Saturday, March 07, 2015

Binding of Isaac: Two Brutal Mistakes

I've been back playing some Isaac the last couple days working to unlock some more things. I had a game where I got one of the longer things done, but where I also made two mistakes. One which just screwed my ability to get an extra unlock on that run, but one that actually permanently screws over my save file and costs me an awful lot going forward.

The first mistake was a mere item choice issue. I had a pretty good build running, with a bunch of damage, spectral tears, scythes, and the slug thing that causes your tears to split and shoot sideways at the end of their forward progress. I was pretty much covering the entire screen in damage! So good! But then I saw the soy milk item and decided to give it a spin. I knew speedrunners hate the item, but part of that is it's a special item so just seeing it decreases your odds of seeing other special items. How bad could it be to actually pick it up? You lose 80% of your damage but you attack ludicrously fast! I want to attack ludicrously fast!

Two problems with that. First, I was already attacking really fast, so I suspect the soy milk buff probably put me up to the attack speed cap. So it was probably a DPS decrease. But the second problem was the real killer... The size of my scythes is based on the damage they do, so knocking off 80% of my damage shrunk them down a fair bit. Way more than I was expecting, actually. It turned my situation from coating the entire screen in big damage to damage a very thin line with less damage.

I ended up dying in the chest, and didn't pick up my ??? kill with Eden. And I've been trying that again over and over and keep failing to get a run nearly as good as that one. (Eden gets 2 random items to start and can't be reset over and over to get a good start, so throwing away that awesome run sucks.)

The second mistake makes me really sad and has me questioning the game design and my desire to keep playing. One of the mechanics in the game is a 'donation machine' that shows up in stores. You can drop coins in the machine on one run and then pull them out on another run by exploding it with bombs. For some reason there's a limit on how many coins you can drop in on a given run, which means you get to add something like 4-12 coins per run. One of the items unlocks when you get 999 coins in the machine. So while working on that unlock you basically need to cripple all your runs by throwing your money in the machine instead of buying useful items. Over a hundred runs! And I finally did it on this run.

Then I decided to buy something, so I went up to bomb the machine and get some money back out. But then my finger slipped and I ended up walking into the machine again. This put in coin #1000, which causes the machine to explode in a shower of cash. Permanently explode. Losing all of the coins placed inside of it for the save file.

So not only have I been crippling runs for pretty much my entire time playing the game, but now I don't have the coins sitting around to have fun with on future runs. Or to speed up future runs if I start racing or speed running...

It sucks. And I don't understand why the game designer would put that in. It feels like a game mechanic we'd have put into the Manders RPG when we were joking around about making the worst game ever.

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