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Top 10 Legend of Zelda Dungeon Themes

I’m in a very Zelda mood (gee, what a surprise) so today I’m giving you my top 10 favorite temple songs out of all the games. It wasn’t easy, because in truth, I first wanted to do just a top 10 Zelda songs in general, but it became clear very quickly that there’s no way I could have narrowed that down. So instead I picked temples as a theme. That also means I’m likely going to do another top 10 Zelda songs in the future. Zelda fans rejoice, non-Zelda fans… get the hell out of here!

10 –  Oracle of Seasons – Dancing Dragon Dungeon

Perhaps a little surprising, and likely not even recognizable by people who don’t know the series that well, or have only started to play the series a few years ago. This is by all means a very simple repeating song, but out of all 16 dungeons songs from the Oracle games, this one is the one I most remember. Just a simple, catchy song which is more than worthy to kick of this list at number 10.

09 – Spirit Tracks – Tower of Spirits

A second, but more recent, handheld one! Say what you want about the train, but I really loved Spirit Tracks. The Tower of Spirits music is one of the games songs that I can still remember perfectly and I feel it works very nicely with the idea that you’re working as a team, trying to climb higher and higher.

08 – The Wind Waker – Earth Temple

I don’t know what it is about this song, but I just really, really liked it from the first time I heard it. It just struck as familiar straight away, and it still does. Is it just me or does this song borrow from something else that I just can’t seem to remember?

07 – a Link to the Past – Dark World Dungeon

Absolute classic. This one counts for most temples in a Link to the Past, but hell it still gives me goosebumps. Back when I was a kid this song actually scared me for a while so every time I got into a temple I just walked out straight away. Why I never realized I could just turn the volume down is beyond me.

06 – The Minish Cap – Temple of Droplets

Yes, yet another handheld song, I swear I’m not doing it on purpose, just one more after this and it’s all console! Minish Cap has some really interesting music, and this is one song that I felt worked so perfectly with the temple itself. It’s cold, it’s slow and it’s there to remind you that you are now the size of a thumb inside an icecold place.

05 – Skyward Sword – Earth Temple

Oh hey, another Earth Temple song. While Twilight Princess was rather disappointing when it came to dungeon music (you wont find any in this list) Skyward Sword thankfully improved mostly on that part. Maybe I just really like Earth Temple themed music, but you can’t deny this is quite catchy. It’s so awesome that I can feel the lava heat when just listening to it!

04 – The Minish Cap – Palace of Winds

And we’re back at the Minish Cap and the last handheld song in this list. For a handheld midi song this one is quite epic in my opinion. It starts out all nice and slowly being all: welcome to our humble Palace, enjoy your stay… and then it starts building up and it’s all BAZAM YOU IN THE SKY PALACE B*TCH! FEEL LIKE A BIRD!

03 – Skyward Sword – Lanayru Mining Facility (past)

In all honesty, I wasn’t too fond of this song at first, but it has started to grow on me quite a lot, especially the “past” version. It’s rather different from what you’re used to in a Zelda game, but then again, so is the whole damn facility. The present version is kinda so and so when you enter, but the moment you hit a timeshift stone and everything goes back to it’s earlier state, and the music suddenly hits you with it’s percussion, then it’s all “woah”.

02 – Ocarina of Time – Forest Temple

Eery, spooky, scary, haunting are several ways to describe this song. Brilliant is the term I like to use when someone asks me my opinion. It may not be catchy, or epic or have a lot of variation, but when you first enter this place and you’re just a kid, and that music starts playing… you just try your best to not pee your pants. Then a short while later your first wallmaster drops out of nowhere making that even more scary sound and you pee your pants anyway.

01 – Majora’s Mask – Stone Tower Temple

And, perhaps not surprisingly if you know Majora’s Mask is my favorite game, is Stone Tower Temple. Not only is this one of the most insane temples in any Zelda game, it has some, if not the best, temple music in the whole series. It has a catchy tune, yet the deep and heavy voices give it a certain strong impression. It makes you feel, wow, I’m way over my head here. Then you turn the whole place upside down and everything is literally hanging over your head. The music changes a long and while still maintaining the same tune everything suddenly sounds a lot more eery and it feels like you’re in a completely different place. A well deserved number 1 spot in my opinion.

So tell me, when it comes to your favorite dungeon theme, which one would it be?

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Figure Close Up – Day 1 & 2

Just a quick blog before I head of to bed, I’m busy busy busy! This week is the first of 12 where I take photographs of a certain theme for every day of the week. I chose close up photo’s, but to be a little more specific, close ups from my figurine collection. Mainly because most are rather tiny so I figured it would be interesting to see them from up close, but also because they’re in reach and are quick to do (slightly lazy but hey, the blog title says it all). The plan was to post one each day but I was kinda busy yesterday, so I’m just going to post 2 today instead.

I got the Link one from getting some Chocolate Japanese Kinder Eggs at a convention. There’s actually 12 of them and I have 10, but decided this was the most interesting one to pick. The Sandile one was an (awesome) present from my friend Micha. Both these are about the size of a thumb, keep that in mind. I realize that from a professionals point of view these are probably terrible, but I’ll learn as I go. Tips are always welcome if you’re into photography. See you tomorrow with the 3rd one!

Skyward Sword Opinion: Temples & Bosses

Reminder, this post contains major spoilers, so consider yourself warned!

Now that I went over all the places in Skyward Sword I’d like to go a bit more in depth and discuss the temples and their bosses. This is probably going to be my longest post so far but I’ll try and keep it as brief as I can for every temple!

SKYVIEW TEMPLE

Skyview

This temple is surprisingly short, but being the first it is understandable. The music is simple but fits the mood and Nintendo gave it a nice touch by adding a bit more sound to the main rooms that lead up to the boss room. Some people consider this place to be the forest temple but it definitely does not fall into typical “forest-fire-water” theme that’s been going on for quite some time. Instead it has its own unique feeling to it. You can’t really give it a specific theme but rather say that it’s just a general temple with the focus on using your beetle. Speaking of the beetle, it’s a very welcome addition to the series. It is sort of a glorified and improved boomerang and it works perfectly. The temple didn’t exactly have any challenging or hard puzzles though, 3 separate eyelock puzzles is a bit too much imo, but it does what it needs to do. The 1st fight with Ghirahim here is a challenging one and very different from what we’re used to in Zelda games. What it comes down to is that the Skyview Temple gives a good first impression and sets  a good tone for whats to come.

EARTH TEMPLE

Earth Temple

The Earth Temple is probably my favorite despite it being only the second one in the game. Everything in this temple just clicks, I think it’s just the design that really hit a soft spot for me. It looks beautiful, has this wonderful sense of feeling to it and the music works so well with it and got stuck in my head instantly. The puzzles are again not all that hard but I just ended up having a lot of fun going through this place. Lizafols are fun to fight and at that point in the game even a bit challenging. Initially the rolling on the ball through lava felt a bit too Mario-esque and I feared that I was going to have to use wii motion to move on it but thankfully that was not the case. It’s simple but I just had fun climbing up the last bit of the temple and the Indiana Jones style running away from a boulder was a nice appreciative touch that made smile. Then comes the boss which was sort of a “meh”, at least in terms of design. What it comes down to is that Scaldera is simply a more fun version of fighting King Dodongo, but instead of King Dodongo we got something a lot less impressive. I honestly wonder who designed this guy. It’s a rock with 6 legs that’s on fire… way to be original guys. It’s also a bit of a let down since the whole temple has these Chinese Dragon statues all over so you’re already sort of building up expectations about the boss fight because of those. Still, it was like I mentioned a more fun version of fighting King Dodongo, not very original, but fun, so I’ll give them that.

LANAYRU MINING FACILITY

Mining Facility

This temple gives me such mixed opinions. For every positive point I have, I can come up with a negative point as well. It has some extremely fun an interesting puzzles that use the timeshift stones, but seeing giant computer screens in this place feels ridiculously out of place and ruins it completely for me. At this point I also started to get a bit scared about the Temple sizes in general and lack of floors. Despite that it did take me a good while to complete this temple compared to the previous two. The gust bellows is a new (old) fun tool, but you never have to use it for anything else than blow away sand. Giving it a suction mode like the Minish Cap version would have added for more variation. I also don’t understand why they just give it to you without any challenge. There’s no minibossfight or puzzle to require it, all you do is walk up to a random chest and, hey, new item! The music is something very different too. At first I really did not like it, but then I ended up enjoying it more and more, mostly when the timeshift stones are active, which gives it that extra boost. As for the boss, It was obvious from the tiny scorpions that the big Scorpion from the E3 demo was going to be waiting for me, so there wasn’t much of a surprise. Still it was an enjoyable fight and the 2nd part that requires the Gust Bellows made the battle a bit more interesting. The epic music to go along with it helps a great deal too. Summed up, this temple ended up being a hit & miss for me on different levels.

ANCIENT CISTERN

Ancient Cistern

Oh my God this place has 2 floors! That was my first reaction when I checked the map. Looking back I think that this place is my 2nd most favorite one in the game. You’d initially think that this would be the Water Temple, and while in a way it is, it’s also something completely different. The far-eastern theme is obvious and they make excellent use of it, even the music screams far-eastern and has a slightly haunting vibe to it. Very few Zelda temples have had such a distinctive feeling and I hope to see more of this in future Zelda games. The best I can explain it is, that I felt the same way I did when i walked into Ocarina of Time’s Forest Temple, and that’s saying something. The whip sadly didn’t really impress me, but I wasn’t a big fan of the whip in Spirit Tracks to begin with either. I honestly prefer the Grappling Hook, but that’s just me. When you get to the underground it feels like you’re in a completely different place and the part with the spider thread was no doubt intriguing. I couldn’t help look it up and it seems like it was based on this story. It’s little things like these that Nintendo does so well, and I love it. Slightly disappointing was that we got Zombie Bokoblin instead of Redead, I missed those guys in this game. As for the boss fight, Koloktos, oh my a wonderful amazing epic boss fight that was! The best one in the whole game in my opinion. The 2nd phase took me completely by surprise and it’s these kind of fights that make the game so memorable. More of this Nintendo!

SANDSHIP

Sandship

Oh my God this place has 4 floors! That was again my reaction when I checked the map. Sadly they’re not that very interesting floors. I don’t know what it is with this place, I just felt they could have done more with it. The whole idea of a Giant ship sailing a sea of sand and being able to take it back to it’s original glorious state is wonderful and original, but going through the ship felt very simple and even a bit boring at times I’ll admit. I suppose I found the inside to be a bit lacking when it came to interior. There’s several long hallways and rooms with barely anything in it. Considering the detail put in the houses in Skyloft it’s a bit underwhelming and makes you wonder why they didn’t go all out for the inside of this ship as well. The mini boss and actual boss fight make up for it however. Fighting the captain requires good timing and was a nice throwback to the jousting in Twilight Princess. The moment leading up to the boss battle is also great and again a surprising twist that I honestly didn’t see coming. Escaping the ship while it sinks and giant tentacles come crashing in made me go “oh holy mother what the hell is this thing going to look like. Then Tentalus pops out of the water and all I could do was yell “MIKE WAZOSWKI”. If you don’t get the reference then you really need to go watch Monsters & Co right now. Honestly, this bossfight is really fun and slightly epic even, but that design, what the hell Nintendo? I was expecting something scary, impressive and menacing and instead you gives us this cuddly wuddly design of a boss. Still, taking it down is a blast to do.

FIRE SANCTUARY

Fire Sanctuary

To be honest, there’s not really a lot of things coming to mind when I have to discuss this temple. I like how you had to save those Mogma’s Brothers and the “leap of faith” near the end was fun, but besides that I don’t think there’s much memorable to this place. I suppose part of the temple being outside is a nice extra, considering most of the temples in this game are underground or inside. Thing is, there’s just not anything specific going on in this temple. While all the other temples have their own theme this one has… digging? Speaking of that, the digging with the mogma mits felt slow and uninteresting and I feel it’s the weakest of all the items in the game. As for the music, I don’t even remember it anymore. There’s nothing wrong with this temple but just like the Sand Ship it sort of comes and goes. When I first entered this place I also realized that this would probably be the last temple on the surface, so I was hoping for an awesome last new boss, but instead got Ghirahim again. Extreme disappointment, especially because his tactics didn’t even change all that much. It’s nice to see him pop up from time to time in the game but this shouldn’t have been a moment for him, I wanted to see a new spectacular boss but instead got a rehash of the first temple. If I have to sum up this temple in one word, it would be “unmemorable”.

SKY KEEP

Sky Keep

I’ll just go out and say it. Initially overwhelming, soon after, underwhelming. When you first enter they give you the impression that there’s a mix of a Sky Temple and Temple of Time going on. Then you notice the slide puzzle, and then you realize what it actually does. Odd, different, quite a twist indeed. I wasn’t sure what to think but I was very curious and excited of what would come. Then you enter the next room and disappointment hits… this is just another Ganon’s Tower wannabe that rehashes everything from the previous temples. I didn’t know anything about this place except for the fact that some people told me it would “blow my mind” and well, it didn’t. Yes the slide puzzle is unique and some of the rooms can be a challenge, but I expected something different. Something along the lines of the Tower of the Gods from Wind Waker perhaps. Something that stands out. Even more disappointing is that there’s not even a boss fight in this temple. They could have easily put you up against Dark Link as a final test before obtaining the Triforce. Instead we got to fight that mini boss Pirate Captain again, which felt out of place and lazy. This temple just didn’t leave any impact on me, something that, a place where you obtain the whole Triforce, really should do.

BYLOCTITE – THE IMPRISONED – GHIRAHIM

Ghirahim

Byloctite was a fun boss fight that somewhat makes up for the lack of boss in Sky Keep but design wise it’s the 3rd time that I’m starting to wonder what people Nintendo had in their design team this time. Levias looks great but Byloctite is like a walking joke of how Nintendo stereotypically makes the eye the weak spot when it comes to their bosses. It’s like they went: How many eyes can we put on this thing?

The first time fighting The Imprisoned was ok, the 2nd time I went, again? and the 3rd time it only got worse. I’m going to repeat myself here but again what were they thinking when they designed this guy. He looks absolutely menacing until you realize that this massive scary head has little stubby feet with egglike toes attached to it. It completely turns your initial impression of “huge threat alert” to “aw how adorable he’s taking his first baby steps”. Fighting him feels very slow and it’s undeniably repetitive. Giving him hands and a tail, and adding Groose with his katapult to the mix is a welcome addition, but it’s not enough to make the fight more interesting for a 2nd and 3rd time.

As for Ghirahim’s 3rd battle, I really can’t complain. Fighting hordes upon hordes of Bokoblins to get to him in the first place is extreme fun. I was actually surprised to see that many enemies on screen at once, I think that’s the most enemies i’ve ever seen onscreen in a Zelda game. The first part of the battle isn’t too hard but knowing that you could go down in one hit adds a good amount of pressure. Things get mixed up a bit more in the 2nd half and get harder with it. It may not have been that hard to figure out how to take him down, but timing is crucial in this battle. Finding out his true potential and meaning is the best reward we could get as well. Him being a sword  makes so much sense and it’s a nice counterpart of Fi. I’ve heard people complain that this is just another Zant-Ganondorf thing but this couldn’t be further from the truth. While Ganondorf only used and manipulated Zant, Ghiriham wants nothing more than to serve his master. He was never the main villain to begin with and they made that very clear early on in the game. It’s all about reviving his master. It’s his goal, it’s what he lives for, it’s the only thing that can truly make him feel happy and complete (and fabulous). He wanted to “die” so he could become a weapon of mass destruction, used by the worst evil that ever existed, his master. If that’s not good villain material, I don’t know what is.

DEMISE

Demise

Demise, he sure does look badass and is much more impressive than his Imprisoned form I can tell you that. In a way he even looks like a buffed up Ganondorf, which makes sense once he gives you his speech after defeating him. I really had a hard time fighting him at first and it took me about a dozen attempts before I finally was able to take him down. However, somehow the battle, as amazing as it is, lacks something. Let me first remind/explain how the final battle goes, before I go on.

Demise gets successfully resurrected and without a word of thanks absorbs Ghirahim (who seems to quite enjoy this) and turns him back into a Sword. He gives a speech of how pitiful people are and how the Goddess has reduced herself to flesh, but respects Link standing up to him and arranges a place for battle. He gives you time to think about it, he can wait a little longer he says. He disappears and leaves a portal. Now you can go do whatever you want and come back later, or follow him. If you follow, you appear in a beautiful blue sky with water as a surface. Demise welcomes you and speaks of his hatred, the place turns dark and you battle him one on one, sword to sword. Halfway he creates a thunderstorm and you have to raise your sword to catch lightening and take him down. When you defeat him, he curses Zelda & Link, mentioning he will always be reincarnated into a new evil as long as the 2 of them exist, setting up Ganondorf and potentially other villains.

What all of this lacks, is urgency, personality and more stages. Demise gives you time to think about battling him, he can wait until I show up he says, so hey, no pressure to go take him down! There’s also little variation in the battle. It’s a sword fight which gets harder and more dangerous halfway in, but no more. When we look back at Ghirahim, he explains his motives, he shows anger, happiness, and stress. As you fight him, he progressively uses more methods to attack and defend. He improved his armor, went from 1 sword, to 2 swords, to a huge sword. Because of this Ghirahim ends up being much more developed than Demise, which is great, but he’s just the sword, not the Master. When your main villain is less developed than his own sword, you have a problem. If Demise could have been resurrected earlier he could have had a bit more time to develop. He does seem to respect the people who dare stand up to him and offer them a “fair” battle, but besides that there’s little more to him. As for the battle, it could have been much more interesting if Demise would have used all of Ghirahim’s abilities, added to his own. Sadly this doesn’t happen and Demise ends up being one of those more simple villains with the typical “I am evil because I say so and I want to rule the world” background. Compared to how most previous games had 3 or 4 stages in the final battle, it feels a bit empty. If you take those comparisons away you really do have a great battle, but comparing is inevitable.

Anyway, I think I’ve rambled on more than enough, so I’ll just say that this concludes the Temples & Bosses discussion. Sorry for that wall of text at the end, but please do read it and leave a comment with your opinion. Nothing quite as fun as a healthy discussion about something you love! All that’s left now is my overall opinion of the game and gameplay in general so I will see you back tomorrow!

Skyward Sword Opinion: Lanayru Province

Reminder, this post contains major spoilers, so consider yourself warned!

And so we’ve come to the last, but definitely not least, province discussion. The harsh, but not how it always used to be, desert. Let’s get right to it!

LANAYRU PROVINCE

Lanayru Province
Where to start with this place, it’s huge, it’s full of things and it has such an awesome twist to it. It is honestly my most favorite part of the game. The music for this place is really sad but beautiful at the same time, and it’s of my opinion that it’s some of the best in the series. It’s nowhere near catchy as Gerudo Valley but it fits so perfectly in this game that it’s almost one with the area itself.  The big twist with this place of course is the Timeshift stones and I love the concept. Seeing the desert in its original state everytime you activate one of these stones is a reward on its own. The part where you actually partially turn back the sea to its original state was a huge, unexpected and pleasant surprise. The only bad thing I can say about this is that I wish you could have turned the whole place back to its original state with one huge stone, just because it all looks so damn beautiful. It sort of gives us a throwback to the time travel aspect used in some of the previous games but in a completely new way and gives for one interesting and exciting double layered area. This place is so much more then a desert alone, it’s really a green field and lovely ocean area at the same time. It’s an extremely well done area and I greatly commend Nintendo for it, it’s a HUGE step forward compared to the empty desert of Twilight Princess.

Of course this place contains a new, and perhaps the most peculiar, race: The Ancient Robots. With them comes the 2nd “twist” in this area, the technological aspect. At first I struggled a lot with this, and honestly I still slightly do. These guys and everything that revolves around them is something very different than what we’re used to seeing in a Zelda game. Slowly more and more steampunk-like technology is being added in the series. The steamboat in Phantom Hourglass, the train in Spirit Tracks or even the Goron Mines of Twilight Princess. I don’t have any problems with these and am actually quite happy to see the world evolve, but these guys have electric swords and robots that shoot missiles. It can really feel out of place in the game at times. For example, there’s a moment where I had to use one of those Crab seedlings to power a computer device to open a gate. That felt more Banjo Kazooie than anything and while I love those games too, it just doesn’t belong in Zelda. Keep the series evolving I say, but stick to more steam based things and not electricity. If not, then they might as well start using televisions, lightbulbs, cellphones and what not in future games. Not something I would like to see and I’m sure many Zelda fans would agree.

Desert Sea
Both temples in this area are 2 of the more intriguing and special ones and stand out in the series in general. Both bosses are also tons to fight, but goddamn I do hate those technoblins with their electric swords. I love the sea, but it feels more like a lake since it’s not very deep and there are a lots of rocks sticking out randomly. Still it’s nice to officially have a sea area in the world of Hyrule and I hope they do more with it in future installments. The rollercoaster minigame, with the badass motorpunk Goron is fun, but also frustrating and one of the harder ones in the game. The late part to resurrect the dragon is also the best out of the 3 in a way, since it involves a completely new area and rewards you with not only the song but the ability to go through all the bosses in a row.

Something else I’d like to note are several references they seem to have thrown into this area. A specific enemy, namely the electric crab one, reminded me of something instantly when I stood on their shell. When you kill them they vanish in a poof of purple air like every enemy in the game, but their shell remains. The interesting thing about the shell is that it does not sink in the quicksand. Now it may just be me, but I’m convinced these shells are a reference to the Spinner in Twilight Princess. You have to admit, these crabs spin to get around and can traverse quicksand, even the shell design somewhat resembles the shape of the Spinner and they make you use it to pass certain areas. For a moment it felt like I was standing on a primitive Spinner. I thought that was a really nice touch and I wonder if anyone else noticed this.

The temple of time there also seems to be what will later become the Arbiters Ground in Twilight Princess. It’s all a bit too similar and the Time gate seems to be a nod to the Mirror Room that leads to the Twilight Realm. Oddly  (sadly) no reference to the Spirit Temple from Ocarina of Time. Lastly there are also 2 Gorons in this area and one of them heavily resembles a younger version of Darbus from Twilight Princess. He does have a different name so we know it’s not him but he looks too similar for it not to have been on purpose. It does kinda make me miss a younger Darunia in this game, a reference to him would have made more sense too since Ocarina of Time is before Twilight Princess.

Lastly, as in every other discussion, I still have to mention the missed opportunities. Where is my Gerudo Tribe, Nintendo? The game really could have used them and they could have easily been the Pirates in this game. Ganondorf mentioned in the Wind Waker that he and his people were jealous of the rich land of Hyrule, while they were dying in their rough desert. Nintendo could have shown us in this game that the Gerudo actually used to control the sea and the green that bordered near it. Knowing that they used to have a great rich life, and that they are now forced to live in this harsh desert would add so much more to the Gerudo and Ganondorf’s motives. But again they have been forgotten. Koume & Kotake would at least have been a nice reference. We know they are at least 380 years old so it’s honestly not that far fetched for them to have been alive at this point. This is the biggest chance they missed to develop the Gerudo and Ganondorf’s origins in my opinion.

In the end, this place is by far the most interesting one in the whole game and stands out the most. The only “bad” thing that’s really worth mentioning is that they could have expanded on it even further. This concludes my opinion on all the areas in the game and I hope that those who read it, also enjoyed it. Next time I will discuss the enemies, dungeons and their bosses. I do have a rather busy weekend ahead but I’ll try to post it tomorrow, if not you can expect it on Sunday evening. Until then!

Skyward Sword Opinion: Eldin Province

Reminder, this post contains major spoilers, so consider yourself warned!

From the green lush woods and clear waters of Faron Province we go to hot red boiling lava and dry rocks, today I discuss the 2nd area in the game, this is:

ELDIN PROVINCE

Eldin Volcano

I absolutely loved this place. In Twilight Princess I was disappointed that Death Mountain ended up being nothing more but a straight canyon-ish path, it didn’t feel like you were on a mountain at all. Eldin Mountain however, is exactly what a mountain should be like, it’s absolutely massive. It’s a great place to explore and climbing it is just fun, with a rewarding view at the top. There’s just something about this place that works and I can’t say a damn negative thing about it. Both temples are great and fun to go through as well, although I actually prefer the earlier Earth Temple over the Fire Sanctuary. But again, I’ll get more into that in a later post. The music also fits well with the environment. I especially like the Earth Temples music, it’s works so well with the place. The only minor moment I can think of is when you have to visit the Mountain one last time near the end of the game and they randomly introduce stealth. It’s not all that bad really but I feel like they did this better in Wind Waker and it just felt a bit out of place. It wasn’t exactly all that hard either, it’s obvious that the AI in this game wasn’t made for gameplay like this. It was a nice attempt but the game could have done without. The stealth music and the erupting Volcano did make for a wonderful change in scenery however, that’s certain.

This mountain is also home of the Mogma’s and surprisingly there’s not a Goron in sight. Fortunately this is not a bad thing as the Mogma’s, unlike a certain aquatic race in this game, are a wonderful addition to the Zelda lore. I really love the Gorons and you’d  think I would have preferred them instead, but I really love these new guys as well and they totally make up for the lack of Gorons. There’s quite a few of them and it’s a big plus that several have a completely unique design. Others just support a different haircut, some a bit more silly than others which is also appreciated. Seeing a Mogma with an emo haircut honestly made me laugh. You can tell they really put effort into these guys too, since they help you out a lot during the game, even giving you the bomb bag, digging mitts and later upgrading them. They also have a fun personality and hell, even their theme song is catchy. This helps a lot motivation wise when you have to save a few of them in the Fire Sanctuary, you actually care enough about them to help them in return. I really hope Nintendo will bring these guys back in future installments, along with the Gorons of course. I’d also like to mention that the Minesweeper Digging game is a pleasant surprise and just as addicting as the real thing.


Of course, being the fanboy that I am though, I can’t help mention something that I wished they would have done, but didn’t: Volvagia. In Ocarina of Time when Volvagia took over Death Mountain, the Gorons told us that he was actually a resurrected dragon who was defeated by a mighty Goron a long time ago. There are Gorons in Skyward Sword but they’re just exploring the land, while the Mogma’s claim Eldin Mountain as their home. It’s obvious that Eldin Mountain is eventually going to become Death Mountain, but why exactly did they change the name? It would have been interesting if Volvagia actually attacked the Mogma’s and most of them would flee or die even, which could explain why they’re not seen in other games.  An event like that surely seems enough reason to go from Eldin to Death Mountain. Then they could have had us team up with this Goron to defeat Volvagia or if that’s too much to ask, just have one of the Gorons go up there on his own and explain us the aftermath later on. These are but fanboy dreams but I hope Nintendo will one day tell us this tale in a future game.

Lastly that leaves the Volcano summit and the Fire Dragon (no, not Volvagia). There’s nothing wrong with the place but I wish they would have made it a little big bigger as it’s not much more than a big “room” to pass through so you can get to the next temple. They could have done a bit more with it, and the same goes for the Fire Dragon. If you, hopefully, read my previous post about Faron Province and the Water Dragon, then this guy is the exact opposite of her. While the Water Dragon continuously puts you through “trials” this guy just goes “oh yes I’m sorry for the eruption, this is the first time we meet but here have my part of the song and lets never speak again.” A bit more interaction would have been nice but unfortunately this Dragon is severely underdeveloped compared to the other two. All in all however, Eldin Volcano is near perfectly designed in my opinion. Despite the small size of the Volcano Summit, the Mountain on its own makes  more than up for it in size. It would almost go as far as saying that this is my most favorite area in the game, but hey, we still have Lanayru Province to discuss, so I’ll see you on Thursday!

Skyward Sword Opinion: Faron Province

Reminder, this post contains major spoilers, so consider yourself warned!

Today I will discuss the whole of the Faron Province, this includes the Sealed Grounds, Faron Woods, Deep Woods, Skyview Temple & Lake Floria. I’ll be bringing up points from the start and near end from this area and its races, so it’s not just about the first visit. I wont go too much into the bosses as I’ll have a seperate post about those after I’ve done the regions. Let’s begin!

FARON PROVINCE

Faron Woods

It's a Great Tree, but it's no Great Deku Tree

When you first go down the clouds you arrive at the Sealed Grounds. There really isn’t much to do in this place since its as good as empty and but it’s there for the story and has its purpose, but I prefer to keep that for a later post. What I can say is that it definitely looks interesting when you first arrive and it raises questions straight away, questions which thankfully get an answer in the end. I also like how it’s not only the start of your journey below, but also where it ends. I’ll leave it at that so lets move on to Faron Woods.

For the first time (on console) we have a forest that succeeds in actually feeling like a forest! While still limited, you have a lot of freedom and plenty of directions to move in. It’s a big step up compared to previous forests like Ocarina of Time’s “boxed” Lost Woods or Twilight Princess’s linear path). The area looks very lovely, the mushrooms are a nice touch and don’t feel out of place in my opinion, and it sort of feels like a first playground to have fun in. In the center stands a Great Tree, but sadly it is not the Great Deku Tree, which makes it one of the first of several disappointing choices in the game. Do not get me wrong, I’m speaking solely when it comes down to missed opportunities. I understand that Nintendo wouldn’t want to overuse the “living tree” card, but this is a game that is supposed to tell us how it all started and lead up to Ocarina of Time. They could have had a small story element where the Great Tree becomes the living Great Deku tree. Just even mentioning something along the lines of this would have been a nice touch. It really is just fanservice, but it’s the kind of answers Zelda fans have been waiting for, for a long time.

The Kikwis are the race that call these woods their home. They’re cute, they’re fluffy & I would totally buy a plushie version if they’d ever make one. The thing with the Kikwi’s is though, why a new race? While I’ve got nothing against these guys (really they’re adorable) there’s plenty of other underused races. Nintendo could have gone with either Deku Scrubs or Kokiri instead. In Majora’s Mask the Deku Scrubs had their own society and even a King. The Kikwi even have the same act where they pretend to be a flower, so it’s a bit odd. Then again, that was Termina and a different land, but why not the Kokiri then? They could have played the role as well, it’s not like they wouldn’t know how to hide in a bush. I would have even been happy if they would have hinted that the Kikwi would eventually turn into the Kokiri. Their Elder, Bucha, actually resembles The Great Deku Tree somewhat. Turning him into The Great Deku Tree and the Kikwi’s into Kokiri would  have been an acceptable alternative as well. You may be thinking, this would make for a confusing evolution line. True, from Kikwi to Kokiri to Korok is a bit odd, but  it was explained in Wind Waker that they adapted, this would be no different. Again, we’ve been told by Nintendo that this game is supposed to set the pieces in motion that lead up to Ocarina of Time, so why not grasp these oppertunities?

Elder Bucha

Elder Bucha: Protects the Kikwi, has the moustache, could happen!

As for the other areas, the Deep Woods are just an extension of Faron Woods and lead up to the Skyview Temple. It serves as a nice “pre dungeon” but there’s not much more to say about it.  After completing it, I was honestly surprised by how short this Temple was, but the whole events leading up to it makes it the perfect length actually. The atmosphere in there is spot on with very eery music and, although it’s officially again a forest temple as first dungeon, it doesn’t feel like one and has its own unique feeling. I’m not going to mention anything more for now though as I’ll be talking about the temples along with the bosses in a different post.

Then there’s Lake Floria, and well, i’m just going to be flat out honest and say that this is the most boring of all the places in this whole game. I’m not even talking the design alone here. I’m talking about everything. The place, the race that inhabits it, the (little) things you do and the music. At least the temple and boss there make up for it. But yes what can I say… Lake Floria is just…  boring? There’s not a lot to explore there, it’s just a small underwater cavern to go through which leads to a bigger central room. The music, and I can’t believe I’m saying this when it comes to Zelda, is extremely plain and dull to listen to. The race that lives there are the Parella and the Water Dragon. We are told NOTHING about these guys, I even had to look up their name online because I don’t even think these things introduce themselves. Their design is fine, but they don’t contribute anything at all to the game. Unlike the Kikwi who you actively search for, have a personality, a name and lots of different things to say, these guys all have one or rarely two lines of dialogue. They did nothing with these guys, absolutely nothing. As with the Kikwi we can also only assume that they will eventually evolve into the Zora. Speaking of them, I’d like to note that I didn’t actually miss them in this game, but I do feel they would have at least been a bit more interesting than what we got. As for the Water Dragon, she’s a total b*tch, more on that below.

Lake Floria

Gee, it sure is boring around here!

Lastly I would like to talk about what happens to the forest when you have to go there again near the end. The whole place gets flooded (Super Mario Sunshine anyone?). When i saw this I was pleasantly surprised because it was a very nice twist on the area, until I found out what I had to do at least. Now before I go on, I’m not a big fan of the swimming mechanics in this game, you use the controller just like you would control your bird, but instead of fun it’s slow and annoying. This is why I mentioned earlier that the Water Dragon is a total b*tch. During this point in the game you’ve already helped her revitalize, cleaned out their temple and did a whole bunch of other stuff. You’ve more than shown that you’re worthy and now you need her to give you a part of the Hero’s song. NOPE! To prove you are worthy you have to collect notes! Underwater! BECAUSE THAT PROVES YOU’RE A HERO! All that other stuff you did for her, all those temples and bosses, the fact that the 2 other Dragons have already given you their part and the clear obvious fact that you are the chosen hero are not enough! NOW GO, DIVE AND COLLECT BOY! I’m sorry, but that’s just a very poor excuse to keep you from continuing the story and i was seriously disappointed and annoyed by this.

In conclusion, the Faron Province is mostly a very lovely and fun place to go through, unless it has to do with water. But hey this was the only bit in the whole game that I actually disliked so when I come back to talk about the Eldin Province next time it will be all sunshine, lava, and rainbows! See you in a day or 2!

Skyward Sword Opinion: Skyloft

So I completed Skyward Sword, and I’ve been neglecting this blog due to it. To make up for it I’ve decided to write down a full game opinion.  Hopefully it will also help with my writing skills. I’ll  start by doing a breakdown of each area and the people or races that live there. After that I’ll finish with my thoughts about the gameplay mechanics, story and general afterthoughts. Obviously this will contain some major spoilers, so you have been warned! Note that this is in no way a review of any sorts, just my personal opinion on the game. Also, do not think that because I’m a big Zelda fan that this will be all praise, there’s definitely flaws I will be pointing out, but in general I enjoyed the game a lot and it’s now in my top 5 of the series. First some basic things to note however.

Final playtime: 35 hours & 12 minutes.
Sidequests: completed about 50%
Item upgrades: Just the slingshot & Purple Shield
Bug: caught about 3/5 of all the kinds
Mini games played: each one found at least once

As some of you may know Nintendo mentioned you can get 50-100 hours out of this game. This may seem false when you see my playtime, but you have to keep in mind that I’m a hardened (professional even perhaps?) Zelda gamer. Despite me finishing it in 35 hours+ (I did not rush btw) there is certainly another good 10 to 15 hours I can spend on sidequests, minigames, upgrading, finding every heartpiece, bugs, goddess cubes, treasure chests, etc. Even after all that, there’s a Hero mode to play the game again with a higher difficulty level and the boss rush mode as well. So yes, if I do all that, then that 100 hour mark will definitely come very close.

With that said, let’s begin!

SKYLOFT

Skyloft

home sweet home

I have mostly nothing but praise when it comes to Skyloft. It’s a very beautiful place, feels very homey and is well designed. Dividing it into sections makes it easy to get around and it gives each part of the island its own feeling. The music fits perfectly and how it changes depending on where you are is also a very nice touch. I absolutely love the Knight Academy, it just feels right & I feel like the place has a lot of opportunity. I can easily see people making comics, fanfics or animations based on that place alone. The bazaar is an excellent place packed with everything you could ever need and has wonderful characters and atmosphere. The living area gives of somewhat of a hobbit vibe and its just charming. I really can’t note anything wrong about the Island, it’s just a joy to explore. The sky itself, I really shouldn’t complain too much I suppose. It has a handful of other small islands a la Wind Waker, but a few more or bigger ones really wouldn’t have hurt. There’s also that big mysterious cloud in the sky, so you expect it to hold something huge since they don’t allow you in there until halfway the game, but in the end there’s barely anything at all, so that really was disappointing. The music again is fantastic and gives a very epic feeling when you’re soaring through the sky.

What they did very right was add a bunch of characters (I’ve counted over 40 of them). Designs are great, good, interesting and sometimes awkward, but hey this is Zelda, you can’t go without characters like that and I love it. Nintendo also did a great job giving them a personality (Groose, the main shopkeeper, the item check girl, Pippit & Batreaux in particular come to mind). Sadly a few who initially seem to be important, end up being much less. One of the tutors of the Knight Academy for example. For most of the game he just stands there in his room, admiring his wall, repeating the same thing over and over. Same goes for Zelda’s father, Gaepora. While he is quite awesome, he really doesn’t seem to care that much that his daughter went missing, he’s just kinda goes “oh well, Link, I’m sure it’s all ok and you can deal with this, good luck!” and continues to stare at his bookshelves. Having him worry a bit wouldn’t have hurt.  There’s also not a single reference or hint that he becomes the Owl from Ocarina of Time so that feels like a missed opportunity. You’d figure these people could and should have been of more importance and had a bigger part to play, but that’s just not the case. The kitchen lady also never seems to leave the same spot, but I do love the Ghibli feeling her design has.

Groose

His pompadour is the best pompadour.

These are of course small nitpicks, but there is one big thing about the characters which honestly bothers me near the end of the game. When the piece of land with the Goddess statue falls down to earth you’d think, well this is kind of a big deal, but apparently, it isn’t. Half of the people don’t ever seem to notice and the other half goes”Ah well, weird I suppose but I’m sure it’s all ok!” GUYS, A WHOLE PIECE OF YOUR ISLAND PLUMMETED DOWN TO THE GROUND AND NOBODY IS WORRIED? It’s just not a realistic reaction. I expected at least some to go “Has the goddess abandoned us?” or “What if more pieces fall down! What will happen to our home!” But there’s none of that. Twilight Princess also did this wrong (nobody mentioned a single thing on the Castle being attacked there or seemed to notice the giant diamond barrier). Yet Majora’s Mask, a much older game, did it so right where almost the whole town ended up actually fleeing. It would have added much more to the characters, but they didn’t grab that chance. That said though, the place has some of the most entertaining and lively characters in the series. It’s still no Clocktown, but a big step up from Twilight Princess and it definitely comes in 2nd place in the series.

Lastly I’d like to talk about the relationship Link & Zelda have going on. It’s freaking great! OK?! They haven’t had this much personality since, well, ever. I hope Nintendo will continue to go into this direction. Doesn’t have to be them having a love interest for each other or anything though. As long as they just improve on this more. It’s the first time that they really seem to care a lot about each other and this made me very happy. Zelda is more than just the girl you have to safe and she plays a much bigger part than usual. I’m glad to see she wasn’t just a damsel in distress and did what she needed to do (I also love how the credits show her end of the story). As for Link, the fact that at certain moments you actually see him explaining things, and that you have the option to choose several replies to people is a big plus. I know Link is supposed to be an avatar and represent yourself, but I actually liked him a lot more in this game than any other. This time he isn’t just a mute empty shell and I hope this means Nintendo realized it was time to change this and will not fall back to the old him.

I think I rambled on long enough so I will leave it at this. Overall the good outweighs the bad by far when it comes to Skyloft & the clouds, but is this the same case for every area, or for the gameplay or story? Find out  in a few days when I discuss Faron Woods and its surrounding areas!

Ps: Do leave some comments with your opinions about the game and my writing. I really am trying to improve & don’t want it to be boring to go through, so it’s appreciated.

Until next time when I discuss Faron Woods and its surrounding areas!