Many SPOILERS are contained throughout these posts. You have been warned!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dragon Roost Cavern: A volcanic adventure

...I'm still as blown away by these graphics now as I was 8 years ago. This game just looks that good... and now in hi-res! I think the nostalgic value of this game is even greater than MM and OoT. Something about the huge world, and small but familiar islands. I also kinda forgot a lot about this game since then. Throwing bait out to get a fish to draw you a map... whatever the spoils bag is for... then there's the pictobox... I'm looking forward to exploring and finding the secrets all through this game again.

Rupees seem to be very important in this game, too. Much more so than the N64 games. They are about as important as they were in the classic games such as LA and LoZ. It really makes you want to go out of your way to find rupee upgrades and chests, unlike in Twilight Princess where it was like "aw man not ANOTHER rupee chest".

Dragon Roost Island is home to the god of wind, Zephos.  As soon as you get to this island you can go to the wind shrine where Zephos teaches you the Wind's Requiem. Kinda makes me wonder if this place is somehow related to Link's Awakening and the Ballad of the Wind Fish... nah probably not.

The Rito tribe also lives on this island. Apparently they evolved from zoras into bird people. I guess since the water became too salty, they eventually abandoned the water and took to the skies. I think the zoras were cooler though...

The island itself is a volcano, which kind of resembles Death Mountain. If it is the same Death Mountain as the one in Hyrule, it must be a lot bigger than it was previously shown to be. Just like in OoT you also get to use bomb flowers in this area. Once you get into Dragon Roost Cavern, it really starts to feel more like an active volcano. Even more so than the Fire Temple in OoT. 

So the boat tells Link he's supposed to pick up an orb of some kind...

oh, there it is. The magic orb which probably means a lot to these Rito people that I'm supposed to take from them... This kid, Komali is their prince, and he isn't in the mood to talk to anybody since his grandma died. His grandma was also the only person able to calm Valoo, the dragon and spirit of the sky who sits ontop of the volcano. Link then goes to help Medli, Valoo's attendant, who wants to attempt to calm Valoo herself...

The story is as awesome as ever. I think if they were to ever make a Zelda movie it should be based on Wind Waker, just cuz there's so much good movie material in it.

This dungeon, the Dragon Roost Cavern, has one of my favorite Zelda items. The grappling hook was used by the zoras before they became bird people, that must've been how they transitioned from the water to the sky. While the hookshot kind of made it feel like you were a gimped Spider-Man, only able to cling to certain surfaces, the grappling hook and its abilities feel alot more realistic. Well okay, realistic in the Indiana Jones kind of way... I mean you're a 10 year old kid grappling across a volcanic pit after all.

I hear a lot of flack for this game comes from the fact that its too easy. I don't necessarily see that being the case. I doubt any competent gamer would have any trouble beating the entire game with 3 hearts, but that's not where the difficulty lies. The difficulty of WW comes primarily from its unique puzzles. When I played this for the first time I got stuck a lot, certainly more so than OoT and even more than MM. There's no fairy guiding you around, and the boat, for the most part doesn't help you out in dungeons either. The puzzles are so well designed, that I guess you might luck out and figure them out right away if you look at it in the right mindset. But it can still get kinda tricky. Instead of recycling a lot of the puzzles from OoT like you'd expect, there's a bunch of new twists and game mechanics that you have to figure out. Like how using sticks to light torches is a bit different now because you gotta find a stick from an enemy and carry it around... and you can even throw a torched stick at an unreachable piece of wood in order to burn it. Little stuff like that can be kind of tricky your first time playing.

The action parts may be pathetically easy, but still enjoyable just because of the unique ways the game approaches them. Like honestly, all the complaints you can make for this game being too easy, are more than made up for with the game's brilliant art direction. Sidling across narrow ledges was an awesome addition to this game too.

The giant centipede boss at the end of this dungeon is easy, but fun. The magic teleportation jars are a really cool gimmick they kind of remind me of the teleport shortcuts in some of the old Zelda games. I also liked the puzzle where you had to make a lava elevator using a jar of water thrown ontop of the rising lava, now that's the kind of awesome puzzle design you'd expect from a Zelda game.

After teleporting out of the dungeon with the power of wind, Link now has the ability to control the wind and sail anywhere. It's like... controlling the wind is the path of destiny... The Link of OoT, was the hero of time, following the destiny prewritten by time ... but the Wind Waker controls destiny itself by controlling the wind. The prologue makes it seem like the wind actually has a lot to do with Hyrule. Skyward Sword also heavily suggests that Hyrule is connected to a world in the sky. Hmm, perhaps we'll get some more back story for WW in Skyward Sword? I guess we'll wait and see.

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