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2010 Gaming To-Do List: Challenge 3

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Beat Tofu's scenario in Resident Evil 2: Completed.
Ragequits: Four.

Ugh. I'm pretty sure this minigame was pitched by someone at Capcom who hated their customers.

By and large, Resident Evil 2 is considered the best entry in the franchise--or at the very least, the best entry in the pre-Resident Evil 4 franchise. The game has you playing as college girl Claire Redfield or rookie cop Leon Kennedy (of Resident Evil 4 fame) as they struggle to survive in the zombie-overrun Raccoon City Police Department. You choose your character and explore the curiously large police station looking for an escape route, solving puzzles, and unraveling the mystery behind the viral outbreak.

The game was unique because of what Capcom dubbed the "zapping system." Claire and Leon get separated early in the story, so once you play through the game as one of them, you can save your data and play the story from the other one's point of view, meeting new characters and fighting new bosses. They each have an A scenario and a B scenario--playing through Leon A unlocks Claire B, and beating Claire A unlocks Leon B.

To keep you playing even longer, there are two more hidden mini-scenarios starring two different characters. "The 4th Survivor" stars the enigmatic Umbrella Security Service commando codenamed HUNK as he runs a gauntlet from the sewers to the roof of the RCPD in order to complete his mission and deliver a sample of the G-Virus to his bosses at Umbrella. With limited ammunition and healing items, HUNK's game poses quite a challenge.

Then there's Tofu's game.

For starters, you have to play through the main game six times to unlock "The Tofu Survivor," and you have to get at least an A-rank every time (note: as I'm playing the Nintendo 64 version of the game and I have other challenges to get to, I decided to use a cheat code to immediately unlock the minigame). As if this weren't sadistic enough, it has you running through the same course as HUNK, but with one key difference.

No guns. Just a knife and a handful of healing herbs.

In early Resident Evil games, the knife is worse than terrible. All you accomplish by trying to use it on an enemy is letting them know in which direction to bite. It's like stabbing a zombie with a mild breeze. Against more powerful enemies like lickers or giant spiders, you're better off trying to chop off your own head and praying that they choke to death on it.

So Tofu's game is more about evading the dozens of zombies and monsters that stand between you and your escape chopper. You navigate the narrow corridors, hoping to squeeze by unharmed. Sometimes you have to lure an enemy out of position and double back to get by; others, you just run for it.

This is about where you realize the downfall of playing as a giant block of tofu; it has no defining features, save two disembodied hands. All the other playable characters are humans, with easily discernable faces and bodies: against the blurry pre-rendered backgrounds with fixed camera angles, it's easy to tell which way they're facing and what angle they're running at. This is important, because the game controls with all the grace and precision of a broken refrigerator.

With Tofu, not only is it harder to accurately judge your angle when running, but when you get mobbed by a big group of zombies (and you will) it's nearly impossible to tell if you've been grabbed from the back or the front. As a result, it's also harder to tell which way you'll start running when you break loose (hint: it's going to be straight into another zombie's face).

Ugh. I cursed. I turned off the game and took a break and came back to it later, and cursed some more. For the first time since middle school, I wanted to throw a controller. This was just awful. There are apparently people who play through entire Resident Evil games using only the knife, and I can only imagine they do it with bamboo splinters under their fingernails while eating a bowl full of broken lightbulbs, because those are fun things too I guess.

Eventually, somehow, I prevailed. This 8-minute minigame took me about four and a half hours to finish.

CHALLENGE COMPLETE. My reward? HUNK is waiting in the escape chopper and he kills and eats Tofu. I had heard about this before I tried the challenge, and I didn't understand why that was considered a reward. But now, I understand.

I understand.

I hope you were still alive when he started eating you, Tofu.

Merry Christmas everyone!

CHALLENGE 4: Beat a Halo game from start to finish on Legendary difficulty.

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