SHOE, GOOMBAS, SHOO!
The game? Super Mario Bros. 3. The level? World 5, Level 3. At first glance, another typical Plains level. But then comes the shoe. A Goomba. In a SHOE. This alone is enough to send you into spasms of ecstasy. Laughing, you dispatch the Goomba by nudging the block underneath it. The Goomba flies out, defeated, but the shoe remains. You don’t suppose…? Tentatively, you hop into the shoe. And, good God yes! Mario can ride around in it. You jump on the Spinys and Goombas, laughing. You then experiment to see if it will work on a Piranha Plant. and it DOES. This is the BEST THING EVER. Too soon the end comes. You pine for the shoe. Then you start a new game. YOU MUST RIDE THE SHOE AGAIN!
You’re playing the mine level of the Genesis shooter Gunstar Heroes. Thus far it’s been something of a repetitive excursion, albeit an interesting one — you’ve inadvertently discovered that tapping the jump button twice makes your Gunstar switch from riding on the floor to the ceiling and vice-versa. Then you pass the train and the familiar “WARNING!” sign appears. Text on screen reads: “Boss is approaching — Seven Force”. So far, so typical. “Well”, you think, “here come the attacks”. Then suddenly, reams of text begin to appear before you. “Soldier Force, Tails Force, Tiger Force, Eagle Force, Blaster Force, Urchin Force, Crab Force”. You are confused. Suddenly, Gunstar Green flies on from the right on a green platform, juggling the Gem you came here for. “Let’s do it.” He flies to the right and transforms into a giant running robot, who absolutely DECIMATES you. But you’re angry now. You quickly continue and reach him again. Now that you know the robot’s pattern, you can defeat it easily. You do so. His health gauge hits 0000. He transforms into a giant gun. Your brain attempts to register what just happened. With sickening realisation, you deduce that this is Blaster Force, and the last boss was Soldier Force. But all the other forces couldn’t POSSIBLY be coming up next… could they? They could. They do. This is the apex of Gunstar Heroes. This is the apex of Treasure’s design. This is the apex of Genesis gaming. This is the apex of end-of-level bosses. This is Seven Force.
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