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6:20 PM on 04.02.2012

Dreaming: Megaman? Give it a new story.

I first really started getting into gaming when I was around 8. Before then my experience was mostly limited to Pokemon (including Snap), watching my sister play Zelda, and failing miserably at Super Mario Bros 1 and 3. Once I got my GBA though, it was all games, all the time. I didn't have to go downstairs and hog the TV, leaving myself open for scrutiny by the passers by. I could stay up in my room and (once I upgraded to the SP) play into all hours of the night. Among the many games I played, one series in particular ate up more hours than I could have possibly counted: Megaman Battle Network.

The first three games were absolutely perfect in every regard in my eyes. It had incredibly addicting and strategic yet accessible gameplay, characters that I could relate to at that age, and a story that I had no trouble being able to comprehend (which was my only qualm with Golden Sun, another game that ate away at my sleeping hours). The game mixed RPG, TCG, action, and grid based strategy all into one system that was, and still is, entirely unique. These games introduced me to a lot of new ideas, and helped me develop my skills as a gamer; something I desperately needed at the time.

Not too long ago I decided to play through the trilogy again, for old time's sake. Surprisingly, the combat system was still plenty challenging, considering I knew just what chips I wanted in my deck, how to fight some of the trickier enemies, and how to best upgrade Megaman for maximum virus-busting power. I even found that the random battles, which are blight in many RPGs, were entirely enjoyable. Though they do occur at incredibly inconvenient times, once I started picking my chips my thoughts were entirely on the battle, and I completely forgot that I was just dragged out of solving some puzzle or just walking somewhere.

The only thing that dragged the game down was the story. Where the characters had all made sense to me as a 10 year old boy, I began recognizing everything as reminiscent of a half-decent children's cartoon. Most of the time I found myself thinking "Seriously? This kid's in 5th grade, and he's licensed as some kind of internet cop? And he's going to another country completely by himself?" On top of that, the story progression is incredibly rough. Most chapters start with main character Lan and co deciding to go to the park, his dad's work, or school, and then suddenly there's a terrorist attack that only Lan and Megaman have the skills to prevent. For the most part there is no discernible, long-term goal throughout much of the game.

Herein lies the key to the game of my dreams: Megaman Battle Network with a good story. Leave the combat the way it was in games 1 to 3, just put it in a better setting. In the past few years, I have played quite a few games where the story and the world are what kept me coming back. Mass Effect, Bastion, Portal, Psychonauts, and Cave Story are all games that gave me a story to latch onto and care about to the point that the gameplay seems to be a bonus. Give me a world to immerse myself in, characters that I can care about, a clear and present goal, and motivation to work towards that goal, and I'm sold.

The sad thing is, the game already has the beginnings of a great story. Most people have "Navis," VI programs that serve as mediums between users and the Net. The Navis perform in combat called "virus busting" to, fight viruses and other Navis. Now, the interesting thing is that while every other Navi out there was written by someone, Megaman was actually a human at one point. Hub, Lan's brother, would have died as an infant, but somehow their father was able to preserve him as a Navi, and thus he became Megaman. So, that begs the question, what exactly is Megaman? Is he an organic program? How does it affect his ability to interact with other programs? Are other Navis just written to smile and laugh, or did study on Megaman lead to creation of true AIs that find it beneficial to partner with a human? How did Megaman grow from an infant being a program? There is so much there to work with, but due to the target audience so much is just left out completely.

So, that's it. Capcom needs to hire a some new writers and go digging through those archives for that battle system, because they may be sitting on a gold mine here. Just have Steve Blum voice the main character and throw in with Logan Cunningham's sexy Bastion voice, and I'll buy 10 copies.


6:47 PM on 03.05.2012

ZeldaQuest: Ocarina of Time

Yes, I am prepared for the accusations of blasphemy, but I don't think that Ocarina of Time is as amazing as everyone says. Yes, the game set the standards. Yes, the game is the game that every Zelda game nods to. And yes, the game deserved every single perfect score that it earned. The thing is, the game just didn't blow me away like I expected it to.

Like most people, Ocarina of Time was my first Zelda game. At the time, I lacked the aptitude to get much further than the Great Deku Tree, and I vividly remember nearly wetting my pants the first time I tried to face down Gohma. Instead, I watched my sister play through almost all of the game, just wishing that I could do what she was. I specifically remember jumping on the couch in excitement as she beat the shit out of a giant lava dragon's face with a hammer. For the longest time I told myself that I would one day beat this game, and I eventually did. 7 years later. And no, I did not make that shit up.

During that playthrough, I was in love with every second of my adventure. The gameplay, the story, the world, everything just felt full of adventure and life. I felt like that kid again, but this time being able to do and experience what I always dreamed of.

A few more years later, with a few dozen more titles beaten under my belt, and a couple hundred more titles played, I went back to Ocarina. This time, absolutely nothing blew me away, and I was almost completely detached from the world. It seemed as though I was just going through the motions, and nothing really stood out as a challenge or provoked much thought. The game seemed to be just a bit lacking in the heart and charm that all of the other games have. The story just seemed bland. Ganon has no real motive other than to take over (although it is explained in Skyward Sword), very little is said here), and nothing in the entire storyline made me really think. Link's awakening did this perfectly, but Ocarina had absolutely nothing to make me question. Everything just seemed standard and self-explanatory, and the game never really captivated me. The end of the game was also completely unsurprising. Sure, the Shiek reveal was a mind-blower when it first happened, but it really doesn't change much (unlike the Zelda reveal in Skyward Sword). Hyrule castle town was also a bit disappointing. In other games, the towns feel like towns. Castle town in Ocarina feels like a city, where everyone is focused on themselves and most of them could give a shit less about Link. Sure, the town is full of life, but it's New York City life, not small town life.

What most people constantly complain about I actually found to be my favorite part of the game: the Water Temple. Yeah, I loved it. The thing I love about Zelda games and their dungeons is what I like to call “significant rooms.” These are rooms that Link has to visit and revisit frequently after doing or retrieving something in another part of the dungeon. The water temple consists of one, major significant room with a ton of offshoots, and at any given time at least 2 of them are open and explorable. That means that until you reach the boss, there are always multiple goals. This is what most dungeons should be like. You explore the main rooms, see where you can and can't go yet, and find the items in order to explore those locked areas. When you enter a dungeon you should feel lost and helpless, but as you explore, fight, and collect items, you should feel the urge to shout “I OWN THIS PLACE, BITCH!” as you defeat the boss. The water temple does this perfectly, and it's one of my favorite dungeons ever. The only thing that could make it better is if you didn't have to pause every five seconds to don your iron boots. That slowed the pace down just a bit, but it was bearable.

That said, all of the other dungeons I was just able to breeze through effortlessly. Everything just worked itself out in my mind, and I was never really stuck or challenged. The thing is, whenever I was in a room, I almost immediately knew what to do and where it would lead me. What separates the water temple from these is that when I entered a side room, I almost never knew exactly what I was going to get, or where I was going to be able to go next. Was it a key? The temple's item? A water elevation changing wall? Can I push that block from another angle now maybe? There were always several possibilities, and discovering them gave me a sense of “oh man! I can do THAT now!” In most other temples, everything was fairly predictable. When I did something, it was always “this will do this, right? Yup, time to move on.” That's not too exciting for me. A lack of discovery is a lack of adventure, and Ocarina just didn't give me that feeling of adventure.

Ocarina of Time is a little dated, but that's just because every game that came between it and now has built on it. The game is a masterpiece, but just because Chuck Barry was great doesn't mean that The Beatles weren't better for building on his work. I wasn't that impressed with Ocarina, because all of the 3D Zelda games since have taken and improved from it. The game is still great, I just felt like I had played it a million times before.


Ocarina of Time just doesn't stand out in my book, other than being the first 3D title. That does still make it a great game, but I didn't have the best time with it, so it doesn't belong at the top of my list.

1. Link's Awakening
2. A Link to the Past
3. Ocarina of Time
4. The Legend of Zelda
5. Adventure of Link   read

6:46 AM on 02.20.2012

Backlog Musings: No More Heroes - Travis Touchdown

Note: Aside from the fact that this article probably has some POSILERS... Err, I mean spoilers, I would also like to note that I am only talking about No More Heroes 1 here. I have yet to play No More Heroes 2. It is on the backlog though.

If I had met Travis Touchdown in real life, minus the fact that he's an assassin and would probably kill me, I would want absolutely nothing to do with him. I would hate pretty much everything about him, and probably just try and act like he doesn't exist. That said, he is also one of my favorite characters in any video game. Ever. I'm talking top 10 here. The thing is, I think he's one of the greatest protagonists ever, even though he's a worthless piece of shit. Actually, I think that's part of why I like him so much.

Travis Touchdown is a killing machine who loves masked wrestling, porn, and some weird anime called Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly . That's about all we know of his personal life. As for his personality, it's crap. I understand how people can just not give a shit, but Travis takes it to the next level. He basically asks people to hate him, just look at what he does to Dianna from Beef Head Videos. Disgusting. If you rent porn movies, at least have the decency to return them on time, and for the love of god don't mix it up with your homemade tape of you humping a full body pillow with an anime girl pillowcase. It's just wrong that someone would do that in the first place.

Despite all of that though, he's actually not all that bad. I mean, sure, everything about him is crooked, but Travis knows what he wants, and will do anything he can to get it. I can respect that. He fights his way through the ten best assassins in the world just to get some tail. That's determination. And the man isn't without his morals either; after fighting “number 6,” Holly Summers, we learn that Travis is actually unable to kill women (aside from those who piss him off enough, and they pretty much asked for it). When he refuses to kill her, Holly says “the moment you hesitated, I felt your warm embrace. She saw kindness in Travis's heart that he never had a chance to show. I assume that the death of Travis's parents by his lover at the time is what caused his fucked-up-ness, but some of his morals are still with him. After Holly takes her own life for losing the fight, Travis holds her body, demands that Silvia tell him her name, and makes a point to bury her on the beach where they fought. When he places her in her sandy grave, he says “Forgive me, Holly. I was late in saying this... But I love your soul. Rest in peace.” This is the biggest sign of respect that Travis shows to any of his opponents, and you can tell simply by how he leaves the scene that he was moved by Holly, and the fact that she saw something gentle and valuable in him that nobody else did.

Another thing that I love about Travis is how he gives purpose to killing some of his opponents. Sure, some of the time it's just “I want to prove that I'm the best,” but usually Travis has more of a motive than just being number 1. Sometimes the people just deserve to be killed because of who they are, like in the case of Bad Girl (imagine the biggest bitch you have ever met, multiply that by about 12, and add alcoholism and sadism) and Destroyman (that asshole who tricks you and then laughs at your face while you're down, but this guy has lasers and machine gun nipples). The two instances that really struck me though, were with Speed Buster and Jeane. Speed Buster kills Travis's sensei, Thunder Ryu, right in front of him, and Travis immediately seeks revenge. This isn't rage revenge though, when Speed Buster is dead, Travis feels none of that hollowness that revenge is often claimed to make one feel. Instead there is a sense of justice. Killing Speed Buster was Travis's job, and the fact that she killed Thunder Ryu just adds to the fact that she needed to die. With Jeane however, she doesn't need to die, not really. Travis joined the Assassin's Association in order to kill Jeane, his secret half-sister/ex-lover/parent's murderer. This fight is all about revenge, it is entirely personal. No business. Afterward though, Travis just went back to the way he was before. There was no “searching for another purpose” or anything. Travis was content with killing Jeane, as he felt it was something that just needed to be done.

Travis is a man that knows what he wants, how to get it, and isn't afraid of following through with anything. He walks away from a victory wanting nothing less, and nothing more. He thinks “that's just the way shit is,” and moves on. Despite the fact that I hate who he is and what he stands for, Travis Touchdown has my respect.   read

4:45 PM on 02.18.2012

ZeldaQuest: Link's Awakening

As of this writing, it has been about one hour since I completed Link's Awakening. Since seeing the credits, I have barely moved other than turning to my computer and opening a word document to write this. The page has been blank for an hour, because I have been unable to collect my thoughts. This game is absolutely amazing, and if you have not beaten it, I implore that you do so before reading the second section if this article. I have never been so conflicted about completing a video game.

The first part of this article will consist of my non-spoiler related thoughts, and I will try and convince you to play this game. Please, please, please, do not read the second half before completing Link's Awakening yourself. I cannot emphasize enough what this game can accomplish, but only when one is free to think of their actions in the game while playing it.

Also, I apologize for the lack of in-game screenshots, but the artwork that I found while looking around the internet is just amazing, and gets my across much better than a screenshot could. There are also some that I couldn't fit in the article, so please check them out in the gallery.

Part 1

Link's Awakening takes place several years after A Link to the Past, and we find our hero in a storm at sea during his trip home. He he awakens from his shipwreck in the house of Marin and Tarin on the isle of Koholint. After finding his sword on the beach, Link is greeted by an owl, and is told that the only way for him to leave the island and return home is to wake the sleeping Wind Fish inside of the Wind Fish Egg. To do this, Link must retrieve the eight Instruments of the Sirens and have them play the Ballad of the Wind Fish in front of the egg. The Wind Fish is apparently a pretty big deal.

This game brings very few new things to the series (combat is virtually unchanged), but what it does bring is substantial enough to make the game more than worth playing. For one, Roc's feather is introduced, an item that allows Link to jump with the press of a button, and is used in puzzles in almost every dungeon. 2D segments that play somewhat like Mario are implemented, complete with goombas and piranha plants. There are a ton of new enemies, and bosses are a fresh and challenging. The game is handheld, and designed as such; had no problem putting down or picking up the game at any point, but also felt comfortable in a several hour session. And the dungeons, the dungeons are absolutely genius.

Remember how in Zelda 1 the dungeons were all shaped like a picture? The first one was an eagle, the second a moon, and the third a swastika? Yeah, that's back in Link's awakening. Not the swastika though, thankfully, but several images like a turtle, skull, and crowned head are featured as dungeons. This game is also more puzzle-oriented, so the dungeons are difficult. Very difficult. Thankfully, the map system are awesome. Each room has a little nub coming off of it to tell you where the door is, like in Zelda 1. The compass is also incredibly useful as it not only reveals all of the chests, but when you enter a room with a key you hear a tone. Even with the map and compass however, it is still incredibly easy to get stuck in this game. I often found myself wandering around a dungeon for up to two hours before finding the correct path, and I usually have little problem with Zelda puzzles.

Part 2

*Spoiler Alert*

Once again, I have to warn those who have not beaten Link's Awakening to skip this section. If you have not, please just skip to the ranking at the bottom of this page, and come back if/when you beat the game.

There are very few games, Zelda games in particular, where I question the morality of the end of the game. Generally, the protagonist has to fight off an obviously malicious and oppressive entity and free the people it is threatening. The bosses are also usually just mindless watchdogs that will kill anything that comes into their room. Neither of these are true in Link's Awakening. Link's goal is simply to escape the island, but in doing so, he has to destroy it and everything on it.

The island of Koholint is nothing but the Wind Fish's dream, and if he wakes, it will disappear. The Wind Fish is kept asleep by “nightmares,” who protect the eight instruments in order to stay alive. These nightmares are not just mindless monsters, their duty is to protect the island, to keep everything that they know from being destroyed. They tell you upon defeat that “you know not what you are doing” at first, but it is gradually revealed that Link is coming closer and closer to destroying everything. They also explain that Link is, in fact, part of the dream now, and possibly endangering his own life. The nightmares may want to take over the island, but they first need to stop Link from destroying it outright.

With the island will go not only the monsters, but all of the peaceful people that inhabit Koholint. All of the people of the village of Mabe, Marin, Tarin, the two boys constantly playing catch, the old woman who loves to sweep, the Bow Wows, the alligator man, everyone would just disappear. They are all just figments of the Wind Fish's imagination, but they are all people with lives. They all have lived their lives for as long as the Wind Fish has slept, which could have been generations. They all have aspirations, feel emotion, and bear responsibilities. This all just begs the question, is it really right for Link to just erase them all?

Marin was the main cause of my wanting to find an alternate solution. The only thing she wanted was to explore the world beyond the sea, she wanted nothing more than to know that there was life outside of Koholint, and that is why she wanted to help Link so badly. She found him on the beach because she regularly spent time there thinking of the outside world, dreaming of becoming a seagull so that she could fly across the ocean and discover new lands. Despite her want of freedom though, she never neglected her duties. Marin was a singer, she sang the Ballad of the Wind fish because she believed it was beautiful, possibly because she felt that the awakening of the wind fish would free her. She sang for crowds of people and animals despite wanting to spend time with Link, because it was her duty. Marin also fell in love with Link, which is hinted at when they have a conversation on the beach about halfway through the game. Marin believed that Link is her only chance to leave Koholint, and she placed all of her trust in him to help her. She understands the risks though, as she most likely knows that her existence is in danger, and she even tries to wake the Wind Fish with her own voice near the end of the game. Marin represented the fact that all life on Koholint is, indeed, LIFE, not just an imagining of the Wind Fish.

Throughout the last few dungeons, I questioned whether or not I was doing the right thing by guiding Link to awaken the Wind Fish. I found myself frequently asking “is there no other way? If I found a way in, can I not bring these people out with me? Do I really have to betray Marin and reduce her to nothing more than a memory shared between a boy and magic whale?” I found my thumb hesitating for several minutes when selecting the Ballad of the Wind Fish for my ocarina at the foot of the Wind Fish Egg. Link learns three songs in his adventure, and the icon for selecting one is is a picture of whomever taught it to him. The Ballad of the Wind Fish was taught to you by Marin. At the foot of the Wind Fish Egg, in your last chance to turn back, the game reminds you just what you are risking, and will most likely lose. A song honored and listened to by everyone on the island is about to be used to destroy them all. At this point, I almost put down the game. At the summit of Mt. Tamaranch I debated whether or not I was doing the right thing. I wanted Link to stop and spend the rest of his days living among the members of Mabe village, protecting them and fighting off the nightmares form assuming complete control. I finally decided that I had to defeat the final nightmare and wake the Wind Fish. One cannot live in a dream, as tempting as it may be. You have to wake up and face reality at some point, though it may be painful.

After waking the Wind Fish and Link, watching Link sit on a piece of driftwood from his shipwreck, I knew that I did what was necessary. I still felt guilty though, as I felt that I had betrayed Marin. I had a responsibility to help her become free, to bring her to the real world with me. I know that this was impossible, but she believed in me, and I let her down. My only consolation was that I had, in a sense freed her. She was no longer trapped on an island, in a mind plagued by nightmares. By destroying Koholint, it became what it truly was, just an imagining. Just a memory. Despite the fact that everything was now in order, I asked myself “if I was able to make it in, was it impossible to bring at least one out with me?” Though I had just completed my quest, not seeing Marin join Link in sitting on that small plank of wood, staring up at the Wind Fish as it gracefully eclipsed the sun, filled me with no feeling of success. Only remorse and failure. The hero of Hyrule has slain hundreds of beasts that would cause most men to flee in terror, and freed an entire nation from the oppressive might of an almost god-like creature, but he was unable to grant the wish of a single girl. Link is a time-tested hero, but some things are just impossible.


This game made me feel guilt, failure, and remorse upon completion. It evoked emotions that no game has ever been able to make me feel. I had to accept that there was nothing else I could have done, and though it was saddening, I had to do what was needed. Link's awakening is at the top of my list, and will most likely end up in my top 5, because of this. I have never been touched by a game like this in my life, and the chances of it ever happening again are slim to none.

1. Link's Awakening
2. A Link to the Past
3. The Legend of Zelda
4. Adventure of Link   read

6:47 PM on 02.15.2012

Backlog Musings is This Thing I'm Doing

This is a new thing I'm going to do alongside my ZeldaQuest posts. I have a massive backlog. And I mean huge. I'd post it here, but let's just say that when I compiled the list it came out to about 43, and I didn't even get through my entire steam library before saying “fuck it.” I also love talking about the games I play, but usually the people I regularly talk to play different games than I do. Sure, we all played Bastion, Skyrim, and Skyward Sword, but No More Heroes? I'm the only one, and I don't want my ideas on the game to not reach anyone.

That said, I don't want to write these as reviews. I never wanted to write reviews, they are overdone and intended to sway the reader's decision to purchase a game. I would rather talk of certain mechanics or elements of a game rather than the whole thing. The ZeldaQuest articles just turned into a review segment, and I'm hoping they become just a bit closer to the format I'll be using here in later posts.

For any of you who have read my article on A Link to the Past, you will recognize this quote (I'm putting this here as an example of what I want to be writing about, not a shameless self plug or anything.):

“In the actual overworld though, there's also a huge contrast. The knights of Hyrule are attacking Link because they are being controlled by Agahnim, and he wants Link dead because he is a threat. In the dark world, nobody has any reason to attack Link. They are attacking him simply because he is there. Link doesn't belong in the dark world, and everything out there is trying to tell him that.”

That right there is what I want to write about, not “this game has tight controls” or, “the bosses are challenging and great.” I want to write about specifics. I want to say, hey, remember that part in that one game? Yeah, it means this, this, and this. I want to talk about characters, explore the implications of the gameplay mechanics on the story, and examine what about something made me love or hate it, beyond the obvious.

My first article is going to be on No More Heroes. So far I have three topics in mind: Travis Touchdown, how the game should have been made, and why this game makes me want to play No More Heroes 2, even though I was bored about 75% of the time playing the first one. There will probably be spoilers, and some of these articles may be long, but I'll deal with this on a case-by-case basis. I'll also split up the post into obvious segments, so if you don't care about Travis, you can just skip to the next section about how I think the game could have been a whole lot better.

I will still write about newer games too, but each idea will probably get its own post. Also, if I feel like writing about a game that I have already played, I'll probably call it “Reflections on Bastion” or something. (Speaking of which, I just came up with a great topic to think about for an article on Bastion... Hmmm... This one may be in the works soon.)

Anyway, I am incredibly excited for this. My No More Heroes post will probably be up later today or tomorrow, depending on whether or not I decide to go back to playing Link's Awakening tonight. I hope some people are looking forward to this as much as I am, because game theory is awesome, and I'd love to discuss it with you all.   read

3:01 PM on 02.14.2012

ZeldaQuest: A Link to the Past

This game is the first Zelda game that I ever beat, so it holds just a bit of nostalgia for me. That said, it's still awesome, and I implore anyone who hasn't beaten it yet to go and do so. In it, the pink-haired Link retrieves the Master Sword and saves the seven crystal maidens in order to defeat Agahnim, seal off the Golden Land turned Dark Land to stop its evil from spreading to the normal world, and stop/kill Ganon.

Where do I begin with this game? The items? The overworld(s)? The dungeons? Characters maybe? Yeah, let's start with the NPCs.

This is the first game in the series where every NPC has a story of their own. The kid that gives you his bug net? He's been feeling sick, and he wants someone else to have the joy of using it while he's stuck in bed. The dude under the bridge who gives you a bottle? He sees that Link is having a rough time and wants to help out as best he can. Even the most common enemies in the light world, the knights, are being possessed by Agahnim and are unable to resist the urge to capture or kill Link. Every single character in this game has a purpose, even if they only speak a frame or two of dialogue. This is one of my favorite aspects of any Zelda game, as it creates the world and is the source of all of the charm that the series is known for.

While the characters may be great, no Zelda game is complete without dungeons and the tools used to get through them. A Link to the Past brings in so many items that are still used in today's Zelda games, and some are just absolutely genius. The cane of Somaria, for example, allows Link to create pushable blocks that can hold down buttons in puzzles, or can be picked up, thrown, and detonated in combat. This game also introduces the hookshot, which has appeared in some form or another in almost every game since, and inspired the creation of one of my personal favorite items ever, the double clawshots.

And this brings me to the dungeons. Honestly, If the map system hadn't made a return this time, most dungeons would be unplayable. Especially the Ice Palace, which consists of 8 floors and constantly finds Link traversing between them. Most of the puzzles require you to know what room something is in and the possible entrances to that room. You may be able to see a key from where you are, but the only way to get it is to go through several other rooms and enter a different way.

Combat in the previous two Zelda games consisted mostly of just slashing at everything until it dies, and while you still can do that, there is also a little bit of a puzzle in every fight. The Jellyfish enemies that can be found in many temples, for example, shock your sword and damage you when hit. The first thing you can do is just time your strikes correctly so that you avoid damage, but that is risky and takes time. The safer bet is to shoot them with your bow, but that wastes arrows. The best way is to use your hookshot and just kill them from a distance without having to worry about losing hearts or wasting ammo. This is also implemented in many boss fights, but usually you can only kill each boss one way. It's by finding and exploiting their weaknesses that is the real challenge.

The main gimmick of this game is the light/dark world scenario, effectively doubling the size of the overworld. It was done incredibly well, and it's interesting to see how traversing between the two worlds can get you to areas that were unreachable before. Link's quest in the light world is to retrieve the Master sword, while his quest in the dark world is to save the crystal maidens. This actually serves to emphasize the importance of saving the crystal maidens. The first three dungeons are all fairly easy, and so is getting the master sword. Basically, the first three dungeons are Link's training; they aren't even labeled with level numbers like the other ones are. Only once you get to the dark world and the 4th dungeon do you realize that shit's hit the fan. Not only does the 4th dungeon have the same geographical location as the 1st but in the dark world, the first room is nearly identical. The second room has the same suspended bridges, but instead they are crumbling away. This serves to tell the player that they haven't seen anything like what's coming in the rest of the dark world. After that, all similarities end, and Link is in an entirely new dungeon. In the actual overworld though, there's also a huge contrast. The knights of Hyrule are attacking Link because they are being controlled by Agahnim, and he wants Link dead because he is a threat. In the dark world, nobody has any reason to attack Link. They are attacking him simply because he is there. Link doesn't belong in the dark world, and everything out there is trying to tell him that.


A Link to the Past is a great game altogether. The game is challenging, but you never feel as though you can't do something. That alone is the mark of good game design. There are two worlds that can alone tell a story, and on top of that, there is a great cast of characters, a ton of secrets, and a last boss that's actually an awesome fight this time. Easily takes the top of the list.

1. A Link to the Past
2. The Legend of Zelda
3. Adventure of Link   read

3:26 PM on 02.12.2012

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (Beaten this time)

In my last post I basically just raged about how Zelda II was terrible and that I wouldn't be beating it. A few hours after posting, I decided to give the game another go. I set out to beat every Zelda game in order of release, so skipping one just because I didn't like it just seemed wrong. So I went back and completed Zelda II. Here's what I have to say about the game.

So basically, the premise of the game is that Zelda (different that Zelda 1's Zelda, even though it's the same Link. Makes no sense, I know.) is under an enchanted sleep, and the only way to wake her is to go and get the last part of the Triforce. To do this, Link has to put gems in statues in 6 temples, and get the Triforce of Courage from a 7th. All the while Ganon's minions are trying to kill him, and use his blood to revive Ganon.

Alright, let's get the first part out of the way. This game has RPG elements. In other words, there are several points in the game that just turn into a grindfest, and in the early game, this is infuriating. My biggest problem with this is that when you get a game over screen you lose all exp towards your next level, and enemies that infinitely spawn in the first dungeon not only damage you, but steal your exp too. Once you gain some levels, the game picks up the pace a bit, but it was enough to make me want to put down the game forever. If I hadn't forced myself to beat it, I probably never would have.

That said, after the first dungeon, the game really did become a bit more fun. The combat was simple once I figured out that I could kill almost anything with a downward thrust or by quickly alternating high and low strikes, but it was still challenging and it felt a bit rewarding.

The dungeons were all pretty bland though. Zelda 1 at least kept things fresh by throwing new enemies at you in new combinations, but Zelda 2 was a lot more simplistic. I often found myself lost in a dungeon because all of the hallways looked exactly the same and I was without a map. Getting through the dungeons was somewhat of a chore, partly because I kept all of my keys and items found when I got a game over. The game made me think "how many of these side paths can I loot before I die" instead of "how can I loot all of these side paths without dying."

I also found that it was usually just easier to avoid any kind of combat in a dungeon and just grind somewhere else. The inevitability of a game over screen meant that all of the exp picked up while exploring would just go to waste, and I could minimize damage by avoiding conflict. Once I realized this the dungeons became completely monotonous to me. All I did was sprint through every room looking for keys or an item to grab so I could finish as quickly as possible. You could say that I was "playing it wrong," but when a game encourages you to "play it wrong" then you're actually playing it correctly.

As for towns, they were just as bland as the dungeons. Sure, there were people all over to talk to and spells and sword skills to be learnt, but I felt none of the heart that was in Zelda 1. In Zelda 1, every npc meant something, they had a purpose that was significant, and they all had a personality. In Zelda 2, all of the text was just bland and arbitrary, and I felt no need to read any of it. I'll put it this way. How many memes did Zelda 1 spawn? I can think of at least 4 off the top of my head. Now how many came out of Zelda 2? 2: "I am Error," and the game over screen, and the former was just because the character's name was silly. The lack of heart in this game astonished me at times.

I wanted to like this game both times that I picked it up. I really did. My entire experience was either frustrating, monotonous, or just disappointing. There are worse games out there, for sure, and while I wouldn't say that this is a bad game, it's not a particularly good one either.


While the game's current position is staying the same, now I know for sure where it belongs. It's definitely my least favorite Zelda game, but now it at least has a chance against some spin-offs that I haven't played yet.

1. The Legend of Zelda
2. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link   read

6:52 PM on 02.10.2012

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Okay, this one is going to be a quickie, because my hour spent with this game made me remove it from my list. There will be no "the good, the meh, the bad" segments. I couldn't find much to say in "the meh," much less "the good."

I played this game for one solid hour, and every second of it was arduous. All I accomplished was beating the first dungeon, and I probably died more times than I did in Zelda 1's dungeon 6 (read the Zelda 1 article and you'll see how bad that was). I have one problem with this game, otherwise it could have worked out fairly well.

Scaling. This game fails miserably at it. Generally in a game you find a learning curve; you start out fighting generally easy monsters and the game gradually builds up, becoming more and more challenging until you come face to face with the toughest of the tough. In many Zelda games, these toughies are the Darknuts. Zelda II completely destroys that, and those Darknuts are in the very first dungeon. These guys are nearly impossible to kill. The only way that I could get past them was to run into them and use the brief period of immortality to sprint by them and head into the next area. Those enemies do not belong in a game's first dungeon.

I don't feel bad at all not even coming close to finishing this game. Maybe someday I will, but it will probably be a long time from now. The idea is decent, put link in a Castlevania-style RPG and run with it, but the insane starting difficulty just makes this game unplayable to me.

One thing that really pissed me off was how I spawned after dying to a Darknut.

Yeah. That's fair. Spawn me with an exp stealing goblin's face up my ass. Thanks Nintendo. Great job.


This one should be obvious.

1. The Legend of Zelda
2. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link   read

1:51 PM on 02.10.2012

The Legend of Zelda (NES)

It's the first Zelda game. If it wasn't made, I wouldn't be writing this, and you wouldn't have even searched the name and stumbled upon this article. Basically, all you need to know is that Ganon kidnapped Zelda and is wreaking havoc in Hyrule, and Link has to go through a bunch of dungeons to get pieces of the triforce in order to stop him. So come on, les' do dis thang.

The Good

Dungeons (when done right)

The dungeons are all incredibly similar, but each has something just a tad unique to it that sets it apart. Sometimes it's the type of enemies that inhabit it, and sometimes its in the layout of the rooms. Each dungeon, while playing almost exactly the same, feels just different enough from the last one to make you want to explore the whole thing.

I have a little dispute over what my favorite dungeon was. Dungeon 8 is massive, holds 2 items, and bosses from previous dungeons are thrown in like regular enemies. The map of dungeon 5, however, looks just like E.T. You decide which is better.


The controls are tight, both the enemies' and your hitboxes are nice and clear, and you almost never feel the need to say “there's no way that hit me!” In most cases, combat scenarios are fair and well paced. You start out fighting easier monsters on the earlier dungeons, and the difficulty ramps up as you learn. There are a few exceptions to this, but they are usually fairly manageable. The sword laser is completely overpowered, but you only have it at full health, and only one beam can be on screen at a time, so you probably won't have it long. The items, other than the boomerang, leave a little to be desired, but nonetheless combat is simple and satisfying.

The Meh


At first I was a little off-put by the complete lack of direction in the game. I understand that exploration is a big part of any Zelda game, but no direction at all? Not even a hint to start off with? That just seemed a bit annoying. In each dungeon however, you can find an old man who will give you a hint as to where the next dungeon is, but sometimes it just isn't enough. I often found myself looking up a map online to find out where to go next.

On the other hand, you can enter any dungeon you want in any order, as long as you can reach the entrance (which is usually the case, save dungeons 4, 7, and 8). I found this particularly useful when I had to go through dungeon 6. I ended up saving that one for last because... Well, more on that later. The overworld is also full of secrets: caves with old men that give you swords and hearts, moblins who take and give rupees, money making games, and tons of shops. The only problem is that most of the best secrets are hidden behind indiscernible bomb walls. I never would have found half of these secrets if I hadn’t used a map found online.


The bosses in this game are very hit and miss. On one hand you have the dungeon 1 dragon, the multi-headed dragon in dungeons 4 (2 heads) and 8 (4 heads), the spider boss, “Gohma,” and the aptly named plant boss of dungeon 3, “Manhandla.”

On the other hand though, the dungeon 1 boss appears again as the boss of dungeon 7, Dodongo falls to 2 bombs and appears as a somewhat common enemy later, Digdogger dies after only a few hits after the flute is played, and another boss is so disappointing that I've saved it for the bad column.


Nothing about the items really makes them stand out. The stepladder and boomerang are useful, bombs are necessary, and the bow is kinda okay, but they just don't seem all that important. The bow uses precious rupees as ammunition, so it's really not worth it, the raft is only used twice in the entire game, and the magic rod just doesn't seem necessary. Almost every situation in the game can be overcome with a bomb, sword, or key, so the other items just kind of fade into obscurity.

The Bad

Dungeons (when done wrong... AKA dungeon 6)

I have a Beef with this dungeon in particular, as it caused half of my deaths. The cause? Wizdrobes.

These little guys are really a pain in the ass, and are basically the only enemy worth shaking a stick at in this dungeon. The red ones aren't too big of a problem. When they teleport they face the way they are going to shoot their magic laser beam, charge up for a second, fire, then teleport again. They are fairly easy to take on and can only withstand one hit. The blue ones however, are the bane of all existence. You never know when they are going to shoot their magic beams of death at you, they phase through obstacles, take several hits, and are immune to everything but your sword. Also, their magic beam has little to no cooldown, meaning that while you're busy fighting off the like-likes and red wizdrobes, they can rapid fire three or four shots in your direction. If you try to focus the blue wizdrobes, they can just hit you a few times in a second when you're right next to them, as they take no knock-back at all, but still get those few moments of invulnerability. And what's worse, each beam does 2-3 hearts worth of damage, depending on your armor. That's a lot when the maximum is 16.

Why this dungeon specifically, you ask? There are wizdrobes in later dungeons too, aren't there? Well, yes and no. No other dungeon has nearly as many wizdrobes, and in most cases you can just sprint through the room, bypassing all of them. The problem here is that you have to clear some of the rooms to advance. This is particularly maddening when said room holds something like 3 blue wizdrobes, 5 or 6 reds, and a few like-likes. I was only able to beat the dungeon with 15 hearts, 2 potions, and entering with full health. Even then I died several times because of these stupid things. I have never raged so hard at a Zelda game. Not even at Majora's Mask's water temple.

Sorry about the huge block of text, but the English language holds no words that accurately describe my hatred for dungeon 6.

Final Boss: Ganon

This... Just this... Link has fought his way past multi-headed dragons, moblins with spears and boomerangs, several “THE MANHANDLA”s (they will only acknowledge their name if the “the” is included), and armies of bloodthirsty, teleporting wizards. The final dungeon is a massive labyrinth, full of more deadly enemies, underground passages, old men, and hidden passages behind bombable walls. Ganon is the evil mastermind behind all of the turmoil in Hyrule, the kidnapper of princess Zelda, and directly causing his demise is the sole purpose of your quest. Must be a lengthy and difficult duel ahead, right? Wrong. Basically, all Link has to do is stand still and swing his sword, wait for the now-invisible Ganon to literally walk into it a few times, then deliver a single silver arrow to the groin. That's it. Link just spent 2 hours wandering around the final dungeon, and Ganon goes down in less than a minute. I have no words. Just a facepalm.


This game was as full of enjoyment for me as it was with memes. Sure, there are a few areas that you just want to say “that's absolutely pathetic,” and a few times you want to say “fuck you, wizdrobe,” but the game is incredibly enjoyable the whole way through, despite the wizdro... I mean shortcomings.

The Legend of Zelda is the first in a long series of beloved games, and serves as a sort of template for those to come after it. The game established a lot of genre norms we today take for granted, and this game puts those basics on a pedestal proudly. This game shows us where the medium started and how far it has come. We see those “really? Come on!” moments here because this game is imperfect. Every time we notice these imperfections, it's a testament to developers today who smoothed out those rough patches in later games.

I found that this game is full of awesome imagery; the old man acting as a mentor, guiding the hero, a little guy with a wooden sword having the courage to best a dragon, and an evil overlord sitting on his throne atop a mountain. My favorite, though, by far, comes just after the unfortunately disappointing final boss battle. As Ganon is defeated, he crumbles into dust, leaving his segment of the triforce where he stood. Anyone who has completed this game would not at all doubt the significance of this image. The development team obviously realized this too, as they included it again at the end of the credits.


This game easily takes the first place spot on my list of one game. The competition was practically nonexistent.

1. The Legend of Zelda   read

11:15 PM on 02.09.2012

Why I'm Here

So, I've been wanting to write about video games for a while, and this seems to be just the place to do it. As of right now I have nothing to write, but I soon will; I plan to beat every Zelda game in order of release before the year is up. I'm a little behind right now, as I'm only about 80% through the original, and by my timeline I should be well into Zelda 2 by now. I've already lost a month, but I still think that I can do it. If not, I can try to make it before I turn 20 (which will be February 8th, 2013).

What you will find here will not be reviews, just my thoughts on a game. If I find a dungeon or mechanic in a game I particularly liked, or disliked for that matter, I'll write about it. You won't however, find an arbitrary "rating" in any of my articles. The closest thing to a "rating" that I'll give are in lists. I'll make a list of the Zelda games as I play them and organize them from my most to least favorite. I may also do similar lists on dungeons, areas, or bosses or something, both best and worst.

You won't see just Zelda games here though. I plan on writing at least a short article on almost every game I beat while I do this, and (if I feel like putting all of that time into it) I may just do some videos.

In the next few weeks, I'll be writing about the first Zelda game, No More Heroes, and Resident Evil 4. All of which I have beaten or will beat soon. Other than that, here's a list of all of the Zelda games that I plan on playing before the year is up.

The Legend of Zelda
Adventure of Link
A Link to the Past
Link's Awakening
Ocarina of Time
Majora's Mask
Oracle of Seasons
Oracle of Ages
Wind Waker
Four Swords Adventures
The Minish Cap
Twilight Princess
Link's Crossbow Training (I picked it up used for 25 cents, so why not?)
Phantom Hourglass
Spirit Tracks
Skyward Sword

The optional games, which will most likely come after the others, but may be just between are:

Four Swords (If I can get some people to play it with)
Second Quest (Zelda 1)
Master Quest (Ocarina of Time)
Parallel Worlds (LttP mod)
Master Quest (LttP Mod)

Hope you guys enjoy!   read

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