We all have our neurotic moments, and one of mine took place over the weekend. See, I am still operating under the very same Xbox 360 that I pinched pennies for and bought way back in 2008/2009. That 360 came with an internal 20 GB hard drive, which, thanks to downloadable games and saves and countless patches, has been filling up over the passing years at a steady clip. It’s nearly full, and I’ve had to reformat an external hard drive I wasn’t using to be able to download some other stuff. That “Gaming With Gold” program has steadily provided me with a new free game every two weeks now, and some are big boys, ranging from 6 to 8 GBs. The point is this: there are several games in my collection that I am done with–or nearly done with or haven’t touched in years or don’t even remember or can confirm in my brain that they were a once and only once kind of experience–and to make space…well, it’s deleting time. See ya, Limbo, Bastion, and The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom; it’s been real.
And I was almost ready to remove Shadow Complex without blinking before I realized that I was just one Achievement away from having unlocked them all. According to the “Serious Complex” Achievement, all I had to do was level up to 50. Hmm. That sounds easy enough, and I wondered why I hadn’t, as, during Shadow Complex‘s time, I ate that game up. Pretty sure I completed it at least three times. After loading up my last save, I discovered I was sitting pretty at LV 45 and playing on Hardcore difficulty. That meant…well, only five more levels to go. Totally do-able. I could totally do that, I told myself rationally, and then I’d have all the Achievements and could erase the game from my 360 knowing fully that I experienced that game fully before it disappeared. Remember, I owned up to all this crazy at the start of this post: my neurosis.
It was not an easy climb to the top, surprisingly. But I guess it never really is. Shadow Complex‘s Hardcore difficulty means you lose a lot more health when shot by enemy soldiers and don’t gain back as much from health packs. I don’t have to worry about ammo as I have a lot of infinite perks already unlocked. It took me a while to get used to the controls again, as well as reacquaint myself with the sprawling, color-coded map. There was a lot of wandering to and fro, finding unneeded collectibles and some boss encounters and remembering how fun it is to run super fast from one side of the map to the other. I died a lot, and I gained a trivial amount of XP along the way. Like, pennies and nickels. That is, until I found an exploit, which helped me gain the final two levels in maybe 15 minutes or so.
At the top of the map, a little ways off from where you fight the final battle, you can gain a MAX BONUS for XP by punching seven or eight soldiers in a row and then exploding some kind of war-robot by launching a missile up its metallic butt. This nets you a really good size chunk of XP, and there’s a Save Room right near the area. So what I did was make my run, get the XP, save, reload my last save, and do the run again, save, reload, and so on and so on. It’s simple and boring and kind of has to be perfectly timed, but it worked and was a better XP guarantee than just plodding around, room to room, popping a soldier here and there and watching that XP turtle forward.
And then the Achievement popped, allowing me to add Shadow Complex to my list of green-starred names over there in sidebar county. I exhaled, checked a few things…and then deleted the game from my hard drive. It was fun going back for a bit to this modern Metroidvania, and the game still plays fantastically, but at this point, I’ve now seen nearly everything from the game. I beat it with 100% of the items and with 13% of the items. I beat it fast, I completed it slow, I unearthed everything. I played with the hook-shot and found ways around enemies, I kicked a lot of spiderbots, and I tried out all the golden weapons. This is just basically me justifying to myself that I did all that I could with the game, and that there was no reason to keep it on the system, when other games, like Clash of Heroes, needed the space.
I suspect this sort of OCD is going to come into play with a few more titles on my Xbox 360, such as Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge and Torchlight, as they both only have one Achievement left to unlock, both attainable, but, just like with “Serious Complex,” might take some time. Some pre-planning. We’ll see when I turn neurotic next.