Review: Sword Art Online II, Episode 10: Death Chaser
Due to Hyrule Warriors being released on the 26th, the staff here at GUG decided to look back at previous Zelda games and pick which one is our favorite. Mind you these are all personal opinions about what games are our favorite not which one is the best. Since I have yet to complete a Zelda game (still playing Wind Waker HD and Ocarina of Time), I had a fellow reader take my spot at the bottom for this week only. After all what is it that sucks us into Hyrule again and again?
Cooper Daniel Barham
My favorite Legend of Zelda game is A Link to the Past. It was the second Zelda I’d ever played, after the original, and holds a tremendous vault of nostalgia. The story was strong for its day, and deeply complimented by the riveting and always noteworthy soundtrack. The puzzles were challenging, the enemies fierce, and your never ending growth throughout the game was splendid. I remember when I was young and first saw that Master Sword, deep in the forest, with slivers of light breaking through the trees overhead. The playful envy. The curiosity of what it would be like –what it meant – to hold such an item. A curiosity that I didn’t satisfy until years later. The flow of the adventure and gameplay made it easy to just wander around aimlessly and still enjoy yourself, something that most games failed to do in that age. I don’t know. There might be better Zelda games now, but this one will probably always be my favorite.
Victoria Grace Howell
My favorite Legend of Zelda game is The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I’ve played this game four times, and I just love it. The plot of the impending twilight spreading over the world, turning humans into spirits and creatures into monsters, really propelled me through the game. I liked the darker tone as opposed to other Legend of Zelda games. It gave the game a gritty feel without being too scary.
The scenery is just amazing. Galloping across the Hyrulian fields on Link’s horse Epona with the castle in the background feels so epic! I really enjoy the characters. They felt really unique and developed in this game. I especially enjoyed Collin and Ilia and their subplots. The character’s unique hairstyles and costumes are so artistic. My artsy side went wild seeing them. I liked the animation design of the characters. It was more realistic and less cartoony especially the Zoras. The bosses were creative and more formidable than others. I felt a bit more intimidated by them especially by Zant and Ganondorf. I laughed at the yetis and Fyer and Falber. The music score is absolutely fantastic. I have the entire soundtrack plus the new full orchestra medley from the 25th Anniversary. Just gorgeous.
But above all the game has a lot of memories attached to it. It was the first video game I really got into; I played the game with best friend while I manned the nunchuck and she the Wii mote; and I played it to figure out every little puzzle while going through a rough time. Also its unique designs have impacted my character and creature designs in the books I write. I believe one thing that makes video games stick with us are the memories attached to them. This game is one of those special few for me.
There can be no other choice besides A Link to the Past. I’m sure I do not have to defend my choice to anyone who has played it. So, what I write, I write for the benefit and education of those poor, unfortunate souls who haven’t. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is simply the best title the franchise has ever produced. It takes everything that was good about the original game and improves upon it. It takes everything that was flawed about the first game and likewise improves it.
For starters, you have a map–an actual, useful map that you can use to pinpoint your location. It’s nothing like that pathetic gray rectangle you’re forced to deal with in the original. Additionally, your dungeon maps are dimensionally correct.
Second, there’s no more mind-numbing guesswork in finding which places you can bomb to reveal caves. Places that can be bombed (or in many cases, shoulder-blocked) are marked with cracks in the wall. Now, later in the game you will encounter many “fake” cracks, that reveal nothing when bombed, but hey, it’s a big step above the original.
Third would have to be the graphics. This game represents the pinnacle of the 16-bit era. A Link to the Past returns to the top-down perspective of the original game, but advances many of its core features. The environments are colorful, detailed, and immersive. It is incredibly easy to lose oneself in this game.
Fourth is just the gameplay itself. Link is given so many new abilities. Remember how in the first two games, you would need a raft to travel anywhere on water? Remember how even if you had a raft, you could only go where the game let you go? Well guess what? That’s gone! You now have the opportunity to buy Zora’s Flippers, which will let you traverse any body of water you wish. You also get the Pegasus Shoes, which lets you perform a devastating dash attack. Astute players can also use this ability to travel the lands of Hyrule and the Dark World more quickly. Link can also pick up and throw objects now. Finding the Power Glove and Titan’s Mitt will let him heft even heavier things.
Fifth, you have the inventory. You have a myriad of useful items to find and employ in this game. The lantern (the first item you find) lights up darkened areas, and can also be used to light torches. The boomerang can stun certain enemies and can also be used to retrieve small objects. You can also find an Ice Rod, which lets you freeze certain enemies, turning them into statues of ice. The list goes on and on. You will have so much fun just experimenting with each new trinket you come across, trying to find ways to use it to improve your overall combat strategy.
Sixth would have to be the story. The first two games had a story, of course, but it wasn’t clearly explained in either game. If you wanted more details, you had to read the instruction manual. A Link to the Past can easily be played and understood by anyone, with or without the instructions. The story of A Link to the Past is beautifully written through copious dialogues. There is even a terrific back story if one waits on the title screen.
In summary, the evil wizard, Aghanim is attempting open the portal to the Golden Land to seize the power of the Triforce. To do this, he needs the power of seven maidens who are the descendants of the Seven Wise Men who created the seal during the Imprisoning War. Zelda is the last remaining maiden and contacts Link telepathically to save her. Link goes to Hyrule Castle to find that his uncle had fallen undertaking the same quest. Taking up the family sword and shield, Link rescues Zelda and takes her to Sanctuary. She tells him that in order to stop Aghanim, he needs to find the Master Sword. So, Link sets out to win the Three Pendants of Virtue, needed to prove oneself worthy of wielding the Blade of Evil’s Bane.
Seventh, last, and certainly not least is the music. Oh, the music! This game has produced some the greatest tunes in not only the Zelda franchise, but in video games overall. First, you have a remastered, orchestral version of the classic Zelda adventuring tune from the first game. Then, there’s some brand-new over world music for the Dark World, which is my favorite piece of Zelda music of all time. The music for the (foggy) Lost Woods is epically eerie. Then, you are treated to a serene beat when you travel to Kakariko Village. The dungeon music is also top-notch. You actually get two types of dungeon music here: one for Light World dungeons, and a different one for Dark World dungeons. Then, there’s the credits. I don’t often get shivers from music of any kind, but the music that plays during the credits is one of the most beautiful compositions I’ve ever heard, in or out of video games. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m going to want it played at my funeral.
Join us on another round of My Favorite Level as John takes us on a short, nostalgic trip back to the Super Nintendo era.
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