Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spirit Tracks Collector's Guide

Last and eventually least is the Prima Collector's Guide for Spirit Tracks. With its 320 pages it's the thinnest of the three guides and the hardcover is green this time.

I like it how they used a rail pattern for the rim of the cover. The map is this time printend on some thin parchment paper. It's not as awesome as the cloth map from Twilight Princess, but I like it much more than Phantom Hourglass' poster map. However, there aren't any other extras this time around, it's only the map.

There some things I noticed, while skipping through the guide. What I didn't like was that they didn't have any own maps, they just used the ingame maps for everything, which sucked. But the biggest impudence is that they used their self made maps, which they have drawn ingame on the Nintendo DS, for the dark Torch Phantom rooms, that don't have an ingame map. They look as bad as it sounds and they're missing quite some information like treasure chests hidden in the dark. For example in the Lost at Sea Station, they've missed the chest in the east corner of B2. And one of the dark floors in the Tower of the Spirits was drawn totally wrong.

Talking about missing treasure chests, this time they even listed a chest, which isn't in the final game. I looked for all chests, that have to be excavated with the Song of Discovery and they listed one in the Goron Village, the place on top of the hills with the three pots. It's a suspecious place and I thought there would be a chest hidden there too, but you can play the Song of Discovery from every angle there, it won't show up.

And there's a flaw with the ultra-rare treasures, the Regal Ring and the Alchemy stone. While you can win them in some minigames or the lottery, the rest of the places are fixed. Like you'll always get a Alchemy Stone in the Snowdrift Station and you'll always get a Regal Ring in the Lost at Sea Station (try it for yourself). But the guide always says "random treasure" in all treasure location, except for those, where you've been told beforehand what you'll get like in Linebeck's Regal Ring quest or in the Disorientation Station. It doesn't even really hint that you can get one of the two rarest treasures in some of the locations, which is not helping much. There are also no tips on how to get certain treasures, if you're missing some of one kind.

And the guide doesn't cover the third level of the amazing "Get 'em all on"-minigame in Hyrule Castle Town. It does fully cover the first level, briefly mentions the second level, but there's nothing about the third. You can get a quiver upgrade there, if you don't want to buy it for 2000 rupees in the Goron shop, so it is worth being mentioned. And there's Dark Link, who isn't listed in the entire guide at all. My best guess would be, that the guys, who wrote the guide, weren't able to beat the third level and just left it off from the guide. :D I mean, even if they thought, that there's nothing to get there except treasures (which didn't stop them from covering all the minidungeons), you need to prepare the players for the challenges that awaits them there. Like an "if you try the third level, bring two potions, because you'll face all the bosses". Or at least some strategies for the tougher fights like the one with the three giant pirates.

The most interesting part of the guide for me was the multiplayer section. Since I never had the chance to test it, the description of the gameplay and the six maps was very welcome.

At the end one last image of all three guides together:

I guess, the lesson is clear. If you're looking for a guide to help you with the game, look online. Most guides online are free and more accurate. But if you want a nice collectible item, those guides are definitely a good choice. It's something for the fans.

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