How many times have you been playing a game and having a great time, only to be swept up like yesterday’s trash by an enemy that inflicts a crippling status condition? I’m not too proud to admit that it happens to me uncomfortably often. In the interest of sharing my misery with others, I thought I would wrangle up a list of the worst ten status conditions I can think of from my years of gaming experience. These afflictions make me want to chuck my controller like a Magic Boomerang going for a Moblin’s head (but the hefty cost of controllers helps stay my hand :P). In an effort to avoid confusion (HA!), I’m going to group together statuses found in multiple entries in a series. Otherwise the list would paralyze you (HAHA!) with its enormity! But before I put you to sleep (HAHAHA!), why don’t I go ahead and start with the list? In no particular order…
1. Pokemon series- Confusion
Pokemon Red and Blue were my first RPGs, as well as my first exposure to the dreaded entities that are negative status effects. Despite the drastic consequences that can come from paralysis, sleep, poison, or burn, I’ve always found confusion to be the most troublesome with its random chance of your creature self-inflicting damage rather than hitting the enemy. Perhaps it’s the lingering nightmare of Rock Tunnel and the infinite Zubats within that use Supersonic like breathing? Or maybe it’s Sabrina’s psychic-type onslaught, where confusion was partnered with Alakazam’s brutal special attacks? Regardless of the source, I still get a small pit in my stomach when I see those tweeting birds spin.
2. Dark Souls series- Cursed
The Sun help undead warriors who are afflicted with this awful condition. Being cursed reduces the player’s health by half permanently in the first game, at least until you cure the affliction by traveling to an obscure corner of the map to purchase the proper remedy. Basilisks are the most frequent perpetrators of this status, simultaneously ending your life by petrification and passing on this plague of a condition. Further entries in the series made curses easier to manage once inflicted, but their legacy of the first game will forever haunt Dark Souls players who return for another journey through Lordran.
3. Dragon’s Dogma- Petrified
Much like facing the basilisks mentioned in the previous entry, the Arisen of Dragon’s Dogma can be set upon by the vile Cockatrice and other like-minded monsters that turn the player character to stone. Yes, that means instant death. There’s no recovering from the condition mid-battle aside from rare potions and powerful spells. This affliction caused pain for me several times throughout my journey, leading me to save my game more and more often as I progressed and encountered increased possibilities of petrification.
4. Stardew Valley- Slimed
Okay, hear me out before you judge this one. Imagine you are plundering the depths of the Skull Cavern on a quest to reach Floor 100. Things are going great. Little damage. Lots of good loot. Then…you reach THAT floor. The only way to progress is to cover a wide area of tunnels and vanquish the numerous giant purple slimes that litter the passages. But as you try to walk from enemy to enemy, you are continually slimed by the seething mass of tiny purple slimes left in the wake of their larger brethren and your walk speed is brought to a near-standstill. The throng besets you on all sides. Where once was hope is now only dread. And purple. A whole sea of it. Your farmer quickly succumbs to the unstoppable force that is a mass of purple slimes. Doom befalls you. You lose some of your most valuable, useful items that took hours to accumulate…THAT is why being slimed sucks enough to make it onto this list.
5. Divinity: Original Sin- Charmed
Battles in Divinity rely heavily on your ability to strategize and adapt against a myriad of enemy types. You must plan for every conceivable strategy. Damage. Terrain changes. Elevation. But the one thing you never see coming is losing one of your warriors to the other side. Whether from a Charm Arrow or Spell, nothing hurts worse than not only forfeiting a valuable member of your team, but having them work at the enemy’s behest. I had several instances where my greatsword-focused warrior was usurped by goblin witches and proceeded to make short work of my other team members. One of my only cures was to use the same item or spell right back at that character if I was lucky enough to have a turn before their onslaught. Charmed allies can be a battle-ender for you if you don’t stay prepared with the proper precautions!
6. Chrono Trigger- Chaos
While not quite as painful as being Charmed, getting hit with Chaos in Chrono Trigger can be just as devastating. This condition sees your character wrenched from your control as they are unleashed to attack any character at random, be they friend or foe. Facing off against enemies becomes much trickier when Crono or Ayla unleash a critical hit and one-shot a team member, leaving you with only one usable ally until the madness is ended. Save points in Chrono Trigger usually prevent your lost progress from being too substantial, but it is a big frustration nonetheless! Keep plenty of cures handy!
7. Super Mario Bros. 3- Getting “Mini Goomba’d”
The Mini Goombas of this NES classic are one of the most obnoxious foes in the whole Mario series. Once attached, these little suckers prevent Mario from jumping more than a mushroom’s height from the ground. Only time can shed these nuisances: not an ideal situation to find yourself in when standing only on collapsing blocks in Sky World. Much like the Slimes of Stardew, these minute menaces have ended many runs that were going smoothly right up until the tragic end. And don’t get me started on all the lost Tanooki Suits…
8. The Pokemon Trading Card Game- Sleep
I do not believe video games that feature “known” odds of succeeding. In the case of the Pokémon Trading Card Game on Game Boy Color, coin flips are absolutely not 50/50 (unless it was bad luck from walking under too many ladders as a child). The sleep condition puts your Active Pokémon card out of commission until you “wake up” by flipping a heads: otherwise they sit uselessly in danger, soaking up damage every turn. I can count the number of ‘heads’ flipped on the first try on one hand, while the streaks of ‘tails’ flips greater than three are as numerous as the blades of grass in my yard. Enemy card players make short work of your team after inflicting sleep, often costing the match and forcing you to challenge that player again.
9. Dragon Quest series- Cursed
Being cursed in any game sucks (as mentioned above with Dark Souls), but Dragon Quest makes a strong case for being on par with the former. Most status conditions result in one or two effects that stunt your character’s ability to function. Being cursed in Dragon Quest, however, reduces your HP and MP progressively while wandering the overworld, causes you to randomly become stunned during battle, makes your attacks fail randomly, and even causes you to target an ally on occasion. Curses also can’t be undone in the field: you must return to a church and have a priest heal you, causing headaches big and small even if you have teleporting spells. Oddly enough, curses are most often brought about my equipping a piece of tainted equipment rather than being inflicted by an enemy (although it is still possible).
But between Curses in Dark Souls and Dragon Quest, one ailment stings far worse than anything a computer foe can inflict…
10. Mario Kart series- Being Lightning Bolted
The purest salt in the deepest wound, no status effect comes close to the rage induced by a perfectly-placed lightning bolt from a (former) friend. Spinning off the track into a fathomless abyss? Getting run over by other racers? Having it stolen and used against you immediately? Lightning bolts in Mario Kart do more than ruin your race: they break controllers, hurt friendships, and destroy years of trust between the closest of family. Only use a lightning bolt on a fellow racer if you’re prepared to sever contact with them indefinitely. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
That’s might be my own list of worst afflictions in gaming, but what about you? Which statuses really get your goat when they pop up on your screen? Let me know with a comment below! Thanks for reading, friends, and game on!