Hey everyone! Let's play some more Rad Gravity! Apologies for the delay for this update, I got a bit distracted by a certain Fiesta, but that's all settled now and I'm ready continue. Where did we leave off again?
"Rad we hit an asteroid belt. Damage has been done to our ship. I detect an abandoned ship nearby. It contains the part I need to repair our ship. You will have to go through the asteroid belt and get the part."
Oh right. Balls.
Ok so! This stage! Honestly I wasn't looking forward to this one, so that might be another reason why this update took so long. Ahem. The 'Asteroid Belt' stage is divided up between two sections, the first part takes place out in space where Rad cannot move under his own power.
It's kind of difficult to express in screenshots, but basically Rad will move whenever he fires his gun, in the opposite direction of which he fired it. So if I shoot to to the left, Rad will be propelled to the right. If I shoot again to the right while Rad is moving right he will come to a full stop. Same rules apply for up and down, and if you are moving vertically and then shoot horizontally, or vice-versa, Rad will start moving diagonally and will require two shots opposite of his current momentum to stop, and it becomes very easy to lose control of him here. This entire section plays fast and loose with physics and unless you are very careful and methodical it can take forever to inch through here.
On the bright side, there's very little in the way of enemies out here. There are little satellites which just hover in place and do nothing, and are destroyed very easily. And there are also tiny comets, I guess, flying across the screen here and there. They move at a very slow pace and are easily avoided, just move Rad out of their way and wait for them to pass.
There are also some tight squeezes here and there between some of the asteroids, but overall this section is not very long.
Eventually you come across the wrecked ship and are returned to a more normal, radder, gravity. Thank goodness you don't have to play the entire stage in spacesuit mode, the game would surely not be cruel enough to ever put you in a high-stress situation with those super wonky controls, right? Ha ha ha!
ha ha ha
Anyway, a common obstacle inside the wrecked ship are these spiked doors, they're basically a stationary enemy NPC, and are destroyed with a few shots from Rad's gun. There's also these adorable little robots with extending torsos which alter their height to get a better shot at Rad. They would be too cute to kill, if not for the fact that their projectiles (See those lines of three tiny dots? Yeah) weren't so hard to see.
A little further ahead and we come across another defining feature of this stage, one-way portals. This stage is something of a maze, kind of. It's not terribly complex, but you can get turned around a lot if you're not paying attention.
This first portal will take you to another chamber with two other portals on either side.
Taking the portal on the right will take you... off map?? Well, no, it's a section of the ship with the lights out.
If you wind up coming here at this point you have to stumble your way forward blindly, fortunately there's not too many enemies in this section. If you make it all the way to the end you come across a.....
Come across a.... um...
Here we see Rad contemplating the decisions he's made in his life which have brought him face to face with this thing.
Anyway, one of the items you can see on the screen there is the part Kakos needs to repair the ship, but there's no getting by the monster. There's not enough room to jump over it, and there's no way for Rad to damage-boost through it, the knockback sends him back too far.
If you backtrack to the bit with the three platforms, there's a pit under them. Falling down it sends Rad back outside. Let's try all that again, and pick a different route this time.
If you ignore the glowy portal you come across a four tubes leading downward, and a path that takes you back to the dark area of the ship, which we don't want to go to. So let's choose a pipe and make like an Italian plumber!
Surprise! The pipes take you to another screen with MORE pipes! And due to how Rad jumps you really can't just choose whichever pipe you want on the second screen, you have to choose whichever ones are on either side of Rad. So let's take Pipe #2.
Fortunately it takes us right where we want to be. There are three keys on this screen, and wouldn't you know it, elsewhere on the ship are three 'locks'. Pipe #2 takes you to the keys, so remember that.
Rad can only carry one at a time, so you'll be coming back here a few times.
The portal to the right of they keys brings us back to that chamber from before. We already know the portal on the right takes us to the dark zone, so let's see where the portal on the left brings us....
....back to the entrance hall. Ok, fine, let's select a different pipe, then! Pipe #3, let's go!
Hey, this is where we want to be, I think! Just to the left of Rad, on the other side of the wall, is one of the 'locks' we need to toss the keys into. That's one down!
The exit portal here takes you right to the pipes. Alright then.
Last edited by SpoonyBardOL; 08-03-2016 at 01:12 PM.
Suffice to say I took Pipe #2, got the other key, and exited. Taking Pipe #4 sends us right next to another one of the 'locks'. Score!
Ok so, the final key is behind a portal. If Rad tries to grab it he'll be teleported somewhere, but where?
...back to the pipe chamber. Ok... what about Pipe #1? We haven't been down there yet?
Well Pipe #1 takes us to another room with portals on either side. We want to take the portal on the left, because...
...it spits us out right next to the key! And taking the portal next to the key from inside sends us back to that chamber from earlier, except this time the portal on the left is gone, allowing us to explore the rest of the room.
And look at that, it just so happens that both the final lock AND a computer which is kind enough to give us coordinates to two more planets were just off-screen to the left the whole time!
With all three keys in place we can return to the dark area of the ship, which is still dark??
Actually the lights come back on once you take a few steps in after all the keys are in place. Now not only can you see where you are going, but the platforms have power now too and are moving up and down.
Once you reach the three platforms suspended over the pit you'll want to ride the middle one up until it's high enough for Rad to jump over the screen to the upper right. Since the platforms weren't moving while the power was off there was no way to get up here beforehand, even if you knew the layout.
And on that platform we get a new item, it's a.... something??
Actually it's a personal teleporter! Using it once will place half of it on the ground, then using the item a second time will teleport Rad back to it. It's more useful than you think, and especially useful if you don't mind cheating, but more on that in a minute.
We still need to get rid of that monster blocking the way, which is easier than you'd think now that we're up here. We just need to wait for it to patrol under the barrel of, uh, 'TOXIC', then shoot it. The barrel ruptures, spelling some sort of green goo all over the creature, causing it to explode in a pixely mess.
Twiddle your thumbs all you want, Rad, you're the actual monster here.
Anyway with the monster gone Rad can open the way to the ship part and be on his merry way!
Did you know that the personal teleporter can basically break the game wide open? That's a bit of an overstatement, but only just. Thanks to an oversight you can use it in ways never ever intended.
You see, normally when Rad first uses the item it doesn't appear right at his feet, it appears right in front of him. Unless he's standing against a wall, like in the image above, then it falls back into his sprite. Buuuuuuut.....
If you use the item while ducking, for some reason it doesn't follow collision detection, allowing the item to fall into a wall, thereby letting Rad teleport INTO said wall, and if it happens to only be one-block wide he can just walk on through.
Suffice to say, the TAS abuses this quite a bit. I won't be in my run, save to point out where it would be useful to do so, but wow. How on earth did this slip by the programmers, I wonder?
Ok anyway, much like Effluvia you can't return to the Asteroid Belt or Wrecked Ship once you complete them. You can't really screw yourself over by not getting things, since the personal teleporter was directly in your path to the ship part, and the computer with the coordinates was right in front of the final lock. There were no other items to find there.
Y'know, this stage wasn't nearly as bad as I remember. I got lost as HECK when I was a youngin', and I just wasn't a fan of the asteroid belt part, no matter how nifty the comic panel made it seem. It was an idea that was neat in theory, but really isn't any fun to actually PLAY, y'know?
The rest of the ship wasn't too bad either, I was remembering this big sprawling thing with mazes and dead ends, but it was much more straight-forward than I had thought. That's a relief!
So anyway, now we can go to either Odar or Utopia! What will it be?
This is quite a fascinating game, I have to say. It has a lot of cool ideas, even if they aren't executed super well or super clear sometimes. Looking forward to the next one!
Oh hey, it's Rad Gravity! Let's play more of it!
Where we left off last time, Rad navigated some really suspect physics, explored a ruined ship, killed a green monster with a barrel of TOXIC, and gained the ability to break the game open if one so desired.
Today, our adventure will take us a bit off-track once more. It's time for another 'optional but really only technically optional' planets, Odar!
Let's beam down and see what's up!
So first thing you might notice on Odar, besides the honestly kind of eye-searing green and orange color scheme the stage has going, is that rather than starting on the far left or right of the screen Rad is starting in the middle. We're not in the exact middle of a section, we're still pretty far to the left, but we didn't start at the left-most point because reasons. Reasons that will become obvious riiiiiight abooooouuuut....
See, we want to head over to the left, but the only way there is across a semi-solid bridge, and no matter what you do you will take damage from an ambushing monster and fall off if you try to cross. There's no room to jump, and Rad does not possess the firepower to kill it before it rams him. In order to get across we'll need to find another way...
I mean, I COULD abuse the teleporter glitch and just warp through the wall on the left there, but then we'll miss out on all the wonderful things Odar has to offer!
Like these jerks! Occasionally you'll see a moving pile of dirt on the round, which turns out to be concealing a hand which grabs Rad if he gets too close to it. There's something afoot going on underfoot.
As you make your way to the right you'll be assaulted on all front, on the ground by the grabby-hands and in the air by these jerkish flying monsters which are actually even worse than the asshole Turvia birds. They have roughly the same speed and tendency to make a beeline right to Rad, except unlike the birds they don't announce their presence with an ear-piercing tweet, which means they're as dangerous as those birds and also stealthier.
Eventually we reach a giant tree and... dead end! Oh well! I guess that's all for this planet!
Actually no, the game demands the player do a bit of observation here. I actually really like this.
See, at the end of the section you find this tree with colorful fruit, which falls from the branches. Eventually those grabby-hands grab them from the surface. From that, the player is meant to suss out what to do. What's the solution?
You leave your teleport doohickey on the ground and wait for a grabby-hand to grabby-hand it. Then you activate it, and voila! You're suddenly underground in the catacombs!
L'il Spoony thought this was just the cleverest thing when he figured it out back in the day.
But anyway, we're underground now with these green mole men and these green mole men are the worst. They have an obnoxious spitting attack with a super fast projectile. You are guaranteed to take a hit or two from this until you get used to the timing, you absolutely have to duck sooner than you think you should, they shoot spitwads at the speed of light.
But on the bright side with these guys, they have what I think is my favorite walking animation in the game:
Look at them shuffle! Look at that frumpy face! Yeah they're assholes, but they're assholes with some personality.
Anyway, besides these gremlin-moles the other main feature of these underground catacombs are grey blocks that move when you shoot them, or walk into them. We'll need to use them to get around to higher ledges in here.
Fortunately if you push one right into a wall and continue to walk into it, it will pop around Rad so you can't really trap yourself. They're kinda floaty for big heavy rocks.
Oh and here we see the gremlin-moles die, which is unlike most of the other enemies in the game in that they don't really explode into a pixel-mess, but flash negative-ish colors before voiping out of existence. Weird, I wonder why these guys are special? Maybe it's the power of their frumpyness?
Last edited by SpoonyBardOL; 08-03-2016 at 01:12 PM.
Anyway, we gain some extra height via the rocks and continue on our way.
Eventually we come across this giant pile of... uh.... stuff (?) while we shoot another rock out of our way.
Seriously, I'm not quite sure what this is supposed to be. Eggs? Rocks? Garbage? Your guess is as good as mine.
The pile o' stuff is semi-solid, so we can jump down through it and continue off to the left. We actually don't want to take the lower path here (it's one of those things where if you fall you have to return along the bottom and try again) but I'm going anyway for a reason.
At the far left end of this section there's a chamber where it looks like those flying jerks are, uh, spawning?
Then they fly out through a hole in the ceiling. Hmmm!
On the way back I get a couple of shots of one of the gremlin-moles near the top of the screen reaching up into the ceiling and eating a piece of fruit it grabbed from the surface. This one enemy has a bunch of little touches!
We return to the pile o' stuff and take the upper path, moving around a few more grey rocks along the way.
Here Rad murders a gremlin-mole in the middle of its meal because he's a Space Hero. He gets some karmic comeuppance when he accidentally lands on a grey rock, sending him down to the lower path. Yeah not only can the grey rocks be pushed around, but the ones suspended over nothing will fall if Rad lands on them, so watch out for that.
In fact, at the end of this section is a rock Rad HAS to jump on to dislodge. This will take him back to the lower path, but the rock will give him the extra jump height he needs to advance.
And if you haven't figured out what he ultimately has to do, it's easy. Just blast that one grey block at the end until it falls, blocking off the flying jerks spawning chamber.
The hole right above Rad takes him back to the beginning of the stage, where he can cross the semi-solid bridge without being knocked off. Rad destroyed a new generation of an entire species just because they were inconveniencing him a bit. Because he's a Space Hero.
Though, realtalk, this stage has a surprising amount of interactivity with the enemies and a lot of little touches for what is a short out of the way stage. Odar is full of mysteries.
Anyway, we get an energy bar for our troubles. But that's an awfully small prize for such an extensive trip, so an inquisitive player will find more level if they leap over the wall to the left.
This section is even rockier than the other outdoor area, and is absolutely lousy with flying jerks. They're probably a bit ticked off over the whole 'sealing up their young' thing.
The gremlins still harass Rad on this screen, though trying the teleporter trick to enter the underground area will send him back into the underground on the far-right, where he entered it the first time. So don't bother trying that.
Finally at the very end of this section is what looks like a giant stone hand, and the Green Armor! This increases Rad's defensive power even more, though it is a significantly less rad color.
And with that, we're done with Odar. The Green Armor is the main reason to come here, besides the interesting enemies. I could have skipped it or gone to a different planet first, but uh, I'm not doing any of the remaining planets without the Green Armor. Nope.
Also, the game has made a liar out of me! Up until now I was assuming that the planets always reset their state whenever you re-enter them, hence why Turvia is upside down again when you re-enter it, and why the game won't let you return to Effluvia. But if you return to Odar the flying jerk spawning tunnel remains blocked, so there's that theory thrown out the window! If you ever wanted to return to Odar you can go immediately to the area on the left without issue. Of course, why would anyone need to return to Odar again? Like with another item you get later on or something...
Anyway, next update will be a bit late again, as I am about to head to Montreal for several days.
Next Time: Isn't this such a Utopia?!
Welcome back to Let's Play Rad Gravity! This update took a bit longer than I planned, but after my trip to Montreal the pre-patch for Legion hit in WoW (must collect all the things!) so I wound up being more distracted than I expected. Anyway.
We last left off getting the Green Armor on Odar, and now we're off to the other planet in this sector of space: Utopia!
Upon beaming down we come face to face with a tiny dude riding a hovering platform. Whoa! Friendly NPCs? Haven't seen some of those since Turvia.
Anyway, the tiny, tiny man (seriously he is about the size of Rad's head, though granted Rad's head is hueg) begs for help. This is what Space Heroes are for, right?
Some straightforward instructions here. Hidden base, let the thing do the thing, got it.
What you have to do is stand in this orange bar and let it scan Rad to make sure he isn't an evil killer robot. Which, yeah, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, but the problem here is evil killer robots.
You don't have to be really standing in it, as you can see in the middle pic there's like one pixel of Rad's sprite overlapping the sensor, but that's good enough.
Inside the secret base we find a recolor of the second half of Cyberia. Man, if we were gonna revisit Cyberia's tileset why couldn't it be the awesome Blade Runner-like outside part?
But whatever. Rad gets a mission: Kill the Evil Robots and save the planet of, uh, little people. Can do!
There's nothing more than a long, winding hallway to the only other NPC down here, but her information is a bit more vital.
'Strongest Warrior'? Uh, lady your race doesn't look like it's really built for that sort of thing, but sure, I'll keep an eye out. This isn't gonna turn into one of those fables where small size actually turns out to be a benefit instead of a hinderance, is it?
Also, teleport coordinates for the other side of the planet? Wait...
Well what do ya know! For the first time since the very first stage we have a planet with more than one beam-down point! I knew this feature would pop up again eventually!
(I mean, I DID, because I played it before, but you know what I mean)
Alright, Utopia part deux! And the level starts me off right above a robot, which immediately shoots Rad in the butt. Solid start.
Also hey, I just noticed that both parts of Utopia start Rad on the right side of the screen instead of the left, so Rad's otherwise strange left-facing behavior at the start of a stage makes sense. Between this and the second set of coordinates for the planet and the reused assets from Cyberia I have to wonder of Utopia was made early on in the game's development, hm.
Anyway we have some rocky terrain with some robots to either destroy or avoid. Both types of robots shoot projectiles, though the larger ones are also armored in the front and are able to absorb most of Rad's blaster shots.
Another strange touch, the robots don't explode into pixels. Though I suppose this can be explained by the fact that their death effect is also an attack: When they die they shoot two little sparks left and right which Rad has to avoid. That's easy to do up here, but it's a greater challenge in a tight, confined space.
And here's another part where the game made a liar out of me. Every time I played this game as a kid I never really experimented with the weapons, largely because the game didn't give me a reason to. For most of the enemies in the game the blaster and the Super Sword do roughly the same amount of damage, and the Power Crystals do a bit more but are harder to aim. But these larger robots on Utopia are armored on the front, and I never really tried my full arsenal on them since I assumed if they deflect the blaster they would deflect anything.
Well no as it turns out the Super Sword kills em in two hits, cutting right through the armor. Only the large ones, though, despite the fact that the smaller robots look flimsier they take like a bajillion Super Sword hits before they explode. Robots are weird.
If there were a few more armored enemies throughout the game to use the Super Sword on this might actually be kind of cool, but as it stands it's an easily overlooked strategy that's not even really necessary. But still, good for you Super Sword, you're actually useful.
Anyway we reach the end of this area and much like the first part of the planet there's a sensor bar. No problem, we'll just stand in it and... uh... huh.
Well I guess we should have expected the Evil Robots to re-purpose the Utopian technology in order to screen out meatbags. This thing will only work when it scans a robot.
Fortunately for us there's an endlessly respawning parade of the smaller robots marching in from the left side of the screen. Unfortunately at their usual walking speed they don't say in the sensor bar long enough to bring up the door, but...
Last edited by SpoonyBardOL; 08-03-2016 at 01:13 PM.
You can A) Kill them with perfect timing so their slowly exploding robot corpse sits in the sensor long enough to scan it and raise the door. Or B) Kill them anywhere on the screen and just push the slowly exploding robot onto the sensor. Did I forget to mention you can push the little robots around as they're exploding? You can push the little robots around as they're exploding.
There's also C) Drop your personal teleporter onto the sensor bar, which also works. I don't recommend this strategy, as neat as it is that it works at all, since the door only sticks around for like a second if you bring it up in this manner.
Anyway, down we go. The first chamber we find in the Evil Robot Stronghold has another elevator leading down, and a door blocked by some sort of barrier. Do we have to explore the depths of Utopia to find a switch to open it and return to the surface?
Nah, you just shoot it and the barrier disappears. Kinda anticlimactic really, I can't help but wonder if they did mean for there to be more to the door barriers but the idea was scrapped at some point, but not before they actually implemented the graphic for the barrier on the door. This game is full of baffling decisions sometimes.
The room beyond the door has an energy bar that we can't reach yet. Spoiler alert: that upper door is where we want to come from, but we find our way to that door by going deeper into Utopia. As you would.
In this room you can find those same little hover carts the tiny people on the friendly side of Utopia were riding, but while Rad can ride these as well they also shoot at him. Rad can also duck while riding them, making them function much like the crawling slime on Turvia but much faster.
Anyway this lower area is a dead end and only serves as a punishment to send the player back to the start of the area if they screw up the one-tile jump right after the energy bar.
So we head down into Utopia-proper. This area is something of a maze and is the actual meat of the stage. But here's a secret: At the start you have two immediate choices, right or left.
Going right takes you down some twisty tight corridors with a few branching paths that lead to dead ends and eventually you can find your way to the boss.
Going left pretty much takes you right to the boss. :|
And no, there's no items hidden on the long path, besides the energy bar we saw earlier there's only one other item to get in Utopia and we literally can't miss it.
So, while the sensible thing to do would be to go left and head straight for the end, I'm going right in order to show off the twisty turny corridors of Utopia, but also because this update would be a touch too short if I went left.
This is the sort of thing I'm talking about. Robots and dead ends. I suppose I should give the game some credit, even though it's reusing the tileset from Cyberia the enemies are new. It would have been so easy to just pluck the mechanical enemies from that stage and re-use them here, but as I mentioned at some point before one of the points in this game's favor is that the enemies are pretty much unique for every stage.
At the far right we find an elevator going down and a lower path heading back to the left. We'll take the elevator first.
Remember how you can push the smaller robots as they're exploding? Well you can't push them off an edge, they stop rather than fall off. But they don't block Rad's forward movement at that point, though, and Rad walks right past them and falls off. This is actually useful if you need to avoid their, uh, explosive discharge upon death and you have nowhere else to go to avoid it.
Aaaaaaand less than a screen into this area and we hit a total dead end. Womp womp.
So we head back up, go left a bit, and then go back down.
A bit further ahead here we come across this gap in the last panel. Rad can't make it up, so it's basically another trap. A player who doesn't know the way around Utopia very well would very like wind up falling down here and having to take the long way back around when they were otherwise right next to the end.
We eventually head back to the upper area and come across a little hover cart dude and Rad hitches a ride.
Did I mention how glad I was that these little guys are so much faster than the slimes on Turvia? Because I'm pretty darn glad.
Oh and those corridors right above Rad in these screenshots? They're just to the left of the entrance, ie: Where you should have went instead of taking the long way around like I did.
Finally Rad pops out of the tiny vent system only to get shot in the face. But it's OK, this is where the two paths meet up, basically. Heading down from here brings us close to the end.
Another choice between right or left, and again left is the correct decision. If you go right it just takes you to that gap I pointed out earlier, the one that you can fall down into but can't jump back up? Gosh just imagine being a kid playing this stage and taking the left path first, but then going right there and falling down and getting lost on the way back because everything looks the same. Must. Not. Have. Been. Fun.
Hypothetically speaking of course.
Ok ok I might be a bit too hard on the game. Stuff like this wasn't terribly uncommon back in the day and to the game's credit A) There's infinite lives and B) The stage isn't all that big, really, despite how samey it looks and once you do figure out where the end is you can get there fairly quickly.
Anyway we finally reach the bottom of Utopia, and from there I guess an express elevator back up to the first level and that energy bar we saw earlier.
(do not fall down this hole do not fall down this hole do not fall own this hole)
Rad gets an express ride through some tiny zig-zagging vents, and finally....
It's boss time! Wow, haven't heard that BGM in awhile.
So we're facing off against Boss #2. I dunno its real name, but as a youngin' I affectionately called it 'Mirror Skeletor'.
Also, that 'Strongest Warrior' of the Utopians is here too. She's a helper!
Anyway shooting Mirror Skeletor is a bad idea, since he just opens his little mirror up and reflects any and all things right back at Rad. We could try shooting him in the head, but it was devious enough to stick some solid blocks right in front of its noggin.
There's a little one-tile passage under it, but Rad can't duck and slide, and even if he could there's a gap that would spit him back out at the start of the stage if he tried something like using his personal teleporter under there. So the only way to get around the boss's mirror is to be both really small AND be able to hover! Where are we gonna find someone like THAT?
The universe is dooooooomed!
Actually naw. What you do is switch to the Power Crystals and toss one at the Littlest Warrior and wait for her to carry it behind the boss and fling it up at its exposed backside.
Do that a few times (I lost count but it's inconsistent, I think it has to do with the explosion from the Power Crystals sometimes registering as multiple hits, but sometimes not, expect anywhere from 4-8 rounds) and you win. Easy peasy.
Yeah the fight is pretty much this for a few minutes. Again this is another case of Rad Gravity having a really neat idea but slightly sticking the landing. Using a friendly NPC to deliver your attack around the boss's otherwise impervious defense is a neat idea for a game from this era, but it takes just a bit too long.
Anyway eventually you win and the boss erupts into a grand pixel explosion which I was just a moment too late to grab a screenshot of, and you can move on to the next room.
Thanks for the help Strongest Warrior! Looks like the lesson here was that size really doesn't matter. Or... it does, but only if you're exactly the right size for a given situation? I dunno, morals are confusing.
Oh and bonus: Despite what I said about the gap being there to stop enterprising players from being able to try and use their personal teleporter to scoot under the boss, you can totally still do that anyway. All you have to do is employ the difficult strategy of... using the personal teleporter again immediately. Seriously, drop it under the gap, activate it before it falls off screen, then drop it and activate it again right before Rad falls off screen and he'll be able to walk out behind the boss.
This causes the boss to flip out and start scurrying back and forth across the platform, which is weird because it otherwise doesn't move at all. So the behavior to move must have been intentionally programmed into it, but it otherwise doesn't do so unless Rad is put in a situation that should otherwise be impossible, behind the boss while it's still alive.
Anyway, time to activate the second Compumind! And in thanks we get the coordinates for another new Stargate, and an upgraded gun!
The Maxigun is more powerful than the Vertigun, but otherwise looks the same. It does retain the special 'shoot upward' feature of the Vertigun, though, so that's good!
Utopia was another stage I was kind of dreading, but actually turned out to be not that bad. I got lost as hell in there as a kid, but now that I know the short path to the boss is literally just to go left at the start instead of right it went by much faster, even despite the fact that I took the long way on purpose.
But anyway, we're done with Utopia, let's check out that new Stargate!
The new Stargate isn't in the same region of space as Utopia and Odar, though, we have to go all the way back to the first region of space that contains Cyberia, Eflluvia, and Volcania.
And in this new region of space we find a planet called Telos.
I wonder if that's where the game ends?
But even if it is, we can't actually beam down to the planet because we don't have coordinates for the surface yet. Fiddlesticks.
Well that's it then. We're out of planets, we've been everywhere. I guess Agathos wins and the universe is doomed.
Pfft. Naw. We still got options. It's time for a bit of backtracking.
Last edited by SpoonyBardOL; 08-03-2016 at 01:08 PM.
Hey all! Welcome to the penultimate update for Let's Play Rad Gravity!
Before I get to the update, I found this in the back of my closet while I was out visiting my folks over the weekend:
Sadly, I do not currently own a working NES or other device to check to see if the cart still works. And despite what the box proclaims, there is no 'Rad comic book' inside, since I bought this second hand from the local rental place back when they were liquidating their NES games, but someone else had pilfered the manual/comic on a rental long before that. Happened all the time.
Anyway, where'd we leave off?
Oh yeah. Cratertown. We first stopped by Volcania at the end of the second update and promptly got the eff out because we were clearly not meant to be there yet. It's a shame that this was really the only instance of being able to access what was clearly meant to be an endgame stage early, besides Volcania being where it is the rest of the sectors proceed in a mostly linear fashion.
So here we are on Volcania again, and now we're better equipped to deal with things. Most foes do only like 1 bar of energy per hit now instead of 3, and Rad has nearly every energy bar in the game.
That doesn't stop me from taking a lot of stupid hits in the first few screens, on top of being highly damaging, especially in the early game, the flying lavabug enemies just love to head to Rad's hitbox and just stay there. Shooting them doesn't even kill them, it just grounds them and they start crawling back to the nearest pool of lava, only to rise again. Interesting bit of enemy interactivity with the environment for its time, actually.
The other monster, the bipedal hopping things, also can't die. They just collapse into a puddle of goop before reforming and resuming their chase. So between the immortal monsters and the ridiculously high damage they bring, I can't help but wonder how many players would actually try to clear Volcania at the start of the game if it weren't for the blatant 'screw you, you can't pass until you come back with an item you don't have yet' barrier later on.
The surface of Volcania is also littered with craters of various sizes, as the view from Rad's ship would suggest. They're for more than just decoration, though. Jumping on them will do nothing, Rad is smart enough to land on their outer rim, I guess. But if you stand on one and press down like one would while on a pipe in the Mushroom Kingdom...
...and you get transported into the caverns below! Unfortunately, nearly every crater just sends Rad into a dead end, and there's no way out. He can't jump high enough to exit the pit, so you're forced to use your Communicator and beam out.
I mean, you could also abuse the personal teleporter and warp through the wall, this would be a great shortcut in that case! But, I won't be doing that.
So I beam up, and back down again, and play the first section a bit smarter this time and don't take any stupid hits. I'll need that life for when I'll be taking stupid hits later!
Another feature of Volcania are these steam jets, which Rad can ride upward. Cool idea in theory, but in execution, well, considering the top third of the sky is black and the steam is also black it kind of disappears once it gets high enough. Fortunately there's no place in this stage where you need to do precarious platforming across rising steam, but they could have easily just colored the steam white. Y'know, the obvious color for steam?
While I'm talking about colors, I really like the look of the outer area of Volcania. I just think the blue stone against the pink sky looks neat.
I hop along the top of the screen where possible for two reasons. One, it's far easier to avoid most of the monsters when most of them can only jump, and the ones that can fly move too slowly to catch up. And two, you need to stay on top to progress past a point just ahead.
See? You can only cross this pit from the upper platform. And we immediately hit a dead end and another crater. Of course, back when I said nearly every crater on the surface lead to a dead end, you realized there had to be one that didn't, right?
Yup, it was the last one.
And here is where your progress would be stopped even if you managed to survive on the surface of Volcania with the starting red armor and like six energy bars. You need the personal teleporter to squeeze through this gap. So the absolute earliest you could clear Volcania is after the Asteroid Belt, but it's still foolhardy to try it even with the pink armor, you want the green armor for sure.
Anyway this underground portion of Volcania has falling stalagtites to worry about, and the lavabugs from the surface still show up to be pests.
Ah yes, and as you would expect the lava is instadeath, as is the falling lava. It's not in the background, Rad dies from it like any other lava.
Here's another super hidden area. Finding this one took me awhile, and trying to figure out why the game has you access it the way they do still has me puzzled.
There's two ways to use the personal teleporter to enter this room. The simplest way is to duck where Rad is standing in the middle image and send the teleporter through the wall, it will land on the top of the falling lava, and start moving back and forth as if carried by something. Teleporting to it at that point will instantly send Rad into the hidden room.
But that requires using the 'duck while using the personal teleporter to send it through a wall' glitch, and until now I was certain it was totally unintended. There IS a way into this room without using that glitch, but it is REALLY freakin' obtuse. You start by placing the teleporter where I have it in the first image, standing where Rad is in the second, and THEN using it. Somehow, this sends Rad into the hidden room too.
All I can figure is that the way the personal teleporter works is to actually physically move Rad's sprite form point A to point B really REALLY fast while it's briefly invisible, and by passing through the spaces marked as a screen transition to the hidden room while doing so he is taken there. I still don't really get it, honestly, but here you are!
So with all the aforementioned nonsense I guess this is the most unfairly hidden item in the game?
Eh, I'll take it. So now there's only two more energy bars left to find!
Er... one! There's only ONE more energy bar left to find!
Yeah, ok. It IS weird that the exit of the hidden room spits you out right next to the only other energy upgrade in the stage. It's not even one that's hidden, this one is a freebie that's literally right in your way.
This is a few screens ahead of where we were before we entered the hidden room, all you missed was a bit of platforming over some lava. Since I assume most of you have played literally any platformer on the NES then that is an experience you're probably familiar with.
Another monster that pops up in this part of Volcania are these lava-dwelling... uh, clams? Rad can jump on them as a platform, but they will periodically attack him with their weird gross alien clam tongue, so move across them quickly.
Lavabugs reappear to be a pest at the end of this section, and they're especially bad here since there's like no distance at all from the lava pit what spawned them, so they get back almost as quickly as Rad can shoot them down. The biggest hazard here isn't the damage they deal so much as the knockback, it's really easy to get ahead of oneself and get knocked into the lava while trying to hurry into the pit.
So now we're in this lower-lower part of Volcania. Most of the enemies we encountered already are gone entirely. In fact this first stretch has almost nothing besides some flames acting as environmental hazards, it's almost eerie.
...do those rocks look a bit weird to you?
....something just moved through the rock to attack Rad. Actually, taking a closer look at the pattern...
Huh, rock lizard, and it blends in with the pattern on the stone really well. That's rather devious.
So yeah, these jerks will jump upward as soon as Rad lands on the block above them, but jumping again immediately will save you from damage.
A new obstacle presents itself, these pillars will block Rad's progress, but you can destroy them by shooting them enough. Once destroyed two little... things (?) pop out of the top to harass Rad. They're clearly enemies, but I'm honestly baffled by the spritework here, I can't imagine what they're supposed to be.
Last edited by SpoonyBardOL; 08-03-2016 at 01:13 PM.
This orange pillar cannot be destroyed, but shooting it causes it to spew flames in Rad's direction like a defense mechanism.
Shooting it seems like a bad idea, so we leave well enough alone.
Here's a better shot of those rock lizards attempting to ambush Rad. I can't stress enough how quickly they move upward, you really cannot linger on top of them at all.
We come across another orange pillar, and some really uneven but otherwise empty ground.
And suddenly a boss happened.
Huh, I think this is the first, and only, instance of the BGM changing in the middle of a section, rather than upon entering a new section.
Like every other boss thus far, it is immune to Rad's blaster. Even the new Maxigun is powerless against it. None of his weapons work, in fact!
Shooting still serves a purpose, though, as the boss slowly shambles forward but is more compelled to move after Rad shoots it. The boss itself periodically fires orange projectiles from its... forehead?
Rad CAN jump over it, though the footing makes that tricky. It is pointless to try, though. As you can see at the edge of the screen above this one there's some flowing lava blocking the way forward that only disappears once the boss dies.
The boss can also stomp the ground, causing some blocks to fall from the ceiling. However the blocks will always only fall in a short radius in front of the boss, so if you're far enough away from it this attack is not a problem.
Anyway, if by this point you haven't figured out what to do...
Lure the boss close enough to the edge, but not so close that Rad is pushed off, and start shooting the orange pillar. The flames that spew from it are the only thing that can damage the boss.
At this point it's a delicate game of avoiding both the boss's shots and the flames from the pillar, while still shooting at it enough and avoiding falling into the lava.
Fortunately, once you actually start exploiting the boss's weakness, it doesn't last long and explodes in another mess of pixels. Hey, I managed to capture this one!
And with the boss defeated the flow of lava blocking the way forward has ceased because that's how geography works.
And for defeating that still-unnamed boss (I guess I'll call it... Shambles) we reactivate the third and last Compumind! Hooray, we've saved the space internet!
Compumind the third gives us the coordinates we need to teleport down to Telos as well, where we'll finally face off against Agathos!
We also get the 'Energy Disk' item. What does this do? Well how about a demonstration, on Odar for no reason in particular...
As I mentioned in the Odar update, despite every other stage having a fixed state upon entry, the spawning chamber we blocked off on our original trip here remains blocked when we return, so we're free to head to the second part of the stage straight away.
So what does the Energy Disk do? Well for the low cost of one two health bars it creates a disk Rad can stand on which allow him to walk across any pit. Useful!
He is defenseless while using it, though, so be careful.
And helloooo, what's this? Why it's a hidden chamber accessed by ducking down into the trunk of the tallest tree at the end of Odar, which I otherwise couldn't access until now.
At the end of this chamber is the final energy bar upgrade! That's almost every item in the game. There's still one more thing to find, on Telos.
Speaking of, there it is. Next update is the last update, as everything ends on Telos!
And just to let you all know, the final update may or may not take a bit. Up until now Rad Gravity has been mostly... rompy. There's been some obtuse puzzle elements, sure, but nothing at all that really presented a lot of challenge in the traditional platforming sense.
Well the game pretty much turns on a dime here. Telos is hard. You'd expect a last level to be hard, but Telos is hard in a way the rest of the game isn't. As last levels go I remember it being pretty brutal, and I expect it to kick my butt with a smile on its face. But then again I did expect more of a challenge from a few parts earlier in the game that didn't pan out, so who knows? Maybe Adult Spoony can succeed more easily where Lil' Spoony had trouble. But I'm still expecting a butt-kicking. Regardless...
Last edited by SpoonyBardOL; 08-16-2016 at 05:00 PM.
The bosses in this game have some legitimately cool mechanics. It's too bad that the rest of the game doesn't match that.
Hey everyone, and welcome to the final update for Let's Play The Adventures of Rad Gravity! Might as well use the full name on the last one.
We left off last time after completing all the planets, reactivating all the Compuminds, and getting all the things. Telos is the only thing that remains now, and boy is it a doozy of a gauntlet.
We've seen it before, but now we have coordinates to beam down to. There's no turning back now!
As, uh, as much as I wish there were!
You might be wondering 'How bad can this stage be? Surely Spoony must be overreacting!'
Well first of all, you might have noticed that the stage theme for Telos isn't the Planet theme which has been used for literally every other stage in the game, but the Boss theme. I imagine this was not just done because they only had like four BGM options to choose from and it was the only other one besides the usual stage BGM they could have used, but because it's really indicative of the difficulty of the stage as a whole. The entire dang level is one giant boss out to kill your face.
And second of all
It is raining spikes and there are spikes on the floor and also conveyor belts to send you into the floor spikes. And this is just the first real screen!
As I mentioned in the last update, Telos is hard in a way the rest of the game isn't. Up until now Rad Gravity has been fairly rompy, none of the platforming has been overly difficult, asshole Vernia birds aside, but Telos is the exact opposite. There may not be any insta-death hazards on Telos, but the entire stage is designed to wear you down via a thousand cuts.
This might not be so bad, but remember the Energy Disk? The item we got in Volcania that requires two bars of life to even use? (I mistakenly said it took one bar in the last update, my bad) Well you bet it's required here, but you won't see it be needed until near the end of the stage, so not only do you need successfully navigate Telos you need to do it while holding onto enough life by the end of it.
But I'm getting ahead of myself, what else does this first room have to offer?
More of the same, but we'll need to cross along the top where there is less time to react to the falling spikes.
The whole 'walk along the bottom then jump up and walk along the top' shtick is something you'll see more than once here.
Firing upward comes in handy here since the spikes can be destroyed by a single bullet. It's almost like Rad is using his gun as an umbrella.
Oh and al the doors in Telos contain this weird orange static. This probably means they're not so much doors as portals.
Ok next room and we have the spiked walls have wheels! The spiked walls have wheels!
There's no destroying these things, you have to outrun them, a feat that is a bit difficult while Rad is also being shot at by spike canons as well as he approaches the wall. Keep in mind, taking damage knocks Rad backwards quite a ways, and his invincibility frames don't last nearly enough for him to get away from the rolling spike wall of death if he gets thrown into it.
The rolling spike wall is destroyed as soon as it collides with another wall, but there's no breathers here as Rad immediately needs to contend with more falling spikes, this time in ball form. Noticing a theme yet? The hazards in Telos are very... sharp. Fortunately the spike balls don't bounce or explode or anything.
The jumps over this spike put are trickier than they look, thanks in part to how Rad interacts with semisolid platforms while taking damage, or rather how he doesn't, but also due to his damage knockback. If Rad falls into the spikes here it's a tough slog back to the platform to jump up because for every three steps he takes forward he gets knocked back two when he takes damage. And there's a spike shooter right on top of the semisolid platform he would use to jump back up, so he might just get knocked back down into the spikes again while trying to get back up.
If the damage disparity between the first and second screenshots isn't enough of a clue, it happened to me.
Oh good, we have to flee from the rolling spike walls over conveyor belts now.
If you guessed that most of these conveyor belts were set up in such a way as to throw Rad off the ledge and back into the bottom section, you'd be right.
The door there actually sends Rad back to the left to the door we passed earlier.
But our progressed is blocked by another rolling spike wall. There's no way for Rad to move fast enough to slip by it before it falls, and he can't jump over it. So what does he do?
This is one of the cleverer uses of the personal teleporter. Not quite as neat as leaving it as bait for an underground gremlin to grab, but still pretty cool.
Anyway, in the next room we--
And we're done. That was Rad Gravity folks, hope you enjoyed it!
Yeah that's not gonna fly is it? Ok, so this room. If you've ever played this game through to the end before you know exactly why this room is intimidating. Let's just straight up post the entire thing:
(Spoilerpopped just so the horizontal length doesn't mess with anyone's browsers upon loading, though it looks like photobucket shrank it anyway)
Ok so, each door in this room leads to another, and many of them lead to that absolute clusterf*ck of doors at the end of the room. There is, as I understand it anyway, one path through this room and discovering it without going on the internet and looking at a FAQ (not possible for L'il Spoony back in the day) takes lots and lots and looooots of trial and error.
Or you could use the 'duck and use the personal teleporter' glitch to phase through most of the walls at the end, but again, I'm not doing that.
So how do we get through this mess?
You want to ignore the first few doors (screenshots here admittedly do more to suggest Rad is entering the doors he's next to in the final two shots, he's not, just standing a bit too close to them)
Enter this door in the first screenshot, which spits Rad where he is in the second screenshot, then move ahead to enter the door in the third screenshot.
Enter the door on the left in the room he's taken to, then ignore the next few doors and enter the one in the third screenshot.
Enter the door above you in the first screenshot, then immediately enter the next door. Rad will be placed right next to it, but the spike projectiles move along with the screen and it's very likely they will be right next to Rad when he reappears and if he gets hit before entering the door he'll be knocked off the platform, sending you back a few steps.
Then in that small room enter the door on the right.
Finally, enter the third door, second door, and fourth door in that order.
And that's the door maze, we're in a different room now. Thank goodness.
But entering the door next to Rad in this new room takes him to a completely different area, where he is now boxed in. No matter, just enter the door to go back and--
That might've been a blessing in disguise. Sure I had to replay all that again, but I was a bit too low on health for that point in the stage, so this do-over left me in better shape.
Anyway, move ahead in this room, ignoring all the incidental doors along the way. Doors are basically the devil at this point.
And here it is, the main reason I wasn't too upset at restarting. Here's where the level requires you to have gotten the Energy Disk in order to proceed. Kind of a moot point since you can't have gotten here without clearing Volcania anyway, but whatever. The game added the item so of course it added a section where you have to use it.
And before you think that Rad could have just jumped down into the spikes and tanked the hits, nope, he never would have made it over this pillar here. By this point the first Energy Disk would run out too, so you need to use a second one to keep going.
Protip: The Energy Disk can descend if you hold down, but it can't ascend so don't go too low with it here or you won't be able to make it over this next pillar and reach the door.
This jump is actually kind of harrowing. If you're on an Energy Disk and get hit then it will follow you along the knockback, but the Disk disappears if you jump off of it, so if you get hit after jumping and get knocked backwards into the spikes then you're out of luck. If you have enough energy left you can jump out of the spikes and use the Disk in mid-air, but it's very easy to run down your remaining energy making attempts here.
The last real section of Telos: The Tower. This part of the stage is one long climb up several screens, and most of the screens have disappearing platforms so you have to move through them quickly before you lose your footing.
It also makes getting screenshots for them a total pain.
As you can see here, your footing disappears rapidly and seemingly randomly. Some rooms are more forgiving than others, this one is fairly easy.
And in some rooms a bunch of blocks disappear right away and then nothing happens for awhile. If I hung around a bit longer most of these remaining blocks would have vanished, but the timing is pretty weird.
Another thing to mention, any disappearing blocks are all semisolid platforms. There are only solid tiles on these screens, so none of em disappear. Don't worry, though, plenty of spike shooters and dispensers to make up for that.
More rolling spike wall shenanigans, but clearing this one is done much the same way as the last one we encountered in the stage, except we have to account for the personal teleporter interacting with the conveyor belt, but it's still pretty easy to get through here.
Finally, after some tricky conveyor belt jumps, we reach the top of the tower. And hey, it's that one room we saw earlier with the door that sent us back to the start of the stage. Well surely that is the biggest dick move this room will pull on us.
Let's just move forward and yyyyyyyyyuuuupppp. Raise your hand if you saw this coming. You can't tell me you didn't think that ominous black shaft on the left side of the screen the entire way up the tower wasn't going to come into play.
Worry not, though, I actually want this.
Hold left on the way down and eventually Rad will fall into this room holding the last item in the game. The final armor upgrade.
I am now Rad Gravity the White.
It may seem a little late for it, but trust me. It's really not.
Anyway we have to re-climb the tower, but it's a pretty quick trip so whatevs.
Now, you might think you have to use the Energy Disk to bypass that pit and enter the door, right?
This is the game laughing at you. (the door sends you back to the bottom of the tower)
The real solution is probably one of the most frustrating things in the game, and something that blocked my progress to the end for quite awhile as a kid. The door-maze room was obnoxious, but you can still clear it if you throw yourself at it for long enough and take notes.
The solution here is literally 'use the Energy Disk and jump into this one unmarked part of the wall'. I don't remember when and how I finally found this out, but I imagine it was in the depths of desperation, trying literally everything I could think of.
I can forgive this game for a lot of its... uneven design. But this is just cruel.
But anyway, enter that final door and......
Oh Thank Christ.
Yeah no I beamed out immediately. Now that I have a beam-down point right at that spot I can return with full health.
Y'know, the game opens with a stage that uses multiple beam down points, then we don't see it again until Utopia. This piece of design almost feels like and afterthought, but it's totally worth it for its usage here. It's a frickin LIFESAVER here.
Plus now you get to see Rad's spiffy white armor on his giant ship sprite, if you don't beam back up after getting it then you never would. Kind of an underwhelming color, if I'm being honest. I would have gone with a light blue.
We beam back down which takes us right where we left off.
Interesting bit of trivia, if you played all the way through Telos in one shot and didn't duck out to your ship to recover energy at this point the boss theme would still be playing in this room. But for some reason if you beam down to this point the standard planet theme picks up. It's a weird oversight.
So this is Agathos. The 'Mightiest Computer in the Galaxy'. Which is weird because I thought he used 'cosmic rays' or whatever to morph into a living brain. Then again, what ARE brains but mushy organic computers?
And he ends by threatening us. Agathos really IS evil!
Also the design of Agathos here matches his appearance in the comic, mostly:
So his brainbody is hanging out in the floating pod which is connected to that hovering orb that contains, I dunno, everything that's necessary to keep a brain alive I guess?
Agathos's brain pod bobs up and down and always stays a fixed distance from Rad. If you get too close it backs off, if you run away it follows, and if you back it into a corner it will fly to the other side of Rad to maintain its distance. The orb is harmless and just there for show.
Periodically the brain pod will shoot electric snowflakes at Rad (well its what they look like) and every sixth or seventh shot or so it will also open up the pod, exposing the brain. To air it out I guess.
A note on Agathos's projectiles, they are homing as heck. They're the sort of projectile where you already need to be moving when its fired or its guaranteed to hit you, so dodging them becomes a task of learning their timing and anticipating when Agathos is about to shoot them.
As for how to fight back, you can go through all of Rad's weapons but nothing works besides the Saurian/Power Crystals. Chuck em at Agathos's squishy brain body when its exposed. There's a crystal in that screenshot up there, just obscured by the cord.
It's a very brief window of opportunity, though, and its easy to miss your chance if you're focused on dodging.
And... that's the fight, really. He has no other attacks that I know of and he doesn't get faster or harder as you wear him down. If you lose too much health beam out and start over, but otherwise this fight is a cakewalk.
A bit tedious since you're waiting for the boss to reveal its weak point in a very brief window to aim a clumsy arcing weapon at it like seven times. Honestly compared to literally every other boss encounter in the game Agathos is kind of a disappointment.
Oh well! Once you've hit Agathos enough times his brain pod starts flashing mad colors.
That's your queue to start bombarding him with more crystals. The pod falls helplessly to the ground and explodes, sending Agathos's brain-bits everywhere in a pixelly mess. The day is saved!
Oh, and some old man pops out of the orb.
He'll approach Rad once you get close enough, and starts getting right on his case.
What have I done? Saved the day old man! All the Compuminds/Unification Computers have been turned back on and the totally evil Agathos has been defeated! Also who are you?
Wait, I think this is supposed to be Agathos. But I thought he was supposed to be that giant brain that I just blew to bits? I mean, unless the whole story about Agathos mutating into a living brain was a bunch of malarkey, but why would Kakos lie about--
Hold on hold on hold on....
Are you saying... that Agathos was good and Kakos was evil?!
Honestly I never saw it coming. (wink)
So yeah, that's the twist. Agathos was good all along (we're ignoring that 'slow and painful death' line? Ok) and Kakos is really evil, which is something you probably would have guessed if you had even a rudimentary knowledge of Greek.
It was all very subtle.
So the Space Internet is ACTUALLY a bad thing, or at the very least its under the thrall of a bunch of evil Compuminds, who are lead by Kakos. Now that we've turned them all back on and taken Agathos's brain computer out of the picture, Kakos can go ahead and do whatever nefarious thing he has planned.
Unless he is stopped.... by RAD GRAVITY.
Y'know the pawn who helped him get this far in the first place.
Agathos parts with one final bit of advice, use his rockets against him, and that most certainly is not 25 years of repressed memories clawing their way to the surface in the back of my mind.
And then Agathos just... exits stage up. I guess he had to go because his planet needed him. I made this joke in Goemon 3 didn't I? Whatever, making it again.
Alright, time to go give Kakos a piece of my mind. He's just a computer eyeball attached to my ship's steering wheel, I'll just beam right back there and
So this is the final boss of Rad Gravity. Rad is up against his formerly-trusty actually-traitorous computer Kakos. Except that Kakos has decided to attach himself to the top of Rad's ship for some reason and also gotten like twenty times bigger.
Then again Rad is also too big for the ship so it's probably just a perspective thing.
Kakos has one and only one attack, to launch a rocket which I can only assume is in the form of a giant middle finger which loosely homes in on Rad. It tends to make wide arcs when flying around him, but it will eventually hit him if you let it.
There is an invisible barrier right under Kakos's upper area which prevents Rad from going up there.
None of Rad's weapons work on Kakos, though we're in spacesuit mode and the only thing he can use is his gun anyway. So what do we do?
You have to coax Kakos's rockets to arc around the ship and hit him right in the giant computer eyeball.
Oh and you're using the spacesuit mode controls from the first part of the Astroid Belt, stage. Y'know, starting and stopping via shooting in the opposite direction? Yup.
This fight suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks.
I will grant it one thing, it is at least a more interesting boss fight than Agathos, at least on paper. The whole 'use your opponents attack against them' shtick is a videogame trope for a reason. But despite the fact that you only need to hit Kakos 6 times, this fight is an exercise in frustration.
Take the third screenshot above. You might expect that to be a clean hit on Kakos, right?
See the trick is that you don't need to hit Kakos with the rocket. You need his eyeball to connect with the rocket's explosion. So if the rocket itself lands right on Kakos then the ship will likely have moved out of the way by the time the explosion appears.
So not only do you need to play space-chicken with deadly rockets which seem to corner about as well as Bowser on an ice track in Mario Kart, all while using the spacesuit controls which make split decisions really difficult (oh crap I'm moving diagonally down and to the right and I need to immediately be moving straight up which way do I shoot again crap crap crap never mind, rocket got me), but you also need to lead them not directly onto the target you want dead, but a little bit ahead of where it's moving.
Oh and the rockets come to a complete stop for a moment if they hit one of the asteroid walls, and are destroyed outright if they touch any other part of Rad's ship. And they do about one bar of energy per hit with the white armor.
This. Fight. Sucks.
I struggled against this thing as a kid. I was determined to beat the game, and I eventually did, but I can't remember how many hours it took. I don't even think I developed a strategy back then, I just kept throwing myself at the fight until I had enough lucky hits to squeeze out a victory. Hell I'm pretty sure on one attempt I started Rad moving diagonally, ricocheting off the entire boss arena just letting the rockets follow me and land where they may and I think I got four or five hits on Kakos before Rad died.
Thankfully if you die here (or if you decide to use your communicator for some reason) you just start this fight over straight away, no need to fight Agathos again. But it also means at this point you can't return to any previous stages for stuff, so if you happened to miss a bunch of energy bars or, heaven forbid, the white armor, you are screeeewed. Go back to your old password.
So this is a fight that has poor controls where you have to lure an NPC with somewhat unpredictable and difficult behavior to hit a moving target not where you'd logically think. Is there even any reliable strategy to use?
I'll say this strategy works.. most of the time. 66% success rate, 75% if I'm being generous. In a fight like this that's as good as it gets. So here's what you do.
Step 1 is to park Rad as close to Kakos's energy barrier as you can take him and leave him on that vertical level. You'll be moving horizontally, but avoiding moving vertically, unless Rad gets knocked downward by a missile and you need to put him back. This removes the need to account for going up or down using the wonky spacesuit movement, practically doubling how bearable this fight is to control. It's pretty easy to just remember 'shoot left to go right and shoot right to go left', rather than 'shoot left and up to go right and down and then shoot right and down twice to go straight up'.
But on top of simplifying Rad's movement in this fight, parking Rad as high as possible has two other purposes. One is that this is where you pretty much want to be in order to effectively lead the rockets into Kakos, so you'd be spending a lot of time at this level anyway. And the other is that this puts Rad in the perfect position to immediately destroy any rockets Kakos deploys which won't be useful. Each rocket takes two shots from Rad's gun to destroy and if he's as high as possible then they are right in his line of fire as soon as Kakos deploys them, and before they even start moving.
So staying on top is all about control.
It's not exactly easy to hit Kakos like this, but it is easier than flailing all over the arena.
So, you can basically control which rockets actually get moving. The question is, how do you tell when you want them to?
The first rule about rockets is that you always destroy the ones that are deployed facing Rad. Kakos doesn't always deploy them facing his target, thankfully, the ones that are you need to destroy right away because they'll just fly directly into Rad straight away. The only ones you can use are the ones that Kakos deploys facing away from him. Since they can't turn immediately, they arc downwards before turning upwards to aim at Rad, which if you move out of the way sends them towards the upper area which is exactly where you want them to go.
You can kind of see this sequence of events in the series of images above. A rocket is deployed facing away from Rad, it swings around to hit him but by this point Rad has always moved to the left, towards Kakos, the rocket flies above the ship and as it moves downward towards Rad it collides with the ship and Kakos's big computer eyeball hits the explosion.
Clear as mud?
Even following these directions it is not the easiest fight in the world. It's not too hard to slip up and take some stupid hits, which will then require you to re-position Rad back at the top of the screen and by that point Kakos would have surely fired another rocket which you have to contend with. It can get out of hand pretty quickly. Not to mention Kakos can actually deploy a rocket right on top of you if he's passing over Rad at the time, Kakos tends to deploy a new rocket as soon as the previous one was destroyed, though he never has more than one out at once.
But if you stay on top of things and literally stay on top of things, you have a much better chance at winning the fight than you do by making elaborate movements around the boss arena to try and lead the rockets that way.
If you're careful and patient, six hits will come in a matter of time.
You'll know you've won when the screen flashes colors in a way only the NES could...
And Kakos explodes, sending his pieces (all two of them) off into the inky void of space, forever.
And Rad triumphantly boards his ship (...via osmosis?) and flies off.
Oh man guys get ready for it....
Yes, the fourth and final BGM track in the whole game. Wow, they sure did a lot with a little, huh?
Rad's ship flies into a Stargate, and...
He arrives at a space-media gathering, on Quark I guess, and assumes his best Hero Pose.
"This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move."
But then I unsucceeded! Checkmate!
Who would have guessed someone named Kakos was the evil one?
Oh wow, I forgot Agathos was also a wizard. Who supposedly mutated into a living brain. With science. Magic science.
Wow, Kakos sure played us for dopes from the start, huh?
"Y'know all of this could have been avoided if Agathos just left a sticky note next to each Compumind's power switch that said 'Kakos is evil, dummy'."
"I saved us from the peril I put us in. You may now worship me."
Well I'm being a bit unfair, after all this was a mission Rad was assigned. So really it's Colonel Spaceman's fault.
Seriously he looks like the kind of goofball that bumbled his way into his current rank.
Oh and this is how Rad's mouth is animated, kinda. It was hard to put together just right, but it's an unsettling bit of 8-bit mouth animation.
And the game closes out with Rad waving goodbye as 'THE END' scrolls across the screen...
Along with a bunch of names of people who I wonder are even still in the industry.
Oh, and Rad says "Farewell, until we meet again."
So THAT'S why the game had such a limited soundtrack, they had to squeeze that voice clip in there!
Oh Rad Gravity, you charming, charming mess. All is forgiven.
Oh and when the credits are complete the entire ending just repeats from the start, because of course it does.
So that's the game! Why did I choose to LP this? Well Rad Gravity is one of those games from my childhood that I played quite a bit, but have a particular attachment to largely because it seems like no one else had.
Sure we all played the Marios and the Mega Mans and the Contras and the Zeldas on the NES. I know I rented those games from the local video store quite a bit. But outside of the big NES heavy hitters I never really rented any other games multiple times. I'd try a new one and be done with it, and then maybe rent Mega Man 3 again.
But Rad Gravity was different, that one I rented multiple times. Hell, I eventually bought the same rental copy as soon as I had the opportunity. The game just struck me as being weirdly different than most of the other NES platformers. It was clever and strange and weird and surprising. It had some unexpected highs, but those ultimately led to some disappointing lows. You had some planets like Turvia which had an unforgettable gimmick, but then other areas like the Astroid Belt which had another kind of unforgettable gimmick. The stages are mostly straightforward and rompy with fun diversions, until you get to Telos which becomes a gauntlet of pain and unfairly hidden passages. The bosses were all unique with each one having its own specific weakness, but then you got to the last two bosses which were banal and frustratingly obtuse respectively. It goes out of its way to insert an actual voice clip at the end, which sounds surprisingly decent for an NES game, but it has all of four BGM Tracks.
I guess it's a game of many contrasts. It's not polished enough to be considered a classic, but it's far too clever to be dismissed as a total mess. It's not a bad game, it's just a good game with warts. I like it, I like it a lot. In spite of all the things in the last stage.
It's just a shame that Rad's hopeful 'til we meet again' never panned out. There was no sequel, though I think there absolutely should have been. In some alternate universe out there we actually got Super Rad Gravity on the SNES, a bigger more ambitious game with crazier planets, oodles of hidden secrets, and surprising set pieces. It could have been a classic, but it was not to be.
Farewell Rad. We'll not meet again.
Thanks for reading, folks! I hope I was able to make a case for this weird little game.
Thanks for this LP! I think Telos and the last 2 bosses would have made me hate the game, which is kinda unfortunate considering how inventive the rest of it looks.
|let's play , nes , rad gravity , space puns|