Speaking of covers that might not be as good as the original but can still be plenty of fun: Magic Fingers as performed by Katie Jacoby, Eric Slick, Eric Svalgard, CJ Tywoniak, and Matt Rothstein, posted by Eric Slick.
I'll be honest: it's a lot better than Ancient Stone Tablets.
It's about what you'd expect from a modestly-talented developer playing with the LttP engine: the pieces are there but they just don't fit together as well.
First of all, there's the exploration. Good big chunks of the world are covered by Fog of War as the game begins, and it doesn't feel like the world opens up naturally to you as you go so much as that you're ushered through it region by region. Part of this is simply the nature of its design -- it was designed to be played across four days, with each day revealing a different portion of the world map -- but, well, just because there's a design constraint giving it a good reason to feel confined doesn't make it feel any less confined.
Indeed, from pretty early on you're encouraged to make use of instantaneous travel rather than encouraged to hoof it across Hyrule before being given the keys to the ocarina.
But if the overworld doesn't seem to offer much that's new, the dungeons just seem perfunctory.
They're shorter, they're smaller, and they're a lot more straightforward. The puzzles are simple (though in at least one case the "push a block down a hole" bit is implemented much better than its original use in LttP's Ice Palace, one of the weakest, most convoluted puzzles in the game -- though it at least rewarded players for taking the levels out of sequence), and the thematic elements of the dungeons are gone, replaced with a weird sort of mishmash of different tilesets and bosses. Why the fuck does the Water Temple look like the East Palace inside, and have the sandworms from the desert level as its boss? Who the fuck knows?
It's not that I haven't had a bit of fun playing Ancient Stone Tablets. It's like a cover tune on open mic night -- it's fun to hear somebody new try out your favorite song, even if they're not as good as the original band.
But I haven't had any great urge to finish it, either.
Guess we'll see how the new game goes. Maybe it'll be a lot more ambitious than it looks.
Or maybe it'll be pretty much a remake with less-inspired level design. That would be a shame -- but it'd still probably be worth playing through once or twice.
It's kinda funny how Parish's Anatomy of Zelda 2 series got me interested in replaying the game, and now it's halfway to convincing me not to finish it.
And talking of Zelda, Nintendo's gone and announced A Link to the Past 2. Don't go writing checks you can't cash, now, Nintendo; you wanna use that title you'd better be damn sure.
I've spent the past twenty years trying to find another game like LttP. I've only really found one: Link's Awakening.
My gripes about the 3D Zeldas are well-worn and don't need repeating. But even the top-down ones haven't managed to capture my interest. I played a bit of the Oracles games and Minish Cap but they just didn't quite do it for me. Four Swords was great, but it was a bitch getting four Game Boys together to actually play the thing. I expect we'll hear about a Wii U sequel any time now given that the console seems to be made for exactly that sort of thing.
I've tried other games in the genre, from the new -- I'm enjoying Bastion quite a bit but it's about as far from open-world exploration as it gets -- to games closer to LttP's own vintage -- I dig Soul Blazer all right but the sudden difficulty spikes at the bosses are pretty discouraging.
So, what the hell, Nintendo, show me what you've got. Show me a big open world with a bunch of off-the-path secrets for me to stumble on, and don't waste my time with a bunch of goddamn mandatory fishing minigames, and I just might save up and get myself a 3DS.
There's more to LttP than the enemies and mechanics. I hope the crew on this game understands that and doesn't deliver us yet another rote Zelda sequel.
Still, even if it is a rote sequel, it's nice to be looking down at it from overhead for a change.
Remember Messiah? They put out the Generation NEX NES clone a few years back. It was a much-hyped, slick-looking system back in 2005, and promised built-in wireless, dual-mono audio output, and full compatibility with both NES and Famicom games and accessories.
And then it came out and turned out to be running the same damn crummy third-rate NES-on-a-chip as every other Chinese clone.
And so Messiah faded into obscurity.
Which is a pity, because despite the disappointing guts of the NEX, Messiah made some damn solid controllers. And while the NEX had a built-in wireless receiver, you can also use them on a legit NES with a dongle. (The gamepads, anyway; from what I understand the joystick doesn't work with a real NES. Don't know, never got one.)
The controller works well. It's solid and has a good weight to it; the buttons have a good response even if they're a little clicky.
The disc-shaped D-pad is a little weird but I haven't had any real trouble using it to play Zelda 2 -- I have a bitch of a time fighting Ironknuckles, but I don't think that's the controller's fault. I can see it being a problem on something that requires more four-direction precision, though.
It really is a pretty neat device and well worth the $50 Amazon's charging for a pair. (I got the Limited Edition set, which I see is now going for $175 used. I'm tempted to snatch up that $50 set and sell my limited set, but I do like the metal lunchbox.)
I'm kinda disappointed I never got the SNES set, because you can't get those anymore, but I'm seeing good reviews on the SuperRetro wireless SNES controllers. And they have good old-fashioned plus-sign D-pads, too, not discs.
Kind of a moot point, really; the state of SNES emulation and the now-standard design of its controller have meant I haven't hooked mine up in years.
Yep, got the bug from Jeremy Parish's excellent Anatomy of Zelda 2 series. I've started replaying Zelda 2.
Jeremy commented on the general unfairness of the game and said that he's using savestates. I'm using authentic NES hardware, but I do have a Game Genie.
When I played through the game as a kid, I only used one Game Genie cheat code: infinite lives. It's amazing how much it does for the game's balance to eliminate the outmoded concept of a limited number of lives (a holdover from the arcade age, of course). Frankly it's odd, in hindsight, that Zelda 2 played the old "3 lives and then Game Over" meme, given that the original game didn't. I mean, sure, 2's a side-scrolling platformer, but Metroid was too, and it didn't bother with giving you a limited number of lives either.
So I resolved to take a crack at Zelda 2 on my NES, once again cheating a bit against its unfair difficulty with the use of the infinite lives code.
And when I went to look it up, I found, via Game Winners, two more codes that weren't in the official Game Genie book and which serve to mitigate the game's lopsided leveling system. So here are the three codes I'm using:
Link has unlimited lives
Do not lose all experience when leveling
Do not lose experience when hit by enemies
I think that, on the whole, those three codes go a long way to balancing out the difficulty of Zelda 2 and allowing its strengths to shine. It is a solid game.
Updated Favorite Searches. If there are two essential truths you should always remember, they are these: alan moore still complaining and popeye bad ass. Words to live by, my friends. Words to live by.
Playing: Oh God, you'd think I have ADD or something. Recently I have played Crackdown, Last Story, Xenoblade, Sonic 2 Delta, and Mottzilla's patch for BS Zelda. One of these days I'll probably even share some thoughts on each of them.
On this morning's Morning Edition, Kelly McBride expressed concern that Wii Sports would lead her children to erroneously believe they could actually play sports.
I think this is a very reasonable concern. I just got a Wii and spent a good portion of last week playing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Yesterday morning I got up, put on my green tunic, grabbed my sword and shield, and went to cross the bridge at Yorkshire and the I-17. When the gateway to the Twilight Realm did not open and I failed to turn into a wolf, I was forced to come to grips with the shocking possibility that video games might not be real.