Sunday, June 3, 2007

Legend of Zelda, First Quest, Part 2

Finally, back to the land of Hyrule! It's been a busy end of the week for me, but I was finally able to get some time in Zelda yesterday and this morning, and finished up the first quest. Because I had gone through and accomplished almost all of the ancillary item- and heart container-gathering in the course of completing the first four dungeons the rest of the play on the first quest consisted of finding and defeating the final 4 dungeons and then Death Mountain.

The 5th dungeon was relatively easy, and the one where I received the whistle as the major treasure find. I also had the opportunity to spend 100 rupees to increase my bomb capacity from 8 to 12. Of course, when I found that room, I was around 12 rupees short, so I spent 10 minutes or so, running from room to room, attempting to gather the required cash to make the purchase. When you're not looking to gather money, it seems to pour in, but when you need it for something, the acquisition slows to a crawl (at least from my perception). After completing that exercise, I made the obligatory vist to Digdogger (great name for a sea-urchin thing that hates whistle music), and one whistle blow and a couple of well-aimed sword strikes later, I left the dungeon with the 5th piece of the Triforce.

Next up on the agenda was my least-favorite dungeon in the game, the 6th dungeon. I dislike this dungeon because it's the first time that Wizrobes make their appearance, and they aggravate me to no end. The yellow variety blink in and out and fire one magic spell at you, while the blue variety roam around the screen and can glide over obstacles and at weird angles, making them unpredictable and hard to target. Also, when you are in their line of sight, they'll fire magic spells at you until they go in a different direction or you leave their sight line. They also pack a decent wallop, and a room filled with these beasties can drain you faster than you think, if you're not careful. The major treasure for this dungeon was (appropriately) the magic wand, which produced an effect similar to the Wizrobe's attack. The boss of this dungeon was Gohma, a one-eyed crab whose weakess is arrows to his eye (a weakness we all share). The funny thing about this boss is that he's directly in line with the door and his eye is open (hits don't register when the eye is closed) when you first enter the room, so a quick shot will end this boss fight before it even really begins. I was more than happy to leave that dungeon behind for good.

I hopped over to the empty fairy lake (as indicated by an old man in the 6th dungeon) and played the whistle. The lake dried up and granted me access to the 7th dungeon. My memories betrayed me at this dungeon, because I forgot the fact that I needed to bring meat (which I purchased for 60 rupees from the same merchant I bought the blue ring from) with me to appease the Goriya saying, "Grumble, grumble," and blocking the path forward. For some reason, I also remembered this as one of my favorite dungeons, but that was not the case this time around. Maybe it was due to the fact that it definitely did not follow the difficulty ramp that the other dungeons had been following; the main enemies in this dungeon were Goriya, which certainly don't present the same challenge as the Wizrobes from the last dungeon. The main treasure of this dungeon was the Red Candle, which improved upon the Blue Candle by allowing infite uses per screen, instead of a single use per screen. The boss of this dungeon was an old friend, Aquamentus (the boss from the first dungeon), and was just as easy to eliminate this time as last. I exited the dungeon happy to be finished and holding the 7th piece of the Triforce.

Onward to the 8th and final 'regular' dungeon. This dungeon took me a bit to find, as the location escaped my memory. The minute I saw the tree in the path, a few screens south of the entrance to the 2nd dungeon, a light bulb turned on in my brain, and I was on my way into the last dungeon that contained a piece of Triforce. This dungeon provided a moderate amount of difficulty, but also provided two decent treasures in the Magic Book (combined withe the Magic Wand creates a flame when the magic strikes a wall or enemy) and the Magic Key (allows you to open all locked doors, and eliminates the need to gather keys). The final enemy in this dungeon was the return of Gleeock, but this this incarnation had 4 heads to deal with. Fortunately he didn't provide too much challenge and, with his demise, I triumphantly held the final piece of Triforce over my head. The princess, Zelda, and the much-awaited showdown with Ganon awaited me in Death Mountain!

I knew the general location for the entrance to Death Mountain (north of the entrance of the 6th dungeon, in the brown rocky mountain region of the map) but I wasn't quite sure exactly where until I stumbled onto the screen with the two identical round rock formations in the middle of the path. It instantly clicked that I was in the right place, and my suspicion was confirmed with one bomb. The ominous Death Mountain dungeon stood between me and a date with destiny (well, Ganon at least). Along with the entrance, I had really forgotten how difficult (in relation to the previous dungeons) this challenge was, with most of the rooms containing Like-Likes (shield eaters), Wizrobes, or a combination of the two. The other fact I forgot was how many rooms there were in the place, and how tricky it sometimes was to get around. Using liberal amounts of bombs and life potions (I left the dungeon twice to refill my potions), I stumbled through the dungeon, and found the Silver Arrow (the weapon required to kill Ganon), and the Red Ring (cuts the damage suffered by 3/4, thus more effective than the Blue Ring I currently carried), but not without some close calls and hairy encounters.

Finally, it was time to face off with Ganon. I entered the room and started the encounter. Maybe it was because I didn't possess the Red Ring when I first challenged him years ago, or maybe it was because I have so much more video game experience, but this final battle was much less difficult than I remember. Ganon is visible when you first enter the room, and then he disappears. Your job is to move about the room, striking where you think Ganon is, and when you land a strike he will appear briefly and disappear. After you do this enough times (two or three should be sufficient), he will appear but in a brown color, as opposed to his normal blue hue. It is at this time you should unleash a Silver Arrow into him, and if you are successful at this, Ganon will explode into a puddle of brown goo, with the Second Triforce nestled on top. I grabbed it and entered the next room, where Zelda sat, behind some flames (quickly dispatched with swings of the sword) waiting patiently for someone to rescue her. I approached her and the game switched to the victory sequence.

Success! I'm now through the first half of the Legend of Zelda. My next task: take on the much more challenging Second Quest, which uses the same overworld, but with all of the items, heart containers and dungeon locations scrambled around. The dungeons are also much more difficult than their First Quest counterparts. I'm admittedly a bit of a disadvantage in this attempt, because I remember next to nothing about where things are and that could prove a stiff challenge. I'll be back soon with an update on how I'm progressing in the Second Quest, as real-life time allows.

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