Sunday, 27 February 2011
Hope you have enjoyed it and apologies to anyone who is not a Zelda fan, I do promise that for the immediate future that is the end of posting about the series.
In 1986 the first Legend of Zelda game was released for the NES. The world was introduced to Link, Zelda, Ganon and the Triforce for the very first time.
Using an overhead view the player had to control Link to navigate their way through dungeons to collect pieces of the Triforce. The game introduced what was to become a staple of Zelda games which was items found in the dungeons which included the boomerang, bombs and the bow and arrow.
Just a year later in 1987 the sequel was released for the NES entitled: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link.
Changing the overhead view for the main levels to a side-scrolling view (overhead was still used for the map screen) was one of several changes for the sequel which also included bringing in experience points, magic and extra lives. The experience points were brought in to upgrade attack, stamina and the previously mentioned magic.
Like pretty much every Zelda game the plot is to collect the Triforce and to awaken Zelda but this time the final boss was Shadow Link, a dark version of Link.The one and only Legend of Zelda game to appear on the SNES was A Link to the Past which was released in 1991.
The game returned to the overhead view of the first game but expanded on the first game quite immensely.
Also returning was Ganon as the final boss but the game also introduced new elements which feature to this day including the legendary Master Sword and also parallel worlds to travel between.
Again playing through dungeons Link has to find and rescue the seven descendants of the seven sages before facing the evil wizard Agahnim. Once Agahnim is defeated Ganon rises up for the final battle.
Several items are retained from the first game, again the boomerang and bombs but a lot of new additions are added like the hookshot, pegasus boots and a flute. Magic is also retained from the second game.
Two years later in 1993 Link's Awakening appeared on the Gameboy to become the first handheld version of Zelda.
It was also the first version to change the plot and not have Link having to find the Triforce to awaken Princess Zelda. It instead had Link wake up on a strange island where he had to find the eight instuments of the sirens which must be played to awakend Wind Fish.
The game also did not have Ganon as the main bad guy but a character called Nightmare and a second character called Dethl. The game also introduced the trading system which was also found in later games and an element where Link could steal items, tut tut.
In 1998, five years after the last Zelda game was released Ocarina of Time was finally unleashed on the Nintendo64.
Considered by many to be the best Zelda game released, (though some do prefer Link to the Past), Zelda and Link returned in full 3D glory in an epic game.
Taking the basic premise of past games with dungeons, items, heart pieces etc Ocarina of Time also brought back the storyline of Ganondorf and the Triforce. This time round however Princess Zelda was not asleep or unconcious but infact was awake to help you. First as Zelda when you play as young Link and again as Sheik when playing as Adult Link.
Also introduced for the first time is Epona, your trusty horse who would go on to appear in later games. Along with Epona is the Ocarina of the title which you can play songs on to help you in your quest.
In 2000, two years after Ocarina of Time was released the N64 got it's second Zelda game in the form of Majora's Mask.
A lot darker then Ocarina of Time and a lot shorter with only four dungeons Majora's Mask is considered by people to fall short of the greatness of Ocarina.
Changing the plot, Link now has to stop the moon crashing into Termina and only has three days to complete the task. The first part of the game focuses on having to retrieve the Ocarina from the Skull Kid to be able to play a song to transport you back to the beginning of the first day. This will happen a few times throughout the game until completion.
Another concept heavily utilised is the collecion and usage of masks to progress through the game. These masks include character masks like the Gorons and Zoras. Each mask you wear gives Link a different power to use throughout the game.
In 2001 not one but two Zelda games were released for the Gameboy Colour. Development was handed over to Capcaom who created Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages.
The games were unique in the fact that they could be linked together to enter passwords to transfer items across the two games.
Originally three games were to be created but trying to co-ordinate three together proved to demanding which resulted in one getting cancelled.
The main item in Seasons is the Rod of Seasons which allows Link to change the seaons therefore affecting the the surroundings. In Ages the main item is the Harp of Ages which replaces the Ocarina to travel through time.
Yet just another year later in 2002 The Wind Waker was released for the GameCube. Causing controversy when first seen due to the cel-shading graphics the game turned out to be classic Zelda through and through.
The plot changes slightly in the fact that Link is searching for his kidnapped sister instead of Zelda, though Zelda does appear this time as Tetra, a pirate of the seas. Ganondorf is again the main enemy.
One criticism of the game is the amount of time spent sailing the seas which people thought slowed the game down.
In 2004 Four Swords Adventure was released for the GameCube and was similar to the version released with the re-release of Link to the Past.
Up to four players could take control of a version of link and could be played using a controller or a GBA. If only one player is playing then the Cube would control the extra Link's. The main enemys were Shadow Link and Ganondorf.
The game also included a second game entitled Shadow Battle where players could battle each other using different versions of Link.
Again in 2004 another Zelda game was released, this time for the Gameboy Advance. Development was again handed over to Capcom who created Minish Cap.
Leaving Ganondorf out of the game the main enemy became Vaati who had transformed Ezlo into the Cap mentioned in the title.
After Vaati turns Zelda into a statue Link finds Ezlo and ends up wearing the cap throughout the entire game.
Capcom introduced a couple of new items which included the Gust Jar and the Mole Mitts allowing for Link to burrown through some walls. Also introduced were Kinstones which when fused with pieces that certain characters had would unveil hidden secrets.
In 2006 the final Zelda game was released for the Cube and also for the Wii which was Twilight Princess.
The game included parallel worlds but this time in the Twilight Realm Link would transform into a wolf who would be helped by a character called Midna. Midna would give hints and tips and would help Wolf Link with jumping, teleporting and attacking enemies.
Again Ganodorf is the main enemy and this time round the game now includes nine dungeons and the return of Epona.
Unfortunately Twilight Princess was released just as the Cube was dying off. Due to this not as many copies of the Cube version are in existence resulting in high prices for the game.
Just one year later in 2007 Link and Tetra made their debut on the DS in Phantom Hourglass. Continuing on from Wind Waker a new antagonist was introduced in the form of Bellum and a helper in the shape of Linebeck. Like Wind Waker the game had cel-shaded graphics and involved travelling the seas on a boat.
On release the game was criticised for being too easy but due to this the game did attract more casual gamers who may have not experienced a Zelda game before. The game also uses the abilities of the DS to create puzzles that require blowing into the mic, using the stylus and in one case closing the DS to reveal the answer.
In 2009 Link and Zelda returned to the DS in Spirit Tracks which saw Link swapping the boat as the mode of transport to a train. Set years after but following on from Phantom Hourglass the game again includes cel-shaded graphics and requires different aspects of the DS to solve puzzles, especially the mic to use the Spirit Flute.
One major change from Phantom Hourglass is the use of a second character in the form of a Phantom being inhabited by the spirit of Zelda. This aspect allows for control of the Phantom to solve puzzles, to destroy enemies and to carry Link over dangerous areas. Like Phantom Hourglass the game introduces another new enemy in the guise of Malladus, making it two games out of two on the DS with no appearance from Ganon.
At time of writing a new Zelda game is due for release on the Wii at some point in 2011. Titled Skyward Sword not much is yet known about the game. A piece of concept art and a teaser trailer have been released but nothing much was revealed about the game.
It is supposed to be a prequel to Ocarina of Time and the Master Sword will be making an appearance but beyond that anything is just a guess.
Numerous Zelda games have been re-released on different formats over the years which have included the Collector's Edition on the Cube which consisted of the two games from the NES and the two games from the N64. Also for the Cube was a version consisting of Ocarina of Time and Ocarina of Time: Master Quest.
Link's Awakening was re-released on the Gameboy Colour as DX and featured a new dungeon which utilised the colours of the handheld.
Released on the Gameboy Advance was the two games for the NES under the Classics series and also a Link to the Past which featured Four Swords which was a new multiplayer adventure where upto four players could play together.
*Please note that I have only included the games that are considered to be the core/canon games released on Nintendo consoles. This means that the CD-I games have not been included and also games like Link's Crossbow Training Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, though I may do a post in the future about these games.
Saturday, 26 February 2011
Friday, 25 February 2011
There isn't one particular reason that I love the series but a big part of it would be it's basic premise of a hero fighting through and rescuing a princess. It's obviously such a simple premise but Nintendo (and at times Capcom) manage to create such huge worlds and characters and story that it becomes so much more. Take the sidequests for example, especially in Majora's Mask, where you travel around interacting with characters and expanding on this world that Link inhabits and most of the time must save from devastation, it's just immense.
You could argue that each game seems to be the same and yes, to an extent the basic game play is pretty much the same for each and every game but again, it's what happens within the game that makes it so different. Just look at Ocarina of Time compared to Majora's Mask. Basic premise of Link having to save a land (Hyrule and Termina) but yet the games are so different in their game play and style. Ocarina of Time seems so innocent with Link starting out as a child at the beginning of the game before everything goes to hell and yet when he grows up and heads off to destroy Ganon he still retains the innocence and of course at the end when Link and Zelda are young again it comes back in floods. Majora's Mask on the other hand is the darkest game of the series with the mask seducing the Skull Kid with pure evil and power before attempting to destroy the Earth by crashing the Moon into it. Such contrasting games.
Of course I also love the game play and the fact that the games are so huge and you can spend hours and hours working through them but at the end of the day I would say that I love the Zelda games because they are just such epic games that keep me playing for hours and keep me coming back for more and more and not many franchises can make me do that.
Thursday, 24 February 2011
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
3. Ocarina of Time
Considered by many to be the greatest Zelda game of all time, Ocarina of Time just falls short for me. I don't actually have any problems with it (not even the Water Temple) but I just prefer MM and ALTTP.
Majora's Mask comes in second place for two reasons. The first is because I prefer how dark it is to OOT and the second is I really like the three day time limit. I think it adds a whole new element that really works.
It was close between this and MM but ALTTP just clinches the number one spot as it's the first Zelda game I ever played and it really is just a brilliant and classic game.
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
When discussing Legend of Zelda games the majority of the conversation tends to be about Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past, following that it tends to be about Majora's Mask and Twilight Princess/Wind Waker and for some reason most of the time the handheld games tend to get ignored or only mentioned briefly. It's a real shame as the handheld games are rather excellent especially for me The Minish Cap for the Game Boy Advance.
Developed by Capcom and Flagship (one of Capcom's subsidiaries at the time) the game was released in 2004/2005 to critical acclaim.
The plot of course centres around Link having to rescue Zelda but this time instead of Ganon she has to be rescued from the clutches of Vaati (the evil being from Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures) after being turned to stone and then nearly drained of life. Turns out that for Zelda to be rescued Link needs the assistance of the Picori who can only be seen by children, hence why Link was chosen. On his Travels Link meets and rescues Ezlo (the cap of the title) who along with Vaati was once Picori and who aids you on your quest, mainly by moaning and insulting you and occasionally giving you useful hints and tips as and when required.
I won't delve any further into it so as not to spoil it for people who haven't yet played the game.
So onto the game play. As with any Legend of Zelda the basic game play has barely changed at all but it's the little things that make the difference and in this game it really is a 'little' thing as Ezlo has the ability to shrink Link to the size of Picori allowing him to access whole new areas to find secrets and to complete side-quests. It really is an interesting element as you may come across some water that you cannot pass and all you do is shrink down, hop onto a leaf and using the Gust Jar (one of three new items in the games, the other two being the Mole Mitts which allow for Link to dig through certain obstacles and walls and the Cane of Pacci which turns over anything that it hits) push yourself across the water to the other side.
Another new element is the inclusion of Kinstones that need to be fused together. On your travels you will only ever find halves of Kinstones with characters in the game holding the other halves. Making a complete Kinstone will have numerous different effects with new paths opening up or ruppees and even hearts being found once the fusion has been completed. Some of the Kinstones are related to the main game and have to be found whilst the majority are to be found for the side-quests but it's fun and useful to find them none the less.
Another element is the Tiger Scrolls, which there are eight of, that grant Link the power of new moves, mainly for the sword but also for the Pegasus Boots. Finally there are the shells that can be collected which are used on a machine that allows for Link to collect figurines of the characters and enemies in the game and of which there are a lot of. The more shells you collect the better a chance you have of collecting all of the figurines as the higher the shell total you submit the higher the percentage is of receiving a new figurine.
So enough with all that and onto the reasons you should play The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. Well for a start it's a genuinely warm and fun game to play. The graphics are great on the GBA/DS (depending on what you use) and the sound and music are wonderful. The game play on the surface is your useful Zelda game play that you will be very familiar with if you have played any Zelda games previously but if you have played Zelda games previously you will know that it's everything else on top that makes the games so wonderful. The addition of the new 'weapons', the Kinstones and the ability to shrink adds a whole new level to the games and makes the series feel new and inventive, so kudos to Capcom to that.
One of the criticisms of the game is that it's too short at around the ten hour mark, especially compared to the home console games but for a handheld game, for me anyway, that's a good time as the majority of the time I'm playing my handhelds in shortish bursts whilst out and about on the train anyway. Plus I can guarantee that you will be enjoying the game too much to notice anyway. If I remember correctly there are only five dungeons including the last level but that really is enough as a couple of them are rather large anyway.
Another criticism is that the difficulty is too easy, again especially when compared to other games in the series, but the way the game is you wouldn't want it to be difficult as it would take away some of the enjoyment that you have with the game and that is a main reason to play games, the enjoyment. So I really would recommend ignoring the negatives about time and difficulty and pick up this great as soon as possible if you don't already own it.
Monday, 21 February 2011
Thursday, 17 February 2011
96 games played.
4 games gone.
1440 minutes of game play, give or take.
1440 = 24 hours of game play.
50 pages of a Word document.
22,024 words typed.
12 pages of written notes.
God knows how many lost pens.
1 worn out writer.
Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’
Zack and Wiki was an early launch game for the Wii and as per usual when Capcom try something new and different it ended up not selling very well which is a shame as it is a fun game.
The game genre is a point and click/puzzle game and does have some really good challenges throughout its levels. You control both Zack and Wiki but in different ways. Zack is the main character who you have to point and click where you want him to walk and what you want him to pick up and use and Wiki is a golden flying monkey who you use to change living creature into inanimate objects to use to fulfil your objective, and example being the first level where you need to chop down a tree to cross a chasm to escape a falling boulder. You shake the tree to reveal a centipede which when shaking Wiki at it turns into a saw to chop down said tree. It is a really interesting concept an on later levels it can be a challenge finding the creatures and figuring out which one is best for which job.
There are also a fair few things to do in the game like complete music challenges to earn upgrades to Wiki or to receive maps to find hidden treasure which moves Zack up the pirate rankings. Each level also has a HirameQ ranking to determine the difficulty of the stage and to determine how many points you will earn throughout the level to for completing objectives, again to improve your pirate rankings and reputation. The puzzles can be quite challenging and can take rather a lot of thinking for how to complete them which surely can only be a good thing as you know that you are going to get your moneys’ worth with the game. Despite the kiddie look that the game has I really would recommend giving the game a go.
Within the 15 minutes: Stage two.
Will I play it again? Yes. Like Wario World I continued playing afterwards.
Zoocube is a 3D puzzle game where you have to pair up two halves of an animal by catching them on a rotating Cube.
Of course it’s not really that simple as by now you should know that puzzle games never are. With it being a cube you get six sides with which to attach your pieces with only a maximum of five pieces being attached before the game ends. Obviously the more pieces you have attached to a side the harder it will be to spin the cube around without it latching on to where you don’t want it. One handy thing with the pieces is the ability to speed up the current piece which gives you extra points and will also release power-ups like bombs.
As well as the single player mode there is also a ‘blind’ mode where the colours of the pieces are removed meaning that you have to rely on shape alone as all of the pieces are the same grey colour and some of the shapes do look very similar. It does add a new element to the game if you fancy a change from the normal mode and in the long run can extend the life of the game. As mentioned previously it does hark back to the days of puzzle games being very simple but having quite a depth to it and being quite addictive.
Within the 15 minutes: Level two, stage six.
Will I play it again? I will in short bursts.
Zoop is yet another puzzle game from the good old days that is very simple yet very addictive in its game play.
Simple premise, you control a little box inside a square and which is being surrounded by little rectangle shaped pieces. The catch is that the pieces are different colours and you can only dispatch of them when your square is of the same colour. The only way your square can change colour is by hitting against a piece of a different colour, still with me? It really is a lot easier than it sounds such as puzzle games were and it really is quite addictive, again such as puzzle games were.
Obviously as you progress the pieces appear on the screen faster and faster and as that happens it can sometimes get a bit tough trying to remember which piece turns you which colour, which can happen as early as the third level, they really don’t mess around with whacking the difficulty level up on this game. Overall there isn’t really much more I can say about the game but it is worth giving it at least one go.
Within the 15 minutes: Level three.
Will I play it again? Like Zoocube I will in short bursts.
X-Men: Next Dimension
The X-Men appeared in five games for the GameCube and this one is a fighting game featuring some interesting character choices but unfortunately not that interesting game play.
So first of I’ll start by mentioning the character roster which I found to be quite interesting in its selection. Yes there are the usual suspects like Cyclops, Wolverine, Sabretooth and Magneto but it was interesting to find the likes of Forge, Bishop, Havok and Lady Deathstrike included in the line-up, especially at the expense at more ‘popular’ characters like Ice-Man and Angel. Bastion is also included in the game as the main enemy instead of the usual Magneto which is good and obviously less predictable.
Moving onto the game play, there are two main modes that you can play through which are story mode and arcade. Story mode is interesting in the fact that some levels give you a pre-determined character to fight with whilst other levels allow for you to select from three or four characters which means that when the going gets tough you cannot fall back on your favourite character, unless the selected character is your favourite. The arcade mode is your standard select a character and fight through eight matches to finish the mode. The only real problems that I personally had was the seemingly lack of jump or duck which doesn’t half annoy me and the fact that like Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance the game felt quite clunky and not actually really that enjoyable which is a shame as with all the different characters and abilities/moves available you would think that it would be quite fun, such a shame.
Within the 15 minutes: Had won six fights on the arcade mode and three on story mode.
Will I play it again? I might at some point.
XG3: Extreme G Racing
The third game in the Extreme G franchise that originated on the N64 manages to be even more like F-Zero with bikes, but is it as good if not better than F-Zero.
I’m sure you can guess what the answer is, a big resounding no. Despite being pretty similar games to the F-Zero series XG3 manages to actually be rather dull and boring. Before I get into that though the change to make it more like F-Zero (I promise I’ll stop mentioning the series after this bit) is the fact that they have removed the three nitro boosts and replaced them with a turbo boost that drains your shield the more you use it. So getting back to the dull and boring bit, despite being a game that is all about speed and going as fast as possible somehow the game ends up feeling pretty slow and uninteresting. As far as I can remember there are twelve bikes on the track including yours yet it feels like less as you very rarely seem to come across the opponents.
Another thing is the use of weapons. At the beginning of the league you get to select three weapons which includes the likes of heat seeking missiles, mines, EMP’s amongst other various weapons but they are all pathetically weak. They do absolutely nothing to damage or even put off the opposing riders, also they run out ridiculously quickly as you get a weapons bar that seems to drain massively when firing the weapons. To be honest I would say that there really isn’t that much of a need for the weapons which is a shame as they were quite good in the earlier games. Also this time round as mentioned previously you choose your weapons before the race by buying them instead of picking them up from the track which means that you are stuck with them which is annoying when the weapons bought are not very good.
Within the 15 minutes: Had played five races in the league.
Will I play it again? Cannot say I’m that tempted.
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
Warcraft II is a fantasy based real-time strategy game where you can choose to control either Orcs or Humans in the battle to build your army and destroy the other side.
I’m going to be completely honest here and say that the time I spent playing this game I found it to be extremely boring and it did not absorb me into the game at all. When I started the game I went for the human side and was promptly given four characters to control. At the beginning of the game only one character was of any use which was the workman, the other three were all guards/soldiers who pretty much just stood around having nothing to do. First of all I set my man to work collecting gold from the mines which took absolutely ages to complete and really did start to grate. After that I set him on chopping down some trees so that I could build barracks and by the end of the fifteen minutes he had managed to collect the gold and chop down two trees.
Now don’t get me wrong I really don’t mind how fast or slow the game play is but when it’s literally just watching a guy collecting gold and chopping down trees with you not being able to do anything else it really doesn’t endear me to the game. Command and Conquer showed me that I can enjoy RTS games; unfortunately this one was not for me.
Within the 15 minutes: Nothing much.
Will I play it again? Afraid not.
Like Luigi, Wario starred in his own game for the GameCube but like Luigi’s Mansion will it be considered a future classic.
Well, unfortunately I don’t think that it will be seen as a classic game in the near future but overall it is a fun and quite in depth game. The basic premise is that Wario is enjoying his treasure when a rogue evil jewel transforms the treasure into monsters and Wario must defeat them and return everything to normal. To progress through each level you have to find a minimum of three red diamonds out of a possible eight, I say out of a possible eight as it all depends on how you fancy playing the game. If you fancy just having a quick run through you can quickly find three diamonds, run to the end of the level and progress through to the boss. If however you want to complete the game fully that’s when the game opens up.
Each level has two stages and a boss and each stage has a lot of stuff to find and collect. There are the afore mentioned red diamonds, eight parts of a Wario statue that gives you an extra half of heart after each stage, five annoying things called Spiritelings who give hints and tips to Wario and finally eight pieces of treasure which when all found open up mini-games from the GBA game WarioWare Inc. The basic game play is a 3D platform game but there are some fun and at some times frustrating puzzles and whilst it doesn’t really offer anything new it certainly is worth a play.
Within the 15 minutes: Was still on the first level.
Will I play it again? Yes, in fact it was the first game where I carried on playing afterwards.
Waverace: Blue Storm
Blue Storm is the sequel to the smash hit N64 game Wave Race 64, which in turn was the sequel to the original Game Boy game first released in 1992. Is it as good if not better than the N64 version?
In a nutshell no. Whilst still a fairly decent game for me it just doesn’t better the N64 version at all and in some places I feel that it is actually worse. Now throughout these posts I’ve tried to avoid talking about the graphics in games as for me the graphics are generally low down in my list of reasons to play the game but do you remember the first time you played Wave Race N64 and saw how well done the sea and the waves were? Well for me this game really did not have that same effect and if anything I felt that the graphics had not moved on that much since the N64 version which is a real shame.
Another thing was the controls, talk about being sensitive. You really do have to the move the control stick very delicately as just the tiniest push too far will send you far beyond where you want to be and when the space between the checkpoints is so narrow and tight it really does make it a rather frustrating experience. It’s a shame about Blue Storm as I really do like the N64 version but this game really didn’t do anything to push the franchise on.
Within the 15 minutes: Was nearing the end of the Championship.
Will I play it again? At some point in the future.
Winter Olympics is based on the 1994 games in Lillehammer and whilst I know nothing about those particular games I wager a bet that they weren’t as bad as this game.
Like Warcraft II I’m going to be brutally honest and say that I did not enjoy this game one bit. The controls were not very responsive at all, the game play was terrible and the sports were just boring and not fun at all. The games consist of ten different events which include the likes of Bobsled, Ski Jumping, Biathlon and Downhill. Biathlon was the only event that was half decent as the controls were very responsive the event included a shooting range section. Apart from that the rest were just boring and annoying.
Another annoying part of the game is that it takes a lot longer to go through all of the scores/times of the event then it does to actually play the event. I would say that over half of the fifteen minutes was spent just pressing the button to hurry past the screens to get to the next event. All in all it’s not a game that I will be playing again.
Within the 15 minutes: Was working through the full Olympics.
Will I play it again? Nope.
Worldwide Soccer: Sega International Victory Goal
Worldwide Soccer takes the graphics, view and game play of Sensible Soccer and somehow manages to make quite a boring game.
The main problem with this game (and correct me if I’m wrong) is the lack of a run button which really does slow the game down. I know that not all early Football games had a run button but Worldwide Soccer is so slow that it really would benefit from one just to add that extra bit of pace to get past Defenders. Apart from that there isn’t particularly anything wrong with the game but for reasons that I cannot put my finger on it just didn’t grab me and by the end of the match I was already thinking of the next game that I was going to play.
As per the course, especially back in the day the game didn’t have a licence so all player names are fictional along with kits being slightly altered but it does have an editing mode to allow you to correct the names. Like I said earlier the game really isn’t that bad the lack of a run button along with the slowness does make the game a bit dull unfortunately.
Within the 15 minutes: Had won a match.
Will I play it again? Not looking likely.