Tuesday, November 21, 2006

General RPGs' Minigames 3: Hauler Beasts

I don't have many serious complaints about Star Ocean 3. While still badly imbalanced in its battle system like SO2 was, taking a little too long to stop dicking around in fantasy land and get back to the plot, and also having Albel in it, overall it's a pretty good and enjoyable game. The characters are pretty good, the pacing's not bad most of the time, and the plot is really nifty once it gets going. But dear God, I loathe the Hauler Beast minigame.

Okay. Here's the basic idea. You get in a mine cart to go through a mine area. Never mind that you could just walk through it like you walk miles and miles through nearly identical other caves throughout the rest of the game--THIS one you need a mine cart for, and that's final! A Hauler Beast, which seems to sorta be some giant turtle thing of some kind which is so big that the mine tunnels only barely accomodate it, thus giving rise once again to the question of why regular people such as your characters can't walk through the tunnels when they're obviously more accomodating for humans, tugs your mine cart through the tunnels, and you give orders on what speed to go, when to stop to explore a little room in the mines, and which direction to take at forks in the path. You have to adjust your speed accordingly for traps and breaks in the track, and if your Hauler gets upset enough by the traps and bonking into walls and such, the minigame is over and you have to start from the beginning.

Now, in order to get all the treasures in the mines, you need to do a crapload of stop-and-go speed increases and decreases with the stupid Haulers, which is annoying. You also have to pretty much start memorizing what turns and twists you have and haven't taken so far, because the map the game gives you is utterly useless for any purpose of navigation. It would probably take you longer to properly figure out how to determine what turns to make based on the map than it would just to randomly fumble your way to the exit--which, trust me, would be a matter of solid hours. You also would have to memorize where each jump and trap is, so you can adjust your speed accordingly, because you'll never get the prizes very far in otherwise, since your turtletard will call it quits after being frightened at having to open gates (no, really).

This by itself is a huge pain in the ass, MORE than enough to guarantee it a spot on my list of Things To Kill People Over. But there's also one treasure deep in the mines that, according to an FAQ for the minigame (and my experiences back this up), you have to take out a Whimsical Hauler to reach. Now, there are 5 different kinds of Haulers. The one most likely to piss its shell and run screaming back to the beginning is also the one most likely to actually do what you tell it to. The other Haulers have different ranges of bravery against traps and willingness to not completely ignore you, but the only one who can last long enough to get this one treasure is the Whimsical Hauler, which does whatever the hell it wants without listening to any input from you. But of course, since the treasure is so far in, the Hauler has about 20 forks in the track to decide to go the wrong way on, so you can be waiting for a LONG time for the stupid thing to finally manage to accidentally bring you where you want it to go. I gave it about 10 tries before I just gave up.

Now, here comes the very best part. You may THINK that this is going to be the only time you waste hours of your life directing an uncooperative and idiotic turtle of burden through SO3's caves. And yes, it could be...but you'll miss out on a bunch of treasures if you don't come back later. Because, you see, nearly half of the treasures you find in the mines when you're forced to play this hellish minigame the first time will be out of your reach--you'll need a tool you get about 2/5 of the way through the game to get them. So if you want to actually get anything GOOD from this torture, you have to spend hours meticulously riding through the caverns AGAIN.

Well fuck you too, SquareEnix.

1 comment:

  1. 4D challenge run. Haulers are still the hardest part of the game.