Sunday, April 26, 2009

BeyondUnreal Screenshot Challenge

Over the last two weeks held a screenshot contest, where you could win one of five free Steam copies of Unreal Tournament 3 Black. To win you had to submit a screenshot from any Unreal game, wether it is funny or artistic. And guess who've won? Yeah, that's right. Good old TourianTourist made it into the top 5. And that's how my winning screenshot looks like:

Flak attack. Did you see the flak smiley? This screenshot is about 6 or 7 years old, I made it using some glitches caused by the "playersonly" command. The funny thing is, I copied this screenshot from my old computer at my parent's house last month, when I looked for my old Unreal maps, so I could post them here on this blog. But when I saw this screenshot, I thought I have to copy it too. But who knew, it would come in handy so fast? However, there is a second version of this screenshot I like even more. It doesn't have it as many flakgrenades on it, but it looks more artistic. Here it is:

Also, take a look at the four other winners. They've got some very nice screenshots in store:

UT3 Giveaway Screenshot Challenge Winners

Monday, April 20, 2009

Saved the World... Again

So, I finally found the time to play through The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask on Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console. I completed it 100%, I got all 24 masks, all 52 Pieces of Heart, etc. without experiencing any problems. With that I mean, the game didn't freeze on me, which was the major problem with the version on the Collector's Edition. On the CE version I've never been able to finish Kafei's quest, it usually froze during the Sakon's Hideout puzzle or after that, when I tried to access the menu, which was super frustrating. But like I said, the Virtual Console version is fine, it didn't freeze, no matter what I did. There might be some minor framerate issues, for example when you enter the shooting galleries or sometimes when you go from one part of Clocktown to another the music slows down a little bit. But it's by far not as bad as in the CE version, where the framedrops are very obvious and even mentioned when you load the game. However, the Virtual Console version runs at 50Hz instead of the 60Hz you get in the CE version.

Needless to say that it was very nice to play through this masterpiece of a game again, I enjoyed it a lot. I always tried to complete a maximum of sidequests all the time, for example one of the first things I did in the game was Kafei's Quest to get the Postman's Hat. Or I finished the graveyard even before Great Bay. It was a tough job to remember all the heartpieces you can get at a specific point in the game. But the large number of sidequests is the cool thing about Majora's Mask, this game is all about the sidequests.

If you haven't played this superior game so far, I would really recommend to get it now. If you were concerned about the stability of the Virtual Console version, I can assure you, you don't have to. I played all three versions of the game, the original one on the N64, the Collector's Edition version on the GameCube and now the Virtual Console version. And all I can say is, that the latter is my favorite one. It got the sharper graphics and the higher resolution, while it's stable. It's worth every single of those 1000 Nintendo Points, so get it (respectively "get it when it's out" if you live in the US).

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Moon is hitting Europe first

What a nice surprise. Normally here in Europe we're at the end of the chain, especially when it comes to Zelda, but today Europe got their Virtual Console copy of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask before the rest of the world (excluding the second PAL region Australia). Good thing I've had some spare Wiipoints, so this was an instant download for me. Right now I've completed the first three day cycle. So far the game runs smooth without any lags, frame drops or sound problems. As good as the N64 version but in sharper graphics and larger resolution. Majora's Mask costs 1000 Wiipoints, uses 256 blocks and is pretty much the best deal you can get on the Virtual Console, unless there will be any freezing problems. I will continue testing the game and report, if I experience any issues.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

BS The Legend of Zelda: The Lost Adventures & Ancient Stone Tablets

The amazing streak of Zelda news lately continues. And this one is a real surprise, because no one could see that coming. Nintendo is actually going to rerelease the BS Zeldas as downloadable software for the Nintendo Wii. I guess, a lot of Zelda fans out there aren't familiar with the BS Zeldas, so let me explain. The BS Zeldas were created by Nintendo and released between 1995 and 1997 on Nintendo's Broadcast Satellaview system (BS-X) in Japan only. The BS-X was a satellite powered add-on for the Super Nintendo, which allowed you to temporarily download software. You couldn't download the games anytime you wanted to, only at certain times, like TV shows. So, these weren't normal games, they were broadcasted in 4 episodes for each game, where at the end of the fourth episode you had the chance to fight Ganon, if you completed all eight dungeons during all the episodes. Which means, if you missed one of the episodes, you couldn't finish the games. The BS Zeldas were more like special events on the BS-X, were the best players even could win prizes (there was a special highscore system based on various things like completing tasks or collecting pieces of heart).

In the games you weren't playing with Link, but with your BS-X avatar. This is pretty similar to the Miis on the Wii, just more limited, but maybe the "ancient" predecessor of this idea. Also, unlike in most Zelda games, everything had to be done in a time limit. There was always a clock on the top of the screen and each episode lasted one hour. During one episode you had to complete two (small) dungeons, so you had to hurry all the time. However, some events only took place at certain times. There were temporary power ups like infinite bombs lasting for a minute, there were special events like rainstorms or special persons appearing at special locations and some dungeons even could only be accessed at certain times. Actually those time based concepts were later reintroduced in Majora's Mask, though there you could repeat everyting as often as you wanted. Another special feature was Live Voice. A narrator was guiding the players in the right directions and special characters like Princess Zelda got voice acted.

However, most of those features will most likely not make it into the ports. The games won't be divided into four episodes, which is possible, since the original episodes all used the same overworld for each game, while each episode gave you access to new parts of the world. And it's most likely, that the voice acting and all the time based features will get cut out and that you play with Link instead of some 2D avatars, which means, Nintendo tries to make the BS Zeldas into normal classic Zelda games. On the other hand, it would be nice to have the highscore system back combined with online leader boards, but therefore you would need the time limit. It's also unclear, if these games will be part of the Virtual Console's Super Nintendo or the WiiWare system, though this pretty much won't matter except for the price. But I guess, in Europe they will be part of the next Hanabi festival.

There were two BS Zelda games. The first one is an amazing 16Bit remake of the original Zelda game for the NES. However, the overworld was different and the game came with eight completely new dungeons. And it featured two different quests like the original game, though the 2nd Quest actually wasn't any harder, but it had a modified overworld and again eight new dungeons. (As an easter egg the dungeons spelled the letters St. GIGA and NINTENDO, "St. Giga" was the name of the satellite system used for the BS-X.) The four episodes of the 1st Quest were broadcasted in August 1995, while the four episodes of the 2nd Quest were broadcasted in January 1996. The remake for the Wii will be called "The Legend of Zelda: The Lost Adventures", the title of the game seems to be a reference to "Super Mario Bros. - The Lost Levels". Zelda fans can look foward to a beautiful 16Bit remake of the original Zelda game with new dungeons.

The second game was called "Ancient Stone Tablets", broadcasted in April 1997 and fully based on A Link to the Past. It used ALttP's Light World again and featured a deeper story than the previous BS Zelda game. While Link was on his travels in Link's Awakening, Hyrule got threatened by Ganon again. Now it's the time for the "Hero of Light" (your BS avatar) to help Princess Zelda and save Hyrule. Therefore you had to collect eight stone tablets from eight different dungeons all placed on the Light World, which open a portal to the Dark World, where you finally could face Ganon. The game featured most of the items from A Link to the Past, in the final episode you can even put the gilded Master Sword out of its pedestal. The dungeons were pretty small, but got a lot of secret rooms full of hidden treasures, since this was part of the highscore system. All those hidden rooms and secrets actually made the dungeons pretty fun. However, the game is far more easy than A Link to the Past and doesn't provide much new stuff, so Ancient Stone Tablets will be more for the Zelda fans, who want to play every Zelda game ever made.

More pictures:

(The pictures are all taken from ROMs of the original games, because there aren't any official pictures of the remakes yet.)

Source: BS Zelda Homepage

Update: And of course the news aren't real. I wanted to write an article about the BS Zeldas and the possibility of converting them for the Virtual Console, but because of the date, I've turned it into a little april fools' prank.