The Legend of Zelda: Soul Train discussion

Yeah, it’s Spirit Tracks, I know, but I couldn’t resist the joke.

Mine is coming in tomorrow afternoon, but I probably won’t be able to play it until Wednesday or Thursday after my comp sci final project (a MUD) is done.

I guess I don’t have too much to say seeing as I haven’t played it, I hear from reviews it fixed most of the problems with PH, which is nice, but who knows if it’s true.

So Zelda discussion… 1… 2… 3… readygo!

I’m looking forward to your input…I’ve never finished Phantom Hourglass because of the repeating central dungeon.

I’ve only played through the first hour…and that’s been pretty lame thus far. Nintendo really needs to fix the way their Zeldas open. A Link to the Past did it brilliantly–provided you with about 10 seconds worth of exposition (in the form of a telepathic message) and then set you on your way to find a secret entrance into the castle during a thundering storm.

It was brilliant, atmospheric, and fun! Whereas Spirit Tracks (and the last several Zeldas) all open with a boring-ass slideshow for several minutes, relaying the background of the land that I don’t give a damn about, followed by you taking control of Link in some boring town (Majora’s Mask excepted) as you complete several tutorial based objectives. Basically, the game chugs along like a really slow freight train–which is fitting in this case.

Finally, once I made it to the castle (riding the train was kind of cool) I had to take part in a friggen stealth sequence with questionable controls. Why Nintendo keeps shoe-horning stealth into Zelda I have no idea–that’s the primary reason I can never replay Wind Waker–that god-awful first temple based entirely around the concept. Argghghg.

Anyways, I’ve only played to just past that segment, where things will hopefully pick up. Here’s hoping. Still don’t care for the stylus-based controls though.

How many save slots are there? Phantom Hourglass only had two.

Two as well, unfortunately.

I don’t remember that in wind waker. What temple was that?

Forsaken Fortress, the first time. You get fired out of a cannon into it, hit the wall, and lose your sword.

Oddly enough, nobody ever seems to call OOT or MM on it, maybe because you can shoot the guards?

A few reasons, for me at least:

Both introduced the stealth elements relatively late in the game (barring that very short sequence at the castle near the beginning of Ocarina, and the brief Deku sequence at the first temple in Majora’s Mask). At this point, you’re already hooked on the adventure and the stealth sections actually do serve as an interesting change-of-pace, as opposed to them essentially acting as the foundation for the entire game’s tone (which of course, is a tone contrary to the rest of Wind Waker).

Secondly, the dungeons themselves were better designed, imo. Wind Waker’s was simply confusing, with every element of its circular structure looking near-identical. Add to that the annoying sequence of escaping the jail cell in Wind Waker every time you’re caught. Yeah, it was kind of cute the first time when you discovered you had to climb on top of the shelf, move a pot to discover a secret tunnel you had to crawl (slowly) through and then head back to wherever you were (if you can remember, provided the damn annoying temple design). Contrast this with Ocarina where a quick flick of your Hookshot got you back in the game. And as you mention, shooting the guards may have helped too, providing diversity in contract to Wind Waker’s incredibly linear and dull sequence.

Finally, Ocarina and Majora’s Mask, were for me, categorically better games (especially at their respective points at which you encounter the stealth). I wanted to get through those sections to discover what happened next; I did not feel the same for Wind Waker for myriad reasons.

It seems I’ve been put in quite in awkward position here: I’ve found a Zelda game I don’t really like. I mean, I even liked Phantom Hourglass (with breaks) and I was finding excuses NOT to play ST today. I’m not sure why, but I think somewhere in the design the developers lost sight of what actually makes their game fun. The dungeon crawls, while not top notch for a Zelda game, are actually pretty fun. Hell, they even managed to make the revamped Phantom stealth portions palatable. But lord, the stretches in between them are atrocious. I originally went in with the usual goal of 100% completion, but let me be frank, and pardon the language: Fuck. That. Shit.

I don’t hate travel in Zelda games, I actually didn’t mind the boats in WW or PH, and I’m not sure why I’m hating it now. For one, I guess, the train seems slower, probably a product of being unable to move in a straight line. The other thing, and this is probably the real reason that bugs me, is the unkillable one-hit-death train enemies. You can plot your course perfectly, but if the RNG gods decide they don’t like you there is nothing you can do if two trains decide to synchronize and accidentally flank you. I’ve gotten more game overs in this game than any Zelda game in recent memory, and let me tell you, it’s not because of the good ol’ LoZ combat being revitalized for the first time in decades. No, it’s because I have to keep guessing where a train is going to turn in 3 junctions and the Random Number Goddess keeps telling me I’m wrong.

I’m in the Ocean area now, just finished the sanctuary and got the first Force Gem, and I’m really dreading going back to the game now - not a good sign.