Dear Water Level:
I wish I could say “it’s not you, it’s me,” but that would be a lie. It’s you. It’s totally you.
I’ll be the first to admit, I should have known better. I should have walked away the moment you spat my lovable plumber out of a pipe and into your cold, wet hell with absolutely no warning. When it became readily apparent my clumsy floundering was no match for the gracefully sweeping squid and her merry band of demon children, I should have turned my back on you.
But you know what? I have a thing for bad boys. And musicians. And holy hell, did you deliver the music. Like sweet promises to “never do it again” while still indulging the habit you were swearing to break, you lured me back to watery arms with dulcet tones.
You laid the catchy hooks on thick, yet managed the smoothest of “flows,” if you’ll pardon the expression. You delivered songs so futuristically retro, I felt like I was time traveling to the past of some distant planet.
And sometimes, I’d be so enamored with your musical stylings I’d find myself sitting cross-legged on the floor of my bedroom, controller lightly grasped in my relaxed hands, eyes glazed, lulled into a hypnosis so complete I’d barely have time to register my spiky-haired hedgehog had long since stopped impatiently tapping his foot and was ABOUT TO DROWN.
They say Niagara Falls has a similar effect.
They say Niagara Falls is also a bastard. Well maybe not “they,” but whatever, I knew someone who went over in a barrel, ok? I think I have it on pretty good authority.
Don’t get me wrong. We had some good times, too. There were those rare occasions when you’d give me controls that were actually intuitive, when you’d use the water to slow me down in a way that made sense; when you’d present me with a challenge instead of a burden to bear until the next level, a test instead of a grueling trial.
There were moments when water would heighten the tension to really serve the story. But let’s be honest, those moments were few and far between. Mostly you were there to offer up a lazy change in gameplay in the name of variety and in service to some “developer.”
I wasted some of the best years of my hand-eye coordination development on you. But the joke’s on you, pal. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Or in this case, what kills you a bunch the first few times you play it makes you memorize where all the warp whistles are so you can just skip that world entirely.
Well guess what? Mama’s got a warp whistle.
PS. I’m also seeing someone else. I think you’ve met, actually—Escort Mission?