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Friday 14 October 2011

Fan-Made 25th Anniversary Cartoons

In Zelda news

For Zelda’s 25th anniversary, Nintendo asked DSi and DSiXL owners to create their own Zelda cartoons using the in-built Flipnote Studio software. For cartoons designed on a DS touch screen, you may expect them to be quite static or not so detailed. You would be wrong! The fans have made some quite impressive shorts, and you can view the best of them at Kotaku: http://kotaku.com/5849773/zelda-fans-made-these-incredible-cartoons-on-a-ds/gallery/1

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Wednesday 05 October 2011

Four Swords Anniversary Edition TV Stop Features More Robin Williams

In Zelda news

It seems like Robin Williams and his daughter Zelda (who was named after… actually, you work it out) have signed a long-term marketing deal with Nintendo for the Zelda franchise. After starring in adverts for Ocarina of Time 3D a few months ago, they’re back to promote the newest title, Four Swords Anniversary Edition. Interesting to see Nintendo actually pay to promote something they’re giving away for free!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXbpkQHTMsc

And the moral of the story is: don’t bet your beard on a match of Four Swords. Who’s going to bet we’ll see these two charmers again in a month when Skyward Sword comes around?

(Footage does not show Robin Williams throwing his 3DS out of the window in a fit of rage after attempting the Hero Trials.)

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Sunday 02 October 2011

Quick Thoughts on Four Swords Anniversary Edition

In Opinions

I spent my Saturday playing Nintendo’s free anniversary gift for Zela fans, Four Swords Anniversary Edition. It was a strange announcement to make - that Nintendo were upgrading and re-releasing a game that was originally a short multiplayer extra included with Link to the Past on GBA, but it makes sense if you think about it. Very few people got the chance to play the original, as you needed a copy of the game for each player and a link cable. I almost managed to play it with my friend until it became apparent that for some reason I owned an Australian copy of the game, and my copy and his copy wouldn’t communicate. But this seems like the right time to retry things, as we’re now in the age of wireless handheld communication, there’s now a single player mode and, well, it’s free, so anyone with a DSi or 3DS can get ahold of it. But how does it hold up, and is it worth your time?

I played the game on single player mode, and really enjoyed it. The original game is intact, which takes around two and a half hours for a single playthrough. It’s good fun, encourages replay, and is the perfect Zelda game for a train journey. Where things really get interesting, though, is the “Realm of Memories”, which is unlocked when you complete the game for the first time. Here there are three dungeons, in the visual style of Link to The Past, Link’s Awakening and the original Zelda. These are essentially replicas of various sections of the games (e.g. Hyrule Castle in LttP), with layout changes to convert them into Four Swords dungeons (think Master Quest-style). These are a joy to play for any long-term Zelda fan, and seeing the Four Sword Links retrofitted as Game Boy sprites was one of the highlights for me. These dungeons alone will take you about two and a half to three hours to play through, so already the length of the original game is doubled.

But this is where the fun ends. Collect 30,000 rupees and you unlock the Hero’s Trials - three extra dungeons - and these are TOUGH. You may be able to get through the first one on single player, but I found the second one to be a brick wall. It’s not that the puzzles are hard, but these dungeons throw particularly menacing waves of enemies in quick succession, and these can easily lead to a quick death. And throw in the fact that these can take over an hour to get through, with no checkpoints, and they become incredibly frustrating on single player (especially considering the hardest fights are right at the end). It’s clear these were designed for multi-player, where I imagine they’d be considerably easier. Also, unlocking the second and third endings is more difficult in single player, as they involve collecting 3000 and 5000 rupees in each of the original game’s dungeons. In single player, this is a very monotonous task, involving waiting for enemies to respawn to fight them for their rupees. At the end of the day, despite Nintendo adding a single player mode, it’s clear there are sections of the game that just aren’t meant for single player, and that’s a shame.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it out if you don’t have any Zelda-loving friends. The original game is still a lot of fun, the Realm of Memories is a nostaglia-filled thrill, and, hey, it’s free! It’s short in length, but perfect for a rainy day, and providing you know when to stop playing due to the difficulty spike, you can have a great time with it. Props to Nintendo for giving this away.

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Wednesday 28 September 2011

Four Swords Anniversary Edition Now Available

In Zelda news

If you are the owner of a DSi or 3DS, you might want to check DSi Shop or eShop, as Nintendo’s free gift to Zelda fans, Four Swords Anniversary Edition, is now available for download. The game, an enhanced version of the GBA game bundled with A Link To The Past, features a new single player mode (the absence of which in the original version is probably the reason you’ve never played it). It also has exclusive levels done in the visual style of the original Zelda and Link’s Awakening. And it’s free!

If you’ve read this far, what is wrong with you? FREE ZELDA! GO!

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Tuesday 27 September 2011

25th Anniversary Merchandise Display at Nintendo World

In Zelda news

Zelda fans in NY may want to take note that Nintendo have set up a Zelda 25th Anniversary merchandise display in their Nintendo World Store. It’s located on the second floor, and features merchandise from the beginning of the series right up to the upcoming Skyward Sword. It will be around until February 2012, so there’s no rush in seeing it straight away.

If you’re not in NY, you can at least take a look at the pictures of the display that Kotaku took, here: http://kotaku.com/5843947/25-years-of-zelda-on-display-at-nintendo-world/gallery/1 It certainly looks impressive!

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Wednesday 21 September 2011

First4Figures Link on Epona Statue Officially Revealed

In Zelda news

Remember the Link on Epona statue that was teased by First4Figures a few days ago? Well, it has now been officially announced, and pre-orders are up.

As part of First4Figures’ “Twilight Princess Master Arts” range, the huge statue is based on the pose seen in the famous Drew Struzan-styled montage art, with Epona reared up on his two back legs (a self-professed feat of engineering). It is 17 inches tall and 16 inches from front to back, so don’t go placing it on some rickety old shelf! And as with the majority of their statues, comes in a regular flavour and an exclusive edition, which this time has a completely different, bronze-themed paint job. This version can only be bought straight from F4F, via their website.

“Aimed for the serious collector”, don’t expect to be able to afford these with your pocket money. The regular edition will cost you $424.99, and the exclusive edition, $449.99 (and let’s not forget postage). They will be limited, too, with 1500 of the regular edition being made, and 500 of the exclusive edition. But you can be sure that they will be worth every penny - First4Figures have a very high reputation for quality and attention-to-detail, and looking at the images of this statue, it is clear that they have another success on their hands.

Anyone here “serious” enough to buy one? Anyone super serious enough to buy both? Really? Listen, I could use some cash just now…

See pictures and pre-order the regular edition here: https://www.first4figures.com/component/option,com_myphp/Itemid,3/product,92/

See pictures and pre-order the exclusive edition here: https://www.first4figures.com/component/option,com_myphp/Itemid,3/product,93/

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Saturday 17 September 2011

Fun Zelda Videos

In Zelda news

Hey, gang.  I know this is technically Espy’s job, but I haven’t posted anything in quite some time so I think he’ll forgive me for stealing his thunder.  GameInformer has been running a video series all month detailing both Skyward Sword coverage and the 25th anniversary of Zelda.

In addition to fun videos like the montage of the “best” Zelda commercials (they’re still missing the Majora’s Mask teaser they showed in theaters, which had the best tagline to anything EVER), they also have Exclusive Videos.  There’s two out now, with three more promised overall.  These contain short sections of gameplay, which have my interest piqued.  Minor spoilers and such…but so far no boss fights have been ruined for us.

http://www.gameinformer.com/p/zelda.aspx

Enjoy!

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Friday 16 September 2011

New First4Figures Statue Teased - Link and Epona

In Zelda news

If you are a Zelda fan and you are rich, chances are you have at least one First4Figures Zelda statue standing on your desk. If you are a Zelda fan and you are very rich, chances are you have a glass display cabinet filled with the First4Figures Twilight Princess 1/4 scale Master Arts range in your luxury villa. A collection of huge, 1/4 scale replicas of characters from the game, the series is about to meet its third addition, Link on Epona.

First4Figures teased the latest addition with an image posted on Facebook (seen here: https://www.first4figures.com/images/stories/newsicons/loeteaser.jpg ). Not much is known about it, but the statue creators revealed it isn’t actually 1/4 scale (1/4 of a horse is still a pretty huge horse!), but is around the same scale as their previous Link statue, from Ocarina of Time. It’s apparently the heaviest statue they’ve ever made.

You can pre-order the statue at their website starting this Tuesday (September 20th). No word on price or numbering, or if there will be a special edition as with their previous two Twilight Princess statues, but judging from the previous releases, you can expect 750-1000 to be made, priced somewhere in the region of $300-400. Not for every Zelda fan, but you can be guaranteed that the quality will be unbeatable. I’m a sucker for F4F’s Sonic statues, and the attention to detail is so good that sometimes I wonder if they come alive and jump around my room when I’m not looking…

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Tuesday 13 September 2011

Zelda News from Nintendo’s TGS Conference

In Zelda news

It’s that time of year again, where “Japan’s E3”, the Tokyo Game Show, kicks into gear, and we get the usual slew of press conferences and game demos on the show floor. And kicking the thing off this year was Nintendo’s press conference.

First off, some news about Skyward Sword. Miyamoto took to the stage and claimed that the game would take 50-100 hours to complete. That’s huge! I’m inclined to believe he may be slightly exaggerating here, but we can rest assured that Skyward Sword will certainly be a meaty adventure. The game will also feature a helper mode, as seen in recent Mario and Donkey Kong games, and the recent Ocarina of Time 3D, which will give you hints in beating a puzzle if you get stuck. Saves the trips to GameFAQs, I suppose!

Miyamoto also showed off a demo of the game, but not much has been reported about that. Let us know if you find some sources that explain what was shown. In the meantime, there has been some new gameplay footage released to tide you over. Check out the footage towards the end of this new Zelda history video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulaSHjVxfuU) and this exclusive skydiving clip revealed by GameInformer (http://www.gameinformer.com/games/the_legend_of_zelda_skyward_sword/b/wii/archive/2011/09/12/exclusive-video-flying-to-eldin-volcano.aspx). *UPDATE* Here is video footage of the whole Zelda segment of the conference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StXfwq4GU3g The Skyward Sword stuff starts at around six minutes. We see countless new environments, bosses, and… the return of Beedle.

Secondly, more information about this new Four Swords was revealed, which will be given away for free download for the DSi/3DS, starting September 28 to February 20. The game, titled “Four Swords: Anniversary Edition”, appears to be an upgraded version of the GBA game (NOT the completely separate Gamecube game, as many are reporting), and has new features such as a new single player mode (the original was multiplayer only), and stages in the visual styles of the original NES Zelda, and the Gameboy game, Link’s Awakening. For a free gift, this is pretty cool! Now all I need to do is find three DSi/3DS owning friends, pronto! View the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iX7B6WnS4w

One final piece of information, between October 3 and February 20, select retailers will be seling prepaid 3DS cards with an image Link fighting Ganon. No news if these are Japan-only or will have a wider release.

Nintendo are certainly going all-out for Zelda’s birthday. The first main new game in five years, a free game for all DSi/3DS owners, a symphony tour, and even small things like Zelda-themed 3DS cards. It’s a busy year for Zelda!

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Monday 12 September 2011

More Free Zelda UK Posters

In Zelda news

UK Zelda fans are going to have some very pretty walls by the end of this month. On top of the great free posters that the Official Nintendo Magazine are giving away (see below), GamesMaster also have some nice Zelda artwork free with their current issue.

But this isn’t any old artwork. GamesMaster have put to print the fantastic, vertical scrolling anniversary fanart by Ag+ (seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1mhfHklIRQ ). The whole thing is split into two pieces, and is a fraction under eight landscape A4 sheets tall, making a very long poster. Not for those with small walls (me). The artwork generated a lot of positive feedback when it was first revealed, and it’s really cool that GamesMaster has made it available in a wall-mountable form. The reverse side of one half of the poster features a numbered list of all the characters on the poster.

The other side of the other half features a Skyward Sword image of Link riding his bird, similar to the one given away in ONM, but with a different background and orientation (horizontally longer). I think I prefer this version, personally. More sky.

I know that this poster will make a lot of fans excited, so what are you waiting for? Get ahold of one while you can!

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