Monday, 12 October 2009

Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass

Sure of course this game isn't part of the Horror genre, it is Fantasy of course, but it does have monsters, and ghosts in it, so feel it deserves a mention. I've always been a bit indifferent to the Zelda series of games. It is a very popular series though, with a massive fan base.

To me a big part of the reason for my indifference to the series is the lack of story, each time it's just 'rescue the Princess'. I also wasn't keen on the puzzle based dungeon designs. however as of late I have been changing my tune somewhat. Thinking back I did really enjoy Zelda: A link to the past on the SNES, I loved Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the N64, and thought Zelda: The Wind Waker, and Zelda: Majoras Mask were interesting departures. I played Zelda: Twilight Princess for about 6 hours, but couldn't get used to the awful Wiimote controls. This game however is different.

The game carries on from where the Wind Waker finished. Your sailing with Zelda and her Pirate Crew exploring new seas. After entering a patch of fog you come across a spooky ghostly Pirate ship. Zelda quickly climbs aboard to search for treasure. Seconds later she screams out in terror. Link attempts to get aboard to save her but he misses, and falls into the sea. He washes up on a beach, where he discovers the ghost ship regulary captures islanders who once taken are never seen again. So he sets off on a journey to discover the location of the ghost ship and rescue Zelda (this involves going to many different dungeons).

The game has one big dungeon. Each time you enter it all the puzzles reset meaning you have to start from scratch each time. This put me off for the longest time from buying the game, as the idea of continually replaying the same dungeon didn't appeal to me. Luckily the dungeon design for this is simple, and each time you reenter the dungeon you have new tools you can use to take short cuts (eg: Bombs to blow up otherwise impassable stone blocks). When you know what your doing it is easy to quickly traverse the dungeon. Like Wind Waker there are many different islands to sail to, the controls are much better this time. You just draw a line on the map using the touch screen to show where you want to go, and then your steam boat heads off.

Most the dungeons are smaller than in previous games. They are a nice size, and pleasent to get through. Overall the game felt much easier then the previous games in the series. The game is completly controlled using the touch screen, rather than being a hassle this actually makes the game more smooth, and easier to select different tools.

The bosses have always been a special part of the Zelda games. The first few in this are boring, and really really easy, luckily they soon improve to amazing fights, and make good use of the dual screens. One boss is invisible, but the top screen shows the boss perspective in first person, so you can use that to guess where he is. Another boss is a giant, and fills up both screens, so they were mostly all a delight to get to.

A good Zelda game, worth picking up.

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