Zelda: Combat Evolved

Ever since I started dicking around with the idea of mungifying the names of the games I’d been playing as a cheap way of coming up with a title for blog posts, it’s been a little piece of joy each week twisting the words around to fit the mood summoned by the games.

This week, however, the title – whilst cheap – was just too easy.

The namesakes (or gamesakes, right readers?) should be easy to figure out – and rightly so, because the gaming time I could scrounge together in the last week (in amongst work, acting classes, and more christmas celebrations (or cellarbrations, right readers?) was completely and willingly devoted to Skyward Sword and Halo: Anniversary.

After around fifty-seven-and-a-half hours, my first playthrough of Zelda: Skyward Sword wrapped up with a thumb-numbing final boss battle. And (apart from the previously-mentioned, dreadfully slow) first three hours of treacle, it was an absolute delight. I stuck with my commitment not to consult GameFAQs until after I’d finished the game, and that turned out to be a great move; combined with my self-imposed media blackout prior to the game’s release (early review scores excepted, of course), it meant that each and every step was a surprise. The boss battles were just fantastic: the second dungeon battle, as I briefly mentioned before, stands out as being wonderfully creative and stupidly good fun. Dungeon puzzles were both subtly signposted and devious: the collection of Link’s collected items included a few regulars, but the introduction of the new items allowed a freshness and depth to the puzzles that always left me grinning like a loon.

And that’s the great thing about the latest Zelda installment: it leaves you feeling good. And, more surprisingly, it made me feel smart. And that’s a wonderful feeling to get from a game, and certainly not something that’s been conjured up for quite a while now. But now the freshness – and surprises – have passed; I know what the game’s got up its sleeves. It’ll be interesting to see what my Hero Mode playthrough will yield (yes, there’s a “hard” mode to do, along with a mere handful of collectibles to snaffle that I missed on my FAQ-Free run) when I can apply myself to the task…

…in the meantime, though, I’m playing a game which offers the very opposite of surprises: Halo: Anniversary. Now, I’m no Halo guru, but I played the original on the Xbox a lot – so the levels are very familiar to me.

So why did I find it so hard to get back into the Anniversary love-letter? Normally it’s the fear of the unknown that prevents me from plunging into games; this week, however, it was almost like the fear of the familiar.

But one night I forced myself to load up my most recent save – right at the start of the Truth and Reconciliation sniper spree. Goading myself to pick up an Achievement associated with the start of that level seemed to be the tonic; suddenly, I was sucked back into the realm of Halo. The completion of Skyward Sword gave me time to run-and-gun my way through the next level-and-a-half, with a slight sidetrip to snaffle the tricky Bandanna skull. But I’m feeling it again… that Halo joy is back.

Next week? After I finish my first run through Anniversary, I might start on some of those more belligerent Achievements – speed running The Library on Legendary? Oh, alright then :)

Then again, Skyward Sword‘s Hero Mode beckons…

4 thoughts on “Zelda: Combat Evolved”

  1. Enjoyable read! I’m looking forward to discover Halo again as well. It has been too long since I last played it on my old xbox. Also, for 57,5 hours worth of fun (minus the first 3 hours) it seems like Skyward Sword is certainly worth trying out someday!

  2. Cheers Slash :)

    Tonight I belted through The Library on Normal, trying to remember all my speed-running tricks (not that I was terribly quick or anything; it was just one of the things I used to do for fun). I love that level :)

    And remember, I’m only vouching for 54.5 hours of fun with Skyward Sword – the start really is quite dull ;)

  3. I still shudder at the mention of the Library. My son, who is Halo mad, has dreams of doing it on Legendary, but hasn’t managed it yet. He has surpassed my meagre efforts by a zillion miles and has finished 1 & 2 on normal, but Legendary chews him up and spits him out.


  4. Oh, I love The Library – I attacked it in Anniversary with relish, speed-running some bits before getting into carrier-popping trouble and adjusting tactics. And really, it’s no big deal on Legendary… just get that shotgun as soon as possible, run in the counter-intuitive direction on the second and fourth floors (cutting out about a third of each level), and take it nice and easy. And on Anniversary, of course, make sure the Bandanna skull is on and spam grenades.

    Having said that, the speed run Achievement in Anniversary is still going to be a toughy…

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