Monday, July 16, 2012

Mike's Mondays with Mike McGee: Makin' Mom Proud

       After this week’s Weekly Shockness, I have six choice words for my associate: I’m glad you took my advice. I hope you liked those words, because I picked them out myself. Back when we decided to do these weekly blogs, I made a bet with myself that I would stay consistent on the weekly schedule longer than John. Avid followers of Shlockness know that this week marks my victory over myself in said bet. Now, not only have a bought myself a week of ridicule-free lateness that can be used anytime in the future, I scored $5. It was like stealing from people with intelligence less than or equal to that of an infant. Coincidentally, the reason John was late on his article was because he was literally doing what I just simile-ed about.
"Did he just insult his own intelligence?"
       Well, Thursday was Ol' Drunky's, a close friend of the show's, 21st birthday and, much to you doubters’ collective dismays, I’m gonna spin this into an awkward segue so just hold tight. I took an hour train ride to go eat some Irish food and watch her get “tipsy” as she calls it. Luckily, everybody in the group had something productive to do so I was able to prepare for this blog in lieu of pleasantries. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is definitely the black sheepquel of the series. There are a lot of interesting things about this game. It’s the only direct sequel if you don’t count the other one(s) and most of it feels completely different than it's spectacular predecessor. Since I don’t own this on the NES, I had to do some research to find out the story of the game. Much to my surprise, you find out why it’s called the Legend of Zelda in the first place. Here’s my quick overview of the story: 
"Hey there, Dreamboat..."

Link: “Yo, Impa! Check dis thing on my hand!”
Impa: “Nah, I got ya beat. Check out this sleepin’ babe.”
Link: “Whoa, who is that pretty mama?”
Impa: “Man, that’s Zelda!”
Link: “What?! That looks nothing like the one I saved.”
Impa: “Duh! This is the ORIGINAL Zelda…we made a legend about her *wink* but     srsly you gotta save her.”
Link: “Where’s the one I saved?”
Impa: ¯\(°_o)/¯
Link: “Fair enough. Now this ancient scroll that I can read says I gotta put 6 crystals in Easter Island Heads, so I’ma go do dat. See you in 12 years!”
-End Scene-
"...not you, Shipwreck!"
       The gameplay is very unique when it comes to other Zelda games. You fight enemies in side-scrolling environments, which are entered through the weird looking overworld. When you kill the enemies you see that little numbers float out of them and that’s probably the time that you realized that you’re getting experience. This is probably the reason that some people like to think of Zelda as an RPG. When you level up you can level up magic, attack, or health. Each one costs a different level of experience so, for example, say you don’t want to level up health after you get 50 experience points. You rather level up magic first for whatever reason and that costs 100 experience points. You can cancel out and then be halfway to 100 experience points, which you feel is better because you would’ve had to start from 0 if you got health. Personally, it’s just easier to just level up what they tell you to. It’s way easier to get track of and if you get a Game Over you lose the experience you gained. So it’s better to level up something when you can.
"What the hell! No Welcome Home Party?!"
       Speaking of magic, there’s magic in this game too. You get them from old dudes in every one of the towns you visit. I only have two spells so far: shield and jump. They add that extra layer of strategy to the game that is a staple of any Zelda game. If you’re perceptive you’ll think that I’ve only beaten two temples. Well, you’re wrong! You can get the spells before you complete the temples so I’ve only beaten one. This brings up the next thing I want to talk about: the difficulty. I’ll put this as easily as I can: this game is really hard. I had played this game before on an emulator and only got as far as Death Mountain. It seems darn near impossible at some points. It’s hard because of the limited movement provided in the side-scrolling segments. If you get caught in between enemies you’re gonna get hit…a lot. Even if you’re objective is running, you’re gonna get hit a lot. You can’t move in three dimensions like the first game. But there’s a jump button, which is particularly rare in a Zelda game. Most of the enemies take more than one hit and can hit you before you’re in range to hit them. Thankfully the control is responsive for movement and attacking because there is a lot of precision and timing needed to take down a lot of these varying enemies.
Thanks for warming me up Mr. Dragon. It's a bit nippy outside.
      I also managed to pay a visit to Prof. Fitz Quadwrangle this week, but not on that same train ride. I’ll be brief, since most of you have lost interest by now and either closed the window or are scrolling for the short paragraphs. I gained access to the Slow-mo dimension, which opened up a lot of interesting puzzles. However, this also slapped me with the challenging of overcoming the jumping on floating objects learning curve. least I'm not in school
       That frustrating learning curve came right on the first slow-mo puzzle, in which you must traverse six or seven launched objects over a death pit to get to the other side. For whatever reason, the nameless wonder has the acceleration of a drag racer and will overshoot the target object if you move and then jump. Naturally, I eased up a bit started undershooting it. Soon, I got the feel for the jumps and could make my way across like 3 of them before I messed up. Maybe I’m just really bad but I died like, no joke, 20-25 times. The only reason I didn’t rage quit was because of the entertaining phrases that are shown when you die.
There are better ones, I'm just too lazy to take my own pictures
After that puzzle room, though, I found the puzzles to be creative and reasonably challenging. It just baffles me as to why they put so many things to jump across, 3-4 would’ve been sufficient. It was easily the most frustrating part of the game so far. If I don’t experience any more of those frustrating situations, I’ll chalk it up to a lapse in skill.

       My mom read last weeks post and didn’t like how I swore so I tried to do better this week, because I love my mom! I’ll talk atcha next week, Shlockheads!

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