Also another brick in Monty’s poor, aching cranium.
Monty delves further into the depths. Or would do, were it not for all the things trying to repeatedly kill him.
Not sure why you’re reading this? You’d probably better start with part one, and then move onto part two before reading this bit.
When we last left Monty, he was delving into level five with a renewed sense of optimism. Level four wasn’t that tough, and presumably this means that my skills are growing and the game will get a little easier for now.
Death by: Falling Brick, Falling Brick (again), Stopping To Look At The Level, Angry Green Face
You know what the first thing I did when I entered level five was? I stopped to take a look at what I had to do. Seems like a good idea, right?
Level five’s got a very nasty trick up its sleeve, one that you can see in the level screenshot. You actually start on the rope that you’d descended from level four, but within seconds, a brick hurtles down said rope straight towards Monty’s head. If you don’t move — and move right away — it will kill you stone dead. The odds are VERY high that first time players will stop to work out a plan of attack, only to lose at least one life this way.
Remember: The First Rule Of Wanted: Monty Mole is that the game designers really, truly loathe moles.
Nasty death trick aside, level five is actually surprisingly non-lethal. There’s a a hammer to collect, a lump of coal to collect and a killer green smiley face that’s not too hard to avoid. As long as you can avoid the urge to jump down the side to your death, it’s one of the rare levels that doesn’t actually have a falling death point. Mind you, the killer brick more than makes up for that.
Anyway, coal and hammer collected, and it’s on to….
Death by: Falling debris, falling, ghost, candle, helmet that flashes NOIE for no readily apparent reason.
Now, the designers couldn’t possibly pull the same “falling brick straight onto Monty’s precious frontal lobes the minute you step onto the level” trick again, could they?
Of course not.
It’s a falling chunk of mine debris.
Sigh. I’m starting to have sympathy with the 80s Conservative government’s mine closure policy here. That’s a position that’s not normally anywhere near my normal political sympathies, but still, if all the mines were actually this dangerous….
The police helmet? Subtle. Also deadly. There is a slight sop to not killing Monty in that the lower piece of coal (not the one near the candle) looks like it gets run over by the ghost, but actually doesn’t. A quick bit of coal collecting, collecting a drill (where does Monty keep it all?) and we’re on to…
Death By: Falling Brick, Chomping Green Scooby-Doo Style Monster, Ban The Bomb Symbol (technically), BRUTAL ANNOYING CRUSHER OF HIDEOUS UNFAIRNESS THAT WILL SPLATTER MONTY OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
I may as well just post this here.
Because, if you hadn’t guessed it by now, the level starts with a falling brick on Monty’s head. Move down to avoid it, because, hey, it worked on the previous level, and you’ll run straight into the Chomping Green Scooby-Doo Style Monster. Do that a couple of times, and it’s…
The trick, it turns out, is to shuffle slightly to the right as soon as the level starts. You can’t climb or descend the rope this way, but you’re also quite safe. Wait out the brick, and you can shuffle left, descend and then quickly jump over to the left where there’s a… spade? sledgehammer? detonator for a comedy-style-taped-together-stack-of-TNT? I’ve no idea. You can’t not collect it on the first time through, and doing so allows you to destroy the red ban-the-bomb logo and collect the glowing coal. Again, coal, moles… I just don’t know why.
Of note, if you do die after this (and you will) you don’t get the spade again. Trying to collect the ban the bomb symbol after that leads to…
Anyway, this then leads down to a jump for a single bit of coal, and a crusher. But not any crusher.
If you were around the Internet in the early(ish) 1990s, you were probably on usenet. And if you were, you were probably aware of the existence of the alt.wesley.crusher.die.die.die newsgroup. To say that Wil Wheaton’s character on Star Trek:TNG didn’t go down well with geeks would be something of a understatement, even if in recent years Mr Wheaton himself has had a rather interesting career resurgence as a writer and actor of some note.
Anyway, the hate felt by the hundreds of thousands (remember; this was the early Internet, before the mass adoption by the public — I had access at University not on my own merits, but via my girlfriend who was studying IT. Try explaining to a student today an age where public Internet access was a severely limited thing for (primarily) educational use only and they’ll… but I’m wandering WAY off topic here…).
Ahem. Anyway, take that hate felt by the hundreds of thousands, multiply it by a complex prime number, and you’re not even close to the level of hate I have for the crusher on this level. It’s entirely arbitrary. Entirely. OK, at some level there’s some kind of randomised programming behind it, but I’m yet to spot a pattern, and this thing has crushed THOUSANDS of moles of mine.
(A quick diversion: If you ever wanted the story from the Crusher’s point of view, here it is. Enjoy.)
There’s simply no time to judge the jump to get past the crusher, and if you see it descend, then Monty’s dead.
Dead dead deaddeaddeaddeaddeaddeaddeaddeaddead. With a side order of corpse.
This crusher has actually forced me to do something I didn’t want to do. I’ve moved off the iOS emulator onto a different emulator to complete this task. Why? Because there’s no save states on the iOS emulator, and I don’t quite have the time to do all the exploration and screen capture/upload/editing if crushers are going to kill me by the hundreds. Even if I manage to make it down the mine this far in flawless style (not guaranteed), it’s still a fair few minutes each time before I get crushed.
A save state allows me to start each level afresh. Yes, it’s not quite in the spirit of the original, but I’m not getting any younger. I’m hopeful that when… and it will be when.. I SHALL NOT BE BEATEN THOUGH I RISK GOING INSANE… I finish the game, I might have a solid crack at a single run-through on the iOS version, just to see if it can be done.
A quick note on ethics here: I actually don’t have too much of a problem personally with the use of emulators for titles that you’ve got a clear right to use — in my case via the iOS add-on pack that gave me access in the first place. I can’t see how it’s doing active harm to the title or the IP, and in this case I’m sure I’m giving a lot more publicity to a near three decades old title in any case.
Doing so with software (or books/music/name your poison) that you don’t own? Nah, that’s dodgy as.
If anyone from Gremlin (or whoever owns the rights) feels differently, I’ll happily send you a further $1.19 for the rights to use it on my emulator of choice if you can prove your IP ownership. We now return to the regular mole-crushing action….
Anyway, with enough crushed moles to make a carpet the size of Belgium, I finally managed to sneak a sole mole through to….
Death by: Genie, Ban The Bomb Symbol, Falling (if you’re really stupid)
Hey, what gives? Not only does this level only have two real threats — if you’ve got this far and you don’t know NOT to jump down to the left to your death I truly despair — but there’s a bleedin’ great big brick wall blocking the way!
Oh well. I guess Monty’s just going to have to starve to death down here.
Collecting the coal (as long as you’ve got all the other bits of coal on previous levels) causes the brick wall to collapse. Good to see that the further down the mine Monty travels, the less his sanity actually matters.
Next to the coal is a… foghorn? Axe? Thingy?
Collecting the thingy, as with many other random thingies, allows Monty to survive impact with an enemy of his choice. On this level, that’d be the Genie, or the ban the bomb symbol.
Pro Tip: Choose the Genie. Only good things will happen.
If you believed that Pro Tip, you will shortly see this bonus screen.
OK, so the Pro Tip lied. It’s still slightly more fair than this game.
Yup, it’s a timing jumping problem. Kill the genie with the axe-thingy, and the symbol WILL kill you when you try to go past. You’ve got to time you jump off the rope to dodge the genie so that you can use it to get past the symbol. Do that, don’t get killed, and it’s on to….
But that’ll have to wait for another time.
Next Time: He’s fallen in da wata!