I’ve really enjoyed Enclave, its been a fun breeze to play, but like all games, eventually its time to man up and realize that the game isn’t there for you to have fun anymore. The game is there for it to beat you or you to beat it. Every game has this same struggle toward the end at least on medium difficulty. Easy mode could be well easier, but the thirteenth chapter of Enclave has been breaking my gaming soul.
After two hours of playing, I still haven’t even reached the first checkpoint. I’m not even sure there are any checkpoints in the level. The level kicks off on a long thin bridge over lava. It has started off other levels that way, but this is unique, because the bridge is so thin with three archers. One on the bridge, two safely sniping at me from pill boxes. These three snipers are deadly. Three archers, each completely unique. The first loads three to five arrows, making it a shotgun that will instantly kill me at close range. The next archer fires one arrow at a time, but very quickly. Over and over, unrelenting where my only cover is two narrow points that hold up the bridge. The third fires more than one flaming arrow at a time, that starts the bridge on fire. So I need to walk through the fire and possibly catch fire hurting my character.
To defend against these arrows, melee characters have shields. So you need to keep the shield up and endure the arrows, but every arrow you block, it knocks your shield away fro a second. There’s always a chance that I can get shot by an archer to break the block and then get shot by a different archer while the shield is open and more than likely result in instant death. Keeping the shield up makes a slow character even slower.
The sluggishness isn’t the problem. There are three well placed orc brutes on the bridge. The first is easy enough. Sometimes he suicides himself off the bridge. This isn’t good, because he carries a health potion. When you’re attacking, you’re not blocking. So killing a brute opens you up to being instantly killed by arrows. The first is easy enough to bait away from the shotgun archer. With the shotgun archer and first brute taken out comes another brute. Then the issue becomes backing up on a twisting bridge without falling off the edge. I say backing up, because if I turn tail and run away, I risk being murdered by quick or fire arrows. I just can’t openly fight the brute. Sometimes I can take out the brute while hidden behind one of the two narrow bridge supports, but it still leaves me vulnerable to the fire arrows.
Each melee attacker now carries a shield. Everyone from the heavily armored to the black skeletons. The shields work the same way yours does. You need to knock away their block and then you can hurt them. Its easy enough to button mash, but I need to be aggressive or they just put up their shields again.
For the third brute, I have a choice to rush him and kill him safely between the two pill boxes with the snipers. Otherwise I need to walk backward back down the bridge again. Wasting time over and over again. It doesn’t take that long, but it feels like a process. Having my shield up, inching backward, watching the bridge under my feet so I don’t fall off. Then there’s the slight knock back of the arrows. Its not that big of an issue, but a few arrows have knocked me off the bridge.
With all six of those enemies taken out, its time to drop down onto the spine of a giant skeleton spine like its a tightrope walk. Luckily the developers thought to add the equivalent of a hand rail, but then the spine opens it up and if you’re not walking straight forward, you can fall through the spine segments to your doom. From there its time to face six black skeletons. That’s easy. Joyously easy, because when they spawn in, their shield isn’t raised. Any hesitation just gives them an advantage. Three at once, then the other three appear as traps when I step on three tiles to open the door to what has become my doom so many times.
Inside that room is a bridge, another bridge, inside of a castle. I can best describe this bridge as the three dimensional version of Shao Kahn’s boss fight from Mortal Kombat 3. Then the narrow bridge has two black skeletons appear. Easy enough. Then two shotgun archers rain down arrows while I cower below them. Two at once becomes an issue, because one can easily break my block and the other will shoot in the second that my shield is away. Its just time consuming to kill them as I wait for them to run out of arrows and jump down to face me. Sure I have a crossbow, but its not only useless, but it will only get me killed when I lower my defenses.
After that its two ghosts, once at a time that take their sweet time to fly in, around the bridge then materialize where I then bash in their ectoplasmic brains. If I’m lucky enough to survive, the inner door opens and its on to fight a strong, yet simple enemy. Another door will open and in comes another brute, this time with a shot gun archer right behind him. It becomes an issue of timing my attacks as the shotgun arrows are being reloaded one at a time. If I over attack, like button mash three times instead of two, I’ll have my shield down and get shot dead instantly. I’ve rarely died here, but its still a feat to survive.
When I survive that, its on to the stairway trap. By calling it a trap, you might think oh its only one trap. No its several, all in the tiniest set of stairs that you’d think I could climb without there even needing a stairway. I first need to wait for the stairs to build. That involves inching forward to have a stair form, then another stair. Then knowing not to make a third stair, because the third stair is covered in blades, shoots out and kills my character. Instead its triggering a left step when I’ve triggered two right steps already. Sound confusing? It is. That first left stair is more like a short pedestal. When its moving, its also opening a gap in the floor that I need to precision jump on or fall in the gap to my death. This has killed me many times.
With that done, there’s a simple, but difficult enemy and I’m sent back down the trap staircase that I can easily jump down, because walking down just has me killed. Then its back to the room outside of the inner bridge, unlocking a door where I’m soon greeted by a wizard that poisons me. Even with a shield up, that doesn’t matter since its health draining magic. This has been my grave more than once. Even chugging health potions. The health just isn’t fast enough to replenish.
If that doesn’t sound like a lot, this is all in the span of ten minutes, crawling with a shield over my face for most of it. Forced to wait as enemies materialize. The game isn’t always like this, its just like this when its done playing with me. The game wants to crush me. This might be a feather in my cap to push through this. If only people knew or remembered what Enclave is. It looks like it only sold 150,000 copies in its hay day.