The longest journey in BIT.TRIP RUNNER has come to an end

The Odyssey by Homer tells the story of Odysseus and his journey home after the fall of Troy. It is, by no means, a simple skip across the pond. I mean, it takes the man ten years to reach Ithaca, and that’s after the ten-year Trojan War. Do the math correctly, and you’ll end up somewhere around the twenty years mark. That whole time, his wife and son believe him dead and must deal with their own problems. It’s epic in all manners, and if you never read it, you should.

Related to all that, I, too, have just finished a long and epic journey. Sure, sure, it was in a videogame, but it still took time and sweat and perseverance and determination and sacrifice and the occasional curse word or two. I’m talking about the Odyssey level in the first world of BIT.TRIP RUNNER, naturally. I beat it. Finally. See so right here:

LONGEST.JOURNEY: Complete Odyssey

I know, I know. That is unarguable proof, but whatever. Check my Steam profile Achievements if you don’t believe me.

Anyways…this level. This level. It was truly a test of my patience, and if you know me well enough, then you know that I am brimming with patience. It’s all I do–be patient. I’ve been attempting to complete the longest journey for a few months now; getting to the final level is fairly easy in the grand scheme of things, but completing it, surviving all obstacles and making it to the end in one unbreaking stream of motion…well, obviously it’s not impossible, but it is most definitely improbable.

I first attempted to beat it with keyboard controls, but eventually switched over to a plugged-in Xbox 360 controller. This made things easier, but never easy. Jumping, sliding, jumping + kicking while in midair…I can do it all much faster via pushing a button than fumbling my fingers across a keyboard. Not sure why I didn’t make the switch sooner, but I think part of me believed that one was supposed to play it that way, and that using a controller was, in the eyes of the developers, considered “cheating.” And you probably don’t have to ask, but no, I did not collect all the gold bars in Odyssey–AND I NEVER WILL.

Okay, so now I’m stuck on the boss battle directly after this level. Its name is Mingrawn Timbletot, and it’s a flying spaceship that is a pain. You’d think that once someone completed Odyssey, everything thereafter would be like gliding on ice. Nope. I can get past the first two “forms” of the boss, but once he starts spitting out mini-ships in a slightly unpredictable pattern, I’m done. Just can’t nail the timing right. Guess I really am following in Odysseus’ footsteps; hopefully I’ll complete the first boss zone some time during the next twenty years. Hopefully…

Level 1-11 in Bit.Trip RUNNER is a real Bit.Trip BUMMER

…but I only say that out of the frustration that comes with a brutally old-school videogame like Bit.Trip RUNNER. It’s not a total bummer; in fact, it’s extremely addicting and full of musically magic moments; it’s only a bummer in that if you mess up once on level 1-11 “Odyssey” as you attempt to pick up 93 pieces of gold–yes, 93–or avoid numerous pitfalls…it’s back to the start for you and the never-tiring, always perky CommanderVideo.

And you try again, naturally, getting a smidge further into the level, but still end up missing a key jump because you hit the space bar one-ninth of a second too late or couldn’t remember quickly enough if you were supposed to slide under that bouncing block or hop over it. All right, so you try again. And again. And again like eight more times, stubbornness in your eyes and hands. Eventually, carelessness slips in, and aspects of the level you had already perfected now become just as difficult, with it all coming to a glorious head in accepting defeat and failure.

At least, that’s how things went for me. And the folks at Giant Bomb, based on their Quick Look skills. But yeah, Bit.Trip RUNNER‘s motto is basically, “Okay, one more try.” It’s hard not to say it, not to want to go again. The solution is so simple, and you always see your mistakes. Like, you know you could have gotten farther if you timed your jump better, so go again and this time plan your jump better. Except it doesn’t always work out so easily, especially as the levels get longer and full of more stuff. Precision reflexes are key, and for those that don’t have them, they must be earned, worked toward, like calluses from playing the guitar. I am getting there, but it’s not going to happen over night.

Need further proof about how far I am versus how many times I’ve retried levels, over and over and over? Well, see here:

RUNNER.UP: Jump 1,000 times

But I’m not done with you, level 1-11. Not one bit (pun intended). I just need a breather, but I’ll be back soon, and then you and are I going to make sweet musical completion together. Though part of me is nervous because the level after 1-11 is…a boss fight. I have no idea how those are played out, but imagine it’ll be no run through the park.