Tag Archives: hourglass

Review: The Legend Of Zelda – Phantom Hourglass (DS) ~ My first DS game

the_legend_of_zelda_phantom_hourglass_game_coverWikipedia entry

This game has a very special place in my heart. I love the Zelda series and Nintendo’s handhelds. In my eyes, they couldn’t do anything wrong. So, when the DS was released, I waited until the upgraded DS Lite was released  to buy it. My first game was this game. But, does it still hold up today? If you are a fan of the Legend Of Zelda series, should you play this game? Well, let’s take a lot at this game. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article. 

The Ocean King Temple

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While sailing with Tetra and her crew, you are talking about a ghost ship that’s sailing the seas. Wouldn’t you know it, you run into said ghost ship. Tetra jumps from her ship to the ghost ship. After you hear her scream, you want to you over the ship’s railing to try and rescue her. But, you fall into the water. A fairy awoke you and your adventure began. Your objective is to save Tetra from the ghost ship.

The story is refreshing in my opinion. Since it breaks from the usual Zelda story where you need to save Zelda from Ganon. In fact, Ganon only gets introduced in the opening. When the story of The Wind Waker is recapped.

In any case, the story consists out of two main quests. But, I’m not going to spoil them. Both quests take you on a big adventure and prepare you for the big final battle on the ghost ship.

The writing in this game is perfect in my opinion. I wouldn’t change anything about it. But I didn’t expect less from Nintendo. When I first played this game, I played some parts of the ghost ship late at night. I was supposed to be sleeping, but it was in the middle of the holidays. That night, I had nightmares. The story pulled me in that much. And the fact that I remember an event from almost 10 years ago, is saying something about the game.

If you talk to people who have played this game, a common complaint comes up. That’s the Ocean King temple. It’s a nice idea in concept, but it was done a lot better in Spirit Tracks. It’s a central temple you go through to get a new part of the ocean map. Yet, you have to redo the temple several times making it boring from time to time. Thankfully, some floors had shortcuts with newly acquired items. While the puzzles in this temple are great, the central dungeon in the sequel  had one major upgrade. You could skip to the last floor easily.

Draw on that map

gfs_74258_2_2The controls are not perfect. If you are used playing Zelda games with a controller in hand or by pressing buttons, you will be in for a surprise. Apart from some functions, this game is fully controlled with the touch screen. You can swap between the screens by tapping down on the direction pad. It does take some getting used to, but as a right-handed person, it works. But, it’s a bit awkward to control sometimes. Also, I had issues trying Link to roll. I wasn’t always able to roll him out of harm’s way, which lead to some cheap damage. But that might be just me.

So, in this game, you can make notes on your maps. A feature that returns in a few other Zelda games that followed. This is really helpful since you don’t have to remember sequences or where a certain treasure is buried. You can even find an unmapped island, where you have to draw your own map. This island has a special reward on it, so look for it while you are sailing on the wide sea.

So, you have two major gameplay sections. Firstly, I want to talk about the boat sections. While exploring the endless ocean can be relaxing and fun from time to time. I sometimes wished that the boat you sail on was a speedboat. In my opinion, it goes slow from time to time. Yet, if it had a speedboat feature, some parts of the story wouldn’t have been possible.

You can upgrade your boat by finding parts in dungeons or in caves. Well, honestly, customize the look for your ship. The more you had of a kind, the more hearts your ship has. Your ship gets automatically repaired as soon as you dock at an island. The sailing gameplay works similarly to the gameplay in the Wind Waker. You can jump, shoot cannonballs and similar things. You can also fish for fish and sunken treasure. The fishing mini-game for sunken treasure is different from the mechanic in the Wind Waker. In this mini-game, you have to avoid obstacles and guide your grabbling hook down to the bottom and back up.

The second gameplay part is the exploring of islands and the dungeons. Each area has two major dungeons. Apart from the Ocean King temple, I greatly enjoyed this part of the game the most. The puzzles were creative and they forced me to use some old-school Zelda items in new and interesting ways. It also has a puzzle that took me too long to figure out. One that is solved by a mechanic of your DS itself. That’s all I’m going to say.

Look at that

screen-1For some reason, when I got this game all those years ago, I was convinced that this was a port of The Wind Waker to handhelds. But, now I know that it’s set in the same universe. Visually, this game gives off a Wind Waker-vibe. And it honestly works amazingly well on the DS. I played this game on the DS Lite and on the 3DS. The game doesn’t look dated in my opinion now-a-days, if you have some love for retro games.

The world is colorful and bright. The color pallet makes the world pop even more. While some character models look a bit sharp and early 3D with a lot of polygons, I honestly don’t mind it. This game is eye-candy in my opinion. And the animation is even better. Before this game, I used to play the 2D Zelda games, and seeing everything animated in a 2,5D was amazing. And when the 3D cut scenes came on, man, I couldn’t stop watching them.

The soundtrack for this game is good yet… There were a few tracks that really got on my nerves if I listen to them for an extended period of time. But, these moments were so far and few, I’m not going to fault the game for it.

The sound design of this game really shines when you play this game with a good pair of headphones. Together with the visuals and the soundtrack, it helped to pull me into the game even more.

If you are a veteran Zelda player, this game isn’t too difficult. Yet, to first time Zelda players, this game might be difficult here and there. I think I have died 10 times tops in my whole playthrough. So, yeah. Most of the challenge lies in the puzzles you have to solve.

So, this game also has multiplayer. And I highly recommend it! It’s a lot of fun and it can be really hectic. It’s a two player game. One player controls phantoms and another player controls Link. Link’s goal is to try and get as many gems in the safe zone as possible. The phantom’s goal is to stop Link from doing just that. If you get Link gets hit by a phantom, you have to swap sides.

And that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. It’s time to wrap up this review with the conclusion and my final thoughts.

Conclusion

The good:

+ Great art for the DS.

+ Good soundtrack and sound design.

+ Great design.

+ Lovely story and writing.

+ Great puzzles and items.

+ Great multiplayer

+ …

The bad:

-Sailing can be boring sometimes.

-The Ocean Temple could have been so much better.

-The controls aren’t for everyone and need to get used to.

Final thoughts:

When I got my DS back in 2007, I got this game as a bonus present. I tried to avoid being nostalgia-blinded in this review, but I failed in my opinion. I played and replayed this game a lot. It’s one of the favorite DS games ever made.

While I admit that this game has flaws, I had an amazing time with this game. The flaws didn’t hinder my personal experience with the game too much. But, I can understand that some gamers are going to have less fun with this game today. Personally, I highly recommend this game to everyone who loves the handheld Zelda games since it’s a blast to play. There are a lot of collectables to keep you going after you finished the main story.

Also, if you want to play or replay this game… This game can be easily found as a eShop download on the Wii U! Just saying. You can easily start playing this game.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading this review as much as I enjoyed writing this one. Thank you for reading this review and I hope to be able to welcome you another time on my blog. Have a great rest of your day and take care!

Score: 90/100

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Gaming Nostalgia #4: (3)DS month

ss (2012-10-24 at 11.45.23)Looking to my blog, you might have realized that I review in general handheld games. So, logically, Q didn’t realize that this month was a special month for my blog. I focused only on DS and 3DS games. I wished I could have written more articles about it. Sadly enough, I was able to predict that this month was going to be busy. In general, the amount of articles I write in one month dropped. But hey! Quality over quantity, am I right? Anyways, maybe next month I might write about games that aren’t on handhelds. That will be hard for me for sure. In the future, you might be sure that I’m going to release around 7-10 articles a month. When I do have the time though. I think the best idea is that you follow my twitter. Since I talk about my updates a lot there. Okay, that has been a quick blog update. Now that, that is out of the way, let’s write a new article in the game nostalgia series. A series I wanted to write a new entry for quite a while. I said multiple times on my scheduling Tumblr updates that I was going to write a new one. So, because this month is the special DS and 3DS month, let me tell you a story. A story about how I got the handhelds. Also, feel free to leave me a comment with your thoughts on this article. 

My first DS.

Nintendo ds reparatie groningen

Me and my family were on a trip. It happened on that trip where I was a leader for the first time, remember that story? On that trip, a boy had a black Nintendo DS Lite with him. The game he had on it, was Pokémon Diamond. When I asked kindly if I would be allowed to play on it, he agreed. In exchange, I had to give my GBA to him, because he never played Pokémon Ruby.

It wasn’t until I saw a commercial on TV about the Legend Of Zelda – Phantom Hourglass, I wanted a Nintendo DS. This very commercial. Keep in mind that it’s a Dutch video. So, you won’t be able to understand anything if you aren’t English. The other commercials, I wasn’t able to find. It showed Link following the stylus on a white background.

Then I begged my parents to get me a Nintendo DS. It was around December of 2007. I still remember it quite well, how we went to the game store to buy me one. But, I wasn’t allowed to play on it until New Year’s Eve. A day or two before I was going to get it, I was at my aunt. She was charging it in advance so I could play on it. But I wasn’t allowed it touch it. Not even the box where it was in.

My family surprised me that day. They knew that I was a big Legend Of Zelda fan. When they went to a garage sale with me on our yearly trips to the sea side, I always said to them that they needed to look out for any stuff from the Legend Of Zelda. That day, I got two presents. I was quite confused, what could that second present be? Well, it was the Phantom Hourglass game. Yes, my family bought me Phantom Hourglass on the DS. I was so happy. My first game, a Zelda game. It couldn’t start any better.

On that moment, I was allowed to play on my DS. Apart from eating dinner with my family, I put myself in my grandfather’s office and played the whole night. I even missed the countdown to the new year. 2008 started with something I will never forget. Until this day, the Nintendo DS is the best handheld in my eyes. Without a single doubt in my mind.

Blast From The Past: The Legend Of Zelda – Phantom Hourglass

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Official site

I haven’t done this the two previous articles, but this part of the game nostalgia series will be a nice separation for the next part of the story. So, in “blast from the past” I take a look at one of the games that means a lot to me. A game that has a personal story behind it, more then “I simply bought it in a game store.”

You should have seen this one coming from paragraphs away. Get it? Since I mentioned it a few ones ago? Oh, it’s not funny? Ehrm, sorry. I guess.

Anyways, joking aside, this game was the game that gave me the feeling that my family accepted my gaming hobby and my love for the Legend of Zelda. It’s a shame that I haven’t reviewed this game or talked about it. In my review of the follow up, Spirit Tracks, I asked the question which my favorite game of the two would be.

After some careful thought, I think my answer is going to change a little bit. In terms of nostalgia, my favorite game is Phantom Hourglass. But the better game is Spirit Tracks. Since the improvements over Phantom Hourglass makes it a better game.

But this game is on my list to review for such a long time, I might just start writing a review after I finished all the articles I have planned for this month! So, keep an eye out for that.

Getting my 3DS.

royal_purple_nintendo_3ds_open_comparisonI can’t believe that the 3DS is 3 years old this year. The time flies even faster then I thought before. For me, the 3DS has still that “new” feeling. It isn’t old and mostly of all, my library and knowledge isn’t that big about the system.

When I look at the shelf of 3DS games, I think I own around 25 games for it. It’s actually not that strange. Since I got the 3DS, I started to expand my library of other systems as well. So, I’m not focused only on the 3DS.

Anyways, I’m missing the point of this article here. I wanted to talk about the time before I got my 3DS. Since that has a story as well. Back in 2009 – 2010, I saw a trailer of a man holding what looked to be a DSi in front of her. She showed it from side to side. On the screen, there was a 3D game playing. I looked around for this trailer like a mad man, but I wasn’t able to find it. Until now, I found this video back!  Thanks to me looking it up on another search engine.

I was extremely hyped. Since I first thought it was going to be a game. It looked so interesting! But I was afraid that it was going to be a Japanese exclusive. Remember, at that time the video leaked, there wasn’t anything known about the 3DS in my country. And since I only read Dutch news sources, I didn’t know about the 3DS until a year after.

Then the 3DS was announced. I was so jealous of all the journalists that were at E3 of that year. They could have their hands on the system before I was able to get my hands on it. While people started to say that the system had a bad line up for release games, I didn’t care that much actually. It was a new portable system by Nintendo and me being such a big Nintendo handheld fan, I had to get it.

So, I pre-ordered it. The system was going to be 250€. Quite expensive. It’s the most expensive thing I bought in my whole gaming life. When I saw Nintendo was having events at certain cities to be able to play on the device, I was planning to go to them. But in the end, I didn’t went to it. The simple reason is time. I didn’t had the time to go to one.

A few days before the system was released, I was at school. At the afternoon break, we were able to leave the school and go eating in the town. So, I went down to the town with my friends and we ate. When I looked at my mobile phone, I saw I got a text message. My local game store said: “Your pre-order of the Nintendo 3DS Cosmo Black is ready to be picked up at the store.” My mind was blown. I was going to be able to play the system a few days prior to it’s official release?

I called the store, asking when they close the store. After school, I even sprinted to the bus station so I would arrive earlier at the station to take an earlier train. My hype was growing even bigger. When I was home, I emptied my bad, took the money I saved up and jumped on my bike. I think I never rode faster on my bike. I was hyped.

NintendogsCatsBoxArt2When I arrived at the store, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The system was actually there. They gave me the box, I payed the money. I still remember giving it cash. Because I saved up all that money from jobs I had to do for my family.

I put the box in my bag and I walked out of the store. When I arrived home, I started playing on my 3DS. I still remember opening it in the living room and showing my mom.

I did forget one detail though, I didn’t had any 3DS games. Whoops, totally forgot about that. The same aunt who charged my DS for the first time, was actually so kind to me that when her daughter was going to get a new game, she picked me up and drove with me to another game store. At that game store, I was allowed to pick up my first 3DS game. Because there wasn’t any Zelda game released on the system, I bought myself Nintendogs + Cats.

I could have bought a ton of other games then, but I made up my mind. I wanted this game. Soon after, I bought the remake of the Legend Of Zelda – Ocarina Of Time. But why did I bought Nintendogs + Cats? Well, because there were cats in the game AND the Nintendogs series has a special place in my hart. Why is that? Well, you will have to wait until the finale of special month. I will talk about it in that article!

Closing thoughts

So, that has been a new article in the gaming nostalgia series. In this article I talked about how I got my two most favorite handhelds ever. I still both have my silver DS and my cosmo black 3DS. I play on them nearly every day. Sadly enough, my microphone of my DS recently stopped working. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, but I’m talking to my friends over at Gamers’Hive to look for solutions.

Thanks for reading this article, hopefully you enjoyed reading it. What are your stories? Do you have any special story before you bought a certain console? Let me know, with a comment maybe?

Anyways, I think I’m going to end this article here. Until another time on my blog! Thanks for reading.