Thursday, May 31, 2007

Legend of Zelda, First Quest, Part 1

Well, I'm back with some progress to report. I was able to get the emulator and SNES controller talking nicely with each other (even though I played Zelda originally with the square NES controller, the SNES controller holds a spot near and dear to my hear), and with that, I launched my return journey to the land of Hyrule, in the Legend of Zelda. By the way, please bear with me as I struggle to master the art of working with this blog and the screenshots I've taken. I'm sure that the layout and structure will look a bit clunky for a while, until I really get the hang of it, but I am trying, honest!

I struggled with how to begin the game, for a couple of reasons. Zelda was definitely a game that you played differently the second and subsequent times through, as opposed to your first time. This is due to the fact that, unlike more modern titles, once you learn the secret locations of many items, places, etc. you have access to them from the outset. There are exceptions to this, such as heart containers reachable only by raft or ladder, but there are several heart containers that you can get essentially from the beginning, simply by being lucky enough to have a bomb drop by a vanquished foe. I resisted the urge to go this route for the first dungeon, opting to venture forth armed only with the Wooden Sword the kind old man gave me at the outset. The picture to the right should be extremely familiar (hopefully) to many of you, and I tossed it in for nostalgia purposes.

Defeating the first dungeon, which saw my little Link acquire the starter boomerang and the bow, was relatively uneventful. I was pleasantly surprised to realize how much I did remember, at least of this particular location in the game. It was nice to see good old Aquamentus again, although he probably wasn't too excited to see me. Several well-placed swords tossed from across the room felled him quickly, and with that I claimed my reward, the first piece of the Triforce.

After exiting the dungeon, the urge to be as powerful as possible, got the better of me, and I went out in search of the items I knew I could grab with very little difficulty. The heart container near the desert (on the screen with the brown spiders, with a bomb required to open the entrance), the heart container in the lower portion of Hyrule, about 4 screens to the right of where you start the game (also requiring a bomb to open the entrance), and the White Sword were soon within my little elven grasp. During my travels through the first dungeon and the subsequent trips to gather heart containers, I realized I had earned enough rupees to purchase the blue candle from the shop 1 screen up and one screen left from the start point. This opened up another heart container location (pictured at the right), and also the hidden shop one screen to the left of this heart container that has the cheapest price on the large shield in the game. Being freshly poor from the blue candle acquisition, this item would have to wait a bit.

Next I was off to the second dungeon, this one being moon-shaped in its layout. The major treasure to be gained in this dungeon was the upgraded boomerang. This is something I never understood about the game; why give us an item in one dungeon and then upgrade it the next? Why not have the upgrade in the third dungeon instead? Oh well, those are questions that may never be answered (not that they're all that important anyway). My date with Dodongo went as planned: he ate something that didn't agree with him, a couple of things actually, and had to leave. He was kind enough to leave behind a heart container and the second piece of the Triforce. The one thing I really enjoy about this dungeon is the appearance of Moldorm (pictured), one of only two appearances in the first quest of these little beasties. Don't ask me why I like them, I just do. :)

The trip into the second dungeon was profitable enough for me to buy both the large shield and arrows to go with my bow (at a grand total of 170 rupees), after which I ventured to the third dungeon. The trip to this place netted me the raft (necessary to get to the fourth dungeon and a heart container) and the third piece of Triforce. The boss of this dungeon, Manhandla, could have been a bit of an issue for me, as I arrived at his room a bit low on hearts. I was lucky enough to have him wander directly over a bomb I placed, and eliminated all four 'mouths' with one blast. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

After completion of the third dungeon, I took some time to visit a few points of interest in the overworld. I used the raft to get another heart container, I visited the old man by the sea who happened to have a letter for an old woman (who, upon receipt of this letter, sells medicine), and I visited some of those 'It's a secret to everybody!' places scattered about the map. I did remember to venture to the one that is accessible only by the secret passage (near where you get the letter for the old woman), which netted me 100 rupees. By killing everything I saw, and visiting a few of those rupee caves, I was able to earn enough to buy the blue ring, available from a hidden vendor 3 screens north of the old woman's cave, underneath a statue you bring to life by touching. The ring cost 250 rupees, but as veterans of the game know it's completely worth it, as it halves the damage you receive.

After this little jaunt, I hopped on the raft over to the fourth dungeon. I consider this dungeon a pain in the butt, because it is the first dungeon to have dark rooms that can be lit with the candle, and the main enemies you encounter are the incredibly annoying Vire. I dread this dungeon because of them. Otherwise, dealing with the annoyances allowed me to find the ladder, and meet the first incarnation of Gleeock, this one of the 2-headed variety. He was quickly dispatched, and I received a heart container and the fourth piece of the Triforce for my troubles.

Now things were getting interesting. Having the ladder allowed me to acquire the last available heart container in the overworld (on the eastern coast, on a dock of sorts), and brought my heart total to 12. This magic number meant that I was now elligible to wield the Master Sword, which lay in the graveyard on the western side of Hyrule. On the way to the graveyard, I stopped to grab the Power Bracelet, hidden under a statue a few screens away. Then it was on to the Master Sword, which I held above my head triumphantly after a few frantic moments of figuring out which grave concealed the stairway to the old man.

It was at this point that I hung up the game for the evening, as I had household chores and a lovely wife to attend to. Next time, I'll work my way through the latter half of the first quest, and hopefully have a tale of victory to tell after a meeting with Ganon deep inside Death Mountain.

Thank you for reading so far, I hope you've enjoyed it. I'll be back soon with more on my journeys!

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