Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Breath of the Wild 2: The Title?

Link's right arm surrounded by green magic energy

Some people may be disappointed about the "delay" of the sequel to Breath of the Wild, but knowing that it comes out next Spring makes me feel closer to this game than ever, where I'm finally beginning to put more thoughts into it. A lot more of that will come to fruition once they've properly showcased the game, maybe around June where the cancelled E3 would have taken place. Until then we have to grasp at the straws that were presented to us in two and a half teaser trailers.

One of those straws concerns the actual title of the game, where it should be clear that it won't be named "the sequel to Breath of the Wild" forever or even "Breath of the Wild 2". Well, there was "Kamigami no Triforce 2" in Japan, which we know as A Link Between Worlds in the west, but it's more likely that it will have its own title to set itself apart more. So, what could this title be?

Well, it would certainly impress me if someone were to actually guess it, since Nintendo has stated that they didn't want to reveal the title yet, because it would give too much away. It could be related to things that we simply don't know yet. But it could also be related to things that we have already seen in the teasers – it's just that they haven't given us any explanation for them yet.

One of those things is Link's corrupted right arm and the mysterious hand that was holding down Ganondorf, which seems to give Link now a variety of abilities, essentially as a replacement for the Sheikah Slate. One of these abilities is to morph through ceilings, so he can reach the new sky islands from below or reach the surface from an underground cave. It's possible that the title of the game may have something to do with this hand, but of course it would feel somewhat uninspired if it just was named after the "item", like Ocarina of Time or Phantom Hourglass before it. After all, Breath of the Wild isn't named "The Legend of Zelda: The Sheikah Slate".

Another aspect are the sky islands themselves and the whole story around the sealed Ganondorf, where we really don't know anything yet and can only speculate. But from what it seems it's going to be a story that explores more of Hyrule's history as we know it from the classic Zelda games, where even the Triforce could play a role. The divine artifact never got mentioned by name in Breath of the Wild, where its meaning and existence could be something that's essentially lost in time. The sky islands that we saw may even be the Sacred Realm for all we know, where a lot of it gets portrayed in a golden color. This could become the first Zelda game where we actually get to explore the Sacred Realm as we've first seen it from the artworks for A Link to the Past.

artwork of floating rocks with the Triforce as the sun

Overall, it would be nice if the title had the same format as Breath of the Wild: "x of the y". This would make it a bit more obvious that these games are related by looking at the title alone, which is something that the series has done before, even though some of it got lost in translation. In Japan Majora's Mask is actually called "Mujura no Kamen", "Mask of Mujura", which sounds a lot more similar to Ocarina of Time, "Toki no Okarina". And the Nintendo DS games even followed the same format. Now, the sequel to Breath of the Wild will be in the same position as Majora's Mask and Spirit Tracks, where the subtitle could actually lean on the previous one. And since Japan also uses the English title for Breath of the Wild (only in Katakana), it's likely that it could be "something of the something" again. Of course there doesn't necessarily need to be "of the" in the title, but maybe something that rolls off the tongue similarly.

Now, what's that something? Putting everything together so far, the best I could come up with is "Reach of the Divine" or possibly "Reach for the Divine". This would go hand in hand with Link's new ability to reach for the skies, but it also ties into the Triforce, the Sacred Realm, divine intervention, and all that. And it would give a away a similar vibe as "Breath of the Wild" did.

At the same time it's not all that likely, considering that such a title wouldn't give away all too much and this is what has been Nintendo's concern before. Of course this also could have been just a generic PR excuse, so you never really know. But in the end this is just some speculation for the fun of it, as always, where I wanted to share some of my current thoughts before the curtain gets lifted later this year.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Four Swords for Nintendo Switch Online?

There has been a leak of Nintendo's early development efforts with GameBoy (Color) and GameBoy Advance titles on Nintendo Switch. This shouldn't be all too surprising, where many fans are expecting this to happen eventually. Ideally, the GameBoy (Color) games will be part of the standard subscription, while GameBoy Advance games get moved to the Expansion Pack. It would be really low if every new collection became part of the latter from now on, and the GameBoy really should be next to NES and SNES.

Anyway, if Nintendo truly wants me to subscribe to the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, they will only have to do one thing:

Four Links in the Sea of Trees at a starting point that's right next to the locked end point

Four Swords, with online multiplayer. The ability to play the multiplayer NES, SNES, and N64 games online hasn't been interesting to me so far, but the GBA with Four Swords could completely change this. I loved this game, but rarely had the chance to play it with others, where I've never even played this with four people at once, which could be fun and utterly chaotic.

Also, the GameBoy Advance version of A Link to the Past has never been re-released, where this would be nice to have, even though the original game is already part of the Super Nintendo service. But things like the Riddle Quest or the Palace of the Four Swords would be completely lost in time otherwise.

Well, the Anniversary Edition of Four Swords is equally lost in time, but the best thing about it was the singleplayer mode, which won't be as important if you can just easily play the game online with others. The Anniversary Edition was a DSiWare game and all about the 25th Anniversary, where it's questionable whether Nintendo will ever bring this back in any way, shape or form.

However, the current list of leaked GBA titles doesn't include A Link to the Past & Fours Swords, only The Minish Cap. There may also be concerns about griefing, because Four Swords was a game where you were cooperating and competing at the same time. You can pick up players and prevent them from doing things, kill yourself to waste Rupees, and so on. But since playing these emulated games online is limited to friends, this shouldn't be much of a concern, unlike in Tri Force Heroes, where you could play with random strangers.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Breath of the Wild 2: The Underworld?

Zelda riding an elephant through a cavern accompanied by Link

After last year's teaser trailer for the sequel to Breath of the Wild and its impressive showcase of a sky world, it's easy to forget how things started out in an underground cave system, where Link and Zelda went exploring and then found Mummy Ganondorf. Aonuma recently stated that the expanded world goes beyond the skies above, where we still can assume that the underground world will be a big part of the game.

It literally goes hand in hand with Link's new ability, which lets him morph through ceilings. It can be used to reach the sky islands, but also to get back to the ground from an underground cave. It could even be used to switch floors in a dungeon.

Breath of the Wild took a lot of inspiration from the original The Legend of Zelda, where the development team even had developed a prototype based on the NES game. This was for the overworld, however, at least what they have shown us, where the sequel to Breath of the Wild could use the underworld to take things to the next level. After all, one of the most common requests by the fans is getting proper dungeons. And proper dungeons they shall get.

map of the NES Zelda dungeons, where they fit together like puzzle pieces

What was interesting about the underworld in The Legend of Zelda is that it was basically all connected. The dungeons were all put on the same plane and fit together like pieces of a puzzle. If you could walk through walls, you would be able to move from one dungeon to the next.

And this could be a huge inspiration for the sequel to Breath of the Wild, taking this concept to the third dimension. For example, imagine that there is a new entrance to a cave at Mount Drena, to the east of the Tabantha Tundra. This dungeon goes deep down several layers with some intertwining tunnels and all that. But from there you can actually morph up and access a completely new part of the Forgotten Temple, which you couldn't find in Breath of the Wild.

There could be a gigantic network of different underground dungeons, all connected to each other in tricky ways. Of course this is all just speculation and we will have to wait a little longer until we find out how Nintendo really has expanded the world of Breath of the Wild. But the more you think about it, the more promising the idea of an underworld seems, where this could be as exciting as the new sky world. Let's hope that we will find out soon, maybe in June.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Breath of the Wild 2: What Should Change?

Link in the sequel running on a golden sky island, promotional screenshot

Nintendo takes their sweet time with refining the next major installment in the Zelda franchise, the sequel to Breath of the Wild. And that's good, they should strive to make the game the best experience possible. But while Breath of the Wild was a milestone to both the Zelda series and the open world genre, it's far from a flawless game, where the sequel should learn from the mistakes. So, let's discuss some of the basics that need to be improved.

The first thing that will come to mind for most players is the whole weapon system. "Don't make the weapons break or add a way of repairing weapons!" is probably the most common suggestion you will hear about Breath of the Wild. However, while various of the suggestions in this article are related to the weapon system, there are some merits to how it worked...

For once, you don't obsess over finding the best possible weapon(s) and it gives any weapon you may find some potential value, because your super duper Savage Lynel Sword is going to break eventually and you don't want to waste it on small fries. A means of repairing weapons would only lead to people cluttering their inventories with nearly broken weapons that they want to repair later, instead of throwing them at the heads of their enemies and using the next best weapon they'll find... A repair system could make things as annoying as the breaking tools in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, where you constantly get distracted by crafting new ones.

So, the fundamentals aren't actually bad, whether you enjoy the system or not, where it's likely that this will be kept largely the same in the sequel. But there is some fine tuning that will need to be done if they are keeping it as it is. This and more will be discussed here.

 

Weapon Variety

Having lots of different weapons in the game doesn't actually mean much when those weapons work mostly the same. You have bows and arrows, one-handed weapons with shields, two-handed weapons, and spears. There is some variety thanks to the different elements and some weapons with special usages, e.g. boomerangs and rods, but for the most part those are the four basic combat styles. And it's somewhat disappointing that Link would use a battle axe in the exact same way as a two-handed sword.

The sequel will probably expand upon what Breath of the Wild already had, so there is no reason to believe that battle axes work differently now. But we've already seen new types of shields in the trailer that can be used offensively, which is an interesting idea. Elemental shields instantly come to mind here, which can burn, freeze, or fry your enemies when they touch them.

Link using a shield with an artificial, fire-breathing dragon head attached to it in some cave

It would be good if there are some entirely new weapon types as well, where two of Link's additional weapons from past Zelda games are the Ball & Chain and the Whip. However, whips or flails would most likely turn into another variant of the one-handed weapons, similar to rods. And it's probably the same with ball & chains as two-handed weapons, where you swing the ball via the spin attack. They could also turn out more sophisticated and as their own thing, but they don't necessarily have to.

An idea for an entirely new weapon type could be something that's dual-wielded, like daggers, for faster attacks. This could not be replicated with any of the current weapon types, so that's a category with high potential and many additional weapons. Some of them could even be used as boomerangs, where you can throw two in succession.


Weapon Availability

If any weapon in the game can break, then you should be able to get them back at any point later in the game. Otherwise this creates an incentive to hang on to weapons that are either entirely unique or that can grow extinct, like a Hylian Shield with buffs or some of the Lynel weapons in Breath of the Wild. This is especially problematic when there's something like the Hyrule Compendium, where you document every weapon in the game. Having potential omissions was a bad design flaw and shouldn't be repeated in the sequel, which also goes hand in hand with the next topic.


Level Scaling

Breath of the Wild was a game about you constantly growing stronger, but so did some of your enemies, which went against a true sense of progression. While it's not as bad as in some other open world games with an actual experience and leveling system, the game did replace enemies with stronger variants, while also upgrading the tiers of the weapons that you will obtain randomly. By the time you feel like taking on one of those Blue Lynels you saw at the Faron Grasslands, they will have turned into the white-maned variants, and so on.

the new Eyegore enemy from the E3 2021 trailer

It's taking away the successes you have made, where you don't really feel like you've become stronger for a while, because your opponents became stronger as well. Of course the game doesn't always do this, but ideally it would never do this. The difficulty and tiers of your enemies should be entirely regional, as obstacles that need to be overcome, just like in the original The Legend of Zelda. And while Breath of the Wild partly does this as well, it's a weird mix that doesn't really work out all too great at all times.

To make things worse, the aforementioned Blue Lynels can (almost) disappear from your game entirely, where their weapons will be gone as well, which created the previous issue of limited weapon availability. So, overall this is something that Nintendo should rethink or at least optimize in a way where it doesn't get in the way of your progress and goals.


The Food

No matter how difficult the fights may get, you can always make things a lot easier for yourself with cooking. This feature is ridiculously overpowered, where the worst offender are the "hearty" recipes that give you additional hearts on top of fully healing you. This needs to be nerfed very badly by only giving you the yellow hearts, because otherwise this makes any other healing recipe completely obsolete, given that you have collected enough of the right plants. It's the same with "enduring" recipes and stamina.

a food inventory with 17 Heart Fried Wild Greens

Then there's the problem that you simply can have too many food items, 60 in total. No other Zelda game ever gave you this many healing opportunities, maybe four or five bottles with potions. An easy fix would be limiting the food stash in the same way as weapons, shield, and bows. You start with a hand full of slots and then can slowly upgrade them to a maximum of 20.

In addition, there should be some sort of cookbook that let's you remember any recipes you've found. It could even provide shortcuts for cooking, so you don't have to pick the materials out of the inventory by hand.


The Loot

When your weapons keep breaking, they are simply a resource, same as Rupees, materials, or arrows. And this makes finding weapons in treasure chests about as exciting as getting Rupees or arrows. After solving an optional puzzle in a shrine or clearing an enemy encampment, you don't want things that you could easily obtain from anywhere else. You want to find something that's either unique or limited in supply.

The remake of Link's Awakening understood this by putting its additional Secret Seashells and Pieces of Hearts absolutely everywhere. There is now no cave in the game where you don't find anything of value. And if Breath of the Wild ever gets a "Definitive Edition", a lot could already be improved by putting some of the loose DLC armor pieces into skull chests or the optional chests in Sheikah Shrines.

Armor pieces were actually the only major "collectible" in Breath of the Wild that could be found in a variety of ways in different places. Otherwise it had the Spirit Orbs and Korok Seeds, but those were always gotten from finishing Sheikah Shrines or solving Korok puzzles respectively. For other activities the rewards were rather limited, where the sequel will need a more universal collectible, similar to the Spirit Gems from Phantom Hourglass or the Secret Seashells in Link's Awakening. Those could be obtained from treasure chests, minigames, sidequests, and so on. Maybe this collectible can even replace the Korok Seeds in the sequel for something that lets you upgrade your inventory stash.


Map Completion

Whatever collectibles there might be, the map completion rating should this time be visible for each major area, like the Great Plateau or Necluda. This will help to narrow down things whenever you're still missing something, instead of searching all over the world.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Modernized Metroid Control Concepts

Super Metroid Controller Setting Mode as seen on Nintendo Switch

So, a friend of mine has been streaming Super Metroid lately, which inspired me to check out the game once more, this time via the Super Nintendo library of the Nintendo Switch Online service. Luckily, the game lets you change the controls via its options, because the emulator itself won't let you do this. Yes, something from the year 1994 is more sophisticated than a service from Nintendo in 2022, no big surprise here.

Still, I couldn't figure out something ideal and my enjoyment of the game didn't last long. I keep hearing from fans how Super Metroid is "perfect", as if there ever was a perfect game, but while it will always be one of my favorites, I personally don't feel like it has aged so well. And it's not just the button layout, the controls themselves feel very outdated, whether it's the weird wall jumps, having two buttons for diagonal aim, or the inconvenient item select. This is something that I've already struggled with while replaying Super Metroid on the Wii U, but things got much worse after playing Metroid Dread, where everything plays so much more smoothly in comparison.

Of course Metroid Dread isn't perfect either, where the controls feel somewhat overloaded, especially with the Grapple Beam, but it beats Super Metroid in most aspects. And after the success of Metroid Dread, we can safely assume that we will be getting more 2D Metroid games from MercurySteam in the upcoming years, where the game will certainly be used as a template. While it would be amazing if MercurySteam was already working on Metroid 6, another remake feels more likely at the moment and in that category Super Metroid should be the next in line.

You may have concerns about this, considering how Samus Returns turned out in certain aspects, like completely changing the final areas... But the 3DS title was a reimagining, while Super Metroid should get a proper remake, which respects absolutely everything the original did, including any glitch-free sequence breaks. There is no need to change the environments, enemy placements, upgrades, or anything like it. The only things that need to be updated are graphics, sound, and the controls. The game should simply be modernized, but not changed.

At the same time, Samus Returns would profit from something similar, where the Nintendo 3DS title could get ported over to the Nintendo Switch with updated graphics, sounds, and controls. Maybe some assets got already made in HD during the project, which would make such a remaster even more likely. People will want more Metroid for the Nintendo Switch after Metroid Dread, where such a title would be a good filler.

Metroid Dread Controls screen

Now, with all of this in mind I've kept thinking about how these two games would play on the Nintendo Switch by using Metroid Dread as a foundation. This is mainly about the controls, where all three games aren't exactly simple in that aspect... So, let's go through some potential button layouts for these titles to see how they could work on Nintendo's current system.

Of course we're just talking about the default control schemes here. All the games should follow the example of Super Metroid from the SNES and let you change the button layout as you see fit via the options menu, instead of just displaying it there (looking at you, Metroid Dread).


Core Controls

For the sake of consistency, the following should probably be the same for all three titles:

  • Y: Shoot
  • B: Jump
  • X: Melee Counter*
  • L: Free Aim
  • R: Missile Mode / Power Bombs
  • ZR: Grapple Beam
  • Plus: Map
  • Minus: Options
  • Left: Expand Minimap
  • Right: Scan

*It's questionable whether MercurySteam should implement the Melee Counter in a Super Metroid remake as well, but let's not get into this for now, so you can ignore this for that case.

Both Super Metroid and Samus Returns would also need a button for swapping weapons, mainly for changing between Missiles and Super Missiles, where the most convenient choice would be the A button. This one was used for the Flash Shift in Metroid Dread, but there is nothing similar in the other two games.


Super Metroid

  • A: Select Missiles
  • ZL: Dash
  • Left Stick Button: Morph Ball
  • Right: X-Ray Scope
  • Right Stick: beam selection

The SNES title was the only Metroid game that has a dedicated dash button. And not going to lie, using this still feels good. Technically, they could get rid of this by simply using the analogue stick analogously. So, if you don't want to run, you don't press the stick all the way. And the Speed Booster could be activated by pressing the left stick, exactly like in Metroid Dread. But if we go with a dedicated dash button, then the most comfortable choice will probably be ZL, so you can still shoot and jump while dashing.

Overall, the most important thing would simplifying the entire item selection system. This wasn't streamlined in Super Metroid at all, where it can adopt basically everything its successors have improved. Missiles and Power Bombs should be activated by holding R. Grapple Beam can be used by holding ZR. The X-Ray Scope should be activated with the same button as the Pulse Radar, where it then goes into the scope mode, which can be left at any time by pressing Fire or Jump. So, all that's left is switching between normal Missiles and Super Missiles, where this should go to A or X for the best access during combat.

Super Metroid also has a series of special Charge Beam attacks, which could be triggered when Power Bombs were selected and the Charge Beam was equipped with only one of the other four beam upgrades. Since most players never change their beam setup, those techniques are fairly unknown, where a remake could make this more accessible by offering a beam selection similar to that in Metroid Prime. Each direction of the right analogue stick would equip the Charge Beam together with either the Ice Beam, Wave Beam, Spazer Beam, or Plasma Beam respectively. Pressing the stick button would equip all beams at once (a remake will most likely allow the combination of Spazer and Plasma). If you charge and hold the R button during release, it will then fire the "Charge Beam Combo".

Needless to say that certain actions, like Wall Jumps, Space Jumps, or using the Grapple Beam, should work as fluidly as in Metroid Dread, which means that the inputs should feel more intuitive and natural. At the same time a remake should preserve what was possible in the original, e.g. single-side wall jumps, which wasn't a thing in any of the later games.

It could also be interesting to have a ledge grab, which would offer a variety of additional possibilities. But this should probably added via a new hidden item, like the Power Grip in Zero Mission, only optional, to respect Samus's original abilities in Super Metroid (even though they didn't really care about that with Samus Returns).


Samus Returns

  • A: Select Missiles / Beam
  • ZL: Morph Ball
  • Right: Scan Pulse
  • Right Stick: Hazard Shield / Beam Burst
  • Stick Buttons: Phase Drift

Since Metroid Dread and Samus Returns were made by the same developers, the controls are already quite similar. However, there is no second screen with the Nintendo Switch, which on the Nintendo 3DS mainly let you switch between the different weapons. The Grapple Beam gets taken out of this equation thanks to the ZR button, while switching to the Ice Beam and Super Missiles would best work via the A button. The touchscreen could also be used for the instant Morph Ball mode, where now there is the ZL button for that, just like in Metroid Dread.

The one thing that truly has to change is the activation of the Aeion abilities, where previously you would select an ability via the D-pad and then activate it with the A button, which we now need otherwise. Most of the Aeion abilities were toggles, however, like putting on the Hazard Shield, which absorbs any damage at the cost of Aeion. So, there is no real need to pre-select them and bind their usage to a button, where this was already somewhat inconvenient while playing the Nintendo 3DS title and could be improved here. Just flip the right analogue stick either left or right for the Hazard Shield and Beam Burst respectively. The Phase Drift then can go to one of the stick buttons, where this would be like the Phantom Cloak in Metroid Dread. And of course the Scan Pulse should work exactly like the Pulse Radar.

The Melee Counter could also be enhanced like in Metroid Dread, so that it works while jumping and running. This would improve some of the game's pacing significantly.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Metroid Dread: Boss Rush Released

Boss Rush menu, Battle 12 bosses without stopping. Energy is not restored between battles, but weapon ammo is fully restored.

Version 2.1.0 of Metroid Dread got released today, which comes with the new Boss Rush mode. This is an entirely separate mode from the main game, where you can switch between the "Samus Files" and "Boss Rush" on the main menu by pressing the L and R buttons respectively. You need to have beaten the game first to unlock it, which makes sense because of spoilers.

The Boss Rush itself comes in three different variants:

  • Boss Rush: You fight 12 bosses in a row in a given order and your goal is to beat them all as quickly as possible. Any taken damage gets carried over between bosses, but you can retry any boss for a time penalty, should you get defeated.

  • Survival Rush: The goal is to beat as many bosses within a five minute time limit. Beating bosses adds more time to your clock, more so when you don't take damage, but you can't retry on failed attempts. You need to have beaten Boss Rush or Dread Rush to unlock this mode.

  • Dread Rush: It's the same as Boss Rush, but with the one-hit-kill rule of Dread Mode. You need to have beaten Dread Mode to unlock this.

In addition, both Boss Rush and Dread Rush offer you Practice battles, where you can fight the bosses individually and go for highscores as well.

Boss Rush Practice: 1 Corpius, 2 Kraid, 3 Artaria Central Unit, 4 Drogyga, 5 Robot Chozo Soldier, 6 Escue

For each boss in the Boss Rush mode it gives you a set number of Energy Tanks, Missiles, and Power Bombs, where these numbers increase to appropriate amounts between battles. At the end of a boss fight it looks at how much of your total health is missing and then subtracts that amount from the new total for the next boss. So, even if you're nearly dead, you will be getting some health thanks to the new Energy Tanks.

In Survival Rush, however, you get eight Energy Tanks (899 health) and 120 Missiles at the beginning, where this will have to do for the remainder of the mode. It doesn't stop after the final boss, so you can keep going, but the time bonus you get from victories decreases with each cycle (at first from 30 to 20 seconds), where the time will run out eventually.

You also only get the abilities that you normally would have during the boss encounters in the main game. So, there are none of sequence breaking advantages that you could have with certain bosses, like Kraid or Escue.

It also doesn't go through all the variants of the different mini-boss fights, only two of them: there are two different Central Unit fights, Artaria and Ferenia, and there is the Twin Robot Chozo Soldier battle in addition to the single one. It also doesn't bother with the different tiers of the Chozo Soldiers and goes straight to the Elite one.

Overall, there is a lot to unlock here with the modes themselves. You have to beat the Boss Rush at least once, so it unlocks the Survival Rush, as well as all the practice battles (though, you technically don't have to beat the last boss in Boss Rush for the latter, only get there). And you'll also have to beat Dread Mode and get to the final boss in Dread Rush for all other options.

Plus, if you want to have set a record for everything, essentially to mark them as "beaten", there are all the practice battles to go through, and you will have to fully beat Dread Rush as well... But there is nothing outside the Boss Rush to unlock, so no new gallery pictures or anything like that.

 

My Opinion:

On first glance this seems pretty thought-out and fair. Well, the completionist inside me wants to go through everything this mode has to offer, where MercurySteam made a good call by giving you a retry function. While there is a hefty time penalty for losing, where it adds both the time spent on the failed attempt and some extra seconds, the records themselves don't really concern me as much.

It's like the Boss Challenge in Ocarina of Time 3D, where I want to have beaten all the bosses, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a good time. And unlike the Boss Gauntlet in that game, there is no potential frustration from having to start all over. So, that's a good thing.

Escue crashing right into Samus

Still, my first attempt failed miserably at Escue. "Who?", you might ask, and this was my reaction as well when the name popped up on the screen. It's the electrical charged bug boss in Ferenia and I haven't fought this boss normally since my very first playthrough, because in all my subsequent runs I have been sequence breaking, which let me easily beat this boss via the Screw Attack. And now this comes home to roost, because I had no idea what I was doing with this boss. I beat him in the Practice Mode eventually, but I still couldn't figure out a reliable way of dodging all those little homing projectiles.

This fight will be a nightmare in Dread Rush, where I still have yet to beat Dread Mode. This is all way too perfectionistic for my taste, but thanks to all the checkpoints in both modes this shouldn't get terribly frustrating. Imagine if you had to start Dread Rush all over with each failed attempt. This would have been the most ridiculous thing since the Endless Cucco Rush in A Link Between Worlds. But luckily you can keep trying at every step...

The real star of all this are the practice battles. These let you re-battle any boss at any time just for the fun of it, just like the Boss Challenge in Ocarina of Time 3D. And that's very nice to have.

Well, if it wasn't for all the dreaded "Don't get hit!" nonsense, I would applaud MercurySteam and Nintendo for delivering a fantastic free update to the game. But I will give all of it a try later this month and then may share my experiences with the game one final time.