Tag Archives: Link

The Five Creepiest Moments in The Legend of Zelda

It’s that time of year again. The leaves turn brown and fall from the trees, the days grow shorter and parents believe that it’s somehow acceptable to allow their offspring to roam the streets begging while they set off explosions in the sky at night. It’s the most wonderful time.

But it got me thinking about what actually used to scare me as a kid. I was never exposed to 18 rated horror films because my parents actually gave a shit. As a kid I was scared by the kind of stuff that was meant to send a chill down a kids’ spine. Not graphic images of a knife wielding madman stabbing some horny teenagers by a lake, but stuff that sent my imagination into overdrive and allowed my brain to do most of the scaring.

Nothing did this job better than The Legend of Zelda series. While usually charming and swashbuckling, every Zelda game is peppered with darker, chilling moments that can still to this day freak me out. Here are five moments that made me want to put my controller down and sit in a corner, and no, Tingle will not be in this list. Because that’s such an obvious choice.

Dead Hand (Ocarina of Time)

You only need to look at this ungodly bastard to see why it might terrify a ten year old encountering it for the first time. It’s not as if exploring under the well in Kakariko village was a traumatizing enough experience, with INVISIBLE SPIDERS, random patches of floor you could fall through into a pit of zombies and INVISIBLE SPIDERS.

No, they had to top the whole experience off with a boss fight with fucking satan himself, scabby hands shoot from the ground, holding you still while a hell beast with a giant, rictus grin that would make The Joker shudder edges over to you to eat your brains. Ten years on and I still dread meeting Dead Hand. The Lens of Truth wasn’t even that good.

Wall Masters (Zelda I, Oracle Series)

You might find it strange that I find these scarier than Ocarina’s ceiling dropping breed or the Wind Waker variety that basically pull you into hell, but Oracle of Seasons Wall Masters are the first I encountered and where I expected to simply take damage from them, they took me back to the start of the bloody dungeon.

I was scared, confused, and it took me more tries than I can remember to get past them. For that reason, and the fact they came out of the shitting walls made me terrified of them.

ReDeads (Various)

It’s at its worst when you aren’t aware of their presence. You’re edging your way through a dungeon. You hear that hellish shrill scream and your heart leaps into your throat as the camera swings around to reveal a zombie plodding towards you. You mash the controller, screaming, doing anything you can to just move but it’s all to no avail. The ReDead is upon your paralyzed form. It closes on you and… dry humps you.

The ex Hyrulean sex offenders are a scary bunch, if only because they literally stop you in your tracks and sexually assault you. Of course, as with all things scary, they’re at their worst when you don’t expect them. For example, in Ocarina when you’re in a hurry to get out of Ganon’s crumbling castle and you’re accosted by one right next to the bloody exit. Dick move, Nintendo.

Ikana Tower (Majora’s Mask)

It’s not that the final dungeon in Majora’s mask is even trying to be overtly scary, it’s just that everything about it is deeply, deeply unsettling.

The subtly creepy music, the strange statues of demons holding upside down triforces, that fucking freaky statue that’s meant to look like Link when you play that song… The entire place feels wrong, and more than a little off. I suppose that sums up Majora’s Mask as a whole really.

Dodongo (Ocarina of Time)

This one is based purely on personal experience as Dodongo is not in the least bit scary as the second boss of the game. These days I off the guy with barely a second thought. Muscle memory kicks in and it’s bomb, sword, boom. But it wasn’t always like that.

I must have been about eight when I first played Ocarina (it came with the Wind Waker special edition if you must know). All was well as I breezed through the second dungeon and I plunged down the hole and into Dodongo’s pit. There I was faced with this giant, fire breathing lizard and I just froze up.

It’s not that I was ever even scared of dinosaurs or anything (I loved them) it was the combination of the fact there was literally no way out, and I can only run in a small circle because of the lava pit at the center. I just freaked out and could never do it. Of course, the day I finally did, I felt like I could overcome anything…

Then I got to the shadow temple. Thank you Zelda, for absolutely destroying my childhood. Good job.

The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker HD Review (8.5/10)

The original Wind Waker for the Gamecube, released in 2003 was undoubtedly one of the finest games on the system and arguably one of the greatest games of the past twenty years. Its unrivalled sense of exploration, excellent combat and charming cartoon visuals have ensured that even a decade later, it’s a brilliant looking game that is still fun to play. How has Nintendo managed to improve this gem with their new HD update for the Wii U?

For a start, it’s absolutely gorgeous. This remake isn’t merely the same graphics translated to HD, but a complete overhaul of new textures, character models and lighting. Sailing across the deep blue sea, as the sky blurs into the horizon and the sun sets, bathing your boat in a deep orange is a joy.

The juxtaposition of the wide blue expanses of the open sea, and the dark, moody lighting of the many dungeons and caves scattered through the land constantly serves to keep things fresh and interesting. When you finally emerge victorious from a dank dungeon, the bright skies of the open world are a genuinely welcome reward.

Occasionally, stepping into the glow of a torch can cast your cel shaded character into an ugly light, making them look almost clay like. It’s fairly off-putting, but for the most part, the updated lighting serves the varied locales and colourful characters well.

Of course, a pretty looking game means nothing if it’s no fun to play. Thankfully, Wind Waker HD builds on everything that made the original so great and adds a selection of subtle tweaks and improvements.

Playing with the gamepad is a revelation. As your inventory and maps are all ready for instant viewing on the touch screen controller, you never actually have to pause the game to stop the action. You can simply drag up the items you require on the gamepad while the action rages on, on your television.

The gamepad also serves to make sailing less of a chore. One of the biggest complaints many people had with the original Wind Waker was the sailing. It was too slow, too laborious and you spent too much time doing it.

No more do you have to pause to check where exactly you are, simply glance at the gamepad to reaffirm your location. No more do you have the spend so much time sailing, as a new item in the game reduces your sailing time by half and doesn’t require you stop to change the direction of the wind every few minutes.

Nintendo also realises it’s just as important to leave what worked alone. The excellent combat, engaging story and massive open world all remain intact. Fighting enemies has never been more satisfying, as Link’s varied arsenal offers a variety of ways to dispatch a foe, ensuring combat never gets stagnant.

The wide open sea offers more freedom than any other Zelda game. While many have complained that Wind Waker’s large world had nothing to it, I would point them in the direction of the various enemy watchtowers, pirate bases, giant sea monsters and dozens upon dozens of islands littered with secrets. Wind Waker’s fantastic sense of exploration is one of it’s stronger aspects, almost making up for the length and difficulty.

And it’s in terms of length and difficulty that made up my mind when reviewing this game. Hero mode, available from the start, offers more of a challenge for this notoriously easy of Zeldas. However, once you get a certain number of hearts and bottles for fairies and potions, it becomes nearly indistinguishable from normal mode.

Length has been the major sore point. I was always annoyed with the length of Wind Waker, mostly because I love it so much and hate that it has to end. The game has been made even shorter with the streamlining of the Triforce fetch quest, a quest I personally enjoyed as it encouraged you to delve into the exploration and treasure hunting aspect of the game.

Of course, I can understand why that has had to be streamlined. What I cannot understand is why there is no extra content. Two dungeons were cut from the original due to time constraints and this was the perfect opportunity to include these lost dungeons. Nintendo didn’t want to alter the flow of the game, fine. But the fact that they didn’t put them in as optional post game challenges is an unforgivable missed opportunity

While Nintendo may have missed a chance to include some much needed extra content, this is still the definite way to experience the most underrated of Zeldas.

Why A Link Between Worlds Could Be the Best Zelda Yet

 

After seeing the awesome new trailer for Link Between Worlds, I was moved to download A Link to the Past from the Wii Shop and relive the 16 bit glory of one of my favorite Zelda titles.

This got me thinking about how the upcoming 3DS Zelda title has the potential to be something truly special. For a start, I realized what a powerful (perhaps even somewhat manipulative) tool nostalgia is.

For example, I think one of the reasons so many people cite Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal as their favorite gen is because of the nostalgia fueled return trip Kanto from the first game. Everything was very much the same but… different. There was a joy in traversing the familiar locales and spotting what had changed over time.

And so as I play through LTTP again (for probably the hundredth time) I breeze through because I know it like the back of my hand. I know every secret, every nook and every cranny in such detail that the chance to revisit that same over world, but slightly altered over the years excites me beyond measure. I suspect that I am not alone in this.

On top of this, we can no doubt expect dozens of references to LTTP, be it characters, items, dungeons or music. Anyone who played the SNES classic will doubtless be smitten just on the fact that LBW is a sequel.

Of course, trying to make a good gaming experience through nostalgia and references alone would not make for a satisfactory game. Fortunately, Link Between Worlds looks set to shake up the Zelda formula in the biggest way since, well, since A Link to the Past.

Not only does it have a completely new Dark World in Lorule (no one strained any brain cells at Nintendo there) to complement the familiar Hyrule, we have new items (always a standard but welcome addition to a new Zelda), intriguing new characters (hopefully, one of them won’t turn out to be Ganon).

But above all, what has me so excited about this new game is shake up of the age old Zelda formula; That you have to complete dungeons in a certain order. While I have never had a problem with the series’ formulaic approach, I will welcome this change with open arms, for the level of freedom and challenge this shake up will bring.

It’s for these reasons that I think A Link Between Worlds absolutely has the potential to be the best Zelda ever. While it promises to completely reinvent decades old aspects of the franchise, it also looks to have an unrivaled air of familiarity,ensuring that no matter how different things get, it will be unmistakably, The Legend of Zelda.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf Review (9.8/10)

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So the other day I was just riding the train, when a cat got all up in my face and started pestering me. He was asking me all these personal questions about who I was and where I was going, which was annoying to say the least. When I finally got off the train, I was accosted by an assortment of various animals.

The dog among them, who I took to be their leader, started demanding I be the mayor of their freakish little town. The dog dragged me around, yapping all sorts of things about houses and rent and planning permits. I was in such a state of shock that all I can recall is a bizarre ritual that involved the tribe watching me plant a tree and being made to sleep in a tent.

It’s two days later and a kindly racoon has given me a house (for a price), but their seems to be no way out of this hellish world I am trapped in. There are no princesses to save, no world in peril and not the slightest sign of any danger. I love it.

At the time of writing this review, I’ve only racked up about ten hours of playtime. I am more than aware that there are many, many hours left in this game. The Animal Crossing series has always felt to me like a quaint little old British children’s cartoon. Nothing ever happens. The day is formulaic; catch fish and bugs, gather fruit and try and make enough money to pay off your loans all while occasionally chatting with the strange animal folk that live next door.

So what is it that makes a game about trading turnip with sheep so insanely addictive? Especially for me, as an avid hater of games like The Sims.

I think a great deal of it lies in the atmosphere. The whole game constantly feels like a hug, or a hot cup of tea. You can dip in and out whenever you like. The game never tells you to do anything or demands anything from you. The only thing gently pushing you along is the real time aspect of the game, meaning certain shops open and close, or certain things can be done at certain times.

But even this can be adjusted through your mayoral powers. A new aspect of the Animal Crossing and one which adds on another few dozen hours of playtime. You also feel more invested in the town than you might have in previous entries. Jobs like weeding and watering the plants feel like less of a chore now you are actually the boss instead of just some guy.

Being the mayor also affords you the ability to build bridges, benches, streetlights and all kinds of other stuff. I wouldn’t know yet, as I haven’t gained the approval of the villagers. It seems easy enough however, as I’m on 85% at the moment. The extra level of customization is a welcome touch.

AC4

Of course while every day generally follows the same outline, there are enough differences to make you actually want to return again and again. The town receives new visitors and passerby every now and again. The most recent of which for me was a chameleon who held a bug catching contest in the town, obviously so he could eat the entries. Something I thought was a nice comedic touch.

The shops also offer new stock each day and I haven’t even come to close to upgrading and fully unlocking every shop on the high street. I really enjoy the fortune cookies, which can be exchanged for various Nintendo items. On my first two tries I got Link from Zelda’s clothes and boots, which sent the fanboy in me into a slight frenzy.

Then there are the changing seasons. Since the game moves in real time and we’re mid Summer, I won’t be seeing this for a while. I refuse to adjust the clock and time travel because it completely defeats the object of the game and besides, even if I have stopped playing by September, this means I’ll still boot up the game just to see how things have changed and I’ll probably get sucked right back in till Christmas.

The game is absolutely crammed full of charm and humor. You actually want to talk to the NPC’s because they are genuinely funny and engaging characters, each with their own personality. My personal favorite at the moment is a dog I taught to say “pass the weed”. I’m easy pleased.

AC3

I’ve managed to write this much about a game I have barely scratched the surface of. I know I have dozens upon dozens more hours of play ahead of me and so much more to see and do. Animal Crossing: New Leaf is more than worth the tawdry price of thirty quid considering you’ll be playing it for months. I couldn’t recommend a more engaging, relaxing and downright enjoyable game if I tried.

Looking Back: The Legend of Zelda – A Link to the Past

A Link to the Past is a faultless game. Released for the Super Nintendo in the 90s, a sequel was announced just last month and the internet pretty much collectively lost their minds. That’s how popular this two decade old game is.

And it’s hard to see why people wouldn’t be in love with it. For a start, the game is huge. Two completely different and giant overworlds to explore in the game’s genius light/dark world mechanic added an entirely new level to exploration. Gamers would discover that an action in one world could affect an object or environment in the other. That’s some sophisticated design for the time.

While the original Zelda laid the foundation for mass exploration, ALTTP hands down nailed it. For a start, it was actually worth looking around as it all looked and sounded beautiful, had secret items and upgrades everywhere and was littered with NPCs that added to the rich backstory of the game.

Speaking of the story, this is the first Zelda to weave a genuinely captivating yarn. Eight maidens being kidnapped for mysterious purposes, an evil wizard that assassinates the king, the death of your uncle and a prison break all occur in the first half hour of the game. I haven’t even mentioned some of the genuine twists and shocks that pop up. After games that basically boiled down to “go here and do this”, we had a refreshing change of pace.

It was the first Zelda to offer up huge, challenging and puzzling boss fights. For the first time you couldn’t win by simply going at it with your sword. The bosses required analysis and careful study to pinpoint and exploit weaknesses. Once you’d done that, you could go at it with your sword. But you’d earned it, so it was satisfying as hell.

The sheer amount of weapons to discover in Link’s armoury was truly a joy. Tracking down the bow and arrow, the hookshot and the Master Sword all felt massively rewarding. Add to that optional items like an invisibility cloak and medallions that essentially butchered anything onscreen and you were in business.

People say Ocarina of Time changed the series, but I say it all started here. This was when The Legend of Zelda stopped being good and started being so much more. I would argue that out of every game from this generation, A Link to the Past holds up the best. Check it out for yourself.

Nintendo Announce A Link to the Past 2!

If it wasn’t my job to actually inform in some way, I would be reporting on this by simply smashing my head on the keyboard until I passed out and hope that someone would come along and click publish for me.

Yes, Nintendo have announced a sequel for game that is nearly twenty years old. Zelda has never really been big on linearity I suppose.

While many were hoping for news of a 3DS remake for Majora’s Mask, this announcement has surprised fans everywhere, despite Nintendo previously stating that they were keen to see how ALTTP’s top down world would look with depth and height. Now we know. Glorious.

The game, which currently has no official title, will take place in the same world as the SNES classic, A Link to the Past but is by no means a remake.

The trailer demonstrates a curious ability Link now has to become a drawing and slide across walls, as well as showcasing classic items like the bow, mallet and sword and shield. Obviously.

Zelda 3DS (Or ALTTP 2) is scheduled for release holiday season 2013. Praise be to Nintendo.