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Top 5 Worst Zelda games
By Spamoman

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The Legend of Zelda series is among the few that has remained consistently high quality throughout its history. Among the online community, it’s a running joke that we rate Zelda games on a scale of eight to ten. I am no different, and this made the concept of a worst games list rather difficult to put together, but I think I came up with a list I can stand behind.

This article goes along with my top five best Zelda games list, and is not objective, it’s just my opinions about which games in the series fall very slightly short of the bar I expect from the series. None of them are downright dreadful; (except the last one) in fact I love all of them, (except the last one) but these are what I would rank as my least favorite games in the series.

#5: Minish Cap

Minish Cap had great dungeons and story, and forging the Four Sword was an incredible undertaking. Hidden Skills and the shrinking mechanic made for some of the most unique 2D gameplay in the series. So why does it not rank higher? Two of my absolute favorite elements of the Zelda series; music and exploration.

In this game, the soundtrack featured a plethora of tracks borrowed from past games, particularly Ocarina of Time. The issue that presents itself is that the Nintendo 64’s sound processing technology was far superior to that of the Gameboy Advance, which left most tunes feeling like a watered-down version of something familiar.

Exploration in dungeons was fine, but the overworld was among the worst in the series. Right from the get-go if you’ve played any previous Zelda game, you will be finding yourself constantly noticing roadblocks that will be taken care of by some dungeon item or another, and you just have to go through dungeons until you find the right one.

This is a mechanic that has been utilized in most Zelda games, but in this one it feels like they didn’t even try to hide it. The whole world is a constrained, railroaded mess. The overworld feels superfluous. I would rather have seen them go the route of TriForce Heroes, eliminating the overworld entirely for the sake of better dungeons.

#4: Spirit Tracks

Remember how mad the railroading made me in Minish Cap? The only way to make it worse is to put Link on a LITERAL RAILROAD. Again the story was fine, albeit cheesily shoehorning in a railroad mechanic, but the fact that the game just gave you an auto travel mechanic to the next town and dungeon after you beat each one was, in my opinion, stupendously stupid.

Other than that, I really did like the game, and Phantom Hourglass as well. The touch controls in each did not seem over utilized. I like traditional controls better, but for a change of pace it was fine by me. The graphical style of the two DS titles has always irked me simply because of how large Link’s head looks, but all in all I would recommend them, just not over most Zelda games, and of the two, Phantom Hourglass is by far the superior game.

#3: Majora’s Mask

I’m gonna say it, it’s a cult classic. If this is your favorite Zelda game, you are in a very vocal minority than makes it appear as though it has a larger fanbase than it actually does. Now of course, that doesn’t make it a bad game, but I think it’s worth mentioning to its followers that 90% of the world disagrees with them, since I feel when talking about this title its biggest fans are always very forceful and annoying with their arguments, touting that it is objectively superior to Ocarina of Time or whichever other title is on the debate table, without actually presenting any hard facts to back up their claims. Yes, it runs on the Nintendo 64 Expansion Pak, so it’s technically on more powerful hardware, and Link does cool flips when he jumps, but that hardly makes it a better game. By that logic, Sonic ’06 is better than Majora’s Mask because it ran on XBox 360 and Sonic moved faster than Link.

Rant over.

To really define what makes this game rank so low on my list, it’s about ninety percent the Three-Day system, and ten percent Tingle. Every cool thing about this game was harder to see for me, and I know I’m not alone, just because saving was a major pain in the ass, and it felt like every time you saved you were losing progress. Even if you stored your rupees in the bank, having to farm arrows and bombs before you could get back to the action was tedious and unnecessary, and if you took too long in a dungeon, restarting it and not hurling your controller at the TV was a Major Test of Strength.

In my opinion it was the single worst mechanic ever implemented in a Zelda game, and the only reason the game ranks this high is because the music and dungeons were enough to make it enjoyable, I just wish it could be enjoyable the whole time instead of just once you get through the slog of reloading your save, farming items, heading to the next dungeon, having to reload again to have extra time in the dungeon once you’ve got there, and… you get the idea. It’s tedious to do anything, and the simple overworld kinda kills my exploration buzz. This would be an incredible game if it weren’t for all those glaring problems.

#2: Skyward Sword

Hot damn, 1:1 motion control sword fighting, that sounds amazing and the execution was great! Ooh, there’s also 1:1 control on your bird? Um… okay, I guess I’ll take it. Oh look, 1:1 motion controls on flying the new Beetle item. I mean it’s a cool utility, but why can’t I just use the thumbstick? All right, now you’re telling me I have to rotate the Boss Key with motion controls to put it in right? You gotta be friggin’ kidding me!

Skyward Sword was a ton of fun fighting certain enemies, but many were effectively more powerful clones of others, and at the end of the day, most of the things you used motion controls for felt shoehorned in to get some more use out of the latest gimmick.

Okay, I’ll give it credit where credit is due, what about the highly praised story with all those memorable characters? Well it wasn’t bad but it just didn’t do it for me. large chunk of the narrative was an annoying tween drama a la High School Musical, and all those memorable characters came from previous Zelda games with the exception of Groose. Impa, Link, Zelda, and Demise, all felt basically the same as they had in past games, albeit Demise was the first incarnation of what would later become Ganon, and I admit I liked the duality of the two Impas, but in the end they all served the same role as they did in Ocarina of Time. Then our new villain, Ghirahim, was only memorable because of his effeminate demeanor and creepy personality. Other than that, he was pretty much a copy and paste job for Zant, but at least Zant felt like a real villain for half the game. Pretty much from the start of the game, you knew Ghirahim was working to revive a demon even more powerful than himself, and even at the early stages of this game I had a gut feeling it was Ganon, and I was eighty percent correct.

I have to say as well, the linearity and easiness of the game simply made it not feel like a Zelda game. Even Ocarina felt more open, despite the fact that the world was clearly smaller and had just as much railroading. The presentation of that railroading didn’t feel obvious, where here it feels unavoidable. In addition, walking through every dungeon was easier than the Divine Beasts in Breath of the Wild that got so much hate. They were bigger, but the enemies were easy, the bosses were easy, and overall the puzzle design is the only thing that kept me going, despite being easy. Great dungeons and an okay story don’t make up for an oversaturation of motion control gimmicks and the worst bosses in the series.

#1: Adventure of Link

What can I say that I haven’t said in a dozen other articles? If you would like to hear my full thoughts on the matter, you can check out my Lens of Truth review, but to summarize, hit box detection is terrible, combat is unfairly designed, and I don’t mind difficulty if it comes out of good game design, but here it’s unfair for the sake of unfairness, and an awkwardly implemented combat system.

A Metroidvainia take on Legend of Zelda has a ton of potential, and absolutely none of it was realized. I like every other game on this list, and would rate them, as I said, on a scale of eight to ten, but Adventure of Link is truly the worst game I’ve ever played. Superman 64 was annoying and had a downright dim-witted core mechanic, but it was at least playable. If given the choice, I would pass on this game in favor of a punch in the nuts. If you’ve never experienced it, my recommendation would be to listen to the soundtrack on YouTube and then forget it ever existed. Stay far away. You have been warned.

Don’t worry, I’m ready to deal with any flack I get for writing this, since I know the fans of some of these games are going to be appalled that I would hold such preposterous opinions of their favorite games, but I would love the discussion, so by all means tell me why I’m wrong and we can start a flamewa… I mean so we can keep the conversation trabsmitting!

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Fan Fiction: Sonata of the Graveyard Boy
By IceShadow92

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It was yet another day. His mother always woke him with a gentle stroke on the shoulder and a kiss on the head, and then made him and his father breakfast and lunch for the day. Then the sun would begin climbing up the sky with pink and orange peering behind the windmill sitting under the blackish blue of night, and the Cuccos would begin to crow. And he would be ready to play in the graveyard with some packed lunch, hugs from his parents and a slightly tremulous “Be a good boy, son. I love you.”

Like always, the villagers ran their errands each and every day; the carpenters lumbering about on the project set by their boss who complained about their laziness at the top of his voice, the lady asking for help with corralling her Cuccos who had escaped their pen to go to their favourite walking or hiding spots, the man sat on a roof the boy could see from his window, and the guards standing at their stations. His dad was one of the guards, standing at the gate to Death Mountain.

He was a timid young lad, but for some reason that he couldn’t really explain, he found the graveyard and the village itself to have something quite enticing to it. Scary, but enticing. It was usually greyer and less cheery than the rest of the village, and maybe that something had something to do with it, but it gave that wild feel to him that was almost like an adventure. Maybe it was the overall feel of the place which always gave off a gloomy aura compared to the rest of the village? Or the gravekeeper Dampé, of whom the boy was frightened of but at the same time an admirer? He heard of the Sheikah, of whom many of the graves paid homage to, through some stories told by his dad who stood guard at the gate to Death Mountain; how they protected Hyrule alongside the Royal Family, how the great Impa had opened the village for them. But there was so much the boy had never seen, and the hunger to find out itched at him from time to time.

The boy had his scruples however, honed by the routine life and guidance of two loving parents. He knew how to handle money, and Dampé told him not to disturb the graves. He also wasn’t allowed to go on the Gravedigging Tour at night as he wasn’t old enough, and his father told him to stay away from the well. That being said, the sense of adventure sang to him when he read the sign near the well (Dark! Narrow! Scary! Well of Three Features), and whenever he went into that graveyard to play…

One day, another boy wearing a green tunic and a fairy in tow appeared while he tramped around his usual track with stick in hand. He looked athletic and battle hardened, and had a sword and a wooden shield too. He also had a sad expression, as if he lost someone in his family. This boy went to heft one of the graves with flowers at it, and the lad with the stick cried out, “Don’t mess with the graves! I’ll tell Dampé!” The fairy nudged the lad dressed in green, who tramped up to him with a quizzical look and said, “Uhh, sorry.”

After a brief chat, the boy was quite surprised that a Kokiri could have left the confines of the forest to the east, let alone trek up here to the north. “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” he asked. Link replied while scuffing the back of his head behind his hat, “I already grew up I guess. We’re always kids with kid minds and kid bodies, but we call each other grown-ups from the time we have fairies.” The boy went on, “Do you have friends?” Link didn’t speak for a while, but instead looked down at a lone daisy which was separated by a small bloom of daisies huddled near an anthill shaped almost like a tree. The ants circled around the bloom, but not the singular daisy. Bees collected pollen from the bloom too, but ignored the flower sitting alone. Link looked up and asked about the Heart Pounding Gravedigging Tour, and the boy explained. “…Since I can’t do that, I’m just imitating Dampé the gravekeeper all day. But with my cute face, I’m not heart-pounding at all, am I?” The lads chuckled and continued their chat, until the sun sank to the west, down behind the cliffs bordering the path back to the village. The boy looked up to the now orange darkening sky and sighed, “I’d better get home now. Nice meeting you, Link!” He looked down at the daisies Link had just been looking at, and noticed two ants came to it. Then he ran back just as the moon went up.

He took off past the well to the right, ran up the slope and headed back home, greeted by his father by the gate to Death Mountain calling, “Hey son! You’re late getting back. Didn’t get in trouble with Dampé, did you?” The lad replied, “I just made a new friend called Link. He came to the graveyard and we talked for a while.” The guard stroked his chin. “Link, eh? Was he wearing green and accompanied by a fairy?” The boy nodded. His father kept scratching his chin as they talked. “He came here as well, wanting to climb the mountain. He looked tough for his age but I wasn’t going to let him through, it’s far too dangerous. That wooden shield of his wouldn’t last a minute up there anyway. But then he showed me a letter with Princess Zelda’s permission and I thought maybe he’d be OK as long as he got himself a proper shield like me.” The guard lifted up his shield to show the boy. “They have always been made like this, son. There’s the Triforce to which we pray for our safety…and the Loftwing on which the Hero of the Skies rode long ago as had been told by the great Impa…” Then the boy’s mother came bustling out of the house and called, “Son, supper’s ready, hurry before it gets cold!” Then she came out with a bowl full of stew and handed it to her husband with a kiss, before brushing the boy’s shoulder gently. The boy followed his mother back into the house, but not before his father called out, “Son! Come talk with me tomorrow. I’ll be there with that…Kee…what’s-it-called mask that you wanted.” The boy looked up with twinkling eyes before nodding, and a small bowl of stew sat waiting for him on the table…

The boy ate fast; all that tramping in the graveyard gave him quite the appetite. His mother’s expression, which had always been one of great loving and caring, had a twinge of amusement at how quickly the carved wooden spoon was already scraping the clay bowl, hunting down the last remaining scraps of his supper. “Try eating slower next time sweetie,” she giggled. “You don’t want to make yourself sick, do you?” She fetched a bottle of milk and began pouring it into a cup that was also moulded from clay as she said this, but the bowl was already emptied before she turned to the table. “Thanks, Mom!” the boy said with a rosy glow, prompting her to sit down next to him and give him a hug and a kiss on the head. “I’m so glad that you’re here with us, sweetie. After all that’s…” She stopped, and tears rolled down her cheeks as she slowly relinquished her son, put her hands together and bowed her head over the table. “Hylia bless the great Impa for giving us this home.”

After bidding his mother and father goodnight, the boy fell asleep fast, his energy spent from playing in the graveyard. He thought of Link and Navi as he lay in his bed, wondering about what they were doing for fun, and what it was like to go on a real adventure. What went on in the fields going down from the village? What lay behind the gate to Death Mountain which his dad was guarding? And what about the well? His mind filled with thoughts of the fun he could have outside of his bubble as drowsiness blanketed him, and night fell…

The Cuccos crowed as the orange veil of light that was the sun stretched against the blackness of night, and the boy got dressed and ready to play in the graveyard again. He had his breakfast, kissed his mother as usual, and ran towards the steps leading down into the village when his father called out, “Hey, son! Look what I got!” The young lad skidded and nearly tripped over his own feet before turning to see the guard wearing something very familiar…

He looked up and his eyes twinkled as his father puffed his chest up and showed off the mask, that yellow fox with the closed contented eyes, cheer and nostalgia welling up inside him. And the same feeling seemed to have affected the guard too, wearied as he was by his shifts at his station by the gate. “It’s that Kee…whatchamacallit…character mask! That boy in green was selling it! He said he got it straight from Castle Town! And he seemed to be holding that Hylian Shield of his quite well for a boy his age…” the man ended with a muse. “Listen, son, is it OK with you if I keep hold of this for a little while? Don’t want you losing it, after all!” The boy had a tiny twinge of disappointment that he couldn’t wear the Keaton Mask, but he smiled and replied, “It’s fine. Thanks so much dad!” He finished with a big hug, before dashing off down the stairs to play as usual. The guard shifted the mask to a straight position and stood more upright, aglow with nostalgia. He murmured to himself, “It’s been so long since I had seen it, I almost forgot what it looked like and what it was called…”

The lad ran close to the well, and as he ran past it, he thought he heard a gurgle from deep within it. He skidded on the grass, then walked back to it, round to the sign saying “Dark! Narrow! Scary! Well of Three Features”. But it was a well, and full at that. How could anyone get down there to look anyway? And was it his imagination sparked by the inscription on the sign, or could he hear the traces of a voice coming from below the water? He leaned forward until he could see his own face reflected on the surface, and then he slowly leaned more. His knees gave way and he could feel himself hurtling towards the water –

A hand grabbed hold of his arm before he broke the surface, and he looked up from behind him and saw a mysterious looking woman pulling him back. She looked more muscular and athletic than any person that he had seen; it was a physique that would put the carpenters tamping across the village and scaffolds to shame. Short white hair suggested quite an age to her in spite of her physique, and hawk-like red eyes pierced him in a way like no other person he had met, and she spoke in a deep voice, “It’s just water. Nothing in there at all.” The voice was quite unlike any other he heard, and the lad couldn’t help but be enthralled by the whole experience. “Thanks for saving me. But who are-” But then she put a finger over her smiling lips, lay an indigo cloth gently but quickly over his head, then he heard a CRACK! followed by a reddish burnishing of light from behind this curtain, and then she was gone. The boy lifted the cloth, and saw a symbol of an eye with three lashes above it, and a long tear below it. He understood now as he stowed it into his pockets; he had just met the great Impa. But something told him that he shouldn’t talk too much about it…

On he went to play in the graveyard as was his routine, but the desire to find out what secrets lay in this little village sparked within too, although it was still damped by a bit of fear. The chilly vibes he got from playing in the graveyard every day, Dampé, the well, Impa…they excited him as much as they intimidated him. He tramped up to his usual starting spot, picked up his favourite stick and began mimicking the gravekeeper as usual: “What’s gonna come out? What’s gonna come out?!”, when he looked up and spotted someone right in front of him with a scary face. The lad jumped almost a foot in the air with a yell of “Gyaah! It’s Dampé the gravekeeper!”, before taking a closer look and realising it was Link wearing a mask. He scuffed his feet nervously in the dirt, then said “I get a different kind of fright from that mask than I get from Dampé…Will you give that mask to me?” Link took the mask off with a smile and then nodded. The boy then handed Link 30 Rupees, to which Link gave a look of surprise showing he didn’t expect the lad to pay that kind of money so willingly. Then Navi gave Link a nudge, to which he nodded then turned to the boy and said, “Listen, I have to get going now. But can I play with you later?” The lad looked up at him and replied, “Yeah, of course. I don’t think I ever played with anyone before.”

As the sun set in the west headed back towards the village, the boy walked back home with his stick in hand. He went around towards the Cucco lady, who was trying to coax the nearest Cucco to the pen without touching it. She made steady motions towards it, only for the bird to flutter straight into her face before running off, leaving her with a red rash marked with goose bumps and streaming eyes. The boy dashed straight towards home, but went up to his father at the Death Mountain gates and panted, “The Cucco lady is getting allergies, I’m just going to get some medicine for her.” He knocked at the head carpenter’s house, which was answered by one of the carpenters who had said mechanically, “Sorry but you can’t come in here, this is my boss’ house and his fami-”

The boy interrupted, “But sir, the Cucco lady! She’s sick and needs some medicine!” The carpenter looked down at him before saying, “OK lad, I’ll go and ask the Granny.” The carpenter closed the door, leaving the young lad outside for around 10 minutes, by which time the moon and stars came out. The boy’s mother called from inside, “Son, hurry in now. Dinner’s ready!” His father stepped down to the window of their house, and replied, “Honey, the Cucco lady’s having allergies again. Our boy’s just going to fetch her some medicine.” When at last the handyman creaked the door open and handed the boy a glass bottle of potion (“Don’t forget to bring it back, and whatever you do, don’t break it!”), the lad took the bottle and ran back down to the village to the lady who was suddenly beginning to shake. She took the bottle and drank a mouthful, which seemed to cause her shivering to stop. “Th-thank you, boy,” she stammered as she took a second mouthful. “Guess I n-need to get b-back to the laboratory by the lake later.” The lad gave a puzzled look, to which she replied, “It’s qu-qu-quite a way down to the s-south of the land. The p-professor there is v-v-very smart. He’s helping me b-b-breed some Cuccos that m-might not set my allergies off again.” After much panting, she gave the boy 20 Rupees for helping her out, and then he set off back home.

After scraping the last of his dinner off his bowl made of clay, and a hug and a kiss from his mother, the boy went to bed for the night. He watched the moon rising up over the rooftops and into the dark canvas of the night which housed the many stars, until his eyes drooped and his head sunk into his pillow. In his dreams he was laughing as he played with Link in the graveyard, both of them as happy as can be. Then the graveyard disappeared and there was nothing but blue sky and clouds of all shapes and sizes around him; a gigantic bird with vibrant plumage flew from underneath him and he mounted perfectly on it. The bird soared through the sky, wind caressing the boy’s face…Then there was a lake, whose surface they skimmed with a light rainbow mist, then ascending slowly up to a tree on a lone island…On the tree was perched a huge Cucco which opened its beak and said in a strangely echoing voice, “In the shadows lies the truth…”

A crash on thunder woke him with a start, and the moon was obstructed by a thick padding of grey clouds. Jagged forks of lightning crackled through the clouds, and he thought he saw a bolt strike down near the graveyard. After 30 minutes, the storm stopped, the calm allowing the boy to drift back to sleep again before dawn.

The Cuccos crowed again, signalling the morning as the sun climbed up with its orange and rosy glow, breaking the dark of night. The boy got up, feeling excited about another day playing in the graveyard. He had his breakfast while talking to his mother about Link and how they might get to play together soon. She was very happy for him, and when he kissed her goodbye for the day and bounded off, she looked on fondly, with hope for a future brighter than the war they had been through a decade before.

The ground was still wet from the short storm the previous night; the boy slipped on his way up to the gate to Death Mountain to speak with his father about Link, and the prospect of playing with him one day. The guard threw his masked head up in the air and gave a hearty laugh. “That’s wonderful, son! I am so happy for you, finding friends and helping people out. You are a wonderful boy!” He patted the boy’s head, and then the lad went on to tell him about the dream he had last night. They both were very excited when the boy told him about the birds (“They must have been Loftwings!”), and the fantastic scenery of the dream taking place. “But the part with the Cucco was when things started to get weird, it said something I couldn’t remember much of, but then I heard a storm and woke up!” His father replied, “Yes, it really came down hard last night. I’m pretty sure that I saw one of the lightning bolts hit the graveyard!” The boy’s eyes widened. “Really?! Will it hit the graveyard again?!” To which the guard gave another hearty laugh and replied, “No, don’t you worry son. Lightning never strikes the same place twice. You’ll be OK!” He then hugged his son (“I love you, son. Stay safe, and be happy.”), and then the boy walked down to the graveyard, taking his time due to the still soggy ground.

On he went to the graveyard, taking up his favourite stick and tramping around the place brandishing it at the dirt. He went around for about 10 minutes, drawing little patterns on the dirt patches that were dotted between the small rocky paths around the tombstones, when he noticed that the huge tombstone at the back…had disappeared! He immediately ran to the back of the graveyard where he now saw a hole replacing the huge carved rock between the two marked stones of the Composer Brothers. He crept up to the hole, looking down at it as he did with the well, when the ghosts of the Brothers had appeared out of their resting places. He jumped as they brandished their batons at him, glowering menacingly as they howled at him, “PERISH, MINION OF GANONDORF!”, and then fell backwards and into the hole…

He found hard rock at the bottom, and had hurt his leg. Apart from the pain however, he felt amazement as he saw the catacomb inside the hole had been carved from night-blue rock. But fear seeped in when he found skeletons and bones strewn around the corners of the room and heard whispers in this place and his very soul. “Shine light upon the living dead…” But how can someone dead come back to life? The boy was shaken with nerves as well as pain from his leg, but onward he pressed towards the large stone steps leading up to a door, a hand on his bruised knee. After 7 minutes’ grunting and heaving himself up on the blue rock stairs, he reached the top and the door opened for him, greeting him with a sweetish, rotting smell and a sorrowful moaning chorus.

Noxious, acid green water trickled from the ceiling into pools around this part of the catacombs, and creatures that looked like people with clay-like bodies were there, slouching or huddled, all shuddering and all groaning the same mournful chorus which reverberated around the room. The boy stood there, unsure of whether to run back or move forward to the next area which was on the other side, covered in shadow. He was terrified, but at the same time felt sorry for them, and the curious side of him made him shuffle his way forward in spite of himself.

The creatures raised their heads and faced him; literally wooden faces, carved tear trails leading a path to the chin down from eyes that were empty, like fathomless voids. They all had circular mouths revealing horrible, misshapen teeth which opened wide as they met his gaze, and all at once emitted a soul-piercing shriek which reverberated around the room and froze his spine. The boy literally could not move, even if he wanted to, and he shivered and whimpered as the creatures shuffled towards him with arms stiffly against their sides, their mouths hungry and taut with hate. One of them was already inches from him, and he could feel its cold earthy fingers grasping his shoulders, and putrid hot breath on his neck…

Then he thought he heard an ocarina playing from the area in shadow, and wondered if it was a song for the end…

All of a sudden, they froze where they stood, covered in a white aura. Then he heard footsteps, and a sword being drawn, then slashes against flesh amongst shouts from another boy, and a fairy yelling warnings…

Next thing he knew, the creature that was about to bite him relinquished him with a pained snarl as the metal blade cleaved across its back. Then came the soul-piercing shriek as it turned to face its attacker. Then the boy watched as more slashes carved through its body, before it let out an elongated groan and fell to the floor. At its feet stood Link, panting as he pulled the sword out of its gut, scrubbed it with a handkerchief, and returned it to its sheath on his back. And Navi the fairy fluttered over to the young lad and chimed, “Hey Link, this boy’s been badly hurt. Shouldn’t we get him out of here and take him to his parents?”

Link handed the boy a bottle of red potion, which he drank gratefully, and already he was starting to feel better. He made to get up, but instead just managed to roll over to one side. “S-sorry Link,” muttered the lad, pink with embarrassment. “I just wanted to see what was around here, in this village. It gets quite boring sometimes, so I go to play in the graveyard every day.” Link replied, “Don’t talk too much, you’re still in a bad way. Come on, let’s get you home.” Then he carried the boy in a fireman’s lift and carried him almost effortlessly through the door, jumped down the stairs with shocking strength and agility for a kid his age, then went to the light leading up from where he fell…

They were back in the graveyard. The Composer Brothers were gone. The sun peered out from behind the dull grey clouds that blanketed the place, and on Link walked to the west towards the village. But in spite of the renewed sunshine, the boy couldn’t help but feel ashamed and disappointed. He supposed it had been a good day to start with, but he felt he had been somewhere he shouldn’t have and was frightened by his experience. Indeed, he thought he had spotted a shadow in the trees, a hawk-like red glint reprimanding him. He suddenly said to Link, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have come down there. I’ll stay around here now.” Navi reassured him, “At least you’re alive and safe, and you’ll be back home soon.”

Soon they reached Kakariko, and one of the carpenters almost ran straight into them. He stopped and asked, “Hey, what’s wrong with that boy? He looks hurt, you might want to-” But his words of concern were interrupted by a yell coming from his boss, “Oi, quit yer yappin’ and get to work! This village ain’t gonna build itself!” The builder jumped and called back, “Y-y-y-yes, sorry boss!” And off he bounded up the stairs to the windmill, leaving Link to carry the boy back to his home. He took the right, and as he passed the well, the boy heard the same voices that whispered in his mind earlier. “Look for the eye of truth…”

Link had almost reached the house, when the two boys glimpsed an indigo figure facing the guard at the entrance for a short moment, before a CRACK! sounded off from the spot where it stood, and it disappeared. Then as they went up to the house, the guard called out to Link, “Hey, Mr. Hero!” He went up to them to look at his son, then knocked on the door to the house. The boy’s mother answered, then cried out, “Son! What happened to you?” The guard replied, “It’s OK honey, he’s just a little shaken. Let’s take him to bed and get him something to warm up with.” Shaken was certainly how the boy felt after the whole day; being attacked by those monsters in that hole wasn’t in his schedule at all. After Link set him to bed, he took the cloth that Impa had covered his head with, and held it gingerly over his bruised knee as his mother set a mug of tea at his bedside table, pouring some milk in from a bottle.

The boy hadn’t slept well that night. He woke with a start as a howling wind whipped through the village, bringing with it a torrential downpour of rain and a frenetic clattering of wood from afar. He looked out of the window and saw that the windmill, which usually churned in its slow and sleepy rhythm, was now spinning amazingly fast. It was almost out of control! He was beginning to wonder whether to go out to play in the graveyard that day, but then the storm stopped after 15 minutes and everything went back to normal.

That morning, the boy went downstairs feeling much better and refreshed, and ate breakfast with his mother. She looked worried, but he said to her with rosy cheeks, “I’m feeling loads better, Mom. Thanks for taking care of me.” She came over to him and gave him a big hug, saying tremulously, “I’m just so glad you’re safe, sweetie. I wish this peace would last forever, and you would grow up with a family and be happy…” She sniffed, before kissing him on the head. “That boy who helped you, Link I think it was? Is he coming to play with you?” The boy replied, “I hope so.” She hugged him again and said, “Have fun sweetie, and take care.” And off he went to speak with his father.

The guard stood with the Keaton mask on, displaying it with glee before his son, who came up and said excitedly, “Dad, I forgot about this, but look what Link got me the other day!” The boy took out his wooden mask, and put it on before grunting, “I’m Dampé the gravekeeper! What’s gonna come out? What’s gonna come out?! When I start digging, we’ll find out!” The guard stared at the mask for a second, but then gave a hearty laugh. “That’s Dampé down to a tee! So, are you going to play with Link today?” The boy said, “I hope so, I really want to.” The man then knelt down and patted his head, saying “I hope so too, son. Anyway, I better get back on duty. Have a great time!”

Off the boy went down to the graveyard, but then he stopped at the well and noticed the water was all gone. He worried about being able to get a drink, but also noticed the voices he heard before sounded a little louder than before. But he paid no heed to it, and ran straight for the graveyard.

When he got to his favourite spot, he waited eagerly for Link to come. But after 30 minutes, the boy decided to pick up his stick and tramp around his favoured path (careful to avoid the big hole and the Composer Brothers’ tombstones at the back), until he stopped and sat on the grass. He drew some patterns in the dirt, and in the afternoon while the sun was still up, he decided to give up and went back to the village. He was nearly at the village and was about to try helping the Cucco lady, when he stopped at the sound of a man’s voice to his right.

“Hey kid. Come here for a second.” The boy turned to the right just before entering the village proper, to find a huge man with red hair wearing black armour sitting on the crate behind the wall, elbow on his knee and resting his chin on his fist. The lad replied, “I’m not supposed to talk to strangers, mister.” The man chuckled and said in a surprisingly reassuring voice for his intimidating stature, “Don’t worry, boy. I won’t keep you long. It’s just that I’ve lost something while passing through.” There was something about this man that made the boy wary, but at the same time thought he looked pretty cool. Plus he figured the man needed help, but was still wary. “Who are you?” asked the boy. The man gave a grin that was almost like a leer, “I am called Ganondorf.”

Ganondorf…the name sounded familiar to him. “I got attacked by some ghosts yesterday who said that name.” The huge man gazed ahead towards the graveyard, before looking down to the boy and going on, “Anyway, about that thing that I lost. Do you think you could find it for me?” The lad replied, “Yeah, sure. What’s it look like?” Ganondorf grinned again and said, “Thanks, you’re a good kid. What I lost was a reading lens. It’s got three little pointed bits over the eye, and it’s purple. The bit you look through is red on one side, and blue on the other.” The lad said, “OK, I’ll go and look for it. Do you remember where you last had it?” Ganondorf scratched his chin musingly with the same grin, before replying, “I was near the well by the windmill. Hope I didn’t drop it…” The lad piped up, “The well’s dried up. Should I look for it down there?” And then the man chuckled and said with a bigger grin showing his teeth, “Yeah, please. I’d look for it myself, but I have some…errands to run and can’t wait around. Thanks, kid.” And off the boy went to the well and hooked his feet onto the rungs of a ladder leading down.

As soon as his feet found the bottom of the ladder, that same voice he had heard in his dreams and around the well spoke louder and clearer than before. “The truth lies within.” The boy looked around the still wet stone but no such reading lens yielded, so he edged into a tiptoe towards the chasm, fearful but also more curious than ever, and then walked in where the darkness swallowed him up.

What sounded like drums began to beat in a slow, soft rhythm as the boy advanced, coming across a crawlspace near the floor. There was an iron-like smell in the air; it gave him the chills. But on he went to look for this lens that Ganondorf had lost. He fitted himself through the crawlspace, and on the other side was a ladder leading down to a metal grating floor coated in blood, and piles of skulls about the place. There was also a huge Skulltula hanging from the ceiling, and a skeleton leaning against the opposite wall. Other than that it looked like a dead end, and nowhere could the boy see anything like a purple reading lens. He was paralysed with terror; he wanted to run back and never return to this place. But the drums grew louder, seeming to beckon him forward. Even the Skulltula didn’t seem to try pouncing upon the boy as he passed, as if it was allowing him passage too. Before long, he put a hand to the wall next to the skeleton…

His hand seemed to pass through. He moved his hand to the left, where it touched the cold earthy wall where the skeleton leaned, and he thought the voices saying “Look for the eye of truth…” came from it. He moved it to the right, and touched a wall there too. Beckoned onwards, he walked forwards, and passed through.

Was it an illusion, or did he really pass through a wall? Was the wall a ghost? The lad didn’t know what this place was, and he was feeling more and more uneasy and scared. He shrieked in terror when a Green Bubble – a giant flying skull covered in green flames – flapped past him. But he moved onwards, beckoned ever further by the drums, and he saw all manner of horrifying creatures which eyed him hungrily, but they ignored him. The boy moved onward until he fell through an invisible hole in the floor.

He hit a wooden scaffold, and over it he saw a pool of the same noxious green water he had seen in the hole under the big tombstone at the graveyard. And there were more of the clay creatures moaning their chorus. But there was also something he didn’t see before; a dot of shadow in the middle of the pool that grew bigger as the drumming sounds got louder and beat faster. The shadow began to shape itself into a figure hooded in black, leaving a trail of smoke in its wake as it walked across the water, staring up at the boy with gleaming red eyes.

The being spoke, in precisely the same voice the boy had heard from the well, the skeleton, and the Cucco in his dreams. “You have come to find the eye of truth.” The lad couldn’t speak; he was terrified and awed in equal measure. “The great Ganondorf sent you here to find it. He is setting his plans in motion, it seems.” The boy tried to speak, but for some reason the words couldn’t come out. The shadowy figure kept speaking. “You have lived in peace and safety with your family, while maintaining an interest in the darkness. It is only natural that you should be fond of us. We represent to you the sins that you could never be brave enough to commit. That no Hylian could be brave enough to commit.”

But courage the boy found enough of to find words in his mouth at least, though stammered by this horrific yet fascinating sight. “W-where’s the reading lens?” The figure replied, his red eyes still ablaze, “The lens is gone. A boy dressed in green stole it from my domain here. But no matter. I have been given power by the great Ganondorf in exchange for my services, during the civil conflict. Now come.” The wood gave way as shadows emanated from the being and shattered the scaffold.

The clay creatures rose from their huddled stances and at once the boy found himself froze where he lay as they let out the soul-rending shriek. They moved towards him, their mournful chorus growing closer as they advanced on him. But the boy found his feet and ducked under the first creature as it lunged towards him, running around the pool and climbing up the ladders for dear life. The creatures couldn’t get him, he was surely safe –

But the door was shut in by metal bars. The boy turned around hopelessly as the creatures gazed up at him, and the shadowy being materialised in front of him. It spoke in that haunting, echoing voice, “Let me tell you a story. It is about the past, and us Sheikah…” It raised a hand formed from black mist, and it shrouded over the boy’s head…

The boy was suddenly transported away from the well, away from even his own body, and he saw many things. He saw a goddess emanating a blazing white, standing before an old woman with hawk-like red eyes.

“After the Old Gods had created Hyrule, they sent the goddess, Hylia, to watch over the sacred power known as the Triforce with the power to grant any mortal wish. She gave Impa a blessing in return for our people’s services. We were to protect her, and the Triforce, from those struck with greed. And we did so using any means that occurred to us, while staying in the shadows where we are at our greatest.”

He saw a man wearing a black mask covering his entire head. This mask had horns like a crown curving out from its top.

“Indeed, there were some who wanted this power to rule. After the peace Hylia had promised, the people gave in to greed and a war ensued. One of our clans had crafted the Fused Shadow, and used its incredible power to control the Sacred Realm and the Triforce. That was until spirits of light descended, and put their dominion to a halt before imprisoning them in a world of shadows where they diminished.”

He saw nothing but flames and smoke, and heard clashes of swords interspersed with the whining of arrows, and through the flames there was endless fighting between enormous numbers of people in a desert, and then a vast field.

“The great Ganondorf came to me, and told me about how his people were made scapegoats by fate, cast into a barren wasteland to fend against the forces of nature at their fiercest. His people had to take Hylian men with them in order to live on, due to being a race consisting only of women. Save for one boy born every hundred years, whose fate was to rule them as their King. Whose fate, I had seen, was one that would always come back in a cycle, soaking the land in blood and darkness. I along with my clan coveted that darkness, and the liberation he promised me. We joined forces against the Family in whose blood resided the goddess Hylia. The Family whose princess we had pledged to protect. The Family who had us in shackles, and from whom he promised to free us.”

He saw a hooded man in a small room, hanging by his ankles before another person with red eyes, raising a sword as others looked on.

“We who fought alongside the Gerudo for our freedoms were punished and executed in secret, away in our holy temple. We were labelled traitors, and our symbol which we wore in our search for the truth had now donned a tear for shame. Made scapegoats for pursuing that which made us Sheikah, pursuing the truth. We pledged then that we would find the truth, and our freedom, even after death.”

And now they were back in the well, in the room with the green water. Ganondorf was there too, looking straight at him with an intrigued curio on his wicked features lit by a flickering blue light. “Well, this is a different Poe to what I’ve seen. Is this what you needed?” The shadowy figure inclined his head. “It is precisely what I need; an innocent soul brimmed with curiosity. I gave him my gift that has been passed down by my kind as well, that should provide enough hatred to break the seal that Impa had placed here. It will take some time though.” Ganondorf grinned again, saying, “But of course. Every good plan requires patience. Don’t fret, Bongo Bongo, your release will come in time.” He raised his hand, which revealed a glowing mark of the Triforce, the top triangle shining first. Then he began to fly above them, before saying, “I might come back for him once you’re finished. I know someone who would be interested in him, someone who would fund our campaign. Freedom and truth,” he finished, raising a clenched fist, a gesture which Bongo Bongo returned. Then he flew out through the hole which the boy had fell into, before a huge tremor came from afar.

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Fan Fiction: Ganondorf vs Urbosa – Showdown for the Gerudo Crown
By Usmania

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“Curse… curse you, all of you. May your pathetic kingdom meet a miserable demise”. The stage was set. After his exposure as a malevolent traitor, defeat following a long, bloody war and resulting time as a prisoner, finally the moment of his execution had arrived. “In the name of the Royal Family of Hyrule, we, the Sages of the land sentence you, Ganondorf Dragmire to instant death”. Ganondorf, with his hands shackled to a platform, looked up and gritted his teeth in complete disgust. One of the Sages raised a glowing white sword through mind control and sent it straight through Ganondorf’s abdomen, impaling him. The Fire Sage exclaimed: “That takes care of this undesirable scourge for good, Hyrule is now saf…”, suddenly, they heard an eerily familiar laugh. They looked ahead in complete disbelief. Not only was Ganondorf looking up at them, he had a horrifying grin on his face. His hand displayed three golden triangles shining bright. “No! It… it can’t be…”, despaired one of the Sages. Ganondorf then broke free of both shackles. He displaced the sword from his abdomen and suddenly charged at the Sages. He was heading straight for the Water Sage, when suddenly, he stumbled slightly. Despite this stumble, he carried on with his charge, however, the moment allowed the Shadow Sage to push the Water Sage aside. Ganondorf grabbed the Shadow Sage, disintegrating him instantly. The Forest Sage wailed: “There’s only one thing that can stop him”. He then pointed at the Mirror of Twilight. All the other sages nodded, except the Water Sage, who exclaimed: “No, the Mirror of Twilight could still allow him a way back to this land! There’s no other option but to use IT!”. Ganondorf was on the verge of letting loose on his next victim, when the Water Sage raised his hand. Suddenly, a blue portal appeared above them. Ganondorf was sucked into it and he, along with the portal, disappeared. “Why! Why did you open the Portal of Reality and Time!”, enquired a panicked Spirit Sage? The Water Sage responded: “I understand that we took a solemn oath never to use this portal, but Ganondorf would have obliterated us all, and subsequently, Hyrule itself. The Twilight Realm is still connected to Hyrule, and eventually, Ganondorf would have made his way back, so it would have been foolish for us to use the Mirror of Twilight. Therefore I had no alternative”. The Fire Sage asked: “Where will Ganondorf be taken?”. The Water Sage replied: “For certain, Ganondorf will be sent to a very distant future from now. However, whether it will be the distant future of our reality or that of an alternate reality, we cannot be sure. That’s why it’s called the Portal of Reality and Time”.

After being sucked into this blue portal, Ganondorf felt himself falling down a bottomless void. All he could see around him were strange colors zooming past. Finally, after what seemed like hours, the strange colors gave way to a blue sky. Ganondorf felt himself land onto a firm but soft ground. Feeling weakened from the wound inflicted upon him by the sages, Ganondorf slowly picked himself up from the ground. He stood up and looked down to see that he had landed on sand. Looking around the area, he could see small ruins. The ruins indicated to him that whatever stood on this spot had long disintegrated. But before he had time to ponder any further, he heard a strange laughter. This was followed by black smoke and the appearance of a masked, muscular figure dressed in red and black. “Ha ha ha. Well this is a rarity. A male Gerudo loitering all alone! Wonder what reward Master Kohga will give me for killing you”. The figure then pulled out a long sword and charged at Ganondorf. It then aimed a large vertical slash at its intended victim. However, with complete nonchalance, Ganondorf grabbed the sword with one hand and gave a sinister grin at this clearly horrified warrior. “Was I supposed to be frightened of you, especially in that embarrassing attire? Ha ha ha, fool! You clearly have no idea who I am, do you?”. Ganondorf then twisted his wrist, snapping the sword in half. He then mercilessly punched a hole through the unfortunate red and black figure, killing him instantly. Suddenly, he felt an arrow coming towards him from behind. He stopped it with one hand. “I have no idea who you wastes of air even are, but you have some nerve vexing the Great Gano…”, his words were cut short when the arrow emitted a strange smoke. This smoke numbed Ganondorf’s senses. He felt himself fall out of consciousness, until his eyes closed and he fell to the ground.

Ganondorf opened his eyes. He found himself chained to a wall in a dark room behind bars. Suddenly, a skinny red and black figure, undoubtedly a guard, spoke: “Looks like your awake, foolish Gerudo. You will now be put to death like the vermin you are”. Ganondorf just laughed. “You and your ridiculous comrades think such a laughable prison can subdue me?” He then snapped out of both chains, held his hand forward and disassembled the bars behind which he was being held. Despairing for his life, the red and black-clad figured planned to make a run for it until Ganondorf rushed up to him, grabbed his neck and held him up into the air. At that moment, both were surrounded by black smoke, and numerous red and black figures circled them. Some had bows and arrows, other held swords. “Ha, no matter how many weaklings you gather, you will never stand up against true power”, snarled Ganondorf. The ground began to shake and the red and black warriors were violently pushed back by a strong force emanating from the Evil King. “STOP”. Suddenly, a rotund red and black figure appeared before Ganondorf. “Another weakling appears before me, what a waste of my time”, scorned a clearly irritated Ganondorf. The rotund figure replied: “Don’t be so disrespectful. I am the great, the burly, the strong, Master Kohga! And I am the supreme, powerful leader of my people, the Yiga Clan! You clearly are a force to be reckoned with. What might be your name?”. Clearly looking baffled, Ganondorf replied: “I’m not sure what kind of low intelligence, neanderthal people you rule over, but if you don’t even know who I am, then you don’t deserve to live”. He then held his hand up, charged up what looked like an electric ball, and proudly declared: “I am the rightful ruler of this distorted land, Ganondorf!”. Upon hearing this, the Yiga members let out a collective gasp. Master Kohga exclaimed: “WAIT! Are you THE Ganondorf!”. They all stood before Ganondorf and knelt to the ground and exclaimed: “Master! You have returned!”. Flabbergasted, Ganondorf stopped charging his electric ball, brought his hand down and looked at the Yiga members in complete amazement.

“I’ve never even heard of your jester-like clan, and now you suddenly pledge allegiance to me?”, enquired a clearly baffled Ganondorf. “Come with me, I will explain everything”, replied a clearly starstruck Kohga. Kohga escorted Ganondorf to the main Yiga Hideout room. “We are the Yiga Clan, descendants of a band of Sheikah whose eyes opened to the treachery of the Hyrulean Royal Family, and we realised the greatness of your being. Since that day, we dedicated our lives to witnessing the day that Your Excellency would return to this wretched land and lead us to conquest. But now you’ve returned, as if sent to us from the sky”. Dismissive, Ganondorf stated, “Nonsense! Before your group of jesters attacked me, I was facing execution at the gargantuan Arbiter’s Grounds coliseum”. “THAT Arbiter’s Grounds?”, responded a baffled Kohga. “Master, you must be confused. That place is a relic. Nothing has happened at that spot since time immemorial”. Ganondorf was starting to piece the puzzle in his mind. He now needed confirmation. “Tell me, Kohga, or whatever your name is. What exactly DO you know about me? Why is it that you and your useless lackeys bow before me?”. Flattered, Kohga replied: “Given that you have appeared in your physical, mortal form, it’s reasonable that you may not remember. There were always fables and folklores about how you appeared throughout the ages, the period of the Sky City, the Era of Time, the Imprisoning War, the Twilight Invasion and the Great Flood. But 10,000 years back is when an official attack by you upon Hyrule was documented. However…”, Kohga could barely finish talking when Ganondorf’s eyes turned red and the room began shaking. “So… that’s… that’s what it is. Those wretched Sages banished me to a different time, maybe even a different reality. AAAAHHHHHHH!!! CURSE THEMMMMMMMM!!!!!”. Yiga Clan members ran into the main room in angst. They were convinced Ganondorf would lay waste to them all, until suddenly, Ganondorf began clutching his abdomen. The wound inflicted by the Sages was still tender. In agonizing pain, Ganondorf fell unconscious.

Ganondorf opened his eyes. He realized that he was laying on a table. He was surrounded by three Yiga members. He looked at his abdomen to see it was sheathed in a device he had never seen before. One of the Yiga members removed the sheath. Ganondorf’s wound had completely disappeared. Kohga then entered the room. “Your Excellency, it seems that you had been inflicted with some sort of divine wound. Fortunately, our ancestors invented technology to heal a wide range of injuries, and thankfully, it has worked here”. Ganondorf got off the table and stood up. “Spare me your self-righteousness. What makes me curious is that if you jesters have access to such technology, then why are you reduced to hiding like cowards in a corner of the desert?”. Kohga then looked down, sighed and explained: “You’re right. With our awesome skills and technology, we should be ruling the whole of Hyrule. But we can’t even live in peace in the desert. And it’s all because of them! Those no good, darn Ger… sorry, I mean your people, the Gerudo. A powerful and fierce female warrior race”. This peaked Ganondorf’s interest hugely. Kohga continued: “We’ve tried to stage numerous conquests against them, but to no avail. Every time, they have utterly brutalized us. They are so powerful, if they wanted to, they could wipe us all out in the blink of an eye”. This was music to Ganondorf’s ears. A huge grin came on his face. “Ha ha ha, so, not only did my people endure the treachery of Hyrule’s monarchy, they came back and went from strength to strength. Tell me, with the details you have described to me, surely my people, the Gerudo eventually overthrew that wretched Royal Family and took rule over all of Hyrule?”. One by one, the Yiga members looked at one another, some were shuddering. Even Kohga’s tension was palpable. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Master, but…”, Kohga’s voice was breaking out of fear. Ganondorf then urged: “Go on then, tell me!” Kogha continued: “It’s… it’s not what you think. The Hyrulean Royal Family is still there, and as strong as ever. But not only that, the Gerudo are their sworn allies”. Ganondorf’s smirk had vanished completely. Rage was starting to overtake him: “No, you despicable bunch of fools, YOU LIE!!! Your intelligence is as low level as I thought. They are just carrying on my strategy from before that cursed green snitch exposed it in front of the coward king all those years back. They are gaining the trust of the kingdom, only to strike at the right time!”. Kohga replied: “I’m sorry to defy your words, Master, but you are mistaken. The Gerudo have allied with the Royal Family for countless centuries now. And it’s with a heavy heart that we say this, but they even contributed towards repelling your last attack on Hyrule 10,000 years back. And now, they have a complete embargo upon men entering their abode, stating that it’s a penance for being the race who gave birth to you”. Eyes burning with rage, Ganondorf let out a huge roar, his teeth were beginning to take another form. The Yiga members were terrified. But suddenly, Ganondorf seemed to compose himself. He was visibly in mental anguish, but it looked as if something had come to his mind. “Now I know my purpose of being here. It is my duty and destiny to save my race from the outrageous low they have reached. I will take back what’s rightfully mine, the Gerudo leadership”. Kohga spoke: “Master, a word of caution. The Gerudo are are led by a formidable lady at the helm. If only I didn’t hate her so much, I would be filled with admiration. She has taken the Gerudo to another level of power. She has the blood of many of our brethren on her hands. And she enjoys the closest ties of any Gerudo leader in history with the Hyrulean Royal Family”. A determined Ganondorf declared: “That stain on my people will beg for mercy before my sword, and after I overwhelm her with absolute strength, I shall dispatch her and take back control of the Gerudo and bring them back to our rightful place, as conquerors of Hyrule!”

Ganondorf picked up his sword, which had been respectfully put next to the table he was just lying on and proceeded to leaving the Yiga Hideout. Agitated, Kohga blurted: “Master, wait! With you at the helm, we can stage another conquest against the Gerudo. Give us time to mobilize our forces”, to this, Ganondorf scorned: “My aim is not for conquest. It is to take back what’s rightfully mine. Besides, I have no need of a clan of useless failures like yourselves by my side”. With this, Ganondorf stormed out.

It was another dry, scorching day at Gerudo Town. “Aah, can’t wait till my shift is over and can get a bite to eat”, uttered Shira, one of the two guards standing at the town’s entrance. The other guard, Alara responded: “Well we don’t have long to wait now. It can get kinda boring doing thi…”, her words were cut off when suddenly, a red energy ball materialized in front of them. Both guards held their spears up in anticipation of this unknown development. The red ball turned into a strong, imposing figure. Both guards looked at one another in complete shock. “That can’t be. A voe?” Shira held her spear at this mysterious figure. “Who are you? Do you not know that voes are not allowed into our town?” Ganondorf gave a look of complete disdain. “How pathetic!”. He held out his hand, and this sent both guards flying back. Ganondorf then walked right into Gerudo Town. All those in the town immediately turned around, gathered any weapon handy to them and surrounded the King of Evil. “BREACHER! Apprehend the voe immediately!”. All the Gerudo in the town prepared to attack the invader, until a voice came from the main throne room: “HALT!”. At this command, the attack ceased. A figure could be seen calmly emerging from the throne room. Like the others, this figure had long red hair, however, was wearing a distinctive crown on the head. All the Gerudo dropped their weapons and knelt down. This was her, Ganondorf thought to himself, Urbosa, the imposter ruler of his people in his eyes. “The Gerudo have not given birth to a voe for countless decades, so it’s clear to me something else is at play here. Identify yourself!”, declared Urbosa. Ganondorf, with a smirk, stated: “What’s at play here? Destiny is at play here. Destiny also frowns upon the despicable state you and your predecessors have brought this race to. And it is why destiny has brought me to this era. To right the wrongs and lead the Gerudo to the future they should have”. Many Gerudo’s eyes were opening wide as they began to realize who they were dealing with. “I am the rightful ruler of the Gerudo, the Great Ganondorf!”. There were gasps all over the place, except from the one person who mattered. Lady Urbosa remained as composed as ever. “I see now. I always knew those band of traitors were planning on resurrecting Calamity Ganon. But it seems they brought you back in the flesh. I’m not surprised that they probably have access to a time travel device. But know this! You have some nerve invading our town and chastising our adopted ways. My predecessors and I have left no stone unturned to rekindle our people’s pride and dignity. Dignity that YOU rubbed into the dust. After centuries upon centuries of reviving ties with the Royal Family, remaking a name for ourselves, how dare you show yourself here and try to undo that! Now leave before we put you down like the repugnant dog you truly are!”. Smiling, Ganondorf posed his challenge. “If you want me to leave, that is exactly what I will do. But before that, you must face me in single combat. If you win, I will leave you to further these disgraceful ways. However, should I emerge victorious, I shall take the leadership from you and bring the Gerudo back to their former glory, as the biggest misery to the Hyrulean Royal Family!”. One of the generals was approaching Urbosa, but she put her hand forward, signalling her to stop. “Ganondorf, I accept your challenge without hesitation”. Spooked, the general stated: “Lady Urbosa, you can’t go through with this. The scriptures speak of how terrifyingly powerful Calamity Ganon was in his mortal form. If he wins, we all lose and everything our ancestors did for us will be in vain”. To this, Urbosa smiled and replied: “General, no matter what our people have done to redeem ourselves, the actions of this wicked man have always remained as a shadow upon us. This is a perfect opportunity for me to fight him and should I prevail, I will consider this a full redemption for the Gerudo. I must do this, for the dignity of the Gerudo race”. Thus, the stage was set.

Deep in the heart of the desert, all the Gerudo were stood together as their leader and challenger to the throne faced each other down. “There is still time for you. Fulfill the destiny of yourself and our people, and join me in bringing back the greatness of our people”, urged Ganondorf. Urbosa sniggered: “Ha, great destiny? If you call being a failed warlord over millenias a great destiny, then I say my people and I have a very different understanding of great destiny”. Clearly annoyed, Ganondorf bellowed: “Very well. A miserable death is the destiny you have chosen for yourself!”. With that, Ganondorf rose from the ground. Hovering in the air, he charged up a ball of energy and hurled it straight at the Gerudo Chief. Caught in two minds, Urbosa jumped out of the way. “Dark magic? I shouldn’t be surprised. Ganondorf will fight dirty”, said Urbosa to herself. Still hovering in the sky, Ganondorf again charged and threw an energy ball. This time, Urbosa brought out her trademark Scimitar of the Seven and batted the energy ball back. Ganondorf sent the energy ball back and Urbosa again batted it back at the Evil King. After several back and forths, Urbosa thought of a strategy. After batting it back once again, she jumped closer to Ganondorf, significantly closing the distance between the two warriors. This time, when the energy ball came back at her, Urbosa batted it back with severe force. It travelled back at Ganondorf with thrice the velocity as before, taking him completely by surprise and hitting him straight in the chest. This brought Ganondorf hurtling back to the ground, right in front of Urbosa. “You talk about destiny? Take a look at yourself, helpless on the ground, and tell me again about destiny!”, mocked Urbosa. However, Ganondorf quickly stood up and landed a right hook straight at the Gerudo Chief, knocking her to the ground. “Ha, if you thought such a small attack would strike me down, then your leadership is more pathetic than I first thought”. With that, Ganondorf again rose into the air. Slightly dazed, Urbosa also stood up to brace herself for Ganondorf’s next attack. “Now, let me show you even greater power”. Ganondorf raised his hand and this time, he charged a bigger, more darker ball of light. When he threw it, the ball separated into five smaller balls. Urbosa managed to hit back two of them, but the other three struck her directly. There were gasps from the Gerudo crowd, as Urbosa was on the ground motionless for a few seconds. But they were soon relieved when she stood up. “That strategy won’t work again. Looks like I’m going to need my Daybreaker this time”. Once again, Ganondorf charged the same energy ball and threw it at Urbosa. This time, Urbosa took out her Daybreaker shield. She used it to protect herself from the five energy balls. However, she noticed something. “A ha. This proves my theory correct”. The shield was evidently radiating powerful electric energy. “Now for the execution”. Urbosa took off the shield from her arm, held the edges carefully with both hands and threw it straight at Ganondorf. He was completely startled. The energy emanating from the shield was almost blinding him. The shield hit Ganondorf flush in the face. He then fell to the ground with even more force than before. The Gerudo crowd gave out a loud cheer. This time, Urbosa was going to make no mistake, she charged at the ‘voe’ and was about to land a fatal blow with her scimitar. However, Ganondorf quickly got up, brought out his Giant Blade and blocked her attack. “Impressive. What I would expect from a Gerudo leader. But enough of these games! You have forced me to bring out my esteemed blade. Now, it will bathe in your blood!”.

With a bit of force, Ganondorf pushed Urbosa back. He had two hands on his Giant Blade, which was wider and squarer in appearance. Urbosa still had her trademark Scimitar of the Seven in her grasp. “Fine, you wish for a sword fight Ganondorf, you will get your sword fight”. Both warriors began hitting their respective blades against the others. However, it was clear that the Evil King had the upper hand. Every hit Ganondorf was inflicting upon her sword, Urbosa was being pushed back by sheer force. Then, both of them landed another blow on each’s sword. It quickly became a sword struggle, where both were trying to push on the other. However, Ganondorf’s brute strength was proving too much for the Gerudo Chief. He managed to knock her backwards, knock the sword out of her hands and inflict a mighty vertical hit. This sent Urbosa hurtling sideways. She landed and violently rolled on the ground for a few seconds. Gasps could be heard from the watching Gerudo. “He he he. You thought that worthless blade was going to bring me down? Foolish traitor! Now I shall put an end to your pitiful life and take that crown from your corpse!”. Slowly, Urbosa pulled herself together from that hefty blow. She could see some of her blood splattered on the desert sand. “Aah. I can’t possibly take many more blows like that. It’s clear that if I take him on sword to sword, there’s no match. I must think out of the box”. She picked up her scimitar and faced up to the time breacher. “So, you don’t give up eh? As a Gerudo, I commend you, but it’s time to end this little game”, mocked Ganondorf. He swung his Giant Blade once again, but this time, Urbosa brought out her Daybraker shield to block the attack. Once again, Ganondorf went for a slash, but again Urbosa blocked it. “You are prolonging the inevitable, foolish woman!”, bellowed Ganondorf. He went in for his third consecutive attack, but this time, Urbosa let the blade once again hit the sword, but at the right time, she strongly flicked her shield-bearing arm. This emitted an undeniable shock-wave which completely caught Ganondorf off-guard and sent him falling backwards. Urbosa quickly brought out her scimitar, hurled forward and inflicted multiple slashes upon Ganondorf, who had to temporarily kneel down to recover from what had just happened to him. “The only thing inevitable is the fall of evil, you miserable heap of camel-waste!”, declared Urbosa. Ganondorf again picked up his blade and swung at Urbosa. Again, she used the same defensive maneuver to knock back the Evil King. “Now this is what you call a Perfect Guard Ganondorf!”, Urbosa mocked. She then hit Ganondorf with a few more blows. It was clear that the momentum of the battle had flipped on it’s head. Ganondorf again picked up his blade. “Now I know the reason behind your history of failure. Like this battle, you keep repeating the same move again and again and expect a different result”. With that, Urbosa brought up her shield once again, readying her third perfect guard. She was thinking that one more would do it and put an end to this unwanted scourge. As expected, Ganondorf was readying another strike. But this time, a purple aura was coming from his arms. What was to happen next, Urbosa couldn’t anticipate. This time, when the blade made contact with the Daybreaker, the shield shattered into pieces. Ganondorf gave an evil smirk. He then landed a powerful horizontal kick to Urbosa, who fell to the ground. “Ha ha ha. What was that mention of repeating the same moves? You just dug your own grave. Now DIE!!”. Ganondorf slashed hard at her, but Urbosa just about dodged. “I’ve got you where I want you now, like a beast cornering its prey”, proudly stated Ganondorf. Urbosa stood up tall and declared: “If that’s what you believe, then come and strike me down!”. Ganondorf, confident that breaking Urbosa’s shield was the key to his impending victory, started aiming slash after slash, however, Urbosa was managing to dodge all of his attacks. But it was apparent that Urbosa’s previous blows on him were taking their toll. His attacks were slowing. Ganondorf then decided to put his might into one big attack. With the purple aura again coming from his arms, he went with a lusty horizontal blow. But in what looked like precise timing, Urbosa jumped right over the Giant Blade. She then performed a forward flip in mid air, straight over the head of Ganondorf, landed right behind him and dug her scimitar straight through his back. Ganondorf gave out an agonizing scream and fell to the ground. A huge clamor could be heard from the watching Gerudo. Urbosa then stood over her defeated opponent. “You called it a worthless blade. How fitting then that it’s the very blade to bring about your demise. You always were a disgusting blemish upon our people. It is justice that we are the ones to put you down like the beast you truly are”. Urbosa was turning away, until she felt the ground shaking. A Molduga? No. This felt different. “Worthless?”, Urbosa hastily turned around. Ganondorf was still on the ground, but was on all four limbs. “I will tell you what’s worthless now you wretch. The existence of the Gerudo! I believed that my return to this race would bring us back to the path of destiny, but I was wrong. The Gerudo are sick, diseased, and deserve a mass extinction. And I will be the one to bring about this MASS EXTINCTION!!!”. Ganondorf’s eyes were changing. His teeth were taking a monstrous form. Suddenly, his body was transforming, becoming bigger and bigger. It was then engulfed in dark shadow. When this dark shadow faded, Urbosa was faced with something absolutely horrifying. It was a giant, black boar-like beast, ready to charge at her. The watching Gerudo looked on in sheer horror. But Urbosa, as calm as ever, exclaimed: “If you want to obliterate my home, my people, you will have to get through me. And you should know, I will give you hell! Now, do your worst!”

Ganondorf, now in his beast form, gave a deathly stare at the Gerudo Chief. Scratching its front hoof on the sand, it then charged at Urbosa. She barely had time to react when it sent her flying backwards and crashing into the ground. Dazed, she slowly got to feet: “The truth is, I have no idea how to defeat such a monstrous beast. But if I’m to fall, I will fall as a warrior”. She picked up her scimitar and charged towards the beast. However, before she could reach it, the beast seemed to run through a white portal which had materialised out of nowhere. Bemused, she looked around to see where it had gone. Suddenly, another white portal opened behind her, and the beast again charged at her with full velocity, again, sending her flying and violently hitting the ground. The watching Gerudo feared the worst. Was this the end of their beloved Chief? If so, what would the beast do with them? Would this be the end of the Gerudo? Bruised and bloodied, Urbosa could barely even get up from the ground, let alone stand. With a sense of resignation, she said to herself: “The way this is going, that cursed Ganondorf’s victory is inevitable. One more blow will finish me. There’s only one thing that may work now, and even that is a risk. I’ve only ever used this move on normal sized opponents, but using it on such a leviathan would need every speck of my energy. But if I don’t do this, it may well be the end of the Gerudo. I have no choice. Here goes nothing”. Again, Urbosa stood up, despite every part of her body aching like being thrown into a lava pit, and faced the beast. “Hey, if you want to finish me, then here I am!”, she shouted, clenching her fist hard. It duly obliged, but again, just before reaching her, it ran through another white portal. Again, it came charging at her from a portal from behind. However, Urbosa had been clenching her fist. The beast was on the verge of it’s final pounce, when Urbosa put her right arm in the air. She turned her head and with a smile, declared: “Sav’orq, you pile of filth!”. With that, she snapped her fingers. Suddenly, a magnificent and thick bolt of lightening tore into the beast. It gave a deafening screech and fell to the ground. The lightening was still enveloping it while the beast rolled around in agony. Slowly, the beast began to shrink. It was again surrounded in dark shadow, which then faded, along with the lightning, revealing that the beast had reverted back into Ganondorf, the Gerudo form. However, he now had no energy to get up. Half of the watching Gerudo ran towards Ganondorf, apprehending him with ropes while the other half ran to their Chief, who was also on the ground. “My Lady, are you OK?”, asked a worried General. After a few seconds, they saw her hand move. Slowly, she brought herself onto her knees, much to the delight of her fellow Gerudo. “In the end, I had to use my fury. I wasn’t sure if I would survive, given the power I needed to use it, but it seems this time, I just about made it”. She was just about able to stand up when she looked towards the other half of the Gerudo, who had both of Ganondorf’s arms tied with ropes. “Now, to tie up loose ends”. She was given her scimitar by one of her aides. She then slowly made her way to the Evil King. Ganondorf, with only energy remaining to talk, mocked: “So this is what we have been reduced to? Slaves of that forsaken Royal Family. At least I never have to live to oversee such utter humiliation. Better off being slain at the hands of my own”. Urbosa, readying her scimitar, simply stated: “It took us centuries to step away from your reprehensible shadow of villainy, tarnished by your despicable and poisonous aspirations. And with your death, the Gerudo will truly be free from that shadow. But take no pride in this, your corpse will be left here to either rot or be devoured by the Molduga. And now…”. Urbosa was on the verge of decapitating Ganondorf when suddenly, a blue light appeared in between them, stopping the execution. The blue light began taking form. When this process had completed, standing before Urbosa was a young woman. She had prominent blue hair, purple eyes and was dressed in strange attire. She tilted her head sideways and gave a bright smile. Perturbed, Urbosa held her scimitar at this mysterious woman and declared: “Surely you are a person associated with Ganondorf. If you dare even attempt to interfere, we will not have mercy”. At this, the mysterious figure gave a laugh: “He he. Me, in cahoots with this overgrown clown? Eew. But your slightly right. His appearance here is kinda my bad”. Annoyed, Urbosa shouted: “Identify yourself. Who are you? And what have you got to do with all of this?”. The woman replied: “You see, I’m Lana, the White Sorceress. And I am one of the Guardian’s of Time. In my abode, I was super excited about a new spell I wanted to learn, but I decided to practice it too soon. As a result, an energy ball from my spell ended up hitting the pillar responsible for the flow of time during the Twilight Invasion. When something like that happens, it can interfere with the events that happened during that time, and even a slight alteration in events can have big, big consequences. And that’s kinda what happened here. A slight alteration in events in the Twilight era, caused by my messing around led to a large chain reaction, resulting in Ganondorf ending up in this era. So I’m here to take this noisy, troublesome thing you have tied up here for me and put it back where it belongs, he he”. In the time Lana was talking, Ganondorf had regained a little of his strength. He broke free of the ropes which were binding him. “Look, whoever you are, I am going to slice you to pie…”, Ganondorf hadn’t finished when suddenly, Lana opened the thick book she had in her arm, put her hand up towards the Evil King and clamored: “Bind!”. Ganondorf’s body had suddenly become immobilised by an aura coming out of Lana’s hand. “Now, before I leave let me undo this rather unforseen events of the day. She put up her other hand and loudly said: “Mind wipe!”. A massive haze came out of her hand, went through all of the Gerudo, and with that, Lana opened a purple portal, and with Ganondorf still immobilised by her other hand, took herself and him through the portal and disappeared. The Gerudo all started looking around at one another, completely confused. Urbosa, now showing no battle wounds or weariness, also had no explanation for her subjects. She stated: “I have no idea what we are all doing here, whether we all decided to sleep-walk at the same time. But one thing is certain. There’s no time to dwell. We need to get back to Gerudo Town. Princess Zelda is on her way here to deliver a special request”.

THE END

Epilogue – In a place no one knows exists

Lana was walking past all the time pillars with a relieved look on her face. She looked into the orb on the pillar of the Twilight Era, watching how Ganondorf was being sent to the Twilight Realm. “Well, I’m glad that mess was sorted. Let’s never do that again, he he”. She walked for another five minutes until coming to another pillar. She looked into the orb of this pillar. Here, she could see a blonde hero wearing blue standing on a cliff overlooking a ruined castle surrounded by a terrifying purple and black essence. Lana gave a sad, but reassured look. “After all these years, you still endure. If only there was a way for us to be together, my love”.

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Nintendo Labo VR makes Breath of the Wild Better
By Spamoman

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Every now and then, Nintendo loves to do the thing their fans least expected, and often these actions are in direct opposition to what we even consider to be within the realm of possibility. The latest in a long string of such events was the recent announcement and launch of Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 04: VR Kit. Considering numerous statements that the company was not intending to launch a VR product, combined with the Switch’s relatively low power compared to contemporary Virtual Reality machines, the last thing I expected was a cardboard contraption to accomplish this.

Well, not only did we get the so-called impossible, but shortly after the announcement of the product, we got a follow-up trailer revealing it was compatible with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. Of course as a Zelda fan I had to jump into the series’ first attempt at VR, though I was dismayed by many initial reactions from media outlets and YouTubers. Still, I am often more forgiving than many of Nintendo’s followers, so I thought I’d give it a go anyway. I’m not here to tell you it’s a flawless experience, but it absolutely has merits and is worthy of a discussion. So let’s dive into the best and worst parts of this do-it-yourself VR experience!

Merits of Breath of the Wild in VR

Landscapes

As majestic as Hyrule is in the base game, adding a 3-D effect enhances this tenfold. I believe the added depth creates an experience that a flat, static image cannot. During the 3DS era, I was among the minority who truly loved the signature gimmick of the console, and the level of immersion is similar to some of my absolute favorite 3DS games simply because of this effect, and it shines like no 3DS game did when you look over mountain vistas, enter a shrine, or explore the interior of a Divine Beast. It’s got the same thing going for it, but Breath of the WIld is noticeably larger than any 3DS title.

This may be a personal point, but hey, it’s my article so I’ll praise what I want. Putting aside my bias, however, the stylized graphics of Breath of the Wild lend themselves well to this effect, and though it is a noticeable downgrade from the original version, it still looks good. The cel-shaded world just works at a lower resolution than it should, and when you are in the moment, it’s just something you don’t think about because you are encapsulated in an expansive world teeming with scenery to view, treasure to find, and monsters to slay. Simply put, most people were not bothered by the game running at 900p on their HDTV, and likewise you will probably not be bothered by the extra pixelation in VR if you like VR. Well, at least in terms of landscapes. Other parts of the game don’t hold up as well, but more on that in a few paragraphs.

Action Scenes

The most engrossing experiences I have had by far since beginning my VR journey were battling Thunderblight Ganon followed up by the Sand Seal Rally and a fight with one of the overworld bosses, a massive Molduga. Somehow an extra layer of intensity is added by the 3-D perspective, which makes Labo VR a truly immersive addition to the game. These sequences sucked me in like no other, which is impressive since Breath of the Wild is among the most “suck-you-in-and-never-let-go” games I’ve ever played.

I can’t exactly explain it, but the fast-paced nature of these segments shifted my focus to the action and away from any blurriness that might have otherwise caught my eye. When the action moves fast, dawdling on graphical imperfections will spell your doom, so honestly I didn’t notice a single issue with Molduga, Thunderblight, or even the smaller enemies you glide past during the sand-seal rally.

Cutscenes

After defeating Thunderblight, I was of course given the chance to view an extended scene with Urbosa’s ghost and Link, followed by Vah Naboris climbing the mountain and aiming its cannon at Hyrule Castle. Honestly this may have been the best part of the VR experience. It felt close, personal, and as I keep stating, undeniably immersive. I’ve completed the game twice before, so of course this is nothing new to me, but it felt like I was seeing it for the first time.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to continue going through the game just to see all these cutscenes in VR. I am actually somewhat regretful that I had already gone partway through the game because some of my favorite scenes are between Link and Riju, who is easily my favorite secondary character in the game. I may even begin a new save file to see this, as well as the dramatic opening to the Great Plateau in VR. These scenes alone might be worth the forty dollar buy-in.

Shortcomings of Breath of the Wild in VR

Blur

It’s no shocker that looking at a 720p screen through a magnifying glass will not present the best quality image. As I’ve stated before, this is not a huge issue for large parts of the game, however the problem areas are painful to look at. The issue is particularly prevalent during regular gameplay around NPCs, it gets hard to see smaller details and features, the ordinarily stunning 3D models look fuzzy, and what would normally be a stylized masterpiece becomes a muddied mess.

Before the Sand Seal race is a somewhat dialogue-heavy scene, but not a full cutscene, so the motions are not as clean, and you don’t have hardly any music behind it. This works fine to present a quick side quest, obviously, but several Gerudo characters, who all have unique designs, are present throughout the scene, and it pops you out of your immersion just about every time the camera shifts to another character. I have not explored many towns or NPC heavy areas outside this yet, but what I’ve seen does not seem promising. The NPCs look bad, and there’s no way I can justify it.

Motion Controls

Traditionally in a Virtual Reality experience, you would move your head and the ingame camera would mimic your movements 1:1, giving you the illusion of being able to actually stick your head inside a digital world. In Breath of the Wild VR, your motion controls are essentially mapped to the same function as the right control stick on the controller. What this boils down to is that you look up, down, left, or right, and the camera rotates the same direction. On the horizontal axis I found this to feel okay, but vertical movements felt somewhat surreal since it does not match as closely what your head is doing. I am not generally prone to motion sickness from video games, but after a few minutes of attempting this, I showed symptoms such as dizziness, queasiness, and a mild headache.

Of course there is a simple solution to this, since turning off motion control aiming will make it so that only the movements of the thumbstick will affect your camera, and doing this I was able to comfortably play for about two hours with no such problem. Easy fix! Or at least… that is what I would say if it was possible to turn off motion controls for the headset but not my Pro Controller. Motion aiming has been one of my favorite additions to the Zelda series since Ocarina of Time 3D released. It is a small improvement, but it has become natural to me in this and other game series as well. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and Splatoon 2 would be completely different games to me without motion aiming, and the same is doubly true about the series that got me hooked on the concept. Turning off the motion controls may save me a case of motion sickness, but it is at the cost of one of my favorite gameplay elements, and that’s pretty lame.

No Head Strap (or is there?)

The most obvious difference between Labo VR and literally any other VR machine is pretty obvious; you need to hold it up to your face constantly. To me the worst issues from this are losing immersion from sitting in a weird position, and the risk of your arms getting tired, which to me happens pretty quick since I don’t have a particularly good chair for it. If you had well-adjusted armrests, the latter may not be an issue, but it was a pain for me.

Being somewhat handy and always keeping a supply of paracord, I decided to make my own redneck strap out of an old belt, and that helps a lot for gameplay but has its drawbacks as well. Even though the headset is just cardboard, the Switch is somewhat heavy on my face, and now neck strain is the issue rather than arm strain. This also causes the belt to loosen itself after a while, so I may make a one-size strap for myself when I get the chance as well. Even with this, though, the headset is not made to be worn on your face, and it’s not very comfortable because of that. Having a somewhat heavy piece of plastic on my face for a few hours left me with a numbness in the areas of contact as well as a hilarious looking red line across my forehead and underneath my eyes. Without some padding, I feel this is just a bad plan. That’s not going to stop me from using it, but I am aware of how stupid I am to do so.

The Takeaway

All right so it has its issues, but what can I say? It’s fun! Breath of the Wild’s enhancements from VR make it a truly worthwhile experience for anybody interested. It’s not the best virtual reality has ever been, but for what it is, it’s well worth my forty bucks. If you’re on the fence, I say try it, despite what reviewers say. It has a unique charm that I don’t believe any other VR game can provide, and at the end of the day it’s still Breath of the Wild so seriously, can it really be all that bad?

What’s your take? Will you be trying out Labo VR with Zelda? Do you buy into the reviewers and just play the games they tell you to? Have you tried it and you still hate it, or do you find the drawbacks acceptable like me? Let us know by commenting below, or hit up the Two Guys Playing Zelda and Zelda Coalition Discord Servers or find me on Twitter, I’ll be glad to keep the conversation waltzing!

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Breath of the Wild Has an Amazing Story. Really!
By Red

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UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT: Breath of the Wild has one of the strongest stories in the entire Zelda series. I know, I know – I’ve heard the criticism of the plot. I’ve thrown plenty of criticism at it myself. But when you break it down and examine all the components of Breath of the Wild’s story, it really does tell an amazing tale. Be warned, this Rambling has all kinds of spoilers for BotW.

Breath of the Wild’s story begins with the prophecy that Ganon will one day return to attack Hyrule. The Hylians dig up the Divine Beasts that once protected the land, and Princess Zelda and her protector Link set out to find four Champions to pilot the Divine Beasts. Along the way, Zelda attempts to unlock her innate powers, researches the ancient technology, and struggles with her growing feelings for Link. Link stands stoically beside Zelda through all her frustrations and carries the burden of his task with resolve.

Zelda and Link find their four Champions and make preparations to defend Hyrule from Ganon. However, Calamity strikes! The Champions are killed, and Hyrule is ravaged. Link himself falls in battle, and only when his very life is at stake is Zelda able to tap into her powers and save him. Link is safely hidden away, and Zelda faces Calamity Ganon alone and manages to seal him away in Hyrule Castle.

100 years later, Link is revived and finds Hyrule in ruins. His companions are dead, and Zelda herself is maintaining the seal on Ganon. He sets off to free the Divine Beasts from the blight, save the spirits of his lost companions, and together with Zelda, destroys Calamity Ganon. In his journeys, he gets drawn into a sort of Sheikah Civil War between the Sheikah clan and their dark offshoot, the Yiga. He connects with a new generation of “Champions” who help him in his fight. He learns the secrets of a lost tribe of monks by overcoming their trials. And once Calamity Ganon is defeated, he and Zelda set out to restore Hyrule to its former glory.

Now THAT sounds like a Zelda game I want to play! It has everything you could want: an epic struggle spanning a hundred years, great companions to share the adventure with, a budding romantic relationship between the princess and her knight, a civil war running adjacent to the main story, and the ultimate redemption of Link and Zelda after their initial catastrophic failure. It features a world that changes as the story advances, and a story that is told in several acts, as we’ve come to expect from nearly every Zelda game since A Link to the Past. And all of this is set in an absolutely gorgeous open world, with an excellent engine allowing the player to take an almost limitless variety of approaches to exploration and combat. You pitch this Zelda game to me, and my reaction would be: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

Breath of the Wild is that Zelda game, and its story is an amazing legend. There’s just one little itty bitty problem: YOU DON’T ACTUALLY GET TO EXPERIENCE THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE STORY!!!

Breath of the Wild doesn’t ACTUALLY start with Link and Zelda setting out on a journey during a time of peace. It starts with Link waking up in a ruined Hyrule with no memory of his past whatsoever, a weird voice in his head, and a creepy old man following him around on a paraglider. We don’t get to travel with Zelda, helping her tap into her powers or supporting her when she gets frustrated. We don’t get to see Zelda’s feelings for Link change throughout the journey. We don’t get to meet the Champions and bond with them, or fight beside them when the Calamity strikes. We don’t get to experience the multiple acts of the story. We don’t get to see the world change as the story advances (unless you count the rain stopping in Zora’s Domain). 95 percent of that amazing story I described above are told to us in a few scattered, short cutscenes. Zelda’s feelings are dumped on us by reading a diary. We are told to care about the Champions, but spend no time with them to develop a reason to care. We only get to experience the great Sheikah/Yiga split through a small handful of side quests. Learning the secrets of the monks involved playing through over a hundred shrines, each one looking exactly the same and with the exact same reward as the last.

With Breath of the Wild, Nintendo crafted a truly legendary tale of failure and redemption, of love and friendship, of duty and responsibility. It spanned generations and changed the shape of the entire land of Hyrule. Next time, though, I hope Nintendo actually decides to let us experience the legend.

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What Could the Legend of Zelda Series Learn from Elder Scrolls: Blades?
By Spamoman

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Since the release of Pokemon Go a few years ago, whisperings and speculations have resounded through the online community of Nintendo fans about the possibility of a mobile Legend of Zelda game. While still no official announcements have been made, I believe it is a good time to reexamine the topic.

I come to this thought because recently I got an invitation to the early-access beta of The Elder Scrolls: Blades. Though these series are quite different, they share much common ground, and a mobile Zelda game is likely to see as many, if not more comparisons to Blades as Breath of the Wild saw to Skyrim upon its release. Throughout my experience, I kept producing thoughts along the lines of “Would this work in a Zelda game?” I have a short list here of elements within the upcoming Elder Scrolls title of elements that I believe would work and would not work if our favorite series jumped into the mobile scene.

Elements That Would Work

Gameplay That Doesn’t Feel “Mobile”

I almost feel like I don’t need to address this one, we all know what a mobile game feels like. It’s just a little different; whether it feels like a watered-down version of the genre it came from or it sends a few too many prompts for microtransactions, there is something about iOS and Android as gaming platforms that attracts the same sorts of games ad nauseam.

So what about Blades makes it stand out? Well for one thing, the game flows like its predecessors. Maybe not exactly as well as Morrowind or Skyrim, but it captures the same feeling of accomplishment, just in bite-sized pieces. The dungeon design, even within the introductory levels I played, was fun to explore and had that attention to detail I love from the series. While I have only completed a handful of missions, the experience hearkened back to my recent playthrough of Morrowind, just a tad smaller. There are still secrets to find, treasure to collect, and a depth of customization I have seldom seen on a mobile device, and certainly not on a smartphone. The RPG elements of collecting skill points to spend on new abilities are very akin to systems within contemporary console games such as those in Horizon: Zero Dawn and Spiderman, and I feel as though unlocking those higher tier abilities will be just as satisfying as it has been in any other game.

I believe the key is that Bethesda, the development studio behind Blades, treated it as though they were making any other game. They didn’t necessarily have it in their minds that this was a mobile game. It feels to me as though they designed the game and then shoehorned in a few mobile game aspects, such as timer-unlocked loot boxes and microtransactions, but most developers these days seem to do quite the opposite, slapping a popular logo on a lootbox generator to see how quickly they can transfer the money from your wallet to theirs. I am excited to see how far these feelings go, but so far so good. My advice to hypothetical mobile Zelda developers is to make a game and then make it mobile, rather than making a mobile game.

Simplicity of Gameplay

One of the best design choices Blades has going for it is that it takes the core elements of the Elder Scrolls series and basically strips off anything superfluous or confusing. The customizable level-up system, exploration, and first-person combat is all totally there, but the fluff that gets added to “real” Elder Scrolls games is all gone.

This simplification of the game does not go too far, but just far enough. The game is much better suited to the platform, but it doesn’t feel watered down. This balance is important in a mobile game; I’ve played mobile games that felt like they had too much stripped off (Super Mario Run) and games that feel overwhelming on a touch-based interface (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic). There are few mobile games I believe have found this balance exactly right, and Blades is one of them. Any game designer could take notes from Bethesda on this.

Elements That Would Not Work

Micromanagement

At the beginning of Blades, you see that your village has been destroyed. One of the key gameplay elements in the game comes between missions, where you use the resources you have acquired along the way to fix up the town. You can build dwellings for the townsfolk, or shops to give yourself access to new items or upgrades to your own equipment.

This is a fairly unique experience which I would liken to Final Fantasy: My Life as a King. This WiiWare title of yore featured a king who needed to build his kingdom up from nothing. Your task was to hire adventurers to send out into the world so they could gather materials to rebuild. The key difference here is that in Blades, you get to go on the adventures to find materials yourself. This shift in gameplay styles is well-implemented, but it would absolutely not fit the Zelda series.

The Legend of Zelda is a series known for adventure, and the more broken up that adventure is, the worse it is received. Critics and fans alike have denigrated Wind Waker for sixteen years over its sailing mechanic. Though I personally never minded it, it has irked many gamers to the point of quitting the game. Why? It breaks up the adventure with monotonous travel sequences featuring little to no scenery. By the same token, many gamers hate the opening tutorial sequence in Twilight Princess. Before you get to have anything worthy of being called an adventure, you must complete ninety minutes or more of seemingly arbitrary tasks around town, one after another.

Zelda gamers want to get right into the adventure and never stop until the end of the game. In fact, usually they don’t even want to stop at the end! Still, in a Zelda game, this break in the adventure would feel out of place, and the micromanagement associated with it (weighing material costs between multiple projects, deciding what to upgrade or craft anew, etcetera) would detract from that magical feeling I call Zelda-ness. It works great for Elder Scrolls, keep it away from Zelda.

There Is No Overworld

This was honestly the biggest buzzkill of the game for me. Though the series is known for sprawling open worlds, Blades opted to use a level-based progression system instead. In essence, you only teleport between your town and every new area and dungeon. It’s like eating your favorite food prepared by a chef who was reading the recipe for the first time and didn’t have all the right spices. It’s still good, but it’s missing something that could make it truly perfect. In my opinion, Blades can get away with this because your time is split well between micromanaging your town and adventuring. I have already touched on why micromanaging does not work in a Zelda game, so the complete lack of an overworld would be much harder to pass off here.

In addition, Zelda games have always had a greater emphasis on exploration than Elder Scrolls, which features great explorative features, but the focus is divided between role-playing, outfitting and customizing your character, and an epic narrative. Not to say that Zelda doesn’t splash a little of these elements in, but certainly never to the levels of the average Elder Scrolls.

I need to be blunt at this point, since eloquent verbiage cannot convey any better my stance on the matter; a Zelda game with no overworld, mobile or otherwise, would not be a Zelda game. Hyrule Warriors is a spinoff, and we all know it, but what really defines it as a Musou game rather than a Zelda game is that exploration does not matter. It’s great, but at the end of the day its focus is on high-flying combos and endless action.

Taking away the overworld and leaving the other elements would cripple a mobile Zelda title and leave every fan of the series calling it a spinoff as many would posit is the case for Tri-Force Heroes. Oddly enough I’ll be the first to defend the game when people declare such, yet I can still see where they are coming from, since the one thing I think it truly misses is an overworld.

Well there you have it, the two best things and the two worst things to take from Elder Scrolls Blades and apply to a hypothetical mobile Legend of Zelda game, at least in my opinion. What about you, though? Do you think the game is better with no overworld? Do you think the game should be more complex because mobile tech can handle it now? Let me know your thoughts for the future of Zelda as well as Elder Scrolls Blades. Did you get in to the early access version, or are you excited by the content you have seen from it so far? Do you only play “real” Elder Scrolls games? Whatever your thoughts on any of these matters, shoot me a tweet (@spamomanospam) or head to the TGPZ or ZC Discord and let us all know what you think! Let’s keep the conversation barrelling!

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Why the Hero of Time Means so Much to Me
By Usmania

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Every Zelda fan, young and old, see Link as this humble but skilled warrior who battles all kinds of adversity to fulfill his great destiny as the Hero of the land, the beacon of hope and purger of evil. These are titles which we all strive, in one form or another, to achieve for ourselves. But in this article, I would like to shed light on one particular incarnation of Link, who had to battle a different kind of adversity in his life, the Hero of Time.

At the beginning of all Zelda games, we are introduced to the Link whom we will be joining in a whole new adventure. We are also introduced to the society which the relevant Link is a part of. In both Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess, Link is shown to be a well-liked member of the people residing in Skyloft and Ordon Village respectively. The elders greatly acknowledge Link’s contributions and value to the community and (except for some bantering with Groose) the young look up to him as an ideal to strive towards. In Wind Waker, Link is happily living with a loving sister and grandmother. A Link to the Past sees him living with his uncle. Even the latest entry to the series, Breath of the Wild, portrays Link as a highly rated knight who is bestowed the great honor of becoming Princess Zelda’s royal escort. But what about the Hero of Time? This is where things are slightly different. Here, Link is part of a community where he is looked upon as an outcast, a misfit, the odd one out. He is, after all, a Hylian who due to tragic circumstances, had to live among the childlike Kokiri race. But why do his circumstances as the outcast resonate with me so much? Because I have lived through such an experience myself.

I’m sure most of us have fond memories of our early school life (Elementary school in US/Primary school here in the UK). I was no different. I relive those cherished memories when I had friends who loved Nintendo as madly as I did. During class, we would fanboy about the various games we played at home like Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, Donkey Kong 64 to name just a few. When break time would come, we would pretend to be those characters and relive iconic moments from the games, for example, I would pretend to be Luigi, one of my friends would pretend to be Mario and his older brother would pretend to be Bowser and we would be having epic imaginary battles, even altering events from games, like Luigi defeating Bowser at the end of Mario 64. That all changed when we graduated from Primary School. All my friends went to a different school, I was the only one to go to the secondary school that I did.

As a result, my persona became much more quieter. This was something mentioned a lot by my teachers in school reports, being referred to as ‘the silent kid’. What makes things more difficult is that at the age of 11-13, kids are going through both physical and mental changes, hence their interests sway towards more so-called ‘mature’ things. So I was left without anyone to share my nerdy passions with, often scoffed and laughed at by my peers. This made me more and more lonely, usually relying on comfort eating during the day and putting on weight. And we all know how much of a target an overweight child becomes for bullying. So I became more and more of an outcast in school.

When you are a silent child who is seen as an outcast by others, people see you as someone who has no hope in life to do anything. At this point, I began searching for inspiration. Who could I relate to? Were there any fictional characters that I knew? Fortunately, I didn’t have to think long. Such a character did exist. A silent child seen as an outcast by others. And it was indeed a character who I spent so much of my childhood playing as. The Hero of Time himself!

Here, Link was always taunted as the ‘kid with no fairy’. But what hit me hardest was this quote from Mido: “Well, even with all that stuff, a wimp is still a wimp. I, the great Mido, will never accept you as one of us!”. This is a quote which defined such a huge part of my secondary school experience. I tried to fit into many different subgroups in the year group, but I was always reminded how I just didn’t fit in. “Stop trying to be something you’re not”, “You can’t walk with us” were some of the words I was subject to on a daily basis.

As time passes, people mature. College was where I managed to develop my interest in sports and fitness, and by losing weight, I was more accepted by the sporty people. By University, I became a much more confident person and now, I’m someone who sees myself as outgoing and always looking to engage with all types of people, regardless of their background, culture, likes and dislikes, and as a result, I have made lifelong friends who accept me the way that I am and the interests that I hold. But those feelings of loneliness and not belonging during secondary school are something which always stay with me. And these gave me a much higher level of affection and appreciation for the Hero of Time, how he didn’t just have to battle physical enemies, but also non-acceptance from those around him due to being different. But with it, I also strongly believe that as for me, the Hero of Time serves as a role-model for people like me who have ever gone through feelings of loneliness and being seen as different from their associates, no matter which facet of life they experience this.

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Why Ocarina of Time is Better than Breath of the Wild
By Hick

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Just because a game is large and beautiful doesn’t automatically make it the greatest game ever. It might not even be the greatest game within its own franchise. Is Breath of the Wild the greatest Zelda game ever? No, it’s not. It was a great game, and it would be hard to argue against that. When it came out, it was definitely worth the wait. In the beginning parts of the game, I was confident that Breath of the Wild would be my favorite Zelda game ever.

As I continued to play it, this feeling retracted more and more. There were key things that I had grown to love about Zelda that were missing in the game. Change is ok, but you can’t get too far away from the things that made you successful. It felt like it had more to offer, and that there was potential there, but it was unrealized. There is only one Zelda game that I feel reached its true potential, and that is Ocarina of Time, and this is why it is better than Breath of the Wild.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!

Story

One of the biggest disappointments with Breath of the Wild was the story. There wasn’t much to it, not for a game this large in scale. We are told that 10,000 years ago, thanks to the technological advancements of Hyrule, they were able to create four Divine Beasts and thousands of Guardians that were used to defeat Ganon. Once the spirit manifested itself again, it fired off its corruption into every machine. In the Great Calamity that followed, the King and Champions were killed, Link was gravely wounded, and most of Hyrule was devastated. This is the majority of the story we get from the cut scenes.

Fast forward 100 years later and we are to the events of Breath of the Wild. Link is awakened in the Shrine of Resurrection, he meets the King who informs him that Calamity Ganon has been sealed in Hyrule Castle, but his power is growing and he must be defeated. After we receive this information, we don’t get much else. Yes, every memory offers an additional piece of story line, but it is not required to get those memories, and the story doesn’t make sense until it all comes together with every collected memory. More so, the memories can be activated in any order, which creates an un-structured story.

I’ve never been a fan of un-structured stories. They are too chaotic. Just because you have an open-world game doesn’t mean you can’t have a structured story. Take Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and GTA 5. These two games were huge but still had a structured story you had to progress through. Another example within the Zelda franchise is A Link Between Worlds. While not as open world as Breath of the Wild, you were still able, for the most part, to do things in the order you chose, while having a structured story of Hyrule, Master Sword, Lorule, final boss, ending. I think Breath of the Wild could have taken some advice from A Link Between Worlds in this aspect.

Ocarina of Time had a much more structured story that occurred throughout the game, and because of this, it was able to tell a better story. A fairy awakens a young boy in Kokiri Forest and leads him to the Deku Tree. The Deku Tree sets Link out on his adventure in Hyrule shortly before dying. He collects 3 Spiritual Stones, making it possible to retrieve the Master Sword from the Temple of Time. He then sets out to awaken all the sages through 5 temples. After awakening all the sages, he is able to make his way to fight Ganon.

This part of the story doesn’t even include the information we get in the cut-scenes, which expanded on the story from the NES and SNES titles and pushed the franchise forward for the next 19 years and counting. We learn about the 3 golden goddesses, Din, Nayru, and Farore. They created the Triforce at the point where they left the world, and we get a lot more information on said Triforce. We are told Link came from the forest, why the Temple of Time was built, how you can enter the Sacred Realm through the Door of Time, who Ganondorf is and his evil intentions, and much more.

As we now know, Breath of the Wild occurs at the very end of the Zelda timeline. It had the capability to push the franchise forward on that unknown timeline for many more years to come, but we just didn’t get much information to create that push. That isn’t to say that future Zelda games will stink and not have a great story, I just don’t feel that Breath of the Wild gave them a good set ball to spike like Ocarina of Time did. It is also possible that future Zelda games will take place before Breath of the Wild, but that situation doesn’t apply to my argument here.

Liveliness

For the most part, Breath of the Wild didn’t feel “alive”, and that was disappointing. While it was understandable that Calamity Ganon destroyed almost everything in Hyrule 100 years ago, I still hated so many places being in ruins. There were new towns to the series that I wanted to explore and wasn’t able to. I couldn’t get to know the people that lived there. Yes, there were villages/towns/cities in Breath of the Wild, but for how big the map was, I didn’t find it adequate.

Ocarina of Time on the other hand, felt very alive, well at least during the child era, haha. The children were running around Kokiri Forest. The market was bustling with activity, and the catchy theme reflected that. The guards around Hyrule Castle were too busy enjoying the day to catch intruders, construction was ongoing in Kakariko Village, Gorons were rolling around in Goron Village, Zora’s were relaxing in Zora’s Domain, horses were galloping at Lon Lon Ranch, and thieves at the Gerudo Fortress were throwing trespassers in jail. It felt like everywhere you went there was something happening!

Weapons and Items System

At first, I was excited for all the weapons we could get in Breath of the Wild. It was going to be fun testing out these weapons to see what kind of damage could be dealt. This got old really quick, and most of you know why, they would only last a few strikes before breaking. By the end of the game, I just felt drained from switching my weapons in and out. It started to become somewhat of a tedious task. Yes, you can collect Korok Seeds to expand your inventory, but it takes quite a bit to expand your inventory to the max (441 Korok Seeds to be exact).

What was even more disappointing was the Master Sword. I was so ecstatic to acquire this only to find out that it lasted maybe a minute in combat. How does a sword this powerful use so much energy so quickly?! Nintendo really missed on this one. I know there is now a DLC Pack with Trial of the Sword that allows you to fully power up the Master Sword so it doesn’t lose energy, but that is no easy task in itself. I’ve never been a fan of having to go back and re-do stages. I’m even less of a fan now that I have an 11 month old daughter and a wife about to enter her 3rd trimester.

I attempted Trial of the Sword and made it through 9 stages of the beginning trials. My “run straight forward and attack” style doesn’t always work so well with stages like this, haha. After that, I have never attempted it again. I can only imagine how hard, frustrating, and time consuming the final trials must be. This imagination has somewhat been brought to reality by reading stories online.

I won’t sit here and say Ocarina of Time had better weapons overall, because Breath of the Wild had such a large variety, but I didn’t find the system as frustrating. It was nice to have weapons that didn’t break. Maybe it’s not as realistic, but is multiple swords breaking after a couple of hits realistic? Having to sharpen your sword would be more realistic, and maybe that is what Breath of the Wild should have focused on.

Even though my issue with Breath of the Wild lies within the system and not the actual weapons, there were some weapons in Ocarina of Time that were sadly missing in Breath of the Wild. Most notably is the Hookshot. This has been one of my favorite items in many Zelda games since it was introduced in Link to the Past. In the games where there has been two of them, like Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, the weapon has been even more amazing. Breath of the Wild did introduce climbing (my favorite mechanic in the game), which somewhat replaced the functionality of the Hookshot, but it would’ve been cool if we could have quickly shot up to places instead of taking the time to climb.

As far as bombs go, it was nice in Breath of the Wild that they never ran out. You just had to let your meter fill back up. I was not, however, a fan of the blue, Sheikah technology explosion. A majority of men are weirdly attracted to fire. I can remember it being a cool thing to see since I was young, so going along with this, I always like to see a fiery explosion from bombs in a video game. Sadly, I was not able to get this satisfaction from Breath of the Wild like I did in Ocarina of Time.

With the quantity of shields in Breath of the Wild, I was surprised there was no Mirror Shield. It’s always been my favorite in the games that have it, even if they also had the Hylian Shield. There were some awesome shields in Breath of the Wild. They had the Ancient, Knight’s, Royal Guard’s, and Royal Shield, just to name a few, but there was that glaring Mirror Shield still missing. And I have to mention this, I don’t care to search all of Hyrule Castle for the Hylian Shield just to drop it later and have to pay 3,000 rupees for a replacement! That is, if you even completed the Tarrey Town side quest, From the Bottom Up.

Going along with these missing weapons in Breath of the Wild, I also have to talk about the Ocarina. Not that it needed to be in Breath of the Wild, but it would have been cool to play some instrument in the game. I loved all the songs that came with the Ocarina in Ocarina of Time. It added so much to the game and it was a simple concept. I especially loved the temple songs that teleported you to that temple area. They were so memorable. Many games have had this and I’m not sure why it was excluded from Breath of the Wild. Teleportation was replaced with the Sheikah Slate, but an instrument playing songs could’ve had some kind of use in Breath of the Wild.

Dungeon Themes

I love the music in Zelda. It’s one of my favorite parts of the franchise. One of the musical pieces I love the most are the dungeon themes. I’m always excited to see what new dungeons we will get, and the musical score that will come along with these dungeons. The theme helps set the atmosphere for a dungeon and can increase or decrease its value.

Two dungeons where the value was increased significantly to me were the Forest Temple and Spirit Temple from Ocarina of Time. While these dungeons could be great without a theme, the theme made you feel like you were actually adventuring through the dungeon and not just playing a video game. The eerie sound of the Forest Temple makes you wonder what this place use to be, and what happened to it. It fits alongside the Poe Sisters, and the overall ghostly feel of the place. Its frantic chime makes you feel like it’s important to speed through because you have a much larger task at hand. It was a great first adult dungeon for the game.

The Spirit Temple theme reminds you that you are out in a desert, in a Temple far away from the center of Hyrule. The theme works well alongside the color of the dungeon. You feel like you are in a place of worship, and that the Gerudo culture is so much greater then what you got to experience in the game. It was the proper dungeon to be positioned right before Ganon’s Castle.

What dungeon themes were great in Breath of the Wild? NONE! I did enjoy Hyrule Castle’s theme, but that was just an updated remix of a classic Zelda tune. None of the other dungeons, aka Divine Beasts, had a memorable theme. I would have a hard time telling you what theme went with what Divine Beast, and that was not a problem I had in any Zelda game prior. Going along with not being memorable, they also didn’t enhance the feel and atmosphere of any dungeon like I experienced in Ocarina of Time. At work, I always like to go back and listen to looped dungeon themes. This is something I have yet to do with Breath of the Wild. The dungeon themes were a major disappointment, which was surprising based on how great they had been in other Zelda games.

Themed Dungeons

This is not to be confused with dungeon themes. What I am talking about here are water, forest, fire, etc. themed dungeons. They have been a staple throughout many Zelda games. I always find myself being a fan of the forest and desert themed dungeons, so I am always looking forward to those when a new Zelda game comes out. Ocarina of Time can be credited with creating this excitement. It gave you a variety of themed dungeons to choose your favorite from. You went Inside the Deku Tree, helped a princess through a disgusting fish in Jabu Jabu, searched for 4 Poes in lush vegetation within the Forest Temple, tried to avoid the fiery areas of Dodongo’s Cavern and the Fire Temple, raised and lowered the water levels in the Water Temple, dodged razor sharp guillotines in the Shadow Temple, re-directed desert sunlight in the Spirit Temple, and made you way through many enemies before facing the final boss in Ganon’s Castle.

What themed dungeons were found in Breath of the Wild? NONE once again! One could argue that there was a Fire, Wind, Water, and Desert themed Divine Beast, but that was mostly the backdrop. You didn’t find those elements largely present inside the Divine Beasts. Also, from the inside, all the Divine Beasts looked very similar. Which became boring and stagnant after a while. When you got to the boss at the end, they all felt and looked the same, even though they had different attacks. If you took the first name away before “Ganon”, I’m not sure I could tell you which boss it was. I was very surprised Nintendo didn’t put more effort into differentiating these dungeons and their bosses.

Hyrule/Ganon’s Castle

In Breath of the Wild, Hyrule Castle didn’t feel like it was a castle. It was more a series of ramps and walkways that led to different sections of the castle. It didn’t have the structural outline of a castle. It looked amazing from far, but when you got up to it, it was far from amazing.

One thing that I loved about Ganon’s Castle in Ocarina of Time is that we had to make our way all through the castle before we got to meet Ganondorf. In Breath of the Wild, you can walk right up to Calamity Ganon without exploring any of the castle, which is what I accidently did in my first trip there. I decided that it was not the right time to fight Calamity Ganon yet, so I set off to explore Hyrule Castle. I was not impressed overall. It kind of goes back to my “everything in ruins” argument. Yes it makes sense why Hyrule Castle looked like this, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Final Boss

Calamity Ganon was a joke, there is no other way for me to put it. I was hoping for the human form of Ganondorf to be waiting when I got to Hyrule Castle, very much like in Ocarina of Time and even Twilight Princess. When I got there, what I got was this creature that looked similar to the other 4 bosses I fought in the Divine Beasts, and there was hardly any intro cut scene.

One of my favorite memories from Ocarina of Time was walking up the long stairs laid with red carpet before confronting Ganondorf in Ganon’s Castle. He was sitting there playing an organ and the tune set the scene perfectly for the ensuing fight. In Breath of the Wild, all you get is Calamity Ganon dropping down to the bottom of Hyrule Castle. You do get a cut scene with the 4 Champions using their powers to drain Calamity Ganon to half-life (if you completed the 4 Divine Beasts), but I don’t consider that an interaction between Link and Calamity Ganon.

When the fight starts, the battle is already half way won. If you have a significant amount of hearts and elixirs, this fight becomes very easy. You can essentially just run up to him and slash away. While there are different strategies you can use to avoid losing health, there is really no strategy necessary if you are just looking to simply defeat him.

After defeating Calamity Ganon, we are automatically transported out to Hyrule Field, which obviously makes the trip from Hyrule Castle out to Hyrule Field uneventful. Zelda hands Link the Bow of Light and we go about defeating Dark Beast Ganon. If you thought the first stage of the final boss was a letdown, then you are about to become even more depressed and upset with this final boss. It’s one of the biggest disappointments in the Zelda franchise. You just ride your horse around and shoot arrows at certain targets while avoiding his easy-to-avoid attacks. No final boss should be this simple, especially after a game this grand. Dark Beast Ganon did look cool out in Hyrule Field, but just because something looks cool doesn’t mean it delivers a great experience.

Let’s compare this to the final boss in Ocarina of Time. We get a sweet intro cut-scene with Ganondorf playing the organ. Afterwards, we have to avoid falling platforms while also dodging his attacks. After dodging his attacks, we must find a strategy to defeat him, we just can’t rush straight forward and attack. We eventually figure out that we need to shoot him with a light arrow, hookshot over to his platform, and slice away with our sword.

After this first stage, we get a pleasant surprise (you have to remember at the time when this game was released, we weren’t accustomed to there being more than 1 stage of a final boss). As Ganondorf lays wounded at the top of his castle, with his final breath, he brings the castle crumbling down and you need to escape before time runs out. We’ve always made our way up a castle, but rarely have we had to make our way down so quickly. This stage offered some spectacular views that we were only able to get during that short part of the game. It was also very intense as you had to jump over gaps and defeat enemies, all while making sure you didn’t land on Princess Zelda.

After all this, one would think for sure the battle was done. NOPE! We are treated to one final stage with pig-beast Ganon. Just the sheer size and look of Ganon at that time was outstanding. If you don’t know the strategy of rolling between his legs to attack his tail, this boss can actually be very difficult, as a final boss should be. You take all 3 of these stages and it is a tremendously better final boss then the one found in Breath of the Wild.

Ending

Going along with the uneventful story line of Breath of the Wild, the ending was also a displeasure. For a game so large, the ending was in comparison short and anti-climactic. Zelda seals Calamity Ganon away, she informs Link that she has been watching his journey and asks if he remembers her, we see the King and Champion’s spirits floating above Hyrule Castle, and after the credits roll, Zelda and Link go to investigate a non-functional Ruta while talking about restoring Hyrule to its former glory. That was it. I was expecting so much more and was hoping we would get some additional story line. It did not happen.

In Ocarina of Time, after Ganon is sent into the void of the Evil Realm by the sages, we still have some communication with him. He informs us that when the seal is broken, he will exterminate our descendants. I loved this communication we were able to have with him after he was sealed away. Zelda then informs us that we must lay the Master Sword to rest and close the Door of Time. This causes the roads between times to be closed. We then hand Zelda our Ocarina and she sends Link back to the time when he was a child. After the credits roll, we find Link back in the Temple of Time laying the Master Sword in its pedestal. Navi proceeds to fly away afterwards. Where she went we will never know. It is up to the player’s imagination. In the last scene, Link is in Hyrule Courtyard about ready to talk to Zelda. What is he going to say? Once again it cuts off and it’s up to the player’s imagination to decide what happens next. How can you beat an ending like that?!

There is one last thing I want to address with the ending, and that is the credits. This is one of my favorite parts of the game as we get a great combination of songs and a tour of all the areas we have visited. Breath of the Wild’s was a little disappointing. The music wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t awesome like in Ocarina of Time. It also incorporated more of the characters then the areas. I was surprised how few areas they actually showed during the credits. When I’ve beaten a Zelda game, the credits has always delivered that sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. I didn’t feel it as much with Breath of the Wild. Maybe this sounds like a petty argument to you, but it’s a feeling I experienced so I had to mention it.

Odds & Ends

There were two more points that I had that didn’t fit into a prior section, but I still wanted to address them. I have always been a fan of the forest areas in Zelda games. I blame Ocarina of Time for this with Kokiri Forest, Lost Woods, Sacred Meadow, and the Forest Temple. Many Zelda games have had a great forest area, but Breath of the Wild was not one of them. It looked like a tropical rain forest, and it acted like a tropical rain forest with how much rain the area got. I thought this area would be one of the places I spent the most time in, but by the end of the game, I would say I spent the least amount of time there. It was surprising and disappointing all at the same time.

How a game like Breath of the Wild didn’t incorporate diving underwater is beyond me. It was a missing mechanic that felt very constraining while in water. There was so much water in the game that diving would have added to the already vast exploration possibilities in the game. There was a whole new world under the water that we were not able to explore. With Ocarina of Time, we had two ways of doing this. We could dive down for a certain period of time (based on which scale you had), or you could equip the Iron Boots and sink all the way to the bottom. If you had the Zora Tunic, you could stay down there as long as you wanted. It seems like a very simple concept that Nintendo could have incorporated into Breath of the Wild.

Conclusion

Hopefully I have given you enough reasons to demonstrate why I like Ocarina of Time more than Breath of the Wild. I believe I have. In Ocarina of Time, it feels like everything comes together in the game. I’ve always felt that the game perfected the “formula”. It had the right combination of elements that makes a game great. Many want to talk about how large Breath of the Wild is, but I always argue that in 1998, Ocarina of Time felt that large. There are many open-world games nowadays with large maps that compare to Breath of the Wild, but Ocarina of Time was a game changer when it came out. It was like nothing else, and that’s why it’s still my favorite Zelda game to date.

It should go without saying, but I always feel the need to say it. This is an opinion article. It is 100% subjective. It is based on the feelings I experienced while playing both games. Your feelings might not be the same as mine because everyone experiences things different. If you strongly disagree with my opinion, that is fine.

I understand this article comes off as me bashing Breath of the Wild, but it’s honestly my 2nd favorite Zelda game. It is great for many reasons, but that is a different article for a different time. Until next time, keep on playing Zelda!

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