I scratched The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Oracle of Ages, and Oracle of Seasons off the list last month, which is pretty good, I think. That puts me about a month ahead of my timeline, and that’s important. The more Zeldas I can carve my way through before the release of Monster Hunter Rise, the better.
I’ve still been recording my playthroughs, though they’re getting to be quite a bit longer now. OoT actually should have been fairly quick, except I played the randomizer, which led to lots and lots of wandering and backtracking. All part of the fun, though! And at the current rate, we’ll be seeing A Link to the Past and Link’s Awakening running in parallel throughout March, so the OoT videos won’t even start going live until April comes around. I’m probably going to have to start publishing three Zelda videos a week to get these all out by the end of the year.
An interesting little oopsie that I made was placing the Oracle games before Majora’s Mask. I cold have sworn that Wikipedia told me it was that way when I was checking the timeline, but that is not the case. Majora came first. Oh well. It’s not like anything important was actually hinging on me playing these in perfect release order.
Now that the rambling’s done, I think I’m through enough games now to start ranking them. I don’t really expect my top four to move all that much, but it’ll be interesting to see how the the less-beloved entries stack up after playing them all back-to-back-to-back-etc. I’ll probably add narrative at the end of the year, but for now, it’s just going to be a list. Watch the darn videos if you want context!
Vader Immortal: Episode 1 (Oculus) – It’s cool to hang out in the Star Wars universe for a while, but there’s not a lot to do there, and the combat isn’t terribly satisfying. Which is a problem when 95% of the game is 40 levels worth of combat challenges.
Contra (NES) – Would you believe that I’ve never played this game before? And that it took me about 50 lives to get to the end. Thank goodness for that Konami code. Fun game, though. I see why it’s so highly regarded.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Wii) – Have I mentioned enough times how much I like this randomizer?
I may have over-done it during the ‘Ween and ‘Mas seasons, as for all of January and half of February, I did not watch a single film. I watched a couple speedruns that were longer than films, but that’s totally different.
However, a couple of movies recently came out that I’ve been really excited for, so I’m sort of getting back into the world of movies. Also, I was pretty sure that both of them would be terrible before watching them, but one is based on a video game franchise that I adore, and one of them is a plot strangely reminiscent of a video game franchise that I adore. Were they actually bad? Let’s find out!
~ Willy’s Wonderland ~
I had no idea that Willy’s Wonderland existed until I saw a Tweet with the trailer roughly a month before release. I don’t remember why I even watched the trailer, but once I realized what I was seeing, I knew then and there that I needed to watch this movie.
See, a Five Nights at Freddy’s movie has been “in the works” for years now, and keeps getting delayed and scrapped and restarted for various reasons, and I’m at the point where I don’t actually believe that it’s real or will ever happen. But I still desperately want to see a FNAF movie, no matter how terrible it might be, so I was elated that someone else decided to step up and make their own legally distinct film about possessed animatronics. And to have it starring Nicolas Cage is just gravy.
There are two important takeaways here: Willy’s Wonderland isn’t a good movie. It’s clearly a tongue-in-cheek, low-budget cheese-fest, but that doesn’t necessarily excuse it for being kind of bad. Knowing you’re making a bad movie doesn’t absolve your movie of it’s badness. That said, I think it’s still an entertaining movie. At least, I had a lot of fun watching it. Though I can’t confidently say how much of that was genuine, and how much was due to my desperation for a FNAF movie.
It’s been a while since we’ve gotten a “real” Nintendo Direct. Lots of indie showcases and partner directs, but I can’t even remember when the last Nintendo-focused video came out. Guess it was a COVID thing? Whatever, Nintendo’s got a big, new commercial out, and I’m going to write words about it. Like I do.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate – I can’t believe it’s finally happening! Pyra and Mythra are excellent Smash candidates, and long overdue, if I might say so. Not that I’m poo-pooing the DLC characters we’ve seen thus far, just… I really like Xenoblade. I haven’t really looked for The Internet’s reaction, but I have a feeling they won’t be too happy about more anime swordspeople.
Fall Guys – It’s probably too late; Fall Guys’ 15 minutes seems to be over. And I just never really cared. I’ve had it on PS4 since launch (it was free with PS+) and haven’t ever played it.
When Balan Wonderworld was first announced, I heard people on the internet getting excited about it. But I never looked into it myself. A 3D platformer directed by Yuji Naka? Ehh… I was maybe 50% interested.
Then Nintendo showed some footage in a partner showcase or something, and I was much more intrigued. It looked like a lot of fun, and the colourful, cartoony visual style was a huge seller for me. I started to strongly consider a purchase.
Then Square-Enix released a demo, and I played that demo, and I will probably never play Balan Wonderworld again.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, or if you know me in person, you’re probably well aware that I tend to get really excited when I start up a project, only to fizzle out and drop it completely before long. It’s a fault in me, I know and accept this, and I don’t think it’s ever going to change.
That said, how goes my plan of playing through all of the Legend of Zelda video games? If we reference the original document, it actually turns out that I’m ahead of schedule. I finished up through Link’s Awakening in January, and probably a lot of that has to do with the fact that the four original Zelda games are relatively short. There’s even video evidence to back up this claim! Though most of it won’t go live for months…
Except not. Still addicted to video games. I don’t expect that to change.
~ Game Over ~
Mega Man X (SNES) – It’s become tradition for me to play this on the morning of New Year’s Day. Still trying to clear it in under an hour. Still always choke on at least one of the final bosses. This time I got killed by Sigma and then also Wolf Sigma. Choked twice! I’m getting rusty!
Picross S4 (Switch) – I solved every damn puzzle. Sometimes twice because the Mega puzzles are still hard-mode repeats of the standard puzzles.
Runner 3 (Switch) – Incredible music, weird and wild art direction, and abusively hard gameplay. Even with the difficulty options at the absolute minimum, I was not able to clear every stage. In my defense, the ones I couldn’t beat are labelled “Impossible.” Enjoyed it for the most part, but some of the stage mechanics are just mean-spirited.
You know how there are those games that you remember as being impossibly hard when you were a kid, only for you to revisit them as an adult to discover that they really aren’t so hard after all?
Yeah, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is not one of those.
Zelda II is great departure from its big brother, changing the overhead view to a (mostly) side-scrolling perspective, trading in Link’s array of tools and weapons for a list of spells, and laser-focusing on action over exploration. There’s still exploration, but this version of Hyrule is significantly more linear than the last. Also, Link has experience levels and lives now, for some reason?
The most jarring change, however, is that Nintendo ratcheted up the difficulty level to 11 in this sequel. Maybe even to 12. While The Legend of Zelda isn’t an especially easy game to begin with, Zelda II makes it look like an absolute cakewalk. Zelda 1 doesn’t really bear its teeth until Level 6, but there’s a good chance you’ll be killed -possibly multiple times- on the short hike to Zelda II’s first palace.
Having recently completed a full, not-Game-Genie-enhanced playthrough for the first time, I’ve had a lot of time to ponder exactly what it is that makes Zelda II so darned unforgiving. I’ve compiled a list below of a few changes that I would make if I were given the opportunity. No massive shifts, just little tweaks that I think would go a long way in making the game feel a little bit more fair.