That One Level

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
(Redirected from Scrappy Level)
The blocks look safe, but they're probably programmed to give Mario radiation poisoning or something.

Sivert Fjeldstad Madsen: Since you've made every game... Did you actually beat Battletoads?
Lord of Games: I assume you mean that tunnel level with the hoverbike. I, er... well, of course I beat it. It's not as if I or anyone else would release a game that couldn't be finished with standard human reaction times.

There are times in video games where, instead of a boss becoming infamous for being insanely difficult, a level does. It could be that it is infested with Goddamned Bats (or Demonic Spiders), is really long and has no check points, is home to That One Boss, is home to That One Puzzle (or at least one with a Guide Dang It), has you trying to outrun an Advancing Wall of Doom or otherwise sticks you with auto scrolling, has a Scrappy Mechanic in play or is The Maze level. In an MMORPG, another possibility is that the level is far too far away from everywhere else, making trips to it pointless. If you experience frustration and anger at a level that may have one or more of these symptoms, congratulations: you're playing That One Level.

Sometimes That One Level polarizes the playerbase—a portion of players find it infuriatingly hard while others don't have much of a problem with it. This can be a matter of general skill, familiarity with a particular control scheme or just plain luck, depending on the level. Regardless, about the least helpful thing that can be said about one of these is "I never had any trouble with it" or worse, "I got through that on the first try," especially without any helpful information included.

Although it isn't a necessary requirement, it should be noted that many That One Levels are hard on all difficulty settings. If a level is difficult on the most difficult setting, it's to be expected. That One Level is the one which is just as infuriating on easy as it is on Harder Than Hard.

Water Levels tend to be That One Level. Whether it's due to the action slowing down, having to constantly look for air supplies, get used to a map with a Z-axis (when you're accustomed to only X and Y), mobs that can attack from above and below, difficulty using the game's camera in such an environment, or having to quickly learn entirely different controls that are only used in that level, underwater levels seem to be one thing no developer is able to get right.

Most, if not all Bonus Dungeons (although you don't have to do them), Slippy Slidey Ice Worlds, and Down the Drain-esque stages qualify as That One Level. Can sometimes contrast the Crowning Levels Of Awesome. It Gets Better is, in many cases, when the beginning of a game has these.

Examples of That One Level are listed on these subpages:
Examples of That One Level include:

Video Games

Star Wars

  • The level in every other Star Wars game that forces you to play the "Snowspeeder wrapping up the legs of the AT-AT" level.
    • Notable Features of this Level: You must defeat all AT-AT's to complete the level. You must use the speeder on this stage (and/or AT-AT's can ONLY be defeated by snowspeeders). You cannot just shoot them. There are lots of other enemies you can accidentally run into (and die from) while looping. A time limit of some type, while not mandatory, is encouraged.
      • Various examples: Rogue Squadron 1 through 3 (N64/GC/PC), it depends on the exact game/level, but it hits practically ALL of the above.
      • The Empire Strikes Back (NES/Gameboy), while the speeder part wasn't too bad, if you crashed you had to continue very slowly on foot.
      • Shadows of the Empire (N64), you 'can' shoot them to death in this one, but it took forever.
      • Lego Star Wars II (various), in Freeplay mode you could fly a different craft, but the only one that could defeat an AT-AT was the speeder. One of the less annoying examples the looping was fairly quick and easy to control (the infinite lives nature of the Lego-(something) games also helps).