Thursday, May 30, 2013

How to get the GBA Time Ring and the GBA Nature Ring in Oracle of Ages & Seasons for the 3DS Virtual Console

Okay, this is a simple guide that explains how you can still get the missing rings on your 3DS VC versions of the Oracle games. As you might know, the 100 Rupee Advance Shops stays closed on the Virtual Console. You can't enter them to buy the exclusive rings. The rings are worthless, but you still might want them to complete your collection. And this is how you can do it.

1) Using password manipulation

For this you basically just use this table made by banjoo kazooie at GameFAQs on your already aquired Ring Secret. I haven't tested it yet, but I trust that it works just fine. All you need to to is swap the fifth and fourteenth character of your Ring Secret. The tricky part is getting the correct fifteenth character, which is a guessing game, where you have to try out all 64 different characters.

But this has the general advantage that this works with games, that you've already started. You can't get the rings until you've completed your first game, however. Of course this is not a real issue, since the rings are only there for completion.

2) Using the password generator

This only works if you start a new game. But it has some other advantages, so I would recommend doing this, if you haven't started a new game yet.

First of all download this password generator. It's the holy grail for every Oracle fan and lets you do many nice things. Just execute the file and follow these steps:

  1. On the top right select "New Game (Hero's Secret)"
  2. Enter your ingame name in the field "Hero's Name"
  3. Chose your Game ID (a number between 1 and 32767) and write it down somewhere!
  4. Check "Ring Secret" and click on "Choose..." right next to it.
  5. In the submenu check "15. GBA Time Ring" and "52. GBA Nature Ring" and hit "OK".
  6. Then simply click on "Make Secrets" to get your passwords

All the other variables are meaningless at this point. For the Hero's Secret it doesn't matter, which game you chose or what your animal buddy should be. That's still up to you. And the name of the child can be changed afterwards. (Don't get irretated by this! You can still chose your animal buddy! There won't be any linked events. It's like starting a fresh game.)

You should receive two passwords, the Hero's Secret and a Ring Secret for two rings. The Hero's Secret is nearly identical to starting a new game without any passwords except for four differences:

  • The save file will be marked with a Triforce
  • You start with four hearts (instead of three)
  • You have the Victory Ring in your inventory (yet to be appraised)
  • You can use Ring Secrets from the start

Yes, it's essentially a minor New Game+, but the part with the ring secret is very important.

Now chose the game, where you want to start. It doesn't matter, if it's Ages or Seasons, the Hero's Secret works both ways. Simply select an empty savegame slot, then select "Secret" and enter the Hero's Secret. You should get a new savegame with the name, which you've entered into the password generator, and a Triforce on it. Play and you'll notice that you're on the beginning of the storyline (and not in a linked game). After the intro sequence happened, you can go straight to Vasu's ring shop (the house with the ring sign on the roof). Talk to him to receive your ring box. Then talk to the red snake and tell her the Ring Secret that you got from the password generator. If you now check Vasu's ring list, you can see that you've gotten both missing rings!

From now you can keep playing like normal. At the end you will receive the normal secret for linking to the other game. Ask the red snake again to receive an updated Ring Secret, so that you'll carry over the GBA rings. That way you can copy over your rings to all files that you've started with the Hero's Secret and all files connected to them! So, let's say you started a new game in both Ages and Seasons with the Hero's Secret, you can already share between the games. It's pretty cool.

You can also use this system to cheat and get all 64 rings from the start. But that's lame. However, you need to remember your Game ID, if you want to generate any additional secrets. Without the accurate Game ID the passwords won't work. So, write it down when you generate the passwords!

You can find more information about the Hero's Secret and how to get all 64 rings in this post: Using the Hero's Secret to get all 64 Rings

3) Using old passwords

Probably the easiest approach. If you had the games for the GameBoy Advance you can also simply use your old passwords. Just look for the Hero's Secret and your latest Ring Secret and use them on the VC.

No Advance Shop or Game Link in the Virtual Console Release of Oracle of Ages & Seasons

Three hours ago the Oracle games were released for the Virtual Console.

While there's still the general dilemma of a missing Nintendo account, which is why you shouldn't buy any games on Nintendo's eShops at all, with this release Nintendo really blew it.

1) No Game Link

The Game Link was a special feature in the original version of the games, which let you connect the two games without any passwords by using two GameBoy Color or Advance systems. Of course the passwords were probably easier to use, so no one really bothered with it. But on the 3DS they could have made it so that the other savegames are automatically recognized. All information is stored on the same drive. You would just select "Game Link" and the savegame from the other game, which you want to connect to. Very simple. I've already dealt with this idea in an earlier article:

Oracle of Secrets

On the 3DS Virtual Console everything Game Link related just does nothing. If you press A nothing happens. You can't talk to the blue snake at Vasu's shop or read the blue book there, which is somewhat confusing. What if someone tries to talk to the blue snake and then just assumes that the red snake also doesn't do anything? It's not even in the manual...

This is a missed chance. With an automated Game Link system the games would have been truly awesome. But so you have to use an ancient password system, which Nintendo even promotes as something truly great.

2) No Advance Shop

The 100 Rupee Advance Shops can't be entered. That way you can get the GBA Time Ring or the GBA Nature Ring and that way fail to complete your ring collection. For 100% completionists this is a real shame. Also, Nintendo edited the game to get rid of all the Game Link functionality. But they couldn't edit it to open the Advance Shops? That's disappointing.

Of course you can still get both rings using passwords. But I will deal with that in a separate post.

This is probably the most disappointing Zelda VC release yet... Nintendo always competes with free emulators here. Of course ROMs are illegal. But they easy to get and the Visual Boy Advance emulator is superior in so many ways... for example it lets you enter the Advance Shops. A simple thing, but still appreciated.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Symphony of the Goddesses Merchandise

Yesterday I was at the Symphony of the Goddesses event in Berlin. And you were able to buy merchandise, yay! It doesn't really matter, what it is, as long as it says "Zelda" on it I'm stupid to enough to buy it. But they had some beautiful posters and not too shabby t-shirts:

The poster comes in the size of 100x70cm and looks really pretty. Definitely worth it, prize of 10€. The shirt is a little boring, but in good quality. Somewhat overprized at 25€, but oh well...

I was also able to get one of the booklets that were reserved for the VIP class. At the end they would them away to everyone else, as long as you bought a poster or a shirt. There's nothing really in it, covers and art from all the main games, as well as some quotes from gaming sites how important Zelda is and so on. Last two pages introduced the producer, the composer and the conductor of the whole thing, which is probably the most interesting part. But it's a free gift, so whatever...

You can read my dedicated review in German at ZeldaEurope. But I'll add a short review in English tomorrow or so.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Symphony of the Goddesses Tonight

Today's the day. Symphony of the Goddesses in Berlin. It's rare that some Nintendo-related event comes so close to where I live, I'm really happy about it and looking forward to it.

I'll be there with some girls from the ZeldaEurope staff in block 6. Also, I'll bring my 3DS for Street Passing (almost forgot that, thanks to the guys at ZeldaUniverse Forums to point that out), watch out for Tingle. :D

I'm excited. See you there!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oracle of Ages & Seasons: Using the Hero's Secret to get all 64 Rings

As you might now the Oracle games are going to be released on the 3DS Virtual Console next week. For many people this might be the first time actually playing those games. The games do have a rather complicated password system, as well as a massive collection of 64 rings with different powers, probably the biggest attempt of incorporating RPG-like elements into the Zelda series. And often you see questions like...

"Is it possible to get all 64 rings in one file?"
"What is the Hero's Secret good for?"

So, I thought I should add a little guide to my blog answering these questions.

The first thing you need to know is that you can't get all 64 rings in one single playthrough. That includes a linked game, because depending on which game you've played first, the additional side dungeon, the Hero's Cave, will look entirely different and the additional sidequests that get unlocked via secrets are different as well. And so are the rewarded rings. Three rings are exclusive to a specific order of the games:

Seasons → Ages:
  • Armor Ring L-3 (found in Labrynna's Hero's Cave)
  • Heart Ring L-1 (Temple / Great Fairy's Secret)
  • Swimmer's Ring (Diver's secret)
Ages → Seasons:
  • Power Ring L-3 (found in Holodrum's expended Hero's Cave)
  • Snowshoe Ring (Mamamu Yan's secret)
  • Spin Ring (Mayor Plen's Secret)

There's also the Victory Ring that you simply can't get in your first playthrough, so at the end you can only get a total of 60 rings. And this is where the Hero's Secret enters the equation. The Hero's Secret is yet another password that you will receive after beating Ganon in a Linked Game. The Hero's Secret is special, because it can be entered in both games to start a New Game+. There are only four differences when starting a new game with the Hero's Secret:

  • The save file will be marked with a Triforce
  • You start with four hearts (instead of three)
  • You have the Victory Ring in your inventory (yet to be appraised)
  • You can use your old Ring Secret from the start

The latter point is the most important one. You can start a new game, head to Vasu, talk to the red snake and enter your old Ring Secret from your last playthrough (the one where you beat Ganon). Let's say you got all 60 rings there, you can instantly copy them to your new game. With the Victory Ring you'll have 61 rings now. You can even get a new Ring Secret (talk to the snake again) and enter it in your old save games to get the Victory Ring in all previous saves.

So, the Hero's Secret makes it so that your Ring Secret becomes universal to all your save games. All files will share the same Ring Secret; if you get a new ring in any of the files, you can share it with all others. And in the end it can basically be used to start a new game with all 64 rings right from the get-go.

Let's say you've played Ages → Seasons first and beaten Ganon at the end of Seasons. As soon as you'll get the Hero's Secret, you enter it in Seasons again to start a New Game+ to play in the other order (Seasons → Ages), where you finally can finish your ring collection. Which means you have to beat both games twice in order to get all 64 rings. But since all the events in a linked game and the Hero's Cave are entirely different this time, it's worth it.

And that's it. If you have any question, feel free to ask in the comments. If you're from Germany, you might wanna check out my extensive ring guide on ZeldaEurope. Also, there's this password generator, which let's you create passwords for Linked Games, Hero's Secret and Ring Secret. You can basically cheat to get all 64 rings with that thing, if you're too lazy to collect them all for yourself.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dark World confirmed for A Link to the Past 2

I was writing an article about the world of A Link to the Past 2 and whether there should be a Dark World or not, but Aonuma saved me the trouble by stating there is in an interview with CNET.

The remaining question is: is that it? Are we just going to play the same world again?

Nintendo has an overworld problem with Zelda. For me personally the overworld was always the most important thing in a Zelda game. The real star of the game. Challenging dungeons are nice (if they are challenging, not like those dungeons for 3 year olds in the last games), but the main motivation always comes from exploring the overworld. I remember the first time playing Link's Awakening... I would just leave a dungeon as soon as I got the dungeon item, because with it I could explore new areas of Koholinth. Exploring an overworld, finding villages, caves, hidden, treasures... that's what the real beauty of Zelda was to me.

But lately Nintendo just f*cked up the overworlds. Either by having very bland and empty worlds or by having worlds that are seperated into individual levels. Or both. What they offered in games like Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks and Skyward Sword was just terrible. It didn't give you this nice sense of exploration, which the original games had. The Nintendo DS games had just lots of boring mini areas connected by a travelling minigame. And Skyward Sword had an empty sky world that connected to areas which worked in a level-like fashion leading to the next dungeon. Completely lacking the feeling of freedom and exploration.

Nintendo proved that they're completely incapable of designing good overworlds. Which is probably why they're just re-using the old ones now... In Germany we have a saying: "Besser gut geklaut als schlecht erfunden" (better a good imitation than a bad invention). Of all the 2D Zelda games I'd say A Link to the Past had the best one. Close to my beloved Koholinth. So, yeah, maybe it's better to use an old world like this as the playing ground instead of making a new world that sucks anyway. But... we already explored this world! We explored it on the SNES (twice actually if you played the BS Zelda), on the GBA and on the Wii Virtual Console... I know ALttP's world like the back of my hand. And it looks like Nintendo is staying pretty close to it:

(image by RagnarokX from NeoGAF)

So, the only thing left to explore is what has changed in the remake. Some of us already had a similar experience with Ancient Stone Tablets, which reused ALttP's world back in 1997 for a half-new game. Which could be quite confusing, I mix up both games when I'm playing A Link to the Past now. I start to look for caves where there aren't any. It might not be as problematic in the 3DS game, because the 3DS game got a different look, which helps you to distinguish it all from the classic. But I feel like the only reason to explore will be looking for the things that have changed.

This can be exciting of course, returning to an old home and exploring what has changed over the years. It's an interesting feeling. But will this be enough for this game? I was actually hoping that instead of returning to the Dark World, they would add new areas. (And maybe they will, there's a lot of potential here.)

What's weird about the Dark World is that story-wise it shouldn't exist anymore after A Link to the Past. After Link got the Triforce, the Sacred Realm should have healed. In Ancient Stone Tablets Nintendo also returned to the Dark World after the events of ALttP, which didn't make much sense, but this game was clearly stated not to be canonical part of the timeline. So, how did the Dark World return? I hope they have a good story explanation for this without messing up the established timeline.

Of course story isn't really what Nintendo is concerned about when making a new Zelda game. It's not really necessary to bring the Dark World back, they were able to cramp eight dungeons into the Light World of Ancient Stone Tablets, they can do it again or they could just add new areas alltogether. So, there is a good gameplay reason for the Dark World comeback. Maybe the Dark World looks really, really insane and twisted in 3D. That would be crazy. Or they mix it up with the wall merge. Maybe going into a mirror when you're a wall painting makes you switch into the Dark World. So, instead of the portals in the original you would have mirrors on walls. This sounds like something Nintendo would do.