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Medusa Nightmares: Lolo Is A Battlefield

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"Medusa Nightmares" is a monthly installment featuring really, really old video games and how they've caused me irreparable mental anguish.

I've experienced break-ins, breakups, "oh shit" moments at work, and near-traffic incidents. I've seen a lot in my day, but only one thing will continue to freak me out until the day I die: the Medusa from the Adventures of Lolo series.

Lolo is, in itself, a nifty little game that combines puzzle and strategy with cute little creatures. It's fun for all ages, and the premise is simple: get all the hearts, get the treasure, and get the hell out of there. Also there's a caveat: don't die.

Many of the enemies kill you in the traditional fashion. If they touch you, you die. If they breathe fire on you, you're gone. If they run into you and trap you in a corner, you're basically done. But the Medusa … if you so much as get in her line of sight, she makes a face, freezes you, and zaps you in the most sudden fashion imaginable. It's the only death in a game you rarely see coming, and it's the most abrupt transition from happy little woodland creature music into sudden oblivion.

I thought perhaps this was just my youthful fear of dying in video games (sidenote: when I was three I ran out of a room because I was terrified of the little Goomba creatures from Mario. Uh, yeah.) So when I saw Lolo 2 on the Wii Virtual Console, I felt it was worth the five dollars to see if a responsible twentysomething with a 401K and a company credit card was still scared shitless of the Medusa from Lolo.

The first level that featured those horrible Medusae, I believe the first sentence uttered loudly was, "WHY THE FUCK DID I DOWNLOAD THIS?"

See, when several classic villains fire at the protagonist, it's up to the gamer's impeccable talent to avoid the blast. But when it comes to the Medusa … sorry, there's no chance to heroically avoid death. It's so … final. Kind of like when a girl dumps you. There's no arguing, no way around it.

This is why love is like the Medusa. Everything's going so perfectly for several happy-go-lucky men until suddenly, one day, one step into the wrong path … and it's over. You can't talk her out of it, she's already had her heart set on making out with the guy she met at that toga party. Just hit reset and try it again. This time, don't cross paths with the bitch when she's angry. Just push the Emerald Framers into her line of sight and you can tread onward, and hopefully you can settle down with a nice Snakey or a Leeper and not have to worry about getting turned to stone.

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