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    jp's Legend of Zelda: the Minish Cap (GBA)

    [October 20, 2005 07:46:53 PM]
    Yay! I saved Hyrule (again)!

    Ok, the boss fights (yes, two of them) weren't really that annoying. Very reasonable as far as bosses go, even if they where multi-stage (as in, two phases for each boss). What I did find VERY annoying was that before the first boss fight, you had to go through 3 other fights....and that you couldn't save after the first boss! (you actually can save, but when you have to do everything all over again).

    So, my biggest (and only) gripe with this game is the inconsistency and lack of clarity with regards to saved game systems. When I save a game, I expect to have some understanding of what is being saved. Many times, there are important inconsistencies between what you think will be saved and what is actually saved. To be more precise, what the effects of saving will be when you restart the game.

    In the case of Zelda, when you save a game and then restart the following happens:

    1. You begin at an "entry" point to the area you are visiting.

    Problem: In many cases, it is not clear what are you are currently in (and thus, what consitutes the "entry point".

    2. Major events (acquisition of important item, defeating important enemy) are usually "maintained". So, if you get the gloves, save and'll still have the gloves.

    Problem: This was not the case for the first boss battle. (I thought that once defeated I would not have to face again). This was compounded because the actual area I was in had also changed! (the castle is partially destroyed). I expected a restart would have me begin at the entrance point of the partially destroyed castle.

    Now, in defense of this game, the end battles are a strange situation that is made more complicated by some of the narrative elements. (the castle is partially destroyed so you can't escape..) I think that one of the reasons why it was implemented like this was to avoid falling into an "deadlock" situation. The typical case where (in other games) you save the game while really weak and then you are faced with a situation you can't progress, and wish you could "rollback" to a previous saved game. However, I'm sure they could have found a particular solution that is more elegant than forcing the player through a deathmarch of battles and bosses...

    I don't want to end this particular GameLog on a sour note, so I'll wrap up by saying that this game is definitely a must-play. There are so many parts that are incredibly well done.
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    [October 18, 2005 10:49:55 PM]
    Argh...can't...beat...the boss. (some sort of flying manta ray). I know HOW to kill it... I just haven't been able to avoid getting hit! Hehehe. Maybe I should go back and buy one of those restore health.
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    [October 17, 2005 07:58:05 PM]
    Another dungeon...but this time in the sky! Yay! (and I should be getting the last element I need this time...)
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    [October 12, 2005 03:09:25 PM]
    After a lot of mini-quests I've finally obtained the 3rd element. Actually, it's the 4th, but the real 3rd was not I suppose it will show up sometime soon. So much has happened since my last post!

    Playing this game has now illuminated me to another interesting characteristic of Zelda games: the use of space. I think I can safely state that Zelda games take place in small places that are recombined, repurposed and revisited in multiple ways and multiple times. This is actually an idea that I think deserves a lot more words than I'll currently spend...but since I don't know if I'll have the time to explore these issues further I'd rather write them down before I forget!

    There is also a caveat to what I'm going to say. When I say "Zelda games" I obviously mean the ones I've played. While I've covered a fair share, there are two important "generations" of Zelda games I have not played and that might be very different from the ones I know. Namely, the very early Zelda games and the 3D Zelda games (Ocarina of Time, Majora, Wind Waker). I'm not even considering the CDi games since those are generally regarded as...not really worthy of being called Zelda games.

    Ok. So, what do I mean by interesting use of space? Here are a few examples:

    1. Unlockable space

    In the entire gameworld there are multiple places and locations that can't be visited initially. As you play the game these become "available", usually by gaining new abilities (rather than "keys" that unlock doors). In Zelda games you usually gain abilities such as: swimming, breaking rocks, climb as well as items such as bombs, swords, etc. that let you open up new areas.

    2. Morphable space

    There are spaces that, under certain reversible actions, can be morphed into new configurations that allow access to new areas. For example, by making it snow, lakes can freeze, snow piles up allowing acess to high places, etc. Oracle of seasons does this by..changing the seasons. I'm pretty sure that Oracle of Ages does something similar.

    3. Subspaces

    There are full, rich, navigable spaces within spaces. Minish Cap is a great example of this. As you become little, entire new areas open up for exploration though they are...really small (as far as the context of the world goes). Zelda dungeons are another typical example of this.

    4. Shortcuts

    In Zelda games you usually have to backtrack a lot. However, there are usually many different ways of making this not tedious. The cheapest is the teleport that is usually found in dungeons. Once you reach a certain point, a teleport appears and you can then get to that location from the beginning of the dungeon. However, there are other more notable things...for example, after getting to some hard-to-reach location, there is usually a way to either get back to the beggining really fast or a way of "unlocking" the location so that it is now easy to get there without going the long route. For example by moving a rock that was previously impeding direct access.

    There are a few more things that I haven't mentioned, but these three are pretty characteristic. Are they unique to Zelda? Of course not!

    Another great series of games that also does a lot of this is the Metroid series...and the subspace idea is present in many other games as well (usually as a large overmap with icons that represent subspaces..towns, dungeons, etc.) However, I do think that Zelda games are particularly good at managing all these multiple spatial representations...
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    [October 6, 2005 07:13:36 PM]
    I think I've realized what is the MOST distinctive Zelda characteristic of a Zelda game. (at least of the 2D ones I've played). Cutting the grass!

    Yeah! One of the things you start out doing the most is...cutting the grass with your sword. You never know when you'll turn up some money, perhaps a heart..or even some other goodies. I think it is kind of cute how in this particular game, the reasons why that happens are explained. Namely, the tiny Minish people like t o hide little things in the grass so that humans find them and feel good. Yay!
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    [October 3, 2005 11:37:51 PM]
    I'v been playing this for a while now and I've struggled with what to write. You see, I feel that I've already written about Zelda games, and this one isn't really that different. Sure, there are some new mechanims and powers and yes, they are fun. But other than that, it's Zelda! What can I tell you about Zelda that you don't already know?

    It's a funny position to be in, since I have a friend who was curious to play Minish Cap. I told him not to start with this one. Go back! Play Zelda: Link's Awakening (the first one I played)! I feel that if he starts with Minish Cap he'll miss out on all the older games and that he might even have a hard time "figuring" the game out. Silly me, I know...but nonetheless. I guess I should write about what it is that makes a Zelda game...well, be a Zelda game.
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    [September 27, 2005 01:58:32 PM]
    Ah! The joys of Zelda.

    I've just finished the first dungeon and I can say that playing this game is like having a refreshing drink of something you know and like, with a little twist of something new. Good fun though the controls seem a little sluggish..which is strange.
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    jp's Legend of Zelda: the Minish Cap (GBA)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Monday 26 September, 2005

    GameLog closed on: Monday 24 October, 2005

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    Excellent. Perhaps a tad easier than other Zelda games, but definitely a keeper.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

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    See info on Legend of Zelda: the Minish Cap

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : Legend of Zelda: the Minish Cap (GBA) by GrayKat (rating: 5)
    2 : Legend of Zelda: the Minish Cap (GBA) by Jillers (rating: 5)


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