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Stryyder

The Legend of Zelda - 30 years in just over 30 days

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Welcome weary traveler! Grab your wooden sword and shield and lets go cut some grass!

In 1986, Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka began what would become one of the most popular game franchises of all time, The Legend of Zelda. Since then there have been a dozen and a half major titles and half a dozen spinoffs over 11 game systems. Recently, the first full trailer for the newest major installment, Breath of the Wilds, was released. It launches on 3/3/17.

I have been a huge fan of the series, I've played nearly every title for it (missed a few spinoffs) and have owned or currently own pretty much every major installment in some form or another.

In celebration of the release of Breath of the Wilds, I have decided to delve back and replay EVERY major LoZ release. I MAY fudge along the way, specifically Four Swords (because it is multiplayer only) and Four Swords Adventure (because it's not available on virtual console and I may not be able to find the GC disc). But I will make a concerted effort to make it happen.

I have also decided to dedicate this playthrough to Gabe Marcelo, and will be making a donation to the Child's Play charity in the amount of $10 per game I can complete, plus $30 for the 30th anniversary, for a total donation of up to $200. Please take a moment to read the announcement post for this and to read Gabe's story linked therein. - Here

So how it's going to work is that I will post updates here as I make my way through. I spent some time considering how to go through them, as there are several orders I could do. Release order is one way, or Chronologically via the timeline in the Hyrule Historia. Since the latter would have me starting with Skyward Sword, I decided to start a LITTLE more low key and, for nostalgia sake, play through the original NES games first. From there, I will likely follow the chronological timeline. So without further ado, here we go!


Legend of Zelda 1986 - NES (played on 3DS Virtual Console) - Finished

Zelda no Densetsu was conceived by Shigeru Miyamoto based on his childhood love of exploring forests and caves. The princess Zelda was named after novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife because Miyamoto thought the name sounded "pleasant and significant". Other inspirations include Peter Pan and Tinkerbell (Link's green tunic and cap and the use of fairy companions like Navi) and Arthurian Legend (the master sword emulating Excalibur).

The original game brings us back to an early time in home video games. Whereas modern games have long narratives, cutscenes, guides, etc, LoZ had a short story exposition in the manual but little to no in-game guidance. The player is dropped on an 8x16 grid map and that's it. You are left to explore, find items, and eventually find the 8 shards of Zelda's Triforce of Wisdom that were scattered throughout the land. This also leaves the player open to play ANY of the 8 dungeons in whatever order they choose. (somewhat limited as dungeon 4 can't be reached until you get the raft from dungeon 3, etc)

So being a modern game player, long removed from my days of map drawing and ability to waste hours replaying and replaying to find everything, I decided to cheat with this game a bit. I printed myself out a map showing where to find specific things such as heart containers, sword upgrades dungeon locations and key items. However, from there I left it up to my own wits to find WHERE those items were in each screen and how to progress through each dungeon. It took a few days to complete the playthrough, giving time for work and other obligations. Definitely one of the better games. Not much story progression, but the puzzle solving and enemy difficulty has always been a good challenge. I debated going through the harder 2nd quest before moving on to the next game, but I figured I only have 45ish days to play 17 games, so best to move on. Some great nostalgia here.


Adventure of Link 1987 - NES (played on 3DS Virtual Console) - Finished

Easily the most controversial of the LoZ titles, AoL is a HUGE departure from the first game and the gameplay was all but abandoned for future titles. As far as chronology, AoL acts as the only direct sequel to LoZ as all other releases are said to be prequels or alternate timelines. So it could be stated that this is the "final" story chronologically.

As for gameplay, AoL acts more as a JRPG than the standard puzzle quest formula. Defeating enemies gains experience, most gameplay takes place as a side-scroll instead of top down, Link now directly interacts with NPCs in various towns and Link even learns some magic spells and upgraded attack moves. However, this game keeps the high learning curve and minimal in-game direction theme of the original.

One significant part of all this is that this is the only Zelda game that I have NEVER beaten, nor have I ever even gotten CLOSE to beating it. I played it some as a kid (I was 6 or 7 when it came out) but it was too hard at the time. I acquired it through the 3DS ambassador program back in 2011, but didn't play much. Because of all this, and the same time-constraints mentioned above, I am cheating a bit. I have printed out a walkthrough that shows me what items to pick up between each dungeon and where each dungeon is. I am currently working through the items before dungeon 2. It really is a fun game, but the limited life count (after dying 3 times you are sent back to Zelda's castle and lose any experience since your last level up) and the difficulty of finding key items and meeting key characters definitely makes it a game that could take WEEKS if playing without any guide at all.

1-24-17 - I'm currently on Dungeon 3 of AoL. This probably matches the farthest I've ever been in the game. It also is riddled with what is easily my least favorite enemy, the Iron Knuckle. For those who don't know, these guys are armored knights that hold a shield. You can strike high or low (as can they) but they will move their shields to block you very quickly. So you have to try and psyche them out while at the same time paying attention to their attacks and blocking them. The orange ones you first encounter in previous dungeons aren't too bad, red ones that now appear are faster and take more hits but aren't impossible. The blue ones, on the other hand, are ridiculously fast with their shields and swords and fire sword beams with each strike. They are near impossible at certain levels (almost impossible at my current level) and not only are there a few in the castle, the final boss is a blue one. After some research I have learned that you can actually target their heads with a well timed jump slash and they can't block it, so I'll have to try that out. either way, I'll probably grind a bit to the next level, since I think it is an attack upgrade, which means less hits to kill them.

1-25-17 - Still making my way through AoL. Honestly, once I'm through this one, I'm pretty sure the rest are gonna be really easy, lol. So I tried the jump slash on the Iron Knuckles and realized how easy they really are. Beat the boss in castle 3 on the first try after I learned it. So post castle 3 I finally made my way to east Hyrule for the first time ever. Definitely a lot different. The walkthrough is still helping me avoid hours of useless wandering. I picked up more spells, heart containers and upward slash, and even did a quick level grind to get my lvl 5 attack upgrade. After that, castle 4. I think I died completely only once and that was after I had already picked up the special item, so no huge loss. The final boss (essentially a buffed wizzrobe) was fast, but easy enough with Shield and Reflect cast. Already picked up the newly available heart container and my next stop is castle 5 in the middle of the water. I don't know if death mountain and castle 3 were just much more difficult by comparison or I'm getting more comfortable with the game, but I'm breezing through pretty quickly now. Hopefully I'll have it beat by tomorrow or Friday, which means I'll likely move on to Link's Awakening or Minish Cap. (I'd like to start into Skyward Sword, but I'll be out of town this weekend and carting my Wii would be a hassle. I don't want to take too much of a break, since I'm trying to get through these on a timetable).

1-30-17 - Ok, so post weekend update. I spent Wednesday night getting through the last 2 standard dungeons in AoL. They were pretty simple, compared to lvl 3. So the next step was the "Great Dungeon" where the final boss, Dark Link, resides. getting there was a chore in itself. a lot of erratically moving or heavily defensive monsters sit in the way and if you die 3 times you start ALL over again from back at your home base. After spending most of Thursday just GETTING there I was in for a big battle. Not only were there new enemies that worked like Iron Knuckles, but they moved about twice as fast and could jump now. Most of the dungeon was spent dodging and running away from most enemies. The only saving grace was that dying in this particular castle DIDN'T send me back to Zelda's castle, but just to the beginning of this one, which was CRUCIAL to winning.



Gonna take a quick time out to say I don't know HOW anyone got through this game original because the "Create save point" feature in the Virtual Console is the only way I did it. You can set a restore point right before the boss and just reload it if you die. So helpful.



So speaking of the boss, this castle has TWO. The first is Thunderbird. He floats around the screen and drops fireballs on you. You have to stab him in the face a bunch of times. But that's only AFTER you cast Thunder to destroy his initial impervious armor. So to start the battle you have to cast Shield, Jump and Thunder (skimping on ANY of the 3 makes the battle unwinnable) which takes out all of your MP so no healing spells. Now on my first playthrough of this dungeon, I hadn't done a LOT of level grinding, just gained the standard ones as I went, with one bonus that I did grind for. This was a mistake. I came in at Att 6, Health 7 and Magic 7 (they all max out at 8). After going up against Thunderbird about 20 times I finally decided to bite the bullet and go back and grind. Found a good spot to do it (Random Encounters net 300-350 exp per, plus a local town for healing). I had to grab a total of 23k exp and I did so within an hour or two. Now the next problem, getting BACK to the grand dungeon. The new levels were SOME help on the way, but not really effective when an enemy suddenly changes course and knocks you into a lava pit. and it still didn't help on the hopping shield enemies in the castle itself. But eventually I DID get back to the castle boss(sometime Saturday night). I went in, cast my spells (with a bit of MP left this time, but still not enough for a healing spell) and began the attack. What would have taken 20-25 hits last time now only took about a dozen. I beat him on the second or third try. Advance to the next room for the FINAL boss, Dark Link. After all this, he was a bit of a disappointment. All you have to do is stand at the edge of the screen and attack. he got in one hit before he went down and I won. Definitely an experience on this one. I could now go back through the game for a second time, this time with all my stats and spells saved from the previous adventure. I tried out the first dungeon and beat it handily. I may go back later and beat it again like this, but for now, time to move on. An accomplishment 30 years in the making, so I am proud to finally have knocked it out.

Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap 2005 - GBA (Played via original cartridge on an original NDS and GBASP) - Finished

So technically the first game I should be playing in the chronological playthrough is Skyward Sword. Unfortunately this week I will be spending much of my home time cleaning house for a big gathering this weekend, so wiling away hours in front of the Wii(U) is not going to happen and I'd rather not waste the time on my challenge. So let's go to the next game for now. Minish Cap is the prequel to the Four Swords games as well as the origin story for the secondary LoZ villain, Vaati and the alternate hero weapon, The Four Sword. It is a one of the rare instances where the hero Link is not locked into his destiny to vanquish Ganon with the Master Sword. This particular Hyrule has a unique race of beings, the diminutive Minish (or Picori as they are known to the Hylians). The minish act as sprites and legends who help with all manner of things, but can only be seen by children. Before being corrupted by evil magic, Vaati was once a Minish apprentice, serving the wizard Ezlo. He stole a magical hat that Ezlo had created, that granted the wishes of the wearer. The ambitious Vaati wanted nothing more than to be the most powerful wizard and rule the land. He cursed his former master and set out to find the light force that would help him turn the world to darkness. After Vaati turns Zelda to stone Link is chosen to find 4 elements to restore the legendary Picori blade that once sealed a great evil to it's former glory after being shattered. In his travels Link is assisted by the cursed Ezlo, now turned into a green hat that gives him the power to shrink to minish size and explore all the lands for the elements.

So, after finishing AoL I jumped right into Minish (after digging out my original DS and charging it). The gameplay is pretty standard for a top-down LoZ game. The graphics are definitely top notch for GBA, and while the overworld may not be as big as, say, A Link to the Past, the difference between where you can go as full sized and as Minish size, gives it a bit more depth. I have already gone through 2 of the 4 dungeons so it's going quickly. I should have it finished within a couple days. You could spend a lot longer on it, finding all the items and finishing the game-specific gimmick of Kinstone Fusing, but none of that is really required for a quick playthrough.

2-2-17 - Sadly I've been doing a lot of housework and cooking(and political ranting) this week, or else I probably would have beat the game by now. I made it through the water temple and am now at the wind temple to get the element that was taken from dungeon 3. One thing that this game did, probably more than any of the others, is maximize the "between dungeon" fluff. Most of the games have 8 or more dungeons, some have a split between "early game" and "late game", like the 3/7 split in LttP. This one really only has 5, and that's only because #3 is a waste of time, as stated above. So between dungeons you generally have to wander to a couple different place to unlock the way or get a new item that will lead the way to the next objective. Definitely an interesting play, as it rounds out your time between direct dungeon puzzles and deciphering clues on where you need to be and who you need to speak to.

2-5-17 - 3rd game finished. Finished off the 5th dungeon and made my way back to the castle to get my full power sword. By that time I remembered the castle itself acts as a 6th dungeon. No big items to get, but plenty of rooms to get lost in, big enemies to fight and places to die. After making it through I came up against Vaati for the final showdown. Definitely one of the more difficult final battles in a Zelda game. Most have one or two stages, usually needing a specific item like the light arrows. Fighting Vaati is 3 stages requiring 1 or more different items in each stage, shrinking at points and using the Four-sword duplication in 2 of the stages. All in all a fun game. I could easily see myself coming back after the challenge (or taking it to lunch while I'm playing the non-handheld games) and completing more of the side quests.

Legend of Zelda: Four Swords 2002 - GBA packed with LttP anniv ed. (Played via 3DS limited release on VC) - Completed
Four Swords was an interesting addition to the Zelda mythos. It is included in the official timeline just after Minish cap and before OoT, as a continuation of the Minish cap trilogy (followed by Four Swords Adventure) which details Link's adventures against the lesser villain, Vaati. The game itself was simply an add-on to the GBA rerelease of LttP and could originally ONLY be played as a multiplayer game using GBA link cables. Getting certain achievements would get you certain items in LttP and beating it would open a new optional dungeon within LttP. I was never able to play it, because when I got the cartridge, no one I knew bought it as well. However, during their 25th anniversary in 2012, Nintendo released a Virtual Console port of Four Swords available for a limited time for free and luckily, I heard about it and picked it up. The VC port finally included a solo mode, with one player controlling 2 Links through swapping and leading. The gameplay isn't too tough and the game itself is the shortest in the LoZ family, having no overworld, just a map with 4 locations; 3 initial dungeons and Vaati's palace. Players must play through the 3 dungeons, which are more just environments with a boss at the end, to collect silver keys. Initially you can only get the silver keys by collecting 1000 rupees throughout the level. Once you have all the keys, you can access Vaati's castle and vanquish him. You can play back through these levels now in harder modes where you need more rupees to get keys, up through the 3rd playthrough where you are granted the Hero keys and after defeating Vaati gain access to other sub-areas. For my playthrough, I simply beat Vaati once, to satisfy the storyline. Another interesting part of this game is that it was the midpoint in redesign between the Oracle series and Minish cap. You can see this in quite a few updated enemy designs which were later used in MC, including Like Likes, Bombarossa, Ropes and Kheese. So there's one more done.

Legend of Zelda: The Skyward Sword 2011 - Wii (Played via WiiU) - Completed

I've been putting off any console versions because of cleaning for a large houseparty, but since that is over and done with, it's time to go back to the start. First game in the Chronology, The Skyward Sword. I've only played through this one once, but it was definitely a favorite. I was a little disappointed with the final villain. The concept of Demise was great, starting the curse of Ganon on generations of Hylians, but the general character design of the character was disappointing IMO. But I was very happy with the characterization of Zelda in this game. Giving her more of a human aspect and not just the royalty persona was a lot of fun. Looking forward to that in Breath of the wild's as well.

2-6-17 - Alright, so Skyward Sword is underway. It's been quite a while since I played it, and I've only gone through once, so there is a ton of stuff that I forgot. I've made it through the exposition and into the meat of the game, through temple 1. I will say, playing a Wii game on the WiiU upscaled by a 4k TV, the graphics suffer quite a bit. Exacerbated by all the light bloom they used in the Wii titles. All in all though, it's as fun as I remember. The use of specific sword swings within the game makes the use of the Wiimote less cumbersome and more skill intensive. And, as I've said before, the inclusion of Zelda as an active story element, rather than just a hostage or "sage" is a welcome change. I forgot how much fun the loftwing flying can be (particularly compared to the often boring sailing used in WW). I'll hopefully get through the Eldin volcano tonight at least. If I recall, this game has 7 or 8 total dungeons, split in 2 groups. I think the only thing that really bugs me, which is just personal gripe, is Fi's constant interruptions, which are on par or worse than Navi in OoT. At least with Navi I could ignore her, but Fi just pops out and starts talking. Hopefully it will slow now that I'm farther into the game.

2/7 - Skyward Sword - Not too much progress, as I got no sleep Sunday night so I wanted to get to bed on time last night. I returned to the Goddess Statue and opened the way to the next area, Eldin Volcano. On my way back I did the sidequest initializing the gratitude crystals. Seemed prudent so I didn't have to bump into the mom screaming by the statue every time I went back. made my way through the volcano surface, learning the fun art of throwing and bowling with bombs and met the weird mole people griping about their "turf" like a gang out of West Side Story. When I left off I had just made my way below ground to the caverns. Hopefully I can get to the Dungeon and get the next item tonight.

2/8 - So we left off in the underground area of the volcano. Wandering through there facing moblins and talking to more of the fun little Mogma. (SIDE NOTE: another place where SS deviates from OoT and the rest of the series, is the introduction of non-standard helpful races. Instead of the Kokiri/Deku or the Gorons, it introduces the Kikwi and Mogma. The question remains, what happened to those races in future generations?) After making it back to the surface we climb the mountain (slingshotting Bokoblins carrying boulders for some fun Wile E. Coyote shenanigans) and find the temple. But of course the key is broken and scattered, so we have to go dig up the pieces with our new digger gloves (their second appearance, the first being Minish Cap). This temple is one of my favorites for design, least favorites for that damn lava. Lots of problem solving with bombs, beetle and a big ball that you have to walk on to get through the lava. It's steampunk meets Chinese décor. I made short work of the big flaming no-face and moved on. Finally met up with Zelda! except Impa's a killjoy and won't let us hang out. Oh well, on to the water temp.....wait no water temple? We've done this before, earth, fire, water, like Capt. Planet without Gi, Ma-ti and the monkey. Ok, fine then. next stop is the DESERT. (pretty much the antithesis of a water temple) So the Lanayru Desert is probably one of the more interesting places in the Zelda series. At first it just looks like the mine that time forgot, until you figure out the stones they were mining are temporally charged. Hitting one of them causes time to reverse in the immediate area, turning quicksand to grass and bringing the tragic, but adorable, ancient robots back to life. After some delving through the mine we make it to the desert proper, tossing a couple bombs, and saving a robot who upgrades my beetle to be able to grab bombs in mid-air, which is going to be key in making my way to the temple...next time.

2/9 - Remember when I said Minish Cap had a lot to do between dungeons and that was a departure from the norm? Well SS decided to continue the trend. First I had to find all the Kikwi's before the forest temple, then I had to wander the volcano for keys to the fire temple. I had to spend quite a while last night in the desert trying to find an end around to get into the blocked off desert temple. But now I'm in and hopefully tonight I'll get through it, so I can move on to the second phase of the game.

2/10 - Finally made it through phase one of the game. The desert temple took me over an hour to get through, not because it was big, but because it was complicated. had to start over a few times because I didn't realize I was doing something wrong, lol. Protip: it's ok to call on Fi for enemy tips occasionally. Either way, next on the list is to return to the old lady who sent me on this crazy trip and figure out what to do now that Zelda disappeared with Impa through the time gate.

2/13 - Made a bunch of headway in this one. talked to the old lady and beat back the Imprisoned again. Found out my next objective is to revisit areas I've been to already and pass trials from the Goddesses (Nayru, Farore and Din if you may have forgotten) and use their gifts to find the flames that will empower my sword to open the gate of time, so I can follow Zelda and Impa. The trials mimic some things introduced in Twilight princess; the "Silent Realm" possibly a precursor to the Twilight realm and collecting the goddess tears. It takes the form of a dimensional overlay on an area I've already explored, except there are big shiny guys that follow me and if they hit me once I lose the trial and have to start over. My goal is to collect 15 tears. Luckily each time I collect a tear it freezes the monsters for 90 seconds (unless I step in "waking water" puddles or get too close to the lantern holders that wake up the monsters) and there are light plants which create beacons over all the remaining tears for 30 seconds. So here's what I got done this weekend:
1) Pass Farore's Trial in the forest.
2) Swim to the unexplored area where the water dragon lives.
3) bring the water dragon sacred water from the back of the first dungeon I conquered.
4) Enter the Ancient Cistern, a dungeon with a large Buddha in the middle that rises and falls to reveal more dungeon parts. (this place also gave me my first look at Zombie Bokoblins which are gross but not as gross as the old ReDeads)
5) Acquire new item, the whip, and fight the big mechanical 6 armed statue to get Farore's Flame of Courage and upgrade my blade.
6) Return to Lanayru Desert.
7) Pass Nayru's Trial (on second try).
8) Meet an ancient robot captain using the time crystals and sail on a water/sand sea first to his hideout to try out my new dual hookshot and get a map, then to the shipyard where we didn't find his ship but I got to do some cool mine cart roller coaster rides, then we found his ship, being sailed by a pirate who I handily dispatched.
9) Explore the ship and free the captain's crew, picking up the old standard Bow and Arrows (probably the latest I've seen them acquired in a Zelda game).
10) Defeat the giant tentacled Cyclops for Nayru's flame of wisdom and blade upgrade #2.

So the next task, if I know enough of my LoZ lore, is to travel back to the volcano to get Din's flame of power. After that I should be pretty close to being ready to face Demise. Definitely want to finish up by Thursday, as I'll be at an event all weekend and will have limited play time.

2/14 - So the last I left off, I had saved just after the desert ship boss and just turned off the game. Loading back up I knew my next destination would be the Eldin volcano again. I made my way over there to complete Din's trial in the Silent Realm. This was definitely the most difficult. There are some odd areas here where you have to slide down the mountain or dash up the mountain and they are very unforgiving. It took me 4 tries before I got the right order to do everything. Completing the trial got me the fire earrings which let me explore the hot parts of the volcano without burning up. As I entered Fi came out to tell me there was a 90% chance the final Goddess flame to strengthen my sword was located here and I should "search out flames". (protip: EVERYTHING in this area is on fire) Oh Fi, you and your sense of humor. But that's where I stopped because of errands and cooking competitions.

2/15 - Ok, so I forgot that this game, unlike previous entries, is actually separated into 3 arcs instead of 2. I've officially finished the first 2. Arc 1 was the initial search for Zelda, arc 2 was searching for the flames that would temper my sword.
After getting into the heart of the volcano I searched around for a while and found the entrance to the new temple. Only one problem, it has a gate of fire and I can't reach the switch that I have to pour water on, plus it would need a LOT of water, more than a few bottles full. Enter my friendly helper robot. (Ok, he doesn't really like me, but he's got a crush of Fi, the little weirdo). We return to the Faron woods and borrow a big water basin from the Water dragon. Only one problem, the game drops me at the BOTTOM of the volcano and the little turd is too lazy to fly to the summit by himself. So I have to climb ALL the way back up while also protecting him from enemies, including a decent host of bow and arrow Bokoblins. Takes a while, but we get there. This temple was pretty confusing, lots of twists and turns, rooms leading back to taller rooms, some open air segments. Halfway through I wasn't even sure if I had gone the right way, but ended up right where I needed to be. left a couple non-essential treasure chests but I was happy to be done with it. Final boss was my second battle with Ghirahim, who looks more and more like an Anime character out of Yuri on Ice. Once I beat him and got the last flame, I headed back to the sealed temple, fought back the imprisoned one more time and opened the gate of time with the newly finished Master Sword! Holy story dump, Batman. I figured I'd do one more thing before shutting down for the evening to watch Forged in Fire, but forgot that I had to now go through about 20 minutes of cutscenes explaining the rest of the storyline. Hylia sacrificed herself to seal Demise, reincarnated as Zelda, now Zelda has to sleep in the past until Demise can be completely defeated. Now to defeat Demise I have to go find the Triforce. But the only one who knows about it is some giant sky whale that is being controlled by evil forces, so now I know my next destination. More to come...

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 1998 - N64 (Played via 3DS remaster) - Completed

I figured, I have less than a month now and I have around a dozen games to play still, so why not double up! Since Most of the games are on handheld, while I play through Skyward Sword, and eventually WW and TP, I might as well spend the downtime when I can't get on the console continuing my goal. As such, I've also started playing OoT on my 3DS.
It's become pretty second nature by now. I've played it enough times to be pretty autopilot, and compared to the size and scope of TP and TSS the fun is there, but the challenge isn't so much anymore. I went through the Kokiri/Deku Tree stuff within 30-45min and am now in the fields, on my way to the castle, before I go for the second charm.
2/7 - Went to the castle, met Zelda, saw Ganon, learned a song, went back to Saria, learned a song, went to the Goron Village, played a song, went to Dodongo's Cavern. I'm about halfway through the Cavern, but I took a break after the new episode of Kid's Cookoff (Food Network is the best) to get some work done in Skyward Sword. I will say, I forgot how boring travel is in this game before you can ride around or warp. Especially when you get to your destination (Goron Village) and realize you were supposed to go somewhere else (Saria in the woods) first. So ready to be in the second part of the game.
2/8 - So I went through the rest of Dodongo's cavern on my lunch break yesterday. Simple enough, feed him bombs just like in the original game. Spent a little while wandering, meeting 2 faeries to get the spin attack and din's fire. Then I trekked up the river to Zora's domain. One thing I've found interesting in this playthrough is the similarities to the beginning of Skyward Sword. Both start with a Forest, then a volcano. Both give you the slingshot and bombs in those areas (though in SS you get the sling before the dungeon and the beetle IN the dungeon). Both require you to feed bombs to the fire dungeon boss. Very interesting.
2/9 - Made it through Lord Jabu Jabu's belly. I remember that being one of my least favorite dungeons because of the meandering passages and having to tote Ruto around, but I made pretty light work of it this time. This means my next step is the future! Pulled the sword and advanced 7 years. Now I need to find the 5 sages. First stop is Kakariko to get the Hookshot from the gravekeeper and then the forest temple. FINALLY! I can use warp songs! I had forgotten how much more difficult the adult temples were, compared to the first 3. Took a bit, but I beat the ghosts and made it through. Next is either the fire or water temple I believe, but first I'm going to do some time jumping and get me my horse.
2/10 - Went back and did the stuff to get Epona, so now I can ride around instead of running in adult mode. Next stop was a return to Death Mountain to rescue the gorons from Volvagia. Now the dungeons are getting bigger and more convoluted. Ended up going in circles a couple times to pick up keys, but finally made it to the end and took down the dragon. I think the next stop will be the frozen Zora lands and from there the ghost temple in kakariko and desert temple in Gerudo
2/13 - Played a lot of SS, so I didn't make quite as much progress here. I got through the ice cave and procured the Hookshot, at then the Zora tunic from the king. On to my LEAST favorite temple in the game, the ice temple. So convoluted with the 3 levels of water and the different hallways. end up raising the water at the wrong time to get a key so you have to go all the way back through. I managed to make my way through without resorting to a walkthrough though. Next was under the well for the lens of truth and into the shadow temple. This one is pretty straightforward and linear, which was welcome. I got to the boss, but was too tired to try again after he beat me the first time, so that's my next objective. Then just the desert and the final battle and I'm finished! Hopefully I can get to some LttP in a day or two.
2/14 - Skyward Sword - So the last I left off, I had saved just after the desert ship boss and just turned off the game. Loading back up I knew my next destination would be the Eldin volcano again. I made my way over there to complete Din's trial in the Silent Realm. This was definitely the most difficult. There are some odd areas here where you have to slide down the mountain or dash up the mountain and they are very unforgiving. It took me 4 tries before I got the right order to do everything. Completing the trial got me the fire earrings which let me explore the hot parts of the volcano without burning up. As I entered Fi came out to tell me there was a 90% chance the final Goddess flame to strengthen my sword was located here and I should "search out flames". (protip: EVERYTHING in this area is on fire) Oh Fi, you and your sense of humor. But that's where I stopped because of errands and cooking competitions.
2/15 - So it has been a while since I faced the final challenge here. the first step is 5 different rooms, each modeled after one of the temples/areas from the adult half of the game. Next we make our way up the central tower, facing some of the more challenging small enemies, nothing too difficult. Finally up at the top it's the battle with Ganondorf. This part used to give me a lot of trouble, but over the years I've honed my tennis skills so passing energy blasts back and forth wasn't too hard. After beating him up a bit the place starts collapsing so Zelda and I make our way back down the tower. From the rubble comes beast Ganon. After some tumbling that would make a hobbit proud, along with some hammer to the tail and a sword to the face Ganon goes down and another one bites the dust. All in all, a very fun play through. Glad to be done with it, so I can move on, but some great nostalgia. Completed.

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 1992 - Super Nintendo (Played via GBA rerelease on OGDS) - Completed
(Details here)

Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages 2001 - Game Boy Color (Played via Virtual Console on 3DS) - In Progress
(Details start Here)

Progress
Chronological Order
Skyward Sword (Wii)
Minish Cap (GBA)
Four Swords (GBA, Included with LttP Anniv Ed.)
Ocarina of Time (N64)


Decline Parallel Reality
A Link to the Past (SNES)
Oracle of Seasons (GBC)

Oracle of Ages (GBC)
Link's Awakening (GB)
Link Between Worlds (3DS)
Tri Force Heroes (3DS)
Legend of Zelda (NES)
Adventure of Link (NES)


Twilight Realm Parallel Reality
Majora's Mask (N64)
Twilight Princess (GC/Wii)
Four Swords Adventure (GC)

New World Parallel Reality
The Wind Waker (GC)
Phantom Hourglass (DS)
Spirit Tracks (DS)


Current tally for Child's Play Donation: $80+30=$110

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My first Zelda was OoT and i hated it. My cousins loved it and they had thr 64 and always wanted to play it. Years later, I tried the orginal from my ambassador program, and loved it. I also have played the SNES one and throughly enjoyed that. I feel eventually i will play seasons and ages as they have the same gameplay

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I am pretty "meh" on the Zelda games. I don't hate them, but if I am being completely honest I don't understand the crazy evangelical levels of fanaticism they have. I played OoT and Majora's Mask and Spirit Tracks and liked them, played Windwaker and A Link Between Worlds and REALLY liked them, but other than that i just am not super invested in it.

 

I think a large portion of that is because of the ones I have played they have been on systems with a lot of other quality titles that I wanted to play, and since the Wii that hasn't been the case. Those systems brought me to Zelda because of everything else available on them. When the selling point of the system is JUST Zelda I won't be playing it.

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@Vile - Understandable.  The top down games are definitely more unique than the 3D ones.  I'd suggest trying Link between Worlds (as it's a direct sequel to the SNES one), Minish cap and Link's Awakening.  All share the top-down play style of the original.

 

@Shoryu - To each their own.  I know you're big on fighting games and I'm in the same boat there, just never got the fanaticism about them.  I'm much more into storyline, fantasy, etc.  just differences in opinion.

 

 

As an update, I'm currently on Dungeon 3 of AoL.  This probably matches the farthest I've ever been in the game.  It also is riddled with what is easily my least favorite enemy, the Iron Knuckle.  For those who don't know, these guys are armored knights that hold a shield.  You can strike high or low (as can they) but they will move their shields to block you very quickly.  So you have to try and psyche them out while at the same time paying attention to their attacks and blocking them.  The orange ones you first encounter in previous dungeons aren't too bad, red ones that now appear are faster and take more hits but aren't impossible.  The blue ones, on the other hand, are ridiculously fast with their shields and swords and fire sword beams with each strike.  They are near impossible at certain levels (almost impossible at my current level) and not only are there a few in the castle, the final boss is a blue one.  After some research I have learned that you can actually target their heads with a well timed jump slash and they can't block it, so I'll have to try that out.  either way, I'll probably grind a bit to the next level, since I think it is an attack upgrade, which means less hits to kill them.  More soon...

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@Vile - Understandable.  The top down games are definitely more unique than the 3D ones.  I'd suggest trying Link between Worlds (as it's a direct sequel to the SNES one), Minish cap and Link's Awakening.  All share the top-down play style of the original.

 

@Shoryu - To each their own.  I know you're big on fighting games and I'm in the same boat there, just never got the fanaticism about them.  I'm much more into storyline, fantasy, etc.  just differences in opinion.

 

 

As an update, I'm currently on Dungeon 3 of AoL.  This probably matches the farthest I've ever been in the game.  It also is riddled with what is easily my least favorite enemy, the Iron Knuckle.  For those who don't know, these guys are armored knights that hold a shield.  You can strike high or low (as can they) but they will move their shields to block you very quickly.  So you have to try and psyche them out while at the same time paying attention to their attacks and blocking them.  The orange ones you first encounter in previous dungeons aren't too bad, red ones that now appear are faster and take more hits but aren't impossible.  The blue ones, on the other hand, are ridiculously fast with their shields and swords and fire sword beams with each strike.  They are near impossible at certain levels (almost impossible at my current level) and not only are there a few in the castle, the final boss is a blue one.  After some research I have learned that you can actually target their heads with a well timed jump slash and they can't block it, so I'll have to try that out.  either way, I'll probably grind a bit to the next level, since I think it is an attack upgrade, which means less hits to kill them.  More soon...

AoL is brutal.  Grab some maps because I spent hours being lost in the later dungeons.  That last one...

 

I love Zelda games overall, but I like some more than others.  I agree with Vile that OOT is meh.  It may have been groundbreaking back in the day, but when I go to replay a Zelda game, OOT is near the bottom of my list.

 

2D ones are my fav.  Link Between Worlds was absolutely PHENOMENAL.  LTTP, Awakening, NES, Minish Cap, SO GOOD.  Oracle of Ages/Seasons were cool but Ages is definitely better.  I actually loved Wind Waker and Majora's Mask, too.  Twilight Princess was good but it didn't really stick with me for some reason.  Haven't gone back to replay it. 

 

I know there was some serious controversy, but I like Skyward Sword.  The motion controls did not bother me.  It had its flaws, though.  I really enjoyed it, though.

 

Whoops.  I just kept going on.  I'm a sucker for explorey games.

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A Link to the Past still holds a special place in my heart and Wind Waker is easily one of my favorite ones due to it's shear size and originality. I like most Zelda games but started falling out for other games at and around the release of Twilight Princess.

 

As a Zelda game and holding it up to a light in a vacuum composed of only Zelda... that game was poor quality. An attempt at a more dark and emotional story that failed because it couldn't produce the emotion necessary unless you are emotionally a child still. The art direction could have used work despite being delayed just for that purpose. Splitting it across two generations of consoles was a bad idea especially when you wanted to make them feel different somehow and backwards compatibility was a thing then. I feel that it has it's dedicated fan base solely because those people don't understand what good story telling is. 

 

Skyward Sword was okay, as a Zelda game I liked it but how hard was it to do better given what came before it and when you leave the vacuum there were much better choices for adventure games even on the Wii.

 

I am however, looking forward to Zelda, Breath of the Wild. That trailer did a lot to change my mind and I feel that this may be what saves Zelda for me. I actually felt the desperation they were trying to portray and that's what I've been waiting for. A Zelda game that boasts more than the title Zelda. 

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I'm pretty much on the same page.  TwiPrin was visually good, on paper good, but the execution was stunted.  I liked the Midna character, but a lot of the darkness was poorly translated to the player.  And it was probably my least favorite portrayal of the eponymous character as she seemed an emotionless royal.  By contrast, the characterization for Zelda in Skyward Sword was what highlighted the game for me.  Granted I'm already a sucker for the shy "I want to tell you something important later..." trope, but just the humanity they finally instilled in her and the importance she has to the story beyond "the princess has been kidnapped, save her" was top notch.  My biggest criticism is the final villain.  Granted I understand how Demise fits into the story and sets up the whole premise of Ganondorf, but the design being a textured leech with big toes was just so underwhelming.

 

As it is, I appreciate both styles for what they are.  The 3D, grandiose exploration and the top-down grid form puzzle quests.

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So quick update, I tested out the Jump slash to the head of the Iron Knuckles and beat the Blue boss in one try with only shield spell, didn't have to replenish my health with life spell.  So that means the next step is the eastern continent.  Here goes nothing!

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1-25-17 - Still making my way through AoL.  Honestly, once I'm through this one, I'm pretty sure the rest are gonna be really easy, lol.  Last night I finished castle 4.  I think I died completely only once and that was after I had already picked up the special item, so no huge loss.  The final boss (essentially a buffed wizzrobe) was fast, but easy enough with Shield and Reflect cast.  Already picked up the newly available heart container and my next stop is castle 5 in the middle of the water.  I don't know if death mountain and castle 3 were just much more difficult by comparison or I'm getting more comfortable with the game, but I'm breezing through pretty quickly now.  Hopefully I'll have it beat by tomorrow or Friday, which means I'll likely move on to Link's Awakening or Minish Cap. (I'd like to start into Skyward Sword, but I'll be out of town this weekend and carting my Wii would be a hassle.  I don't want to take too much of a break, since I'm trying to get through these on a timetable).  More to come...

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1-25-17 - Still making my way through AoL.  Honestly, once I'm through this one, I'm pretty sure the rest are gonna be really easy, lol.  Last night I finished castle 4.  I think I died completely only once and that was after I had already picked up the special item, so no huge loss.  The final boss (essentially a buffed wizzrobe) was fast, but easy enough with Shield and Reflect cast.  Already picked up the newly available heart container and my next stop is castle 5 in the middle of the water.  I don't know if death mountain and castle 3 were just much more difficult by comparison or I'm getting more comfortable with the game, but I'm breezing through pretty quickly now.  Hopefully I'll have it beat by tomorrow or Friday, which means I'll likely move on to Link's Awakening or Minish Cap. (I'd like to start into Skyward Sword, but I'll be out of town this weekend and carting my Wii would be a hassle.  I don't want to take too much of a break, since I'm trying to get through these on a timetable).  More to come...

 

I recommend doing Link's Awakening next.  It is the shorter of the two so good for some "out of town" style.  It also gets surprisingly deep.  That was one of the first games I ever played that caused me, the  main character, to begin doubting my own in-game actions and question whether or not I was doing the right thing.  Even after the ending, I was wondering if Link was really acting in his best interest/the interest of those around him, or throwing all of that away for the good of one...

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1-30-17 - Ok, so post weekend update.  I spent Wednesday night getting through the last 2 standard dungeons in AoL.  They were pretty simple, compared to lvl 3.  So the next step was the "Great Dungeon" where the final boss, Dark Link, resides.  getting there was a chore in itself.  a lot of erratically moving or heavily defensive monsters sit in the way and if you die 3 times you start ALL over again from back at your home base.  After spending most of Thursday just GETTING there I was in for a big battle.  Not only were there new enemies that worked like Iron Knuckles, but they moved about twice as fast and could jump now.  Most of the dungeon was spent dodging and running away from most enemies.  The only saving grace was that dying in this particular castle DIDN'T send me back to Zelda's castle, but just to the beginning of this one, which was CRUCIAL to winning.

 

Gonna take a quick time out to say I don't know HOW anyone got through this game original because the "Create save point" feature in the Virtual Console is the only way I did it.  You can set a restore point right before the boss and just reload it if you die.  So helpful.

 

So speaking of the boss, this castle has TWO.  The first is Thunderbird.  He floats around the screen and drops fireballs on you.  You have to stab him in the face a bunch of times.  But that's only AFTER you cast Thunder to destroy his initial impervious armor.  So to start the battle you have to cast Shield, Jump and Thunder (skimping on ANY of the 3 makes the battle unwinnable) which takes out all of your MP so no healing spells.  Now on my first playthrough of this dungeon, I hadn't done a LOT of level grinding, just gained the standard ones as I went, with one bonus that I did grind for.  This was a mistake.  I came in at Att 6, Health 7 and Magic 7 (they all max out at 8).  After going up against Thunderbird about 20 times I finally decided to bite the bullet and go back and grind.  Found a good spot to do it (Random Encounters net 300-350 exp per, plus a local town for healing).  I had to grab a total of 23k exp and I did so within an hour or two.  Now the next problem, getting BACK to the grand dungeon.  The new levels were SOME help on the way, but not really effective when an enemy suddenly changes course and knocks you into a lava pit.  and it still didn't help on the hopping shield enemies in the castle itself.  But eventually I DID get back to the castle boss(sometime Saturday night).  I went in, cast my spells (with a bit of MP left this time, but still not enough for a healing spell) and began the attack.  What would have taken 20-25 hits last time now only took about a dozen.  I beat him on the second or third try.  Advance to the next room for the FINAL boss, Dark Link.  After all this, he was a bit of a disappointment.  All you have to do is stand at the edge of the screen and attack.  he got in one hit before he went down and I won.  Definitely an experience on this one.  I can now go back through the game for a second time, this time with all my stats and spells saved from the previous adventure.  I tried out the first dungeon and beat it handily.  I may go back later and beat it again like this, but for now, time to move on.  An accomplishment 30 years in the making, so I am proud to finally have knocked it out.

 

(I will add all of the updates to the top post.  Check there for my starting post on the next game, The Minish Cap.)

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Alright, so Skyward Sword is underway.  It's been quite a while since I played it, and I've only gone through once, so there is a ton of stuff that I forgot.  I've made it through the exposition and into the meat of the game, through temple 1.  I will say, playing a Wii game on the WiiU upscaled by a 4k TV, the graphics suffer quite a bit.  Exacerbated by all the light bloom they used in the Wii titles.  All in all though, it's as fun as I remember.  The use of specific sword swings within the game makes the use of the Wiimote less cumbersome and more skill intensive.  And, as I've said before, the inclusion of Zelda as an active story element, rather than just a hostage or "sage" is a welcome change.  I forgot how much fun the loftwing flying can be (particularly compared to the often boring sailing used in WW).  I'll hopefully get through the Eldin volcano tonight at least.  If I recall, this game has 7 or 8 total dungeons, split in 2 groups.  I think the only thing that really bugs me, which is just personal gripe, is Fi's constant interruptions, which are on par or worse than Navi in OoT.  At least with Navi I could ignore her, but Fi just pops out and starts talking.  Hopefully it will slow now that I'm farther into the game.  More to come....

 

On another note, I figured, I have less than a month now and I have around a dozen games to play still, so why not double up!  Since Most of the games are on handheld, while I play through Skyward Sword, and eventually WW and TP, I might as well spend the downtime when I can't get on the console continuing my goal.  As such, I've also started playing OoT on my 3DS.  Originally I was going to skip The Four Swords, as I was thinking it was only available as multiplayer on the Anniversary edition of LttP for GBA.  I just realized writing this out that I was one of the few that downloaded the free version on 3DS VC when they offered it during the 25th anniv, before it was taken down.  This version has a single player mode, so I'll be running through that one tonight before continuing OoT. (TFS is VERY short, so it shouldn't take me more than 30-60 minutes, more on that tomorrow.)

As for OoT, it's become pretty second nature by now.  I've played it enough times to be pretty autopilot, and compared to the size and scope of TP and TSS the fun is there, but the challenge isn't so much anymore.  I went through the Kokiri/Deku Tree stuff within 30-45min and am now in the fields, on my way to the castle, before I go for the second charm.  More to come...

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Well that's no fun...

 

 

lol, but definitely possible in open games like that.  going old school, if you played through Myst, the device to help you escape the island is available at the start of the game, you have to explore to get the code for it.  But if you have the code, you can literally start a new game, walk right up to the machine, enter the code and win in about 30 seconds.

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I imagine if you go straight to the end, which I assume is Gannon, he's a massive bitch to face. I'd really be suprised if his fortress didn't require you to use a few items from other dungeons

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True, but it's also entirely possible you can get those weapons without having to complete the dungeons.  Run to a dungeon, get weapon, leave, repeat until you have required stuff, go to final boss, beat him with a LOT of dying and reloading.

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So, quick break to get serious on you for a few minutes. I've felt rather silly on this challenge, mainly because I was really just playing for my own amusement and tugging you guys along for the ride. I didn't really have any reason for doing this whole thing except it sounded like fun. That has now been remedied.

My Zelda 30 year playthrough is now being done in honor of Gabe Marcelo. I found his story earlier today and it definitely hit my heart. You can read it in the link below.

And so, I dedicate this undertaking to the memory of Gabe and remind players, it's not how many hearts you have, so long as you have courage within.

https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/the-dying-man-who-found-hope-in-breath-of-the-wild?utm_source=wpfbusads

As part of this, I will be making a donation in Gabe's name on 3/3/17 to the Child's Play charity of $10 for every game I'm able to complete plus $30 for the 30th anniversary, for a total of $200 if I can complete my challenge. Child's Play is an organization started by Penny Arcade artist Mike Krahulik and writer Jerry Holkins, whose goal is to bring games, toys and other items to hospitals and therapy centers worldwide for children to enjoy and provide a vital distraction from an otherwise generally unpleasant situation. I invite anyone else to make a donation in his name of whatever amount you feel comfortable giving, if you so wish.

Cheers.
~Stryyder

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Well, the forum may have taken an 8 day break, but the Zelda marathon did not.  In the interim I finished...well 2 games, but one of them was a big one, Ocarina of Time.  The other was my promised mow through Four Swords.  You can read the update notes on those in the original post above. (I'm keeping a topic like this on another forum, so I kept my updates going there and just copied them over here).

In the meantime, I'm still working through Skyward Sword.  I've passed through the second arc of the game and am into the shorter final arc. (Details on my progress are above also).

Other than that, it's on to the next game, Link to the Past.  I'm going to start keeping the records within posts here, instead of continuing the wall of the OP.  but I'll link from there to the proper post for that game.  So that brings us to...

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NEW GAME START - So while watching TV I figured I'd start my next game, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I had an hour so I figured I'd be able to get through one dungeon, except I didn't remember how often I'd played this game and how quick it can go.
First a little background. After OoT, we begin into what has been canonized as 3 separate alternate timelines. LttP starts out the "Decline" or "Downfall" arc, which is the longest and could be considered "main" storyline in the series. Early indications are that BotW will tag at the end of this line, just past Adventure of Link. The storyline continues immediately after OoT, following a timeline where Ganon defeats Link in the final battle. Free to reign, Ganon and his followers open a path to the Sacred Realm and he claims the Triforce, turning the Sacred Realm into the Dark world. Meanwhile in Hyrule, 7 sages manage to seal the way to the Dark World and trap Ganon there. Generations later dark forces are beginning to mass again, while the wizard Agahnim climbs to power, capturing descendants of the 7 sages to reopen the seal and free Ganon.
While many people regard OoT as the pinnacle of LoZ games, seeing it as a turning point in the series, I believe they are understating the importance of LttP. This was the 3rd Zelda game ever made and took the open world, ridiculously difficult predecessors and formed a game that kept everything that was good about the games, added infinitely more good stuff and made it accessible to everyone. It's one of those classics that just lives forever. Even now I can remember things from when I was 9 and FIRST played the game when it came out 25 years ago. I remember having NO idea what to do starting out, until a friend told me you have to find the secret entrance to the castle basement. I remember getting stuck in the first dungeon twice; first when I didn't realize you had to kill all the enemies in one room to get the big key and I kept missing one of the little worm bundle guys, and a second time when I opened the big key door in that room and thought I only got to use the big key once, so I was searching all over for more so I could open the chest and then next door. So many memories.
As to how far I got, in just the hour I played last night I got through the castle, leading Zelda to safety and took out the first 2 dungeons, plus I made my way to the 3rd, and stopped when I got inside. This morning before work I had about 10-15 minutes so I turned it on and ended up beating the 3rd dungeon and went to get the master sword. So in around 70 minutes of play time I'm already almost through the first arc of the game. (Brief add-on) At my lunch break I went back through the castle, beat up Agahnim and then took out the first dungeon in the Dark World.
Also of significance is that LttP actually starts a 4 game arc using the SAME Link, according to Hyrule Historia. Generally each game is a DIFFERENT Link from an alternate reality or different generation. This particular Link is used in LttP as well as the Oracle games and Link's Awakening. More on that when I get to those games. More to come...

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2/16 - Short update today.  I didn't get to the console last night, wife needed a night of TV away from other commitments, so we ended up watching Tabletop, I Love Lucy and playing some Mario Kart. (Plus I got the TV back just in time to catch Legion)  So the only work I did yesterday was on...

LttP - So after I beat the Ruins dungeon at lunch I wandered a bit and collected 2 more bottles, the flippers, Flute, red shield and magic boomerang, plus the Ice Rod.  My next stop was the Aquifer to the south.  An entertaining dungeon full of water spouts and the debut of one of the classic LoZ tools, the Hookshot.  My journey took me next to the deep forest dungeon.  This one SUCKS.  There are 4 main entrances, 3 pit entrances and then the final boss entrance.  I ALWAYS get lost trying to make my way to the final areas because you have to exit ONE specific entrance which takes you to the last few bits.  Plus trying to fire rod Mothra while spike blocks dash around you.  Yuck.  Anyway, next stop was the thieves' hideout in town.  Also an interesting dungeon because your final goal is to bomb a hole in a certain room, then rescue the "captive" and take her to that room, which reveals her to be the main boss.  After this dungeon, it opens up a few new items.  Lead the frog to the forge and back into the light world to find he's a blacksmith that will upgrade your sword.  Plus the Magic Cape was available from the Graveyard.  I stopped for the night there, but picked it up again before work today.  Now to press on to the Ice Palace.  This place is really linear, but requires dropping down and retracing steps at points to pick up key items.  Luckily it also contains the blue armor, which is great because I was starting to get hit for a lot more damage.  The boss is just a trio of eyes floating around, no problem aside from the random ice blocks falling from the ceiling.  Next is the swamp palace, but I need the Ether medallion from the mountain top, so I went and picked up that, as well as the bombos medallion, and entered the palace.  That's it for now.  But yeah, after going through the swamp and then Turtle rock, I'll be ready for the final dungeon, Ganon's Tower, and then the final battle with Ganon.  This is going FAST.  I may take a break from LttP tonight though, I'm going to be out of town starting Friday, so I want to get as much done on SS as I can.  More to come...

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2/20 - Ok, so big weekend update. I've been out of town, but I have some updates on a couple fronts:

LttP - Friday morning was all I needed for this. Ended up waking up by 7am, didn't have to leave until 11am. Made short work of the Swamp palace, gathering the Cane of Somaria. A very interesting item that really has only been seen in LttP and Oracle of Ages. it creates a block that can be used to weigh down switches, essentially. However, moving on to the final normal dungeon, Turtle Rock, it is a required item that creates platforms on railways so you can explore each room. Here is a fun little comic I always liked about the canes in LoZ lore. Anyway, finished up the final dungeon and headed to Ganon's tower. Got really weird with the second fight with Agahnim. He splits into 3, with the fakes being slightly transparent so you always know who to attack. It's always been pretty easy in the past, they all move, then they all appear, then they all attack. Well, for some reason one of them went rogue this time. He was moving just about half a second faster. Then another started doing that. So by the end of the fight I had to dodge attacks while maneuvering to wherever the real Agahnim was going, and hope they didn't attack me before I could get to him and reflect his blast. Odd glitch. so after that, I simply hit my favorite fairy spot, just in case I needed them and quickly dispatched the big baddie. So that's another one down.

SS - Ended up getting in a bit of play on Thursday night. Met the big air whale, took down the parasite controlling it. The end of the battle is pretty easy, but trying to fly around and dash-attack a moving target was pretty challenging. So he gave me some hints, I had to go find the 3 dragons that lived on the land and learn 3 parts of a song that would unlock the location to the triforce. First I headed back to Eldin Volcano. Upon my descent the volcano erupted and I was stuck on the ground. Not only that, but I had been captured by Bokoblins and they stole all my stuff. I had to sneak around and pick up a few specific pieces of equipment, as I made my way BACK to the top of the volcano. After gathering the rest of my gear I met the fire dragon, who taught me his part of the song and then calmed the volcano so I could return to the sky.
Next stop was the forest. Unfortunately there was a problem here as well. The water dragon (whom I had met previously) was getting all grumpy and decided to flood the entire forest to get all the monsters out of there. And of course I couldn't just get her part of the song, she had to make me work for it. I swam for the better part of an hour picking up her stupid tadpole music notes so she'd teach me. Finally fed up with that I moved on to the desert. In a newly available area lay a giant skeleton that looks suspiciously like a dragon. the only other place to go is through a door to escort a new time stone around. Unfortunately I died about 3/4 of the way through and was too tired to try again, so that's my mission tonight. From there I can find the Triforce and HOPEFULLY finish this game. I've got less than 2 weeks to get Windwaker and Twilight princess done on my console.

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NEW GAME START - Since I finished LttP on Friday morning, once I had done my traveling for the day I started in on Oracle of Seasons. As I said before, this is one of the rare stretches of games in this series that are connected by the same Link. After defeating the evil Ganon in Hyrule, Link is sent by the Triforce to the land of Holodrum. After waking up in the care of Din, the oracle of seasons, Link joins them in what seems to be a gypsy celebration. They are interrupted by Onox who captures Din. In doing so, the seasons are thrown into chaos. It changes from winter to fall in an instant and then into summer. Impa, sent by Zelda to guard Din, explains the situation to Link, who must ask the Mako Tree how to save Din. Apparently the answer is to bring all 8 Essences of Nature together to restore the Temple of Seasons and defeat Onox.
My first stop was the Gnarled root dungeon. These are pretty simple ones, but can get a bit convoluted. Not as straightforward as LttP. I got through this dungeon and made my way to the second map overworld, Subrosia, an underground land that could be seen as a mimic of the Twilight realm or dark realm from other LoZ games, however it did not work as a simple overlay of the other world, but as a completely different land. This is where Link finds the temple of seasons, which houses the power of the Rod of Seasons. Link takes the rod and imbues it with the first season power, Winter. Now from specific places he can now change the season to Winter. The other 3 season shrines are behind doors and other barricades which seem only passable after obtaining specific items from the dungeons (imagine that). So now it's off to the next dungeon which is apparently the remains of a snake. Not much to talk about here, more dungeon stuff, now I have the power bracelet so I can move rocks. Next dungeon takes a while. First I have to find my way through areas where I have to make it winter, then I have to find my buddy bear who can jump me over pits so I can get to a new area of Subrosia. THEN I have to go the beach there and dig around until I find a star shaped ore (random chance). THEN I have to go trade that for a bow. THEN I have to go talk to some Subrosian pop star (who is only recognizable by her different colored robe) and give her the bow. Finally she tags along with me, unlocking doors along the way, including into the temple to get the power of summer, when the vines grow and the waters recede. This gets us into the Cliffside dungeon, which is where I left off. More to come...

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2/21 - Skyward Sword - I'm getting SO close to beating this one. Made it through the Lanayru mining gauntlet on the second try and met the third dragon. Apparently he had gotten sick and died, hence the bones. But, timeshift stones being what they are, I was able to take a healing plant into the past, come back to the present and get the healing fruit to him while he was standing in the present/past....or past/present, whatever. Either way, he's alive and taught me the song. I probably could have finished the game last night, but I decided to take his challenge before heading back to Skyloft. One by one he has me re-battle the temple baddies I've faced so far, up to 9 battles. He promises me a "really good shield" in return, so I fight through. I'm relegated to whatever items I had when I first fought them, but my sword is still powered up, though I can't use potions. There were a couple close calls, but after the 8th battle he gives me the classic Hylian shield (after the 9th battle I would have gotten 1000 rupees, meh). After that I head back to skyloft and figure, hey I have all the pieces I need, I'll probably just find the triforce and move on to the final battle. WRONG. I find out I have to do ANOTHER silent realm trial, this time on Skyloft. I beat it on the second try and receive a gem that looks suspiciously like it goes in a statue I keep walking past with only one gem eye. The statue fires a cannonball at the island, exposing a new doorway into the Goddess shrine. Cool, I'll just swing over, pick up the triforce...WRONG, here's another dungeon!! Not only a dungeon, but this one has rooms you need to move around like one of those old sliding tile puzzles to find the 3 pieces of the triforce. After about 2 hours of moving pieces and going through rooms 2 and 3 times I FINALLY got all 3 pieces and made my wish to destroy demise forever. The temple crashes to the ground, connecting to the OTHER temple down there and forever destroying Demise, waking Zelda from her thousand year sleep. Which is pretty anti-climactic if you think about it. Until Ghirahim appears and takes Zelda through the gate of time, to empower Demise in the past and undo all that crap I just went through. I dash after him, save my game and go to sleep, because it's already an hour and a half past when I wanted to go to sleep, lol. More to come...

Oracle of Seasons - So the Cliffside dungeon gave me some grief, but I realized it was self inflicted. I hit a locked door and figured the last treasure chest on the map was where I would find the key. Except all the searching I did wouldn't lead me to that chest. after about an hour of searching (the dungeon was a little convoluted to begin with) I finally realize I HAVE a key already. Disappointed by my stupidity I pressed on, finding the Boss Key in that last chest and then fighting the boss, a big moth, similar to the 3rd Dark World dungeon from LttP. Once I got his pattern down, it was pretty simple. My next task is to find a portal to the Subrosia and get another season power. it is highly possible that I may go through a walkthrough on GameFaqs and jot down some locations before picking it up again. Searching through the overworld for dungeons and trying to remember where my portals are is starting to become time-consuming. More to come...

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2/22 - Oracle of Seasons - Made some decent progress. having the Roc's feather opens up a lot. I wander around with my buddy-bear Moosh and find a flooded town. Moosh runs away, but with no way to swim, I need to find a way around. enter Demitri the dodongo, who I save from a couple little bullies so he'll cart me around and up some waterfalls to get the Zora Flippers. From there I make my way up Mt. Cuccoo, where I find Moosh again, but he's whining about some bananas that I can't get to until spring. So that means, back to Subrosia, but as soon as I got there some goons steal my feather and I have to play the stupid "follow them without letting them see you" game to get it back. after that I get to the Temple of Seasons and get the power of Spring. This lets me get the bananas, give them to Moosh and he helps me get up to the next dungeon, the Dancing Dragon. This one was a bit more challenging. more minecarts with switches that I had to remember about. Eventually got myself the slingshot and took down Gohma. Next destination was back to Subrosia. The final season hall is blocked off by some rocks and the locals need a much bigger boom than my bombs can make. I make my way south and hop some lava to grab a bomb flower, deliver it and boom, power of autumn. So I now have all FOUR season powers! In addition I have access to most of Subrosia and Holodrum itself. I make my way back to the surface, change to summer, cut some mushrooms and enter dungeon 5. I've gotten about 1/3 of the way through the dungeon so far, but I can already tell what my upcoming item is, based on all the magnetic iron balls and Iron Mask enemies wandering. The magnetic glove is a unique little gadget only found in the Oracle games and Four Swords Adventure and tends to take the place of the hookshot in helping to get to hard to reach areas. More to come...

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