On The Level

Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night

Castlevania series: The Clock Towers

The verticality of a recurring Castlevania stage provides the foundation for an intricate kinetic harmony.

By John Teti • July 17, 2013

The climactic sequence of the 1989 Batman film, directed by Tim Burton, features the Joker dragging Batman’s love interest, Vicki Vale, to the top of Gotham Cathedral. It’s not clear why the Joker decides to do this. Even the director wasn’t sure.

Burton hated the idea, having no clue how the scene would end: “Here were Jack Nicholson and Kim Basinger walking up this cathedral, and halfway up Jack turns around and says, ‘Why am I walking up all these stairs? Where am I going?”’ “We’ll talk about it when you get to the top!” Burton called back.

Nicholson and Burton were arguing about narrative justification. The cinematic justification was obvious: Climbing tall towers makes for good spectacle.

This is the same reason that almost every game in the main Castlevania series features a clock tower. Yes, tradition may dictate that Count Dracula—your foe in all of these horror-themed platformers—resides in a vast manor. But a Big Ben-style clock tower seems excessive even for the Lord Of Darkness. The designers of Castlevania games take this license anyway because upward motion literally and figuratively escalates the action. Over the course of the series, developers have used this escalation as a baseline theme, composing increasingly complex harmonies of motion on top of it.

The clock tower makes its first appearance in the original NES Castlevania, released to American players in 1987. The tower isn’t much: A couple of rooms with winding staircases, the last small section before you face off against Dracula himself. The video above, made by a player who’s using modern-day software to record a perfect playthrough, doesn’t do justice to the difficulty of the section. But you can still see why it’s tricky. A big part of the challenge stems from the fact that in the 8-bit Castlevania games, you’re never more vulnerable than when you’re on a set of stairs. You’re locked into a single line of movement. You can’t jump, and your rate of ascent or descent is agonizingly slow.

The game contrasts this constrained vertical movement against the frenetic motion of your foes. Birds swoop in and drop Flea Men (little hunchback-looking miscreants), whose skips and jumps are notoriously unpredictable. Many a Castlevania player has been laid low by a flitting Flea Man. Then there are herky-jerky skeletons who dart along the strata of the tower as they toss bones—where the hell do they get all those bones?—in high, lazy arcs. In the winter, my brother used to play this trick where he’d throw a sky-high snowball in my general direction. As I tracked the flight of the first snowball, he’d quickly grab another snowball and nail me with a line drive right in the kisser. That is what the Castlevania skeletons are doing here.

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest does not have a clock tower, but that’s the least of the quirks in that wonderfully odd game. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, shown in the video above, revives the tradition. The clock tower is the second stage, which by Castlevania standards is unusually early. This hampers the level design somewhat, because you can only make the second level of a game so hard, and the clock tower is best suited for moments of maximum tension and difficulty. So in Curse, you end up with rather tame stretches like a room where you hop across two swinging pendulums, with nothing to distract you or get in your way.

Still, Curse introduces new varieties of motion that make its tower a more sophisticated tableau of movement than the first game. First, there’s the rotation of the large clock gears, which you have to ride to ascend the tower. It’s a shaky ride, sort of like keeping your balance on a rolling log, as the gears’ unceasing turns threaten to throw you off. (Also, because the designers were pushing the bounds of NES technology, it’s hard to tell exactly where the “safe” area of a gear ends and where the “you will plummet to your death” area begins.)

The tower of Curse also incorporates the sinuous motion of the series’ iconic Medusa-head enemies. These foes glide across the screen in a sweeping sine wave, which proves hypnotic. Once they appear on screen, the Medusa heads’ motion is entirely predictable in theory, yet in practice, they come at you too quickly for novice players to get their bearings. The stage’s most elegantly difficult moments come when complementary motions converge, and players must manage both the perilous rotation of a gear and the waves of the Medusa heads at the same time.

The next game in the series, the 16-bit Super Castlevania IV, is an interesting case because, thanks to your practically magical bullwhip, you have much more mobility than in previous games. The designers use this to create a fun visual pun in the clock tower, when you use your whip to latch onto a moving gargoyle and become, in essence, a human pendulum.

But your broad range of motion creates problems, too, as the level design has to give you a wide berth to accommodate your acrobatics. The Medusa heads fly across the screen in taller arcs than before (or higher-amplitude sine waves, if you want to be precise), making them much less of a nuisance. Other foes are also rather polite compared to other clock-tower stages in the series. While the Super Castlevania IV tower is still plenty challenging, it doesn’t require you to manage harmonies of motion in the way that its predecessor did.

Conversely, the harmonies come together in Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night (appropriately enough), the PlayStation classic released in 1997. In this clock tower—three tall, hellish rooms—the tight quarters evoke the restricted mobility of the NES era, just as the unpredictable motion of the original game’s birds and Flea Men is echoed in the intermittent moves of flying harpies. The now-obligatory waves of Medusa heads are here, as are the maddening, ever-rotating clock gears. There’s practically no place in this clock tower where you can catch your breath and feel safe.

And that lack of respite is the essence of Symphony’s clock tower. By coalescing all the different patterns of movement from previous entries in the series, it creates a realm where you, too, have to remain in constant motion. Of all the towers in the first decade of Castlevania, this is the one that does justice to the setting. You are the central cog in an ever-changing clockworks. The worst thing you can do here is to stand still, such that the designers use it as punishment: The golden-colored Medusa heads temporarily petrify you if you touch them. This leaves you open to further attacks, or worse—your health might be drained as you stand helplessly in a pool of frigid water, or your stony likeness might plummet into a bed of spikes.

The long and short of it is that if you dare to pause, you’re ground up in the game’s machinery. You must maintain your part in this intricate kinetic harmony. “Why am I walking up all these stairs? Where am I going?” you might ask. Amid all the exploration and backtracking of Symphony, you might not even know the answer. But it’s the wrong question anyway. For you and the Joker alike, it’s not the destination that matters. It’s the movement.

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76 Responses to “Castlevania series: The Clock Towers”

  1. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    And what’s more, if hit by another medusa head while petrified in the SotN clock tower, you suffer signicantly more damage. Then there’s the knife flinging harpies…
    So a common anxiety dream of mine is being inexplicably adrift in the middle of a primordial ocean, teeming with creatures. And any movement I make brings me in contact with some foul, alien thing. My whole body is tense with a recoil response. The clock tower elicits some of that same feeling. My flight response kicks in and I just try to flee through to the other side, avoiding all contact with the dense population of enemies that plague the stage.
    But it is interesting that apparently some of the qualities of being a precision time piece are infused into the inhabitants. The aforementioned Medusa sine wave. The harpies perfect twirl. Even the clean pendulum arc of the cloak knight’s flamberge.
    The game mythology says Dracula is an embodiment of chaos, but you’d never know judging by his clockwork minions.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

      If I remember correctly, there’s a small chance of being turned into a stone gargoyle instead of the standard petrified version of Alucard when being hit by the gold medusa head.  There is no practical difference to this; It’s just a neat little visual Easter egg.  It’s the kind of thing that might fuel a neat little schoolyard rumor, at least until the internet made it far too easy to confirm or deny these types of things.

      What goes unmentioned in the article is the true reason that SOTN‘s Clock Tower stage is so hair-pullingly frustating.  You see, when a Belmont gets hit, they typically just take it like a man and stay in the same spot.  Alucard, despite the mythic powers that he accumulates (or rather, reacculmulates) over the course of the game, melodramatically hurls himself backwards every single time he gets hit, whether it be an ape skeleton hurling a barrel at him or a magpie divebombing him.  Not only does this often lead to some awkward encounters with spikes and water–two of Alucard’s mortal enemies–but it sets you back, a pain when you are trying to ascend.

      In theory, I understand why they did it.  After all, Alucard gets pretty beefy as the game progresses, so absent an extra penalty to being hit, it would be super-tempting to just run through the rooms and just soak up the damage, thus negating any sense of pacing or danger.  However, this doesn’t make it less annoying when a single flea-man knocks you out of the room.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

           The gargoyle easter egg is just one of a bunch of neat, non-game affecting touches in SotN and a good reason why it’s so beloved.
           There is a palatable sense of enjoyment infusing that game.

        • The_Misanthrope says:

          I always liken it to a last hurrah, a bunch of game designers just getting together while the boss is away and having some fun. It is just ridiculously overstuffed: every monster they could think of makes an appearance, magic spells with Street Fighter-esque entry codes, a Wal-mart-like selection of items and weapons, and that whole second half of the game that you could totally miss.

      • caspiancomic says:

         Actually, according to the Castlevania wiki, Alucard takes on his gargoyle form if you get petrified after performing a double jump but before landing. I haven’t personally verified this yet, though. Also, I think there is a practical difference: regular Stoneucard takes increased damage while petrified, but Gargoyleucard is invincible.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          Thanks for ruining the magic, Casp.  Now why don’t you go ahead and tell me where eggs come from.

        • Nick says:

          They come from chicken cooters, Spacemonkey Mafia. Chicken cooters.

  2. zerocrates says:

    I’m concerned that the clocks housed in these towers have been somewhat over-engineered.

    • NakedSnake says:

      Over-clocked, you mean?

    • E.Buzz Miller says:

      I’m more concerned about who kept putting porkchops in the walls of these castles from a hygiene perspective.

      • HobbesMkii says:

         I think I saw that in a Mr. Clean commercial once. This kid runs into a table and knocks over a glass of cranberry juice without doing anything and his mom sighs. Then Mr. Clean comes to life, butchers a pig, and hangs porkchops on the walls. Then he takes the kid into the kitchen, and very quietly so only the kid can hear he goes, “that’s what left of the kids who knocked over their cranberry juice and didn’t clean it up.” The next scene is the happy mother looking on while her son furiously scrubs at the carpet, while in the foreground, the bottle of Mr. Clean is present, and you can see him do his trademark wink on the bottle.

        Does anyone else remember that?

      • I’d much sooner eat a wall porkchop from Castelvania than a trash can ham hock from Final Fight.

      • zerocrates says:

        Plus, everyone knows roast chickens have the superior strength-to-weight ratio.

    • duwease says:

      What is a clock, anyway? A miserable pile of gears!

  3. Mr. Glitch says:

    I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the overlooked Genesis Castlevania game, Bloodlines, also sports a clock tower at the top of a World War I German munitions factory. However, of the tower levels in Bloodlines, I think the Leaning Tower of Pisa is much more memorable. The whole affair sways back and forth, and spins around as you scale it, leading to an epic, vertigo-inducing boss battle at the very top.

    • caspiancomic says:

       You did a write-up of this game for your blog, right? Funnily enough I’ve actually never played it, despite my established Genesis/Castlevania infatuation. I should really get around to it.

      • Mr. Glitch says:

        I did! It was one of the reviews I had originally posted to the Comment Cat boards, hence no screengrabs. I’ve been meaning to go back & add a few to those old reviews.

    • Girard says:

      That tilting and twirling is wild. I had no idea the Genesis could do that sort of thing.

      • Mr. Glitch says:

        Yeah, late into its life, developers really got a handle on what the Genesis could do. Vectorman and Gunstar Heroes are good examples of late-era Genesis games that employ impressive scaling & rotation effects. 

      • GhaleonQ says:

        The whole game’s a real showpiece for its power, and its action is arguably the series’ best.  Rondo Of Blood is the best balance between action Castlevania and adventure Castlevania, but Bloodlines is close AND has extremely challenging enemy encounters.  It’s a must-play, my…3rd or 4th favorite in the series.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      The Bloodlines clock tower looks brutal, and completely worth watching an ad for the Illinois Tourism Board to see.
         In the also overlooked Castlevania Chronicles, it’s the clock tower level that’s stopped me short.  I’ve been incapable of making it to the Werewolf boss with sufficient energy left to beat her.

    • TaumpyTearrs says:

      LOVED that game, and the Leaning Tower level definitely haunted me for years after playing it.

  4. GhaleonQ says:

    Your favorite!  Go, go, go!  http://castlevania.wikia.com/wiki/Clock_and_Machine_Towers

    I have to say, I vastly prefer Rondo Of Blood to Symphony Of The Night/Nocturne Of The Moonlight, but Rondo’s tower is the least interesting part of the game.

    I think I have to go with Aria Of Sorrow/Minuet Of Dawn for 2nd place for the total design/aesthetic/difficulty package, though I know some people find it annoying.  However, like John wrote, they just aren’t as scary when your character is more mobile.  The original’s Vampire Killer wins for the best.  It feels like survival instead of exploration, which is how an uphill assault ought to feel.

    • E.Buzz Miller says:

      Super Castlevania IV.
      The controls were just perfect, and it may just be a virtual remake of the original, it made everything better in every way.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      I am terrible at games, specifically games of this ilk. My favorite is probably Castlevania II, because it’s the only one I played for more than fifteen minutes.

    • neodocT says:

      I’ll go with Circle of the Moon, because that was my introduction to the Castlevania series, and one of the few that I replayed countless times.  As far as scariness goes, in the original GBA, you couldn’t even see anything!

      • The_Helmaroc_King says:

        My Castlevania knowledge is almost exclusive to the handheld games, starting with Circle of the Moon, so I feel you, bro.

        I like how the handhelds started using a much brighter palette after Circle of the Moon, with a lot less black and a lot more primary color. It reminds me of how TV set at night tends to be tinted blue and how old comics use a lot of blue or purple where you would expect black; an interesting issue of clarity, cost, and quality.

        • neodocT says:

          To be fair, Circle of the Moon did look great on the backlit GBA SP, but the brighter color scheme of the later games is certainly more attractive.

    • Tim Kraemer says:

      It’s a tough call between Dawn of Sorrow and Symphony of the Night, but I give Dawn of Sorrow the marginal edge because its real-ultimate-final boss battle is an actual fight that requires timing and skill and not just a jumble of nonsense. Third place behind those two is Super Castlevania IV.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      @e_buzz_miller:disqus @drflimflam:disqus @neodocT:disqus @The_Helmaroc_King:disqus Oh, I actually meant favorite version of the Clock or Machine Tower (see the link).

      Order Of Ecclesia/The Stolen Seal is by FAR my favorite game in 1 of my favorite series, and it’s actually my 6th favorite game ever.  http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?p=25741820#post25741820

      • neodocT says:

        I did get it, that’s why I answered Circle of the Moon, as it had the Clocktower I rememberd the most!

        If we were talking favorite Castlevania, I’m with you 100%, Order of Ecclesia all the way.

        And Moon: Remix RPG seems amazing, so do keep us updated on that translation!

        • GhaleonQ says:

          Ah, got it.  “You couldn’t even see anything,” applies to every level if you were like me and kept the original Game Boy Advance!  And, YES, it was really scary and the tower was the darkest part of the game.  The tower was a wonderful combination of open-area adventure and side room enemy gauntlet action and was 1 of my favorite parts of the game.  I think my top 5 is (American titles) Order Of Ecclesia, Rondo Of Blood, Bloodlines, Simon’s Quest, Circle Of The Moon (and then Lament Of Innocence, because I am dumb).

    • Chronomage says:

      I’d put Aria of Sorrow and Order of Ecclesiastes neck and neck for second place behind SOTN.  Of course my poster-handle comes from Aria of Sorrow, so maybe my subconscious already has its preference.

  5. Necrogem says:

    I really have nothing to add, but I just wanted to say how delighted I
    am with the topic of this On The Level, as I absolutely adore the
    Castlevania series, especially Symphony of the Night.  I even made that my Firefox theme, mainly so I can stare at the gorgeous visage of Adrian Fahrenheit Tepes every time I browse the Internet.  In any case, great points about the theme of movement being inherent to the setting and how that in turn forces the player to move in certain ways.  It’s not exactly something that comes to mind as you’re in the thick of it!

  6. caspiancomic says:

    Oh man, I got so hyped to talk about how the Clock Tower in Symphony in the Night is my absolute favourite part of that game, with its changing weather effects, one-time-use gags like the elevator, clever enemy placement (those four “floors” with a unique enemy type on each!), taunting dead ends, functional telescopes, decorative hanged skeletons, and boss fight against Doppelganger 10. But then I was like, “oh wait, that’s the Outer Wall. That level rules!”

    Anyway the Clock Tower is pretty cool too I guess. The first time I saw a Skull Lord I dropped the controller I was so scared. Plus it was a nice touch that you could steal the Flail Guard’s Morningstar.

    • PaganPoet says:

      I was all about the Underground Caverns, if nothing more than the smooth-jazz meets Baroque music.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Yeah, it’s kind of a neat shout-out to all the basement jazz clubs of New York in the 60’s.  You know, the ones with dragon skull-bearing skeletons and ice blades hidden in the rafters.

  7. Cloks says:

    Tangentially related but I can’t read about any sort of perfect playthrough without linking to this astounding video where Super Mario is played without touching the ground.

  8. Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

    John, thank you for that link to the article on the troubled production of Burton’s Batman. It confirmed what I already knew – Jack Nicholson is one awesome motherfucker.

    • Girard says:

      I love the bits where he actually becomes the Joker, in a sense, this terrifying, imposing force slathered in creepily grinning facepaint as he screams at the producers.

  9. PaganPoet says:

    I don’t need to mention that “Tragic Prince” is one of the best tracks of one of the best video game soundtracks of all time, do I? Oh, I already did? Sue me, sir or maam.

  10. Girard says:

    I think we’ve talked about ‘gaming blind spots’ before – maybe even had a Q&A on it? – but I just re-realized that the Castlevania series is almost certainly my most glaring blind spot (it’s such a blind spot, I tend to even forget about its existence – hence the re-realization…). I’ve played maybe an hour or so of Castlevania in my life, and that was on a borrowed copy of the first one which was too hard for my elementary school self (those stairs!!!!). I should probably remedy this at some point.

    • Zack Handlen says:

      The only Castlevania I’ve played extensively is Castlevania II, where it’s always a terrible night for a curse.

      • Mr. Glitch says:

        Ugh, Castlevania 2. That game and Zelda 2 would be perfect cornerstones in an article about sequels whose reach far exceeded their grasp.

    • neodocT says:

       I love the Castlevania games in portable consoles, but they’re way different from the original NES games, which are impossibly hard action sidescroller things. But if you’ve got access to a DS, I strongly recommend picking up Order of Ecclesia or Dawn of Sorrow, which are Metroid-style sidescrollers with RPG elements.

      • Celebith says:

         I’ve only played the ones on the DS and they were loads of fun.  I know I played Dawn of Sorrow, and I think I played Portrait of Ruin.  It’s been a long while, though.  I remember them being very grindy.

        • neodocT says:

           Looking back, I suppose they were a bit grindy, but because the worlds are so large and there’s so many areas to explore, it never felt like a chore to me.

        • Celebith says:

           I play a lot of grindy games – Diablo 2 and 3 have eaten a lot of my time, and the Etrian Odyssey games are all super grindy if you want to get to the end game.  In one of the DS games you could automate the grind for a while by spawning spider ‘pets’ to fight for you.  I stayed in a room with a ledge above a bunch of respawning undead, left the DS plugged in and on for a couple of days and gained a bunch of levels without doing anything.

      • TimeTravelParadox says:

        I wouldn’t say they were impossibly hard. Castlevania I was probably the most difficult, and it wasn’t really all that bad. Frustrating as shit for sure. 

  11. duwease says:

    Off topic (what a wonderful topic, though):

    The Psychology of Video Games published an article about the psychology of Steam Summer Sales that you noted sufferers may find interesting.  Enjoy the knowledge, and the self-hatred that comes from falling prey to those wonderful prices anyway!  http://www.psychologyofgames.com/2013/07/the-psychology-behind-steams-summer-sale/

    • DrFlimFlam says:

       Like the article author, I create a wishlist of games I want but also keep in mind what I want to pay. So yes, I’ve purchased several games, and one that was even unplanned (Ace Combat), but for the most part I already have my mind made up about what I want to do, so the sales are just the system falling into the correct parameters for me.

      The whole trading card system is too random for me. I have four Chivalry cards. And some other ones. I don’t get it and don’t really care to.

      • duwease says:

         I think where I run afoul of it is not getting games I don’t *want*, but rather overestimating the amount of time I have available to actually play them :)  As I work through the catalog, inevitably new releases keep marching along as well, which I have to play RIGHT NOW, and eventually things just never quite make it to the top of the heap.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          Steam has definitely given me a queue, which I previously had whittled down fairly well. I probably have enough games to last me the rest of my life at this point.

      • The_Juggernaut_Bitch says:

         You really should play FEAR 1, and its first xpac (skip Extraction Point… it’s OK, but not really required) and then jump right into FEAR 2, which is the best game of the series.  FEAR 3 is… meh.

    • Celebith says:

       That was a good article – I think I saw it linked off of Kotaku.  I’ve gotten better about not buying a bunch of stuff on the Steam sale, or at least not for myself.  I don’t mind getting gifts for folks, but I try to stay mindful of the overwhelming amount of stuff I have that I haven’t touched yet – books, TV series, movies, etc. 

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        The nice thing is that you kind of just run out at some point. Especially if your hardware is aging.

        • neodocT says:

          Is the hardware the human body? I mean, are you talking about death? Because you’ve been making some morbid comments in the last hour, what with having enough games to last you your lifetime. Step away from the ledge, @drflimflam:disqus!

        • Citric says:

          I see someone’s read my whining about my stupid crummy processor.

  12. neodocT says:

    What? No mention of the Clock Towers in the portable Castlevania games? I am shocked! Shocked! Well, not that shocked. 

  13. BillyNerdass says:

    I’m gonna come out and say it: I liked Lords of Shadow.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      I’ve yet to play it, though I want to.  I’m holding out hope that it will show up on PS+.
         My understanding is that it’s a pretty good game and most of the detractors dislike it for theme-crimes.  For not hewing close enough to what a Castlevania game should or shouldn’t be.

      • NakedSnake says:

        No question that Castlevania purists are a vocal consistency. Which raises an interesting question. What is the strictest game franchise? For which franchise is the next game the most similar to the previous one, because that’s the way the fans like it?

        No sports.

        • Citric says:

          Dragon Quest was, but then they’ve gone and went online and stuff. Pokemon probably.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          Pokemon is pretty dead-on.

          Animal Crossing is up there, too.

        • sharculese says:

          Fire Emblem?

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          @Citric:disqus and @drflimflam:disqus   As I don’t play Pokemon, at a glance they all look like the identical game to me.
             Whenever folks complain about the series not being as good as it used to be, I am in awe of whatever precision equipment they use to register changes too small for the naked eye to detect.

        • Andrew Wolf says:

          I’d guess Call of Duty, The wars in those games are spread like 70 years apart and everything seems pretty much the same.  

    • Andrew Wolf says:

      I like it too, but I liked Curse of Darkness Much better. It was fun to just zone out and play. 

  14. Greg Buck says:

    Anyone know if there are any harmonious Castlevania moments in the Clock Tower games?

  15. TimeTravelParadox says:

    It’s worth noting that Batman had its own frustrating Castlevania-like NES adaptation, and it also featured a clock tower-like level based on Burton’s bell tower. Somehow I beat that game despite throwing my controller and shrieking at the gods every five minutes. It was, despite being insanely difficult at times, a fairly well designed game.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      The Commodore 64 version of the Batman: The Movie game was pretty frickin’ awesome.  It had five levels, each different from the other.

      It started with a level in the chemical factory, where you could use your grapple gun to climb and swing between platforms, knock out baddies with your batarang, and at the end knock Napier into the vat of acid.

      Next you drove the Batmobile through the city back to your cave, dodging other cars and using a cable to make sharp turns.

      Back at the Batcave, you played a Mastermind-style game to figure out which cosmetic products combined to made Smilex.

      Then back out into the city, flying the Batwing to cut loose the parade balloons full of Smilex gas.  (The hardest level in my opinion….very tough not to pop the balloons instead of cutting them free.)

      Finally, you climbed the clock tower to catch the Joker before his copter got away, knocking him off the rope ladder to his death.

      OH, here’s a longplay of it!

    • NakedSnake says:

      NES Batman was very Castlevania. A great game, too. But yea, too hard. At least you got infinite continues. Remember that ‘woah, I’ve never gotten this far before” feeling? Later your mom turns off the NES.

  16. JokersNuts says:

    And what’s more, in this level you are meant to stand and attack the gears in the wall enough times until you hear a special “click”. This part frustrates me every time I play this game.