Saturday, May 28, 2011

Replaying Link's Awakening

Link's Awakening title screen

My super awesome The Magic of Link's Awakening article just totally motivated me to replay Link's Awakening yet another time. I actually wanted to wait until I get myself a Nintendo 3DS to play the Virtual Console copy, but I just couldn't resist anymore. But I played the original monochrome version to have some difference and I also made tons of screenshots during my replay, so it wasn't for nothing. Like already stated in the article, the game is quite short. It took my only about four hours to fully complete it (100%ed), I did it in one run without any pauses. Just one evening. This wouldn't be possible with any other Zelda game, most of them take their time, especially if you want to finish all sidequests as well. The NES classics might be also short, but Hyrule Fantasy got its 2nd Quest, which will keep you busy, and Zelda II is just plain hard, you won't blast through as easily here. However, especially because Link's Awakening is so short but luscious, it's the Zelda game with highest replay value in my eyes. This game is always worth another replay. And such a game is perfectly suited for a handheld system, unlike the slow, boring and articially stretched Spirit Tracks for example. I was always rooting that Zelda gets more intense again, really challenging on your first playthrough and fun to replay. But Zelda games got more and more bloated. I thought the WiiWare service would be perfect for another Link's Awakening style Zelda game, but Nintendo never really used WiiWare as a potential platform.

Since I already talked about all the great things in this game in my article, I can save you the big talk and focus on some details.

One detail would be the censorship. The US version of the game actually got censored. In Germany you cleary notice this, because the original version was based on the uncut Japanese version. And our DX version was based on the US one. So, being confronted with those changes felt a little weird. One thing would be the hippo lady inside the house of the crocodile painter. She is posing nude and in the original version she got tits... in the other version she doesn't. No big deal, but they also changed the Mermaid part of the trading sequence. In original she lost her bikini and if you dive in front of her she gets totally upset, because Link is a perv and all. This got replaced by losing her necklace and if you dive she just says "I looked there before".

This game has so many interesting stuff, other Zelda games don't have. Especially in the dungeons. What I love are the key sounds, when you got the Compass and you enter a room with a key hidden inside. Just cool. Okay, the Oracle games got this as well, but I really miss this in other games. And what absolutely no other game has are those revolving doors, which you can only enter from one side. Kind of silly, but also a neat idea. It's some sort of one way passage. Or there are those card symbol enemies and you have to hit them in the right time, so all three of them show the same symbol. Or those stupid Knight chess figures, which you have to toss until both are upright. Talking about that, there's this one nasty room at the end of Level 7 which I totally hate. This one:

room with Beamos on a conveyor belt firing at Link

Since you have to toss the Knight figures around, defending yourself from the Beamos is difficult. Additionally the conveyor makes the Beamos extra nasty, he shoots you three times in a row. I lost a potion in this room! In the DX version you would get a new potion from the treasure chest, but the classic version only gives you 100 rupees. This money is not worth nearly dying.

Did I ever mention the puzzle, which took me ten years to solve? No kidding. It's about one hidden room in the mountains on your way to Level 7. There are five treasure chests, but if you leave the room, they all will be gone. This is how the room looks like:

cave room with five treasure chests blocked off by rocks and Link at the lower exit

You normally enter the room from the upper entrance. My goal always was to open all five, but I never could do it. I even tried plunging from the bridge above the cave (like the photo mouse guy in the DX version), so I could enter the room from the south side, where opening all chests would easily be possible. The solution actually is totally simple. If you don't touch any of the chests, they stay closed. So, you just leave the room through the south door and come back in (like pictured above). For some reason I always assumed that all treasure chests will be gone, if I leave the room, no matter what. Probably some disbelief I got as a kid, it's hard to get rid of something like that. However, in a replay four years ago, ten years after I originally played the game I finally had figured it out... that's one hell of a puzzle. (Though it doesn't really matter, if you screw it up. The chests just contain rupees.)

In my article I showed you a sketch for a solution of Turtle Rock, where you skip about 50% of the rooms. Naturally I tried this during my replay, to see if this really works and that I wasn't just talking bullshit. But here's the proof:

map of Turtle Rock with only half the rooms visited

I got the map after I've beaten the dungeon. You can clearly see that the boss is gone and you can see all the rooms, which I haven't visited. I skipped 54% of the entire dungeon, 25 of 46 rooms. Not bad, eh?

So, replaying Link's Awakening was short, but tons of fun like always. I love this game and there isn't any other game, which I know as well as this one. Do yourself a favor and pick this game up, if you haven't yet.

ending screen of Link's Awakening with a winged Marin

Friday, May 27, 2011

Something about Zelda II

I'm running this blog for three years now and I've pretty much talked about every single Zelda game (and even spinoffs) so far. All except one: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link. I didn't even avoid this game on purpose. It's not like I don't like this game, though it fairly is the black sheep of the series. It just never happened to pop up. Usually when I talk about some new developments I can use older Zelda games as a reference. For example the new item menu in Ocarina of Time 3D was inspired by Link's Awakening. But Zelda II is just so different from everything else in the series, that I can hardly use it as an example. So, I want to change the impression that I'm avoiding this game by talking about it a little bit. So, let's talk about Zelda II.

Calling this game the "black sheep" is actually quite unfair. Because back in its time, when the game was released, it certainly wasn't the black sheep. The Legend of Zelda basically established the Action Adventure genre, it was the first game to combine elements like free exploration, mazes, leveling up without experience points, adventure style inventory and fighting enemies. And Zelda II tried to establish a new formula as well by combining RPG-elements with platforming and more advanced sword fighting. And it was a popular game back then. It only became the "black sheep", because starting with A Link to the Past all the later Zelda games would follow the formula of the first Zelda game and not the one from Zelda II. The later games made Zelda II the black sheep.

Actually this was my second Zelda game. I started with Link's Awakening in 1997 and in 1999 I was about to get a Nintendo 64 together with Ocarina of Time for Christmas. To prepare for this big event I wanted to play the older three Zelda games. I couldn't get a Super Nintendo, but one schoolmate got a NES and a copy of Zelda II, so I borrowed both from him (another schoolmate also got a copy of The Legend of Zelda and I played this game afterwards). With Ocarina of Time on the horizon and because Link's Awakening quickly became my favorite game I was hugely motivated to play and beat every other game in the Zelda series. Including Zelda II. And I'm still absolutely impressed that I managed to somehow beat this game as a kid. The only other time I've beaten this game was on emulator using cheats. :D And I tried to replay this game many times, because I got so many copies of it. I got my first own copy for GameBoy Advance, as part of the NES Classics series. Then I got the game via the Collector's Edition for the GameCube. And I also downloaded it for the Virtual Console on my Wii. I started to play each of those copies, but I lost motivation shortly... usually at Death Mountain.

The game is really hard and gets frustrating easily. The game is so hard, you even get to have lives. It's the only Zelda game to do that. You start with three lives and if you die, you start in the room where you died. You lose all lives, you start at Northern Palace and you have to backtrack all the way to where you died. Ugghh... well, the most important milestone for me is getting the Hammer at Death Mountain. That's the point where I usually couldn't get past in my failed attempts. As soon as you get the Hammer, there are many shortcuts and the game gets much more enjoyable. But those evil, axe throwing Daira enemies at Death Mountain can be such assholes! I know, I'm such a hypocrite... I usually complain about the lack of difficulty in modern Zelda games, but then I turn tail when it gets too hard. But for me a good difficulty level should always be challenging, but never frustrating. And Zelda II fails hard in terms of being not frustrating. Also, a Zelda game needs a good mix of combat, puzzles, hidden secrets and exploration. Zelda II is only strong on the combat side, but lacks all other factors.

Okay, all of this still really sounds like I totally don't like this game, avoiding it all the time. So, let's mention some good things. Like that it introduced some neat concepts to the series. Like magic spells or villages. And it's even still the Zelda game with the most magic spells and villages, both eight in total. And do I have to bring up the GTA reference, where Link hooks up with women to refill his health? (Or grannies to refill his magic.) What I also like about the game is the unique music, which wasn't composed by Koji Kondo, but by Akito Nakatsuka (at least according to my Winamp playlist). It got quite some different themes, but they still fit Zelda very well and produce a nice atmosphere fitting the game perfectly. Probably the best known track is the Temple theme, which got used in the Super Smash Bros. series.

So, I talked a little bit about Zelda II. I guess, this counts.

Bad Uncle Rupee's Ashen Rupeeland

This is one great game. 10/10.

No, actually that's just what you get in Freshly Picked: Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland as a vision of how Rupeeland really looks like. It's a modification of the title screen and quite a hilarious scene. It's also quite a spoiler for anyone, who hasn't played this game, but I guess most people don't care about the Tingle games anyway. I do, however, I had quite some fun with the first game and I would like to see at least Color Changing: Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love to be released here in Europe as well. But I guess this game is just not worth the effort of putting up a team of translators to it. It was released two years ago in Japan and any chance that this will be released in Europe seems to be gone by now. Not that this is a great loss, there are far more interesting games, who never have been released outside of Japan...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Video Game Reunion: Season 1

Vide Game Reunion is an Atom parody webseries similar to Legend of Neil, where video game characters are actually video game actors, who all see each other in a reunion after 25 years. They just finished their first season and it's definitely worth a look. It's like a mix between a typical "reality" television high school reunion show and some reality television show focusing on some b-celebrities, just with video game characters instead of the celebs and tons of old video game references. But the problems are mostly your typical made up for reality television all-day real people's issues like split-ups, jealousy or coming out the closet. It could be a typical reality show, if not for all the (sometimes subtle) video game references, which adds the humor.

What I really liked was the portrayal of Link and Zelda. They are your "perfect" couple in this, they even have two kids called Tingle and Sparkle, big happy family. What was refreshing is that Link actually wasn't portrayed as gay. Because this joke is so old, I hardly can laugh about stuff like this for example. Hahahahaaa, Link is gay, hahaha, how funny, we never heard this before! But not in VGR, there he finally was just a typical guy. Link totally reminded me of Chuck from the TV show with the same name, one of my favorite shows on television (fifth and final season this fall!). Not only in his appearance, but also in his manner. But I liked that, a million times better than just another collection of gay jokes. However, the gay guy this time was actually Megaman, portrayed by the dude who played the old man in Legend of Neil. Megaman is a pop star and he turns out to be Zelda's BFF. So, Link gets totally jealous until he finally finds out the more than obvious fact, that Megaman actually is queer, which then leads to a hilarious scene.

Also, Samus portrayed by Amy Bloom was really lovely. Liked her character a lot. No blog post without an image, so I'll just show you her... :D

The show is quite entertaining, so you should definitely watch it. It seems that there also will be a 2nd season, though I totally didn't get the cliffhanger at all. I had no idea, who Carmen Sandiego was. :D

As seen on: Metroid Database

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Australian Ocarina Edition

At EB Games in Australia you can buy this bundle that comes with the game, a plastic Ocarina of Time replica and a sheet with two songs, one being Zelda's Lullaby. THAT's something worth getting and not some thin-ass Nintendo 3DS bag and some stuffed in the box poster. Though of course this is more expansive than the single game.

Notice how the Australian cover is a darker, more bronze version of the US cover. Strange decision, but it looks nice next to the bundle.

The Magic of Link's Awakening

*plays title screen music*

On June 6th the 3DS Virtual Console launches and Link's Awakening DX will be one of its launch titles. I want to use this occasion to finally talk about Link's Awakening, which in my eyes is absolutely magical. It was my first Zelda game and it instantly made me into a Zelda fan. It's still part of my favorite Zelda games next to Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. I finished this game already a dozen of times, more than any other Zelda game, but I still can't get enough of it. But what is it exactly, what makes this game so magical?

It already starts with the story. And that's something to say, because I'm normally not too interested in the story (try to find a blog post of mine that extensively deals with the story or timeline stuff). But I think there is no other Zelda game where I could identify myself with Link as well as in this game. This story is not about some hero chosen by the gods, who is destined to save the princess and all the worlds of Hyrule. This story is about you, a stranger, who stranded on a mysterious island. All that's left of your past are a sword, a shield and a boomerang washed up on the shore and faded memories of a princess named Zelda. Your goal is getting off the island, returning home. But this is no ordinary island and getting off it is quite a task, a big adventure. Link's Awakening is pretty much the LOST of the Zelda universe, just without the disappointing finale.

But I can be really myself in this game, which is great. You don't feel like you're just some marionette of the overall story. It's your doing, where the game even constantly tells you that what you're doing is wrong and will have consequences. And the bitter sweet ending then will leave you thinking for a while.

But emotions aren't forced onto you, a pretty good example would be comparing Marin to Ilia. In the case of Ilia we got Link, who has feelings for her, while she is more interested in your horse or just ignores you completely. The player doesn't care about her character, but the game still tells you, that you have to. Which is why a lot of Zelda fans despise the character of Ilia. Marin, who was the base for Malon's character in Ocarina of Time, on the other hand was much more smartly written. She is the one, who is developing feelings for you. Whether you return them or not is up to you.

The game doesn't tell you to care for her character, it's completely your choice. There is even this one very clever scene, where you accidentally happen to rescue her on your way to Turtle Rock. No one tells you to do so and there's no big drama that she got captured by Moblins or whatever. This is unlike in Twilight Princess, where you have all this big drama about Ilia and her lost memory, where Link gets all sad and there is so much "blah blah blah". In case of Marin you just happen to run into her and you will be her hero, whether you want to be or not. For yourself you can pretend that you really are her hero or you can just say things like "no biggie, you just happened to be in my way, girl".

The game has also his own unique charme, which no other game managed to copy successfully. It's just so full with fun and crazy ideas. In no other Zelda game you will battle Mario enemies or evil Kirbies, use telephones to ask some weird old guy for advice, have bosses talking to you and even mocking you or play instruments before a giant egg on a mountain. It's full of unique and unusual ideas, which makes it so refreshing.

Link's Awakening established many things for the Zelda series and interestingly it still shows some of the best uses of its new concepts. For example, now there was a special quest before most of the dungeons. The goal was simply to get into the dungeon, but mostly they were locked and you needed a key for the dungeon. This was a really cool concept, which sadly only was copied by the Oracle games. The dungeons are places of evil and it's only natural that they are somehow locked from the outside world to protect the people living on the island. Later Zelda games would simply use the "cursed holy temple"-concept from Ocarina of Time, which is getting stale. But the quests to get in the dungeons are all fairly unique. From taking a Chain Chomp for walkies, over collecting golden leaves for a prince up to resurrecting a Flying Rooster. Link's Awakening is full of unique and charming ideas for quests.

The overworld is great and also full of unique environments like a Pothole Field, a Signpost Maze and a village full of animals. The island is opened bit by bit after each dungeon, but it doesn't feel like you're following a linear path. Because mostly you don't, for example the Power Bracelet opens the Tal Tal Heights and a part of the mountains, but also the Ukuku Prairie, Kanalet Castle, the bay and more. Lots of choices for you. And the game likes to tease you. For example you can enter the west part of the Ukuku Prairie right in the beginning of the game. I remember cleary that when I first played the game as kid I just wanted to go there (instead of facing the evil dungeon) and dreamed of the rest of the island. Or west to the swamp there is a spot that leads up to Tal Tal Mountains, one square next to the final dungeon. You can visit this spot right after the first dungeon, that's one hell of a teaser! And when you finally reach the spot from the other side it's one awesome feeling of accomplishment. The manual also teases you with artwork like this one:

Wonderful! It really stimulates your imagination and you dream of how the world will be. It's magical and something that wasn't done in later Zelda games. There they don't want to spoil you like that, but that's the wrong approach in my eyes. For Skyward Sword or following Zelda games they should always release a similar artwork for the overworld. If it doesn't scream "explore meeeee" like this one, then they failed in making a good overworld.

Now let's enter the dungeons. I just need to mention their names like "Tail Cave", "Key Cavern", "Face Shrine" or "Eagle Tower" and you will already notice that the dungeons are based on some quite unusual ideas as well. In later Zelda games all you get will be "[insert element or environment type here] Temple", which gets predictable and boring. And like in the first Zelda game on the NES, the dungeon rooms form interesting shapes. For example the Tail Cave looks like a worm and inside the dungeon you will fight lots of Moldorms. Key Cavern is shaped like two keys and this dungeons has tons of keys and locked rooms/blocks. All fairly unique in the series.

The dungeons also shine with really great level design, a high level of non-linearity and lots of optional parts are awaiting you. These dungeons are supposed to be mazes, even though they were created for the limited memory of the GameBoy. There are many different solutions for a single dungeon. You will explore and you will hit dead ends - two qualities absolutely missing in dungeons of modern Zelda games. You can also take short cuts and skip many parts, which is nice for speed running. I'm normally not interested in speed running, but this game is an exception. Because the dungeons are really interesting in this matter. Just check out the following map of the Turtle Rock dungeon. On there I drew a minimalistic course to solve the dungeon. The colored rooms are the ones, which I've visited. And the grey rooms are the ones, which I've never even entered.

As you can see, I skipped more than 50% of the entire dungeon, which is crazy. I had to use tricky short cuts with the help of Bomb Arrows, but it can be done. And I even avoided four recurring mini-bosses on my way. Try something like that in Spirit Tracks, it's simply not possible. If there are optional parts in a dungeon, they are usually pretty small and unimportant. And there's a reason for that, called "the developer". The guys at Nintendo put a lot of time and energy into making these dungeons, bosses and so on. So, it's only natural, that they want the player to experience every bit.

If you read these developer comments about Link's Awakening DX, you will notice that Yasuhisa Yamamura talks about the optional parts and even mentions that there was opposition to this in the team. But luckily they did it anyway, because the dungeons turned out great. It's fun to explore them and a good dungeon needs to have misleading parts, dungeons are supposed to be mazes. The linear room to room gameplay style of modern Zelda dungeons is just utterly boring and an insult to my intelligence.

But like with many other things Link's Awakening established some new concepts for dungeons as well. It's the first Zelda game, where you have a boss key, called the "Nightmare Key". It's also the first Zelda game to introduce mini-bosses. Also, it's the first time, that the item found in the dungeon has many uses inside the dungeon. A Link to the Past did this partially, but not as much as Link's Awakening.

However, while these concepts slowly became standard in the series, Link's Awakening already added tons of variety to it, for example the mini-bosses. In the Tail Cave the mini-boss defends the actual boss. In the Eagle's Tower the mini-boss can be fought at any point during the dungeon and he then starts a personal vendetta against you. In the Catfish's Maw one mini-boss steals the dungeon item and you have to hunt him down. And the other mini-boss can be skipped entirely. What other Zelda games offer ideas like that? Usually the mini-boss protects the dungeon item and that's it, always the same predictable formula. A formula that gets boring. So, why is it, that the fourth game in the series with 18 years on its shoulder is the one game, that already twists all those formulas? All members of the current Zelda team should be ordered to play this game and learn from it! This is how you do it!

You can actually go up or left! It's the magic of choices!

At this point I want mention the great Eagle's Tower dungeon, one of my favorite Zelda dungeons. The puzzle with the pillars and the iron ball is simply one of the smartest puzzles in the entire series. And the atmosphere is fairly great for GameBoy standards, primarily because of the music. The music tracks in Link's Awakening are fantastic, starting from the title music, over the Mysterious Woods theme to the dungeons. Great tracks. (Except for the annoying power-up music, when you pick up a Piece of Power or a Guardian Acorn. I always avoided those two power-ups, because I wanted to keep listening to the music. :D)

Well, am I finally done praising Link's Awakening yet? No, I will never be done praising this game, but I'll try to focus on one last point: items and side quests. Actually that's two points, but it's pretty much mixed up, because a lot of the main items are actually optional. The Bow is not a dungeon item like in most other Zelda games, but you buy it from the shop for insane 980 rupees. Or you steal it, but then everyone calls you "THIEF" and the shop owner will kill you with a lightning beam, when you enter the shop for the next time. Crazy stuff. The Bow is entirely optional (with the exception of one key, but you can skip that one), but helpful in some fights like against Armos Knights or the Gohma Twins. It can also be combined with Bombs to make Bomb Arrows, which is cool. Link's Awakening was the first Zelda game that let's you de-equip your sword and combine other items in cool fashion.

The Boomerang is hidden very well in this game and turns out to be a powerful weapon instead of just something that stuns enemies like in other games. The L-2 Sword is also entirely optional, which is a lost art. Sword upgrades used to be optional, you had to really search for them, and they were a huge help. But starting with The Wind Waker all sword upgrades became a part of the plot and therefore boring. But here you'll get the sword after collecting 20 or more Secret Seashells.

Yes, you get the L-2 Sword after a collecting quest! The Seashell hunting was pretty much the debut of alternative collectible items in the series and it's still one of my favorite collecting quests, because they can be found bloody everywhere. Beneath bushes and rocks, buried somewhere, inside treasure chests, everywhere. You can't keep a single stone left standing in order to find them all. The Pieces of Heart are also very well hidden in this game. Some are behind bombable walls in caves, where you don't see any cracks at the walls. Or they are sunk in the water and you have to dive for them (I originally only found those by accident). You might think that this is crazy, but optional hidden items are meant to be optional and hidden. You really have to look for them. All this predictable stuff in Spirit Tracks for example is just extremely boring and not very challenging. And Link's Awakening is also the first Zelda game to offer a trading sequence. It all starts with a Yoshi Doll and ends with the Magnifying Lens (some sort of Eye of Truth). Good times.

Link's Awakening is quite a short game, I can finish it easily in a couple of hours. But every single minute of the game is purely great, the replay value is immense thanks to great world and dungeon design and all the charming ideas. I don't know how many times I've already beaten this game, I simply forgot to count at some point, but probably more than 15 times. Save for Ocarina of Time, which I've also replayed many times, I've fully beaten all other Zelda games "only" between two and four times. So, Link's Awakening really, really stands out on its replay value.

As you probably know, the game has two versions, one originally made in 1993 for the GameBoy and an updated version for the GameBoy Color, made in 1998. The 3DS version is of course be the latter one. But for some reason I always prefered the monochrome version. It just adds so more to the charme of the game. The Color Dungeon definitely is a great plus, but the new photo sidequest is a mess with all the missable pictures. And one snapshot requires you to steal from the shop and you know the result of that... but maybe the 3DS version let's you switch between both versions. I really doubt it, but it would be possible.

However, if you've never played the game, you simply MUST get it for your Nintendo 3DS. No, everyone with a 3DS should download this game, even if he or she already played it. It's one of the better Zelda game, it has a great story, tons of charme, great world and level design, good side quests, lovely music, high replay value and offers a fairly unique experience in the series.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ricky, Moosh and Dimitri

artworks of Link riding Moosh, Dimitri and Ricky

The Oracle games are celebrating their 10th Anniversary this year, so let's talk a little bit more about them. One interesting fact is that Link gets to ride three different animals in this game instead of Epona. They are Ricky, the boxing Kangaroo, Moosh, the flying bear, and Dimitri, the swimming Dodongo. Sounds great, but the problem is that you can ultimately only get one of them during a playthrough. You will meet them and get to try them all early in the game, but then you have to choose one. This little article is supposed to be a guide for you to make your choice easier.

"Wait, how can I actually choose between the three animals?" – That's a great question and it may appear random to you, what animal you've gotten during your first playthrough. It depends on the way how you aquire the flute before you first set foot on the landscape, where your buddy is required (the Natzu area in Oracle of Seasons and the Nuun Highlands in Oracle of Ages). You can either buy the flute in the shop, win it in a mini-game or don't get the flute beforehand. Depending on this choice, you'll get a specific one of the three animals. Here's an overview:

Oracle of Ages

  • buy flute in Lynna Village shop (present): Dimitri
  • win flute in Lynna Village Shooting Gallery (past): Ricky
  • default: Moosh

Oracle of Seasons

  • buy flute in Horon Village shop: Moosh
  • win flute in Subrosian Dance Hall: Dimitri
  • default: Ricky

I clearly remember, how I started with Ages on my first playthrough and I didn't do anything, so I got Moosh. I was pretty upset about this, because Moosh is my least favorite of the three. Remember that this choice only works in a new game or in a freshly started Hero's Quest. In a linked game (or a linked Hero's Quest) you will always get the animal, which you already had in the first game.

"What are their differences?" – Each animal got their own set of abilities.

Ricky can strike enemies with powerful boxing moves, additionally you can charge a punch and throw a tornado, which even destroys bushes (behind gaps). It's also the only animal with distance attacks. So, he's very powerful in fighting enemies, but on the other side his abilities to cross environments aren't too impressive. He can only jump over small gaps (like Link using the Roc's Feather) and he can jump up ledges.

Moosh on the other hand can fly for a while and that way you can cross even larger gaps. However, he can't attack enemies directly, instead he will just smash enemies with a ground pound by letting himself fall and leaving himself vulnerable to other attacks afterwards.

Dimitri is the only animal buddy, who can swim, which makes him a good choice in Oracle of Ages, where a large parts of the overworld is ocean. And he even can swim up waterfalls, which is quite crazy. He eats his enemies and you can also carry him around with the Power Bracelet. That way you can throw him over gaps, which might be necessary, since he is the only animal buddy, who can't jump or fly. He's also quite slow on land, slower than walking, so you wouldn't want to use him on land all that much.

However, it's not only about which animal you would prefer. Your choice directly alters one area in the game, which will be designed specifically for your pet's abilities. If you select Ricky, you will get a prairie. If you select Moosh, you will get a wasteland full of holes. And if you select Dimitri, the area will turn into a river. The following images show how the areas will look like.

Nuun Highlands in Oracle of Ages:

the three different areas in Oracle of Ages

Natzu Area in Oracle of Seasons:

the three different areas in Oracle of Seasons

So, this is all the information you'll need, what's left is just my personal opinion. I overall prefer Ricky, he is fast and fun, but he's also the only one, who has good attacks. The attacks of Dimitri and Moosh always get you too close to your enemies and you might get hurt if you miss. That's especially a problem with Moosh, because the wastelands are usually full of Leevers, his natural enemy. You smash on the ground killing some Leevers, but then other ones appear right beneath you hurting you quite a bit.

Also, getting over the gaps with Moosh isn't always as easy as you think. I lost a lot of health trying to get to the Sunken City with Moosh. While I lost no health at all by riding Ricky through the nice Natzu Prairie. Dimitri might be my second choice, especially in Oracle of Ages, where a good part of the overworld is made of seas. But Moosh is the worst, hands down.

This ranking is the same for the environments. The prairie just looks nice, it reminds me of the wonderful Ukuku Prairie in Link's Awakening – I like it. The river world is okay, though we didn't exactly need any more water areas and it also looks a little bit empty (at least on the above pictures, which are lacking all the enemies). But the wasteland just looks awful. So, if I get to choose how one part of the overworld will look like, I vote for the grassy fields!

However, in order to experience all dungeons and scenes and to get all 64 rings, you have to play through both games at least twice. So, it's naturally a good idea to try out a different animal on your second playthrough. I even played through the games a third and final time to have one savegame for each animal.

(As a sidenote, this it not the only choice made in the games besides the obvious choice of what game to play first. But you can also influence the development of Bipin and Blossom's son, who can turn into four different personalities from Hero to Slacker. There's a FAQ at GameFAQs, which covers it all up, if you're interested in this as well.)


With the 25th Anniversary of the Zelda franchise going on and the Oracle games celebrating their 10th birthday this year, there is a fair chance, that they will follow Link's Awakening onto the 3DS Virtual Console later this year. And if you pick them up again, I hope this post will be helpful for you.

All information taken from: Zelda Wiki

Monday, May 23, 2011

Phantom Hourglass vs. Spirit Tracks

Well, I was browsing through Zelda Universe forums the other day and saw this discussion about whether Phantom Hourglass or Spirit Tracks is the better game. And the opinions in there are sometimes a little extreme, calling Phantom Hourglass "the worst Zelda game yet" while putting Spirit Tracks on a pedestal in the same sentence. I couldn't agree less, which is why I thought I could make a little comparison here on Hyrule Blog. Actually I compared both games a lot already when Spirit Tracks came out and also when I replayed the game a couple of months ago, so this will cover just some of the major points and most of it will be repetition.

Round 1: General Game & Presentation

Story, visuals, music, controls... This is where Spirit Tracks was much better developed, which is probably the main reason why most Zelda fans prefer the game over its older brother Phantom Hourglass. With Phantom Hourglass Nintendo primarily focused on establishing a Zelda game on the Nintendo DS with its basic visuals, gameplay and controls. Especially the touchscreen part was really important. But the rest of the game came short. With Spirit Tracks on the other hand they were able to use everything from Phantom Hourglass as a base, so they could focus on all the other things and even improve everything from the predecessor. So it's only natural that Spirit Tracks takes the upper hand in this department. The story is much more interesting, the game has a much fuller soundtrack and it tried to improve several aspects of Phantom Hourglass.

About the soundtrack, I always thought that Phantom Hourglass with its more minimalistic tracks created its own unique charme. Like the island theme, I totally dig that one, even though its like just three notes or so. I don't know, I still liked it. Of course the music tracks of Spirit Tracks are much better, but part of this charme was lost on its way. And Linebeck was one awesome character, still having princess Zelda as your ghostly companion still beats him. You never interacted with Zelda as much as in Spirit Tracks, not counting the not so official CD-i games.

The graphics are mostly better in Spirit Tracks, but the game also suffers from lag, for example if you get attacked by the pirate tanks the game usually slows down. I don't know if this is still the case on a Nintendo DSi or 3DS, both having more horse power, but it's a problem on my Nintendo DS Lite. They also tried to improve the touch screen controls, now rolling is done by double tapping. But while it's now easier to roll, I accidently rolled into enemies many times, when I tried to hit them with fast strikes. And at some parts of the game (like the battle on top of the Gannon-Train) my touchscreen just went crazy and nothing worked anymore. I only beat the final boss fight once so far because of this. This might have been a problem with my screen protector, but it's definitely not a problem in Phantom Hourglass, there the controls always worked fine. Still, Spirit Tracks wins this round.

Winner: Spirit Tracks

Round 2: Boat vs. Train

My vote goes definitely to the boat. It's faster, you can warp all around the map and the ocean visuals are more suitable for the Nintendo DS. The train might haven been an interesting idea, but the execution was just terrible. It's too slooooooow. You spend tons of time in this game just with going from A to B. Most other Zelda games including Phantom Hourglass established some kind of fast warp system, which saves you the pain from unnecessary travelling. But those warp gates don't really help and the train is just awefully slow. It should go as fast as in the sequence, where you play Pacman with Dark Trains in the Dark Realm, then I wouldn't complain. And while having worlds like Forest, Snow and Fire Realm might be more interesting than just a bunch of islands, it all looks just so ugly. Tons of 2D sprite objects and super low resolution textures. I'm not a graphic whore, but it's just that the ocean world of Phantom Hourglass was more suitable for the Nintendo DS's power and looked therefore much more harmonious. You really notice that in the Ocean Realm of Spirit Tracks, probably the best looking train part.

Winner: Phantom Hourglass

Round 3: Freedom & Exploration

The train idea also came with the disadvantage of making Spirit Tracks much more linear. It's literally Zelda on rails. And everyone, who has read some of my posts on this blogs, knows how much I despise linearity. Not counting the sidequests this game is absolutely linear from start to finish, from exploring most parts of the so called overworld, over the order of the dungeons to the path through the dungeons theirselves. It isn't as bad as Twilight Princess, but it certainly doesn't leave you many options. Phantom Hourglass on the other hand likes to give you some choices. First half of the game might be linear, but if you go for the third sea chart, you can also chose to get the fourth sea chart in the same run. It might be much more difficult with about five minutes less on the clock and withouth the Bombchus and the Grappling Hook, but it's possible. And if you manage to do so, the entire second half of the game is an open world. You can visit all except one island in any order and play the dungeons in any order. Playing Mutoh's Temple first, then go for the Ice Temple and visiting Goron Island and Temple at the very end? Sounds impossible, but I did exactly that just for fun! And yes, it really was fun, freely exploring open worlds and playing dungeons out of order is much more fun than following a predestined path all the time.

Okay, to cut Spirit Tracks some slack, discovering and exploring all the hidden stations was really fun, too. But Phantom Hourglass also has some optional islands, so it is still the winner in this category.

Winner: Phantom Hourglass

Round 4: Dungeons

Both in Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks all of the normal dungeons are quite short, not too challenging and mostly nothing special at all. The focus was clearly on the master dungeon, the infamous Temple of the Ocean King and the Tower of Spirits. Both dungeons require you to return to them many times, they unlock more areas on the overworld, where the next normal dungeons are hidden. By beating the normal dungeons you usually open another section in the master dungeon and the process repeats itself. They also serve as your first and your final dungeon in the game. This is quite a unique concept in the Zelda series and both games approached this differently. Invincible Phantom enemies are part of both dungeons, but one focuses on a time limit, while the other focuses on controlling a Phantom. One goes down, one goes up. And so on.

Most people tend to hate the Temple of the Ocean King, mainly because it is very repetitive. You have to return to the dungeon over and over again and you have play the same stuff over and over again. But actually this isn't really the case, there are many shortcuts and because of this no playthrough should be like the other. There is even a warp point, that let's you skip half of the dungeon. And like I already said, you can get the third and fourth sea chart in one run. It might be a little bit difficult to do this and the time might even run out while doing so. But people also complain, that the game is way too easy, so this little challenge should be welcomed. And with that you don't have to return to the dungeon until the END of the game, where you can already slay the Phantoms with your Phantom Sword. You can play three normal dungeons without having to return to the Ocean King Temple. In my eyes this should really add another perspective to all the complaints. If you know the dungeon, it's not a problem. It's little bit like in Majora's Mask. There people complain about the time limit. "Zelda with a time limit is not fun." But the game never really was about having a time limit, but about playing with time. If you know how the time system works, you should have never any trouble with beating a dungeon or a quest. It's the same with the Temple of the Ocean King. If you know the dungeon, you really learn to like it and appreciate its concepts. This dungeon is a science of its own, I never studied a dungeon of the Zelda series as much as this one. I've even written an entire FAQ about (speed)running through the dungeon with a full hourglass. I would never do such a thing for any other dungeon in the series, not even the Tower of the Spirits.

The latter tries to get rid of all the complaints about the Ocean King Temple. You don't have to repeat any sections, save for some sidequests, and there is no time limit. It focuses on the Phantom coop gameplay instead, which probably is much more enjoyable than running against a clock. But the dungeon is also less memorable in my opinion. What really makes it great are some very clever puzzles that kept me busy for quite some time. It definitely has some of the better puzzles in the series. Overall the dungeon wasn't as challenging or fascinating as the Ocean King Temple for me, but I can see why most people prefer it over the Ocean King Temple.

Additionally Spirit Tracks also has some mini dungeons in storage, one of them being a Mini Ocean King Temple, which is definitely great. Yeah, and Spirit Tracks has better dungeon music by simply not playing the cave music of A Link to the Past over and over again. So, overall I'd say Spirit Tracks wins this category, though the Temple of the Ocean King offers the most memorable experience.

Winner: Spirit Tracks

Round 5: Items

Well, this is pretty much old versus new items. Phantom Hourglass just used familiar items and modified them for touchscreen use. But you have to praise the Bombchus, drawing their path on a map was pretty fun and this was actually the first time that this item was useful. And the Hammer was extremely kick ass, even though it was really unbalanced. Spirit Tracks introduced more balanced and new items using the touch screen, but also the microphone. Blowing away stuff with the Whirlwind was surprisingly fun and the Whip has the potential of becoming a new established item in the series. Also, the Sand Staff was a pretty clever puzzle item. On the other hand having a shovel like in Link's Awakening was great and playing the Spirit Pipes in some occasions was really annoying. About the status items, I enjoyed that I could switch between fairies with different abilities in Phantom Hourglass, that was really cool. But Spirit Tracks on the other hand gave me the option of playing in a different outfit, which was also really cool as well. Mhhh, this is really close, so I'd say it's a draw.

Winner: -

Round 6: Sidequests

Spirit Tracks suffers here from really predictable patterns. Bunnies are caught while at riding at train, ten bunnies per area. You get one stamp per area, upgrades and heart containers are gotten in minigames or shops. Force Gems are gotten by transporting goods and people. The only thing that you can basically find everywhere are the random treasures. Because of this you don't really have to search through stations or dungeons, you basically can't miss anything important. Unlike in Phantom Hourglass, where Spirit Gems, Treasure Charts, random treasures and ship parts are all mixed up and distributed everywhere. I especially enjoyed collecting the Spirit Gems and the neat abilities, which you got for them.

Both games suffer from stupid random items. Actually Phantom Hourglass handles the random system much better, there are very rare ship parts and treasures, but also spots, where it's more likely to find the rare ones. However, due to the larger number of random items (64 ship parts), it gets very tedious and hard if you're down to the last few ones. Spirit Tracks only got 16 treasures and you buy the train cars from the treasures. Much, much better idea, but the totally screwed it up with making some treasures super rare despite their lower price. Prepare for a tedious, repetitive and boring task of playing the same minigames over and over again just to collect enough treasures for all train cars. It wouldn't be much of a problem if they didn't totally fuck up the probabilities. But they did and so Spirit Tracks might be even worse than collecting all the tons of ship parts in Phantom Hourglass.

However, in the end Spirit Tracks has much more to offer in the sidequest department. Especially all the optional mini dungeons like the cool Lost at Sea Station, which emulates some classic Ocean King Temple gameplay, are really awesome. Or the "Take 'Em All On!" challenge in Hyrule Castle Town, where you even can fight all the bosses in a row. Phantom Hourglass might have the better collectible quests, but it can't compete with that.

But I enjoyed the minigames in Phantom Hourglass more. Especially the target shooting, I spent hours with this game (collecting ship parts). Spirit Tracks copied most minigames from Phantom Hourglass, but made them less fun. The target shooting for example takes too long and there's quite some lack. So, i guess this is a draw.

Winner: -

Round 7: Multiplayer

Both tried and both failed in their own way. I already did a "Zelda and Multiplayer" special, so this is the short version. Phantom Hourglass can be played online, but overall the Phantom gameplay isn't much fun. Spirit Tracks has a great fun looking Deathmatch style gameplay, which I would prefer, but it can't be played online, which renders the whole thing useless for most people outside of Japan. If the multiplayer of Spirit Tracks could be played online, it would be perfect, I probably would even play this from time to time. But it can't be played online, so this is again a draw.

Winner: -

The bottom line is that in my opinion both games are equally good or bad. What was done right in one game, was done wrong in the other, and vice versa. Overall both are mediocre Zelda games, lacking in difficulty and replay value and screwing up sidequests with randomness.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ocarina of Time 3D Preorder Bonus for Europe

First prepare to jizz in your pants with this screenshot of the Gerudeo Valley. It came along with the press release:

Notice how they added dead trees in the background as new details.

Now the actual news is about preorder stuff. In the UK you will receive a poster and the game box will get a golden sleeve, if you preorder the game. In Germany there seems to be a preorder box for stores. You buy the box as a prepayment for the game (like 5 Euro) and the box will contain some extras. They did the same here with Spirit Tracks or Metroid: Other M for example. Well, the Ocarina of Time 3D preorder box will contain a Nintendo 3DS bag, but it's really thin (can't see that on the pictures below, but take a look here).

Well, this certainly doesn't get me too excited. I still don't want to buy a Nintendo 3DS right now. Because I'm pretty sure, as soon as I'm going to buy the 3DS, Nintendo will kick me in the face by announcing a special Zelda 25th Anniversay bundle including a golden 3DS, a copy of Ocarina of Time 3D and preinstalled copies of Link's Awakening DX and the 3D Classics version of The Legend of Zelda. Maybe I'll just buy the preorder box and not the game. With Metroid: Other M I was lucky, because no one preordered the game, so they sold the boxes for 50 Cent at the day of the release. I also thought about buying the game and renting a Nintendo 3DS to play it... But luckily there's still time.

Update: It seems with "golden sleeve" you'll just get the US cover instead of the European one, which is a bad trade. Also, the poster will be stuffed into the game box, so it will suffer badly from tons of foldings. Definitely not the best deal.

Source:, Zelda Informer

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Two Unknown Items in Ocarina of Time 3D

Watch this video from some German review site. This about ten minutes of footage from a nearly complete save file, so there's a lot of showing and a nice look at the updated graphics. Especially the destroyed Hyrule Castle Town and the stone textured Kakariko Village look nice. However, what's most interesting is the part after three minutes, where the guy shows the new item menu. Here are two screenshots:

Okay, the inventory and statues menu were combined and aren't too interesting. Only notice the new look of the Stone of Agony next to the Gerudo passport. It makes sense that they changed its appearance, because the original version was shaped after the Rumble Pack and this new version works with sounds. It even looks a little bit like a pitching fork.

The item menu works like in Link's Awakening or the Oracle games. So, items assigend to buttons won't appear inside the menu and you switch items between the menu and the buttons. You'll notice how the items don't have any particular order, that's the result from this system. There are twenty free spots inside the menu and four buttons. That's space for 24 items, which is they exact same number as in Ocarina of Time on the N64. But... the Ocarina is not an item inside the item menu anymore, it will be always assigned to the lower left touch button. One free space. And it seems, that the Magic Arrows work like in The Wind Waker. Which means that they are not individual items, but you'll probably just switch between the arrows by pressing R while using the bow. If you look closely, you can see colored points around the bow icon, just like in The Wind Waker. So, three more free spaces. Those free spaces are used up by the Hover Boots and the Iron Boots, which are now normal items just like the Iron Boots in The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. Well done. However, there's still room for two more items. You can cleary see that on the screenshot, there are two empty spots and this savegame got all the other items. And it doesn't make sense to just leave space for two items (though Oracles also did that). So, what could it be?

Yes, maybe it's NEW ITEMS!!! There's the Boss Challenge and maybe there's even some new (Cave of Ordeals like) bonus dungeon. And of course these things should give you a reward. Why not some shiny new items? There's only the question, what it could be... it needs to be optional for obvious reasons, but still somehow useful. Let's just take a quick look what other items from the other Zelda games they coul include:

  • Telescope / Hawkeye
    Nothing special, but with the new visuals and full 3D models even in the backgrounds some zooming function would be nice. Could be fun with 3D effects.
  • Pegasus Boots
    Even more boots. They could make you run faster like the Bunny Hood in Majora's Mask or the dash function in Skyward Sword. This idea is my personal favorite.
  • Fishing Rod
    Let's you fish anywhere, like at Lake Hylia or in Zora's Realm. But this wouldn't serve any purpose unless they include new types of fish and a journal for some new sidequest... so I doubt this.
  • Ball&Chain
    Or some other alternative weapon... but we already got the Megaton Hammer and the Deku Sticks to serve as an alternative way to strike enemies.
  • More Bottles
    Majora's Mask got six, so why not Ocarina of Time? But this would be of course the most boring und uninspired solution.

Source of video: Zelda Informer

Odd Scene in Master Quest 3D Promo

Some months ago the inclusion of Master Quest in Ocarina of Time 3D seemed just to be a small extra, but by now Nintendo promotes it as a big deal. And it certainly is one, I guess the majority of buyers will play Master Quest for their first time. Also, the mirroring and double damage gives new challenge to experienced Ocarina of Time players. So, here is a little promotional video from the Japanese website that introduces the differences.

However... at 1:05 in the video there's an odd scene that shows Young Link inside the Forest Temple. It appears to be the small room in the northern area of 1F, where you fight to Wolfos to get a key in Master Quest. Zelda Informer also acknowledges that this is odd and luckily made a screenshot, which saves me some time:

There are multiple explanations for this. It could be that this was just Grezzo experimenting and not a scene from the actual game. However, releasing material of something, that won't be in the final game, so close to the release would be a strange move. And the promoting probably won't be done by Grezzo, but by some Nintendo marketing party.

Another explanation would be, that they changed the Forest Temple in Master Quest so, so that you can enter it as Young Link. However, this doesn't make much sense and they stated, that the dungeons will be the same as in Master Quest on GameCube. They are already crazy enough, there's no need to make them even crazier. And I doubt this would work so easily without completely changing the entire dungeon. Young Link has to get past the Hookshot parts without a Hookshot. And for what reason would they do that? The Forest Temple is supposed to be the first adult dungeon, there's no place for Young Link here. You can't even return to childhood without beating the temple (or one of the other temples, not sure right now) first.

The last explanation and my favorite one is that this actually isn't a shot from the Forest Temple. As in NEW CONTENT. Yeah, I said it. And I'm a broken record all over this. But this game needs a bonus dungeon. They got everything right so far, there is Master Quest and they even made it harder with the mirroring and the double damage. There is the Boss Challenge as some sort of new sidequest. Now just let there be an extra dungeon and they got every point on my checklist for a perfect remake. And I'm not demanding much, I'm just using the other remastered Zelda games as a basis, like Link's Awakening DX or A Link to the Past on the GameBoy Advance. LADX got updated visuals, a new sidequest (the photo quest) and a bonus dungeon. A Link to the Past also got a new sidequest (the Riddle Quest) and a bonus dungeon (the Palace of the Four Sword), but also improved gameplay mechanics and fucking Four Swords as an extra multiplayer game. Ocarina of Time 3D got the updated visuals, the improved gameplay mechanics, the Boss Challenge mode, Master Quest as a 2nd Quest, so the only thing missing would be a bonus dungeon.

It doesn't even have to be something special. We already got the tricky extra dungeon with the Gerudo Training Grounds. But another Savage Labyrinth / Cave of Ordeals clone would be easily made. Five sets of ten rooms based on the five temples, where you fight all the common enemies and minibosses from that area. There's a way to challenge all the bosses again, so it makes sense to include something for all normal enemies and minibosses as well. That way you could fight Dark Link again, if you want. And you can chose if you want to challenge it as adult or young Link just by visiting the dungeon at the corresponding time. I would hide such a dungeon in the Desert Colossus area or some other area which can't be visited until later in the game.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ocarina of Time 3D Enhancements

The release of Ocarina of Time 3D is coming closer and more details were revealed yesterday on a special press event.

Master Quest will not only be mirrored, but enemies will deal twice as much damage! Like the mirroring this double damage is something which will add to the ENTIRE game and not just to the 12 dungeons. Remember that Master Quest on the GameCube originally only changed the dungeons and the rest of the game was entirely the same as in the normal Ocarina of Time. So, it is great news, that they found something to change the rest of the game as well. I must say, that these two tweaks are very simple, not to say cheap, on the one hand, but on the other hand they will greatly improve the challenge and the replay value of the whole game. Simple, but very effective. The dungeons will stay the same as in the original Master Quest, only mirrored this time.

Boss Challenge actually isn't a new, separate game mode, but an ingame addition. If you go back to Link's house in the Kokiri Forest, you can go back to sleep and he will dream of the old boss fights. Too bad that Link seems to have tons of nightmares, but more fun for the player. And this is a cool way of including this new mode into the game.

Another ingame addition are the Shiekah Stones. They are similar to the Gossip Stones, but they'll show you "visions" of the future, which are simply videos of how to solve certain puzzles and even how to find heart pieces, etc. It will track which videos you've viewed to get some help. I don't like that this will be in the game, but you don't have to view the videos... it's basically an ingame guide book. What's weird is that they say that you crawl into the stones. Which means, that you can only use them as Young Link and that the stones would be huge... huh.

And the enhancements of the Water Temple are discussed. Instead of making it actually easier, they added colored walls as a guidance. They'll lead to the three locations, where you can change the water level, which should make navigation a little easier. And as you can see on the screenshot, Iron Boots are clearly a normal item now like they were in The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. Both of this will definitely help playing the Water Temple without dumping the dungeon down.

I still miss a bonus dungeon. :D

Sources: Zelda Universe, Zelda Informer and IGN

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Skyward Sword GDC Trailer Song Inverted

Just listen to this (the inverted songs starts halfway). Yeah, the awesome song from the Skyward Sword GDC trailer is just Zelda's Lullaby played backwards.

It's interesting that no one has noticed this before until now. And Nintendo has a history of remixing songs in similar fashion, for example the Song of Healing on the Ocarina was just Saria's Song played backwards. Of course the timing different, as well as the background music, but the notes are the same. Or Midna's theme already used to be a variation of Zelda's Lullaby. So, you could start speculating about a deeper meaning and everything, but on the other hand, this song really just was simply inverted. We don't know if Kondo is behind this or if just some other guy at Nintendo discovered this and thought "hey, this sounds great". We can't even be sure yet, if this song will appear in the final game or if this just was quickly made for the trailer. Remember the Phantom Hourglass trailers with those awesome remixes of the Dark World and Hyrule Castle themes? Got pretty hyped about them, but then both songs were not present in the final game...

Still this is an interesting find, which may blow your mind.

Source: Zelda Informer and Kotaku

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ocarina of Time 3D Trailer and Site Updates

Finally we got a trailer for Ocarina of Time 3D. Watch it on Youtube. Visuals are fine except for the Temple of Time time scene, I still think this looks actually worse than on Nintendo 64.

Also, Europe and US updated their OoT3D sites.
Official Ocarina of Time 3D US Website
Official Ocarina of Time 3D Europe Website

The Europe version includes the nice Flash powered 3D effect artwork, which will also be present on the European cover art, but not the US one.

Which does all of this stuff have in common? Exactly, it offers NOTHING new. The sites don't even mention Master Quest or the Boss mode. There are some new scenes in the trailer (like the Gerudo Training Grounds) and some new screenshots, but we all know this from the original game. I thought Nintendo wants to sell 3DS systems? But updated graphics alone don't get me excited at all.

Also, there's still no word about a potential 25th Anniversary bundle. I'm not going to buy a normal Nintendo 3DS and the game in June, just so that two months later they'll spit in my face with a shiny Zelda themed 3DS bundled with Ocarina. I'm going to wait.

Source: Zelda Informer

Nintendo Selects: Twilight Princess

With no interesting new games to drive the sales and with a successor waiting to be revealed at E3, the Wii is entering its budget age. It's sad to finally see this come true, but on the other hand I actually never got the GameCube until it sold for 100 bucks. And right now Nintendo is falling more and more back into their GameCube schemes instead of being awesome.

However, the console will only cost 149,99 now and is going to be bundled with Mario Kart Wii instead of Wii Sports. Weird move, since most people get a Wii for Wii Sports. Instead this game will be featured in a new "Player's Choice" line called "Nintendo Selects" at the prince of 19,99. And among theses game are also Animal Crossing: City Folk, Mario Super Sluggers aanndd The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. This is how the cover looks like:

Actually it's a miracle that this game kept selling at the price of 45 or even 50 bucks for so long. Metroid: Other M for example is already kissing bargain bins and sells for even less than the price of the Nintendo Selects line. So, this shows that Twilight Princess didn't loose value and kept selling. It's also the third best selling Zelda game and it will keep it coming, since the cheaper version probably will boost the sales. Heck, I might even pick up one of those, just for my collection.

Source: Nintendo World Report (via Kotaku)

Update: Apparently Nintendo of Europe doesn't select Twilight Princess, the game won't be part of this new bugdet title line. I just praised Nintendo of Europe for making the better choices when it comes to covers, but now this. Too bad, but maybe they will add other titles to this series later on.