Monday, February 22, 2016

A Quest Not Beaten: Legend of Zelda Memories.

The Legend of Zelda turned 30 this past Sunday, and perhaps you don't need another article to tell you how awesome of game Zelda is, do you?  Because if you don't already know that it's one of the best game series on the planet, then please go and read one of the dozens of articles--actually, I take that back.  Just go and play the freaking game!  Then you'll know for yourself why this game still remains one of the most incredible franchises of all time. When it appeared on the scene 30 years ago, it was unlike anything out there--at least, anything that I had ever played.  I almost did a "Friday Night Rentals" article about the original Legend of Zelda as it was one of those games that I rented back in the day. However, I actually got this game as a kid and even if I were to write about it, so much has already been said I wouldn't know where to begin. (Not that one more article would never appear, just not something I want to write about at this time).  Instead, I wanted to talk a bit about my experience beating the original game for the first time and that fabled second quest. 

Anywho, before we talk about some good ol' fashioned Legend of Zelda goodness for a bit, lets cue the intro music:

Ah, what better way to begin an epic quest than a bit of spirited music? Now, from the title of this article you might think I was implying that I never beat the game. Let me be honest about that....

Of course I beat the game! Geez!  It was too fantastic to put down, too rad not to play all the way through! My dad even sat down and played the game a bit such was his level of impressed-ness.  Now, it took a while to beat this game as a kid--heck, I'm no speed runner--it still takes a bit of work. What a fantastic, and new concept. An open world, full of danger and excitement. This was a Hyrule unlike the iterations we've come to know. There are no side towns, no castle settings or separate lands. Just you and a wilderness full of monsters. Yeah, there's the occasional shop keeper trying to sell potions and make a quick buck. Heck, you might stumble upon a bearded hermit wanting to give you a sword thanks to how dangerous it is to go alone out there.

So when I defeated Ganon, assembled the Triforce and rescued Zelda, it was pretty clear that was it. The game was beaten.

But no!  There was a second quest! Why? Did Zelda plan on resurrecting Ganon and letting him kidnap her again? Did the Ocarina of Time blast you into another dimension where you were back to the swordless, three-hearted whimp you were at the beginning?  I guess so, because you can start the game shortly after beating it and try The Legend of Zelda's infamous second quest.  Here, all but the first dungeon and sword-giving hermit had moved. Nothing was as it used to be...well, except for the whole "collect-the-Triforce-pieces-and-save-Zelda" thing. So how did I react to this?

At first, I was really into the whole idea of playing through the game a second time. I had a ton of fun doing it the first time around, why not do it a second time that was a bit more challenging? Sure, it was a bit harder, and navigating the first letter-shaped dungeon resulted in numerous deaths and do-overs; yet I was still having fun. Just as suddenly though, my excitement waned.  

"Why was I playing the same game again?" I would think to myself. Hadn't I saved Hyrule already? What was the point of beating it again? Was the ending likely to change? And so, I ended up talking myself out of it.  What was the point of playing a harder version of an already beaten game? I was just a kid then, and for whatever reason, I convinced myself tht finishing off the second quest was a waste of time. 

Dumb, I know, but...yeah, as a kid I just had sooooo much time devoted to the other, "more important" things (like skateboarding and watching cartoons, I guess) that I just didn't have time for another round of The Legend of Zelda. I guess now, you might call it a "gamer regret."

Oh sure, I still have the Nintendo and my original copy of Zelda, I even downloaded it on to my WiiU via the eShop so I could pop it on through the merest push of a button. Even with that going for me, I still haven't beaten the second quest in Legend of Zelda. I've gotten a fair ways in it, to be sure. For a while I incorrectly thought I remembered actually beating the second quest until I realized there were some dungeons so well hidden that I had no clue, no memory of having found them before.Then it all came flooding back.  Years later though, the truth is, I don't know if I'll ever get through that second quest. Blasphemy for a Zelda fan. Even as I type it I have a hard time believing it.

Yes, I know there are walk-thrus and hints so readily available that it's ridiculous. None of us had the kind of gaming advice back then that you do now. It was you and an issue of Nintendo Power you hoped had the hint you needed. If not, better luck next month.  So maybe I've run out of excuses. 

Maybe, rather than sharing gratuitous (and awesome) montage shots to Legend of Zelda through the years, a better tribute would be to finally buckle down and beat that second quest.  Maybe, just maybe the hour to rescue princess Zelda for a second time has finally arrived!

(Cue gratuitous box art montage)

One of the best soundtracks ever.

An epic Epic of epic epicness...

And of course this little gem that I ....

...Wait. An HD remaster of Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess comes out soon?  Guess I'll be too busy to finish that second quest after all....maybe.

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