Let’s Analyze: A Thorough Look at Cave Story – Part 7

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This post continues a series on the design of Cave Story from start to finish. If you missed any prior posts, check them out at the links above before continuing. With that taken care of, let’s take a look at some familiar places and see how they’ve changed.

The beginning is a very good place to start, so we’ll kick things off with the First Cave once again. Not much changed here since the first time through, initially, but once the player gets the Spur, the area is absolutely flooded with enemies.

I don’t have a photographic memory, but I’m about positive that there weren’t this many bats before.

This not only demonstrates the hilarious power of the Spur, but how far the player has come since the last time they were here. These bats and Critters that posed a (minuscule, vaguely defined) threat before are taken down in droves by the power accumulated since. This introduction makes the Spur feel awesome, truly a complete version of the weapon acquired at the start.

After grabbing the Spur, we went back to the Egg Corridor and, well… things went south a bit. The Egg Corridor? is the first area where the player is guaranteed to have some version of the Booster. As such, the area could very well have been designed such that it’s required. However, it is also entirely possible to get through without. In a couple of places, fans turn on if the player doesn’t have a Booster, but in others, the large stalactites act as platforms, allowing a player without a Booster to make jumps they otherwise couldn’t.

This is just one of several stalactites which acts as a step for a player without a Booster–which isn’t completely impossible later on.

The Egg Corridor? also serves a powerful narrative purpose. Some of this is evident from the dialogue surrounding it, particularly Kazuma’s monologue at Egg 0. But everything in the area serves to support the point that something is wrong.

All is far from well here.

The corridor is completely devastated, Basil—the most important part of the Egg Corridor—is nowhere to be seen, and the majority of the Sky Dragons have been reduced to sad, undead husks at best. The tension of the narrative was rising at the end of the Sand Zone a few episodes ago, but the Egg Corridor? is a tangible demonstration of how high the stakes have risen.

That’s the last of our re-traversal of the Egg Corridor. Things are looking a little bleak, but we’re well on our way to whatever comes next. Check back here in a couple of weeks for the next leg of the journey.

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