Sunday, December 13, 2009

Spirit Tracks Rail Diary: Day 3

Not much progress today. Last night I cleared the fourth dungeon, the Mountain Temple. That dungeon was really cool, I simply love mine carts in this type of games, pretty much since Mystic Quest. And there was finally a different music piece for the normal dungeons, it sounded pretty nice and I guess it will be used in the Desert / Sand Temple too, because it got some typical desert music tunes in it. The boss was a little bit too much puzzling for my taste, but still a good one. So far the bosses were all quite good, but none of them delivered some fresh ideas, it was pretty much all standard cost.

And I really like the Fire Land, all the red colors and the view down on the rest of Hyrule. And as soon as you completed the ice transport mission, the bomb trains are gone. Awesome. They haven't come back yet, which resulted in heavy Rabbit hunting on my side. I already found seven or so Rabbits there. Also, the second time transporting the ice was much, much easier, since you were able to use the straight route and didn't have to dodge those bomb trains. The train travelling is so much more fun, if you don't have to worry about those damn things. Without them you're free to take every route you want and you feel so much more free that way, willingly to explore the vast lands. I hope, at the end of the game the bomb trains will be gone alltogether.

But the whole transport goods and passengers is a little bit too much. Most of the time today I was busy with side quests. Once you brought a person from A to B, you find another person at B, that wants to go to C, where someone else wants you to bring goods from D. It's never ending! But doing this unlocks more tracks and shortcuts. The Warp Gate system is actually a little confusing and I didn't use its advantage for a long time. Especially because some of the gates are located in areas with those bomb trains.

And the game is so monotonous and linear, it's terrible. It's not like it is the only linear Zelda game, it makes best friend with The Minish Cap and Twilight Princess, but even those two managed somehow to break the patterns. But here it's all the same. You unlock some new tracks in the Spirit Tower, then you visit one of those Locomo idiots and play a little serenade with him (which always takes multiply times to play it correctly for whatever reason), so some more tracks get unlock to reach the dungeon. The dungeons follow the "get item, solve item related puzzles, kill boss with item" pattern and unlock a new section of the tower. You go back to the tower and the whole thing repeats itself. Ugh. Where are the golden times of games like Link's Awakening or Ocarina of Time, where every dungeon felt like a totally new adventure? Or even Phantom Hourglass managed to do a much better job at this, there you could get two sea charts at once and then play the last three dungeons in ANY order. Something like this seems not to be possible in Spirit Tracks, it's all mapped out and very linear. Aonuma says, they are working to break all those patterns in Zelda Wii, but honestly, they should have tried that in Spirit Tracks already. This game would have been a better choice for experiments anyway.

Like I said, I spent most time today with sidequests. Hunting bunnies, transporting stuff and playing minigames. But hey, I have a real money problem. There's a Heart Container for sale at the Snow Sanctuary and a bigger quiver in the shop of the Goron Village, both cost 2000 rupees each. Where am I supposed to get this money from? In Phantom Hourglass I would sell treasures and duplicate ship parts to get TONS of money. 9999 rupees? Not a problem there! But here I can't sell the treasures, because you need them for the train cars and of course there aren't any duplicate train carts to sell. So, where's the money supposed to come from?

About the Song of Recovery. I was confused earlier about the statement, that you only can use it once. But it should say "once per dungeon". As soon as you leave the dungeon, you get a refill. It's pretty much like always having a back up potion, which is good. Might come in handy for the third part of the "Catch em all" minigame. Parts 1 and 2 were manageable, but fighting all five bosses from the game and tons of enemies in one row might get exhausting. But at least the minigame gives you the opportunity to fight the bosses a second time. Like Ganon's Castle in The Wind Waker. I just wish it would be more like one part for each boss and not stacked up.

And I was right, you get the Engineer's clothes from Niko, when you collect 15 stamps, yay. That's so cool, I'm already using it all the time, that's one nice reward for a sidequest. I wonder, what I will get next. About the Ancient Shield, that one is kind of buggy. I went back to Outset Village and switched it back to a normal shield, because I was afraid it could get eaten by Like Likes (turns out it can't, which is pretty much the "upgrade"). However, my normal shield got eaten away, so I bought a new shield. A normal shield. But next time I'm playing I got the Ancient Shield back... strange bug.

I also noticed that the English translation of the US and the European version is somehow different this time. For example "Ancient Shield" and "Shield of Antiquity" or "Staven" and "Byrne". That's not usual, normally at least the names of characters, places and items are the same. It's already always confusing for me to deal with the German translation, but having two different English versions makes it even worse.

That's it for today, more tomorrow. But I'm glad, I haven't finished the game yet.

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