Cameras in Video Games.
by, 14th March 2014 at 01:36 AM (495 Views)
Video game cameras. Some are good, and some are absolutely terrible. The camera in any video game is supposed to make it easier to view your surroundings, so you... avoid taking a hit from some enemy you can't see or coordinate your jumps at tricky segments. Things like that. So what happens when the camera is poorly programmed? A particularly evil brand of fake difficulty. :| Even simple platforming segments can become a nightmare if the camera won't let you coordinate your landing properly. Leads to overshooting simple jumps or even not making a big enough jump.
In fights, it makes it harder to dodge things obviously. You'll find yourself running straight into enemy attacks that anyone in the right mind would avoid. (Or if dealing with multiple foes, avoiding one just to run into a gang of others.) Other issues can be presented, it all depends on the game you'replaying really. It can potentially ruin even the best games.
...so you might be wondering, what brought this to mind for me? I was reflecting on my time playing Castlevania 64. A less than perfect game, but I still liked it somewhat. The camera was terrible though, and is one of the main things people complain about. I can try to defend other aspects of the game, but the camera is an issue I won't even try doing so with. The game has a lot of tricky jumping segments, as it still attempts to emulate the platforming seen in older Castlevanias. Do the math. It's a nightmare on certain levels. Two in particular standout for me though. The others are tolerable if you have some patience, but these two... ugh.
The first is the Underground Waterway, seen in Carrie's story.(Schneider goes to the Underground Tunnel instead, which is significantly easier.) The Waterway is a mostly simple level. It's like the castle sewers in a sense. There's poisonous water flowing here, and falling is instant death. (Though falling into water in Castlevania games generally means drowning anyway...) Main enemies are lizardmen, who can swim in the water just fine. (So fair. :V) You almost immediately know how well this level's going to treat you though, as it's possible to die IN THE FIRST FEW SECONDS. This is courtesy of a crumbling floor right in front of where you enter the level at. (Seriously, who's not going to die to that on the first run through?) Several more of these floors exist, and it's generally safe to assume any passage with a brick floor can collapse.
But that's besides the point. How is this relevant to the topic exactly? One particular jumping segment. Three pillars raised out of the water, and you have to jump across them, but they're not lined up. They're in an “L” like formation just to screw with the camera. One of the platforms is raised higher than the other two, and it's the middle one. Meaning you have to make one long jump to make sure you jump high enough to grab the ledge, then make a small one to make sure you land on the next pillar. All the while, the camera will be trying to face somewhere else. Yes. It's a nightmare. Most of your deaths in this level will be this part alone most likely.
The other is the Duel Tower, which Schneider has the misfortune of visiting on his quest. Overall, a short level. It gets its name from the fact that you have to face several bosses in one on one combat, each one more difficult than the last. But in between, you have... you guessed it. Tricky jumping segments! And if you fall, the acid below will cushion your landing. (Again, simple water would've worked too...) Each arena has these in between. Some more difficult than others. And like with the Waterway, the camera is a total bitch.To make dying here more annoying, this level has no save points at all. None. Even the Waterway had them in several spots.
One death sends you ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE BEGINNING. Not that you wouldn't be dying several times anyway, as the last few fights in this level are quite annoying. (One of the midbosses has very high knockback, meaning you'll be knocked into the acid quite often.)
...yeah. A simple level made unnecessarily difficult and an already difficult level made into a nightmare. That's how much help a bad camera is.
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