Saturday, June 30, 2007

Link to the Past, Part 3

With our hero finally back home after being stuck in the Atlanta airport for...Oh wait, that was me. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of flying through Atlanta, well, don't. My flight on Thursday night was supposed to leave at 9:15pm, we didn't board until 10:45pm, and it didn't actually leave the ground until 12:30am. I know it's not the most horrible wait ever experienced, but as anyone knows when travelling, delays are really a nuisance, especially on the return flights, as you just want to get home. My coworker and I were lucky enough to gain admittance to the Delta Crown Club Room, which is far more desirable to spend 5 hours in than waiting at a gate. Free drinks, munchies, comfortable seating, air conditioning, a place to plug in (a surprising luxury at an airport)...You can't beat it. That was where I was able to respond to as many of your comments as I did, as well as actually get some real work done, to keep my bosses happy. :)

Anyway, as someone commented, enough of my whining, you came here to read about Link to the Past, and so you shall. Before I start on part 3, I did want you to know that (if anyone's interested) I did go back to the part 2 post and insert screenshots, so that post is now complete. And now, without further ado, back to the action!

The adventure started up once more as I stood at the top of the castle in the Dark World. The map indicated that I should start my quest by recovering the first of seven crystals, in the Dark World equivalent of the East Palace (the location of the first pendant). On my way to that dungeon, I entered a cave that had a tree, which turned out to be a person, warped by the power of the Dark World, who talked about the Golden Power, and referred to it by the name we gamers know it by: the Triforce. Finding that I couldn't do anything to help this poor chap, I continued on my way to the first dungeon.

This dungeon was surrounded by a maze of hedges. I wandered around aimlessly for a bit, and eventually found my way through a part of the maze that was completely covered over. Upon emerging on the other side of this part of the maze, I found that I was being followed by a monkey, who introduced himself as Kiki. He professed his love for rupees, and asked for 10 of them to follow me. Since I was very near my holding limit of 999 rupees, I acquiesced to his request and he followed along. Not long after that, the little creep bailed out, and I arrived at the entrance to the first dungeon, where my memory (hazy as it is) reminded me that I needed the greedy little ape to help me gain entry. Back I went, and for the low. low price of 10 rupees he agreed to follow me again. This time I went straight to the dungeon entrance, where the shrewd business-monkey asked for 100 rupees to open the door. Why that little...seeing that I had no choice, I paid him and I was soon in the starting room of the first dungeon.

The first dungeon provided some interesting moments, including a long bridge that drops away every time you enter the room, as well as the use of teleport plates. A thorough sweep of the dungeon netted me all of the important items (map, compass, big key) and I quickly worked my way to the big treasure chest, accessible through a maze lit only by the lantern and containing fire-breathing little dinosaurs. The major treasure for this dungeon turned out to be the Hammer, which allows the banging of pegs and other items to grant access to areas previously unreachable otherwise. Of course, the hammer can be used as a melee weapon as well, and turned out to be very effective against the turtles who were prevalent throughout this dungeon and impervious to regular sword attacks. One swing of the hammer knocked the turtle on its back and exposed its soft underbelly, which then made it vulnerable to your sword or a second hammer swing.

After grabbing the hammer, it was time to go and challenge the boss of the dungeon. This boss was a lot of fun. A large creature reminiscent of a turtle wearing a metal mask and having a tail like a scorpion, the challenge of this boss was to get rid of the metal mask. I used the hammer to accomplish this goal, though it took a lot of hits to finally dislodge the mask from the beast's head. After the mask fell off, it revealed a gem of sorts which proved weak to arrows. A couple of solid arrow volleys later, and I was the victor. I grabbed the requisite heart container, and the first crystal fell from the ceiling. When I picked it up, a maiden appeared inside, who told me the entire story of how the Dark World came to be, and how I needed to save the other 6 maidens to stand a chance of returning the world to its former beautiful state. She was also kind enough to mark the remaining dungeon locations (complete with numbers to guide my decision on which order to attempt each one) on my overworld map. With that, I was warped back to the entrance of the dungeon.

After vanquishing the dungeon, I thought it would be useful to do a bit of exploring and wrap up a few loose ends before taking on the second dungeon. If you remember from my second entry in LttP, I had found a mushroom in the Great Forest. The old woman in front of the magic shop had asked for a mushroom, so I made my way back to her (by going there in the Dark World and using the mirror). She took the mushroom happily and told me to return later.

After that, I went to the forest grove where, in the Light World, there was a boy there playing a flute and surrounded by little woodland creatures. This boy, in the Light World, would disappear when I approached him. In the Dark World, however, there was a sad creature sitting there, saying that he had come to the Dark World searching for the Golden Power, but was now trapped in this form. I offered to help him, and he gave me a shovel to try to find his flute, which he had buried in the Light World. I warped back to the Light World and quickly found the flute. I traveled back to the Dark World and continued on my merry way. [NOTE: One thing I forgot to try before leaving the area was to go and play the flute for the poor creature in the Dark World. I don't quite remember if this did anything, but during my next play session, I'll go back and check, just in case.]

After this little excursion, it dawned on me that there would be a piece of heart ripe for the taking, if I were to travel to Lake Hylia, which is exactly what I did. During my first exploration of that area, in the Light World, there was a piece of heart sitting on an island that was inaccessible. Using the 'travel to the location in the Dark World and then utilize the mirror to warp to the Light World' trick to great effect, finding myself on the previously inaccessible island, taking the piece of heart as my own.

Taking a bit of time to look around the lake while in the area, I went to the cave where (in the Light World) I claimed the Ice Rod before, but this time I found...a hand? Seriously, this thing looked like the claymation hand in the all of the Hamburger Helper ads. However, this 'hand' turned out to be a former thief who traveled to the Dark World and found himself in that form. He was able to provide me with some useful info, even in that form, about a master locksmith who was pretending to be a strange middle-aged man. Clearly this information will be useful in the future, since I've already come across this strange middle-aged man (at the entrance to the desert in the Light World). On my way back from this encounter, I made a quick pitstop in the Light World at the Pond of Happiness and increased my bomb capacity to 25 (from 15) and my arrow capacity to 40 (from 30).

Having stalled long enough, I then made the short jaunt to the entrance of the second dungeon, located in the swampy area between the desert and Lake Hylia. Upon entering the dungeon, it was clear that I couldn't get very far, because of a large empty channel in the middle of the dungeon and a 'half-ladder' that restricted my access to the area beyond. There was a communication panel to the elder, who reminded me that things that occur in one world affect the other. Clearly a clue! I exited the dungeon, used the Mirror, and entered the structure in the Light World. Inside this structure were switches and a closed water gate. Pulling the right switch opened the water gate, which filled the channel. Pulling the wrong switch caused a cascade of bombs to rain from the ceiling. After leaving the structure, it was clear that opening that water gate drained some of the swamp area, as I noticed a piece of heart that revealed itself when the water drained away. Picking this up completed yet another heart, a nice boost for taking on the second dungeon. I jumped back to the Dark World, ready to face the challenge ahead.

This dungeon was fun, as it made use of the water level to great effect. There were certain areas that weren't accessible until I found the correct switch to release water (or in one case, drain it). The enemies were relatively annoying in this dungeon, especially the water-drop monsters that flew around and eventually splashed against the wall. I was able to grab all of the necessary items quite quickly, including the major treasure of the dungeon, the Hookshot, one of my all-time favorite items in a video game. Then I got stuck. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to get to the boss room, and after wasting all of my potions running around trying to find it, I decided to leave the dungeon, take a breather to restock my potions and come back refreshed and with a new outlook.

To refill my potions, I went back to the Magic Shop in the Light World. The old woman had completed her brew, and inside the woman presented me with the Magic Powder. I look forward to using this in the future, as some of you have already hinted at its uses. I also took the time to fill my 2 bottles with blue potions. This reminded me that I need to track down the other 3 bottles (I believe) that are still out there somewhere. They're very useful, and I should take the time to go and track them down.

Anyway, also decided to take the time, since I was in that portion of the map, to make a visit to the Pond of Happiness and upgrade my shield that many of you were kind enough to point out was a good thing to do. On my way there, I traveled via the Dark World, and came upon a sign that informed me that I would be cursed if I threw anything into a circle of stones. This circle of stones referred to a ring of stones located just off the shore in the river. Of course I threw something in. A creature surfaced and offered me the Quake Medallion as long as I would stop bothering him. Sounded like a good deal to me, so I took it. I then used the Mirror to get to the Light World, visited the Pond and upgraded my shield to the red variety, which blocks fireballs.

Now, feeling reinvigorated, I traveled back to the second dungeon and continued to keep looking for what I was missing. It turns out I was just stupid and couldn't find the secret door behind a waterfall, but after looking at the map, it became pretty evident what was going on, and I was on my way again, to face the boss. The boss was a fun battle, consisting of a jellyfish covered in blobs. I used the Hookshot to pull the blobs to me, where 2 sword strikes put an end to them, and once they were all gone, the jellyfish started swimming around the room, which caused me to strike him in the eye as he ricocheted all over the place. A few well-placed hits later, and I had my new heart container and the second crystal. The maiden trapped in this crystal explained about Ganon, and pushed me to continue my quest to save all seven maidens and end the evil reign in this once-beautiful land.

This seemed to be a good place to stop for now. Hopefully it comes through in my writing how much fun I'm having going through this game all over again. The graphics continue to amuse me, the sheer amount of areas to search and things to discover (in relation to the first two games), as well as the open-world feel keeps me coming back time and again. Next time I'll tackle the third and fourth dungeons as well as do some more in depth exploration of the overworlds, now that I have a few more implements at my disposal.

As always, thanks for reading and I'll talk to you all next time!

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