Monday, December 14, 2009

Spirit Tracks Rail Diary: Day 4

Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers. If you haven't finished the Spirit Tower yet, stop right here. You've been warned.

The last section of the Tower of Spirits wasn't the best, the Wrecker Phantoms or "Goron Phantoms" how I like to call them are pretty useless. They can curl into a bolder and roll around, as well as move large blocks (not sure, if the other Phantoms can't move these blocks, I haven't tested it). But on the other hand they can't carry you, can't distract other Phantoms and can't walk over lava. Lots of downsides, which is why you had to find a normal Phantom first and got more of them than you wanted at a specific point. The Warp Phantoms were much more fun. There was again a clever puzzle right before the room with the Boss Key, that also took me a while. Puzzle-wise this game is really not bad.

And at the end of the tower the most stylish boss fight in the game so far awaited you. Byrne/Staven is quite the tragic villain, I like his character. And his fight was purely awesome, it got good fighting dynamics, head-to-head combat. This is what I also liked so much about the Linebeck Phantom fight at the end of Phantom Hourglass or the Ganondorf fight at the end of Twilight Princess. Not some gigantic monster with some puzzle elements and an huge eye as its weak spot. Just you and and a worthy enemy crossing their swords. And it was definitely the best fight with Link and Zelda battling together so far. Epic and lots of fun. The cutscenes after this fight were humerous, dark and offered some nice twists. Storywise this game really shines, it doesn't bother you with too much cutscenes and the few cutscenes are really great and got this dark and twisted Majora's Mask touch written all over them. I like it. But Zelda is quite the loudmouth in this game, I know she has to speak for our silent protagonist, but sometimes she is a little annoying.

Next station was the Desert Land. I love the Desert Land, probably the best area in the entire game. No annoying bomb trains, the sand shark enemies were really cool and overall it was small but nice. It's even the first area, where I got all the rabbits. But what pissed me off was the duet in the Sand Sanctuary. Took me ten times to get this one right. Sometimes the mic was just off and I was playing the same note twice. What was Nintendo thinking here? The way you were playing musical instruments back on the N64 was okay, just play the right notes in the right order. No tact or something. If you aren't gifted in music, you still could finish the game.

Before playing the Desert Temple I decided to clear some more sidequests. I'm really into sidequests at the moment, expanding the railroads, hunting bunnies (got 47 of 50 by now) and so on. I probably stopped playing before the temple, because I wanted to save the best for the last. They really hyped the dungeon, telling you it's an immense fortress, that was only built for one purpose, to protect the Light Bow. It's supposed to be your biggest trial so far. Well, I bet the dungeon will be easy as cake. The outside was plastered with cannons, that looked like from a Star Wars movie. That was a little bit too much for my taste. It's a pyramid in the desert, not the Death Star.

But there are tons of sidequests in this game. Nothing in the ranks of Kafei and Anju, but still enough to keep you entertained for a while. I unlocked eight of these "Stargates" by now (which should be all), which makes travelling much easier, and more hidden tracks. Some of those even lead to unexpected, hidden places like the Pirates' Hideout. I was pretty good in the archery minigame back in Phantom Hourglass, used it to get tons of ship parts. And I see myself already playing the minigame there to get lots of rare treasures. Even though the middle part is a little laggy. (The same happens, when the tank pirates attack you, the game slows down a little). And there was the Disorientation Station in the Fire Land with that crazy labyrinth. I got my first Priceless/Alchemy Stone from there. Another hidden station was the Snowdrift Station, that also had a nice minidungeon, which also got me a Alchemy/Priceless Stone as a reward. However, I simply can't find the stamp stands in both hidden stations, the same goes for the Bridge Worker's House. Either they simply don't have stanps or they are so well hidden, that it drives me crazy. I mapped the entire Disorientation Station labyrinth out, because I thought, the stamp stand might be hidden in there somewhere. (Maybe I draw the map with photoshop and post it here later, it's quite cool) But by now I'm thinking, they just don't have stamps. I only have four pages left and still need to find the Desert Temple and Papuchia Village stamps.

By the way, the postcard lottery game is really awesome. If you send 20 of those cards, you always get the 1st price. Got myself two Regal Rings that way. A Regal Ring is worth 2500 rupees, 20 postcards cost 200 rupees. You do the math. Too bad I can't just sell the yet, I probably will need them for the golden train cars. I'm pretty sure, that there will be golden train cars in the game and Linebeck already showed huge interest in the Regal Rings.

Train carts are coming in slowly, I got the demon and the black train set nearly complete with the exception of the wagon. I'm using the black train right now, because it takes me back to childhood. This may sound totally cheesy, but I grew up in the German Uplands with small villages, mountains, forests, lakes, castles and locomotives going on a narrow-gauge railroad. That's right, it's quite the tourist attraction there. And it's definitely one nice place to grow up. So, playing Spirit Tracks somehow takes me back there, it's very nice. I definitely understand, what Aonuma saw in that idea. However, I wonder, what childhood memories include kamikaze-trains aiming for you. As soon as those things pop up on my map again, the fun is over. Worst idea ever. See, I don't have a problem with the trains running into you, but I have a problem with the fact, that you can't destroy them. I hate invincible enemies. Invincible enemies, that can kill you with one hit even more. Not fun. But more and more they seem to be gone and replaced by the tank pirates. It depends from where you enter the map.

Little Update: Linebeck's finally selling the golden parts and I bought three of them already. Awesome. Looks like certain parts are unlocked by getting the treasures, which you need for them. For example I couldn't buy any wooden parts before, because I didn't have any Wooden Hearts until recently. The same with the golden parts, because of the Alchemy Stone. Now I'm able to finally map out, how many of each treasure I will need to buy all trains cars, so I could sell the surplus to get that 2000 rupee Heart Container (already got the quiver). And you only need two Regal Rings and two Alchemy/Priceless Stones, which I already had, which is convenient. Talking about those rare treasures, I also found another of these hidden stations, the Slippery Station. Quite the minigame, but I managed to beat all three levels after a couple of tries and won another Priceless Stone (lucky me!). The whole minigame probably just exists because of the new rolling technique, which is a shame actually. And I guess this confirms, that those small places don't have stamps.

So, this was more of a sidequest day. Maybe I will play the Desert Temple tomorrow then.


Anonymous said...

As interesting and well written as this is perhaps you'd like to include some help for stuck people! The Dune Sanctuary is totally annoying me as I can't judge where the statues are looking :(

TourianTourist said...

Hi anonymous poster,

thanks for your input. But this isn't supposed to be a walkthrough for the game. It's just my impression while playing through the game. Sorry. If you need help, probably is the best place for you.

As for the Dune Sanctuary. It's hard for me to describe, where the exact spot is. But it's pretty much in the center, somewhere in the northeast area of that big square sand field surrounded by paths. Just bomb the entire area there, you will sure find it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you about the flute playing. Nintendo meesed that up pretty bad. I had to get a friend to do it for me.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you about the flute playing. Nintendo meesed that up pretty bad. I had to get a friend to do it for me.

Anonymous said...

well on the note of flute playing i thought that it adds a nice touch of difficulty to the game so it isnt just pressing a button so something happens

Anonymous said...

the flute in sand sanctuary wasn't that bad although it did take me a few tries to do.The only annoying part is that the air conditioning keeps getting in the way and messing me up.