Thursday, November 28, 2013

Go Cucco Yourself, Nintendo!!

I'm seriously mad right now about this stupid Cucco minigame. I've played it for more than 200 times now and I don't seem to get any better at it. I never made it past the 200s mark, I can rarely survive the 100s. The hitboxes are ridiculous and you really need to stay focused for a long time here. I regularily lose the game by just scratching the Cucco's shadow... come on!

Why did there have to be an unlockable? Why? If there wasn't any, I could just ignore this alltogether. And if you want to show off that you can beat the full 999 seconds, you always can simply show the record. Nintendo has a serious issue with maximizing all digits to 9s, because this wouldn't be the first time they rewarded something like this...

I was seriously was considering that A Link Between Worlds could become my new favorite Zelda game, but this is a big flaw. I'm not kidding about this. A good Zelda game doesn't have any bullsh*t like this. I always go for the 100% completion rate in video games and I like Zelda games, because usually they don't have ridiculous requirements for completion, but there's still enough to it. And when I replay a Zelda game, I always try to get the 100% again. But now A Link Between Worlds sunk from "best replay value in the Zelda series" to "prepare to play HOURS of Cucco Run"... no thanks.

Whoever thought it was a good idea to demand surviving this ridiculously unfun minigame for about 17 minutes needs to be fired from Nintendo. And this needs to be PATCHED. Add three lives to the minigame or unlock the chicken at 100s. I don't care, but this is a serious flaw with the game.

I seriously hope that Nintendo NEVER EVER adds anything like this to their Zelda games again. It just ruins the replay value for completionists.


Yes, this whole post is very unreasonable and it's just some stupid chicken, so I probably shouldn't get so angry. I still am though and needed to channel my anger somewhere, sorry...

Also, please understand that I'm not complaining about the challenge, but the fact that it was put into a questionable minigame and that it hurts the replay value for 100% runs. I'm determined to beat this sooner or later and I will keep practicing. But it's definitely not something I want to do over and over again with each new playthrough. Also, if Nintendo wants to add a challenge to Zelda, they should consider a boss rush mode and not a minigame, where you have to dodge chickes for 17 minutes straight. I would love to spent my time practicing all the boss fights, but instead I'm dodging chickens. And I'm not happy about that.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Call Me Rollgoal Master (Twilight Princess)

Remember Rollgoal? No? Well, that's the marble slalom minigame found at the fishing pond in Twilight Princess:

If you've never played it, it's probably one of the worst minigams ever in the Zelda series. It has every criteria in the book of a bad minigame. It's more something that belongs into Wii Play, but not into Zelda. It's not much fun because of the frustrating controls and you have to complete it staggering 64 times in order to get everything.

Well, I only ever beat the first eight levels to get the frog lure and then ignored the game. All it does is repeating it's eight levels over and over again with a stricter time limit. However, if you beat all 64 levels, you get a nice level select. And for a true 100% completion this counts (since there's something unlocked here).

Because I'm trying to truly complete all Zelda games (not just all items, but basically every small unlockable like with the 999 hits in sword training or the 999 seconds in Cucco Run) and this was part of it.

And actually it wasn't that bad. I always hated that game, but I guess you can grow to like every minigame in Zelda, if you play it long and often enough. As soon as you get better at it, it's starting to be "fun".

Well, at first I did the GameCube version about two weeks ago. The controls are more precise, so it was more a matter of getting the right timing for the slopes. It didn't even take on hour to complete all 64 levels, so I even completed it a second time on another savegame.

Today I decided to complete the Wii version as well. I feared, it would be absolutely terrible because of the controls, but then I found a nice trick. Actually I used the same trick, when I completed the game for the first time on the Wii. Don't hold the Wiimote in your hands. Place it on a flat surface and only tilt it to the sides. Use the analogstick to change the camera and with it your directions. Basically what I did was just holding the Wiimote to the right and steer with the analog stick.

The trouble with the Wiimote controls is always tilting it forward and backward. That's a lot more imprecise and can cause the ball to roll off many times. You might even accidently change the stance and screw up. Tilting the Wiimote only to the sides is a lot more precise. I even found it easier to control than the GameCube version! And with the Wiimote laying flat, it can't accidently cause your ball to roll off. And you even get an higher time limit on the Wii. On the GameCube you have to beat the levels 8-1 to 8-8 in 30 seconds. On the Wii that's 40 seconds, which is enough to beat the levels with my method. So, I can only recommend this playstyle. I did the whole 64 levels without any trouble. It went so smooth that I even beat level 8-8 on my first try! And now finally after seven years I fully completed both the GameCube and the Wii version of Twilight Princess! Yay.

So, the only things left for me to do in Zelda are the 2nd Quest in The Wind Waker HD (I'm going to save this for next year) and the Cucco Run 999 seconds record in A Link Between Worlds... I'm not sure what of these two things will happen first.... :D So far I was able to find nice tricks to overcome these ridiculous minigames, but with Cucco Run this is going to require lots of practice (and abusing the Start button).

2014 Zelda Calendar

Okay, this should end my Zelda shopping spree for this year. It's the 2014 Zelda calendar:

Or actually it seems to be the Ocarina of Time 3D calendar, because eight months are covered by that game...! What the fairy...? I liked the 2013 calendar more, it had more variety to it. For example this one doesn't even include Spirit Tracks. And it looked richer, this one just seems to be simple character arts with nothing much to it.

Also, while I can understand that Nintendo only wants their latest titles, they do have the Virtual Console and adding those games could be a good idea as well. So, why not add some motives for Link's Awakening or the Oracle games? And it seems that these calendars get produced way too early. They weren't even able to add The Wind Waker HD? For the 2014 calendar you'd want the latest games from 2013. I want HD Toon Link! I want awesome Ravio!

Well, hopefully the 2015 calendar will have all that. Because I wouldn't want another year filled with Ocarina of Time 3D and Skyward Sword.

Amazon is ridiculous. This 10€ calendar they sent me in a HUGE box (I was thinking I'm getting a new computer or something) padded from all sides... lol. But when I order a 220€ highly limited collectible, they put it in a paper bag. What's wrong with their brains?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Majora's Mask References in A Link Between Worlds

Aonuma teased at Comic Con that playing A Link Between Worlds actually would show us that they haven't forgotten about Majora's Mask. And they sure haven't. There are plenty of references to the game to find.

The most obvious one is probably Majora's Mask hanging inside Link's house. If you merge with the wall behind it, you can make it look like Link's actually wearing the mask, which is pretty cool. Also, this leaves lots of room for speculation. Like how did he get the mask?

The second reference would be the return of the Milk Bar with Talon being the owner. Though Phantom Hourglass did have a Milk Bar as well, so this doesn't necessarily have to be a direct Majora's Mask reference.

The big thing for me were the people in Lorule. Not only were they all counterparts to the people of Hyrule, they also started to wear masks. So, I actually believed that Lorule would be revealed to be Termina at some point of the game. Termina even had the hidden Triforce symbols in the Stone Tower Temple, which lead to a theory, which actually fits the story of Lorule quite nicely. But while this has never been confirmed ingame, it's still entirely possibly that Lorule and Termina are actually the same. The state of Lorule with all the giant chasms splitting the country could have been caused by the moon crashing on the lands...

The last reference happens in Hero Mode, it's the secret that you can find. I was asked in the comments, what it would be, but it's better to post this in a spoiler box just to be sure:

So... after all these teasers I'm ready for Majora's Mask 3D, Nintendo! Actually a MM3D release next year would be perfect. Something to do before Zelda Wii U comes out. Since it most likely would be done by Grezzo (a separate team), this is not unlikely, since MM3D could be developed independently from A Link Between Worlds and Zelda U.

A Link Between Worlds Collector's Guide

Got this today:

This won't be part of the Zelda Box (which also got released now), so if you want the 7th book, you need to buy it separately. It's weird that they didn't include this one as well, but whatever...

Naturally there's a nice extra, but this is the first time, where they didn't add a map of some sorts. This time you get a framed litograph, which looks absolutely gorgeous. Other people have pictures of their family on their desk, I have the Master Sword... :D

The guide itself is 320 pages thick, about the same size as the Spirit Tracks guide. It follows my principle of doing all sidequests first, so they basically clear all areas before they head into the dungeons. I did the exact same thing on my 2nd playthrough, so I approve. Except for some differences in the renting prices I didn't notice any mistakes on my first look. Usually I'm able to spot a bunge of things, but it looks like they did a good job overall. And it was interesting for me to learn the names of the new bosses... here they are:

Margomill (the eye on a pillar)
Zaganaga (the desert boss)
Knucklemaster (the Wallmaster boss)
Gemasaur King

I love the names. Nice mix ups of the original boss names. Argghus and Moldorm only returned in their original form and name.

What the guide is missing is any info about StreetPass. They tell you how to set it up, but that's it. Nothing about the Shadow Link Battles, nothing about the challenges, nothing about the arenas. For example the Phantom Hourglass guide actually had an entire section just about the multiplayer arenas, which was cool. Maybe they only had one copy of the game and couldn't really test it? Luckily I did their job in my StreetPass Guide, so check it out, if you need any help with that!

I also got the Zelda Box today, however, it was delivered to my home address. So, I will have to wait until Christmas to check it out... should be a nice Christmas present though. :D

Monday, November 25, 2013

StreetPass Guide FAQ

My StreetPass Guide on GameFAQs just got released! Check it out. It contains all info about clearing all StreetPass challenges, battling Shadow Links, etc.

Actually I made guides for absolutely everything in German for ZeldaEurope: Heart Pieces, Maiamais, bottles, items, Master Ore, minidungeons, minigames, Hero Mode ... I've written many guides for ZeldaEurope already.

Sometimes I also release guides in English, but then it has to be something special. Something not everyone can do like my 64 Ring Guide for Oracles or the TotoK Speed Guide for Phantom Hourglass. I felt like the StreetPass functionality was special enough to make fledged out guide for it. It's funny how it's the first guide there, even before Pieces of Hearts or Maiamais... but I let someone else have "fun" with those.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cleared all 50 StreetPass Challenges in A Link Between Worlds!

Now I only need the stupid Cucco to 100% the game...

But it's really nice. If you clear all 50 challenges, you are able to battle Gramps whenever you want. He will have the best possible gear and two random items to provide a nice challenge. The battles are really fun, I wish you could play this mode with other people online. The fighting system with the energy gauge is really great and I could see this working in multiplayer just fine.

How did I get all 50 medals in just three days? Well, I used the golden 3DS XL and my second copy of the game to set up three dummy savegames with weak Shadow Links. It's easy to kill them and score the more difficult challenges. Yes, I cheated, but I wanted to know what the reward will be.

Shadow Links also appear randomly after a certain amount of play time for anyone, who doesn't get StreetPass hits. But that is taking way too long, where the game should offer you the possibility to buy Shadow Links with Play Coins from Gramps. That's what Play Coins are meant for after all.

I'll also submitted a StreetPass Guide to GameFAQs with all medals, arenas, strategies, etc. Should be online tomorrow, unless someone beat me to it.

999 Seconds in Cucco Run Endless Mode???

Ah, come on, Nintendo...!

Lately I've been trying to truly 100% all Zelda games. What's the difference between 100% of all items and a true 100%? Well, the latter includes everything that is possible to unlock. Even small changes and silly rewards that noone else would care about.

Luckily this was kept within limites in the Zelda series. At least so far. I already did the ridiculous 999 hits thing in the sword training of both the Wind Waker and Spirit Tracks. There are special tricks for that, so it's somewhat possible.

Next step was Rollgoal. You know, the terrible marble track minigame at the fishing pond in Twilight Princess. Clearing all courses once unlocks the Frog Lure, so that was basically a must. But I never bothered with going beyond the Frog Lure, as any sane person would do. However, I lost my sanity a while ago and clearing level 8-8 unlocks a nice level select, so if you truly want 100%, you need to clear all 64 levels. Have fun... Well, I already mastered this on the GameCube. Got pretty good at the game and it took me about an hour to beat all 64 levels, so it was not as bad as expected. But I probably will never attend a 100% run of Twilight Princess ever again (something likes this truly kills the replay value for 100% runs) and there's still the Wii version left to complete, where Rollgoal has motion controls... oh, joy.

But after the Wii Rollgoal madness, finishing the 2nd Quest in The Wind Waker HD and clearing all StreetPass challenges in A Link Between Worlds, I was supposed to be done with everything...! To have cleared every Zelda game! I was actually looking forward to this... but then I learned of the newest horrors in A Link Between Worlds.

There's an unlockable for staying alive or 999 seconds in the endless mode of the Cucco Run minigame... you get 3000 Rupees and a stupid large chicken appears that can heal you. You can compare it to the unlockable cow in Link's house in Ocarina of Time... Why, Nintendo, why...? Why can't it just be the 3000 Rupees? Because then it wouldn't unlock anything special and therefore wouldn't count... Or why not unlock the big chicken after 100 seconds...? Why the full 999? Why did this have to be? Why is it called "endless mode", if you actually have to beat it?

And the minigame is so unfun and frustrating... after a while I enter zombie mode and just do it without thinking. However, one small mistake and you get ripped out of it. I can easily see myself being hit in the 996th second or something... I've once written an article about minigames in Zelda and how bad minigames can ruin an otherwise perfectly fine Zelda game. And the Cucco minigame is a great example of this can happen.

A Link Between Worlds has such great replay value, I actually saw myself playing this over and over again. But as a 100% guy this is bad. Really bad. I know, I shouldn't let myself ruin it all by such a small, insignificant thing. But I just can't help it. Call it an "itch" as Sheldon Cooper would describe it - if there's something left to do in a Zelda game, I feel an itch until I got it done. And now the game turned from "fun to replay many times" to "if I replay this, I have to go through the endless chicken hell again"... great, Nintendo, just awesome! I'm sick of you adding ridiculous 100% chicanes. Please patch this.

It also takes A LOT of time to deal with this. 999 seconds is about 17 minutes. But of course you won't do it on your first try. It probably takes many hours of practice to finally beat it. Urghs... Well, looks like I won't be buying Super Mario 3D World then, because I will probably be busy dodging chickens for the next months... Too bad. :D

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Got the golden A Link Between Worlds Nintendo 3DS XL

The most expansive Zelda year continues. I got this yesterday, but I waited for some daylight to make the photos.

And it was a somewhat stressful day, because Amazon failed me. Amazon is always hit and miss. Others get the game and the 3DS XL two days before launch in top shape padded in paper or maybe even bubble wrap in a solid package, where nothing can happen. This is the ideal case and what you would expect, if you're a prime member and preordered on day 1. Well, I'm a prime member and I preordered on day one, but they didn't bother sending it to me before launch and they didn't bother with protecting a collectible item like this, they send it to me in a cardboard bag without any padding. The 3DS XL box was completely wrecked, which is unacceptable for a collectible like this. I want the box in good shape.

So, I went to the shops to find one. The big eletronic retailers also treat their products like crap, they put these straps around it damaging the box as well. However, I finally got lucky in a drug store(!) near my home, they had only one, but it was in perfect shape. And they even gave me a 7€ discount.

The day before launch I also had to track down a copy of the game in the shops, because Nintendo had a Club Nintendo registration thingy going on. The first 1000 to register the game from 12AM on will receive one of those treasure chests with sound effects for storing 3DS cartridges. I wanted one badly, but that was the only way to get one in Germany.

So, because of Amazon I had to go to the stores twice... and the main reason, why I use Amazon, is because I don't want this stress. Usually they send the stuff in perfect shape and in time. Luckily Nintendo was nice enough to provide me with a review copy for ZeldaEurope, so I was already finished with the game before release this time, because otherwise I would have probably raged about the situation even more. You want to play the game, not search through shops all day long.

But enough whining, here are the goods:

Just to clarify, the retail game was not part of the bundle, but here you can see how the game looks with the inverted cover. This is the golden system:

You can compare this to the golden GameBoy Advance SP that came with The Minish Cap. However, it doesn't have any decals on the inside. The GBA SP also had a Triforce Crest next to the start button and on the inside the golden 3DS XL looks somewhat boring.

But it's a lot sturdier than the normal 3DS, which I like. The normal 3DS always feels like it breaks into pieces if you're not really careful. Also, the upper screen is actually protected well enough from the lower screen. With the normal 3DS it can happen that the touchscreen borders eat into the upper screen, which is bad. I always keep a soft cloth between the screens to prevent this. And the three buttons for Start, Select and Home are actual buttons, not those weird inlays like on the 3DS.

On the other hand I like the shiny 3DS more. While you don't see any finger prints, on the matt XL the slide pad feels rougher to use, it doesn't slide as softly as on the 3DS.

Well, this is how the golden XL looks compared to the black Zelda 3DS from two years ago:

I think I will keep using my normal 3DS. I don't really need the large screens and the games look pixelated, because they are only upscaled. I think A Link Between Worlds looks best on a normal 3DS. And of course the system is more portable and I have all my savegames and downloaded games already on there. I guess, I will use the XL to replay some selected games on the large screen.

Overall the "bundle" is a joke compared to the 25th Anniversary Ocarina of Time 3D bundle from two years ago. Just look at it:

It's not even half the size...

The black 3DS Zelda bundle cost me 200€, it came with the game in an actual box with a special dual sided cover and the cartridge. It also had the cradle for the 3DS and an AC adapter. The golden XL bundle costs 20€ more, but it doesn't have any of the extras. There's only a download code for the game, there's no AC adapter and no cradle. Also, the black 3DS looks a lot more exquisite than the golden XL. I don't know, how expansive the Nintendo 3DS XL is to make, but it all feels like a rip-off compared to the first bundle.

Well, if you don't have a 3DS yet and you're a big Zelda fan, it's maybe worth a shot. But I can only advise you to compare it to a normal 3DS first. And seeing how the "limited" Wii U bundle for The Wind Waker HD doesn't sell AT ALL (the shops are filled with it), I hope that Nintendo will stop producing such ridiculous bundles.

However, right now the second 3DS system has a good purpose for me except for being a collectible. A Link Between Worlds doesn't have SpotPass (bboooooo, Nintendo, booooo!!!) and to get all 50 StreetPass medals I set it up with three dummy savegames. Now I can farm medals every 12 hours in my existing savegames for the true 100%. Already got 26. It's a fun activity, but I wish it also supported SpotPass to receive Shadow Links from the internet. Even better would be a multiplayer battle mode in the same style... but I'll talk about that later.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Link Between Worlds full Review (German)

My review on ZeldaEurope is out! It's probably the most thorough review yet, but I kept it spoiler free.

I've been playing the game for over two weeks, about 58 hours by now. Beaten both normal and Hero Mode with all items collected. Still need to get all the StreetPass medals though, so there's still something left to do for me for the true 100%.

Overall I've really enjoyed the game and still do. The replay value is great, probably the Zelda game with the highest replay value. In terms of non-linearity and world design it has everything I wished for over ten years now. It's open, it's fast paced and it even offers some good challenges. I love the items and the upgrade system. Upgrading your items really means something in this game and finally optional sword upgrades are back. It does so many things the right way, which have been wrong in the Zelda series for so long. It's non-linear, open, there's no hand-holding, it's fast paced, there are no hamster-wheels or anything big that might slow you down, optional upgrades for swords and other items really mean something. ... it's pure classic Zelda!

And because of the replay value it might become my favorite Zelda game (only time will tell), but definitely top 5, among A Link to the Past, Link's Awakening, Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. It's imho the best Zelda game since those games.

Of course it's not perfect. My main concern was that the dungeons could have been more hazardous, especially when compared to A Link to the Past. There are too few and too weak enemies inside the dungeons. The overworlds is much more dangerous than the dungeons actually. And sometimes regular enemies from ALttP are treated like minibosses, which is a joke.

And there's no boss rush/battle mode, I hate that, because the bosses were really fun and great. But besides these two downsides the game is overall really great.

Some (fun) facts:
I calculated for the review that there are 5040 possible orders of the dungeons. It's the most non-linear Zelda game yet, beating The Legend of Zelda with 672 orders. A Link to the Past offered 66.

You can skip all heart containers and there's only one missable chest with some Rupees, everything else can still be gotten at the end of the game (including all StreetPass medals).

Hero Mode does quadruple damage... sadly it doesn't change the dungeons (adding tougher/stronger enemies would have been enough), but the damage values are insane. It's two hearts in the beginning, eight hearts per hit in Lorule... crazy! A worthy challenge.

I'll add some of my experiences with the game and further impressions later to my blog. Right now I just want everyone to enjoy the game on their own! Have fun!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

999 Hits in the Sword Training of The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks

Oh, the sword training... The minigame itself isn't that hard and even getting the Heart Piece/Container is not a big problem. But to truly 100% the game, you have to go a little bit further. Well, at least in The Wind Waker and Spirit Tracks that is. If you score 999 hits in The Wind Waker, Orca stops the game and now keeps calling you "Master" by title, whenever you talk to him. And in Spirit Tracks scoring over 900 hits (you might as well go for the 999 maximum) makes you the commander of the guards. They will then call you captain, which is kind of funny.

While normally minigame records like this don't count torwards the 100% rating, in this case they do, because they unlock something new to the game - a title and different reactions from people. Years ago I didn't count these things as part of the 100% rating, because you didn't get an item from it (and because I hated the thought of playing these terrible minigames for so long). But since I always claim that I 100%ed all Zelda games (which is a very fishy statement to begin with), I decided to catch up on these records after all. Luckily there are tricks, which make these games easier.

The Wind Waker:
The trick is to use the shield. Hit him until you hear the counter attack sound (whenever the A-button appears on the screen), but instead of countering you simply use your shield to block his attack. Repeat until you get the 999 (might take a while...) It worked best for me by pushing him into a corner, but be careful not to hit things in the environment. Works both in the GameCube and the HD version.

Spirit Tracks:
Watch this video. You have to get the attacking guard get stuck on the wooden posts in the lower right, while you attack one of the guards in the lower left. The third guard remains passive, because he waits for the stuck guard to attack. This only works before getting 60 hits, because otherwise the other guard will attack you as well. It's hard to pull it off at first, but as soon as you get it right, you can quickly score the 999 hits in a couple of minutes by just mashing the touch screen.

It happened to me twice that like after 500 hits the captain complained about me leaving the room and put me in the center. If this happens, it's Game Over. You have to try to keep the input on the touchscreen at a steady rate, which can be hard, but don't give up.

Phantom Hourglass is probably the only of the three sword training games, where it's not a problem to get the 999 hits by playing the game as intented. However, there's no reward for scoring 999. He doesn't treat you different, you don't get a different name or title, he acts the same way as he would when you score over 200. So, there's no need to score the 999 here. One of the many reasons, why I prefer Phantom Hourglass over Spirit Tracks... less bullshit.

If you add minigames, try at least to make them fun and don't add any ridiculous unlockables for ridiculous scores. Thank you, Nintendo.