Monday, May 2, 2011

Ocarina of Time 3DS: Final Hopes and Concerns

Ocarina if Time 3D Hopes and Concerns
Ocarina of Time's impending manifestation in the third dimension has me extremely excited. To the very literalist meaning of the cliché, I cannot wait. Every time I hear the title screen music, whether it be from the teaser site, or the recently released 3D title screen, I just must play Ocarina of Time. I couldn't take it; so I thought to myself, why wait? Sure, it may not be in 3D, but who cares. The original, as well as being on the 64, is on the Virtual Console, as well as on the Gamecube Collector's Edition and The Wind Waker Limited Edition. I took out my Collector's Edition and got stuck into it.
Even though Miyamoto goes around saying Ocarina of Time looks really rough and he's surprised people ever played it, it remains extremely playable today. Sure, it has aged - but nowhere near as much as the original Legend of Zelda, which some newer gamers place in the unplayable category. This playthrough was yet another nostalgic trip of legendary epicness, and as I sealed Ganon away for what is probably about the 50th time, it hit me that it has been exactly 10 years since I first played it. Ocarina of Time 3D is going to be a real treat, and with everything still fresh in my head, these are my final hopes and final concerns for Grezza's 3DS remake of this classic.
My number one concern by far is the possibility of change. When given the task of redesigning the best game of all time, there is very little that can be done. We all know by now that the bulk of the changes lie in the details and the nerdy tech specifications. Enhanced frame rate, smoother graphics, and overall a much more appealing and realistically detailed world, all in 3D. Background sprites such as the view of Death Mountain are now rendered in full 3D. These changes are good. Changes to storyline are bad. Changes to gameplay mechanics, other than the new control and equipment screens, are also bad.
Worst of all are changes to dungeons. Any changes of this nature will be extremely hard to justify. Most of all, the worst thing that could be done is for the Water Temple to be altered. Sure, fix up the iron boot equipping issue, but nothing else, please. Don't cave in to the criticisms and change it too much, because to me, it is one of the best dungeons ever. Aonuma may apologize for it being too hard and various other nonsense, when in fact it is fine. To me, alterations to The Water Temple are currently the biggest crime likely to be committed in this remake.
Ocarina of Time 3D Water Temple
A lesser concern of mine arises from playing Super Mario 64 DS. We don't want Ocarina of Time to turn out like the 64 Mario classic did in this case. Yes, it is ultimately the same game, it hits you with hit after hit of nostalgia, but other than that, it is extremely not playable to me. I see Super Mario 64 DS as a good way of getting new audiences to play and love the game, but it doesn't offer much for those who played it properly. The controls seem off, the changes to have multiple playable characters is frustrating, and the attempt at multiplayer is embarrassing. All that kept me going to the end was nostalgia, not enjoyment. Luckily, I think Ocarina of Time 3D has been given much more attention, so the concern of a poorly ported remake is only very minor.
With a third party developing it and Nintendo only pointing them in the right direction, we can expect more time and effort in the final product. I'm also hoping that this means there will be very little changes, because Grezza does not have the creative license, at least morally, to change things.
Lastly on the topic of concerns is a point not of the game itself, but of the fact that it is being remade. No doubt I am excited, and if you look around, every Ocarina of Time fan will probably tell you in some way or another that their sleep is starting to be affected. Then there's the whole new market for those who never experienced Ocarina of Time back in the 64 days - they will get to play a classic. But is that the reason for the remake? To share the goodness, or is it to make money? Is it to capitalize upon a release that is guaranteed to be a hit? Is it because Nintendo realize they will never outdo Ocarina of Time fair and square so they make a remake where they fix the criticisms of the original? Look out for an article later this week on this issue called "Ocarina of Time: Clinging to Success".
Overall, I try to shut up those voices that get me worried about Water Temples and the reasoning behind the remake. Instead, I try to focus on all of the potential little changes for the better. I say "little" of course, because there is nothing major that needs to be changed. Immediately following E3 last year I procured an article called "Ocarina of Time 3DS: What Would You Change?", and similar pieces followed suit around the net. Bearing all of them in mind, these are my final hopes for the little changes and improvements that can be made:
  • There needs to be choices in control: Although the gyroscope will be fun, the choice of traditional style aiming must be present.
  • A saving system like Pokémon: 3DS games are to be played on the go and so a saving system exactly where you are, like in Pokémon, is essential.
  • Remove those redundant questions: There is no need for Zelda to ask whether you believe her or the Great Deku Tree to ask if you'll listen when the ultimate outcome of either answer is the same. If there is questions, there must be significant differences for each answer.
  • Fix Navi and Kaepora Gaebora: Oh, right sorry, there's nothing wrong with them. They're just annoying.
  • Kaepora Gaebora Gay
  • Ocarina controls must be special: Looking at the Flute in Spirit tracks, I would hope that to play the Ocarina we must use the touch screen and, of course, blow.
  • Actually use the scarecrow song: The Scarecrow's song is grossly underused (except in Master Quest) and could be implemented more.
  • More blood: Given the rating and numerous other factors, it is more likely that the blood, especially in The Well and Shadow Temple, has been toned down. Here's to hoping not.
  • Meeting Sheik in the Temple of Time: It kills me inside when I warp to the Temple of Time to meet Sheik and the cutscene has Link running in through the door. Fix please.
  • Remove Epona's carrots: Fact: feeding horses carrots while riding does not make them go faster, however, poking them with the carrots does. A more realistic system like in Twilight Princess, although not entirely humane, would be appreciated.
  • Enhance Epona's IQ: A horse that comes when called is awesome. One that gets stuck behind fences when called is not however.
  • Return of original symbols: The original crescent moon Gerudo symbol, despite its issues, is awesome and must return. Maybe the original Fire Temple music should too, despite its controversial Islamic chants and being plain freaky.
  • Iron boots as a "C-item": Need more be said here. Perhaps quick access to the Hover Boots too.
  • Remove 100% completion time-travel glitch: For those of you who like to get all of the upgrades, once you've traveled forward in time, when you go back not all of them are available, meaning you must start again. This should go, although it does weed out those truly dedicated to perfect completions.
  • Morpha can get you in the corners: This would make the boss fight much more challenging and have you not completely negating his (her?) attacks.
  • Ice at Zora's Domain melting: After the Water Temple Zora's Domain should unfreeze to show accomplishment and the ridding of evil.
  • Temple order should be clarified: Forest, Fire, Water and then unknown. Is it Shadow or Spirit next? The medallion and song order on the status sub screen conflict with Sheik's comments. Although either can be done, the Hover Boots are supposed to be used in the Spirit Temple, so please indicate decisively that the Shadow Temple comes first.
  • Harder boss in the Ice Cavern: One White Wolfos is not enough. Either make it a pack, or make him larger and stronger.
  • Faster movement of the buttocks Mr. King Zora: Is it just me, or is this potentially the slowest, most annoying, pointless cutscene in history? It makes me want to rage my controller through the window.
  • Simpler way to change Water Temple water levels: No, don't ruin the temple by changing it, please! Seriously though, is there a simpler way than having to play Zelda's Lullaby so much?
  • A timer that counts your play time: A fairly standard feature in modern single player adventures, but not back in Ocarina of Time's day.
  • Controllable camera angles: Centering the camera behind Link isn't enough anymore. We need free control like in The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess!
  • Fix the Master Quest Water Temple glitch: Master Quest is included, so I hope this means that the glitch that sees the Water Temple to completion in two minutes is removed. Other classic glitches like Bombchu hovering and the infinite sword glitch will hopefully remain, but probably won't.
  • The running man must be beatable: You have teased us for far too long Nintendo, we must be able to defeat the running man.
  • Extra surprise content: Why not have the Unicorn Fountain and that beta dungeon where Link obtains the Triforce? Because they're unnecessary, that's why!
  • Unicorn Fountain Have I missed anything in your opinion? What do you hope for? What are you concerned about? If you're anywhere near as excited as I am, then having another play through of the original is likely enough to help you get by. With Master Quest also included as a second quest, there is more of a challenge for us veterans as well. For many of us, this will be our first full 3D gaming experience, because nothing so far has been worth the money. Whatever happens, this will be worth the money, guaranteed.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rumor: Ocarina of Time 3DS Release Date, Along with Kid Icarus and Others

Legend-of-Zelda-Ocarina-of-Time-3DS-Heart-Gameplay.jpg Generally rumors don't hold a lot of weight this time of year, but this one coincides with Iwata previously hinting at a June release for Ocarina of Time 3DS. A distribution list for Spain has been leaked to the net and has some rather enticing information about the release dates for several of the 3DS's key games. It has Ocarina of Time 3DS slated to release on June 17th, 2011. Keep in mind that's a european launch date, not a US date. You need to keep that in mind because after the jump it has Raving Rabbids 3D slated for a few days ago, while in the US it comes out on April 10th.

  • Raving Rabbids 3D - April 1
  • Puzzle Bobble Universe - April 22
  • James Noir's Hollywood Crimes - May 6
  • Driver Renegade - May 6th
  • Resident Evil: The Mercenaries - May 6
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising - May 6
  • Starfox 64 3D: May 6
  • Dead or Alive: Dimensions - May 27
  • Sports Island 3D - June 3
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D - June 17
  • Naruto Shippuden 3D - June 17

The only thing that really looks odd to me is so many big titles releasing on May 6th. While none of these dates, even if true, have any bearing on US releases. if true it could potentially tell us that several games are coming sooner than expected.

Skyward Sword Enemy of the Week #2: Gel & Zol


Enemy Profile: Gel & Zol

Enemy Type: Sentient Jelly
History: The Legend of Zelda, A Link to the Past, Link's Awakening, Oracle of Seasons, Oracle of Ages, Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures, Phantom Hourglass
Attacks: Unknown
Varieties: Gel, Zol

The Gel & Zol combo first appeared in the original Legend of Zelda as a large droplet monster that, if you struck it with your sword, divided into two smaller fragments. They aren't too complicated beyond that - Zols deal damage if they touch you, and the tiny Gels typically just try to latch onto you to slow you down. Zols came back in almost all of the 2D Zelda games to follow, with the three exceptions being Zelda II, Minish Cap, and Spirit Tracks. So far, they've been totally absent from 3D console titles - until now.

Zol.pngIn Skyward Sword, they behave in more or less the same way as their 2D counterparts. The larger Zols will move around slowly, hoping to eat or otherwise kill you (how do most enemies in the series hurt you anyway?). You've probably seen the screenshot depicting them as you see at right. For awhile, the fan community thought they might be the new version of the ChuChus, a new enemy that's been in almost every game since Wind Waker, but online demo footage showed that they were actually Zols when players cut through them and they split into two smaller slime creatures.

The Gels also inherit their behavior from the previous games. They'll latch onto Link and slow him down, and you'll have to shake your controllers violently to knock them off before you can strike them down. If you take too long to kill them, they can reform into a Zol once again, forcing you to go through the process all over again. Nothing too difficult from what I can tell, but still a really nice throwback to the older games. Check out the footage below for some shots of the Gel & Zol in action (they appear at around 9:00).

Skyward Sword Named After Miyamoto's Favorite Japanese Bakery

miyamoto_reggie.jpg This bit a news just hit my inbox this morning and was too juicy to pass up. Everyone recognizes the above photo taken last year as Reggie and Miyamoto chow down on some Mario cake in celebration. What most don't know is the cake itself origination from Miyamoto's favorite bakery in Japan. What also is overlooked is the importance of that bakery in Nintendo's upcoming Zelda game, Skyward Sword. This comes from an interview at IGN:

IGN: While the name Skyward Sword makes sense in the context of Skyloft in the upcoming Wii title, was their any other inspiration for the game that came from your experiences?

Miyamoto: *laughs* I like to think there is a bit of my real world experiences in every game I create. If we want to narrow it down to just this particular game, the title was actually inspired by my favorite Bakery back home called Skyward Donuts and More.

IGN: Wait, a Bakery inspired a Zelda title?

Miyamoto: They do fantastic work with all Nintendo related cakes at PR events, so it only makes sense. We always wanted to tell the story of Link in the clouds, but coming up with just the right term to express that was hard. However, I happen to be going to Skyward Donuts and More one morning to get breakfast and it just hit me like a ton of bricks. Skyward... Sword. Amazing how that works.

IGN: Amazing indeed.

This was definitely not what I expected. Earlier it was explained Skyward Sword was named because of the motion plus sword controls and the importance of Skyloft, but apparently coming up with just the right term to express that was harder than most thought. Thank goodness Miyamoto has an amazing bakery to inspire him. One has to wonder if this means we could see other bakery inspired items in the game. What would be some bakery style items you would like to see in Skyward Sword?

Skyward Sword Named After Miyamoto's Favorite Japanese Bakery

miyamoto_reggie.jpg This bit a news just hit my inbox this morning and was too juicy to pass up. Everyone recognizes the above photo taken last year as Reggie and Miyamoto chow down on some Mario cake in celebration. What most don't know is the cake itself origination from Miyamoto's favorite bakery in Japan. What also is overlooked is the importance of that bakery in Nintendo's upcoming Zelda game, Skyward Sword. This comes from an interview at IGN:

IGN: While the name Skyward Sword makes sense in the context of Skyloft in the upcoming Wii title, was their any other inspiration for the game that came from your experiences?

Miyamoto: *laughs* I like to think there is a bit of my real world experiences in every game I create. If we want to narrow it down to just this particular game, the title was actually inspired by my favorite Bakery back home called Skyward Donuts and More.

IGN: Wait, a Bakery inspired a Zelda title?

Miyamoto: They do fantastic work with all Nintendo related cakes at PR events, so it only makes sense. We always wanted to tell the story of Link in the clouds, but coming up with just the right term to express that was hard. However, I happen to be going to Skyward Donuts and More one morning to get breakfast and it just hit me like a ton of bricks. Skyward... Sword. Amazing how that works.

IGN: Amazing indeed.

This was definitely not what I expected. Earlier it was explained Skyward Sword was named because of the motion plus sword controls and the importance of Skyloft, but apparently coming up with just the right term to express that was harder than most thought. Thank goodness Miyamoto has an amazing bakery to inspire him. One has to wonder if this means we could see other bakery inspired items in the game. What would be some bakery style items you would like to see in Skyward Sword?

Nintendo 3DS: Yet More Extensive Impressions

Nintendo 3DS Aqua Box With the Australian release of the Nintendo 3DS on Thursday March 31st, Nintendo's revolutionary new console has now completed its triumphant launch around the world. It started here at Zelda Informer with Matt's review hot off the European release, and then Nate's unboxing the 3DS video as it hit the States. As a follow up to my review of the 3DS from a preview event over a month ago, I've gotten quite acquainted with my little aqua beauty over the last 24 hours, so read on for my thoughts.
As I couldn't make it to the midnight launch and had to wait until I'd finished classes before I could make my purchase - it was a long day. The radio on the bus in the morning rubbed in the fact that I didn't have a 3DS yet, and the only thing that really got my attention in class that day was how many times the phrase 'DS model' was said. That's the Demand-Supply model for you uneconomically trained, but of course, those initials mean so much more for us. Once the time finally came, this beast was hard to track down. For those without the security of pre-orders, the Nintendo 3DS is one that customers of all ages are lining up for. Some shops are already resorting to backorders.
Once I was finally home and unpacking the box, there were a number of treats to be found inside. As well as the expected charger, instruction books and whatnot, there is also what the box calls a 'charging cradle', which is more or less just a stand. I like to think of it as a podium for the 3DS to sit in honour - as it rightly deserves. With fan-boy worshipping now behind us, we can really get into things. Also in the box were the AR (Augmented Reality) Games cards which I'll come back to in a bit.
Getting closer to the actual 3DS itself, I came across the new extendable and metal-finished stylus, which is now stored up back next to the game slot. Already inserted into the system is a complimentary 2GB SD card, which is absolutely fabulous (even more so than the show). It's a boost to the memory for the console, and provides the immediate ability for those previously without SD cards, such as myself, to get audio and images onto their consoles - assuming your computer has an SD card slot which is a fairly standard feature these days.
And now for the console itself, it sure is a little beauty, to use the full meaning of the phrase. It's especially little if you've been using a DSi XL, as it's around the same size as the standard DSi, but packs in the goodness. Of course, it's a beauty because of its lustrous shiny finish. Getting yet closer I was mostly satisfied. All of the classic DS's interface button's are here, along with the new thumb-pad, which as I said when I first trialled the console, is extremely comfortable. It allows for the ultimate 360 degree precision control, and is something that I hope to see implemented in future home consoles. That's right, to replace the control stick - the time has finally come.
The new location of the Start and Select buttons is underneath the touch screen along with the new home button, which are welcomed changes. The touch screen is also of a higher resolution than in the past, so touch controls are even more accurate. It's all fantastic. You can toggle wireless communications on and off as well. The volume is controlled by a slider, which is a downgrade from the DSi's buttons in my opinion, but it barely matters.
For those who play on the go, there is the battery life concern, but the idea of the 'charging cradle' is that you charge him up every night so he's all ready for the next day. Battery isn't a concern in my opinion, so I don't have much to say on that. As for the wireless connectivity and features - that is truly impressive. With sleep mode, this console is pretty much always connected. Friend lists, new notifications, updates, street pass and on and on. The social aspect is a striking feature of the 3DS, and is only likely to become increasingly impressive as new software is released.
3DS Charging Cradle Now for the selling point - the 3D. With or without the 3D even on, the graphics are impressive. With it on, they are far beyond impressive. Even the crisply redesigned home menu pulls off some impressive 3D with just text and the basics. The slider is there for you to control the intensity of the 3D that suits you, and I've found that as a person with double-vision and long-sightedness, full 3D is too blurry. Around 70% intensity I've found to be my equilibrium. It is also true that extended amounts of play can make you a little whoosy, and it is blurry if you don't hold it in the right spot. The feature is overall extremely impressive to hold in your own hands, so the little things don't matter. I do wonder, however, if they are a novelty that will slowly ware off with time. Without continuously releasing software that drives the feature and makes full use of it, beyond just being in 3D, I fear that it will become taken for granted - a bit like movies. Time will tell, because the potential for so much more is there.
Moving on to the software that comes pre-installed on the console, there is a fair amount. The redesigned home menu allows for higher customization, and there's even the ability to run some applications and games simultaneously. Features include a notepad for taking 'game notes', a friends list, notifications, more settings options than the DS, Download Play and an activity log which logs your steps (like a pedometer) as well as your playtime (sort of like on the Wii). The console itself contains manuals and the health and safety instructions, making the printed documentation even more useless then it usually is.
Both the sound and camera features of the DSi make a return, but with massive overhauls. For starters, the camera is 3D so taking pictures of some pretty standard stuff manages to be exciting. Who would have thought that seeing things on a screen like we see them in everyday life would be so amazing, but it is. Lemon trees, pets, even paperwork on a table has so much depth. Expect standard cameras to be all over this 3D image stuff pretty fast. 3DS sound also has heaps of tools to edit your recorded sounds or to play with your audio files, whether it's removing lyrics, playing it backwards, changing the pitch, changing the tempo or heaps of other features. The best bit is that the 3DS takes MP3 files, not just AAC like the DSi did.
The rest of the pre-installed software manages to be quite addictive and time occupying. There's the Mii Maker - which allows for the traditional design method, or using the camera you can quickly whip up a half-decent doppleganger of yourself. In the Street Pass Mii Plaza you can collect other people's Miis, play a puzzle mini game, or a RPG based around rescuing your Mii. Both require collecting lots of Miis via street pass. QR Code is also really quite awesome, and something you should check out. It's where you can convert your Mii to a boring looking black and white coded picture. You can then send this to friends who can take a picture of it with their console and like magic, your Mii is now on their 3DS. You can also quickly wirelessly port over your Miis from your Wii, but unfortunately you have to create a separate one to be your personal Mii, and can't sync it with your one on the Wii. Not a major problem.
The two most notable pre-installed titles are the AR Games and Face Raiders. Face Raiders is a game where you take pictures of faces - your own and other people's - and then have to shoot them down as they attack from all directions. You use the gyroscope feature to aim 360 degrees around you, as they destroy the walls of the room to get at you. If you're one of those people who leans to try and see around the corner while playing Mario Kart Wii, then this is as close as you can actually get to succeeding at that endeavor. Unfortunately I haven't yet come across anything that users the motion sensing controls. In the Augmented Reality Games you aim the camera at the Nintendo character cards which leads to a number of mini-games. One of them has you making Nintendo characters run around your table. Others have you shooting targets, catching fish and playing a hybrid of pool and mini-golf - all on your own table, or whatever it might be, distorted in the third dimension. Augmented Reality features in other games too, such as Nintendogs + Cats where you can bring your friends into the real world - well, kind of.
Augmented Reality Games That's it for the bundled software. The internet browser and shop are slated for a future update, however there is no sign of Pictochat - which brings a moment of sadness. The amazing features that the console can pull off without any of the launch titles are really tempting me to go out and get Pilotwings Resort and Nintendogs + Cats. It's a shame that there is a bit of a wait before we start seeing games like Ocarina of Time and Kid Icarus that simply must be had. As is my case, none of the launch titles would usually appeal to me, so they aren't worth the money of a student's budget, meaning the 3DS might have to go unused for a while. Its backward compatibility will make sure it's not completely neglected though. Also note future software's possibilities to fully utilize the consoles features, like the camera. In the past DS games couldn't do this because DS and DS Lite users would miss out, but now the playing field is equal. Also makes you wonder how long until we see a new version of the 3DS, if at all.
Another turn taken by Nintendo with 3DS is an environmentally friendly one, which is warmly welcomed. The game cases are less bulky, and with their 'breathing holes', use a lot less plastic to manufacture. Little things like this and everything else all come together to make an extremely impressive console. There are so many features, so many surprises and so much more that's still to come. Just as I checked my 3DS now a new video update was available that was over a minute of natural visuals in full 3D. The splashing water was especially cool - which it really isn't when you just read this. Lots of features are promised for the 3DS and this video nicely alluded to the many things to come.
Wrapping it all up, what I can say is that "wrapping up" the 3DS as a present for someone is probably one of the nicest things you could do right now. Even as a console alone - it's just that good. With so much great software to come, it's only going to get better for those with a 3DS as time rolls on. People can complain about the price being too high, but you're paying for what you get. The ads say you have to see it to believe it, and once you've seen it, price isn't an issue. The old cliché says that money can't buy happiness, but the Nintendo 3DS proves that money sure can buy things that make you happy. To say the 3DS is too expensive is to put a very small monetary value on your own happiness.

Nintendo's Next Home Console "Likely Won't" Use Stereoscopic 3D

Reggie_3DS_no_3d_wii2.jpgYou'd think that with the big push 3DS is giving the idea of games in stereoscopic 3D, Nintendo's next move in the home console business would be to drive that push even further. But, as Reggie told CNN a few days ago, that isn't going to be the case. He didn't exactly elaborate on why this might be the case, but it's enough to get us wondering. See his exact comment below:
Glasses-free is a big deal. We've not said publicly what the next thing for us will be in the home console space, but based on what we've learned on 3-D, likely, that won't be it.

His wording intrigues me for two reasons. One, he says that the fact that 3D won't be a big feature of the next console comes from "what we've learned on 3D," which suggests to me that there's something about 3D that Nintendo thinks isn't right for the home console space. Previously they've talked about the lack of a market for 3D displays as an issue, so their hesitance to push 3D might simply boil down to that. I can't help wondering, however, whether there's more to it.

After all, most 3D games have never quite reached the iconic status that pretty much every major NES game achieved - not to say that none of them have done so, Ocarina of Time being the best example. Nintendo has shown through its renewed attention to the Super Mario Bros. series that this classic arcade-style approach still rules the industry, and last year we saw a slew of similar side-scrolling software that carried the holiday season. Maybe Nintendo's decided to invest more in those areas than in advancing 3D gameplay? Of course, this is just a shot in the dark - and not one that even I find particularly likely. (Offhand, I think that trying to keep consumer costs low like they did with the Wii is a much better guess.)

The other interesting element of the comment is that he isn't entirely committed to that answer - he says it's only "likely" that the next console won't capitalize on 3D. Is development of the new hardware not far enough along that Reggie can give a dedicated yes or no in terms of what its features will be? Or is he simply being vague for PR and accuracy purposes? With rumors of new Nintendo hardware already on the horizon, not to mention that this is the Wii's fifth year on the market, my gut tells me to go with ambiguity, but with Reggie equally noncommittal about the appearance of an upcoming Nintendo console in the near future I honestly don't know what to believe.

The choice to forgo 3D for the next console also strikes me as interesting because, hypothetically, should Nintendo's 3DS really establish stereoscopic display as the norm for handheld gaming, what will that do for 3D demand in the console space? From my own personal experiences with the 3DS so far not only have I found 3D viewing to be the "more natural" way to see the software but I also found it weird to transition back to 2D software on my Wii and DS. After the 3DS settles into the customer base, will they be able to "go back" to 2D displays? I suppose in a sense they already have to given that the Wii doesn't output in 3D (not to mention that most people don't watch TV in 3D), but it's still an interesting concern and kind of questions whether 3D is really going to be a sustaining innovation like the Wii's motion controls or the DS's Touch Screen or just a temporary tech craze that gets passed over later on - and what it is exactly that Nintendo has "learned" about it.

The 3DS Launch Unpacked, Did it Go Well After All?

3DS-launch-bowser.jpg It's kind of funny. The 3DS apparently achieved new records for the highest numbers of preorders and day one sales for any Nintendo portable system, ever. We've seen crazy turnouts for launch day parties, high optimism from Nintendo, and everything that you'd think would mark a strong handheld launch. And yet...we're not seeing the level of shortages we saw with the Wii. While some stores exhausted their stock pretty quickly, other still have plenty. Some sites like GameDaily have already gone on to project why there just isn't as much of an explosion with the launch of the 3DS as Nintendo might have expected, and we're going to try our best to consider all the factors too.

Spring is a Stagnant Time of Year for Game Consoles

wii_shortage_3ds_launch.jpgSince when have games performed outstandingly well in the early quarters of the year? Super Mario Galaxy 2, Mario Kart Wii, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl all despite going strong out the gate didn't fully tap into the initial sales boom until the holiday seasons months later, defying the conventional wisdom that sales are consistently strongest at launch and decline from there (Mario Kart is the best example as it actually sold better during the holidays than at launch). We see this more keenly with consoles - Wii's strongest quarter ever came around when New Super Mario Bros. Wii debuted, despite the game not appearing until three years into the console's life. Given that the 3DS is debuting right smack in the middle of the deadest sales season in the industry, it's no surprise that it didn't make the same waves that Wii did given that Wii launched right before the holiday shopping season.

I get the feeling Nintendo is doing this on purpose. First of all, it ensures that their shipments will be able to meet demand so that there aren't terrible shortages. Second of all, it gives their system more of an install base for later in the year when the killer apps start flowing. It may not seem like the best idea, but we'll see in the long term.

Now, some of our staff have the impression that later on in the year, we'll start seeing Wii-level shortages. It's certainly possible - at certain points there were Wii shortages in some stores even in the later years - but I'm not entirely sure we should expect that. Nintendo kept the 3DS launch pretty late in order to make sure that production kept up with demand and I think they're going to keep that up for the rest of the year.

Full Functionality Won't Come About Until May

This is probably the simplest reason: no Internet browser or e-shop until later this spring. People aren't going to pay top dollar for something that isn't fully functional out the gate - they'll wait until they know exactly what they're buying. We haven't seen the web browser in action and even though there's been some talk of re-releasing "3D Classics" we don't exactly know what that'll mean exactly just yet, so they're understandably not the system's strongest selling points right now. I wonder how consumers will respond when these things go live and we know more.

Lack of Strong Advertising

And by that I don't mean there hasn't been any advertising - I just mean that most of the advertising has been focused on the software itself, and most of that on its glasses-free 3D. Where are all the game advertisements? I guess we should consider that there hasn't been any game worth dumping a massive promotional campaign on - but still, Nintendo did a great job marketing the Wii and it feels like they haven't done as good a job selling the gameplay possibilities that the 3DS offers. It kind of worries me - particularly given that a lot of people, even fans of the initial Wii software like Wii Sports or Wii Play, are responding to the early 3DS games as though they're shallow tech demos.

I can kind of see why this is. Outside of Nintendogs + cats, none of the 3DS software offers a strong multiplayer mode. The game content has a set ceiling, and once you reach that ceiling there's not much more the game has to offer. Sure, Nintendogs was pretty darn popular, but among the hardcore gaming crowd, the major game console customers, it probably won't justify an early purchase.

Lack of Killer Software

That brings us to the heart of the matter - where are the killer apps? This is the first Nintendo console ever to not have a key first-party offering at launch. NES had Super Mario Bros., Game Boy had Super Mario Land, SNES had Super Mario World, Nintendo 64 had Super Mario 64, the GBC had Link's Awakening DX, the GBA had Super Mario Advance, GameCube had Super Smash Bros. Melee, DS had Super Mario 64 DS, and Wii had Twilight Princess. The earliest major piece of first-party software this year will be Ocarina of Time 3D in June - so not surprisingly even the most hardcore Nintendo fans like myself are holding out.

nsmb_box.jpgThe linked GameDaily report speculates whether the new iPad plays a role - but I won't go there.

Don't misinterpret the sentiment here. I'm definitely not saying the 3DS isn't doing well - I'm just trying to figure out why it's not the Absolute Best Launch in Gaming. Of course, this is pretty much a DS tradition - the original DS didn't have the best launch, either, and it came out in November of all months! But once the excellent games started popping up, beginning with New Super Mario Bros. a few months later, the system shot high to heaven.

If I had to guess - and as someone who reports on gaming news, I probably should guess - it looks like even if things aren't going so hot right now, there's no reason to suspect that we won't see a major upturn come June. If that doesn't happen...well, we'll just have to take things as they come.

Nintendo Power Gives Us The Best Moments from The Legend of Zelda NES

Nintendo Power may have lost some luster over the years, but it still provides some rather great talking points. This time around the latest brings us what they feel are the best moments from the original The Legend of Zelda. The one pictured on the left is a given: It's engraved in every gamer's memory whether they played the original or not.

That phrase alone has seen several cameo appearances, even in recent hits such as Epic Mickey and Fable III. It's appeared in popular MMO's such as World of Warcraft and has become a popular internet meme. This of course isn't the only moment Nintendo Power points out.

grumble.gif To the right is another lesser known moment from the game that Nintendo Power points to. For those unaware, this is an enemy in the game who instead of actually wanting to fight Link, he would rather Link feed him to pass. While this Goriya (potentially an old enemy that could return in Skyward Sword, just like the sword beam) blocks the door, he simply requests link venture out and purchase meat to fill his grumbling stomach. A rather odd enemy that could use a reappearance.

003.png This moment, on the left, is significant because it's when you use your whistle to discover the 7th dungeon. As Nintendo Power goes on to give their reasoning for it being one of the best moments, it's noted it wont be the last time Link uses wind instruments in his adventures. Clearly this was the start of any early concepts behind Ocarina of Time.

Of course, the whistle could be used for more than simply discovering the 7th dungeon. You could use it to teleport to any previous dungeon you have completed as well. Why would you want to do this? If you're someone who likes to 100% games, it allows you to go back and find things and passages you may have missed, as well as jump all over the overworld map in order to more quickly access areas that are on opposite sides of the map.

43.jpg To the right marks the original introduction to the Lost Woods, which was later made famous in Ocarina of Time. It's become one of the all time classic puzzles in gaming history. Go the wrong way and you start all over again, and it can be very frustrating if you forget which routes you have already tried. These are the sort of puzzles where people use to bust out the old pencil and paper to keep track of what they are doing and what they have tried.

While that generation of gaming is slowly dying out (most games simply tell you rather obviously what way to go - Majora's Mask had a monkey show you the way, even the original you could buy "directions" for a price), it still marked the start of "choose wisely or be lost forever" type quests. This sort of feature has appeared now in way too many games to count, and it all started back with the original Legend of Zelda game.

zelda_secret_to_everybody.jpg Possibly the 2nd most famous phrase in gaming also was coined in the original game when it referred to it "being a secret to everybody". The meaning behind the phrase is speculated at times, but for those who always wondered what it meant here we go: Moblins are enemies in the series, and instead of wanting to fight Link this particular Moblin actually wants to help him out. He gives him some rupees and tells Link to basically "be quiet" because it's a "secret to everybody" that he is "betraying" his own kind. Or at least, that is what I get from the phrase.

You'll be able to purchase the latest Nintendo Power on April 5th, but for now you can check out exactly what they said about the above listed moments here. Are there more that aren't shown? What are some of your favorite moments from the original game?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Project Zelda 3D: The Development of Zelda 64

The birth, the development, the cancellation and the rebirth of the Zelda 3D project.
[Original article in Italian by monokoma]

The Legend Of Zelda: 64DD

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The first version of Zelda 64 was originally conceived as a title developed specifically to make full use of the innovative features of the 64dd, like the internal clock, rewritable disks with a double capacity of a normal cartridge, internet connection, and image editing. Zelda 64 was presented by Nintendo as a really complex title, hardly possible to be made on a simple Nintendo 64. Miyamoto and his team would have liked to make Hyrule a persistent world,entirely adaptable at player’s will; any changes that Link would perform on it would be saved: any cut tree, any breaked container, any foot-marks on the sand, and any other changes made to the environment would stay here for the entire adventure. All this thanks to the innovative features of the 64DD. But the add-on was not received well by the developers, in part because of the past commercial failures of other expansions, and the 64DD was postponed so often that even Nintendo lost faith on the ambitious project. At this point the big N had to make a choice, and announced that Zelda would be redeveloped for a release on cartridge, hoping at the same time that the game would renew the attention of the videogame market on Nintendo 64. But, as we will see, the removal of the interesting features of the 64DD would have a huge impact on many sections of the story and of the game.

The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time

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Certainly, the first 3D Zelda game managed to preserve the feeling of the series. Released in the winter of 1998 on the Nintendo 64, Ocarina of time was however a mere shadow of his former self, the Zelda 64 Project, which born on the 64DD. Inside the game it’s still possible to find the leftovers of the original game and some of the features that would have made possible the connection with the add-on. With a Gameshark it’s even possible to recreate some of the beta events. Ocarina is a great game, but because of the cuts and the changes we may never know how the game was really intended to be.

The Legend Of Zelda: URA

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Zelda Ura ( “Another Zelda”) has already attained a legend status, and the maximium point of the absurdity that can reach the quest for unseens.After Ocarina was redeveloped for a cartridge release, Nintendo had the idea to create a 64 disk add-on with some of the features cut from the original game. As the released (in Japan) F-zero expansion, Ura was meant to be an “extension” to Ocarina Of time, with new mini-games,sub-quest, redesigned and new dungeons.In an interview, Miyamoto tells us that when the player reached the end of the Ocarina of Time, with Zelda Ura he could revisit the same world, but with new features, characters, and places to explore. Many questions and mysteries from Ocarina of Time would be aswered in Ura,like the invincible runner on Hirule Field, the Unicorn Fountain, the Ocarina Pedestal, and many others.

The Legend Of Zelda: Beta Quests

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The Beta Quests are events and scenarios not seen in the game, but that can be reached with an Action replay/Game Shark. There is an incredible number of variants in the beta quests, and most likely no one has really seen them all, so we can’t know the wonders still left in the cartridge. Some of these are connected with the new features of Ura, while in others it’s still possible to see some of the items cut in the transposition from disk to cartridge, or particulary situations changed in the final version. Certainly a precious source of information of Zelda beta.

The Legend Of Zelda: Master Quest

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Released as a preorder bonus for Wind Waker, Master Quest was essentially a new edition of Ocarina of time with slightly redesigned dungeons. The order of the room was changed, as many of the puzzles. The Outside world is still  the same as Ocarina, like the original Zelda’s Second Quest. Master Quest is probably only a small part of the original Zelda Ura for 64DD.

The Legend Of Zelda: Debug ROM

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This debug version of Ocarina of Time came to light many years after the original release of the game. In one way or another it was rediscovered and shared with the Online community. It is the build which the developer used for testing specific section of Ocarina, and it is possible to go anywere inside the ROM code with the debug menu.  The most interesting aspect of the debug rom is, of course, that you can still find many leftovers from the beta, like some locations showed years from the release of the final game. The rom was found not too long ago, and so we can still hope to find more information about the developement of Zelda 64. Another interesting fact about the debug is that it should be based on Master Quest.

The Legend Of Zelda: Gaiden

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When it was already clear that the first Zelda for the Nintendo 64 was being converted on cartridge, Nintendo began to develop a new Zelda game. The title, formerly known under the codename Zelda Gaiden, it would have full exploited the add-on features, especially the internal clock. Gaiden it would have featured Link trapped for a week into a strange world already on the verge of destruction. At the end of the seventh day, a natural disaster it would have occured and the only meaning of survival for Link it would have been to travel back in time, trying again to find a solution. All the environmental and time changes were going to be saved in the rewritable section of the special 64DD disks, thus influencing the events of the seven days, like the original Zelda 64 project.Another interesting feature it would have been a new version of the great fishing mini-game already seen on Ocarina of Time, this time called Jabu Jabu fishing. Obviously, with the 64DD failure, Gaiden was cut and quickly redeveloped for a release on the Nintendo 64, which was then already being forgotten because of the next-gen consoles.

The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

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Released for Nintendo 64, the “sequel” of Ocarina time lacked many of the features of the original 64dd version. Four days out of the original seven were removed, some dungeons were never completed, and many subquests never seen the light (or who knows.. maybe they were used in Wind Waker). Yet, even so heavily redesigned, Majora is certainly one of the best games of the series.
A Link To The Past
But what has been left inside those games of the original project? We can only speculate how much more is still hidden in these binary sequences,which Ocarina and Majora are composed of, and thanks to countless hours of exploration spent in the two games, and to the Gameshark is possible to find some evidence of the many cuts made.

Zelda 64DD / URA > Ocarina Of Time

In the Japanese version of Ocarina of time, with a 64DD connected, a screen is displayed that warns the player to insert the Zelda URA disk.
The Runner, found at the tent of Gerudo Valley, has already become famous for his unbeatability. In fact, even stopping the time with the Gameshark and finishing the course with a 0:00 timer, the runner will always say that he has already beated you by a second. Nintendo admitted that is not possible to beat him in Ocarina of Time, and it was probably going to be a quest of Zelda Ura, where with a new item or some changing with the flowing of time in the game, it was possible to beat him.
When checking the text inside the Ocarina Of Time rom, it’s possible to find some sentences that don’t appears in the game,like “Hi! I’m a talking door!”- “The Entrance to the Past” – “The Entrance to the Present” – “The Entrance to the Future” – WHAAAT!? Look at all those flags! Can you figure out which ones are real? -  This door is currently being refurbished [Thanks to Triforce of the Gods for the contribution!]
Thanks to some codes for the Gameshark, it’s possible to recreate in one of the Beta Quests this ice structure, later used in Master Quest.
In this Beta Quest, you can see this strange pedestal with a drawing of an Ocarina, not used in the final game but probably connected in some way or another with Zelda Ura. The pedestal is located at Zora Domain, at the entry of the Jabu Jabu’s mouth.
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These two icons left inside the rom of Ocarina can be translated as Wind Medallion and Ice Medallion, and they are most likely the leftovers of two temples removed from the final game and probably scheduled for Zelda Ura.
Also, It’s possible to find two of the tunics which perhaps were going to be used in the removed dungeons: The golden one (Light Temple?) and the white one (Ice Temple ?).
In the secret cave across the entrance of Gerudo Valley, it’s possible to find one of the gossip stones. The message that the stone tells is: “They say that there is a switch you can only activate by using the spin attack”, but in the game there isn’t a button which it is activated only with the spin attack, and then it is likely that it refers to a puzzle of URA. UPDATE:  Thanks to Ultraman82 we found out that in Ocarina of Time there is really a switch that should be activated only with a Spin Attack. Is this one in the Water Temple:
In reality, the 3D engine collisions in the game is not perfect, so you can activate it with the Biggoron Sword too (because is longer than the normal sword), but otherwise only a spin attack can activate it!
Another strange message of one of the gossip stones at Zora’s River is: “They say that there is a man who can always be found running around Hyrule Field”, but this statement is pointless because in order to read the advice you need the Mask of Truth, available only when you have already met the Hyrule Field runner.
A code for the Game Shark can instead make appear in the Kokiri village an Air Wing , a spaceship (for those who don’t know) used in another Nintendo game, Star Fox. The polygonal model is perfectly animated, with a laser gun that attacks Link, and when hit it even falls down and explodes..therefore it seems much more than a simple model left inside the game. Maybe it was originally used for an easter-egg quest, available only with URA.
Inside the Debug Rom of Ocarina of Time: Master Quest it is possible to find a room not available in the final game, but showed many years from the release of Zelda 64 in many beta screenshots. This beta room was left inside the rom all these years..Nintendo forgot it because it didn’t notice it or for another reason ? We are still researching the secrets of this new Debug Rom.. and maybe some day it will be possible to find even the fabled Unicorn Fountain.
Here is another beta room from the Debug version of Ocarina of time, which was first showed in many old screenshots of the game, and that is was also left inside Ocarina of Time all these years..
Another beta room not available in the final version of Ocarina of Time, but explorable with the Beta Quests..
Do you know some more beta connections? Join our forum!

Ocarina Of Time / URA > Gaiden / Majora’s Mask

Even if not normally found in the game, the Blue Fire of Ocarina of Time was left inside the final version of Majora Mask. Unfortunately, it is possible to see it only with a code for Gameshark.
Another two items from Ocarina of Time not used in the final version of Majora Mask: The Fairy Ocarina and The Fairy Slingshot.
The photo on the left show the design of the treasures in one of the beta versions of Ocarina of Time. In the final game they were replaced with another kind, but, as you can seen from the screen on the right, they were later used in Majora.
It seems like that some of the Skulltula House of Majora Mask were originally beta dungeons of Ocarina of Time which were never completed but later rearranged for the sequel.
The Bunny Hood is one of the mask of Majora, used to go faster. In Ocarina of Time. the runner says that with this mask you could run faster and became unbeatable. So it is likely that it was one of the new skills of the masks in Zelda Ura, and with one this mask it was finally possible to beat the runner. When Zeldan Gaiden was began, some of the ideas for the new masks were taken from the same characteristics of the masks featured in URA.
Do you know some more beta connections? Join our forum!

Gaiden > Majora’s Mask

Thanks to the Gameshark it is possible to make appear this unused item in Majora Mask’s inventory. It’s probably just a fish or a bait in a bottle. The japanese text tells us that the item is called “Hyrulian Dojo”, and it is most likely a leftover from the already quoted fish mini-game that was going to be available in Zelda Gaiden.
Another text not used in the final version of Majora, The “Grandma’s Drink”, probably a potion like the one from Wind Waker.
Do you know some more beta connections? Join our forum!

Once Upon a Time


The original story of Zelda 64

Link is preparing for his coming-of-age ceremony, in which he will receive his guardian spirit. In the tradition of his people, children receive a fairy from the Fairy Tree when they reach adulthood. This fairy becomes a person’s lifelong familiar. The fairy accompanies the youthful adventurer seeking his or her fortune in the maze-like forest or in the lands beyond. Link’s ceremony, however, is not destined to be a happy one. The Fairy Tree, source of guardian spirits, is captured by a strange creature from the depths of the forest. Link is able to locate his guardian spirit, Navie, and with her help, slay the creature. However, in the process, the Fairy Tree is grievously damaged. As its life force ebbs, the Fairy Tree speaks the words that will shape Link’s destiny.
“Do not allow the thief, Gannondorf, to claim the Triforce … ” the Tree mystically communicates. “Oh brave one, you must take this sacred stone to a wise man….”
Gannondorf was infamous throughout the land for his evil practices as the king of thieves. He lusted for the power of the Triforce and searched throughout Hyrule for its resting place, most recently plunging into the forest of Link’s people. Link knew he was in grave danger should Gannondorf find him. He took the sacred stone from the Fairy Tree and set out for Hyrule Castle, the capital of the Hyrulian people. Upon entering the castle, Link is welcomed by the young Princess Zelda, a woman of the Hyrulian royal family about the same age as he. She is well aware of the crisis facing the land of Hyrule. Zelda relates further details about the Triforce’s hiding place, telling Link that he needs to find the three sacred stones that fit into a magical Ocarina, which serves as the key to hidden realm. Link’s race with the evil Gannondorf to find the sacred stones and the hiding place of the Triforce is on!

The Legend Of Zelda URA vs Master Quest

With the Zelda Bonus Disc (included in the Limited Edition of Wind Waker) we can play Zelda Master Quest. It was probably just one of the many play modes of Zelda URA.
Zelda URA on the 64DD:
  • Ura Zelda supposedly unlocked new mini-games, new sidequests, characters and shuffled around items to give Zelda players some new stuff to do in the familiar world of Hyrule.
  • Shigeru Miyamoto told us shortly before the launch of Ocarina of Time, that “you first play the initial disk version of Zelda — after finishing everything, you can enter into the world, into the basic design of the same.
  • It’s very much a parody game based on Ocarina of time, but with new dungeons to explore. It even features the same storyline.
  • The title might support the GB Camera to create masks for Link. Miyamoto hinted of this possibility in a 64 Dream interview. If this does turn out to be true, gamers will be able to create their own masks in Talent Studio and implement them into Ura-Zelda.
  • Ocarina Of Time was design with the introduction of the DD in mind, and if you load the game with the drive connected to your system, you will see a screen option, which says “Ura Zelda” another version of Zelda.
  • There were several ideas I could not incorporate into Zelda because of the lack of time and various other factors. For example, I wanted to creat some extra dungeons for those who had completed the quest.
  • The 64DD adventure is said to enable gamers to revisit areas and dungeons of Ocarina of Time and experience new adventures in familiar surroundings.
  • Every change Link would make to his surroundings would stick. If you smashed a box, it would stay broken. If you dug a hole, it would remain there until you covered it. If you left footsteps in the sand, they would stay. All this was supposed to be made possible by the enhanced storage space of the 64DD.
  • Miyamoto: “Whether or not we release it or not, we are still working on the game.”
  • Ura-Zelda isn’t so much a new game as it is an expansion to an existing one: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (it is not compatible with Majora’s Mask).
  • One of the few features that Nintendo told us about was the addition of new mask quests. Apart from the existing masks, Ura Zelda was to include many more — some of which were no doubt included in Majora’s Mask.
  • August 25/2000: Speaking to the press in an open forum held yesterday in Tokyo, Japan, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto casually commented that “Ura-Zelda” (aka: Legend of Zelda DD) has been completed for some time now.
  • Ura Zelda could not be played without owning Ocarina of Time – and Nintendo was hoping one would help sell the other. After literally years of delays, Nintendo quietly dropped Ura Zelda from its release lists.
  • Because the 64DD is unlikely to see an US release, Miyamoto also said the following. “We may have to have a special edition release (of Ura-Zelda) in the future.”
Zelda: Master Quest on the GameCube:
  • In the Deku Tree there’s this one chest I can’t open… it looks like a big blue box with a fancy design on it… and there’s a track next to it, as if it could be pushed or pulled… except it can’t.
  • The dungeon maps are all (supposedly) the same. It’s just the insides that are different.
  • Music seems to be exactly the same as the N64 version. The game select screen at the very beginning has a nice rendition of the classic Zelda theme.
  • The general map layout of the first dungeon is the same, but the puzzles, enemies, enemy locations and item locations are different. For example, many of the torches, chests, crates, floating platforms and the like have been mixed up and moved around, and some rooms have different requirements for you to fulfill in order to be able to proceed.
  • Also, remember those little mini-gohmas that Gohma dropped from the ceiling during the boss fight? Well, they’re all over the dungeon now… in eggs. When you get close to one, it pops out of its egg and starts attacking.
  • One room in the Deku Tree is full of tombstones with little Triforce designs on them. If you hit them with your sword, items pop out (rupees, hearts, etc.). I don’t remember anything like this in the original Ocarina.
  • Enemies are tougher. Some that required one hit in Ocarina require two in Ura. I’m not sure if they do more damage or not, though.
  • Also noted, some of the enemies, like the Deku Babas (Venus Flytrap head things) will some times be larger, which take more hits to kill. Enemy placement is different. Places where there would be a Deku Scrub, there may be a Deku Babas, or something.
  • Dodongo’s Cavern and Jabu-Jabu were both remixed nicely. In the case of Jabu-Jabu, there are cows lodged in the walls all throughout the dungeon now. :) You have to hit them with the slingshot or boomerang to make them drop chests or open doors and whatnot. It’s pretty cool.
  • I’m probably about 50% to 60% of the way through Ura Zelda, and to this point, the -only- changes are inside the dungeons. The overworld stuff is all exactly the same as in Ocarina of Time.
  • They added in more of those blue boxes that you can make appear/disappear with the ocarina, and they shuffled around some platforms and whatnot, but otherwise the layouts have been mostly the same.
  • The Ice Cave has areas that were featured in earlier shots, remember the two ice horses looking down? Well this is actually a new puzzle which is hella cool.
  • There is also a new mini boss which is a mutated version of a white Wolfos.
  • There are three new rooms in Ice Cavern with different puzzles.
  • The game is IDENTICAL to OoT, except for the dungeons.
  • There are NO extra items.
  • The fire temple plays almost completely backwards.
  • Lizard guy. Half-way bosses in the fire dungeon. They appear all over the place now, but also ones with white trimmings that seem to fight better.
  • A bigger blue floating jellyfish, that appear in Lord Jabu Jabu.
  • I also encountered a “mother” sand dweller. You know those plants that surface in the desert and come at you. This one was bigger and black.
  • The Thieves Cave (where you win the Ice Arrows) is a pain and a half. A lot of rooms with time limits. Especially one where you have to defeat an axe armour guy in sand, which makes your movement difficult, with a strict time limit.
  • There seem to be more “kill every enemy to open a door” rooms with more, strong enemies.