Jenka's Nightmare is a fan-made sequel to the popular indie game Cave Story, and was created by Mark "shmitz" Major in 2009. The game was made to approximately 66-75% completion, and was then abandoned.
Many people would later try their hands at making changes and their own endings to Jenka's Nightmare in an attempt to finish what shmitz started. A notable attempt at this completion was made in 2011 by "MagicDoors", with their own unique ending to the game that received mixed reception, and was considered by many to be the 'true' ending to Jenka's Nightmare.
In December of 2012, Zachary "ZarroTsu" Baillie quickly picked up the mod himself, and set out to reboot the mod entirely from scratch, using the original mod's story and setting as a base. As of May 4th, 2014, Jenka's Nightmare is finally complete, and is considered to have gone far above and beyond MagicDoors' attempt. As of January 18th, 2015, the version is 126.96.36.199. The game, as of now, has recieved its final major update, and any future updates are tentatively bugfixes.The mod occurs after the events of the original game's secret ending, so one can expect this article to be spoiler heavy. To avoid abusing the spoiler tag for the entire article, however, all information from the original game will be treated as 'known'. It is highly suggested that you complete the original game before reading this article.
About the game:Quote, Curly, and Balrog have spent a long year enjoying their new lives away from the island after the events of Cave Story, and the defeat of The Doctor and Ballos. Suddenly, and without warning, they are teleported back to the island by a desperate and defeated Jenka, and immediately separated.
From the get-go it's evident that the entire island has been physically changed by some strange forces acting upon it. What has happened to the island after the previous events? It's up to Quote to find his friends and figure out the mystery behind these new forces, meeting old allies and new enemies along the way.
The tropes listed below are exclusive to Jenka's Nightmare. Tropes specific to the characters and events in the original game will not be included; however, tropes from the original game that are redefined by the new content in Jenka's Nightmare may be.
This game provides examples of:
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: All of the new enemies and bosses in the game use the same AI as the original game would allow.
- Air-Aided Acrobatics: While in the original game, the mod's version of Grasstown expands upon it spectacularly. Toward the end of Grasstown, you're required to use a series of computer consoles to turn on and off a series of fans so you can climb a series of pillars to reach the warehouse at the far right of the map. And then you have to fight the boss, Suto, while also using/competing with fans for horizontal momentum.
- Alas, Poor Villain: It's implied that the entire mess is caused by Jenka mourning Ballos' death, and subconsciously trying to destroy the island to erase the memory of his actions. Eventually subverted: see Hijacked by Ganon below.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: The true ending has you playing as Curly Brace trying to rescue Quote.
- Apocalyptic Log: There's a hidden diary in Booster's Workshop that helps bridge the gap between Jenka's Nightmare and Cave Story. Obviously, it didn't end very well.
- In the Abandoned Facility, you find a series of logs written by someone from a group that was doing research on the island, while trying to coexist with the Mimiga. It... didn't end well, either.
- Author Avatar: At any point in the game where you could Sequence Break with some effort, instead of going to the next logical map, you'll be sent to a "Secret Room". Inside this secret room is the present modding author, ZarroTsu, seen to be working on the game while in the game.
- Awesome, but Temporary:
- Due to what happens after the second fight against Suto, any weapons you have are gone forever. Kind of expected with your starter weapon, yes, but this also includes any ammo expansions for the Snake and the Missile Launcher acquired until this point. The former can be trivialized by having the Snake Capsule from a NG+ file, as it upgrades the weapon to the Hydra, with infinite ammo. The latter? Not so much.
- Can be averted by actively avoiding the chests that grant these weapons and expansions, although this is hard to do without knowing whose are first. For the player wanting to be on the safe side, avoid opening any chests not enforced by the storyline, and do hope that your Polar Star game can carry you through.
- Bag of Spilling: Despite the storyline picking up right from the ending of Sacred Grounds in the original, Quote once again begins alone, in a cave, unarmed. Presumably justified by him being unarmed when Jenka teleports the trio, leaving all his hard-won equipment behind... though that doesn't quite explain the recession back to 6 HP.
- Bait-and-Switch Boss:
- In the Sand Zone, it seems as though the boss of the area will be Misery. When you get to her, the boss theme starts playing... but Booster comes in and stops the fight before it begins. The actual boss, The Deconstructor, is fought a little later on with almost no warning.
- The final part of the Spur sidequest sets up for a fight against King/Bro Pignon. He is fought, but as the flunky to Suto's Flunky Boss.
- Big Bad: The entity responsible for trapping the heroes on the island and threatening to destroy the island is the titular Jenka's Nightmare... or so it seems until the True Ending path reveals that Dr. Fuyuhiko Date/The Doctor is controlling it to get revenge on the heroes for thwarting him.
- Bonus Boss:
- Bro Pignon and his gang, and the fourth Suto fight thereafter.
- All of the bosses after the fake ending.
- And one more for finding the Super Secret Room, combined with a Boss Rush.
- Brutal Bonus Level:
- To get to the Observatory, Quote can go through either the Egg Corridor and Outer Wall (Booster's recommended route) or the Devil's Garden and Once-Sacred Ground (as a "last resort").
- To get the True Ending, one must go through Last Cave (Hidden), followed by Arcadia, an extended version of Cave Story's Sacred Ground.
- But Thou Must!: Monster X will ask you to get him some Critter Juice, and proceed to loop his dialog through a number of different branches so long as you keep saying 'No'.
- The Call Knows Where You Live: Quote, Curly, and Balrog were far away from the island trying to live new lives when Jenka suddenly teleported them back. Sue is brought along as well, much to her displeasure.
- Checkpoint Starvation/Difficulty Spike: Just like in the original game, both tropes come into full effect from Plantation onwards.
- Cutscene Incompetence: Balrog has some awful luck.
- In one instance, he's wandering around Sand Zone and is suddenly swallowed whole by a rush of sand filling the area. It never occurs to him to jump out of the way, despite his ability to fly through ceilings.
- In another instance immediately after you rescue him, he tosses aside a boulder which not only traps him and Quote in a room together, but also causes the floor under them to collapse, separating the two of them all over again.
- Death-or-Glory Attack: Excalibur. While it could also fall under the Disk One Nuke trope, a considerable drawback is the range made even smaller than the original game's version of the weapon. This is somewhat improved as of version 188.8.131.52, but not by much.
- Developers' Foresight:
- You're told straight-up that the map system doesn't work right in the Labyrinth. Lo an behold, when you finally obtain it, it can't display a few of the maps correctly.
- You can ignore Sue and Curly after returning from the Labyrinth, and only meet up with them after having beaten one of the Climax Bosses. Doing so changes the meet-up dialog.
- Several Sequence Breaking situations result instead with a "Secret Room".
- Did you forget to deliver the Little Man to his family in the original game? With the New Game+ functionality, you can still finish this little quest. It'll even be an acceptable alternative to bring over the Nemesis to this game, but unlike the traditional method bring him over in the first game, then come to visit him during this one he'll also act like a minor Exposition Fairy whenever checked in the inventory, after some key events in the game. Like chastising you for robbing the Polar Star again, giving his own input about the bosses and sidequests, and so on. He'll even remind you when it's possible to reach his home and deliver him to his family!
- Green-Eyed Monster: Misery has issues with Jenka picking Quote over her own daughter to fix everything.
- Guide Dang It!:
- The original was infamous for having several of these, most of which were thankfully explained better in the current version. One that still remains however is getting to the Sanctuary in the Underside, which requires you to examine a random statue that doesn't even look like an object you can interact with. This wouldn't be a problem, considering that it's meant to be a secret area, except that you are punished severely for missing this. Good luck getting through the Labyrinth without Excalibur.
- Within the Sanctuary is the guardian spirit puzzle. The original does a poor job of explaining how it works, but even with the new version, it is still hard to do. The way the puzzle works is that you must traverse a series of small rooms, and for every two you pass, the spirit moves one. If it catches you, you lose. But the layout is tight and designed so that you cannot just make a break for the exit and need to lure the spirit out, except that you are likely to accidentally trap yourself multiple times, especially since the spirit can turn chains into walls, possibly blocking your original route.
- Hydra Problem: Against the boss of Sand Zone, Deconstructor, smaller floating enemies will bounce around the room. If you shoot one of three 'special' ones, a barrage of new ones will enter the arena depending on how much damage you inflicted.
- Infinity +1 Sword: If you play the game through its New Game+ function, loading an old profile wherein you still had the Polar Star at the Prefab House before Sacred Grounds, the eventual conclusion to the Spur subplot will also reward you with the Ursa Minor.
- King Mook: The Great White Critter. Heavy Press also makes a return.
- Leitmotif: Balrog now shares his with Suto.
- Low-Level Advantage: Loading an old profile for the New Game+ feature, while donning minimal HP, will let you collect all the life capsules you missed before (with some minor Power Degeneration, mind you). Doing so will net you the most HP after you build your way up from being a One-Hit Point Wonder.
- The Maze:
- The Guardian's Maze, wherein you have to kite around a small flame, but prevent it from "catching" you.
- The Labyrinth, where a lot of destinations make little sense if you (could) look at the map.
- The Devil's Garden.
- Moon Logic Puzzle:
- In the Sanctuary, the player is required to run around a maze being followed by a strange flame that will teleport you out if it meets up with you in the same room.
- In the original game, this was almost certainly a Guide Dang It! moment, as not only was the solution completely unexplained, but the rooms were much more broken up and it was difficult to determine when and how the flame would move next.
- In Sand Zone, the player is required to shuffle three teleporters around to get around Sand Zone. In order to progress, they need to set any two teleporters to one another, and take the third. This wasn't explained in the original, either. At least, not very well...
- In the Labyrinth, the player can easily get lost in a looping maze. One hint of the maze's solution is a poem muttered by a Cthulhu:Round and round, the clock hand spins;
New exits shown where time begins.
But in the end, the clock hand stops;
the forward path behind us...
- A robot in the dead end helps spell it out a little more.
- In the Sanctuary, the player is required to run around a maze being followed by a strange flame that will teleport you out if it meets up with you in the same room.
- Multiple Endings: Two of them, comparable to Cave Story's normal and True Ending.
- Normal ending: After defeating Jenka's Nightmare, talk to Curly in the observatory and agree that there's nothing left to do on the island, in which case Quote, Curly, and Balrog will leave the island together.
- True Ending: After defeating Jenka's Nightmare, go to Jenka's house. The Doctor reveals his presence and attacks Quote, leaving Curly to go through the Brutal Bonus Level and True Final Boss to defeat him once and for all.
- Mutually Exclusive Powerups: New Game+, accessed by carrying over a save file from the end of Cave Story. You get some little trinkets in place of your weapons, and different things happen to your HP depending on what you did/didn't collect...
- Also New Game+ exclusive is the Nemesis, obtained by rescuing the Little Man in the original, and then trading one of your weapons for it again. While the Blade is still an option, you can just as easily trade away the Fireball or Bubbler for it instead.
- Nerf: The Spur and the Blade suffered a longer charge time and much shorter range, respectively.
- The Spur can be returned to its old, quicker charge speed, with the Ursa Minor accessory. Which is acquired from a save from the previous game where you have dragged the Polar Star, your starting peashooter, from the beginning of the game to the very end, instead of upgrading it for one of the three much better options.
- No-Gear Level: After battling Suto for the second time at the end of Grasstown, Quote falls down a long shaft and loses his weapons. He is unarmed and defenseless for a brief segment until stumbling across the Fireball, waiting in a chest in a house built under the island.
- Noob Cave: The Pipeworks, the first real area of the game.
- Old Save Bonus: Starting the game with a save from Cave Story's True Ending unlocks several goodies depending on which weapons, items, and Life Capsules were collected.
- Really 700 Years Old: The Cthulhu claim to be even older than Jenka.
- Screen Shake: The floating island seems to be having some recurring earthquakes.
- Secret Level: The Sanctuary, accessed by interacting with a Mimiga statue near the end of the Underside.
- If you miss it, you can talk to Jack at Grasstown, and then proceed to the far right of the map. King's spirit will fall down the pit you fell into on your first trip, signifying you can reach the Underside again.
- The Super Secret Room, accessed by finding the five other secret rooms, then entering Jenka's fireplace.
- Sequel Escalation: The game is a tad larger than the original:
- More maps (125, versus the original's 93)
- More Life Capsules (Upwards of 99 total life if you play your NG+ right, versus the original's 55)
- A much broader and higher escalation of difficulty.
- Shout-Out: The reward for beating the Boss Rush is an extended Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann reference.
- Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: Often happens near a boss. Right in front of Misery's house, there is a save point and a health/ammo refill station. When you go in, she gets angry at you, rises into the air the way she did at the beginning of her boss fight in the original, her boss health meter appears at the bottom of the screen... and then Booster shows up and talks her out of attacking you, and you don't actually fight her at all.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: Excalibur, a weapon that can be found in the Sanctuary, can be shown to Jack in Grasstown to evoke some additional character development.
- Too Awesome to Use: Similar to the Life Pot (which also makes a return), the Munitions Clip is a single-use item. What does it do? Instantly restore ALL weapon ammo.
- If you had a Life Pot in your NG+ profile (which you likely did), you begin the game with it. It's still single-use, but you can still receive the regular one later on, if you use it first.
- Unexpected Shmup Level: The fight against Oblivion and the final fight against Tristitia.
- Villain Override: Misery complains that upon trying to get close to Jenka, she gets transformed into "[T]hat... THING", a reference to her twisted form from the original Cave Story's final boss.
- Walking Armory: It's entirely possible to finish the game with every weapon available (except the Fireball and Polar Star), to the point where the weapons menu not only breaks but exceeds the right side of the frame. The Nemesis, however, is sadly New Game+ exclusive.
- Welcome to Corneria: Averted again. Almost all of the NPCs have two pieces of dialog for each step in the story, and it updates regularly after key events.