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NES Obscurity Quicky!

So, I was playing through Karnov again the other day for the first time in many years, and it struck me how useless most of the items are. Ok, there's the Reusable Portable Ladder (which is a great item that should be in more games), but aside from the "special use" things (scuba mask, wings), and the "collect-enough-to-get-1up" K-s (which are practically 'point items'), does he have any equipment useful in everyday gameplay? For example, I tried to figure out the Boomerang several times, and just ended up getting killed.
But there's one specific item that stood out as being terrible...and thinking about it made me realize that there's a lot of games which wasted a fair amount of programming on a fairly useless item.
So, that's what I'm babbling about this week:
A handful of instances of purposeless power-ups, idiotic items and worthless weapons. And we'll start with the most feeble armament from the tubby Russian who inspired all this:
Karnov - Bombs
The game supplies you with them like they're candy -- the bombs feel like they're almost as common as the "K"-s, but at least "K"-s give you 1/50th of an extra life. But despite all the screen-time they get, they're next to worthless.
First there's the complication of using your items in combat, because of Karnov's "walking ALSO switches your inventory-select" method. If you actually deploy them they have a noticably long fuse...
and when they go off, they have a tiny blast area. (scientists aren't certain HOW small, because no one has managed to kill any of the game's fast-moving enemies with them).
a lucky shot.
Yup, aside from filling up your inventory, and (randomly) one place in the Sky World (level 8?) where you have to use bombs to blast your way through a wall, Karnov's bombs are a big waste of everyone's time.
Friday the 13th - Flashlight
Not sure why this one might be on the list, it's obviously vitally important if you want to be able to navigate your way through the cave. That's why you only find it by lighting enough campfires/following enough note-trails to find the Torch, one of the most powerful items in the game!
Why, without it how would you find the various warp-maze-doors in the cave, which eventually lead you to Jason's Mother's Head and her free machetes?
Left: cave WITHOUT flashlight; Right: cave WITH flashlight
See, there's clearly no way you could detect where the...
Oh, so everywhere there's a cave door, there's a knick in the rock in front of it.
Very well then; Flashlight, you're a useless load.
Kid Icarus - hammers
One of the first weird things that happens in this weird games: you grab a harp, and all the enemies change in to slowly-descending hammers. Given that the first level is often the ONLY level players will ever reach, I bet a lot of people wondered what these mystical and wonderful items did.
Well, if you survive long enough to get to each of the 4th subworlds, there's a big palace maze thingie.
And in it, there are these little stone guys.
AND, if you have Hammers, you can press the "Select" button and superimpose a hammer over your bow-and-arrows.
Then you can hit those statues with your hammers, and they're freed from their eggplant stony curse!
(and you may notice your 'little winged guy' count at the bottom left of the screen has increased)
They may SEEM like they're gone...but just wait until you get to the palace boss!
Then, boy howdy! Those little guys fly in in groups of three --
...to be mowed down almost immediately.
It's kind of sad, really.
And, we'll wrap up with an oldie but a goodie:
Wizards & Warriors - Cloak of Darkness
Don this cloak and you become completely invisible to human eye!
Unfortunately, you're the only human there. YOU can't see you -- to know where your character is, you have to keep an eye on a floating patch of effervescence. But of course, none of your ENEMIES are human, and they have no problem homing in on you.
BUT THE TWINKLIES!
— carlmarksguy, 2016-01-25
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