Hyrule Warriors Coming to Nintendo 3DS
…Well, apparently HYDRA has struck again. This time, they’re going after Nintendo trailers meant for E3. Specifically, a new trailer was leaked revealing that Hyrule Warriors is coming to the Nintendo 3DS. Let’s take a look, shall we? 😀
…So yeah, I guess my decision to wait a bit before getting Hyrule Warriors was right all along. ^_^
Zelda Chronology: Part 5
Before we get started, I have a certain redemption I need to obtain. While looking back on my previous installation of the Zelda Chronology, I made something of an epic fail on my part. As somebody who loves to take the sillier moments in the Zelda games and parody the crap outta them, I failed to mention the crowning achievement in silly moments in the Zelda games: The barrel scene in Wind Waker, wherein the pirates actually load Link into a barrel and launch him at the Forsaken Fortress. So, as penance, here are the Top 5 Jokes/References I Could Have Made About The Barrel Scene In Wind Waker!
…Let us never speak of that again. Now, onto today’s Zelda game, and my own personal favourite in the series’ 3D games, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. It was first shown off at E3 2004, just one year after Wind Waker was released. A trailer was shown for it, resulting in a reaction from the crowd that is widely considered to be one of the all-time greatest moments in the franchise’s history.
You know, as awesome as Miyamoto is, he looks like the king of all geekdom in this. Seriously, he’s got a 1-Up Mushroom t-shirt on!…Okay, all cruel jokes at Nintendo’s lord and master aside, Zelda fans were ecstatic, but then we had to wait a LONG 10 months of complete silence from Nintendo before a new trailer was released in March of 2005 at the Game Developers Conference, during which I was utterly terrified as to whether or not Nintendo employees might just be being tortured for information somewhere. Over the next few months, it was revealed that the game would actually be released on both the Gamecube and the Wii, one directly after the other. A lot of people have talked back and forth about which was better and whether or not it was a good idea, but we’re not here to talk about that. What I will mention is that the Gamecube version (since that’s the one I own) has some of the all-time best graphics and sound of ANY game released for that system. The game was also given the first T-Rating in the franchise’s history, which is generally attributed to the violence, blood, horrific imagery, and partial nudity seen in this game, that of course we have NEVER seen in Zelda games.
Oh, and real quick warning: Due to my own love of this story and just how involved it is, this is gonna be a long one FULL of spoilers, so just warning you now. The story starts off with Link, who is a young adult in this game, who works as a ranch worker and wrangler, which is quite different from most versions of the hero. During a series of events that occur over the run of just a couple of days, several strange beasts begin to appear in the forest around Link’s home-town. During an attack, Link is knocked out. When he comes to, his horse Epona and his friend Ilia are missing. While following after the monsters responsible, he’s pulled through a wall of darkness into a bizarre-looking world. As the monsters return, the Triforce symbol glows on his hand and his form is changed into a wolf. He’s then captured and held prisoner in Hyrule Castle, but is then freed by a mischievous imp named Midna. Midna agrees to help Link out, but in return, he must be her “servant”. Dominatrix/bestiality jokes aside, we’re walking, we’re walking…
So Midna manages to help him get to a tower where a cloaked woman is held captive, who Midna refers to as the ‘Twilight Princess’. She tells how the kingdom has become covered in twilight by invading forces, and reveals herself to be…
Nah, I’m just kidding, it’s actually Princess Zelda. Go figure, huh? Anyway, she tells you how Hyrule was invaded by dark creatures from another realm, Shadow Beasts, and that when given the choice of life or death for her people, Zelda opted to surrender. As a result, the kingdom was shrouded in twilight and anyone caught in it would become wandering souls that would remain unaware of what had happened to them. The only way to fix what has happened is to revive the Light Spirits, who govern over the various provinces of Hyrule, who can then banish the twilight from each province and thus allow Link to become human again while in said provinces. Also, Midna tasks him with finding the Fused Shadow pieces, of which she already has one. And guess what? Yep, gotta search through a bunch of dungeons scattered throughout Hyrule to get them. At first, all that’s known about the Fused Shadow is that it contains a massive amount of power inside of it. That is, until you awaken the Light Spirit Lanayru who tells you the story of the Fused Shadow in what is easily the single most fucked up scene in the entire series EVER.
…I warned you. Anyway, along the way Link takes the time out to help the various peoples of Hyrule, like the Gorons, the Zoras, and the townsfolk of Kakariko Village (which also includes an amnesiac Ilia, as well as some children from Link’s hometown) and being reunited with his horse. He also has encounters with a stranger that appears first as a golden wolf, but then teleports him to a different plane where he takes on the form of a skeleton in knight’s armour. This knight is actually, believe it or not, the Link from Ocarina of Time, who never got the chance to pass on the skills he learned and thus laments that, and so he teaches his skills to this Link.
So you find all of the Fused Shadow fragments and it seems that Link and Midna are on the path to setting everything right again when they’re confronted by the leader of the Shadow Beasts, Zant. Zant is kinda over-the-top freaky, but if you’ve followed my YouTube account, you’d know he’s not quite THE freakiest antagonist in the Zelda games. Zant manages to pwn Link and Lanayru with relative ease before taking the three pieces of the Fused Shadow you collected for himself and then cursing Link, forcing him into his wolf form even when he’s in the light. Zant asks Midna to join him, as she is of the same Twilight Realm as he, but she refuses, so he forcibly exposes Lanayru’s light upon her, nearly killing her.
Lanayru teleports Midna and Link near Hyrule Castle, telling Link to see Princess Zelda. Upon reaching Zelda, she reveals more about the situation: Link was first transformed into a wolf to protect him from becoming a wandering soul, or worse, a Shadow Beast. This was done by the gift of the Goddesses he bares within himself, the Triforce of Courage. However, this curse that Zant has placed on him has locked him into this form. The only way to break this curse is to obtain the Master Sword, which has been confirmed to drive away evil. Midna makes the last request that Zelda tell Link where he can find something called the Mirror of Twilight, but instead, Zelda decides to transfer her own gift, the Triforce of Wisdom, to Midna to save her life, though Zelda vanishes as a result. The duo make their way to Sacred Grove, during which Zant places a forcefield around Hyrule Castle, thus keeping them out for now. Arriving in Sacred Grove, Link must undergo a series of trials that includes moving gigantic statues and dealing with…SKULL KID??? Seriously??? Well anyway, you make it through the Sacred Grove and obtain the Master Sword which undoes the curse by removing a dark stone that had been embedded into your skull. Midna decides to keep it so that you can transform at will no matter where you are, and asks that you help her to find the last link to Zant: The Mirror of Twilight. You learn that it was originally somewhere in the Gerudo Desert, but that whole region is unreachable. To get there, you have to be shot there in a cannon that actually is pretty funny, rivalling the barrel scene from Wind Waker. Once there, Midna decides to spill the beans on what she really is, one of the Twili. The Twili are actually the interlopers from Lanayru’s story, having been banished to the Twilight Realm. Eventually though, they found peace for themselves, until Zant took over and turned the Twili into his Shadow Beasts through an evil power unknown by her tribe beforehand. The Mirror of Twilight is the last means of entering the Twilight Realm.
You make your way through the Arbiter’s Grounds (which is ANOTHER dungeon) and defeat a gigantic skeleton monstrosity revived by Zant to uncover the Mirror Chamber…except that the mirror itself has been broken, with only a single piece left. It’s at this point that you are met by the Sages…No, not Rauru and the others, though apparently they are known individually as the Sage of Forest, the Sage of Water, etc. They explain that Zant broke the mirror using the dark powers that he obtained by his ‘God’, though the true identity of this false God is actually revealed to be Ganondorf. It seems that after the child Link blew the whistle on him to the Royal Family, Ganondorf was arrested and sentenced to death. His execution was held at the Mirror Chamber by the Sages, who drove a sword of light through his chest, killing him…or so it should have been, except that through unexplained reasons described only as a ‘divine prank’ he had received the Triforce of Power, and thus broke free of his restraints and pulled the sword from his chest. He went on to kill the Sage of Water, but before he could do so to the remaining Sages, they used the only means of stopping him that was available and banished him to the Twilight Realm with the Mirror of Twilight. However, this has now led to the situation at hand.
Fortunately, as Zant was not the TRUE leader of the Twili, he could not destroy the mirror, merely fracture it and send said pieces to three different locations around Hy-Y’know what, if you don’t know where this is going, promptly remove your own shoe and beat yourself in the head with it! That’s right, it’s dungeon crawling time again, this time in search of the mirror fragments. You gather them back up and take them to the chamber where they are recombined and open the only path to the Twilight Realm. Midna laments what’s become of her world, and the Sages apologize for everything, as at last her true identity is revealed: The REAL Twilight Princess. Zant transformed her into the imp that she currently appears as, and with no other way to save her world, she sought to use Link to obtain the Fused Shadow for her, never once caring for the Realm of Light. However, having seen Link and Zelda’s courage, wisdom, and sacrifice, she’s had a change of heart and wants to save both worlds. Moreso, she wants to defeat Zant so that she can regain her original form and somehow work to revive Zelda.
Traversing through the Palace of Twilight (yep, another dungeon), Link manages to further empower the Master Sword with the Sols, powerful spheres of light that grant life to the Twilight Realm. With this light-infused Master Sword, Link goes to confront Zant one last time, who let’s them in on his backstory, that he once served the Royal Family of the Twilight Realm in the hopes that he would be next to ascend the throne, only to be passed over in favour of Midna. It’s during this explanation that his ruthless, bold, and domineering nature is revealed to have been a smokescreen for his real nature: That of a whiny brat that was told he couldn’t have what he wanted and threw a temper tantrum. Ganon, posing as a God, gave him some of his power, and with it, Zant went about taking over the world he believed to have been rightfully his.
The ensuing battle is…actually, kinda clever. Zant warps you to the locations of many of the previous boss and mini-boss battles, replicating their strategies and attacks while adding his own uniqueness to each, thus making this battle both nostalgic and brand new at the same time. But inevitably you kick his ass. Unfortunately, it seems that Ganon has already been reborn in Hyrule, and as long as he lives, Midna can never revert back to her old self. Having reclaimed the Fused Shadow pieces, she takes it about as well as you can expect, and kills Zant with a mere fraction of the Fused Shadow’s power, which actually manages to frighten even her a bit. With Ganon having taken over Hyrule Castle and Zelda’s body apparently being there, there’s no other path but to break through the force field and get to Hyrule Castle. Luckily, Midna’s got this one covered.
…YIKES…Anyway, you make your way through Hyrule Castle, which is actually the final dungeon of the game, until you reach the top to discover Ganondorf waiting for you, sitting in the throne like he owns the place while proclaiming himself to be the King of Light and Darkness. Actually, much as I talk about how I like this game more than Ocarina of Time, I will say upon reaching this room, I wished he had been playing his theme on an organ like in that game. Anyway, he reveals that he was just using Zant as a means to revive, and that he also has the body of Princess Zelda captive. Using her as his puppet, you engage in what is really just a rehash of the same tennis-style boss battle you’ve had in a ton of Zelda games prior to this. Still, I’ll give the creators of this game credit for making Zelda of all people a boss. Anyway, you beat her/him, and Midna uses the Fused Shadow to force Ganondorf out. However, Ganondorf isn’t defeated yet and transforms into Ganon, who in this game is a gigantic quadrupedal boar-like creature, which I believe is supposed to act as an evil counterpart to Link’s wolf form.
After defeating Ganon, the Triforce of Wisdom returns to Zelda, as does her heart and soul which apparently also went to Midna. Thus Zelda is restored at last, and all seems well again…until Ganondorf returns again as a floating head in fire and darkness. Midna teleports Link and Zelda away, resolving to sacrifice herself and use the Fused Shadow to finish Ganondorf for good. Link and Zelda watch on from Hyrule Field as the castle explodes…only for Ganondorf to AGAIN return, now on dark horseback and backed by not one but SEVERAL Phantom Ganons. Luckily, Zelda has one last trick to employ: Calling to the Light Spirits, she obtains the Light Arrows. So in an epic horseback battle, Link and Zelda ride around on Epona while Zelda shoots Light Arrows at Ganondorf, until finally he falls off his horse. All Ganondorf’s tricks, spells, and transformations having failed, but still being able to continue on, he and Link have one last duel, sword to sword, to finish the battle for good. In the end, using the skills passed down to him by the Hero of Time, Link emerges victorious. Ganondorf staggers to his feet, but the light of the Triforce leaves his hand, leaving him to die…standing up…Weird…Oh look, Midna’s alive, and she’s regained her true form which is…oddly sexy looking…
Well thank goodness for my sanity she decides to go back to the Twilight Realm. Having someone look that bizarrely hot wandering around is just not good for me at all. It’s a sad goodbye, though, as she knows she can never allow something like this to occur again. And so, with a single tear as she passes through the portal at the Mirror Chamber, she shatters the Mirror of Twilight completely, thus closing the only door between the two realms. Hyrule Castle is later rebuilt, and Link returns the Master Sword to its pedestal before leaving his village for destination unknown.
So that’s the story of Twilight Princess, and does it raise any questions regarding the chronology?…Yeah, unfortunately. The first of which that comes to mind is the Sages. I know that in Child Link’s timeline Saria and the others weren’t chosen, but I’m pretty sure Rauru was, and yet these guys claim to have been Sages for centuries. How does THAT work? And you can’t even say that they aren’t supposed to be the same Six Sages, they have the symbols of the Medallions gathered in Ocarina of Time on each of them.
Another issue is with the Hero of Time being in this game as a spirit, specifically in the form of a skeleton. If memory serves, wasn’t it stated in Ocarina of Time that anyone that got lost and passed away in the Lost Woods became a Stalfos, AKA a skeleton? And where was Link the last time we saw him? Why, in the Lost Woods, searching for Navi. This leaves me with the uncomfortable theory that Link died searching for Navi and thus became what we see in this game.
And then there’s the last issue, and that is the Triforce. In this game, Ganondorf received the Triforce of Power, Link the Triforce of Courage, and Zelda the Triforce of Wisdom. Now you could say that that’s because Ganondorf obtained his piece of the Triforce in Ocarina of Time and the Link and Zelda of that time period received the other two pieces as well, except that in the Child Timeline, THAT NEVER HAPPENED! From my understanding on the situation, Ganondorf was arrested BEFORE he could enter the Sacred Realm! The only way this makes sense is if he DID enter the Sacred Realm beforehand, and if that’s so, how the Flying Dutchman did they manage to place him under arrest?!
Anyway, while not perfect, Twilight Princess still stands as my personal favourite, and in my opinion the best of the Gamecube Zelda games. However, next time we’ll be talking about the other Zelda game on the Gamecube as well as a couple of Gameboy Advance games when we dig into The Minish Cap, Four Swords, and Four Swords Adventures.
Zelda Chronology: Part 4
Before we get started, there’s something I’d like to comment on. Recently, a book detailing the chronology of the Zelda universe was released. IGN has an article up discussing the timeline as we speak, so feel free to go check it out. So why am I still doing doing this? Well, for a few reasons. 1) The book is only in Japanese, meaning until it is released in English (IF it is released in English), the only way to get the details is if you can read kanji…which I cannot, sadly. 2) While this may be the final word on Zelda’s chronology (at least until a new game is released), there are still points of it worth a point/counterpoint look, just to present all facts and arguments, which I will be doing at some point. And 3) I’m already in this deep, might as well just ride it out. With that said, let’s ride the winds into The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
Released on the Nintendo Gamecube in 2003 (2002 in Japan), Wind Waker would take on a brand new cartoonish look as opposed to the darker look of Majora’s Mask. This was met with a fair bit of criticism from many of the fans, which at the time included myself, though I and many others have come to appreciate the beautiful and spectacular locations found throughout this game. Also, some of the animations are just a lot more polished, and Link’s emoting looks a lot better, which more than makes up for his lack of vocabulary, though I should note that this Link actually does talk more than any other Link seen thus far…save for one.
…Anyway, all that said I still personally prefer the darker look, and wish that the amount of polish given to Wind Waker had been given to the games before it. But hey, we’re not here to talk about the look of the game, are we? Let’s dig into the story, because believe me, while the artwork may be bright and chipper, the story starts of kinda dark…
This game takes place hundreds of years after Ocarina of Time, but NOT Majora’s Mask. As I said before, a theory broke out that after Ocarina of Time’s events the timeline split into two, which was later confirmed by Wind Waker’s director Eiji Aonuma. In this case, Majora’s Mask occurs in the past of Ocarina of Time after Link is sent back to relive his childhood, and Wind Waker occurs hundreds of years after the older Link had defeated Ganondorf and helped to seal him away in the Sacred Realm.
Here’s the short version of what happened: A while after Link defeated Ganondorf, he managed to free himself and pretty much picked up from where he left off, covering Hyrule in darkness. It seems that two Sages, the Sage of Wind and the Sage of Earth, were giving the Master Sword the power to destroy evil, so he quickly went about the job of killing both of them. The people hoped that the Hero of Time would come to save them, but that was impossible. Remember, since Zelda sent Link back into the past to relive his childhood, he no longer exists in this timeline. So the people of Hyrule were just left to pray to the Goddesses to save them. At this point in the game, we aren’t told what happened to Ganondorf or to Hyrule yet, but we discover the truth later on.
The main story picks up on Outset Island with this game’s version of Link (referred to in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as ‘Toon Link’) celebrating his birthday and being given a green tunic similar to that of the Hero of Time, indicating that he has become a man…and no, I’m not doing THAT joke, or Linkara would kill me. Anyway, he and his sister, Aryll, spy a giant bird kidnapping a female pirate and then dropping her in the woods. Link goes to save her, but when he returns, the bird returns and takes Aryll, mistaking her for the pirate, Tetra. After some convincing, Tetra lets Link onboard her ship to go save Aryll. A botched attempt to save Aryll from the Forsaken Fortress leads Link to meeting a dark man inside and being tossed into the ocean, left for dead. However, he’s found by a talking boat called the King of Red Lions (no, you’re not on drugs) who reveals the man to be none other than Ganondorf, and sets Link on a mission to find the one weapon that can defeat him, granting him a mystical…er, conductor’s baton called the Wind Waker that can play songs to alter the wind and other cool stuff. So, in typical Legend of Zelda fashion, you go through the dungeons found on the islands scattered across the ocean in search of treasures that when gathered up will reveal the way to the weapon you need.
After completing another dungeon, you find yourself taken under the ocean to a castle frozen in time. Inside is a room where the Master Sword is being kept. Drawing it unfreezes time, allowing the monsters that are roaming it to move again. REMEMBER THIS POINT. So you go back to the Forsaken Fortress, beat up all the monsters on the way up, save your sister, meet up with Tetra and the pirates who don’t do anything-
…Okay, more like the pirates who hardly ever do anything, and then whoop the giant bird from before. You then make your way to face Ganondorf, but whoops, it seems you can’t take him down. Why not, you ask? Well, remember how I said the monsters in the castle that were frozen in time became unfrozen when you pulled the Master Sword? Well, turns out the last seal on Ganondorf’s power was brought down when you pulled the sword from the stone. Also, remember how I mentioned that Ganondorf killed the Sages that were powering the Master Sword? Well, the dead didn’t figure out how to raise themselves in the last five minutes, so guess what? So yeah, Ganondorf beats you up, but Tetra gets involved revealing she has a necklace with a golden charm on it. The two of you manage to escape and return to the castle below the ocean where you meet a regal looking man who was pulling the strings behind the King of Red Lions all along: King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule.
Yep, you probably figured it out already, but this is Hyrule. Apparently since the Hero of Time no longer existed in this timeline, there was no force on Hyrule that could best Ganon and thus the Goddesses had no other choice but to flood and seal Hyrule away, taking Ganon with it. Of course, the people were led to the highest mountaintops of Hyrule where they would be safe, the mountaintops now forming the islands you’ve seen thus far. Oh, and Tetra is Princess Zelda, the golden charm on her necklace being the Triforce of Wisdom… … …Wait, WHAT?!
Before you ask, no, she is NOT a reincarnation of the Zelda from Ocarina of Time, so apparently what this series is trying to tell us is that there are no girls in the Royal Family that don’t have the name Zelda. That MUST be confusing at family reunions. Anyway, the King sends you to find those descended from the two Sages and awaken them as the new Sages so that the Master Sword can be recharged. At the same time, apparently when the Hero of Time left for the past, the Triforce of Courage in this timeline was split apart and is now scattered across the sea. So you go through more dungeons and solve more sidequests to recharge the Master Sword and put the pieces of the Triforce of Courage back together. However, upon returning to Hyrule Castle, you find that Ganondorf has kidnapped Zelda and taken her to his tower in Hyrule, so naturally you travel there and make your way through the massive scores of monsters and solve the various puzzles to reach Ganondorf.
It’s at this point that Ganondorf sheds some light on his backstory. Apparently living in the Gerudo Desert kinda sucks, since the environment there can be pretty harsh, and supposedly fatalities resulting from said environment were pretty high. This apparently helped to instil a desire to take over Hyrule, as the environment there was vastly superior to that of the Gerudo Desert. What I like about this is that it helps us to understand this villain we’ve known for many years without making him someone we feel bad for defeating. Yeah, we sympathise with what he lived with, but he’s CLEARLY taken things too far, as he is directly responsible for the deaths of countless lives and the suffering of countless more. We feel bad for his life, but it doesn’t justify what he’s done with said life, and it makes him all the more wondrous a villain.
Anyway, after a battle with the monstrous Puppet Ganon (don’t laugh or he’ll kill you EASILY), you make your way to the roof where Ganondorf has taken the Triforce of Wisdom from Zelda. He then manages to obtain the Triforce of Courage after a brief fight with Link, thus re-assembling the Triforce and is prepared to make his wish: To expose Hyrule to the sun once more with himself as his ruler. However, it seems he forgot one important rule: He gathered the Triforce, but it is he who TOUCHES it that shall have their wish granted, and through no other possible explanation other than plot convenience, the King managed to make his way to the top of the tower unseen and make contact with the Triforce first.
Obvious issues with the plot aside, the King makes a wish on the Triforce: To seal away Hyrule for good, taking Ganondorf and himself with it, thus allowing the people above to eventually form their own land and create their own future. I would bring up why he doesn’t just wish Ganondorf sealed away again, but we’ve seen how effective seals on Ganon have been in the past. Anyway, Link and Zelda get back to their feet and a fight breaks out. In order to gain the upper hand on Ganondorf, they formulate a strategy where Link will keep Ganondorf occupied while Zelda shoots him with Light Arrows. Failing that, she instead aims Light Arrows at Link, who bounces them at Ganondorf with his Mirror Shield. After a while, Ganondorf is stunned enough to the point that Link jumps up and actually drives the Master Sword through his skull!
Ganondorf is turned to stone, essentially becoming the new pedestal for the Master Sword I guess, as Hyrule is re-flooded and Link and Zelda (now reverting back to Tetra) are sent back to the world above, the King opting to remain behind with Hyrule…I’m still confused as to whether or not he’s supposed to be a ghost or something, but whatever. The game ends with Aryll and the pirates who don’t-…Err, who hardly ever do anything, finding Link and Tetra, and they finally return Aryll home and decide to leave the islands in search for new lands.
So, does this game cause issues with the timeline? Well, nothing major, although that could depend on perspective. There are apparently people that have disliked and downright refused to acknowledge the existence of the split timeline, but I actually kinda like it, since it gives a lot in the way of whole new and unique stories to tell. Other than that, there’s really only a couple of issues I have, but I’ve already discussed them. This game had two sequels on the Nintendo DS, but I’ll get to them at another time. Next time, we look at my personal favourite of the 3D Zelda games thus far, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.