Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Adventures of Stink

So, last weekend Jade from ZeldaEurope and I decided to torture ourselves by watching the Zelda Animated TV series. *plays intro*

The show ran in late 1989 as part of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show on Fridays. Though Zelda II was already released at the time and enemies from the game even appear in the show (like the Moby or Deelers), the show mostly just takes the story from the first game into consideration. So, it appears that there are only two Triforces and the Triforce of Courage never gets even mentioned. Ganon resides at Death Mountain, where he has the Triforce of Power and his Evil Jar (this is where the enemies go, when Link "kills" them), and constantly tries to steal the Triforce of Wisdom from the castle, where Link and Zelda live. This is the status quo of the show and no matter what happens, it will be restored at the end of each episode. So, if one party has the chance to get their hands on the other Triforce, you already know that they will fail.

You also know that Link will always fail to hit on Zelda, no matter what. For the show the silent protagonist Link, who we all know and love, got turned into this jackass, who always try to get to first base with Zelda. It's weird, because normally you would identify yourself with Link, but here he can be hard to sympathize with. Zelda on the other hand literally wears the breeches in this show. She can be a bitch, but she is a lot tougher than in any other Zelda media. She even saves Link's life more often than he saves her.

And then there's Ganon. Like with all Zelda characters at the time there was only little known about him, he was basically just a big fat pig, which was able to cloak itself and teleport. So, they gave him Skeletor's voice, charme and character and made him teleport all around the room like he's drunken. And he has this ridiculous laugh, but that's about it.

One last thing of notice is that they used sound effects directly taken from the game. Like the sword beam or when Link gets items from his magic pouch, that magically shrinks all his stuff. This is actually pretty interesting, because no game so far tried to explain how Link is able to carry all his junk. Except for Skyward Sword, where you got the Adventure Pouch, which seems to be inspired by this.

We watched the German version of the show, but I've also seen the English original before. But the German dub definitely adds to the overall cheesiness of the show, the infamous "Excuuuuse me, princess" catchphrase gets replaced by two different catch phrases based on the situation. One is "Ich tuuuuuuu mein Bestes, Prinzessin" (I'm doooooooing my best, princess) and the other one goes "Es tuuuuut mir Leid, Prinzessin" (I'm soooooorry, princess). It's just sounds so ridiculously bad.

If I had to pick my favorite episode, it probably would be "The White Knight". Link and Zelda meet this snobby prince and Zelda totally has the hots for him. Of course Link, who gets called "Stink" by Zelda in front of the prince (hence the title of this post), gets jealous and lucky for him the prince doesn't like to get his hands dirty. But in the lands of the fantasy world Hyrule you would think that they could come up with more interesting problems. The Zelda universe was already pretty deep and exciting during the NES era and the possibilites for stories are exciting. However, instead they end up building a water park for King Harkinian or solve other ridiculous problems like Moblins building a labor union...

Well, we had a good time watching this. It's not as bad as the CD-i games, but for a Zelda fan it still can be quite embarrassing. However, if you manage to ignore the bad quality and the fact that the show was aimed for young kids, you can have a lot of fun with it. The show can be unintentionally hilarious. But it's not the end... Jade then pointed out that the Zelda Valiant Comics are based on the TV show, so I decided to check them out for the first time. And these comics are really the continuation of the show.... oh, my Din!

After the show got cancelled these Zelda comics appeared during the year 1990, there seem to be six or seven magazines in total. While the comic is based on the show, it also fully deals with the world from Zelda II - The Adventure of Link, which got mostly ignored in the TV show. The castle from the show is now the North Palace and other locations from Zelda II like the individual towns are mentioned and visited. You even get this nice map with the first book:

The scale of the area from the first game is way too large, but overall it's really cool. The world from Zelda II never really got so much attention as here and the comics make you wish that some game might return to Northeastern Hyrule in the future.

Also, Link actually carries the Triforce of Courage in the comics, which he got from the Great Palace. There's only one Zelda, however, so it's the Zelda from the show and the first game who fell asleep and Link had to safe her instead of a different princess from a distant era. I thought it would have been interesting to have a second Zelda next to the one from the show. You know, for jealousy and stuff, because after all Link hitting on Zelda is still part of the comic. Overall the tone of the comic is a lot more serious and darker than the show, for example there is one chapter where Link aquires the Triforce of Power, which then corrupts him and turns him into another Ganon. That's pretty deep stuff, but then comes the moment when Link tries to kiss Zelda (usually at the end of a chapter), which ruins everything and immediatly takes you back to the Super Mario Super Show's cheesiness.

And there's some other weird stuff in the comics. You actually get to see Link's parents in a land called Calatia. And Dark Link is not really a shadow, but more like a shapeshifter, while the Thunderbird is just a red eagle. So, while the comic is a lot better than the TV series, it's still quite weird.

If you're interested, you can watch the show here and get the comics here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Link and Samus Costumes in Dynasty Warriors Vs.

Dynasty Warriors Vs. for the 3DS will feature Link's Skyward Sword outfit and Samus' Zero Suit as unlockable costumes:

I've never played Dynasty Warriors, but I doubt that this will change my mind. Damn, this looks weird. Especially Samus. I understand that these are Dynasty Warrior characters wearing Nintendo outfits. But it looks really weird.

Normally I'm into these kind of cameos, for example I love SoulCalibur II for the sole reason of having Link as a character and I got DOA:Dimensions for the Metroid stage. So, having both Link and Samus as a cameo would be pretty exciting. Maybe there are characters in the game, where the costumes don't look completely weird. But I doubt it...

Source: Kotaku (news) / NintendoEverything (pictures)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Yarna Desert Skeleton Secret

So, a friend of mine got this huge batch of old Club Nintendo magazines. For those who don't know what a Club Nintendo magazine is, that was basically one giant advertisement in form of a paper available for free at local retailers in the 90s. It was mostly all propaganda (all games were really good and you should have bought them), but it was still nice to have. I'm sad that I've thrown my magazines away (though I saved all the Zelda articles in one big folder, in clear film) and looking through the magazines brought back a lot of childhood memories.

And then I stumbled over something shocking in the tips and tricks section of one magazine. There's a secret in Link's Awakening, which I didn't know about! There's no Zelda game which I have played so many times and so intense as Link's Awakening. And I seriously thought that I knew everything about it. That was until now. When you sprinkle Magic Powder on some remains in the Yarna desert, it tells you about the bombable wall in the cave above, where you can get a Piece of Heart.

I was quite surprised about this, earlier I thought that the Piece of Heart was just hard to find if you don't know that you can bomb the wall here. But it seems they've put a hint about it in the game. There's no reaction if you sprinkle on any of the other remains in the desert, so this seems to be an exceptional occurrence. But it might be that there are similar hints hidden throughout the game and I will sprinkle on EVERYTHING on my next playthrough... For example there's another Heart Piece cleverly hidden behind a wall in a cave in the Ukuku Prairie. There could be another hint about this heart hidden somewhere. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Zelda eShop cards

So, yesterday I've made a trip to Berlin visiting a friend and on my way I finally got the Zelda themed eShop cards at a Gamestop. It seems like Gamestop is one of very few shops in Germany, where you can buy these cards. I couldn't get the cards anywhere in my town and you can't order them online. Well, Gamestop had plenty of them and I bought one of each version. That's 45€, probably enough for all Virtual Console games I'm going to download in the future.

Here are the cards:

I already downloaded Link's Awakening DX, since I buy all available Zelda games for all my systems - for the collection. Virtual Console games now have a nice save state option, which works like quick saves in every common emulator. While the save state has a nice screenshot on the touchscreen, showing you where you were, there's only one save state per game. Well, but it's better than nothing and can be used to save before bosses.

On the downside I think that the visuals aren't that great, I was hoping that the game would be sharper. I'm used to playing GameBoy games on emulators, where the graphics are upscaled by simple nearest neighbor interpolation, which looks sharp and crisp. On the 3DS it's rather muddy. I would like to have more options here, like an option where you set whether the image should be stretched or not. If it's not stretched, it doesn't use the full high of the screen, but it at least looks sharp because the transition of the pixels is 1to1. Also, an option where you could switch to the classic monochrome GameBoy version would be awesome too. I always preferred that one. So, I'm a little bit disappointed about the quality and for now I will save the money for later.

UPDATE: You actually can change the resolution by holding down Select (or Start) while loading a VC game. It then shows a very nice GameBoy or GameBoy Color frame that uses some 3D effects. Also, in old GameBoy games you can change the visuals into a greenish GameBoy look by pressing L + R + Y. So, there are in fact some nice options for your VC games, just hidden...