Thursday, October 31, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake Selling Well


Nintendo has released their current financial data for the end of September 2019 on the Investor Relations Information page. This includes their lists of best selling games, where The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening already made it into the top 10 of Nintendo Switch titles! This is quite impressive considering that the data was recorded on September 30th – only ten days after the game's releasee.

In that time it came quite close to Super Mario Maker 2 and even outsold Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which has sold 2.29 million units according to the newest earnings release document.

By now the remake of Link's Awakening might have already crossed the sales of its GameBoy original, which has sold 3.83 million at its time, while it already has surpassed Link's Awakening DX for the GameBoy Color with 2.22 million. It's also doing better than A Link Between Worlds back on the Nintendo 3DS, where it sold 2.5 million copies after about four months (end of March 2014).

Of course this might have to do with the massive success of Breath of the Wild, which is currently looking at 14.54 million sold copies on Nintendo Switch, where it has become the most successful Zelda game of all time. And people simply want more Zelda on that system, where Link's Awakening might have charmed them with its adorable visuals.

But in any case this is a huge success for Link's Awakening and traditional topdown Zelda as a whole, where Nintendo and GREZZO might want to follow up on that success and produce more in the same style:

  • Updates and DLC for Link's Awakening
  • Remakes of Oracle of Ages & Seasons
  • A Zelda Dungeon Maker and/or a new multiplayer Zelda game
  • A new traditional topdown Zelda game

There are many possibilities here, where for now GREZZO should probably be updating the Chamber Dungeon in Link's Awakening right now and then start working on remakes of the Oracle games. The latter could even be combined with some other ideas, e.g. adding a third Oracle episode starring Farore.

The future of 2D Zelda has never looked more promising than right now!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake: Rupee Farming

Link cutting grass in Mabe Village. The Rupee counter shows 9999.

Farming Rupees in the remake of Link's Awakening shouldn't really be necessary, if you're going for all the side quests. Even the many expensive Chamber Stones in the Town Tool Shop should practically pay for themselves, if you keep doing all of Dampé's golden challenges at the end of the game...

Still, if for some reason you need to grind more Rupees or want to hit that 9,999 Rupee limit in the game, then the best way to do this is via the Chamber Dungeon. Inspired by this and similar topics on GameFAQs, I went on to try this myself and got to the maximum amount of Rupees within less than an hour.

You'll need the +Rupees Effect, which requires all 50 Secret Seashells, so you won't able to do this until the end of the game – unless you have saved such a dungeon onto an amiibo. The way how it works is that the more chambers you have inside a dungeon, the more you will get from the +Rupees Effect.

My theory was that this might be tied to the four dungeon tiers (see here), where a dungeon made out of 31 chambers should give you the maximum amount already. After some research this didn't turn out to be the case, but the result was very similar nonetheless. The amount seems to increase 10 Rupees per chamber, but there is a cap at 300 Rupees, which means a dungeon of 30 chambers already gives you the best outcome for the +Rupees Effect.

Now the trick is to build a dungeon, where the entrance and the Nightmare's Lair are very close to each other with one chest for the Nightmare's Key in between. Then you fill the rest of the dungeon up with chambers that don't have any chests or locked doors. If there were more chests, you would need to go get them. And if there were any additional locked doors, you would need to place more chests. And that's why you need to avoid both in order for this to work properly.

Luckily, the Chamber Dungeon offers a ton of featureless chambers, mostly the rooms for the different bosses and mini-bosses. Rooms with stairs are also okay, but you'll need to place another stair somewhere else and you can easily build a Rupee farming dungeon without any stairs at all, which makes it look cleaner.

So, this is my solution, feel free to copy it:

A Chamber Dungeon shaped like a Rupee with a total of 36 chambers. There are only two chambers between the entrance and the bosses, one of them with a chest. The rest of the dungeon doesn't have any chests.

I shaped it like a Rupee, because that seemed rather fitting for the task. It has 36 chambers in total, which is a little bit more than what's needed, but I was going for the looks here.

And as you can see, it takes less than 40 seconds to finish this dungeon. With loading and waiting times we're talking about one minute here for 300 Rupees. You do the math... You can probably build something even more efficient, but it was good enough for me.

There are two chambers between the entrance and the Nightmare's Lair, but that's because I couldn't find a room that gave me both a treasure chest and enough clear space to collect all Rupees. Plus, the chest for the Nightmare Key might end up being in the way of collecting the Rupees...

At first I thought that some narrow space would make it the easiest, e.g. the small tunnel with the winged hearts from the Tail Cave. But then you won't be getting all Rupees, maybe because they are blocked by Rupees that are already in the same spot or because they are falling into the void... They can even fall on objects, like the elephant statues from Level 6.

So, the ideal place for the +Rupees Effect would be a fully blank chamber in the full square size. And as chance would have it, there is actually such a chamber in the game: the Winged Item Chamber, which you can get via amiibo.

The Flying Item Chamber with Rupees all over the floor.

The only disadvantage of that chamber is that the many winged items might block some of the Rupees visually, where you want to collect the ones around the center quickly early on, as I did in the above screenshot. But despite this small flaw, it still seems like the best choice to me nonetheless.

For the following chamber with the chest I used the a room from Level 6, which normally contains the Powerful Bracelet, because the room is easy enough to cross and doesn't come with the lengthy "chest spawns from above" animation, because the chest is already there:

A Chamber with two Elephant Statues and an open chest in front of the Nightmare's Lair.

And of course the boss at the end is Moldorm, because he dies quickly in two hits and can be defeated within seconds. All the other bosses will take much longer, except for maybe the Hardhit Beetle, but no other boss dies as fast as Moldorm in this game.

(The 32 optional chambers include all the other bosses and mini-bosses, by the way, with the exception of Blaino and the Dodongo Snakes, because their chambers always have chests in them. But this way this dungeon also serves as a neat, little boss rush. All in one.)

I saved this Chamber Dungeon onto one of my amiibo, so the next time, when I'm going to replay the entire game, I should be able to get lots of Rupees early on. That way I could easily get enough money for the Bow after the second dungeon, which is nice to have, because the Bow can be very helpful in both the Color Dungeon and the Key Cavern.

You will be getting all the item upgrades, even if you are playing this on a fresh file. If you want to try this yourself, make sure to wear the Red Mail when you clear the dungeon, so that you will also have the Red Mail right away and Moldorm can be defeated quickly via two normal hits of your Koholint Sword. This will make the process as comfortable as possible, even early in the game.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake: Version 1.0.1 Released

Link and Marin at the beach

Nintendo has released the first and hopefully not last update for The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on Nintendo Switch. This patch aims at fixing a critical bug, where Marin might never leave her house, which prevents you from making progress in the game after the third dungeon. This even gets fixed retroactively, if you have an affected save file.

This bug seemed rather rare and it was easy enough to avoid, if you knew about it, because all you had to do is to check if she made it to the weather vane after you got the sword in the beginning of the game. But it's a good thing that this got fixed and we now live in a time where game-breaking bugs can be taken care of easily.

This crosses off one point on our list of update suggestions, where hopefully they will do more in the future with a major update.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Chamber Dungeon: Small New Discoveries

Link standing in front of Dampé's Shack after completing the game.

So, I was able to spend a little bit more time with the new Chamber Dungeon feature in the remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on Nintendo Switch, where I was curious about certain things and did some investigating. Nothing out of the ordinary, so don't expect anything major from this post.


Play Chamber Dungeons Directly from Arrangements


Previously I suggested that you should be able to play your Chamber Dungeons right from the "Arrange" menus in my post about how to update the Chamber Dungeon. Turns out this feature is already in the game, but it's a little bit hidden...

After freshly recording your current arrangement in the builder mode, you will be able to directly play your dungeon by selecting the entrance tile. The A button interaction then changes to "Play", where you can head right into adventuring. I wish I knew this during my first two playthroughs, because this is a really useful shortcut that will save you from a lot of navigating the Chamber Dungeon menus when clearing all the challenges. Just arrange your solution and play it.

It still seems a little bit obscure this way and it also has the disadvantage that you can't move your entrance tile any longer after recording. You have to change something else first or delete the entrance... And a simple "Go Adventuring" entry in the arrangement menus certainly would be more visible. After all I didn't even know that this shortcut existed until yesterday.


Chamber Dungeon Tiers


Whenever you arrange a Chamber Dungeon on one of the free slots or save any of your dungeons to an amiibo, they will be named "X of [player name]". The X is different depending on the size of your dungeon, where you have the following levels:

  • 03 – 10 tiles: Shrine
  • 11 – 20 tiles: Cave
  • 21 – 30 tiles: Maze
  • 31 – 64 tiles: Labyrinth

So, the "Labyrinth" tier spans over one half of the size range. These levels can also affect the background music, but there might be other factors for the music.

It's not possible to build a Chamber Dungeon with less than three chambers, by the way, because the Nightmare's Lair requires a key and there are no entrance tiles with chests in them.

(It doesn't seem to have a direct influence on the amount of Rupees that you get from the +Rupees effect (and treasure chests), however. Instead this seems to correlate with the amount of chambers, where per chamber you're bound to get 10 Rupees. There is a cap of 300 Rupees, however, where a dungeon with a total of 30 chambers will give you the best results already.)


Red and Blue Mail Overwrite


When you're playing a dungeon that you got via amiibo, it will update your current inventory to that of the dungeon creator. I wanted to know how the different tunics behave here, which turned out to be as simple as you would expect.

If you're sporting the green tunic, but the creator had either the Red or the Blue Mail while clearing the dungeon, you will get that mail, even if you've already beaten the Color Dungeon and went with the green tunic on purpose.

If you already have the Red or Blue Mail, you will keep that mail, even if it's different from what the dungeon creator has been using. This might put in you at a disadvantage for beating records, however, if you're using the Blue Mail, because the Red Mail can save you quite some time with certain bosses. So, it's best to always use the Red Mail for the Chamber Dungeon.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake: Small New Discoveries

While I'm already finished 100% with the new Link's Awakening remake, there are still new things for me to discover. Most of these new discoveries were made as I've been watching someone else play the game, who has never played the GameBoy or GameBoy Color versions. And this can be interesting, because it's a completely different perspective from someone like me, who knows the original in and out. And this can lead to some new things, which I've wanted to share...


Secret Waterfall Tunnel


This one had me surprised quite a bit. If you go west by Manbo's cave, you won't actually hit a dead end any longer. There is now a small, hidden tunnel, where you can dive below the land above:

west end of the river area of the Tal Tal Heights... Link isn't visible on the screenshot

Link appears on top of the waterfall that leads into the castle moat

You'll end up on top of the new waterfall at the northwest of the Kanalet Castle moat. This might even be nice route for whenever you're done with the Angler's Tunnel and want to collect the sunken goodies in the moat


Tal Tal Mountains Five Treasure Chests Puzzle


I've already noticed during my playthroughs that they've changed the weird treasure chest puzzle in the Eastern Tal Tal Mountain Range, so that you will get Zols from the chest until you manage to open all five of them... I can now confirm that the puzzle will reset in the remake, if you screw it up, which you likely will do on your first visit to the room.

cave with five chests and many blocks in the way

On the GameBoy this puzzle worked quite differently. You would get 20 Rupees from every chest that you open, but if you leave the room, all the other chests will be empty on your next visit. So, there was only one chance to open all five chests per playthrough, unless you saved your game right before it and kept trying.

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

In the original this had me puzzled for years. I didn't figure out the solution before replaying the game in 2011 and this was mainly because I always thought I had to open all five chests when entering the room for the first time. But this is impossible to do...

In the remake you will find the solution naturally, because you can keep trying until you get the 100 Rupees from the last chest. And eventually you will move on, if you keep trying from above.


Dungeon Map Details


When I played through the remake, I rarely ever paid much attention to the dungeon maps, because I remember these places like the back of my hand. But the dungeon maps now also offer some new details, where in case of the Catfish's Maw the colored tiles in the Master Stalfos rooms are visible on the map as well:

part of the Level 5 dungeon map, the Master Stalfos rooms have visible tiles in them

This should give you a nice hint for whenever you're looking for the last room.

And remember the inaccessible bridge room in the Eagle's Tower?


Well, it turns out that the remake does in fact tell whether that is still in the game or not. If you look at the map of the hollow 3F, there is no bridge visible:

the Level 7 map on 3F before the pillars got destroyed

So, this "room" was removed from this version and if you somehow were to get there you would just be standing in front of a massive abyss. Not that getting that Secret Medicine early would do you any good...

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Chamber Dungeon Chamber List

This is an appendix to the Chamber Dungeon Dungeon Chamber Check, where this post will provide screenshots of all the completed Chamber Memories.

For each type the chambers are sorted in the following way:

  1. Chambers gotten from Levels 1 to 8
  2. Chambers gotten from the Color Dungeon
  3. Extra Chambers from Levels 1 to 8
  4. Extra Chambers from the Color Dungeon
  5. Special Chambers

You get all normal chambers of a particular dungeon by finishing it. The only exception is the treasure chamber behind a cracked wall in the Tail Cave (Level 1). This one gets unlocked together with the chambers from the Key Cavern (Level 3), because that's when you're guaranteed to have bombs in your inventory. Otherwise you will get all available chambers from a dungeon right away, even if you haven't actually visited them in the original dungeon.

Extra chambers are modified versions of the original chambers. Often these have a different number of doors, but sometimes they will also have different enemies or features. There is one extra chamber for every dungeon boss in the game, so that you can use that boss anywhere in your dungeon. There are 22 extra chambers in the game and they all need to be unlocked, either by clearing Dampé's challenges or by collecting specific Chamber Stones.

Special chambers are unlocked via amiibo, where any amiibo from the The Legend of Zelda series will do, as well as any Zelda character from the Super Smash Bros. line. There are currently five special chambers in total and you will need five different Zelda amiibo for those. They are also visually distinct from the other chambers with special walls in the style of Dampé's Shack.

Click on the buttons below to reveal the chamber lists for specific types:








Note how all the ingame pages / lists for the chambers have a limit of 16 for every type. If Nintendo were to add more chambers via DLC or updates, they would probably have to stay within these limits. But so far the limit hasn't been reached for any of the types.

Finally, here's again the list of all Chamber Stones for your convenience:


PS: If you notice any errors in these lists (mainly about getting specific chambers), let me know in the comments!

Friday, October 4, 2019

Chamber Dungeon Dungeon Chamber Check

In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening for Nintendo Switch you can arrange your own dungeons in the new Chamber Dungeon feature. For the most part this is based on the chambers that you get from completing the nine main dungeons in the game, but not every room from a dungeon will become available as a "chamber.

Whenever multiple rooms on the dungeon map form one big room, where the game even keeps scrolling, these larger areas won't be available within the Chamber Dungeon... And other rooms aren't there, because they might have had weird positions for exits or GREZZO simply didn't consider them as worthwhile additions.

In this post we will try to re-create all the original dungeons within the Chamber Dungeon and see, how far we can get. With this we can calculate the "chamber rate", the number of rooms from a dungeon that were turned into chambers. The higher the chamber rate, the more beneficial the dungeon was for the Chamber Dungeon. However, the lower the chamber rate, the more interconnected the dungeon might be, which might result in a better gameplay experience overall.

With the exception of the Color Dungeon, none of the final rooms, where the Instruments of the Sirens reside, did get turned into chambers. So, that's already one room that is missing from most of the dungeons.

Every dungeon also has a number of "extra chambers" available, which get unlocked after either beating Dampé's challenges or collecting Chamber Stones. These extra chambers are for the most part modified versions of existing chambers that offer a different number or orientation for the exists. There is at least one such extra chamber for the dungeon's boss, so that the boss can be placed as a regular chamber somewhere within your dungeon. These extra chambers don't have any influence on the chamber rate, but will be recorded here nonetheless.

So, if you like numbers, this post is for you... This is pure statistics, seeing how the individual dungeons contributed to the Chamber Dungeon overall.


Level 1 – Tail Cave


Tail Cave arrangement for the Chamber Dungeon

  • Chamber Rate: 64%
  • Chambers: 16 (of 25)
  • Extra Chambers: 2

The big central area around the Nightmare Key, as well as the double room with the Sparks in the north didn't get transformed into chambers, but the rest is still there. It's a simple, first dungeon overall.

Other than the boss room, there is an extra chamber of the room right before the boss, where this version adds some Keese, doesn't have any stairs and goes to the east instead of north.


Level 2 – Bottle Grotto


Bottle Grotto arrangement for the Chamber Dungeon

  • Chamber Rate: 65.38%
  • Chambers: 17 (of 26)
  • Extra Chambers: 2

Similar to the Tail Cave, the Bottle Grotto has lots of chambers to offer for a near identical chamber rate. It has some longer hallways with crystal blocks, which didn't get turned into chambers, but the rest is all there.

Also, like the Tail Cave, it turns one of its Blade Trap rooms (in fact its only Blade Trap room) into an extra chamber, where in this case it's going straight from west to east.


Color Dungeon


Color Dungeon arrangement for the Chamber Dungeon. All chambers are blue and the dungeon has been saved as Maze of Tourian. It's missing the Great Fairy's chamber, however.

  • Chamber Rate: 100%
  • Chambers: 22 (of 22)
  • Extra Chambers: 2

Look at that! It's all blue. The Color Dungeon is the only dungeon with a 100% chamber rate and which can be faithfully reconstructed within the Chamber Dungeon. This shouldn't be surprising, however, since the Color Dungeon was entirely made out of basic square rooms, much like all the dungeons in the original The Legend of Zelda game for the NES, where the Color Dungeon pays homage to.

It even has the Great Fairy's room at the end available, which also lets you unlock a modified version of it with three exits. The extra chamber for the boss is a crossroad and you can even use that to build something that has both the boss and the Great Fairy's chamber in it:

A variant of the above arrangement which has the boss chamber twice and the Great Fairy's chamber next to it.

However, in this case you'll need one more chamber from another dungeon to close the gap to the left of the additional boss chamber. And you will have to beat the same boss twice to finish the dungeon.

But all in all the Color Dungeon is the first real star of the Chamber Dungeon, where it pays to play this optional dungeon from Link's Awakening DX early in the game, since it offers many new options for arranging dungeons. However, it's also often considered as the most basic dungeon in the entire game, where it pales in comparison to the excellent dungeon design of its older siblings.


Level 3 – Key Cavern


Key Cavern arrangement for the Chamber Dungeon

  • Chamber Rate: 42.86%
  • Chambers: 12 (of 28)
  • Extra Chambers: 2

The Key Cavern is the biggest dungeon so far, but only offers very few additions to the Chamber Dungeon overall. It's B1 floor actually got ported to the Chamber Dungeon almost in its entirety (it's only missing the room for the Sea Lily's Bell), but most of the 1F ground floor is absent, which includes the long corridors above the entrance and the entire large area that surrounds the mini-boss.

This creates a weird omission, because the first occurrence of the Dodongo Snakes is the only mini-boss dungeon room that doesn't become available in the Chamber Dungeon. With all other mini-bosses, even the recurring ones, GREZZO went out of their way to include them. They even modified the other Dodongo Snake chambers to make them fit, but not this one... And this is certainly strange.

Otherwise you can unlock an interesting extra chamber from the same floor. It's the room that normally leads to the large area, but this versions has three exits, multiple Arm-Mimics instead of the Zols and no stairs. The treasure chests even appears where the stairs were.


Level 4 – Angler's Tunnel


Angler's Tunnel arrangement for the Chamber Dungeon

  • Chamber Rate: 32.14%
  • Chambers: 9 (of 28)
  • Extra Chambers: 2

If you thought that the Key Cavern didn't bring much to the Chamber Dungeon table, the Angler's Tunnel is here to go down even further when it comes to the chamber rate. Only nine of its 28 dungeon rooms could be transformed into chamber material. But this is for a good reason, because a big chunk of the dungeon is basically one, large room. And it's part of what makes this dungeon very unique in this game.

After the Key Cavern didn't get a mini-boss chamber at all, this is the first time that a mini-boss gets an extra chamber, this time with three exists. Probably because there wasn't much else to work with here...


Level 5 – Catfish's Maw


Catfish's Maw arrangement for the Chamber Dungeon

  • Chamber Rate: 52.94%
  • Chambers: 18 (of 34)
  • Extra Chambers: 2

After a low income of chambers from the Key Cavern and Angler's Tunnel, the Catfish's Maw is favoring the simple dungeon rooms somewhat more. This is mainly due to its many mini-boss occurrences, where all four Master Stalfos rooms have been made into chambers. But half of them are just simple dead-ends that offer no rewards.

The Gohma mini-boss room has been modified to offer an additional door to the south, which doesn't really fit the original dungeon layout, but still counts. It also offers an extra chamber, where the second exit is to the left instead of the right.

The three connected rooms below the first Master Stalfos battle could theoretically have been turned into chambers as well, but those have been left out for some reason...


Level 6 – Face Shrine


Face Shrine arrangement for the Chamber Dungeon

  • Chamber Rate: 52.5% / 55%
  • Chambers: 21 (of 40)
  • Extra Chambers: 4

We're getting into the game's largest dungeons, where the Face Shrine has as many chambers to offer as the Color Dungeon, but is still looking at a moderate chamber rate. Most of it has to do with rooms that are connected over long ways, like the water ditch that spans three rooms.

This also offers the highest number of extra chambers yet. One is for the boss, one for the Dodongo Snakes (after they didn't make an appearance so far) and one for the first room with flying tiles, but with the exits in the opposite ends.

However, the Face Shrine also has an extra chamber for a room that isn't even featured as a normal chamber. It's the one with four torches and three Wizzrobes, which normally appears to the left of the dungeon's entrance. There is a three-way version of this room that can be unlocked via the challenges, but the original version is completely missing within the Chamber Dungeon for whatever reason. It still fits in nicely to replace the one Wizzrobe room in the east...

Depending on whether you count this extra chamber or not the chamber rate looks a little bit different. But with this particular chamber the Face Shrine would be on par with the Color Dungeon when it comes to the total number of original chambers.


Level 7 – Eagle's Tower


Eagle's Tower arrangement for the Chamber Dungeon

  • Chamber Rate: 34.09%
  • Chambers: 15 (of 44)
  • Extra Chambers: 1

If a low chamber rate were an indicator for dungeon quality, we would be looking at one of the best dungeons in the game. Only the Angler's Tunnel has a lower rate, but the Eagle's Tower is large and therefore adds more chambers than Level 4 did. And it certainly always has been a fan favorite dungeon, where it's puzzle with the four pillars is very clever and therefore nothing that can be translated into the Chamber Dungeon, leaving a gap in its second floor.

The entire first floor, however, is entirely missing from the Chamber Dungeon as well, with the sole exception of the entrance. The intricate network of crystal blocks that is spanning most of this floor has probably something to do with it, but sadly this also means that you won't ever meet the Anti-Kirbies, who exclusively reside on this floor, within the Chamber Dungeon.

Interestingly, one of the bridge rooms from the hollow third floor actually got turned into a chamber, but not the other bridge(s) with crystal blocks on them.

It's also the only dungeon in the game that only comes with one extra chamber, the mandatory one for the boss. Not even the Grim Creeper mini-boss did get a modified version of his room, despite the fact that his current chamber is a useless dead end, because the exit to the top didn't fit...


Level 8 – Turtle Rock


Turtle Rock arrangement for the Chamber Dungeon

  • Chamber Rate: 65.22%
  • Chambers: 30 (of 46)
  • Extra Chambers: 5

Finally, the Turtle Rock dungeon adds a lot of chambers to your collection. In fact with a total of thirty chambers it's easily topping the Color Dungeon and Face Shrine, which have been on the top so far. It's the largest dungeon in the game, but with a chamber rate that's similar to those of the first two dungeons. And this shouldn't come as a surprise, because unlike the Eagle's Tower before, Level 8 focuses a lot on separate rooms with individual puzzles or mini-boss fights. It even has the highest number of mini-bosses in the game and all of their rooms were made available in the Chamber Dungeon, some of them even twice.

About a third of the dungeon is still missing, but most of it comes from the central area with the lava pit, as well as some other rooms that are connected in strange ways. This still didn't stop them from including the mini-boss chambers for the Dodongo Snakes and Blaino, despite the fact that they fit in very differently into the dungeon. Especially the Dodongo Snakes chamber had to be modified quite a bit, where you don't have to fight them from up above any longer. This makes it even more questionable, why the Dodongo Snakes from the Key Cavern weren't included...

Both the Blaino and the Dodongo Snakes room also offer modified versions as unlockable extra chambers for whatever reason. And there is a modified version of the room with the cracked floors and Gibdos, which used to be right to the Dodongo Snakes and which now has an exit to the top.

Interestingly, this dungeon seems to have an extra chamber for a Great Fairy, despite the fact that there's no Great Fairy to be found within the original dungeon. This is odd, but maybe this is here in case a player hasn't played the Color Dungeon, nor has access to any amiibo, but still wants a Great Fairy somewhere in his dungeons... But with this chamber there is a total of five extra chambers to be found for the Turtle Rock dungeon, the highest number of modified chambers in the game.


Totals


  • Chamber Rate: 54.61%
  • Chambers: 160 (of 293)
  • Extra Chambers: 22

The above chamber rate doesn't include the one extra chamber from the Face Shrine that doesn't have a normal counterpart. In case you're wondering how there can be a total of 193 chambers, note that the six +Effects count as chambers as well and there are the five special chambers gotten from amiibo.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Let's Update the Chamber Dungeon in Link's Awakening

Link standing in front of Dampé's Shack after completing the game.


Easily the biggest addition to the remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on Nintendo Switch is the so called "Chamber Dungeon", a mode where you're puzzling together your own dungeons to solve challenges made by Dampé. For this task you're mainly placing chambers from the existing dungeons in the game on a grid.

This can even be seen as a first step into a "Zelda Maker", but for now this feature leaves quite some things to be desired. At the same time it's also the perfect hook for new content, may it be new challenges, new chambers or new "plus effects".

So, let's take a look at what can and maybe even should be done with the Chamber Dungeon via a free update to the game.


Online Sharing


Certainly the most requested feature for the Chamber Dungeon is online sharing. The game actually has a proper interface for playing other players' dungeons in place, but it only supports sharing them via amiibo. Which in times of paying for Nintendo's online services this feels like an odd restriction. Both Super Mario Maker 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate allow their players to share their creations online, so why not Link's Awakening?

Content moderation wouldn't even require much work, because there aren't many inappropriate things you could do here, except for maybe building a dungeon that is shaped like a swastika. But then again, it's not like Nintendo has never done that... (Small joke on the sidelines, of course this aimed at the religious origins of the symbol.)

If you want to keep things super simple, you could just limit the sharing of dungeons to friends, where you can challenge them. Create a dungeon, play through it and send it to a friend to see if he or she can beat your best time. There could be an entry fee based on the dungeon's complexity and the better player wins it all.

However, there might be a reason why Nintendo didn't want to include online sharing and that's because the feature in itself doesn't allow customization on a level, where it's interesting enough to play other people's creations. It all would be very similar, which leads us to the next point...


New Free Mode Customizations


With or without online sharing available, it would be nice to customize your dungeons a little bit further than what you can do currently. Of course the Chamber Dungeon revolves first and foremost around solving Dampé's challenges, where you use the chambers from existing dungeons to fill out what's supposed to be a dungeon puzzle. Being able to modify certain aspects of these arrangements would probably break the entire mode...

And this is why all of these proposed customization options will only be available when arranging a dungeon on one of your open slots, under the "Free" tab. This is where you can build whatever you want, where it shouldn't be an issue, if you could modify the dungeons even further.

  • Naming: It lets you freely choose a name for your dungeon, instead of the default label of "Shrine / Cave / Maze / Labyrinth of [player name]".

  • Music: You can now change the background music of your dungeon, where you're able to choose from the three variations of the Chamber Dungeon music, all nine music tracks from the main dungeons (including the Color Dungeon), the music of the Wind Fish's Egg, Dream Shrine and Kanalet Castle.

    There will also be a new remix of the Death Mountain (Level 9) dungeon music from the first Zelda game available, as well as a "per chamber" mode, where in each chamber it plays the music from the dungeon the chamber is from. Special chambers will play the default Chamber Dungeon music in this mode.

  • Restrictions: You will be able to set one or multiple of the following restrictions for your own dungeon: "No Sword", "Heart Shortage" and "Time Limit". For the last two you can even set the amount of hearts and the exact time. Unlike in Dampé's original challenges, you can also combine all three restrictions together.

  • Tunnel Controls: Right now the game automatically connects the stairs that are closest to each other. After the update you will be able to change the connections by pressing the Y button on a chamber that has stairs. The check functionality will move to the (-) button for this. Again, this function will only be available for your own arrangements, because it would break some of Dampé's challenges.

    Ideally, this will also let you choose the tunnel for the connection, where like chambers every tunnel can only be used once. Certain chambers might dictate the tunnel, however, like the secret underwater tunnel from Level 5.

  • Door Controls: This will let you change the doors on any chamber by using the R-Stick. Simply move onto the chamber and then press in the direction of the door to either add or remove a lock. Additionally, with this you could also switch to bombable walls or one-way doors.

  • Warp Points: You will be able to place a warp point back to the entrance by pressing the R-Stick in chambers that have bosses or mini-bosses. This only works once per dungeon and it doesn't work in the Nightmare's Lairs, of course.

All of this would already give you a lot more options to make your dungeons truly unique, without swaying away from the current chamber-based system.


New Challenges


The update will add four (or more) new golden challenges that become available together with the existing ones. These challenges will have the shapes "E", "L", "D" and "A", following the "Supreme Shape" challenge, but maybe not as easy...

The Supreme Shape challenge in the arrangement menu. The dungeon is large and shaped like a Z, but there is only one chest and it's right in front of the boss chamber, together with a tunnel leading to the entrance. The room above the entrance also has a +Rupees Effect on it. All other chambers are blanks with no chests or locked doors.

The new challenges will have different restrictions and will also provide even trickier tasks than before, but each of them will only get you another 300 Rupees for completing them.


Lucky Chamber Dungeons


So far Dampé has let Link do all the arranging of dungeons, but in this mode he will try his luck and build some dungeons himself, where the player will have to face some randomly generated dungeons. The outcomes might be erratic, so be careful. You will be able to choose from different difficulties, which are related to the different dungeon sizes that come from creating custom challenges:

  • Shrine
  • Cave
  • Maze
  • Labyrinth

The more chambers you unlock, the more tiers become available. And the higher the tier, the better the Rupee reward will be for clearing the random dungeon. Dampé will also offer you to save a dungeon onto your free slots, once you've cleared it.

Clearing the "Labyrinth" tier might also reward you with a new +Effect...


New Chambers


Having more options and challenges is good and all, but the real meat of the Chamber Dungeon are the chambers. They provide the actual content that you piece together for Dampé's and your own entertainment. And adding new chambers is the easiest way of adding more content to this game.

Currently, there are 193 different chambers available, including all unlockable extra chambers and the special chambers from amiibo, as well as the "plus effects". That's only seven short of 200 and we can easily get there by simply adding some things that are blatantly missing. Here are some ideas:

  • Dodongo Snakes' Chamber (Key Cavern)
  • Green Bob-omb / Bombite Chamber (Key Cavern)
  • Anti-Kirby's Chamber (Eagle's Tower)
  • Entrance: Wind Fish's Egg
  • Boss Chamber: Nightmares

The chambers from the Wind Fish's Egg will become available, once you've cleared the game (your save file needs a star on it). However, you will only be able to use the entrance and the final boss chamber, because anything else would probably be overshooting things. The other chambers will be (retroactively) added whenever you have unlocked all the chambers from their respective dungeons.

room inside Key Cavern with the Dodongo Snakes

Nothing from the Key Cavern's large area has been turned into chambers and while this might be understandable, this leaves some weird omissions. The above room features the only mini-boss battle that didn't get turned into a chamber somehow. The Dodongo Snakes from Levels 6 and 8 are there, even with two available variants for each of their chambers, where this is already the mini-boss with the most occurrences inside the Chamber Dungeon. Still, the original fight without any holes in the ground or an elevated area is missing, where it probably would have been better to have this one instead of the (unnecessary) variants of the other Dodongo Snake chambers...

The Green Bombites (the ticking Time Bob-ombs) are in another special room from the same area, where it feels like this could be turned into an interesting chamber. So far none of the chambers in the Chamber Dungeon feature Bombites, where this is a missing enemy in this mode.

Another weird omission is the Anti-Kirby from the Eagle's Tower, who doesn't get featured at all in the Chamber Dungeon. And overall the Eagle's Tower doesn't have many chambers to begin with, where giving the Kirby a chamber of its own would certainly be nice to have.


New Special Chambers


Other than missing chambers from the original dungeons, the update could also add some more special chambers that aren't found anywhere in the game already. You get those from scanning different Zelda amiibo, where there already have been five special chambers as unlockables, most for some of the mini-bosses that you meet elsewhere, like the Armos Knight. The update could add a couple more, like the following:

  • Cracked Floor Chamber
  • Lanmola's Chamber

If you take a look at the official website, the "Cracked Floor Chamber" gets even advertised as one of the chambers you get from amiibo, but it's not available so far. Instead you get the "Winged Item Chamber", which doesn't have a single cracked floor. But a chamber that is made entirely out of cracked floors could be fun, especially when it's combined with the "+Bombs Effect".

In addition this should add the Lanmola mini-boss from the Yarna Desert, which is the only mini-boss that isn't available in the Chamber Dungeon somehow. They could just make a room that has a sand floor, maybe even the quick sand pit, where falling into the hole hurts you and sets you at the edge of the sand pit.

Technically, there is still one mini-boss missing, though, and that's the Turtle Rock entrance battle. However, this one might be too far into the game and too special to be considered for the "special chambers". Still, they could make it work by activating the boss fight right away and adding flying bombs into the chamber.


New +Effects


In addition to chambers, there could also be new "+Effects" (which do count for the total of chambers by the way), which can be applied to your placed chambers. Six of them already exist, but there is potential for more, like for example:

  • +Fairy Effect
  • +Cucco Effect

The +Fairy Effect would simply add a fairy to the chamber as a free healing opportunity. Like the +Hearts Effect you can only use this once per Chamber Dungeon. The +Cucco Effect adds a Cucco to the chamber, which unleashes a Cucco Revenge Squad on the chamber, if it gets hit by you. So, be careful!

Those new +Effects could be gotten from the Lucky Chamber Dungeon challenges, but it's also possible that Nintendo might release a new Marin amiibo, which gets released around the same time as the update and unlocks one of these effects.

With all of these suggestions we would be already looking at 200+ chambers! But why stop there? GREZZO could go as far as adding another bonus dungeon with the sole purpose of getting more chambers for your Chamber Dungeon into the game...


The Original Chamber Dungeon


This will be another side quest, where you meet Dampé in the Tabahl Wasteland. This can happen at any time after the Chamber Dungeon has become available. Dampé will tell you that he has found something interesting and uncovers a tree with an entrance. He tells you that you should explore this place in order to add to your collection of chambers...

And this turns out to be a replica of the Eagle Labyrinth, the first Zelda dungeon ever:

a complete map of the Eagle Labyrinth as provided by nesmaps.com

Almost everything for this would already be in the game. GREZZO could re-use the music from the Color Dungeon and we already have the Keese, Stalfos, Zol and even the Wallmaster enemies available. There is also already a Goriya in the game, where they could use his model for a new Boomerang-throwing mini-boss.

And the Old Man could be replaced with an Owl Statue, so that the Stone Beak will be still present, since this is an item that exists in all dungeons. It could even still give you a cryptic hint about how the "eastmost penninsula is the secret" or something that fits the dungeon.

The only completely new entity would be Aquamentus, the boss of the dungeon. This could even be seen as a first taste at a remake of Oracle of Seasons, where its Gnarled Root Dungeon would be very similar. Maybe this could go even hand in hand, where GREZZO could be working on the Oracle games next.

Instead of the Bow and the Triforce piece you will find two new Chamber Stones as rewards, which will offer modified versions of chambers from this new dungeon, mainly one for the boss. Of course this won't feel very rewarding for those, who don't care about the Chamber Dungeon, but it will be made clear by Dampé from the beginning that this mainly serves as an addition to this feature.

(Another problem might be that this ends up being too similar to the Color Dungeon, which would be even right in the neighborhood and become available at the same time...)

Anyway, clearing this bonus dungeon will reward you with 18 new chambers (including the ones from the Chamber Stones, but excluding the Old Man's chamber), where we would be looking at a total of 220 chambers now! This dungeon would also add a special three-way entrance, which is something that none of the other dungeons have offered so far.

Also, all of this would be within the limits of 16 chambers per type, so GREZZO could be adding all of these chambers and the ones mentioned above without altering the current chamber interface.


Upgraded Shadow Link


You can add Shadow Link to most chambers in your dungeon, if you have unlocked the "+Shadow Link Effect" via the new Link amiibo for Link's Awakening. However, this currently might not be worth the trouble, because when compared to the Shadow Link battles in both A Link Between Worlds and Tri Force Heroes the fights are rather dull here. All do you is block and wait for him to do a Spin Attack, where you can strike and then repeat the process.


Those fights are super boring and this is mainly because your items don't have any effect on the Shadow Link and the Shadow Link isn't using any items as well. That's the main difference when compared to the Nintendo 3DS versions, where this problem can be solved easily. After the update the Shadow Link can be hurt with your items and will able to use any weapon that you have. This includes the Magic Rod, so be careful not to be burnt.


Quicker Treasure Chests


Last, but certainly not least, the update should fasten the whole process of getting treasure chests inside the Chamber Dungeon. They should spawn more quickly and you should be able to dismiss the texts much faster as well. Ideally, it would just drop the keys and Rupees for you to pick them up without any interruptions.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Let's Update the Link's Awakening Remake

The remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is really great, but no game is ever perfect. So, in this post we will go through some things that probably should be improved via an upcoming update to enhance the experience for everybody. However, this will focus entirely on the main game, where Chamber Dungeon will be subject to its own post later.


Performance


Link's Awakening looks great on Nintendo Switch and might even be considered as one of its prettiest games. However, on the overworld this came at the cost of a stable 60FPS, mainly due to the seamless scrolling, where you can now go from one area to the next without any screen transitions at all. It's all just one big area, but the game still needs to load things and this is when it can come to drops in the frame rate. Certain effects like cutting grass or waterfalls also can have an impact.

It's not in a state, where the game is unplayable. If you've grown up with a Nintendo 64, then you most likely won't be bothered by it that much. But this shouldn't stop Nintendo from sending some of their optimization wizards over to GREZZO to see what they can do.


Updated Controls


The game only supports input for eight directions and while this might feel weird at first, it becomes perfectly natural after a short time. It even feels good to play like this with an analog stick, as long as you're using a Pro Controller. The Analog Sticks on the Joy-cons are not as great, however, and in general it would be good, if you could play this game with a D-Pad alone. More control options certainly won't hurt.

Also, while it's great that Sword, Shield, Pegasus Boots and Power Bracelets have fixed buttons now in addition to two item buttons, the Roc's Feather is equally important and it will stay on one of the two item slots most of the time. With this update you should be able to assign a third item on the ZR/ZL buttons for even more convenience.


Fix Marin's Glitches


There have been reports about a game-breaking glitch, where Marin doesn't leave her early game state, telling you about the sword at the beach. She doesn't leave the house and you can't finish the game later on for multiple reasons. Luckily, this glitch is easily avoided by simply checking, if she has made it to the weather vane after you found your sword. If not, then it's time to start another save file...

Also, the kid at the weather vane got his texts jumbled. When Marin is still singing there, he tells you about her hanging out at the beach. And when Marin is off to the beach, he asks where you have left her. He's supposed to give a hint in this moment, which is currently lost in the remake and might confuse new players.


Central Tal Tal Mountains Warp Point


If Nintendo patches only one thing into the game, it has to be one more warp point. Overall the new warp system is great and saves you from lots of running all over the island just to get back to certain places. However, there is one place still in desperate need of a warp point of its own, after you've left that cave leading up to the mountains with the Pegasus Boots. Right there when you first discover the lost Papahl:

Papahl in the Tal Tal Mountains waving to Link

They could simply put it under a rock right next to the exit, similar to how they have done it in the Western Tal Tal Mountains. But the way it is now you will have to walk through this cave every time you want to get back up to the mountains. And this can happen more often than you might think, because there are always reasons to return back up there, even if it's just for some more Secret Seashells.

It also wouldn't hurt to have another warp point somewhere near the waterfall by the Ancient Ruins, but quick access to the mountains is certainly more important.


Trendy Game Trophy


This is a new item in the Trendy Game that you can get after completing the figurine collection and becoming a "champ". Unlike the figurines this one will stay in your inventory as a sign that you have mastered the mini-game.


Minor User Interface Improvements


These are just some minor improvements to the UI that should make things more convenient:

  • Whenever you are about to overwrite a save file, it should show you the file's number in the confirmation screen. Just to be sure that you're not accidentally deleting your old 100% file.
  • Whenever you find a Secret Seashell or a Piece of Heart, it should display the current total. Right now you have to open the menu afterwards to know how many you still need for the next reward / the next Heart Container.
  • You can now use warp points directly from the map, as long as you have learned Manbo's Mambo. Link will play the song afterwards.


Swift Guardian Acorn and Piece of Power Pick-Ups


Similar to apples, the Guardian Acorn and Piece of Power power-ups should only be explained the first time you get them. Afterwards you will pick them up on the fly without any text interruptions.

screenshot of Link picking up a Piece of Power inside the Tail Cave


Boomerang Trick Returns


In the original GameBoy version there was a trick, where you throw the Boomerang and then pick up the Flying Rooster. The Boomerang would now circle around you, acting like an offensive shield that cuts through anything getting close to you. Sadly, this trick doesn't work in the remake any longer. While this isn't a big deal, it still would be nice to have it back eventually.


Secret Medicine Prompt


One of the more annoying changes takes the players back to leaving behind treasure chests like in Twilight Princess, where in this case this is caused by the Secret Medicine:

Link getting a Secret Medicine from a chest - the game says he has to put it back

The last three dungeons all have a chest with a Secret Medicine inside, but when you already have one, you can't open it, until you use up your current Secret Medicine by getting damaged on purpose. This is somewhat annoying for people, who would like to cross off all chests from their dungeon maps, where a simple prompt would have solved the issue. Just ask the player whether he wants to put it back or not.


Fix the Face Shrine


It might be too late to fix this, but it should be mentioned anyway. The original Face Shrine had a puzzle, where there are two secret rooms, which can't be found on the map, and where there are no visible cracks in the walls leading to these rooms. Not so in the remake...

room after the first crystal switch in the Face Shrine - the right wall has now visible cracks
Face Shrine dungeon map - the are no hidden rooms anymore

Interestingly, the dungeon's owl statue still gives you a cryptic puzzle about this ("Enter the space where the eyes have walls..."), but this riddle now has no purpose at all, because you can now see where you need to be going right away. This even gives away the dungeons' main item way too easily, where there is no challenge for first timers to figure out this dungeon now and Nintendo should restore its mysteries in the remake.


Nightmare Mode


This will be a third difficulty option on top of Hero Mode. It works similar, but changes things up even more for a different experience.

  • You will take triple damage.
  • Unlike Hero Mode, hearts, apples and fairies will appear normally in the environment.
  • Enemy occurrences inside dungeons have been doubled. (In the Chamber Dungeon the enemies will be the same as in Normal or Hero Mode, unless the "+Monsters Effect" has been applied to the chambers.)
  • The contents of chests inside the dungeons have been shuffled for a bigger challenge.