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

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wind Waker Part 9: Conducting the Earth's Melody

The 2nd half of Wind Waker involves just clearing two dungeons to restore power to the Master Sword, and finding all the pieces of the Triforce of Courage. Unlike Ocarina of Time, however, Wind Waker doesn't hold your hand so much during the 2nd half. The game actually requires you to explore on your own and figure stuff out. And unless you've been grinding for rupees, your not gonna have nearly enough to decipher all the triforce charts. It gives you an excuse to explore even more and complete sidequests for rupees which would otherwise be useless.

Talking to the King of Red Lions, only gives you a vague hint like "Perhaps the island inhabitants would know something about restoring the Master Sword's power." If this were Navi she'd tell you exactly which island to go to and which person would be able to help you. I suppose in this case the person who can help you restore the Master Sword is Medli, on Dragon Roost Island. The hint is whenever you're on the outside of the island you can hear Medli playing her harp up at the top.

Like in many other Zelda games, music has a very important role to play in the story. Medli says that playing music is important for an attendant of royalty, and this matches up with Impa's role as Zelda's attendant in OoT.

She isn't saying much about the Master Sword, but she sure does like to talk about Prince Komali a lot.

Medli: Oh, Link! You?re OK! You know, Prince Komali's been asking me all about your adventures, Link. I can rest easy now that I've seen you safe and sound with my own eyes. Prince Komali's turned into a fine, young adult, hasn't he? Recently, he's even begun doing things on his own, without my guidance. ...Every conversation still ends up centered on you, though, Link.

Watching Prince Komali grow up fills me with pride... but it makes me a little sad, as well... I wonder if this is how a mother feels... Oh, but just listen to me go on! How weird I must sound!

Hmm, well, to restore power to the Master Sword, Link must awaken the sages of the Earth Temple and Wind Temple, and although the locations of the next two dungeons are marked on the Sea Chart, getting to these dungeons isn't quite so simple. One of the dungeons, on Headstone Island, is blocked by... well a headstone, and you can't pick it up without a strength upgrade.

See, this is the kind of thing Zelda games are made for. You should be scratching your head trying to figure out just how to get to the next level. Using a walkthrough for these games completely changes how you experience them. You might come to figure something out a lot differently than if you had just followed a walkthrough. Like right here I totally wasn't expecting to find this suspicious little lava island.

A nearby fish gives you a hint that you might be able to freeze the lava coming out of the island and enter its cave. The ice arrows must be really powerful in this game if they can freeze an erupting volcano!

Inside the cave, there are a bunch of fire keese and worm enemies... beating them all before the island unfreezes, makes a chest appear which gives you the Power Bracelet. Notice that there were no story sequences or anything leading you do this place, and it's a required item for finishing the game. It really rewards you for exploring.

Now Link enters Headstone Island. There's a stone relic that contains the notes of the Earth God's Lyric.

The notes of this song echo far into the Earth Temple's walls, and the spirit of Laruto, sage of Earth, appears in response to the song.

My name is Laruto. I am a Zora sage. For an age, I offered my prayers here in the Earth Temple, praying that the power to repel evil would ever remain within the Master Sword. And yet... unfortunately, due to Ganondorf's evil designs, the Master Sword you hold has lost this power.

After his defeat at the hands of the Hero of Time, Ganondorf was sealed away... but not for all time. He was revived, and he returned to Hyrule in a red wrath. He attacked this temple and stole my soul, knowing that he had to remove the power contained in that enchanted blade. In order to return the power to repel evil to your sword, you must find another to take my stead in this temple and ask the gods for their assistance.

It seems Laruto was one of the last of the Hyrulean people to continue praying to the gods for the return of a hero. She had so much faith in the hero's return she stayed in the Earth Temple to pray even while Ganondorf's forces came after her... I wonder if it's any coincidence, that a new hero has been born in an age when the people have long since stopped praying for the hero's return.

Nothing can stop the flow of time or the passing of generations... but the fate carried within my bloodline endures the ravages of all the years. It survives. The song you just conducted is one which will open the eyes of the new sage and awaken within that sage the melody that will carry our prayers to the gods. The door that blocks your way will only open when the sage plays that song. May the winds of fortune blow with you.

She keeps referring to her "bloodline... obviously Medli who she's referring to... this is proof that the Rito people must have evolved from Zoras.

Next is the scene where the Link conducts Medli with the Earth God's Lyric, and she awakens as the sage of the Earth Temple. Here's the awesome music to go along with it.

Medli: Hmm... What a mysterious song... It sounds so familiar. It's almost as if something I've forgotten is trying to be remembered... Oh... I feel...

Just now, a sage spoke to me. She spoke so gently... There is something... something I must do. Link... Thanks to you, I've been awakened to the knowledge that I'm a sage of the Earth Temple. There's actually something that I can do to help this world. It's incredible... I bet my teacher knew all about this... Link, please... You must take me to the Earth Temple. We must hurry and wake the power to repel evil that sleeps within the Master Sword.

And again she's thinking about Komali... wow she's really dedicated to her attendant duties.

Together Link and Medli head into the dark evil-filled dungeon.

The two of them play the Earth God's Lyric, and the god of earth responds to the prayer and opens up the entrance to the temple...

This dungeon has a very old, musty feel to it. The Earth Temple is part of the Ancient Ruins of Hyrule under the ocean, and unlike Hyrule Castle, this place wasn't protected from Ganon's dark forces. It hasn't seen light in ages. Link and Medli must restore light to the Earth Temple so the Earth god can once again hear their prayers.

Finally, the Wind Waker dungeons have gotten serious. No more wimpy enemies like plants and birds... this Temple is filled with bigger enemies like moblins...

It also has ghosts that can only be killed with light...

I wonder what all these coffins are doing here... go near one and then SURPRISE REDEAD YOU CANT MOVE OH CRAP HE'S BITING ME AHHHH

These redeads are tougher to sneak up on than the OoT redeads, and there's no sun's song to stun them with. They don't even flinch to any of your weapons. The only strategy to beating them is going in and getting paralyzed, then slashing them up before you can get paralyzed again.

Then there's these mace-wielding Stalfos...

They're kind of like the first miniboss in LttP, the way they swing their mace around in circles...

Another very creepy enemy that lurks this dungeon... the floormasters. Black holes crawling along the floor, a hand comes it of them and if it and if it grabs you it warps you back to the beginning of the dungeon.

They're pretty easy if you see them coming, but don't let them catch you off guard!

Medli's flight ability lets both of you glide across the air (without losing altitude like you would with the magic leaf). You can also control Medli separately and use her to fly up to unreachable areas. Her harp acts as a mirror reflecting light which is vital for solving most of the dungeons puzzles.

Although most of these gimmicks have been done to death in earlier dungeons and earlier Zelda games, this temple puts a new twist on it by having you use teamwork with another playable character to solve puzzles.

Like this room right here, you would normally think to leave Medli on the switch and go through the door with Link, but the solution as actually to leave Link on the switch and go through with Medli, so she can solve the light puzzle in the next room.

This would've made an awesome co-op multiplayer mechanic. With one person controlling Link, the other controlling Medli... similar to the Four Swords games... But instead, it's still just one-player, you have to keep using the Wind Waker to control Medli which gets kind of annoying.

What I like most about the Earth Temple is the darkness clouds...

Shining light on these clouds clears away the darkness.

Honestly it doesn't look that dark from the outside, but once you go in the clouds you can't see more than a few feet in front of you. It's the first time a 3D Zelda game has done the "darkness" effect the right way. Like the pitch black caves from A Link to the Past, you only have a small field of vision around you and everything else is darkness.

As Link and Medli explore further into the Temple, they also go further and further into the darkness. This place is buried beneath the earth, but when Link and Medli opened the way into it, light was able to start making its way through.

With each room they clear, more small patches of light from the sun above make their way down into the dungeon. Medli's instrument can bounce that light around to reveal invisible chests, destroy weak walls, and clear away the clouds of darkness.

But Medli's instrument alone isn't enough. In some cases, Medli needs to stay behind to open the way for Link. Luckily this temple holds a mirror shield. Now with double the reflective capabilities, Link and Medli can light up the eyes of the sun statues, which brighten up the Temple with the power of the sun.

With their combined reflective abilities, even the smallest patches of light can open the way to a great fortune!

But, the darkness hasn't been conquered yet!

Still they must venture further into the darkness.

Even deeper still... the clouds of darkness cover up many secrets, but they could also just as easily cover up bottomless pits and other hazards.

This room is a really fun little puzzle. You can keep one of the redeads stunned by pointing light at them, then killing them with your sword.

Another feature of these darkness clouds is they curse you, and prevent you from using any weapons or items. Being surrounded by darkness, being weaponless, floormasters and poes combine together to make a very frightening combination.

Finally, they reach the boss door, but to find the boss key... yep you guessed it.

Further down into the darkness they go.

There's one last light reflecting puzzle, and it's a huge one. Once you've lit up the final sun statue at the bottom of the dungeon, the entire Earth Temple is now free of darkness.

Cursed Bubbles and Darknuts guard the boss key to this dungeon. After all the Redeads and Floormasters Link has gone through, these guys are nothing. Now that the darkness in the Earth Temple has been conquered, all that's left is to defeat the boss of this temple, the one who killed the previous sage Laruto.

Whoa, as soon as I come in, a bunch of ghosts who are running around, partying or something, all immediately stop and stare at me.

Then they combine together to form...

Jalhalla, the boss of the Earth Temple!

His only weakness is light and giant spike pillars, and fortunately the Earth Temple has plenty of light now thanks to Medli's help, and this room happens to have spike pillars. Link destroys Jalhalla with ease.

With all of Jalhalla's fatness out of the way, the new Earth Sage performs the Master Sword revival ritual...

Medli: Link, the power to repel evil is not yet fully awakened. To complete the awakening of the Master Sword, you must go to the Wind Temple for one more prayer. Now, Link... Step into the light behind you and return to the surface. Your next duty is to find the sage of the Wind Temple. I will remain here to continue to pray. You must hurry! ...And Link! Um... About Prince Komali... Please watch over him for me.

I've always wondered what significance these two temples have with the Master Sword... Hopefully Skyward Sword will shed some light on the Master Sword's creation, and how it can just lose its power...

I mean, we know there's Adelle, who is spirit of the Master Sword and came from the sky... Maybe the elements of Wind and Earth came together to turn the Skyward Sword into the Master Sword... maybe Skyward Sword is the story of the Sky world (wind) and Hyrule (earth) coming together as one world...? With the Zelda series, who knows where the story could go really.