Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Athena, World of Cavern

My attempt to finally get through Athena on the NES continues! I'm up to the second level now, the World of Cavern. This level is entirely underground, but like the previous one consists of two floors; we'll move between both floors to make it to the end. As with any level with blocks to the left of where you start, let's break them open and see if there's anything to be found.
I find a Mirror, but I also release a flying head. Whoops! These guys seem to have a very inconsistent amount of health, and while trying to avoid him I'm hit by a stray arrow from an Archer and fall down the first pit. It turns out this isn't terrible, though; by staying on the top half of the screen I'm able to uncover the Pegasus Wings in the ceiling blocks.

Pegasus Wings are really neat. By mashing the jump button, you bob once in the air; it's like swimming in Super Mario Bros. You keep the Pegasus Wings until your life meter falls below a certain level, and if you want to reach the Boss of the World of Cavern, you need to have them by the time you reach a certain pit.

There's a Life Flower that you can make appear just in front of the pit in question, so I top off my life a bit before flying across. Inside the blocks of the tunnel that follows I found a Blue Hourglass, which adds more time to the clock (up to a maximum of 5:00). Let's not repeat the unfortunate death by timer of the World of Forest, shall we?

Following that tunnel is a good example of the sort of design that sometimes plagues Athena. Remember I mentioned that there are harmful items you can sometimes pick up by accident? One of these items is the Goblin Hand; if you pick it up it downgrades your weapon one level. So if you have the awesome Ball and Chain and you pick up a Goblin Hand, you'll suddenly be equipped with just a Hammer.

If you break the blocks beneath the tunnel after the big pit in the World of Cavern, you unearth not one, but two Goblin Hands. Imagine your consternation if you're not really paying attention and you grab both of them. Oops! Luckily I don't make/admit mistakes like that.

I miss the next Life Flower's Crystal Heart trying to take a screenshot of it. Enjoy the next picture, because it cost me two life bars added to my maximum.

Here you can see me flying over a Medusa, one of the new enemies encountered in the World of Cavern. She doesn't cause me any trouble because I have the Pegasus Wings and can just fly over her.

Two boulders on the ground signal my arrival at the Golem, the Boss of the World of Cavern. He walks back and forth on his platform, shooting his rock hands straight forward every so often, and his head detaches and chases you through the air.

The hit detection on the Golem's head is a little spotty; usually it doesn't give my Ball and Chain much trouble, but this time it rams me pretty good and I can't recover. Another death!

This is where we see the value of the K Slate I picked up in the World of Forest. Since I have a K Slate, I start over from the beginning of the level but don't lose any of my equipment, so I have all my golden armor and the Ball and Chain. I still have the Pegasus Wings too, which surprises me; maybe I don't lose the Wings at low life?

My K Slate is gone, though. Next time I die I'll need to reacquire all my upgrades. With all my gear, it's a relatively easy jaunt back to the Golem. This time the head vanishes easily, and after that it's a simple matter of flying behind the Golem's body and smacking it with the Ball and Chain as it walks back and forth.

The Golem finally blows up, and leaves me with a money bag. Not as good as a K Slate, but I'll take the points.

Through the tunnel to the right and we reach the end of the level, and... there's no passage leaving on the right side of the screen. So much for that hypothesis that every level shows its connection to the next one. Athena jumps in the center of the room and it's on to the next level: the World of Sea!

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