Thursday, September 8, 2011

Four Swords DSiWare and New Stages

Well, I already speculated about potential online and singleplayer modes for the upcoming port of Four Swords. But there's one more thing they could add: new stages.

It's a common complaint that the game only got four different stages (not counting the tutorial) and the game looks rather short because of this. But this is deceiving. While it's true, that the game only has four different settings (Forest, Death Mountain, Ice Cave and Sky Palace), the stages use randomised levels and feature three different difficulty levels. You can replay the same stage many times and you will still get to see new stuff, new exciting set-ups. And the game gets more challenging with each time, you've beaten it. So, actually the game wouldn't really need any new stages.

But Nintendo still owes us at least one bonus dungeon after Ocarina of Time 3D and it would be nice see something new, especially some new settings, because looking at the same four settings all the time can get boring. Many different themes would be possible, like a desert dungeon or a wintery forest (I loved Frozen Hyrule in Four Swords Adventures). But the simplest way to add new settings would be using graphics from The Minish Cap, because this game uses the same engine as Four Swords. They could use the Castor Wilds or the graveyard for example.

The new stages would need a goal. You could add more keys for Vaati's Palace, but I think this would alter the game too much. It would be better, if the new stages were optional. When I discussed the singleplayer I thought about ways how to unlock the additional sword techniques, the Sword Beam and the Hurricane Spin Attack, but I didn't have a good solution. Originally both were unlocked from A Link to the Past, however, it's doubtful that they will release both games for free. So, I suggested to use the Medals of Courage instead, because originally collecting enough Medals of Courage was the first step to get the Hurricane Spin Attack (it would unlock the Riddle Quest, where you get the new move). But that only works in multiplayer, because medals are the reward for the player who collects the most Rupees in a stage. You wouldn't be able to get the moves in singleplayer. So, why not use the sword moves as rewards for one or two new stages?

Downside is that this would reduce the value of the Medals of Courage to sole bragging rights, they could be a huge motivator in multiplayer. However, if I get a singleplayer and new stages, I wouldn't really care about the multiplayer or medals anyway.

The extra stages wouldn't necessarily have to be randomised, because beating them once would be enough. They also wouldn't necessarily need new bosses. However, I would like to see some challenge, something like the Hero's Cave in the Oracle games. Something that challenges even the most hardcore Zelda veteran.

Of course I'm jumping the shark here. Since this is a free game and Nintendo doesn't really make any profit from it you should expect nothing more than a straight port, separated from A Link to the Past, no online, no singleplayer, local play only, no extra content... and that's just fair, you never look a gift horse in the mouth and you certainly don't expect it to have gold teeth. But who knows...? Maybe Nintendo turns this into the greatest anniversary gift ever.

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