DKC2 Stage 3 commences, plus why I hate classic save systems

So I finally made progress in Donkey  Kong Country 2 over the weekend, but not a whole lot.  Made it up to stage three, defeated the pretty easy Stage 2 boss (a flying sword, really?), and at least hit the save point in Stage 3 before quitting for a bit yesterday.

As much as I like old games, man, I really, really hate the save system in games like Donkey Kong Country 2.  Especially the damn coin system in this game, but I’ll rail on that in a minute.  I guess with DKC2 there was a certain expectation for difficulty, even though I’m not sure where that came from, since I never found the original to be particularly difficult.

Maybe old age and newer games has made me a little soft, but going from a classic Castlevania game to this title, well, I kind of think DKC2 is actually harder than Rondo of Blood was.  Not something that I would have expected, but I’ve certainly encountered more game over screens here than I would have guessed.  Part of my frustration with that is the limited save spots in this game.  In DKC2, and pretty much DKC1,  you’ve got about 1 save spot per level, meaning that you get about three stages into a level before unlocking that spot.  This isn’t so awful, hell, New Super Mario Bros. used a similar set-up (but allowed quick saves), so my issue isn’t really with that. 

My biggest hang-up comes from not being able to save a second or third time, once I’ve exhausted that initial save.  Well, unless I want to spend some in-game currency.  The coins haven’t really been liberally placed either, there seems to be about one or two per stage, but as you advance in level, these get harder and harder to get.  Also, you can’t travel back to previous levels to stock up, because then you have to spend coins for that too. 

Basically, I’m saying that I really, really hate the coin system in this game.  Especially when it’s tied into the save system, which after your first save requires you to spend two coins to save again.  This means, if you don’t have or don’t want to spend coins, you need to make it all the way through the last half of the level you’re currently on, beat the boss, and then clear the first half of the next level before getting to the next free save spot.  This wouldn’t be so hard if I could have my extra lives carry over every time I boot up the game, but if I’m at 10 lives when I turn my system off, when I restart it I’m right back down to three. 

So yeah, not every aspect of older games is awesome, and the save system in DKC2 is a shining example of that.  I know, I’m probably just being a weaksauce gamer here, but I don’t have nearly as much time to sit down and tough it out over two or three hours a day with this game, so it’s a little maddening to sit down and play only to have your progress destroyed by one annoying game over screen.  Thank god for the ability to suspend state on Virtual Console, I’m not sure I’d have the patience to deal with it on the SNES at this point.


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