One of my most vivid memories was of the cave with the flying snake machines, during my first playthrough. I’d been wandering around with the random person who’d popped into my game, but when the machines showed up and started “patrolling” with their spotlights, we got separated. I was moving as fast as I could, while trying to keep an eye out for glyphs or my companion. I figured it might be safest to stick to the raised areas at the sides of the cave, rather than the low floor in the middle. At one point, I happened to look back, and witnessed my companion being chased down by the machine’s spotlight in the low middle area. I felt powerless to help. I was torn between mashing square to… I dunno… shout to them. Tell them to run faster. Do something. But part of me was afraid I’d attract the thing’s attention by making noise (like I said, it was my first playthrough; I had no idea if they could hear). I watched in horror (and perhaps shame) as the spotlight turned red, and the machine snapped up my companion, tearing their scarf and sending them flying, falling in a motionless heap. I don’t know what happened to them after that. I just ran. The machine’s spotlight came perilously close after me, but I managed to just barely avoid getting caught, somehow. Eventually, I met up with another companion and finished the chapter, but I was mad at myself for running away like I did.
I met and lost several companions over the course of my first playthrough. Towards the end, I went traveled through the whole snowy/windy area with a single companion, chirping reassuringly to each other. At one point, one of the snake machines tore away most of my scarf, but when I stood up, my companion was waiting patiently so that we could continue on together. As we began to slow down and weaken during the final climb, we desperately tried to chirp and impart some last bit of energy to each other, but eventually that failed. I sadly, helplessly, watched my companion succumb to the cold, and resolved to go on, but I only had steps to go before I also froze. When I awoke to the last dazzling, heavenly flight up to the peak… my companion was nowhere to be seen. I was alone. Reluctantly, I made the last part of the journey by myself, marveling at the beauty of it, yet with a tinge of sadness. Never has a game caused me to feel such a mixture of emotions, all at once.