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April 18, 2014

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Part 3)

This review is huge! If you need to catch up, read Part 1 here and maybe Part 2 here.

Hello again! This is Part 3, Last Part of this review! Yeah, we've had all sorts of stuff so far: Crazy dungeons, amazing moments, cool tools, lots of traveling, new allies, yeti love... We even got to see a previously respectable villain go insane and be killed by the real villain. And now we're drawing closer to the end of the story. However, before I cover the end of the story, I must first list the many side-quests and additional missions that are located all over Hyrule.

First off, the main side-quest for most Zelda games: The hunt for Heart Pieces. To those unaware of it (as if there were any), the Legend of Zelda series work with Heart Points. Each time Link gets hurt, he loses an amount of hearts. And when he picks up a small heart from the remnants of his enemies, he regains a heart. Heart Pieces are rare items that Link must hunt down through all of Hyrule. When he picks up a few of those, he gains an additional heart. He gets a full one aftet every major boss, and then others are scattered over Hyrule. This has been a staple of the series for a while, so it's not a big surprise.

Don't break my heart, my achy breaky heart...
God, I hate country music.

Then again, who wouldn't want to do that
to such creepy creatures??
What else is there to do in this great big world, now? Well, I don't know if you remember the dungeon on the Arbiter's Grounds, at the end of Gerudo Desert... To reach the second half, Link had to find and defeat four Poes hidden in the dungeon. As it turns out, a rich man turned into a golden statue needs your help. He's stuck in his house and he wants Link, in wolf form, to find and defeat sixty Poes scattered throughout the world. To defeat a Poe, Link – as a wolf – must see him with his senses, bring it down and then bite it to pull its Poe Soul out. Wow, this game is getting darker every day... And before you ask, no, it cannot be done in a more peaceful way. Those damn ghosts are defeated only when you rip their souls out.

When you bring all the sixty Poes to the guy, he is freed from his golden statue prison. He runs out... and gets dumped by his girlfriend, so he goes to mope in the tavern, where he wastes all his fortune on whoever asks for it. That's how Link can get 200 Rupees each time he goes to visit him. You really gotta wonder why he wanted to be richer. Or, Heck, why he asked to some evil creature when he could just had explored around Hyrule. Do you have any idea how many Rupees I collected?

With all that money...
She could dethrone Zelda!
As if that wasn't enough, there's also Agitha, who is a bug nut. She LOVES insects of all kinds, and is desperately looking for 12 different types of bugs, the shining Golden Bugs. For each species, she wants a male and a female. Link had to travel across Hyrule yet again to find them all and bring them back to her. Whenever you bring back a member of a species, she gives fifty friggin' Rupees. Where the Hell does she get all that money? It gets better, and more confusing. When you bring back the second member of each species, she gives you a HUNDRED Rupees! In other words, for those 24 bugs, Agitha will give you a total of 1800 Rupees. Seriously, where did she get all that money? Heck, as long as you do this task, your wallet can only hold 600 Rupees! She's the one who upgrades your wallet to hold 1000 Rupees, but she does that only once you've brought to her all 24 insects. That's too much money in the hands of a little girl who clearly doesn't know how to spend it – though, to be fair, she gives it all to Link, who's like a good cause for the future of Hyrule.

Other things that the Hero of Time can upgrade include his Bomb Bags and his quiver (up to 100 arrows – seriously, regardless of where he goes, Link will never need that many arrows... unless his aim sucks).

Talking about going to places, Link can travel all over Hyrule to find caves and miniature dungeons. Many small dungeons have a Heart Piece located at the end of them, and many of those offer some challenge in a way or another. There are also mystical caves hidden on many places. You see, when Link is sensing around in his wolf form, he'll often find large darkened spots on the ground. When he digs there, he winds up in underground caves where he'll have to battle some monsters. In some of those cases, he'll also find a small lake, and as such he can go fishing in those underground spots. That's all fine and good, huh?

Beneath this sandy location...thy greatest challenge.
And even greater when you come back.
The most important side-dungeon is the Cave of Ordeals. Found in Gerudo Desert, this is a place where Link goes through fifty different rooms and battles a lot of enemies he has met in his travels. It starts off easy, but it gets very hard by the 40th room. Also, many of the enemies met in there are weak to one or another of the tools found by Link through his journey, so this dungeon forces you to use a lot of tools. Likewise, in order to access some of the later zones, Link needs to use other tools, such as the Clawshots. At every tenth room, Link finds a small fountain, and small fairies go to live in one of the four Spirit Springs found across Hyrule. This place is a true challenge for the player, and as such it's a nice addition. Definitely another thing to try and complete after you've beaten the last boss. By the way, once you've beaten it, you can try to beat it again... except it'll be harder. Heh, this is like the Elite 4.

Believe it or not, he's benevolent.
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...Stop laughing.
Also, Link can get more special moves by looking around for howling stones: As a wolf, he'll have to howl the tune, after which he'll see a golden wolf spirit. He'll howl the tune again, causing the wolf to go hide somewhere in Hyrule. When found as Human Link, the wolf will become a ghost warrior and teach him a special attack. You must learn the first one in order to finish the game, but the other six are optional … though they still make the game so much easier once you've mastered them.

Last really important location in this game: Hena's Fishing Hole. This is the major fishing mini-game in Twilight Princess, Link can go fishing and finding more fish species. One side-mission is to catch all species of fish in the game, and though there's not that many, a few of them are pretty darn well-hidden. Most notably, the hardest fish to find can only be fished out after Link completes an enraging mini-game inside Hena's fishing shack, and then goes fishing during the summer (did I mention that the season within the Fishing Hole changes every time you leave and re-enter it? Even the seasons in Pokémon's fifth Generation weren't as messed up.)

Link and Hena, alone over the water...  MORE fanfic material!
...Seriously, this game gives so many opportunities to pair the Hero of Time
with someone else than Zelda... It's kinda scary.

Finally, there's a ton of mini-games located all over the world. The mini-games include snowboarding, chicken gliding, the Kargoroc's flight towards the Upper Zora River... All of them give major rewards. Some of them give you a Heart Piece if you complete them. So, in a way, you're gonna have to do them if you want to get the maximum number of hearts. Some of them are obligatory through Story Mode, but others are optional and you can do them at any moment.

OK, that's all for the side-quests. That's really a lot to be said, huh? All this will take you some more hours, effectively making your game longer. Time to enter Hyrule Castle and defeat Ganondorf! Using the Fused Shadow, Midna transforms into a giant freaking spider and shatters the force field that covered the castle, finally letting Link enter. After which she goes back to him, ready to help the Hero of Time in what's left in his journey.

Tonight, this place is going DOWN.

This is a long, long dungeon, but oddly enough, a good part of it is spent actually outside, trying to enter. Hyrule Castle's yard is large and contains lots of enemies, lots of puzzles, lots of treasure. Also, Link meets up for a FOURTH time with King Bulblin. Gosh, that guy never gives up! Though, once he's beaten, he speaks (Huh??), admits your superiority, and leaves. Hey, he'll never appear again! That was about time...

Anyway, once this boss is defeated (he's pretty much the mini-boss), half the dungeon has been completed. Link can enter Hyrule Castle. The outside put many of Link's abilities to the test. Well, it's the same thing inside. Just, different abilities are put to the test. Many tools gathered through the journey are used in this dungeon. There is also a lot of traps and tricky rooms. However, that's not what you want to hear about. You want to hear about the final fight, right? I mean, everybody wants to know about the final battle!

Zelda with Ganondorf
inside her. There's no way
to make this sound good.
This game has been Ganonized!
GANONIZED, I tell ya!
Link reaches the throne room, and Ganondorf takes possession of Princess Zelda's body. In a fairly creepy way, I might add. This part of the battle is difficult, as the best way to hurt Puppet Zelda is to hit her energy spheres back at her. Once this has been done enough times, she falls down, and Ganondorf comes out, transforms into his giant hog form (Ganon, yes) and attacks again.

This second part of the battle relies heavily on Link's wolf form. Midna also helps. Sometimes, Ganon goes rushing towards Wolf-Link. Midna literally grabs Ganon and forces to throw him to the side... Exactly the same thing that Link did when he was stopping goats from escaping. See? That element of his past was totally useful for his hero life! He wouldn't have saved Hyrule if he hadn't grown up as a goat herder! Wow, this is such a farfetched coincidence! Each time Ganon lays on the side, Wolf-Link bites at his belly, eventually inflicting enough damage to defeat that form.

But wait, that's not over! Midna warps Link and Zelda outside of the castle while she tries to get rid of Ganondorf by herself. From outside, the two see Hyrule Castle being destroyed... and from the remains comes Ganondorf, holding Midna's headgear. Oh my God, he killed Midna! You bastard! And that's not all! Ganondorf rides a black stallion,, so Link calls Epona. Zelda and he get on the horse, and go chasing Ganondorf, who keeps summoning enemies and attacking when the heroes are near. The only way to defeat him in this phase is to stay close to him long enough, so that Zelda will shoot a Light Arrow at him. Even then, it takes quite a few hits. Ganondorf gets knocked off his horse, and so Link goes towards him.

The wizard creates a barrier around himself and Link, and the final fight truly begins. The old guy is one skilled swordsman, he doesn't let himself be hurt that easily. If Link knows the seven techniques, the fight is a little easier. However, there is a way to make this battle really easy...

When all seems lost, only one way to win... CHEAT!

Quick, pull out the fishing rod!

Yes, this is probably the most hilarious a final boss fight can get in the Legend of Zelda series, and it is also the most embarrassing it can get for Ganondorf. When you throw your fishing pole's line, Ganondorf will stand there and stare at it with a “WTF” expression on his face, which leaves him completely open for attacks. Our hero can slash the Gerudo as much as he wants during a few seconds! Link repeats that a few times, and defeats his enemy. Lastly, he delivers an ending blow that still somehow doesn't entirely kill Ganondorf, until he tries to get up anyway. And then he dies, standing up. You all witnessed this, folks. One of the most evil characters in Nintendo history, defeated by a fishing pole. I doubt “embarrassing” is a word strong enough.

Link and Zelda try to find Midna, but a woman appears on the field. She's got blue skin, orange hair, and is gorgeous. ...Wait, is that... Yep, it's Midna. She throws another joke at Link, who doesn't seem to believe her beauty. And now, the twist ending that you all saw coming: Midna was, and has always been, the eponymous Twilight Princess. Yeah, by the Palace of Twilight, you could kinda see it coming.

Well... she's the most human-looking Twili, that's for sure.

After the credits, Midna, Link and Zelda return to the Arbiter's Grounds, in the Mirror of Twilight's room. Midna bids farewell, and as she leaves, she lets a single tear drop towards the mirror... and after she's gone, the tear hits the mirror and utterly shatters it, making it impossible for both worlds to meet up. ...Or is it? Will this game get a sequel? Will we see Midna again? Even seven years after the game's release, it's too early to tell. But if it's as dark as this one, we'll be in for one Hell of a ride!

Yeah. Scary like that.
Yes, this game's plot is one of the darkest in all of Nintendo history, and you can see why. Demonic possessions, fiends, spirits roaming the lands, on-screen deaths, curses, giant yucky insects... This game has it all. Even the Chus scare me in this. A good chunk of the plot is dark like this. However, one important thing to mention is that the 3D also plays a good part in this. I said at the beginning that the 3D was good, it's actually a bit odd at times. It doesn't quite help, either, that the monsters seem less creepy than some of the humans. But other than that, you can feel that the developers wanted to give this game a unique feel for a LoZ game, like they wanted to give it an identity of its own. To be similar to Ocarina of Time yet different enough. When the formula is roughly the same every time, you need to have one distinguishable feature that makes it memorable. Here, it's the wolf form. In other games, it's the Hyrule sailing, the Minish Cap, the three-day ultimatum, the Dark World (Lorule?), or even a train. See what I mean?

The plot to The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is complicated. No, scratch that, the basic plot isn't that complicated. There's that other universe whose ruler, a usurper of the throne, is trying to invade Hyrule. Link teams up with Midna in order to stop that villain, who also happens to be another of Ganondorf's underlings... And Link has to rid Hyrule of darkness, while we have to find out who Midna is, and on the side, we also have Ilia's memory loss and a half-dozen other subplots... Now that I think of it, yeah, it IS complicated. If I were to nitpick, I'd say that since, in most cases, Link has to participate in those subplots at some points in the game, it can often feel like padding... But at the same time, most of those subplots do bring at least one interesting element plot-wise that doesn't make them entirely useless. I guess that it's also pretty good that we get some comedy in such a dark story. Also, as I said before, I believe that to have Ganondorf be the villain once again is a very, very used formula and, frankly, I believe the game would have been better without him, if only because he steals the spotlight from another villain who was darn awesome up until that point. But hey, if this is the only complaint I've got aside from “too many B-plots”, that's a good sign, right?

But how is the gameplay? Well, it's very good. There's a lot that Link can do, both as a human and as a wolf. The world is very large and there's a lot to explore. You will see most of it while you go around to find the many dungeons, so that's good. Even after you think you've found most of the things in Hyrule, you'll somehow find more. Yeah, it happens. Though you WILL find every little secret of Hyrule as you complete the side-quests and find other secret areas. Part of the fun is using all the tools found by our protagonist through his journey. In fact, if the Story Mode requires over twenty hours to be completed, the additional side-quests add at least ten more hours. The many mini-games are also a lot of fun, as I said earlier. Nice touches here and there that add more to the game. Don't you like having to play a mini-game after a particularly grim moment? It eases the pain, doesn't it?

Like that thing that carries Link to the Zoras' domain.

A big part of the fun with the Legend of Zelda series is all the items and tools Link gathers to use around Hyrule, and in that department, the game's developers outdid themselves for Twilight Princess. Many items that appeared in this game are really enjoyed by fans. Whether it is the Spinner, the Ball and Chain or the Double Clawshots. Heck, it's even fun to use the Dominion Rod in its only offensive use during the battle with Armogohma.

As an example, would you believe that those clams are
Talking about the boss and the enemies, they are all great. The 3D gives them distinct looks, which makes them look dangerous. Also of note is those enemies that become a Hell of a lot scarier in 3D, for some reason. That's mostly caused by the shock of seeing how big they actually are in comparison to Link, something we don't actually get to see so much in, say, earlier sprite-based titles such as A Link to the Past. This 3D also offers defeating methods that would have been impossible in sprite-based games. Same can be said for the bosses. They look gigantic here, they're majestic monsters, they are huge. Regardless of how much Link has to do to defeat them, it's always impressive, both how they look and how they are defeated. This game really offers amazing imagery for those who love watching heroes defeat monsters.

As usual, the music is great. When Wolf-Link howls, the tunes come from past adventures, mostly Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. As such, many songs in this game are a call back to other titles the gamer could have played, and it's a nice touch. Of course, most musical pieces are originals, and they're all a lot of fun to listen to. Also, I cannot stress this enough, though some of the CGI in this game is very pretty, others are kinda creepy, mostly human characters. However, we can give it a pass when just about everything else is rendered beautifully.

My final verdict: Buy it, play it, love it. Wait till you're allowed to play T-rated games (but frankly, if you couldn't, you wouldn't be reading this blog, right?), buy or rent this game, play it for days, have a blast. Almost all of it is great, and even though I explained most of the plot, there's just so much that I skimmed or skipped that, really, I couldn't do justice to the entire story. Really, try it out yourself. I guarantee that you'll have a good time.

Still, it's such a damn dark story... Look at poor Link, having to speak to a psychiatrist!

Level 30 Psychiatry, page 7, © Guybrush20X6, GigaNerd17,

...If only he said anything...

Okay, see you next week for another Wiiware game review. What is it? ...Bit Boy?