dangerous.  Chamber 64 has an odd bone structure in its center that seems to be modeled after the Invaders that live there.  It can be entered only from the bottom, which is difficult to do, due to an abyss on either side of its underbelly.  Chamber 65 houses a creature that looks like a cactus of bone with a ghost’s head.  It sits in a gully, which is difficult to reach, but the electrically charged bubbles that float through here can be used to take it out from afar.

The second half is just as unusual; Chamber 66 has some very atypical bone structures, many of which are somewhat diamond-shaped.  The rock wall is very high here, though there are holes broken in it.  Chamber 67 is a series of ramps, which are laid out intuitively for navigation, but not very conducive to clearing the room.  Wind bubbles float through here, but the tornados they release get stuck at the apex of the ramps’ undersides.  Chamber 68 is easily the most dangerous, because much of the ground is lines with spires.  Getting to higher ground is difficult there, and remaining there is even harder.  Chamber 69 can also be dangerous, unless you’re alert.  Spiked ceilings descend three wide shafts, giving one very little room to slip between them.  Chamber 70 isn’t inherently dangerous, but it can be quite frightening.  Looking at its makeup, it is clear that its sole purpose is for battle.  A skull-lined arena with a roaring inferno in the background is the kind of place that separates the scared children from the battle-hardened warriors.

As strange as it may seem, some horrific locations can be places of beauty.  The bright colors of a massive blaze are unlike anything one would see in a safer place.  The key concept here is context; if you take these events in context, all you see is death and destruction, but if you just take them at face value, you see a beauty that is uncommon for obvious reasons.  Perhaps this is the secret to making the best of a bad situation.  In any case, turning fear and despair into hope and admiration can’t be all bad, can it?


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