It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're taking a look at 31 of the best-known bonus stages in all of video games. Each day we're going to look at a different level and review it, while also trying to figure out what makes it tick. Join us as we post a new episode of the 31 Bonus Levels of Christmas every day leading up to the biggest holiday of the year!
Mortal Kombat: Test Your Might!
[ Console: Arcade | Year: 1992 | Grade: B- ]
There's no violence in the Test Your Might bonus stage, just large chunks of wood flying in every direction!
The player sits in front of an object of increasing difficulty (wood, stone, steel, ruby and diamond) and attempts to bash it in using only their fits and gravitas. A gauge to the left (or right, if you're on the Player 2 side) fills up and offers a marker to hit. Mash the low kick/punch buttons enough and players will fill the bar to the top. But be careful, because in order for the punch to count the player will have to hit the block button.
This tough man bonus stage comes after you've sliced, chopped, severed and diced your way through several brutal one-on-one battles. You've managed to survive deadly
Scorpion will be back in the upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot, but will the Test Your Might bonus stage?
spears, ice balls and gallons of slippery blood. But apparently that's not enough for the Mortal Kombat gods, because three stages in, the fighting in interrupted to bring you a challenge of individual strength. Once you've accomplished your goal, it's off to take part in endurance matches and ultimately battle a four-armed monster that looks like it came right out of Harry Harryhausen's scrapbook.
Mortal Kombat has never been known for its deep gameplay, but it doesn't get any more basic than mashing buttons to break a pile of sticks. This bonus stage
Now this is why we decided to play Mortal Kombat in the first place!
instantly reminds me why I hated Track & Field so much. Thankfully these stages are short and don't keep players away from the bloody action for too long. Although this bonus stage is certainly iconic, it's nowhere near as involving as stages found in Street Fighter II and other one-on-one fighters.
Completely Missing the Point:
It's great to see players rewarded for mashing buttons, but I take issue with the prize. All I get for jamming my finger is a few lousy points? What the heck do I need points for? I'm playing a game where I ripped out a spine; the last thing I'm worried about is my point total. A better prize might have been blood gushing from the top of the screen, washing everything away in severed hands, fingers and feet. That's really all we're here for, just blood and guts. Nobody has ever beaten this bonus stage and been genuinely excited to have won a few thousand worthless points.