Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ocarina of Time 3D Master Quest Log

Have you ever taken a picture of your home and flip it horizontally on your computer? Or look at your home through a mirror just to see how it looks like? It looks strange, yet familiar. Sometimes it even looks more comfy. It is this kind of feeling, that you get while playing the Master Quest mode of Ocarina of Time 3D. All graphics have been flipped horizontally to add to your confusion. What used to be on the left, is now on the right. The Lost Woods are now in the West and the Gerudo Desert lies in the East. Everyone, who has played both the GameCube and the Wii version of Twilight Princess, knows what I'm talking about. And it can be confusing. It's like you know where everything should be, but you lost your sense of orientation. It's not always as easy as "I would need to go left, so I go right", because certain places may look like completely new places alltogether. Or you just mix it up. It has been 12 years since the last time I got lost in the Lost Woods, but now I constantly run into the wrong direction. However, there are also places, where I really enjoy the mirrored version. Mostly Zora's River, I like this area somehow more, can't really explain it. And all places with a fixed camera, like Hyrule Castle Town, can be quite interesting.

But while it can be confusing, I think the mirroring is still a good thing, because it really adds to the replay value. Otherwise it would be very boring to play Master Quest right after the normal quest. All of the overworld and all the sidequests would be identical. There aren't many enemies on the overworld, so the double damage doesn't really bother you outside of dungeons. And the rest of the game used to be the same, so you basically spent half of the time doing things, which you've just done before. And that would be really, really boring. But thanks to the mirroring it all feels like a different experience. You might be doing the same things, but you're too busy getting used to the mirror world that you would care.

The double damage itself can be troublesome. It might not sound so bad at first, but it can easily kill you, if you're careless. The most thrilling part might be the Deku Tree dungeon, because you only got three hearts and you don't have any bottles yet with fairies inside to revive you. Making two mistakes in a row kills you here. A Gold Skulltula already does two hearts of damage. And there are giant Deku Babas and Gohma Larvas all over the place. The key to winning is abusing the hell out of the Slingshot. You can destroy the Gohma Eggs by shooting them, so that the larvas won't hatch. You can even kill the giant Deku Babas from safe distance. With these easy but helpful techniques I made it through the dungeon without dying once.

Naturally one of the first sidequests I did outside of the forest would be getting the first two bottles. But I wouldn't really need them until my first encounter with a Stalfos inside the Ice Cavern. Their Jump Strikes are hard to dodge, can't be blocked and deal four hearts of damage. The only more dangerous thing in this game would be Iron Knuckles. But I have yet to face one.

My course through the game so far is pretty basic. Right now I'm at the Forest Temple. I did all possible sidequests as a child, not only because I always tend to do sidequests as early as possible during a replay, but because every single Piece of Heart counts. As an adult I would get the Horse and the Hookshot first, then I got myself a Goron Tunic (less damage from fire) before heading to the Ice Cavern. And before the Forest Temple I made a detour to the Water Temple to get the Longshot. I just don't like the Hookshot, it's too short. A nice thing of Master Quest is that in three out of five temples you get the dungeon's main item early in one of the first rooms. So, if you want the item, but don't want to play the rest of the dungeon, you can just make a little detour. Which is what I did in the Water Temple, you basically get the Map, the Compass and the Longshot all right after meeting with Ruto in the same area. Well, I had to fight three Stalfos and got my ass kicked again, but it was worth it. The Longshot is very useful in this game. With it I can get Nayru's Love right after the Forest Temple (or even earlier, but I'll doubt I could make it through the mirrored desert without the Eye of Truth), which will help me a lot with the nastier fights.

In Master Quest the Sheikah Stones are gone. Leaving them would have been stupid anyway, the Sheikah Stones are meant for beginners and Master Quest is meant for people, who are looking for some extra challenge. But all other guides are still in the game. They could have improved Master Quest by muting Navi. I already played through the entire game, I don't need her guidance! So, why is she still telling me, where I should go next? Like I don't know that! I guess they wanted to preserve the feeling of the original Master Quest, but that train left the station when they mirrored the entire game.

And I still love the Master Quest dungeons. They are really fun and most of them got a completely different flow from the original. For example it's nice that you don't have to carry Ruto around inside Jabu Jabu's Belly. She basically stays in one room all the time. In the normal quest she could be a pain in the ass. Things that used to be important in the normal quest are gone now and the focus is clearly on other ideas. And I like that.

I also noticed two more general differences between the original Ocarina of Time and the new 3D version. A very cool adition is that Adult Link now twirls his sword while L-targeting an enemy like he does in Twilight Princess. For some reason I haven't noticed this until now, but it definitely wasn't in the N64 version and it's really cool. However, there's also a poor change. Originally when you entered the Lost Woods with Cojiro he would crow. It doesn't do that anymore, no crowing. That's completely missing from the game for no reason.

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