Last time on Golden Souls 2, Doomguy fought his way through the grassy plains around his home, and a dangerous, dry desert on his quest to save his precious bunny from the clutches of the evil Cyberdemon. Now, he finds himself in much fairer climes as he arrives on the sandy, tropical beaches of the mandatory Water world every Mario style game needs! More after the jump, though consider waiting until you’ve beaten the fourth world to read this if you’re actually playing the mod.
I bet this water’s a welcome sight after all that desert. Unfortunately, it comes with the unwelcome company of more demons that want to kill you. Also? Crabs. I hate crabs. They’re small, fast, annoying, and randomly attack you when they feel like it. They die in one shot, but their size and speed make that a difficult task if you’re aiming to kill every last one of them.
Also, you might have run into them if you went out of the way to check out Spider Mansion, but if you didn’t? You’ll run into a new demon type here too that we all know and loathe: The Revenant. Everyone’s favorite boney jerk with punches and missiles. The only blessing you get here is that the missiles have a very audible beep as they track you, making it much easier to know when one’s outside your peripheral vision. I recommend quick applications of Trumpetbuss doots, or the new weapon you get shortly after this encounter.
The Star Shooter is your “plasma gun” of the mod, though it behaves a fair bit differently. The fire rate’s a bit slower than the assault rifle, and it packs a pretty heavy punch per projectile, which adds up quickly with multiple shots. How much punch? Well, on a max damage hit, it can oneshot an Imp. It also comes with an alt-fire that bounces shots off walls, and is used for a fair bit of puzzle solving where you need to hit target switches that you can’t just aim directly at.
I’d also just like to take this moment to thank Andrea Gori for a particular gameplay design decision he made that I absolutely love and always will: You don’t have limited oxygen underwater. Like most SNES platformers of old, you can hold your breath forever underwater, so you can take all the time you want exploring down there. It’s a wonderful change from the constant pressure to find the surface of a watery area in the original Golden Souls, and just lets you enjoy the underwater parts without a constant timer to your death haunting you.
Oh yeah, another old friend is waiting to make their appearance in this world, and it’s none other than everyone’s favorite bigboy: Mancubus. Big, bit of a damage sponge, dual flame cannons. At least he’s relatively easy to stunlock with the assault rifle or star shooter. You’ll get a particularly nice weapon for dealing with him in the next world, but that’s getting a bit ahead of ourselves.
I think what makes the Water World of Golden Souls 2 so great is that it isn’t just a bunch of underwater levels. It has more of a tropical resort feel, where you’re constantly going between land and water in a nice, seamless fashion. So you get some great architecture like that found in Port Paradise, but also get a lot of great water segments too, like those in Beautiful Bay.
That said, Beautiful Bay does introduce one enemy type you will probably hate: Lord knows I do! Jellyfish! You can’t kill them, and they deal rapid contact damage when you’re up in their personal space, and they typically occupy a given space, acting more like a level hazard than an enemy.
Beautiful Bay introduces a lot of tricky stuff to deal with, some hidden targets will be required for at least one Big Coin, and there’s also destroyable walls you have to keep an eye out for: HINT: They tend to look like a very different texture than regular walls. Shoot them or punch them down to get past. This is a level that requires you to really keep your eyes open if you want to find everything, but again, doesn’t rely on the usual tropes of Doom secret design: there’s no “Do this to open a timed secret at the start of the level” nonsense or similar here. It’s all about keeping your eyes open for anything out of the ordinary and a willingness to try tricky platforming.
After that however, things get REALLY good with my favorite “Haunted” level: The Spooky Sunken Ship!
All the fun of a haunted level like ghosts and spooky gimmicks, now underwater in a haunted ship! The atmosphere of this level is just great, as is the overall design. It maintains the constant ‘going in and out of water’ theme this world has, and makes for a great place to hunt for golden spiders. Also, I just really like the random haunted bits it has.
Next up, well, if you didn’t like Ocarina of Time’s Water Temple? I got some bad news for you…
Shrine of the Abyss is about as Water Temple as you can get. Complete with having to manipulate the water level to reach certain parts of the map and solve puzzles to get further in. With even more of that for the Big Coins. This map requires a lot of patience since along with some tough fights, you got equally tough level navigation thanks to the water level manipulation gimmick going on. Expect to re-visit old rooms quite often after changing said water level to see where you can reach that you couldn’t previously. And well, the boss? Definitely a bit of a change, but quite appropriate given the whole “Abyss” thing.
The Deep One is one of my least favorite bosses, mainly because his gimmick is more or less an instant kill type. He’ll whip you if you’re too close, but that’s the least of your concerns. The most constant threat to worry about with this guy is his high pressure water cannon which fires a rapid stream of liquid: But it’s not the damage you have to worry about here: It’s the knockback! You’re fighting on a high, suspended set of platforms. Falling off is instant death, and guess how easy that is in a fight where you’ve got a high knockback boss to worry about! Even better, as his health lowers, chunks of the arena fall away to give you even LESS room to fight! This is a boss that demands perfection, because even one mistake will be your last here, so it’s a good thing you’re given full health and a lot of ammo beforehand, this is not a fight I’d want to start under-prepared. Needless to say, the cover is a must for breaking line of sight to stop his water cannon for a bit so you can safely land some shots, and constant movement is a given tactic here. Stay on the move or else you’ll be headed for a watery grave.
After him, it’s onto the Forest, a world that consists of a somewhat more spooky atmosphere overall, but will also introduce you to a new toy to put those shotgun shells to greater use against heavier targets like Mancubi and Hell Knights.
The first forest map, Moonlight Morass, introduces you to the Cowboy Shotgun. A single shell out of this gun packs double the power of the Hunting Shotgun’s single shot, but comes with MUCH more recoil and spread, making it far less useful at range. Up close though, you can do upwards of 200 damage with a single shot, and this sucker holds several rounds. For heavier targets you have to engage uncomfortably close, there’s no substitute: This thing wrecks face. Just keep in mind it has a lengthier reload as you have to reload it shell by shell.
Also, not gonna tell you where, but there IS a secret exit in this first Forest level! And the secret level it leads to? Well, it might just reward you with a new melee weapon…If you can find it.
Unfortunately, the Lever Action can’t reliably deal with a new threat you’ll encounter after Moonlight Morass: Skeletons. Unless you shatter them with a really hard hit from something like a direct hit of the Trumpetbuss, they’ll just get right back up to keep bothering you. So give those boneheads a doot to be rid of them quickly.
And what would a spooky forest be without a proper haunted level? This time it’s Venom Villa, a level that feels akin to a Zelda dungeon again with a lot of re-exploring old rooms and figuring out how to get to new ones, vs a straight up run and gun. And of course, more Golden Spiders to find.
And then there’s the fortress, which continues the Zelda style gimmicks, but only after a more traditional fortress romp of hazardous platforming. If you’ve played Ocarina of Time, you’ll know this one the moment you see it.
Yep, it’s four jerk ghosts taking the flames that allow access to the boss! And guess what you get to do! Chase them all down and kill them for their flames. Then get ready for a boss you’re REALLY gonna hate if you don’t like those skeletons…
The Fallen Knight has a fairly standard projectile for a Hell Knight type enemy…If only that were the only thing he had! The Fallen Knight’s main gimmick beyond this is summoning skeletons to do his bidding, with their hands either popping up from the ground (With a visible trail warning you where it will happen) or worse yet, having Skeletons just pop out of the ground to attack you directly! And you know what that means: Doot them with that TrumpetBuss or suffer! He definitely makes for a more interesting (And in my opinion fun) encounter Deep One since you don’t have to worry about instant death pits here. It’s also more about crowd management on top of movement, since you have more than one target to deal with at any given time. This is definitely one of the better bosses in my opinion, as it gives you a tight, but not TOO tight space to work in while dealing with multiple threats. It feels just right for a boss encounter.
Well, that’s it for Part 2 folks! Part 3 is gonna have is go mountain climbing, and then it’ll be off to the big city!