14-4

This somewhat obscure thread title should be instantly recognizable to anyone who has played N+. This is one of those levels that is already becoming infamous. If you read any N+ thread, there is bound to be talk of 14-4. The level is subtitled Master Control, and it is a very appropriate name, as hoo boy are you going to need it to beat the level. It also marks a huge difficulty spike in the game, and is likely going to be the breaking point for a lot of people. Looking at my friends list pre and post 14-4 the drop off seems to be more than half. Watching replays of it doesn’t do it justice as to how hard it is, as some of those folks are crazy and make it look easy.

But yeah, I just wanted to shout from the rooftops that I finally beat 14-4!

14-4 definitely kicks my ass.

Oh, I knew what it was going to be about… twitch I think it’s the first real constant-missile-chase level thrown at you, and the timing on those jumps gets very tricky.

I found that there was a real sense of progression through it that kept it from getting too frustrating, though. At first, I couldn’t reliably make the jump down to the exit switch and kept falling into the pit. After a while, I could (mostly) do that jump, but then kept hitting the angled wall while jumping out and falling again. Then you find the right amount of in-air jump control to avoid that, but run right into the missiles. Getting the right timing to slide by the missiles doesn’t take too long, but then you have to successfully make it up to the top switches without letting the missiles catch up to you, and it’s really easy to hit the wall on the other side of the switch, causing you to pause and get hit by missiles. And once you learn how to jump so that you just skirt the edge of the switch and don’t slow down, you have to do it again for the second switch, and still make it to the exit. And then you still have to do them all in one big chain successfully, which can still take a while.

Later episodes aren’t even that friendly, though, with spots that almost seem to depend on pure luck and where you’re just as likely to die on your 100th attempt as you were on your first. I think I’m currently stuck somewhere around Episode 26, on whichever one has the final room with four or five separate parts just filled with mines. I can sometimes do a single part on its own, but all of them in the same run?..