In a previous Q&A session, we looked at the greatest achievements the staff have accomplished. But, not all goals are achieved in life. Sometimes we set the bar a little too high though and go for the near-impossible, absurd, or thrown-controller inducing feats that make you question your love of videogames. Eventually, you shy away from this and realize it’s a fool’s errand. This month, Nathaniel Hoover asks: What’s the most outrageous videogame Achievement you’ve ever considered going after?
When it comes to videogame Achievements, the difficulty ranges from painfully easy to painfully hellacious. I think, by far, the brand of challenges that are the hardest are having to clear a certain part of a game (or even the full game) perfectly. Sure, I don’t mind games where you can get a perfect score on something and it’s relatively simple. But when you find yourself unable to save at a certain point and one tiny mistake ruins your chances, that’s when it gets infuriating. My worst experience with this would have to be Mega Man 10. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Gee, that sure seems like an easy game to beat without taking damage!” Yeah, you try to beat it and let me know how it goes. I eventually cleared the Achievement, thanks in help to saving my game and playing on Easy Mode, but my attempts are up in the double digits. Shame shame shame.
There are currently three Achievements eluding my grasp that I really want to accomplish:
The first is The Jose in 10,000,000, which involves surviving an arduous side-scrolling gauntlet of monsters that are nearly on par with you in strength yet are only worth a pittance each in terms of points, and somehow managing to still rack up the required high score. This is in addition to the fact that you are expected to wield snowballs against dragons. It all seems a tad unfair.
The second Achievement I am gunning for is Showoff in Triple Town. This entails using a multitude of regular castles to construct the pinnacle of engineering, the Mega-Sky-Castle. I have yet to build even a lone tower in this game, let alone a floating-quadruple-castle of monocle-level fanciness. Maybe I’m not classy enough to earn this Achievement…
Lastly, there’s my white whale Achievement, Hardcore God in the original Torchlight. Let me just say that killing Ordrak on the hardest difficulty setting, when you only have one life and dead equals dead-dead, is equivalent to squaring off against Dracula and his ghastly army of minions armed only with a piece of toast and a plastic butter knife. At this point, I’ve started numbering my characters instead of naming them.
There I was, reviewing my unresolved Steam Achievements for Half-Life 2: Episode 2 following my completion of the game. Squish every Antlion grub? Eh, I’m OCD enough; maybe next time. Defeat the chopper without any misses? I mean…I guess I could try for that, with enough quickloading. Send the garden gnome into space? … There was a garden gnome? Let me look that up.
Oh, of course I missed it. There is a garden gnome tucked away under some shelf in a room full of junk at the beginning of the game. Let’s see…how would one send him into space? Hm. Well, I can’t think of any…unless you mean…no, that’s not even possible. THAT’S NOT EVEN POSSIBLE. There is a rocket that launches into space at the end of the game. From almost the beginning of the game, you carry this garden gnome through hordes of aliens, through high-speed vehicle chases, through caves and warehouses and abandoned highways, to the very end of the game, where you load him into a rocket and wave farewell. The. End. Of. The. Game. This was obscenely absurd enough to be exactly my kind of fun.
Not that I ever did. I lived this Achievement vicariously through Tom “Pentadact” Francis’ account of his attempt [link NSFW]. But, should I ever change my stance on ignoring Achievements that are way more trouble than they’re probably worth, I know exactly where to start.
I don’t care for achievements, really; they’re just a cool little “Hey! I did a thing!” that I get when I play games, and otherwise I don’t actively seek them out. Of the achievements I’ve found, Mount and Blade: Warband has one of the most outrageous ones I’ve seen. Calradian Tea Party is the name, and it’s simple to get! Just name yourself an independent faction. What makes it outrageous is not getting the achievement in the first place, but the effect it has on the playthrough you get it in. Forever more you’re no longer a blade for hire by the other kingdoms—you are your own independent realm, and even with a large army following you, this makes your life difficult.
Other lords scoff at your weakness, seeing you as less worthy for a throne than even the Pretender Lords (disenfranchised kings, queens, and princes that believe they’re the rightful inheritors of a kingdom). You’re no longer eligible for steady pay under a lord, no longer able to receive the support of tens of thousands of soldiers, and forever seen as a petulant upstart. Capturing a castle or a city doesn’t add legitimacy to your claims, either. Instead, it paints you as a bigger target and the kingdoms even on the other side of the continent will begin sending war parties to capture your petty holdings. Is all of that really worth it? Just for an Achievement?
Since I’m a GameFAQs guy, I noticed that GameFAQs has a single class challenge guide for Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. I did a couple of the easier ones, but then I tried beating the game with nothing but archers.
That was a mistake. Archers are useless against magic-based enemies, i.e. half of the enemies in the game. Simple battles regularly get stretched out by half an hour. And enemies with the “dodge archer attacks” support ability? THEY ARE NEAR-IMPOSSIBLE TO KILL. I think the workaround is to poison them, then wait twenty turns for them to die, which is as tedious as it sounds.
I think I got about halfway through the game with this challenge, until I reached a battle against flans, which took two hours. After that, I quit.
I was going for the Ghostbusters: The Video Game online Achievements for a while. I had some serious grinding ahead of me for earning money online. After realizing how much time I’d have to sink, the near-zero players online, and the fact that the online servers eventually shut off, I gave up. As Winston said in Ghostbusters 2: “Face it Rays, Ghostbusters doesn’t exist!”
Hopefully the Ghostbusters reboot will bring in some fresh videogames.
There’s a lot of ridiculous Achievements out there and a lot of them are more trouble than they’re worth. But right now I’m seriously considering getting some people together to get the For the Alliance/For the Horde achievement in World of Warcraft.
In order to get the achievement, you have to go into each heavily populated capital city, fight your way through the legions of players and super-powerful NPCs, and kill the faction leader for that city. Once you’ve killed absolutely every faction leader, you get a Black War Bear as your mount. This quest is pretty much impossible to do without a very large party of max-level characters, which I would need to organize with this goal in mind and it would probably take hours upon hours and multiple tries to even down a single faction leader—let alone all four of them! I’m not even going to do this for the mount. I don’t even think the mount looks all that good, to be honest. But it’s the fact that people would know I went through all that trouble to get it that really means the most to me.
I usually peek into the Achievements list of a game I’m about to replay in order to see if I can unlock something on my game there, and the first Assassin’s Creed title seemed like a game I could complete to 100%. Everything looked doable, but collecting all the flags is the most time consuming of all of them.
I printed a complete guide with maps and everything from this site on my former job’s printer (as well as these colorful maps for all the feathers on Assassin’s Creed II while I was already doing something wrong), and got home that weekend willing to start flag-hunting while reliving the game’s main story.
And then it hit me…what the hell I was doing with my life? This isn’t a challenge; this is madness! There are over a hundred of those things scattered (and I’m not exaggerating) all over the game, and they’re especially troublesome since there’s no way of telling which ones I’ve already collected from the rest. I sat there a moment—ill-obtained prints in hand—and reconsidered. It just wasn’t worth the trouble; I discarded those things and I worried exclusively about “enjoying” my playthrough and nothing more.
So, there we have it—a lot of crazy achievements that the staff decided to pass on. Have some outrageous achievements you tried or have a question for next month’s entry? Let us know in the comments!