I was talking to
last night and I decided that I was in the mood for writing a journal about one of my favorite franchises of all time: The Legend of Zelda.
With Hyrule Warriors less than a month old, I figured it was worth my coming out and gushing about my experiences with the series.
If you're wondering why I'm wasting time with this rather than writing my novel, weeeeell the next thing I have to write is a fight scene and I hate having to be places when I'm in the middle of one. When I started writing this journal, I had Orientation at Kohls in 30 minutes.
...Anyway, this is a bit of a freeform journal, but it's my way of paying homage to what I guess I could call my favorite videogame franchise, and that's including the Tales Series and the Ace Attorney games.Dungeon One: Ocarina of Time
During elementary school, I owned an N64. My dad bought it, said it was mine and my first game on it was Banjo-Kazooie.
Up until the N64, we owned a SEGA Genesis. We didn't own a lot of games, mostly we rented.
But that changed with the N64 and after successful run-ins with Banjo-Kazooie (a game I found much frustration in until I was MUCH older), Mario Kart 64 (a game I would learn as an adult dated back to the SNES) and the ORIGINAL MARIO PARTY (one of my favorite games at the time) it was eventually time to "move up" shall we say.
Now thanks to Kart and Party, I was well familiar with the Mario franchise, despite having never ever touched any of the SNES games (which we owned at one point. I have no idea what happened to it). But, my dad decided that just having Mario in the house wasn't enough. He decided to introduce me to a more...adult franchise.
The Legend of Zelda.
*theme tune plays*
When we first got Banjo-Kazooie, I watched my dad play it until I started getting the hang of it myself. With Zelda, I
was the star of the show (until my dad made his own file). I got to play the game first.
I liked Zelda a lot damn more than I liked Banjo Kazooie. It was a lot of fun and much less challenging....and I had a STRATEGY GUIDE for BK. It was pretty invigorating for its time, little did I know that this would become a gaming classic.
In fact, Zelda, Ocarina of Time, can count as the VERY FIRST GAME I ever completed without ANY help. Oh sure, I was given hints from friends about certain things, but in a time before the internet, I never really gathered any intel of "what to do". Watching my dad when he played made it easier to basically have a case of "monkey see monkey do"
.........okay I lied, there was one part of the OoT I never could do as a child: that fucking stealth section with the guards at the beginning of the game when you have to go meet Princess Zelda. PAIN IN THE ASS!
Anyway, at one point, it became a race to see who could finish the game first: me or my dad.
The answer may surprise you.
In a shocking twist, despite being at least one dungeon ahead of me the whole way through: I beat the game before my dad. Crazy right?
At any rate, this game was a life changer, setting a course of action in motion that I think I owe to what I've become. Ocarina of Time set the stage for: boy who didn't ask to become a hero, but became one in the end. Hell, that's the very premise of Immortal Memories.
I've always been fond of the whole "rescue the damsel in distress" despite my recent feminist views, but I find that it doesn't contradict that since there are women out there that DO want to be rescued and DO have a white knight complex.
Ocarina of Time also spawned my creativity, my knack for creating interesting, broad environments (in my mind anyway) and is the sole reason I seem to prefer swords over any other weapon (lol jk)
There were some really fantastic moments when I played this game the first time through.
The first came very early in the game. My little brother wasn't even in Kindergarten yet, but he was a talker. He found it SO FUNNY watching Daruna dance to Saria's Song. Hearing him laugh was music to my ears as much as the catchy tune of Saria's Song.
The second was when Link first became an adult. I knew about this twist before I started the game, but watching Ganondorf be a complete and total prick was NOT in the spoiler description. I was like "whaaaaat?"
Same for watching Zelda escape with Impa on a horse.
Which brings me to my FAVORITE twist.
At this point, the fact that Zelda was Shiek the whole time is something that Melee made obvious and now, except to little children that don't know what the internet is, it counts as a case of "you should know this already"
My jaw hit the floor when that happened. I mean there was talk of a "seventh sage" from the constant times I would play Saria's song for guidance (and sometimes Navi COULD be helpful if I was absolutely and completely lost on what to do next)
But, there was also something ELSE that happened that at the time I couldn't explain why I did it.
After beating the game, I would constantly replay the WHOLE GAME (remember this was before the internet boom) JUST so I could see that cutscene of Shiek turning into Zelda.
I can explain it now.
I thought--and still do--Zelda was HOT!
Zelda, I feel, completely captures the essence of what I find attractive, despite the way the game was rendered. (It was the 90s). I'm not talking about blondes or elf ears. I'm talking more in a sense of the way that A) she carries herself B) formal fashion sense C) ...er......proportions.
Furthermore, despite being on the run, Zelda, as Shiek, at least did her best to help. Remember, this is the woman who helped rescue Princess Ruto from underneath the Ice, somehow managed to cross all over Hyrule JUST to teach you songs and in the last seven years probably mastered some form of Hyrulean Ninjitsu given her beautiful swan dive into Hylia Lake, amongst other impressive physical feats for an otherwise sheltered princess seven years ago.
Ocarina of Time would continue to be my favorite game on the N64. It was second to none. The closest game that ever came to beating it was Star Fox 64.
Hell, it's still probably my favorite Zelda GAME for its gameplay, playability and dungeon crawling/bonus items ratio.
But let's move on, shall we?Dungeon Two: Winds of Change
As you might already know, Wind Waker was met with a lot of flack before its release....mostly due to the graphics.
When I purchased Wind Waker I got it with the Zelda: Master Quest bundle. (Whoo boy was not prepared for Master Quest, let me tell you, but that's another matter).
When I finished Master Quest and the original LoZ again I thought to myself "Man nothing could ever hope to come close to this game."
Unfortunately it turns out I was right.
Now before any of you who LIKE Wind Waker jump to White Knight it, let me stop you right here.
I do not HATE Wind Waker. Wind Waker is a very FUN Zelda game. However, it does NOT compare to Ocarina of Time. Not. Even. Close.
This, mostly, has to deal with personal preferences about the game.
In Ocarina of Time, there are no less than 8 boss battles that yield heart containers. The world is hella condensed down to a sizable environment.
In Wind Waker there are only FIVE. That means there are 12 more pieces of heart that YOU have to locate to extend your life energy.
Worse is that the phasing of the actual story is way too short and it gyps you in some places.
The first dungeon, not including the hike up Ganondorf's fortress, is Dragon's Roost. It is one of all TWO dungeons you have to complete in what should be a 3 step process because the water pearl is just given to you.
Furthermore, exploration in this game feels like it was done with absolute gamer cruelty in mind. For example, how the FUCK am I supposed to know that I NEED to put an Iota Pear on my head (or whatever the fuck it was called) in order to get a piece of heart floating about one of the islands.
On top of that, some of the dungeons are....well let me explain
In the Tower of Heavens (if I remember the name correctly) part of the dungeon involves ROCKING SLOWLY ON THE BOAT towards each side of the flooded entrance way. It is TEDIOUS.
And good lord did the developers not think the forest temple through at all.
I can't be the only one who saw the perfect opportunity to shoot the blue pot with a fire arrow thereby letting me skip an entire section of the dungeon without actually knowing it.
Also, sailing is tedious. The world feels largely empty. I always thought the world should be condensed down, but Phantom Hourglass took that WAY too far.
There is quite literally TOO MUCH going on in Wind Waker and not enough of it is plot relevant. Hell, Wind Waker forced me to get a strategy guide I was so confused in some places.
And don't get me started on the dumb, DUMB plot twists.
I will give the game this though: the final battle with Zelda against Ganondorf proves ONCE AGAIN that this woman demands respect. Dungeon Three: Master Quest
I should've put this BEFORE Wind Waker since technically I played this first, but hey it's brief and I didn't think about it still I started talking about Wind Waker. The thing about Master Quest is that it is basically Ocarina of Time with the dungeon crawling design of the original NES game in my opinion. I mean things are just WAY too cryptic sometimes. Best example is "Inside Lord Jabu Jabu's belly" where there are COWS that you can Z-target fucking EVERYWHERE.
First off: EEW!
Second: HOW THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT THOSE ARE SWITCHES!
Also, speaking of Master Quest and OoT. I NEVER had a problem with the Water Temple. EVER!
Hell, I've never had a problem with ANY water temple in the series except the one in Majora's Mask, but again we'll get to that. The Lake Hylia Water Temple is certainly time consuming if you don't understand it, but it's not impossible like I hear some people bitch about. It's still a horrible dungeon, but it's far from "DA WORST THING EVAR!" Dungeon Four: Four Swords Adventures
I LOVE this game. It's probably my second favorite Zelda title for a number of different factors. I like how each level is self-contained and it feels more like an arcade game than the traditional Zelda title. True, you need 3 other people to get the FULL experience as some people will tell you, but I still liked it all things considered. Hell, it's my only experience with Dark Link outside of the Water Temple (and I cheat with that one. I HATE that mini-boss [Din's Fire, Green Potion, lather, rinse, repeat]).
One thing I like about Four Swords is that you can replay ANY level at ANY time if you've completed it. I've done this for a LOT of levels that I like. And there are a LOT of levels in this game that make it enjoyable.
However, if there's one flaw I find with four swords its that you can only carry ONE item, you can't get more than 8 hearts (forcing you to rely on force fairies) but then again that also makes it enjoyable with the whole "arcade feel" I mentioned earlier. The graphics are nice for a sprite game and...yeah that's all I got. Go Four Swords!Dungeon Five: Minish Cap
I read recently that Ezlo is considered a "The Scrappy" for this game. ...I don't see it. But then again I don't understand why people hate Navi either. She was always very helpful, even in hindsight. I mean yes I would always talk to the game whenever she would go "Hey!" with "Shut up, Navi. I'm in the middle of something!" But without Navi I wouldn't know how to fight certain enemies and GOOD LORD was her presence missed in Wind Waker when you DON'T have that kind of direction.
Much like how Navi provides Link with information about enemies and serves as a necessary function to the game, Ezlo functions as not only a helpful guide for rather confusing puzzles (though unlike Navi you can't ASK to speak with him if memory serves, but unlike Navi he doesn't just pop in and force you to listen to him)
Also, like Ocarina of Time, I rather like the size of the map.
BEST OF ALL is how when you fuse kinstones there will be a marker put on your map to serve as a REMINDER for treasure chests, open passageways and beanstalks.
I also do like how the map is erm, expanded for lack of a better term, by the game's shrinking mechanic. It's unique, it's functional and downright enjoyable.
Minish Cap was the first handheld Zelda game I had ever played aside from a VERY BRIEF encounter with oracle of seasons. And because of the experience it would not be the last. Dungeon Six: Twilight Princess
I FUCKING LOVE Twilight Princess.
Somewhere during the Gamecube Generation, lots of franchises started to adopt a more story-focused gaming experience, even franchises whose plots were "excuse plot" at best.
If you asked me whether or not I'd play Twilight Princess or Ocarina of Time again, I'd pick OoT just because of the user interface and more memorabilia as well as a LOT LESS guess work.
Again, Ocarina of Time had such a sizable map that you'd probably wind up picking up heart pieces AS you were playing.
Twilight Princess on the other hand made that so much more complicated than it needed to be in retrospect. Again, if memory serves.
However, Twilight Princess has probably the best STORY out of all the Zelda games in my opinion. After all, Zelda's involvement in the game is only to heal Midna and then later be forced to fight you before whipping out the Light Arrows to help you fight Ganondorf. Midna is your partner and the character you get to know and adhere to through most of the game. She's more than just the exposition fairy you get tacked on with since Ocarina of Time introduced Navi.
Since most Zelda fans already know Midna's true nature and any Hyrule Warriors trailer talks about this: while it's not as great a twist as Zelda is Shiek, the fact that Midna is the Twilight Princess--not Zelda--is one of those moments where you just tilt your head and go "eh?"
And unlike a friend of mine, I actually didn't mind the whole "gathering of the seeds of light" nonsense except during the final run since I kept counting things and I'm like "THIS DOESN'T MAKE SENSE! THERE'S ONE MISSING!"
Also, much like how I liked Wind Waker's "bonus dungeon" that was 50 floors of enemies, I REALLY liked the one in Twilight Princess, especially with its connection to the Bridge of Eldin just to get into it.
I also liked how it humanized the poor orc boss you'd been humiliating all throughout the game. "I fight for the strongest" anyone?
The game is also responsible for adding YET ANOTHER member to Link's harem with Midna's true form.
Seriously, check this out:
Like for real.
This was obviously made BEFORE the gamecube era since Midna should probably be on here, but hey it is what it is.
As for my FAVORITE or OTP Legend of Zelda pairing. Ummmmmmmmmm
Hey! Look at the Pretty Bunny:
Look at the Pretty Bunny: Dungeon Seven: Phantom Hourglass
Unless you count Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, there has never been a game that is a DIRECT SEQUEL to any other Zelda game. Each Zelda game is self-contained and really doesn't require any other foreknowledge of previous games despite some cameos here and there.
Except with Phantom Hourglass. In fact, it outright SPOILS the plot of Wind Waker for those who haven't played Wind Waker. It's not bad, but........not so sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I played
Wind Waker so I'm not bothered by it. But I wouldn't know how people would feel if this was their first Zelda game, especially since Wind Waker got re-released on the Wii U. ...not your smartest
move Nintendo I will admit.
However, that's beside the point. Phantom Hourglass is FUN. It has fantastic gameplay elements to it, the most notable of which is that everything is controlled by the touch screen. Now while that DOES sound challenging, it actually makes the game pretty damn fun.
The one thing that's also rare for a Zelda game: No Zelda and No Master Sword.
Okay, TECHNICALLY Tetra IS Zelda, but she never appears AS Zelda during the game. More importantly, she spends almost all of the game as a statue. And it wouldn't be the first time, right Minish Cap?
The one thing I like about Phantom Hourglass are characters like Ciela and Linebeck, especially the character development Linebeck has over the course of the game.
If I had one gripe about the game it's that god awful "Temple of the Ocean King" which is an ENTIRE FORCED STEALTH SECTION DUNGEON.
Thankfully, though, you can get some SERIOUS payback during your final venture into it, which I LIKE.
However, I'm not too crazy about it otherwise. It's still a good game, but I'd hesitate to call it a favorite Zelda game. Dungeon Eight: Skyward Sword
It's fitting that the end of the Wii's run would have a Zelda title considering the Wii also opened with a Zelda title. Because we all have a difference of opinion in this world, I actually liked Skyward Sword in much the same vein that I liked Ocarina of Time. While OoT STILL to this date is the game with the MOST dungeon crawling and exciting fun (We'll get to Link Between Worlds shortly), Skyward Sword came very close to hitting that sweet spot.
The Wii Motion Plus controls were, I agree, overused, but in some areas it made the game more fun. I NEVER had the motion controls actually RUIN anything important. If I lost in a boss fight or an important part of the game it was usually due to my own sheer stupidity and not an argument between gamer and controller.
Hell, for all that I loved it, I never quite got all of the heart pieces as I made a painstaking effort to do in every other Zelda game.
Also, I thought I was going to hate the Silent Realms bit after
talked about it in his review.
And you know what, I DO hate them, but for probably completely different reasons.
I hate the stealth sections in the Zelda games I've played and all of them for different reasons.
Ocarina of Time's is just irritating from the 3D perspective.
The one in Wind Waker is downright FRUSTRATING in some portions
The whole damn dungeon in Phantom Hourglass is tediously annoying (not helped by the fact that you're on a time limit goddamit)
And now we come to the Silent Realms. The silent realms are probably the least frustrating stealth sections. Why? Well because they're replaced by a different emotion: FEAR!
Much like how Phantom Hourglass forces you to walk around a dungeon and avoid getting caught in which you will be hunted down until you're slashed, Skyward Sword takes that and combines it with the lightbug hunt from Twilight Princess.
Now, this isn't SO bad since, unlike TP a lot of sections are closed off making the search much more self-contained.
However, it is TERRIFYING. The ambiance in this place is just eerie. I mean, you may be able to go through most of the stealth section without waking up the phantoms or guardians at all (forgot what they are called). If you're lucky. 9 times out of 10 these things WILL wake up and they WILL hunt you down. It is FUCKING SCARY. Especially if you are standing right next to a goddess tear that happens to be right next to two inactive phantoms.
I mean for all intents and purposes that's like standing next to a switch that if you don't flick it on within a proper time frame, two ghosts will emerge from a pair of statues next to you and make you look like a Nightmare on Elm Street victim.
It's goddamn horrifying!
As for the plot of Skyward Sword.......eh it gets the job done. Not the strongest story of LoZ, but it's not the weakest either.
The game starts with Link oversleeping. I have a theory that Link is like Sherlock Holmes and can only function as a human being if he's on adventure or enough cocaine to floor a sumo wrestler.
I mean let's be honest, just in this very tribute how many times that's happened.
Ocarina Time (yup)
Wind Waker (oh definitely)
Minish Cap (indeedly so)
Twilight Princess (can't recall, but probably)
Phantom Hourglass..................again this thing REALLY is non-standard Zelda. Original villain. No master sword. And no physical appearance of Zelda in her gown.
Speaking of Yahtzee, he's always brought up motion controls--as have many about how the game does things "1 second or so after you've asked the game to do it". I'll be perfectly honest, I've owned a Wii since it's launch. I've had games with rather fluent motion controls and I've never had a problem, even here in Skyward Sword with enemies having precise blocking abilities where you're forced to strike a mook's weak point. I've screwed up sure, but that's just my own hand-eye coordination fuckups because I have no fucking precision to start with. Besides, you do enough shield bashes properly and the whole aiming thing is no longer an issue.
I will say that I like how, once again, Zelda is part of the action where apparently she cleared an entire dungeon by herself (possibly two, can't recall)
However, this is probably the ONLY TIME I've encountered where Zelda is in the game, but not a princess. It's weird, but it's all right. She still looks like Zelda. Dungeon Nine: Majora's Mask
During the N64 era, I did not own a copy of Majora's Mask. I never had the chance to get my hands on it.
Thank you Wii Virtual Console for now I have.
While it's not THE best Zelda game I've played, it's definitely one I cherish. Hell, in Fairy Without Wings, I made an entire damn tribute to the thing.
I could complain about how there are only FOUR dungeons in this game, but I won't. Because unlike Wind Waker, Majora's Mask makes up for this in SPADES!
Unlike every other Zelda game ever, this one feels like the background matters. This one makes it seem like the fate of the world is REALLY in your hands and Link isn't just the designated hero.
You get a feel for the characters and their struggles as you work to obtain heart pieces and masks. Hell, it's even possible to do ONE PERFECT RUN and make everyone's lives better as a part of Video game caring potential.
While I still find Twilight Princess to have a stronger main story, Majora's Mask comes to a close second with the only thing holding it back being the implementation of...well...everything. I am NOT a fan of the Groundhog Day Loop mechanic. NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST!
Furthermore, that's the only way to save the game in the Japanese version. We at least get owl statues for mid-game saves, but those are quicksaves. In Ocarina of Time you could save anywhere. That made things a whole lot better.
Worse, is that you can only do one part of the game at a time because you HAVE to keep going back to Day 1 and this is especially frustrating in boss battles.
The water temple is even WORSE in this regard, especially since the first time you fight Gyorg, chances are he is going to maul the fuck out of you. However, subsequent battles make it so that it's likely that fucking fish won't even be able to do jack spit.
On that same vein, Goht is just the opposite. He's soooooooo hard the first time you fight him, but in subsequent battles he's fun to fight.
Oh, yeah did I forget to mention, the groundhog day loop mechanic makes the bosses replayable with the ability to just warp to their room if you've beaten them once already. And to be quite honest it's kind of fun.
I will disagree on some level with certain critics because I actually do like the Stone Tower Temple, especially for its music once you've turned the dungeon upside-down. That mechanic ALONE is just genius.
I'm rather fond of Majora's Mask for many reasons and it's one of the reasons i'm proud to be a Zelda fan.
Unlike, unfortunately, this last one. Final Dungeon: A Link Between Worlds
I've said it once before and I'll say it again: I am not a fan of A Link Between Worlds. It's probably the WEAKEST of the Zelda games I've played. There are some good quirks in the game play to be had here (tackling dungeons in any order, being given all of the items at the start). However, the villain is even more of a case of Narm than Ghirahim was. The fact that you can MERGE ONTO WALLS is a case of "We didn't think this through" since it makes the dungeons SO FUCKING EASY!
Worse on this front is that I couldn't even begin to tell you any of the bosses because they're so easy to kill if you spend the time sidequesting and upgrading your sword. Sure, you need a LOT of rupees to get permanent gear in the game, but the game throws rupees at you like it's going out of style.
Also, I completed this game in ONE DAY
Even MINISH Cap will take you at least a week and I was SIDEQUESTING in ALBW.
No Zelda game should ever be so short that it could be completed in a day without a strategy guide.
Hell, you could probably complete the original Legend of Zelda that fast once you know what you are doing, but not the first time you PLAY IT!
When a game takes only 12 hours to be completed, you've been ripped off for a 3DS game. Hell, even Phoenix Wright Dual Destinies would require you 3 days to play the game all the way through on the first go.
I am not a fan of ALBW. I've said it before and I'll say it again: It's too easy. I prefer a game with a little more challenge. Post-game script
I'm proud to be a Zelda fan and I intend to continue to be so. I know most of what I did probably wasn't very informative about the series, but I'm not that kind of person. I just wanted to gush about things I liked, which I rarely get to do.
In the future I hope to be doing a review for Hyrule Warriors before the end of next year.
that's all I have for now ladies and gentlemen.
I'm going to get food and then it is back to word grinding for Immortal Memories.