I was playing Nintendo 3DS with a buddy the other day in local multiplayer, where we battled in Metroid Prime: Blast Ball, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Tri Force Heroes (Coliseum Mode) and even the Four Swords Anniversary Edition. In the latter we went through Death Mountain (Silver Key), Vaati's Palace and the Realm of Memories (Golden Door, Link's Awakening). And this also motivated me to try the Hero's Trial again, one of the toughest challenges in the entire Zelda series.
But it went pretty well. I beat the whole thing in one evening, died a couple of times, which is only natural, but never saw a Game Over. The Silver Door I even finished without dying, though it was very close at the end after the Darknuts, where the whole palace starts to attack you with floor tiles.
The Golden Door is much worse, where my first deaths were due to Spiked Beetle confrontations without a shield. You have to use Bombs to flip them and that's not exactly easy, when they run into you. I also didn't use the shortcut, but having the Great Spin Attack made the room with the many Ice Wizzrobes and the Ball & Chain Soldier much easier. In general the Great Spin Attack is a big help for replaying the Hero's Trial, but not always. Holding the sword to load the spin attack leaves you vulnerable, which can be dangerous with quick enemies like Moldorms. But what makes the 2nd floor so annoying is the terrible traction on ice, where you at first almost can't move at all and then can't stop, which makes navigating small ice pathways very tricky and deadly.
Now, on the Hero's Door the downward spiral of dying was even more noticeable. Razor and Armor Seeds help immensely, but as soon as you die, you lose them, and then you die even quicker, especially if you're overrun by enemies. You have a very few invincibility frames and little knockback in Four Swords, so enemies can quickly kill you by just running into you, which they abused a lot in the Hero's Trial to create a high amount of (artificial) challenge.
But there are many ways to avoid damage in the Hero's Trial. Bushes and rocks in the area can block enemy attacks, so it's best not to destroy them upfront. Sometimes you can move blocks in front of blade traps or wind fans, especially on the final floor of the 3rd door. If you keep this in mind, the Hero's Trial can be quite manageable. It's often about being careful upfront and having the right strategy in mind.
Anyway, after successfully going the Hero's Trial I also played through the Hero's Door of Vaati's Palace again, where you go through 12 floors and fight all bosses in their strongest form, which still was very relaxing in comparison to the Hero's Trial and a nice conclusion to my replay sessions of the Four Swords Anniversary Edition for the 30th Anniversary of Zelda. It's a real gem and it's sad that with the shutdown of the DSiWare shop the last hope of a last offering for anyone, who has missed it, will be gone. If you have this game, treasure it.
My current Four Swords Anniversary Edition stats:
- Medals of Courage: 12
- Rupees: 540886