YMMV / Cave Story

  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Sue might qualify for some of her detractors after being pummeled into submission by a gigantic frenzied Mimiga. But since she declares she didn't want your help if you tell her you saved her, and then tells you "You're no help" if you tell her you didn't, some might not feel much sympathy for her.
  • Ass Pull: The relationship between The Core and Ballos: killing the Load-Bearing Boss causes the island to fall, but killing the True Final Boss causes the island to stop falling. Sloppily handwaved with something vague about "negative energy". Even Curly doesn't understand how that works.
  • Author's Saving Throw: In the Switch version, the dog quest that takes up most of Sand Zone is changed so that you can carry all five dogs at once, and the last dog, formerly at the end of the area, is now near the Omega boss room. This makes the quest go by much more quickly.
  • Awesome Bosses: The last five bosses are the pinnacle of the game. And the boss preceding them is a symbolic one.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Sue Sakamoto is without a doubt the game's most polarizing character. There are those who find her feisty Tsundere personality extremely infuriating and criticize her lack of impact on the overall story, while others love her for her feistiness and enjoy her role in the story just fine.
  • Better Than Canon: The fanmade fourth ending for many, particularly because you can actually save King and Toroko and the credits suggest Misery finally makes amends with her mother, Jenka.
  • Bizarro Episode: The Outer Wall is by far the weirdest place in the game. The gravity is odd, treating the left side of the screen as 'down' for everything except you (though this could be justified if the wind is strong enough — this is the outside of a Floating Continent, after all). The enemies don't seem bizarre at first, but then you encounter the giant cat ghosts that shoot yarn balls with eyes at you. And living at the bottom is a group of people that are five inches high.
  • Breather Level:
    • The Plantation is rather easy compared to Outer Wall and what's to come. Most of the enemies in this area are rather weak or easily avoidable, save points are plentiful and there are no bosses.
    • The Waterway, right after the Labyrinth, which has much weaker enemies and the water currents that literally complete most of the level for you.
    • If one endures the living hell that is Hard Mode and is on track to get the best ending, the Hidden Last Cave becomes this. Compared to the hectic Labyrinth M and the Destroyed Egg Corridor, this level is one where you can calmly make your way through, and the boss is relatively easy compared to what came before. This is also the first level where you can enjoy the only Life Capsule in Hard Mode and have 8 HP, so not that many non-spike or Press attacks will kill you in one hit. This is especially true, even outside of Hard Mode, with one of the two ultimate weapons, as one is charged rather than leveled up while the other is meant to be kept at Level One.
    • The Balcony, especially if the player is on the path to the Golden Ending, which rewards the player with the Hidden version of the Last Cave. There are only 4 enemies, lots of weapon energy capsules and missile refills higher up the boss area's face, and is the last place the player goes through before entering the Sacred Grounds which only has the falling blocks to worry about as opposed to the Goddamned Butes in the Sacred Grounds.
  • Broken Base: The developer's forums for the WiiWare version were ablaze with people complaining about the music, the graphics, the gameplay, the dialogue... it descended to the point where "devoted fans" were refusing to buy the game when it comes out because it was delayed.
  • Complete Monster: Dr. Fuyuhiko Date, known almost exclusively as The Doctor, is a sociopathic researcher who came onto the floating island to take control of the powers of the Demon Crown. The Doctor is responsible for kidnapping several of the harmless native Mimigas and forcefeeding them the corruptive red flowers, mutating them into savage beasts. The Doctor has reduced the Mimiga's village to a select few survivors in doing this, and plots to use the rabid Mimiga to attack the surface world. The Doctor has his servants forcefeed the young Toroko these red flowers, ultimately leading to her death, and murders King when he tries to intervene, commenting on how "fragile" their bodies are. The Doctor is also responsible for mutating several of the island's infant dragons into undead zombies. At the end of the game, the Doctor mutates his own servant Misery for her dissent, intending to make her his puppet until the day she dies. The Doctor was an unfettered egomaniac who puts his pride above everything else, all the while behaving in a calm, perpetually condescending manner.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • The armored Gaudis in Labyrinth M. They throw knives at you which do loads of damage, and unlike the purple projectiles from the flying Gaudis, they can't be shot down.
    • The Crows and Butes listed as Goddamned Bats below become this in Hard Mode.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: It's very easy to excuse Misery and Balrog's actions on the grounds that they were Forced into Evil, and very easy to forget they were doing evil with genuine, happy smiles on their faces.
  • Ear Worm: Good luck getting Balrog's Leitmotif out of your head. The aforementioned Main Theme and Running Hell also qualify.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Balrog, for multiple reasons.
    • King, especially after he gives the player the Sword, one of the best weapons on a normal run, before dying from his injuries. It even has his soul! It also helps that he curbstomped Balrog just a bit beforehand and that he's a signified badass even before that happens.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Shares a minor one with Undertale. Cave Story fans get annoyed when Undertale fanart appears in Cave Story Tumblr tags. It also doesn't help that trolls are accusing Cave Story for ripping off Undertale even though Cave Story was released a decade before.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Despite the above, Cave Story and Undertale fans can often get along, complete with many crosovers in their ranks. They share similarly friendly relationships with Yume Nikki, Off, and MOTHER fans, also leading to crossovers.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • The Crows in the Sand Zone, and Butes in Sacred Grounds.
    • And the actual bats in the game, which can swarm around you if you don't kill them while sleeping, and are particularly obnoxious when summon spammed by bosses.
  • Goddamned Boss: The Core, with periods of invulnerability and ability to flood the area, which slows you down and may drown you. Also, the boss area is quite far from the previous restoration point even if you aren't going for the Golden Ending.
    • In his first form, the Doctor's attacks are fairly easy to dodge. However, all of his projectiles block your projectiles, and that's not accounting for the Red Crystal he's got buzzing around him which does the same. And his final form is a reprise of the Core.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • Playing in Holiday Mode in the Wii version somehow turns Curly's sprite into the male player character's. Not only is the now-male "Curly" referred to as "she" and "her", you still meet the default character in the Sand Zone. For the rest of the game two copies of the main character are running around the island. And Curly's panties are still referred to as "Your Panties". Yeah.
    • Cave Story 3D has a huge glitch where the game saves flags between save files when you quit the game with the inventory open. This can be used to return from the Point of No Return, get huge amounts of HP, and numerous other wacky things, including getting a Dummied Out item that Nicalis, surprisingly enough, ported into the remake.
  • It Was His Sled: A lot of online walkthroughs and such, even ones that otherwise avoid spoiling things without warning, give away the player character's name (Quote) without a second thought. Presumably, this is because no name is given for him until partway through the Golden Ending path, making it hard to talk about him otherwise. Eased slightly by later releases referring to him by the In-Series Nickname "Mr. Traveler".
  • Memetic Badass:
  • Memetic Mutation: "HUZZAH!", Balrog's Catch-Phrase in the fan translation of the original game, became a sort of rallying cry for fans of the game.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • The sound of experience points bouncing on the ground is barely noticeable in the original PC version, but drowns out everything else on the WiiWare port. This has been fixed with an update.
    • The level-up sound of all things if you're using the Nemesis, as leveling up weakens it.
  • Paranoia Fuel: One of earliest doors you'll have to enter is literally a monster. However, this monster never appears again after this initial trap.
  • Player Punch:
    • This seems to be The Doctor's job throughout the game, since he sure as hell doesn't spend any time healing anyone. If he appears on screen, he's either trying to punch your character or trying to punch you.
    • "Curly's life functions have ceased." Five little words to let you know that you dun goofed.
    • Being forced to kill Toroko.
  • Polished Port: The number of ports of the game are comparable to the number of ports of Lunar: The Silver Star, and each capitalizes on the last. The WiiWare port has redone sprites, the ability to play as Curly, and the European version gets an additional soundtrack.note  Cave Story + has all this and the Wind Fortress, somehow harder than the Sacred Grounds. 3D has polygonal models, and Cave Story +'s eShop release boasts everything + does but the graphics, and to compensate it's in stunning 3D. The Switch version then adds onto all of this with the Wii's remastered graphics, animated talking sprites, widescreen, some gorgeous subtle lighting effects, and co-op in a later update.
  • Red Herring Mole: Professor Booster. Evil Eyebrows? Check. Signal red glasses that hide the eyes underneath? Check. Potential Mad Scientist acquaintance of The Doctor? Check.
    Nonetheless he never switches sides, and even stays loyal until his death in one continuity of the game, giving away the Booster 0.8 to you with his last bit of strength that he could otherwise have used to save himself
    .
  • Scrappy Weapon: Subverted by the Bubbline/Bubbler. So many FAQs condemn this weapon as being "meh" at best, or some say it is horrible, or optional, but a lot of these people must not have really used it much. At level 1, it is the epitome of useless. At level 2, it is "meh". At level 3, this weapon is ''ridiculously powerful'' against certain kinds of enemies, including the boss of the Bushlands. If you took the time to backtrack to Mimiga Village to get the Bubbline before fighting the last boss of the Bushlands, and leveled it up to Lv3 before unlocking that door, that boss is ridiculously easy, as is the other boss in the same area. The jumps with the bats everywhere? Easy, with this weapon. The only weapon in the game that surrounds you with damaging orbs that kill anything that touches them while you're free to move, and the very first weapon that can fire an entire screen length. What is there to not like, other than how fast it de-levels? (We gotta balance it somehow...)
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The "heart container" jingle is quite similar to the Metroid "got item" jingle.
  • That One Boss:
    • Monster X is a mine car that drives from one side of the room to the other, forcing you to climb on it to avoid being crushed, and can only be damaged when it stops to unleash a torrent of bullets or homing missiles. While not the toughest boss in the game by any standards, it's far tougher than anything that came before it, and the sheer amount of on-screen objects can be overwhelming even to a player who has played the game before.
    • The Core has five mini-cores that together create an impressive volume of fire, and severely hampers the player's mobility by frequently flooding the room. It Turns Red by adding a current to the water and starting to use an attack which takes off 20 HP (of a maximum attainable 41 at that point). If you're playing on Hard Mode, the difficulty of the fight is amped up considerably since, unless you're playing the physical 3DS release, you only have your starting 3 HP and no Missiles, and thus don't have good damage output and every single attack it throws at you is a One-Hit Kill. While with Monster X you could attack a little and then flee when it gets dangerous, the Core's movement patterns and room layout ensures that this isn't possible, making the Core possibly the biggest roadblock on Hard Mode.
    • Frenzied Toroko makes for one hell of a Wake-Up Call Boss. She's tough, but most dangerously, her attacks deal 10 points of damage, which is roughly 25% of your hit points for that point.
    • Misery is difficult compared to The Doctor right after her. She has a lot of quick attacks, she Teleport Spams, and as the battle goes, gain orbiting shields that block your shots.
  • That One Level:
    • The Sand Zone. The Egg Corridor prepared you, Grasstown/Bushlands is where the game really starts, the Sand Zone is where the Nintendo Hard and Guide Dang It! nature of the game starts shining, featuring the first opportunity to miss out on one of the two Infinity Plus One Guns, enemies that gang up on you and can cause notable damage together, and a Fetch Quest that forces you to go through the area where the most enemies gang up on you at least five times and forces you to go through that area and the area after it twice. Not to mention Omega and Frenzied/Rabid Toroko, the first two Wake Up Call Bosses. The Switch version lessens the Fetch Quest, however, making the level much more bearable.
    • Labyrinth for enemies that gang up on you a lot, a lot of rooms, and Monster X and The Core, the first two That One Bosses. In the physical 3DS version, the last segment before The Core, Labyrinth M, gets expanded, making it even tougher than in any other version.
    • In the physical 3DS version, the Destroyed Egg Corridor is elevated to this. Shortly after the Sisters, much like Labyrinth M, the level gets expanded, effectively doubling its size. On Hard Mode, since the Sisters aren't able to be fought due to no Missiles being available, you have to do the entire level in one go since the Save Point can't spawn.
    • Last Cave (Hidden) introduces a mechanic not seen anywhere else in the game up to this point: The game resets all of your weapon levels! While this means nothing if you're using the Nemesis, which is most powerful at level 1, or the Spur, which is a Charged Attack weapon, your other weapons will need some time to build back up to level 3. Additionally, there's a sequence at the end where you have to run past a bunch of Presses that One-Hit Kill you if they smash you into the floor, and perfect timing of Booster 2.0 is needed to get past the small water pits in the floor.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Balrog's quirky Catch-Phrase ("Huzzah!") became "Oh Yeaahhh!" for the WiiWare release. Fans were not pleased. Also, some of the music sounded worse, although in this case the consensus was nearly unanimous, with the real debate being how big a problem it was. Nicalis heard the complaints, and eventually released an update that fixed the sound, music, and a few grammar/spelling quirks.
  • Ugly Cute: King is not ugly, but he's certainly less conventionally cute than the other Mimigas. Nevertheless, several fans think he's adorable.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The game is known for its accessible and engaging gameplay and cutesy visuals. It also features slavery and war themes, four nightmarish final bosses (The Doctor, who loses control and mutates, then him possessing the Core, Sue, and Misery, then the Heavy Press which attacks out of nowhere and is a Kaizo Trap if you don't realize what it is quickly enough, then finally Ballos, who has a horrific backstory and red, dripping, tortured faces in his head), and most of the cast dying before your eyes at regular intervals. And still goes with a rating of E10+.
  • Woolseyism: Many consider the original fan translation far superior to the more Wonder Bread official localization that came years later. While the official translation clearly borrowed from the fan version used for years, it removed scores of little nuances and phrasings that were more dynamic and made each character seem more identifiable in how they came across. Of course, in many cases, the preference is as simple as changing Balrog's iconic "Huzzah!" to the "Oh yeeeaaah!" Kool-Aid Man reference.

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