Video games have certain moments that you could say I live for. Those Unforgettable moments. The moments when the music Resonates with you so well that it takes the game to the next level. And then there are those that remind us that video games can be more than just a fun romp through a virtual world. Sometimes they are outright brutal. But hey, sometimes, that’s part of the fun! This new series is dedicated to those challenging moments in games that, when completed, you can’t help but jump for joy and do a little happy dance when you’re sure no one’s looking.
It is only fitting that the first topic we shall be discussing for this particular series is the very reason this idea came into my head to begin with, the Test of Fear in Star Fox Adventures. When I first played this game back in the early 2000’s, there were plenty of moments that were difficult for me. I specifically remember struggling a great deal on Dragon Rock when you had to shoot flying enemies from the back of your dinosaur allies. And the scene before the final boss has gained a bit of notoriety for me due to the sheer number of times I had to re-watch it every time I resumed the game for yet another fruitless series of attempts at beating the game once and for all. Heck, I used to be unable to finish Lightfoot Village because I couldn’t press the button quickly enough to beat Musclefoot.
Right, Lightfoot Village. There’s a reason I hate that place. Because this location is also home to the third Krazoa challenge, the Test of Fear. While the rest of the game has become fairly easy for me, this is the only part of the game that is just as difficult now as it was then. And based on the comments I found online when looking up tips to make the challenge easier, it sounds like a lot of people share my sentiments.
You see, the Test of Fear requires Fox to face frightening illusions of dinosaurs (raptors, I think) that repeatedly try to attack him. And you have to basically control his fear by keeping a moving line within the green area of this bar located at the top of the screen. The entire time, the bar sways back and forth, zipping left or right whenever something particularly startling happens. And let me tell you, though it doesn’t sound terribly difficult, focusing on that bar, while all kinds of distracting things happen on screen, is no easy feat. The test is all about focus and quick reaction time, as it requires very fast reflexes to correct that wavering little line whenever it decides to run for the hills.
During my most recent playthrough, the Test of Fear took a full hour of attempts before I was finally able to prevail. Less recently, it was also this very stage I had to complete for a friend many years back when he was unable to get through it himself. Why he thought I’d be able to successfully fumble through such a challenge, I know not, but he apparently put his faith in the right duck. He left the room so I could focus, and after many tries, I eventually completed this most dastardly of trials. I have to admit that this is one moment in my life of which I am particularly proud.
To this day, I dread having to complete the Test of Fear, though I would like to make it a habit of ending these posts with some tips that might make things easier for you guys. The trick to this challenge is to keep control over the line. Obviously. If you just let it move where it wants, only intervening when it moves too quickly to one side, odds are your reaction time will be too slow. The method that’s worked best for me is to purposely keep moving the line back and forth yourself, then memorize where all the startling moments are, and be ready to jerk the control stick in the opposite direction when that happens. Keeping the line in constant movement of your own doing makes it easier to react quickly when the line does something unexpected.
There are also two main moments during the trial that you want to keep in mind: 1: when the raptors jump at you early on, the line will jerk to the right, and 2: shortly after General Scales appears, the line will speed to the right with pretty much no warning. At point 2, you will really want to keep a handle on things because the line will more or less alternate between the right and left extremes of the bar, but if you can maintain control for just a short while longer, you should be able to complete the challenge.
People online have suggested muting the TV and even having someone cover everything on screen but the bar with a blanket so that your focus won’t be drawn away by the distracting sounds and imagery. During my most recent playthrough, muting the TV did help me to feel a bit less stressed, though I am unsure how effective the latter method would be for me. The point at which I fail the most is shortly after General Scales appears, and if I’m unaware of his presence, it is unlikely I’ll be prepared for when the line gets out of control. But of course, everyone has different preferences, so if you find yourself stuck, you may want to try some combination of the methods above and see what works for you.
Who here has played Star Fox Adventures? Was the Test of Fear the hardest part of the game for you, or was there another moment you found more challenging? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!