Friday, June 15, 2007

Adventure of Link, Part 1

First of all, before I start to discuss my adventures in Hyrule once again, I need to make it known that the Adventure of Link is my least favorite Zelda game (of the games I've played so far). The first game was so much fun and really captured my imagination, while the second game strayed too far from the formula already established. To go from a top-down game based on item acquisition to a side-view, experience-based game didn't work for me (and for many others, I believe). Because I really didn't like the game, I have very little memory for the game, its secrets, even the storyline (but I'l bet it involves a princess named Zelda and a bad guy named Ganon). Apparently I neither liked or disliked the game enough to form lasting memories of the experience, so hopefully I'll have more fun this time through.

It's interesting to note that this isn't the only notable Nintendo sequel that strayed far from the established formula of its hugely successful predecessor. Super Mario Bros. 2 (an adaptation of the Japanese game Doki Doki Panic, just containing some Mario characters and items) also ventured far from the original Super Mario Bros., but in sharp contrast to Adventure of Link, I really enjoyed the game. Even to this day, I still catch myself humming some of the music, simply because it was so catchy. Also, the gameplay in Mario 2 was not so radically different that I couldn't enjoy it. Yes, there was the aspect of pulling up vegetables (where did that come from anyway?), but at least there was still the running and jumping that made the original so much fun.

But, enough of that pithy discussion. You didn't come here to read about Super Mario Bros. 2, you came to hear about Zelda. Well, thank you for your patience (clearly you're patient if you're still reading this), and on with my accounts playing the Adventure of Link!

One thing about the older Nintendo games is that if you don't read the manual (I don't have the manual for this) or watch the opening cinematics (I'm not even sure if this game has the cinematic I speak of, but if it does I haven't watched it yet), you're going to be completely lost as to what the story centers on. I simply fired up the game (on the Nestopia emulator again, to take advantage of the screenshot possibilities) and pressed the Start button. Before I knew it, I was standing in a palace of some sort with what I assumed was Zelda lying in what appeared to be a bier or monument (think of how they portrayed Snow White in the Disney cartoon after eating the poisoned apple), and I had no clue why she was there or what I had to do to wake her up. Putting my faith in the game's developers, that this would be revealed to me after a time, and satisfying myself with the fact that there was nothing I could do at the moment to wake her up (would have been a pretty boring game if I could, wouldn't it?), I left the palace in search of...well, I hoped I'd find out what I was searching for.

As a side note: If anyone reading this would like to post a comment explaining a bit of the back story for this game, I'd appreciate it. I know it's not terribly deep, but just knowing some of the story would be a big help. I'd go search it out myself, but as I promised not to use any more walkthroughs on any of the Zelda games, I'm forbidding myself to visit any website related to Zelda until after all of the games are complete. Thus, your help would be most useful...

My first stop after leaving the palace was the closest town, just southeast of the palace, called Rauru. I wandered into the town, speaking to the townspeople, hoping for a clue as to where to go next. I ran into a girl who invited me into her home, and healed my wounds. Another girl (they make 'em real friendly in Hyrule, I guess) invited me in to talk to the wise man of the village. This wise man, out of the goodness of his heart, taught me the Shield spell. With that (and a few more brilliant comments from the random passersby) I set back out into the wild to find my next objective.

I traveled north to a cave up in the middle of some sand, but I figured out pretty quickly it was too early for me to be there, as it was all dark and I couldn't see the enemies. I then traveled east, to a cave in the mountain surrounded by forest, and entered. Hmmm, this one is dark too, but I did see an opening on the other side of the mountain, so I took a chance in this cave. It's pretty impressive how an elf, probably 5'7" or 5'8" at the most, could see clear over the mountains, don't you think? Ahh, the joy of top-down mapping. :) Anyway, there turned out to be only one minor monster in this dark cave, and I reappeared in the open on the other side of the mountain, as I had expected.

I traveled to the northeast, across an expanse of sandy desert, and discovered a palace near the tip of a penninsula. Being brave (or foolish, I haven't decided which yet), I ventured in. A statue of a suit of armor greeted me at the entrance, and a bit past that was an elevator. I took the elevator down (ignoring the fact that this hardly seemed like the place to find an elevator), and started my assault of the palace. This so-called 'assault' consisted of me wandering around, exploring all of the avenues by process of elimination, and dying frequently. It's pretty clear I won't have but a single death on my record for this game; there's going to be some prolific dying in my future. Before losing all three lives you start with at the beginning of each game session, I did manage to find and acquire a candle, then died soon thereafter.

On the way back to the palace (when you lose all your lives, you're transported back to the palace where you started), the use of the candle became clear. The cave through the mountain, which was dark, now was perfectly lit. At least I didn't die in vain! After re-emerging into the desert, I went southeast instead of northeast toward the palace, to see what was there. A path, a single block wide, carried me to a forest glade. In the center of the glade, there was a patch of grass. Of course I went to investigate. On the battle screen that popped up, I battled a Goriya (I believe; it was a boomerang-throwing beastie of some sort), and picked up a heart container! Now I was in business!

Fresh off my new discovery, I traveled back to the palace, and continued my exploration. A few minutes later, I was squaring off with a boss that had the body, arms and legs of a man, and the head of a horse. Definitely an interesting combination, but this particular beast was in no mood to talk. I fired up the Shield spell, and waded into battle. Several minutes and two lost lives later, I vanquished the horse-man and passed through to a room that contained a statue. I approached the statue, and placed one of the crystals I'd apparently been carrying since the start of the game in a hole in the forehead of this statue. I was transported out of the palace, and only a mountain replaced it.

Fresh off my victory in the palace, I decided to go to the cave I visited prior to the palace, and try again with the candle. It proved to be a bit harder than I first expected, or I just wasn't concentrating enough on the task at hand, because I took two lavabaths courtesy of an Octorok. After getting past that little snag, I found a statue that looked like an angel at the end of the cave, guarded by a Goriya. Of course, being curious, I grabbed it. It didn't appear in my inventory, and I got no message that I had it. How curious...Oh well, I didn't worry about it too much.

Leaving the cave, I followed the road west to the next town, Ruto. Yet another friendly girl, discovering that I had found the statue (convenient that I picked it up!), invited me in to talk to the wise man. The wise man promptly taught me the Jump spell for my troubles. I received a clue in town, stating that there is magic in a cave south of the palace. Assuming that this meant the palace where the princess currently rested, I went there, and (after a short jaunt) found a magic container. The people in this town also pointed me toward a cave south of town, and told me not to go there without a candle. Oh, look here, I do have a candle! I guess I'd better head south then. The cave didn't prove too be much of a hindrance, other than the fact that I'm glad that I got the Jump spell earlier, because there was a ledge impassable without it.

Emerging on the other side, I really didn't know where to go. After traveling through the swamp which slowed my motion, I was faced with several directions. These directions were fairly quickly narrowed down by the large boulders blocking most avenues. I then decided to visit the water town of Saria, south of the cave and the swamp. In the town, it turns out I do have some memory of the game, because I knew to search around the table of an empty house to find a mirror there. This mirror, it turns out, belonged to a girl who, after I gave the mirror back to her, took me to meet (wait for it) the wise man of the town! I didn't see that one coming! This wise man thought me worthy to learn the Heal spell. That's a good thing, because I could have used this spell quite a few times before this.

At the end of town there was a river (which is evident when you view it from the top-down map), and a house with a guard-type person who informed me that only citizens of the town can pass. Well, that poses a bit of a problem. In one of the other houses in town, I found a blue blob, who (after I woke him up) informed me that his master lives in the woods north of town. Considering the fact that I was out of directions at this point, I set off to find this man. Sure enough, in the middle of the woods, I stumbled upon a cabin. The owner of this cabin (he introduced himself as Bagu) told me to use his name with the guard. Hopefully that will help me to pass that pesky river!

That concludes my first session in Hyrule. Thanks for reading, and hopefully I haven't bored you so much that you won't come back. The comments I've received so far are greatly appreciated, and I'm doing my best to answer them. Please do continue to leave any comments you have, because it makes me feel good (as it does anyone who writes something) to know that it's being read. See you soon!

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