I’ve been at loose ends in the world of video games, so I’ve mostly been comfort gaming. Well, kinda. I discovered that there was a booster pack for Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ which included a new character.
It’s name is The Forgotten, and of course, users data-mined it so they figured out how you unlock the character. Edmund McMillen, the developer, tweeted out his disappointment as he did the last time this happened, saying just enjoy the game and follow the hints. My dude. Be realistic. I understand from his point of view how unhappy it would make you if you spent hundreds of hours planning the unlock, only to have people cheat their way to it, but from a user standpoint, it’s completely understandable. Most people at the point of unlocking new characters have put countless hours into the game. Doing repeated runs simply to glean clues as to how to unlock a character isn’t fun, especially when the clues are so esoteric and random. Wanna know how you unlock The Lost? Grab a mug of tea and a comfy chair, and I’ll tell you how.
First, you have to take the Mysterious Paper into the Sacrifice Room and die with it as a trinket four times. It’ll fill in each corner with a picture of a death, and then you have to do those deaths in order without dying in between. First, you die as Isaac to a Mulliboom on one of the first two floors (Basement/Cellar). Then, die as Maggie to your own bomb in the Caves/Catacombs. Then, die as Judas to Mom’s foot or hand. Lastly, die as Azazel to Satan, but only to him himself, which is the second phase. There’s another way to unlock it, but that’s more random.
This actually wasn’t that difficult to do, but no way in hell I would have figured out how to unlock The Lost. Now, here’s how you unlock The Forgotten. Beat the first boss in under a minute. Bomb the spawn room on the first floor. Pick up the item dropped (Broken Shovel) and carry it with you through the rest of the game. What does the Broken Shovel do? It allows Mom’s foot (or two) to randomly stomp around your character for. the. entire. game. Well, OK, not the entire game, but we’ll get to that in a second.
Can I tell you how much I fucking hate Mom’s foot? There’s a trinket that has this effect randomly, and I never pick it up. Having to deal with it the whole time I’m trying to, you know, win the game, is off-the-charts terrible. This is by far the worst unlock and one of the worst things in the game (trying to finish The Keeper’s post-it note is arguably worse. The Lost is fine since I now start with the Holy Mantle with this character), and I seriously thought I might not be able to do it*.
So, of course, I had to play as Azazel because he flies, he starts with mini-Brim, and he has more damage and speed from the start. In other words, why wouldn’t you start with Azazel? I have to say, I tried to unlock the character organically a few times, but no way in hell I would have figured it out, and after watching NL unlock The Forgotten, I’m glad I didn’t waste more time trying to do it myself. Beating the first boss under a minute is not something I ever would have thought of. Oh, also, if you beat the first boss in under a minute, you hear Mom laugh and then scuttle away. That’s your first hint.
Anyway, Broken Shovel’s active is you get a reprieve from the feet for the room. It has a four-room charge, and I was bumping it every chance I had–especially on the bosses. Oh, also, fighting Mom, the effect doesn’t happen. I suppose it’s because it would be too confusing as that’s the effect of the fight in general, but it would just mean avoiding two to three feet instead of one. So, a sliver of reprieve from the constant agony.
Then, you have to beat boss rush to get the other half of the shovel. You normally have to make it to boss rush in under twenty minutes. For this run, they turned off the time restriction, thankfully. Also, they make it so you have to go to boss rush, and you can only take the Negative because you have to go to the Dark Room. Once you get the second half of the Broken Shovel, it becomes the regular Shovel, but keeps the four-room charge instead of six (I think). The foot thing stops, thankfully, and you have a choice to make. You can either proceed as you normally would, or you can use the shovel to skip the womb levels. You can’t skip Shoal, so you have to do that and the Dark Room, but you only have to do the Dark Room until you find a room with a crumbly square of ground in the middle of it. Then you use the shovel on it and dig up The Forgotten.
I made it through the Boss Rush three or four times, but I was so underpowered and had little health because I was rushing through the game up until this point, and Mom’s feet do a whole heart of damage. I seriously considered holding R to restart until I had an item room with the Host Hat (makes you immune to foot stomps), but I didn’t. Anyway, I died on the Dark Room a few times, and I was close to broken. I wasn’t having any fun on doing this, and it made unlocking The Lost seem like cake. I actually did that on my first try, which surprised the hell out of me.
When I finally unlocked The Forgotten, I almost fucked it up. I found the room with the broken ground square, and I nearly cried. I had such low health and was at the end of my rope, and I dug that square–except I missed. That’s right, I fucking missed the square with my fucking shovel. Fortunately, I had a battery in a room I’d already cleared so I could instantly charge the Shovel again, and I carefully dug up the square. There was The Forgotten, and I nearly wept in relief. Had I died in that situation, I probably would have given up. (And, yes, I realize I haven’t taken off the spoiler warning yet. It might stay for the rest of the post.)
Unlocking The Forgotten was bullshit of the highest order. Playing as The Forgotten? Fucking fun. It’s two characters in one, and you have to change your way of playing completely. As The Forgotten, you have two bone hearts. Each takes three hits, but on the third hit, it breaks and you lose it completely. If you hit control, The Forgotten stands still and becomes a blocker. The Soul can fly, but is tethered to The Forgotten. It uses soul/black hearts, which work as usual. So, you can never have more than six bone hearts and six soul/black hearts. The Forgotten has a bone which it uses to whack the enemies–yes, it’s a melee character! The bone does three time the damage when swung and 1.5 times the damage when thrown. Devil deals have to be taken with soul hearts, and taking damage as The Forgotten doesn’t count against your chances of getting a devil deal.
It takes a lot of getting used to, but, man, is it fun to play. I unlocked the whole light side achievements in one run (Mom, Mom’s Heart, Isaac, and Blue Baby), Greedy and Greedier Mode in one run (beating Greedier Mode automatically means you’ve beaten Greed Mode), and Satan and The Lamb in another run. Now, I just have Boss Rush, The Hush, Delirium, and Mega Satan, which I could theoretically do in one run, but I probably won’t. If you get a few good items early on as The Forgotten, it can become quickly OP. It’s currently my favorite character to play, and it’s my only reason for continuing to play Isaac.
I’ve also been playing more DS III DLC because of those three bosses. First up, Sister Friede. I did her with only the NPC Gael, but never solo. Why? Because she’s freaking hard, yo. It’s not just me saying that! There are three guys, TerraMantis, DaveControl, and SunlightBlade, who all do tons of Souls content. They’re amazing PvPers, and I assumed they were baller at the PvE as well. Anyway, they took on the Ashes of Ariandel DC together, and their fight against Sister Friede was epic. SunlightBlade even said at one point that doing this boss solo would be ‘so difficult’. They ended up beating her with the help of Gael, but watching them run around like chickens with their heads cut off was hilarious, especially when TerraMantis (the last man standing) found out there was a third phase.
There are three phases. There are two bosses in the second phase. The health pool is insane. The whole thing is ROUGH. I love this fight, though. As hard as it is, and it’s fucking hard, it’s an amazing fight.
I fought her and made it to the second phase pretty reliably. It wasn’t as hard as I remembered it, but it was still way above my pay grade. I Googled the cheese, and there was one suggestion of using a miracle called Dorhy’s Gnawing, along with the miracle-boosting ring and other parameters. I had this miracle. I could use this miracle. I was desperate enough to try it. I equipped the miracle-boosting ring (though not the better one because I didn’t realize I had both of them) and the miracle, then I stepped through the fog. I hit her with the Gnawing, which causes bleed, and I chewed my way through the first phase with relative ease. Second phase with her and Father Ariandel, and it was a bit trickier because I had to keep my eye on both of them as I was smacking Sister Friede with Dorhy’s Gnawing. I made it to the third phase, but I didn’t dare to believe. It couldn’t be this easy, could it? Well, the third phase would be the test because Blackflame Friede is such a bastard. With Dorhy’s Gnawing, though, I made short work of her.
I used to think it was useless to use magicks on this boss because she’s so fast, but it worked like a charm. I was one and done using this technique, and it was such a relief. I’ve tried the Demons/Demon Prince several times, but it’s slow-going. I looked up a few tips and managed to kill the Demons fairly easily using the tips, but the Demon Prince wrecked me shortly after. I have my tank in NG+5 nearly there, and I’m wondering if it would be easier to beat them and Midir with her than with my NG pyro/miracle worker. I’m not really feeling it, but it’s a matter of stubborn pride at this point.
Also, DS Remastered dropped today, and the results are…not good. There’s a hacker who’s already figured out how to get other players soft-banned, and apparently, he camped out for three hours in the Burg and streamed himself doing this. What a fucking asshole. as jolly co-op is one of the reasons I wanted to buy the remaster, it’s put a damper on my enthusiasm. I was already on the fence because the consensus is that if you have the Prepare to Die edition on PC (which I do) and dsfix (which, duh), then the remaster isn’t that much of an improvement. Still. It’s more Dark Souls. I haven’t played the original in a while. Maybe I’ll just play the Prepare to Die edition and skip the remaster. We’ll see.
*Spoilers, I finally did after many tears and much angst.