Thursday, December 17, 2009

Spirit Tracks Rail Diary: Day 7

Dear Rail Diary,
today I've finally beaten Spirit Tracks. It was about time. :D

Well, I accomplished to do, what I intended to do last night before I visit the final boss. I got the final Heart Container and I managed to get that last treasure chest in Hyrule Castle town. As for the Heart Container at Beedle's, he really has bad offerings in this game. Next to the two treasures, which he sells every day, he only offers a purple potion, a red potion and bombs. Well, I made Link drunk of purple potions and got the Heart Container. But some of those prize postcards or a golden potion would have been nice. About the treasure chest in Hyrule Castle town, I did look that up and the solution made me just say "why didn't I see that?". It's actually quite obvious if you look very closely at the map. I wished I hadn't looked the solution up, because if I would have figured out by myself, I would be very proud now. :D But at least I was able to solve all the other tricky puzzles in this game. And in this department Spirit Tracks really, really shines, it offers some clever puzzles, that require good creative thinking to solve them. I didn't have this "I don't have any clue how to solve this" feeling since Link's Awakening and N64 Zelda days. You know, where you would run around and try simply everything, but you can't come up with the solution. I had at least three of these moments in Spirit Tracks and I'm not someone, who sucks at puzzles, for example the ice block puzzles in Twilight Princess were a piece of cake for me. But if you remember my Difficulty of Zelda article it's exactly what I wanted for a new Zelda game. You could actually create puzzles that are really hard for longtime Zelda fans and easy to solve for new Zelda gamers. Because as a Zelda fan, who has played most of the games in the series, you're used to certain patterns and puzzles and you knew the solution to most of the puzzles in a new game like Twilight Princess in advance. But you can actually create puzzles, that hide the solution, if the player is thinking in those strict Zelda patterns. And some of the puzzles in Spirit Tracks are really awesome, especially in the later sections of the Spirit Tower. Aonuma promised this in one of the later interviews and looks like he kept his word.

And today was the today. I finally have beaten the game and the final boss. I kicked this moment down the road for a while, actually since Monday, and played lots of sidequests instead, simply because I didn't want this game to end and I still wanted to have something to look forward to. And this is a VERY good sign, if I actually do this. I will put the next paragraph and the screenshot in a spoiler box, just to make sure you don't get accidently spoiled. (The screenshots are actually made by ZeldaInformer, my train is golden by now. :D)

I didn't have the chance to play the multiplayer mode yet and I doubt, that I will ever have the chance. See, I'm not someone, who always whines about missing online mode, because he doesn't have any friends or something. I'm perfectly fine with games like Wii Sports Resort or New Super Mario Bros. Wii not having online functionality, because those games are all about the local multiplayer experience and it's really easy to find someone to play those games with you. Everybody loves the Wii. But none of my friends or colleagues are interested in Zelda. I don't even know anyone, who does have a Nintendo DS. So, how am I supposed to play the multiplayer, Nintendo? This is not Japan, where everyone runs around with Nintendo DS systems and plays Zelda on the streets. I wouldn't mind the missing online too much, if it didn't affect the singleplayer mode in a way. But you're supposed to trade treasures to complete your train car collection, but you can't trade treasures without the online mode. Remember that you would need to find someone, who also plays the game and who also desperately wants all train cars. Go figure. Online it would be not a problem thanks to countless Zelda freaks crawling internet boards, but offline here in Europe or the States? Good luck.

So, what's left to do is lots of treasure hunting. I got enough of the 500 rupee treasures, I mostly need treasures in 150 or 50 rupee category. The easiest way to get 50 rupee treasures is blowing leaves away in Mayscore/Whittleton. And the fastest way to get 150 rupee treasures is the sword pratice minigame in Hyrule Castle, just make 60 hits, score a treasure, repeat. I even got my first Dark Pearl Loop there, just eleven more to go... The pirate archery minigame and the goron target range are also very good for treasures, but they take too much time to complete them. I want lots of treasures in a short time. The whip minigame is faster, but you have to concentrate more. In Phantom Hourglass the archery minigame was the most effecient way of collecting ship parts, but here I haven't figured the best way for me out yet. But one thing is sure, it's going to be a long, boring and repetitive process. Thanks, Nintendo... Ah, and I haven't beaten the third level of the Take 'Em All Down minigame yet, where the secret boss awaits me (yeah, I know already).

This was (probably) the final entry in my Rail Diary. I hope I didn't bore you too much and I will write a real review for Spirit Tracks this weekend.

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