Game Diary - November 4, 2008: 'Castlevania''s Giant Enemy Crab

'Castlevania: Order of Eccleisa' Crab BossSitting on the train last night next to a woman on the train who was telling her friend that guys are turned off by kissing, I fought the frustrating giant enemy crab in "Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia."

I don't know what this woman and her friend figured out, because I had a frustration of my own: how to beat this crab.

Earlier in the day I IM'd a friend for advice about this awful beast. You fight it about 75 minutes into the game. It crawls up the hollow interior of a tall light house snapping at your heroine's feet, killing her again and again.

My friend told me that this crab is the game's "first wall." It is indeed a boss that battles with old-school ferocity. It is large, vicious and committed to a discernible and deadly pattern of movement. Here's my tip to fellow "Ecclesia" gamers. Get the electricity power in the Minera Prison Island before you fight this crab. It helps. And, like my friend suggested, you should perch yourself in the corner, on the lower left platform, as long as you can, avoiding most of the crab's swipes.

The only thing I find amusing about old-school bosses like this is that, as cheap as they are, you can usually find a cheap way to beat them. Like hiding in that corner where they can't reach you and slowly chipping away at them with a long-distance lightning attack.

The one thing I'd like modern game designers to take from old-school boss battles like this is the joy gamers can have of sharing strategies. Imagine if I could have screen-captured the boss, posted it to an in-game network and asked for help. The fact that I had to go outside of the game to communicate with friends who have played it shows a missed opportunity for better in-game networking. Imagine a super-hard single-player game that was built around a technology enabling easy in-game or in-system communication between players seeking help from each other.

So I beat the crab. It took me a half-hour of tries.

And I never did find out what those women were really talking about. But the way that conversation turned into whispers, I don't think they wanted me to know. And I don't think they were talking "Castlevania."

Next: When not watching states turn red and blue I just may finish "Fable II."