Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Link to the Past, Part 5

In an attempt to make up for the fact that I was basically absent last week, I'm working to speed up my updates for this blog. Now that I'm back in the comfort of my own home, in more familiar surroundings, and back on a much more normal schedule, it's been much easier to find the time (and motivation) to settle down for an evening of gaming and blogging. I admit, I suffered from some gaming apathy last week, but who wouldn't, when presented with the opportunity to enjoy some downtime at the lake, breathing in the fresh air, and just generally letting the stress of real life fall away? I feel refreshed and invigorated to complete my task once again, so hopefully you'll come along for the ride...

As I started this play session, it was my intent to tackle the 6th Dark World dungeon right off the bat. Looking at the map indicated that I'd have to get there from the Light World somehow. Exploring the dead end area in the Dark World, I did notice the section of the map outlined with pegs, that caused me to use the mirror to get to the Light World. My hunch paid off with access to a monolith that (thanks to use of the Book of Mudora) instructed me to hold the Master Sword aloft. After following the instructions, I was rewarded with the Bombos medallion, which casts fire magic in my general vicinity. This would have been super helpful in the last dungeon, and would have made short work of those annoying penguin-alligator things (this info is thanks to several commenters who alerted me to this fact). Alas, I was a day late and a dollar short, but I'll soldier on...

Exploring the Light World desert area a bit further (something I didn't do when collecting the pendants originally) I came across a cave, that contained an old man. He reassured me that I would be the one to defeat Ganon and save the world. I guess it never hurts to have your own personal cheering section, even if they're creepy old men living as hermits in the desert. :) The more interesting fact about this cave was the bombable wall, which revealed a room with a lone chest. This lone chest contained a piece of heart. Very nice for just a quick stroll through the arid desert.

Warping back to the Dark World, I started scouting the edge of the impenetrable swamp area, I came upon a ring of flowers that just screamed for me to use the mirror in the middle, and hope it gets me somewhere interesting. True to form, when I emerged in the Light World, I was able to gain access to a cave that I wouldn't have been able to reach otherwise. As in the case of the old man's cave in the desert, this cave also contained a piece of heart. Just as a quick aside, it's things like this that, when put into a game, really encourage complete exploration of the game world and thinking creatively, because it's not as if there was a neon sign pointing me to come to this area. I love when game designers put things like this into their games, if only to give players a tangible reason to explore every square inch of the game that they (the designers) have put so much time and effort into creating.

Anyway, back to the game. Since I was in the area, I decided to take the path to the Dark World version of town that was previously unavailable to me, due to the presence of several boulders too heavy for me to lift. They were no match for the Titan's Mitt, though, and I was soon on my merry way. To my surprise, I found a frog trapped behind some of these boulders on the path and freed him. He mentioned that he had lived in the town, and asked to be taken back to his partner. A light quickly came on in my head...This must be the missing smith! After speaking with me, the frog followed behind me, hopping merrily along. I led him to the spot where the smithy stood in the Light World, and used the mirror to go there. Once inside the house, the two smiths were overjoyed to be reunited. They offered to temper my sword for only 10 rupees, but the only catch was that I would be without my sword for a bit. Clearly this was a trade worth making, so I left my sword with the happy smiths and wandered outside. It turns out that all I had to do was go back to the town proper and promptly return. The grateful smiths handed over my new red sword, which I now carry proudly. This upgrade couldn't have come at a better time, as I'd been really noticing that the evil beasties had been taking an inordinate amount of strikes to dispatch, so hopefully this will alleviate that problem.

I then decided to visit the fortuneteller, and again he (she?) didn't steer me wrong. I was informed that a treasure rested quietly under the graveyard, which called to mind a stone I had messed around with for a bit, but never figured out how to move it. It's located in the upper right corner of the graveyard (Light World) and surrounded by heavy boulders, that can only be moved with the Titan's Mitt. Most of the other gravestones would slide when pushed, but this one wouldn't budge. I went back with renewed vigor, to try to figure out the secret, and it eventually came to me. Out of sheer desperation, I cleared the boulders away from the front of the stone, and charged at it from a short distance away. Voila! My small elfin body hurled at it with all the force of my stumpy little legs caused the stone to shift, revealing a stairway. At the bottom of the stairway, I found a treasure chest waiting for me, which contained the Magic Cape. This cape may prove to be handy in the future, as it allows the wearer to become invisible (hmmm...maybe JK Rowling ripped off the Invisibility Cloak from this. I smell a lawsuit!), but drains magic power to use.

Continuing on with my random wandering and exploration, I decided to go back to the grove where I found the flute (with the help of its former owner). In the Dark World, I found the poor creature still sitting on the stump, and he asked me to play his flute so he could hear it one more time, as he was slowly fading. Before I obliged him, he asked me to take the flute to the tired old man in the town, to let him know about his son's fate. I played the flute, and the poor creature turned into a tree. At least he was at peace...

Heeding his final words, I made the short trip to the town (warping back to the Light World in the process), and visited the old man in the tavern, from whom I had been given the clue to search for his son so long ago. When I stood in front of him and showed him the flute, he perked up briefly, and then became sad again, as he realized he wouldn't see his son again. To honor his son, the sad old man asked me to play the flute for the 'bird' in the center of town, because he felt his son would have wanted that. The 'bird' he referred to turned out to be the representation on what looked to be a weathervane. So as not to disappoint the old man, I played the flute...and was rather surprised when the stone shattered, and a real bird took off and flew away from the weathervane.

Once again, my shadowy memory cleared and I remembered that this is how the flute truly gained its power, as every time I now used the flute in the overworld (in the Light World, at least), the bird would come and scoop me up and drop me off at the point of my choosing from eight different locations. After a cursory scan of the points, it seemed that point 6 would be very useful for me at this time, as it put me in the desert area. Sure enough, after having the bird drop me off, it became clear that this was my entrance to the swamp area and the 6th dungeon, as there was a teleport tile hidden by a boulder just a few footsteps from where the kind bird plopped me down.

After using the teleport tile, I started to explore the swamp area, to see if there was anything else of interest, other than just the 6th dungeon. I did find several caves, one that held a piece of heart behind a puzzle that required me to push blocks around in a certain pattern, another cave that had two chests (containing a piece of heart and 20 rupees), and a third that was home to a kind fairy who healed me. There was a fourth cave, proving to be the home of a monster who mentioned the fact that if I were able to move the air faster than the monster magic that currently caused this area to be a swamp, it would stop the rain.

This turned out to be an interesting point, because after leaving that cave I ran across what I assumed to be the location of the entrance to the 6th dungeon, but found only a platform with a lightning symbol on it. It appeared to be of the same general size and shape as that of the other two magic medallions I had acquired on my journey (Quake and Bombos), so that made me think that the same would be true of this, but I just hadn't found it yet.

At this point, I took a break and walked away from the game, both to do some chores and to clear my head and think about if I'd run across the necessary location to find this magic during an earlier adventure. After a while of helping around the house (vacuuming, sweeping, carrying laundry around, the usual household chores), I thought that maybe there would be a clue to what I need to find in one of the extensive number of screenshots that I'd taken (as of this writing I'm up to 332). And there it was, in screenshot number 72, a monolith that indicated I would get Ether magic if I held up the Master Sword. I've posted that screenshot here (take a look at the number of hearts I had at the time), and realized that the reason why I didn't have the magic in my possession already was because I had found that particular monolith before I possessed the Master Sword! So, without delay, I hopped back into the game and traveled to the top of Death Mountain (in the Light World), as the monolith was found to the left of the Tower of Hera. One quick reading of the Book of Mudora and a flourish with my Master Sword, and the Ether medallion was in my possession.

Flying the friendly skies with my favorite bird, I made it back to the swamp in the Dark World. Standing on the platform with the symbol (which looked very much like the Ether medallion), I activated the magic, which caused the rain to stop and the sun to come out. More importantly for me, however, was the fact that the entrance to the 6th dungeon rose out of the swamp and waited for me to enter.

Not to disappoint, I promptly entered its depths to face the challenges ahead. This dungeon truly marked the return of my arch nemesis, the dreaded Wizrobes, although they were much more tame in this incarnation than either of their two previous 8-bit counterparts. A quick run through the dungeon netted me the important items as well as the major treasure (the Cane of Somaria), which granted the user the ability to create blocks with one swing. Oh, if I'd only had that power in the last dungeon, I would have saved so much time! As expected, the Cane came in handy in one room, to hold down a switch, and soon after I was standing in front of the boss of the dungeon, one large eye with all kinds of smaller eyes in front of it. The smaller eyes launched themselves at me, and after all of the smaller eyes were vanquished the larger eye tried the same thing. One truly hilarious facet of this battle came from the fact that I didn't move the entire time, except to swing my sword. At one point, I took my hand completely off the directional pad, and it made no difference. That was, by far, the easiest boss battle I'd had to date. Considering all that, it wasn't long before I had a new heart container and the 6th crystal in my backpack.

At this point, I decided to call it a day. This seemed like a good place to stop, since it would leave exactly two more dungeons to complete, and a bit more exploring to do, if I want to find all of the heart containers and such. Hopefully you've enjoyed this installment, and am looking forward to the final chapter of this game as much as I am. Until next time, take care and be safe!

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