After my flurry of posts over the New Year, I would’ve given myself a break if I’d not managed to get something out this evening; but it’s been a good couple of days off work, I’ve got plenty of gaming in, and I’m feeling like a boast ;)

After snaffling the Biggest Quiver in Ocarina of Time last week, I proudly mentioned this on one of my friendly gaming forums – to which a pal slyly replied “But have you caught the Hylian loach?”

Shit. I’d completely forgotten about the Ocarina fishing component. I knew the Loach was supposed to be a prick to catch, but I figured that I’d get away with just seeing it – something I managed quite quickly. But then I cast my eyes across an Ocarina Guide that mentioned…

Are you THE MASTER? If you are, you can get the following:

100 Golden Skulltulas
36 Heart Pieces
Have four Bottles (fair and square)
Tons of Secret Grottos/Areas
Lots of Golden Rupees
Own a cow
Get 1500+ points on the Horse Archery Game
Caught a 20 pounder
Caught the Hylian Loach
Have all the weapon upgrades
All Masks
Big Goron’s Sword
…and like to torture chickens.

Bastard. It’s almost like he was goading me.

So a-fishing for the Hylian Loach I went. And, I must say, everything you’ve heard about the Loach is true. Four hours of gentle teasing, waiting, quiet chasing, and lip biting before I got the bugger to bite – but then, when he bit, he was landed without too much fuss…

...and all he gave me was 50 fucking rupees.

Another couple of items collected, a slight mis-step (taking Fairies, rather than Blue Potions, into the Ganondorf fight), and Ocarina of Time was struck off The List. And it goes without saying that it’s still a magnificent game – utterly deserving of all the plaudits afforded it over the years and, I’ll posit, better than any other game I’ve played in the last year.

With Ocarina complete, I gently eased myself into Majora’s Mask – and after a handful of hours, I have to say that I’m not overly impressed. I don’t like the repetition (especially that fucking Deku animation when I stray too close to the Deku flower), I don’t like the dark tone, I don’t like the implied time restriction – and right now I’m just feeling a bit out of my depth. There almost seems to be too much information on offer, too much to do – and I don’t feel able to even chip away at it. Here’s hoping there’s a breakthrough soon, lest I reluctantly resort to GameFAQs – something which I’m trying to do less and less these days – but I’m buoyed by the fact that Ocarina also started slowly, and I’ve grumbled about the opening of Twilight Princess before, and they both ended up being corkers.

Whilst the second day of the New Year saw a Zelda game Completed, the third day saw the Completion of a Suda51 game – Flower, Sun and Rain. Whilst the story was great, the gameplay – being little more than an interactive story, requiring you to move from one location to another & click through pages of dialogue, and never presenting the opportunity to fail – left a lot to be desired. Very hard to recommend, unfortunately; thankfully, it didn’t trouble The List for long.

Finally, there was another visit to Burnout Paradise this week, pootling around with friends and snaffling a few more Challenges (385 of 490 complete, now). Fabulous stuff, and a handy reminder of this game’s online strengths.

Next week: more Majora’s. A scheduled return to Ridge Racer 6 with my old racing chums. Given that it’s a return-to-work week, that’ll be plenty :}

BraidMarbleNukem: OcarinaOfRain

We’re halfway through the traditional end-of-year holidays – no break for me, though, back into work tomorrow. Still, here’s hoping that you all received the games you wanted over the break – and managed to give some gaming love, too. I did my bit, educating my nephew with Super Mario Galaxy for his new Wii :)

I finally Pete-Completed Duke Nukem this week – all secrets, all levels, all Duke-isms. There was one level I wanted to re-visit after having mopped up all the Achievements but, once I restarted it, I became quite aware that I simply didn’t like this game. It’s not fun. The level designs are, for the most part, cheap and full of surprises – the Doom monster closet philosophy. Great sense of humour, though – but that’s not enough to make up for the icky gameplay. Still, it’s been appropriately OC-ed now, so that’s another one off The List – the fifth for the month!

As Duke was wrapped up (and I proudly looked at another 200/200 on I noticed that the Agoraphobia Expansion Pack had been released for Marble Blast Ultra. Another 200 MS Points to purchase, this doesn’t seem to be as good a deal as the previous Marble Fu Expansion Pack – the new maps are a bit of a pain in the arse, to be honest, but the final Achievement was easy enough to snaffle… once again, MBU doesn’t really trouble The List.

Searching for another XBLA game to work on – and desperately trying to avoid a return to Texas Hold’em (I haven’t built my patience up yet) – I elected to have another look at Braid, just to see what was required for the Speed Run Achievement. Another playthrough reminded me what a stonkingly great game it is, and a peek at some speed-runs on YouTube yielded some great tips… buggered if I know how I finished the game the first time without them! The Speed Run still looks hard-as-nails, though – and the hidden stars look even harder. Long term project, that.

As mentioned before Christmas, I snaffled Suda51’s “latest”, Flower, Sun and Rain. A re-imagining of the 2001 Playstation 2 Japan-only original, it’s… really odd. Essentially a point-and-click adventure, it’s not so much a game as a Groundhog-Day-esque interactive story – you’re never put in a situation that you can’t get out of, so there’s no sense of danger. The writing is fantastic, displaying the darkness of Killer7, the humour of No More Heroes – and there’s plenty of puzzles and collectibles to keep the OC in me happy. Mind you, I’ve already resorted to GameFAQs once – but I felt dirty doing it, especially when I realised that I’d passed over the solution because I didn’t want to think through it, didn’t want to put the effort in. Lesson learned – and the internet will be ignored for the remainder.

FSR has some really odd production values, though – for a 64MB game, there’s some very expansive videos… and horribly angular 3D models. And the controls are thoughtful in places, and fucking annoying in others: the theatrical approach to puzzle solving (when accessing Catherine, your problem-solving computer pal) is brilliant the first time, but horribly button-mashingly infuriating thereafter.

The last bit of action this week saw me resurrect The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I’ve already finished this magnificent game, but I’d started an OC-friendly 100% run aeons ago on the Gamecube (with the Collector’s Edition disc that included Zelda, Zelda II, Ocarina, and Majora’s Mask). It’s mostly complete, except for a couple of collectibles – the most galling of which is the Biggest Quiver.

Remember how to get that?

Gerudo Fortress, archery on horseback.


Now, I’ve heard that this was quite doable on the N64, but the sensitivity of the analogue stick on the Gamecube port is insane. Regardless – as an OC Gamer, it’s something I need to complete, so I fired up my old save and gave it another bash. Another 36 bashes, actually. I scored 1080 points of the 1500 required once, but that’s cold comfort – this is going to be a prickly assignment.

Only a few days left before the end of the year, and the inevitable year-in-review post. I’d better get writing… :}

A Christmas Present!

Normally I’m a bit of a humbuggy Scroogey grumpalump come Christmas, but not this year!

FLOWER, SUN AND RAIN NDS In Store – awaiting collection

Happy, happy, Suda51-filled days ahead :)

…oh – and a happy holidays to all those who bother reading & commenting. This blog is one of my catharses, and there’s a very tangible little thrill every time I see a new comment roll in. Thank you :D