I thought I didn't love pain. That was, until I met Alma.
My life for Gaiden
You see, Alma and I go way back. I was visiting prospective colleges in 2004, and I had a few friends at a southern Virginia college named Christopher Newport University. Those friends happened to have Ninja Gaiden. My first mistake was to start playing it, even though I only had 2 total days there, and most of it was supposed
to be spent viewing the campus and "taking in" my future.
On one hand, there was the thought of "choosing my future place of education, where most likely what I learned there would influence the rest of my life in respect to Academia", and on the other hand, there was the primal thought of "I want to fucking play Ninja Gaiden right now". Stew on it a bit and guess what prevailed...
I started the game and was blown away. Not by it's difficulty, but by how much fun it was. I breezed past the enemies with my advanced hand-eye ninja coordination, and before I knew it, I was in a chapel. It seemed innocent enough; you know, it's a holy place
There's nothing there but tortured screams, cries, and death; there's nothing there but Alma.
When I first saw Alma I laughed so hard my eyes hurt. She looked like a Power Rangers villain that didn't make Rita Repulsa's B Squad
. The battle started, and I was shocked. Every time I attacked her, she did a flip-dodge, and every attack she landed on me did-in most of my health.
Now Alma wouldn't have been too hard if I had any healing items at all. Left naked in the sun, I had to defeat her with my skill alone (problem #1). Finally, in what felt like days, I learned her tactics.
She was dead.
I am the girl in this picture
I was done. Finally, 2 hours later, I was free of my seemingly eternal torment. 6 more hours of the game flashed like lightning. I felt a sense of relief coming over me; even though Alma swore to me
that she would be back, she was no where in sight. Then it happened.
Ziggarat. Alma Form 2. Spider body. All memories of that event are just fractured thoughts. I vaguely remember the shock of Alma actually coming back very late in the game when I thought I had been purged of my arch-nemesis' effects.
All I remember is killing her.
I cried. The joy overtook me like a sack of potatoes dropping right on my head. But wait! I had to leave in order to be on time for work the next day...I had to leave my saved game on my friend's hard-drive, who was graduating that year...I head to leave my hopes and dreams.
Funnily enough, I actually ended up going to Christopher Newport. My first day on campus, while perusing the local shopping mall, I came across a Gamestop; and what did I see on sale? A used copy of Ninja Gaiden. I mustered up the courage and decided to tough it out again. Alma got her shit wrecked. I sliced her on every parry, and dodged all that she could muster.
I decided to play hard mode, innocently enough, and said to myself "if Alma is too hard, I'm just going to quit, ok?" 30 minutes into hard
Alma I decided to call it quits. My roommates were in at the time and called me a chicken.
Oh no they di'nt.
1 hour later amidst loud cheering, Alma was vanquished. Next stop, Spider Alma Hard.
Pressing my luck, I ventured into Very Hard. I had similar experiences with Alma, even though I was very prepared for the occasion this time, stocked with healing goodies. Eventually, health couldn't save me...
An unpleasant surprise
In Ninja Gaiden, on Very Hard, the enemies change, and in some instances, so do the bosses. I had just mastered Alma to the point of near perfection; I did it! Alma would never again trample me with her salmon-feet and slick buttocks. I had made the decision not to venture into the next difficulty level, and all I had from here on in was to defeat a few more easy bosses, then the final foe.
Final area. Final boss gauntlet. Alma: reincarnated
. I couldn't believe it. Team Ninja shamelessly used Alma's character model to re-create an entirely new boss fight only found in Very Hard. 3 hours, 2 popped blood vessels, and 1 busted controller later, and I had beaten the game. I promptly turned it off and never looked back.
To this day, I have not beaten Alma on Master Ninja. She is a hurdle that I must cross before my time is up on this Earth. Once I beat her, I think it would just be best to sell the game and never speak of her again. Never before have I experienced that much pain in a video game, and I do not foresee anything like it in the future. Alma tormented me a total of 7 times before I was finally through with my anguish; and I still have another 3 to go.
Ckarasu, I hope you enjoyed it; my copy of Soul Nomad just broke.