the artistry and psychology of gaming

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Web Woods (Donkey Kong Country 2)

Web Woods (Donkey Kong Country 2)

There is a small island upon which there are a great many environments.  It boggles the mind how so many different biomes can coexist in such a tiny space.  Here, one can find a volcanic area, a swamp, a forest, and a well-hidden jungle, and there is still room for large buildings to exist.  The transitions between these are rather abrupt, as they’d have to be, but that makes them very self-contained; they are like little worlds unto themselves.  Aside from the Lost World, there is perhaps no better example of this than Gloomy Gulch.

Gloomy Gulch is a thick, forested valley with a few houses here and there.  Its name is twofold; the valley itself is quite dark, but it is also haunted.  This might sound like another stereotypical ghost haven, but it is really quite unique.  There are at least three very distinct sections of the forest, which are even colored differently from each other.  While each is special in its own way, my personal favorite by far is an area known as Web Woods.

Upon entering this particular section of forest, one finds that it is visually atypical of a forest.  The ground is a pinkish brown dirt and rock that you might see out west in a desert canyon.  The grass covering the ground in the distance is a reddish brown, much like the dirt and rocks, but a few shades darker.  The trees are mostly dead and leafless, but the vegetation along the ground is full of life, though brown in color.  There are a few flowering plants to be found scattered about the area.  There are little spots of yellow and lilac, along with a few bright purple blooms along the ground, but the most remarkable of these are bright pink blossoms that grow in a large column, not unlike an off-color goldenrod.

Heading further on, one can climb up or descend into the small canyon.  The lower path takes you along the rock wall, where more types of flowers grow.  There are large, leafy plants the same color as the dirt, as well as flowers that blossom in little cones pointing skyward, which come in pale orange and bright lilac.  There are also bushier blooms that come in a pale green color.  These flowers work well with the dirt, some complimenting and others contrasting to make quite a lovely scene.

Emerging from the canyon, one can see a few red blooms, and a path leading deeper into the woods.  I decided not to follow this path, rather moved on through this area.  I eventually came to a rock tunnel, which had an open area in the middle, almost like a courtyard.  In here, I saw a large, pale purple tree, which seemed to have a demonic face carved into its trunk.  It was here that I met a rather large spider of orange and black, who wore high-tops.  He accompanied me on my journey as I exited the other side of the tunnel.  We came out into an area with many chasms, some of which were easy to cross; there were a lot more of the pale green blooms in this area.  It wasn’t long before the chasms became far too large for me to cross on my own.  Luckily, my new arachnid friend was able to create large webs that were quite strong.  Using his talents, we made our way across, climbing up a series of tall rock pillars.  Climbing back down, we reached a gigantic chasm, which we crossed in a similar manner.  We eventually reached another tree with a face; this one was brown, and its “eyes” were not holes, but barkless areas of the trunk.  The spider wouldn’t move past this tree, though whether its fear was of the tree itself or something beyond is anyone’s guess.  I bid him farewell, and finished my journey through Web Woods, exiting through a cavern at its end.

Aside from odd little scenes that simply could not exist anywhere else, forests contain many special things to see.  In some cases, these things are living, breathing creatures.  It is often intriguing to see how certain creatures evolve to meet their surroundings, especially when they live in a place completely isolated from civilization.  Most of these evolutions are practical adaptations devised to meet the challenges of their environment, but some are just quirky little things that make them unique.  It truly is a shame that humans have decided to eliminate that part of their lives, changing their environment to meet their needs, rather than the other way around.  Who knows what wonderful sorts of mutations might proliferate through the generations?

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