|I feel so very naked, without a pretty image. :'(|
Stormy Ascent is a mythical legendary level that was removed from the final version of "Pilot". Nonetheless, its data still exists on the game's disc-style cartridge, and can be accessed with the aid of a cheat device, such as the GameShark, Amateur Action Replay, Game Genie (both the Robin Williams and Dan Castellaneta versions), Fiddletron 5000, Buddy Hack-It, CheatsyPod Deluxe DX, So I Married a Hax Murderer, GameClam, TinkerBoXXX, Third Party Pile-O-Plastic-Junk, Cheatles Anthology (volumes 1-3), Super Warranty Buster A+++, Cheat Cheat LaRue's Mile Bi(nary Editor) Club, Unauthorised Director's Cut-o-Matic 1000, LameShark (Ha ha, zing!), Baby's First Palette Swapper, and of course, Future President George W. Bush's Hack-sis of Evil. An exterior-style castle-style climbing-style stage in the same vein as Slippery Climb, this level pits Crashie against the same sorts of predictable enemies - Blandie the Vulture (and his identical cohorts), Dr. N. Prisonedforlife (and his identical cohorts), and Particularly Vial Lab Assistant (and his sexier cohorts) - who will surely all catch pneumonia and die because they went out into a chilly rainstorm without their jackets, despite their mothers' warnings. Oh my god, the kids today, they just don't listen! Am I right or am I right?
But as hard as Slippery Climb was, this is even harder. This level was deleted for a reason - it's downright sadistic, slapping our Best Friendicoot around with its aggressively awkward difficulty, beating him and beating him and beating him until he's ready to cry out for Mama Bandicoot! So, should you choose to hackify your game in order to access this lost un-non-anti-treasure, be prepared. If Crashie hopes to make his way out alive, he'll have to use every trick in the book - which, in this primitive game, obviously consist only of running and jumping and Spin Attacking, but whatever, that's beside the point, it's still hard!
Connie Booth's Developmental Breakdown: The Producer Becomes.....Well, I was Going to Say "The Producee", But That Doesn't Actually Make Sense, Um, I Guess Actually She's Becoming "An Actual Producer of Actual Things as Opposed to a Studio Executive Figurehead", But, Truth Be Told, "The Producer Becomes an Actual Producer of Actual Things as Opposed to a Studio Executive Figurehead" Doesn't Have Such a Good Ring to It, Though Hopefully You Know What I'm Getting At, Please?Edit
Under the unconventional leadership of legendary game designer Mark Cerny, many wacky and unconventional techniques were forced on the development team over at Naughty Dog during the creation of this game. For one, all Wednesdays were now Cocainesdays, where sweet, delicious nose candy was showered upon all! Andy Gavin wouldn't and couldn't participate, because of his wacky cocaine allergy, but Jason Rubin was considerably more receptive to the change, much to his mother's chagrin. (For the uninitiated, nose candy is much like mouth candy except for the fact that, instead of rotting your teeth, it'll rot your mucous membranes, and your soul.) Secondly and predictably, all female employees (and some male ones) were forced to spend a designated period of time each week "manning the analog sticks, if you know what I, the great Mark Cerny, mean". (When they attempted to protest that the PlayStation's controllers don't even have analog sticks - this was before the creation of the DualShock, remember - Cerny took them to court for unsexy breach of their developers' contracts. He lost, obviously, but nonetheless the legal fees crippled the financially not-as-well-off low-level developers.) Most relevant to this article is the effort he spearheaded to get everyone involved in development, not just the usual developers. To this end, he assigned one level to each of the high-level non-developers to make some contributions to. (This resulted in the now-familiar feeling pervading the final product, of being the slapdash result of a bunch of dissonant half-thought-out ideas being thrown together with no real consideration for quality or cohesiveness. It's the Cerny way! As is raping.) If you couldn't guess by its ridiculous fuckingly cunty difficulty - or even by the heading for this section which outright gives this fact away - Stormy Ascent was the level assigned to the notorious Connie Booth. *thunderclap*
Now, despite her position of authority within an organisation devoted to the creation of video electronic games, Connie Booth didn't really know a lot about them. Her experience with the subject was pretty much limited to her joyous days spent unplugging her son Phoney's NES every single time he finally made it past all those pesky Hammer Brothers in World 8-3 of Super Mario Bros.: The Un-Lost Levels. (What a fucking cunt!) Despite this, she acclimated pretty quickly - it only took a couple playthroughs of the already completed levels for her to figure out which elements were far too easy to include, and which elements were difficult enough to only require a moderate amount of hardening to satisfy her bloodthirsty static-charged professional whims. (What a fucking cunt!) Finding straightforwardness too straightforward, she thought it would be a terrific idea to make the player move around in all directions, creating a level laid out in an insane, spatially inconsistent way that would constantly challenge the player to shift his or her mental paradigms. (What a clever lady!) Finding the traditional rotating-platforms-rotating-in-a-big-round-platformational-circle paradigm to be boring and/or passé, she pulled her old ex-brother-in-law computer programmer Reginald Cleese away from his decently paying work at an unspecified rival programmer for a good week or so to do some unpaid work for her, programming an algorithm to make the platforms swing around in bizarre, asymmetrical, migraine-inducing patterns that make no sense to anyone anywhere. When Reggie Cleese's bosses at Electronic Arts discovered wind of his forced treachery, he was fired, of course. "You'll never work in this town again, whore!", shouted a rage-fueled Former EACEO Larry Probst! And perhaps worst of all, her "conditional germophobia" caused her to require a new pair of sanitary latex surgery gloves for each and every keystroke, as, she claimed, she was extremely terrified of "catching the disease of nerdiness" from the other low-level developers in the Development Tent. This had the side effects of both sending the studio waaaaaay over budget by constantly ordering sanitary latex surgery gloves, and on one occasion sending Andy Gavin into convulsions when one "mysteriously" made its way into his matzo ball 'n' cheese casserole. (What a fucking cunt!) All this, because of Connie Booth. (What a fucking cunt!) But, she figured, it was all worth it for the pursuit of legitimate art that everyone would love. She was correct, of course!
Sadly, this might've been a grave miscalculation. During early play-testing, everyone seemed to universally rank Stormy Ascent as the single worst level in the game! Even worse, during aforementioned play-testing, the play-testers rallied in a secret conspiracy to assassinate Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Ken Kutaragi, replacing him with an identical double. No one was the wiser...except for Connie Booth, who caught on rather quickly, for when she forced him to dress up like Santa "Ol' Saint Rim-cholas" Claus, she noticed that he just didn't have that usual gleam in his asshole. By which I mean, she was dismayed to find that Kutaragi-san-chan-fried-rice suddenly possessed disappointingly competent hygiene skills down there. "What have I done?", she thought! When she told the development team of her findings, they just didn't believe her, though David Gracia attempted to calm her by treating her to a private screening of the 1994 comedy film Hail Caesar. It didn't solve the problem, but nonetheless, appreciating the gesture, she began her long-standing tradition of waiting on the studio's roof, waiting for Gracia to come or go, and pelting him, with salads - a metaphorical hail of Caesar salads, in heavy lead bowls! (What a fucking cunt!) Other developers suggested toning down the level's difficulty, just like they did in the creation of Sunset Vista Service Pack 2. But Connie Booth said that no amount of editing could fix the heartbreak that this level caused, indirectly. She decreed that it had to die! She took out a sledgehammer and destroyed the disk containing the main level data! (Fortunately for us, archival data from the level remained on disk, due to Connie Booth's oversight, and also, developer laziness.) While she had the sledgehammer out, she also smashed the urn containing low-level developer Dan Kolmorgan's late wife's ashes. (What a fucking cunt!)
Connie Booth is a fucking cunt.
- This level's name sounds similar to the phrase "store me a scent", a clever historical reference to this stage's super-hidden nature. Nineteenth century French perfume shops often made a notorious habit of storing away their most fabulous scents at the request of special customers, not dissimilar to modern-day real-world layaway, though restricted to people who were special friends of the management. In exactly the same way, Naughty Dog has stored this level away at the request of Connie Booth, who believes this level's scent to be too fabulous for general commoner consumption. (Or maybe she did it for some other reason. I dunno. I forgot what I just typed. But regardless, um, how about that Connie Booth, huh? Ain't she a fucking cunt?)
- Alternately, it is possible that this level's name is a pun on Stormy A. Santos, head meteorologist for Johannesburg's FOX 67 - YOUR Action News Team!
- Despite this level's name, Crash is forced to make a few stormy descents in this level, too, a rare and crushing lapse in continuity. Some fans theorise that the level's original name was "Stormy Ascents and Descents", but that this was ultimately rejected because the developers feared that kids might misread "descents" as "desserts" and been disappointed that this wasn't one of those faggoty cake-or-cookie-or-candy-themed levels that they put in, like, every Mario game now. But some other fans theorise that it was changed because the developers feared that kids might misread "descents" as "decent" and been disappointed that the level was actually terrible.