And here we are, at the final world. I don't like to discuss this part, and it still bothers me very much, but it's something I have to do, so that I can put this behind me. People deserve to know.
At this point I was well aware of the game's unnatural nature, but Zenith was different than the other worlds. While the others were certainly strange, and sometimes frightening, the world of Zenith was like a nightmare.
And I didn't have to go any further than the board screen for an indication that something was wrong with Zenith. The first thing I noticed was the blood red texture of the board, and the music, which was an eerie whistling tune.
I noticed that I had Solomon and Anguirus back, and I felt better for a second.
Then I scrolled over to the right to see who my enemies would be this time.
This time it was Destoroyah and Ghidorah. But judging from the icon it was a different Ghidorah than the original, standing on the ground instead of flying. The grotesquely detailed pinkish red icon also caught my eye. I couldn't tell what it was supposed to be, and I was afraid to find out.
Going back to my side of the board, I decided there wasn't much choice but to do my usual "routine", in going to the Quiz level before doing anything else. I was not ready for what happened.
I jumped back when this appeared, accompanied by a terribly distorted version of the password theme. It looked as if Face had fallen victim to some terrible glitch. Is this what he meant by "Will you miss me?" Did he know this would happen?
My thoughts were stopped short as I noticed the screen was glitching and seemingly falling apart while I was inactive, and so I quickly rushed out.
And when I got back to the board, I had somehow gained a new monster. I hadn't even been asked if I wanted one. I tried to select it, and this happened:
"WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!"
The game's behavior was scaring me, and I hadn't even started the levels yet. I couldn't understand why I was randomly given a new character, and then denied use of it. But for the time being there was little that could be done, and I viewed the last TV Screen:
No animation. No music. Dead.
Every instinct I had was telling me to stop playing, to just turn the game off. And something in the game itself might have been trying to warn me as to just how horrible this last world was.
But then, every stretch of the way I was compelled to give up. I couldn't do that now, on the last world! Besides, after taunting me with memories of Melissa, I felt the game owed me some answers.
I noticed that the first level was a Red Temple, so at least I would be familiar with the level graphics if nothing else. And I went in with Godzilla, the monster I was most familiar with.
Godzilla had been shrunk, the level and score meters had vanished, and the Blue Temple statue faces were back. The music was similar to the Blue Temple also: Strange, haunting vocalizations. I tried to get my spirits up by thinking "Well, If this level is like the Blue Temple, then that might mean there are no enemies to deal with."
How wrong I was.
After a short walk, all the statue's eyes starting glowing, and a pack of the beasts from Shadow Labyrinth came charging into me. Since they were coming from the right of the screen, I had to fight my way through them.
This battle greatly tested my reflexes, but thanks to my speed I plowed through the beasts. They gave off health power-ups after dying, which helped recover the damage they had given me.
However, as I continued through the hallway, the statue's eyes glowed again, summoning another wave. It seemed to be the same number of them, but I was less prepared this time, and took more damage. I had gone through 4 of these waves until I reached the end of the hall, where I heat beamed the last of the monsters over the edge into an abyss.
At first it seemed I had reached a dead end, but after the statue's eyes stopped glowing, a brick path slowly appeared before me.
I followed the path, which kept me moving towards the right until it stopped at a wall, where I was to go vertically by jumping up ledges. Along the way I encountered new creatures, and some sort of strange shrine, which had a statue of the Hell beast and some other creature I don't recognize.
As I went through, the path took a downward direction. I had to carefully aim my jumps to avoid the enemies, which were plentiful in this part of the stage. They didn't have many attacks, but they could easily shove you over the edge off a platform.
At the end of this tunnel, there were a few small platforms floating above nothingness. I landed on one towards the left of the screen, and then something came down from above. It looked like the Blue Angel from the Graveyard, except now it was red and had a skull face.
Any of the pleasant feelings I had from the Blue Angel were not present with this Red one, and as it hovered around, it's eye sockets started glowing just like the statues, summoning monsters to attack me. Surely this was not the same benevolent being I encountered before, this must be some kind of imposter.
The battle was nerve-wracking, as I started off with nearly half my health and had to deal with multiple opponents, as well as the threat of gravity. To make things even worse, as the Red Angel took damage some of the panels fell, until only 3 remained.
But my luck had not ran out yet, just when I thought it was over, I struck the Red Angel one more time, and it turned out that one last hit was all it could take.
Just as the Red Angel completely disintegrated, the game instantly went back to the Zenith board. I moved Mothra over to the nearest stage from the Red Temple, which seemed be a garbled mess of letters spelling KILL, and began playing.
As suspected, all the level graphics were made of jumbled letters. And Mothra, just like Godzilla, was shrunk to half size. I began to suspect that all the Zenith levels would be like this.
The background music was terrible, like if someone put all the sounds an NES was capable of making into a blender and then piecing them back together into a "song." I had to turn the volume down because of it.
Playing as Mothra made avoiding the enemies easier, but they were nonetheless determined to get at me. The first enemies I saw were headless Gigans, and later on there were hybrids monsters pieced together from previous bosses, like the Biollante headed thing seen above.
5 minutes had gone by as I didn't see anything new, and the level shifted into another segment. The music changed from the loud and annoying beeps into something far more ambient and menacing. The level graphics also changed, now looking a blood drenched junkyard. The way everything in this level was red made it sickening to look at.
The enemies multiplied in number, never ceasing to follow after me, and became harder and harder to avoid. And at the end of the level, the situation reached a climax, as the swarms of monsters fused together in one enormous, terrifying hybrid:
Once I had gotten through the initial shock, I discovered the way to destroy this thing: constantly shooting eye beams at the Hedorah cluster that formed it's "heads". If you attacked anywhere else, it would regenerate the damage.
Even with that knowledge, this was an extremely difficult fight. I'd say it was as hard as fighting the Moon Beast was, if not harder. It's most common attack was lunging forward with it's arms, covered with Gigan saws and blades, if they touched it would instantly drain health.
When it was over, the remaining monsters collapsed into a heap. Then they, and the ground below them, started to disintegrate and sink towards the bottom of the screen.
When I came back to the board, I thought to myself, "So far, the game has been putting the easiest levels first...if that's the case, how bad will the rest of Zenith be?"