Five Most Frustrating Parts of the La-Mulana Remake
I mentioned in my review the other day that, while the La-Mulana remake is a work of art, it is also one of the hardest (if not the hardest) games I have ever played and Metroidvania games have a habit of being hard and directionless. Seriously, La-Mulana drove me to quitting the game more times than any other game I can remember. And it wasn’t rage quitting. Although I do have a wireless keyboard, so I suppose I could chuck it across the room. No, no. Instead, it La-Mulana led me to a sort of resolved quitting. I knew it had me beaten for the moment and my previous ego couldn’t handle another loss. It just couldn’t. So, without further ado, I give you my five most frustrating moments from my complete play through of La-Mulana:
1. Viy – One of the eight guardians (bosses) in La-Mulana, Viy is a life-draining blob with a single laser shooting eyeball that covers the screen in lava splashes every time it pops up. It is almost impossible to hit the eyeball without taking damage of some sort, although I occasionally managed to time a double jump to hit it and bounce back the platform just right. Still, if you touched Viy’s main body, you lose life so quickly that I typically just reset the game or waited for Lemeza to die if it happened. I eventually worked out a pattern where I could hit Viy’s eyestalk one the way up and one the way down with the axe, but the boss fight against Viy was by far my biggest sticking point in all of La-Mulana.
2. The Temple of Moonlight – This probably wouldn’t be a problem now because the La-Mulana wikis and guides are substantially better now, a month after the game’s release, than they were when I was playing through La-Mulana. The Temple of Moonlight didn’t drain my health, it just left me utterly baffled at how to proceed. There are two different entrances to the accursed place and you have to figure out how to get rid of the floor in one of the areas before you can proceed. I could tell this by looking at the maps, but I could not find the information for how to get past that point. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time in La-Mulana wandering somewhat aimlessly around the Temple of Moonlight.
3. Eyes of Divine Retribution – La-Mulana expects you to pay attention, like really pay attention, when you are playing. To this end, many of the screens in La-Mulana have what is called an Eye of Divine Retribution. This eye, which you may initially mistake for creepy imagery will zap you with an unavoidable lightning bolt causing massive damage if you accidentally strike the wrong part of the screen. I died this way many times, especially since the eyes are often on screens where there is some hidden block that you need to destroy.
4. Zu – A mere sub-boss that ate up so much of time in La-Mulana that I am almost ashamed to admit it (luckily I wasn’t keeping count). The winged beast would fly around the screen, trying to stay away from you and launching homing feathers at you. While Lemeza could often avoid the feathers, you could not do so and hit Zu at the same time. So you think: Well, what if I run up, jump, and hit Zu before it launches the feathers and then run away. That would be a great plan if it worked but, as always, La-Mulana has an answer. Zu can also stop time, you see, and will do so if you are too close to it before it attacks and then it will shoot feathers that surround you and hit once time unfreezes. Zu was eventually taken down by **SPOILERS** using the Lamp of Time to freeze it when used at the same time Zu tries to stop time (meaning you can just walk up and whack the beast a few times for a victory), but I was trying to get through as much of La-Mulana as I could without a guide. Obviously, that didn’t work out for me.
5. The Lack of Directions – Yeah, yeah, I know this is a big selling point of the game. I also know that this is a cheating a little, since it is not a particular part of the game, but the whole game. And anyway, “Go explore!” you say. Well, apparently I am not patient enough to explore all of La-Mulana. Not even a little. La-Mulana is massive. I mean, just huge. Like 20 really big stages huge. If I had it to do again, even with in game maps, I would probably just use grid paper to do my own mapping. In any case, the game gives you some obscure hints about what is going on, but you (Read: me) usually don’t know what La-Mulana’s hints refer to until you see it, which can make for some long nights. If you want that unique brand of frustration for yourself you can always get the game from Playism and feel what I have felt.
So that’s my list of most frustrating moments while playing the La-Mulana remake. If you’ve played the game, I would encourage you to commiserate with me below (or tell me how weak I am, that’s fine too). Even if you haven’t, I would love to hear about your most frustrating moments when you were playing a game. Discuss the depths of your frustrations below.