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Episode 235: Svevan

by Evan Burchfield, James Jones, Greg Leahy, Jon Lindemann, and Jonathan Metts - March 20, 2011, 3:04 pm PDT
Total comments: 23

An RFN co-founder returns to the show, and we talk about all the crazy games at PAX East.

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It's been a very long time since RFN co-founder Evan Burchfield appeared on the show, and now he's back at Jonny's side to talk about games. But first, we have a brief post-mortem on last week's PAX East panel, plus an overview of everything we played at the convention, including 3DS demos, Ikaruga, Rock Band 3 (with the Squier guitar), Rare's NES offerings, ice hockey on Sega CD, and an obscure NES game called Xexyz.

In New Business proper, we catch up with Greg's exploits in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (Wii version) and its spiritual predecessor, Zelda 3. Yes, I said Zelda 3, deal with it! Jon shows us his Pokemans, while James takes a big dump on Ubisoft's RUSE. Evan reports on all kinds of hallucinatory games such as Muscle March, Noby Noby Boy, and 3D Dot Game Heroes. Jonny brings it home with Dead Space 2, which owes more inspiration to Nintendo games than you might expect.

Your Listener Mail questions start by asking how to acquire that belle of the DS ball, Radiant Historia. We also discuss impulse purchases, the clickiness of 3DS buttons, and the best games to play with kids.

This podcast was edited by Greg Leahy.

Music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is used with permission from Jason Ricci & New Blood. You can purchase their newest album, Done with the Devil, directly from the record label, Amazon (CD) (MP3), or iTunes, or call your local record store and ask for it!

Additional music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is copyrighted to Nintendo, and is included under fair use protection.

Talkback

TurdFurgyMarch 20, 2011

Another delicious treat from the RFN crew + RFN co-founder Evan Burchfield.
You guys should chunk a few of those 3DS answers into the 3DS mailbag that seems to be MIA.

Great episode! Also, do you know if there will be an episode of Newscast this week?

They were planning to record something with Karl subbing for someone else, but I don't know if it ever happened.

MorcantMarch 21, 2011

Hey guys, great show. Early on in new business Greg mentioned Final Fantasy 6/3 being released in Japan and Europe, I assume on Virtual Console. I've been wanting to play this game since I first saw ads for it in gaming mags, and it was one of the motivating factors for me asking for a Super Nintendo back in the mid-90's when it was nearing the end of its lifespan. Funnily enough, I never did actually play the game. What are the chances of this coming to the Virtual Console here in the states?

KDR_11kMarch 21, 2011

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllllll... The differences between pre-OOT and post-OOT Zelda are one of the key topics on Sean Malstrom's blog.

Aonuma stated that he sucked at fighting in Zelda, he couldn't even beat the Octorocks in the original LoZ, that's why he changed Zelda to be all about puzzles and changed items from power upgrades into glorified keys. The old Zeldas were much more about combat, recent Zeldas have been way too easy on the combat side while overcomplicating it. Twilight Princess gave you a crapload of combat moves but didn't provide enemies that you'd actually need to use them on. The only difficult part about the fight with Ganondorf is figuring out that you have to do one specific move in order to trigger the next cutscene, it's nowhere close to an all-out swordfight. By now the sword is more of a token thing you carry around.

Bosses also moved from hard fights that you had to beat by fighting well to puzzles that needed to be repeated three times to win. In LttP you beat bosses by hitting them with your sword, not by spamming your new item until the boss is stunned before landing a few token blows with your sword.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusMarch 21, 2011

Quote from: KDR_11k

Aonuma stated that he sucked at fighting in Zelda, he couldn't even beat the Octorocks in the original LoZ, that's why he changed Zelda to be all about puzzles and changed items from power upgrades into glorified keys. The old Zeldas were much more about combat, recent Zeldas have been way too easy on the combat side while overcomplicating it.

My recent experience with ALttP showed me that there was no shortage of items that functioned as glorified keys before OoT - the Power Glove lets you remove one kind of rock, the Titan's Mitt lets you move another kind of rock, the Book of Mudora opens the second dungeon, the Moon Pearl lets you retain your normal form in the Dark World, the medallions let you enter certain Dark World dungeons, etc.

The big difference from OoT onwards is how these key-like items need to be used. In ALttP, you might use them a handful of times at the most, or their use might be spread out thinly over the course of the game in a number of dungeons and the two overworlds. Conversely, in the 3D games it seems to me that sometimes the designers were preoccupied with trying to convince you that certain key-like items were something more than they really are, usually by making you use them over and over again in a concentrated fashion. I suppose if we applied the same philosophy to ALttP, there would be a room in a dungeon with a big maze of black rocks that you had to upturn one-by-one with the Titan's Mitt once you got it from the big chest--not exactly an appetising thought, and this is one reason why ALttP has a much more brisk and enjoyable pace than its 3D successors.

Having said that, I do have a strong appreciation for the more complex puzzles that have emerged in the Zelda series since OoT, and I certainly would not want that element to be lost in future games. What I'd like is for EAD to trim the fat of gratuitous item use, lessen the reliance of dungeons on individual items, and thus improve the pacing of the game significantly. As for combat, I hope that the motion controls in Skyward Sword will get us to a point where it is much more fluid and intuitive than the stiff fighting seen in OoT onwards, but at the same time it should clearly be more nuanced and involved than the rather simple action seen in something like ALttP. Along with (of course) creating a more engaging and dense overworld, these are the changes I'm looking for in Skyward Sword so it can perhaps synthesise the best elements of the 2D and 3D Zeldas.

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)March 21, 2011

Indeed. If the sword controls for Skyward Sword are being modelled off of Wii Sports Resort, I have no doubt about its fluidness, but the more important issue is, of course, the enemy design. They can make it as nuanced as they like with MotionPlus, but if the enemies aren't designed to take advantage of it, what's the point? Fortunately, we have seen examples of advanced combat, particularly in how even the basic enemies change the orientation of their weapons, meaning that for the first time, it actually matters whether the sword swing is horizontal or vertical.

On the topic of dungeon designs post-Ocarina of Time, I will defend Twilight Princess to the end of the world in that regard. Say what you will about the similar structure and story conceit, this, that, and the other, but the temples are really wonderful. The Lakebed Temple remains one of my favourites in the series - it was an incredible moment when the core puzzle of directing the flow of water suddenly clicked with me. Several new items for the franchise too, which didn't happen so much with Majora's Mask or Wind Waker. I agree with the argument that the bosses do take the 'Rule of Three' a bit far, but hey, at least they're spectacles.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusMarch 21, 2011

Quote from: Killer_Man_Jaro

On the topic of dungeon designs post-Ocarina of Time, I will defend Twilight Princess to the end of the world in that regard. Say what you will about the similar structure and story conceit, this, that, and the other, but the temples are really wonderful. The Lakebed Temple remains one of my favourites in the series - it was an incredible moment when the core puzzle of directing the flow of water suddenly clicked with me. Several new items for the franchise too, which didn't happen so much with Majora's Mask or Wind Waker. I agree with the argument that the bosses do take the 'Rule of Three' a bit far, but hey, at least they're spectacles.

As I've said on a number of previous RFN episodes, overall I'm a pretty big fan of the dungeons in Twilight Princess. In terms of quantity, quality and variety, they constitute the best set of dungeons yet seen in the 3D games. There's just some fluff in there (the double hookshot issue I referenced on this episode being an example) that I think could benefit from being streamlined, and indeed the bosses could use with some freshening up.

Also, I think it would be beneficial to switch-up the typical dungeon structure (i.e. progress through rooms until you find a crucial item that opens up the rest of the dungeon, get the big key, go to boss) to lessen the predictability of each dungeon. Spirit Tracks does this to some extent by alternating between the typical item-based dungeons and the different levels of the Spirit Tower (which instead rely on the Link-Zelda co-operative mechanic) and it proved to be a refreshing change of pace for me, but the regular switching back-and-forth in dungeon style itself became predictable over the course of the game.

Of course James stayed to watch Lindy in the NHL 94 tournament; if he hadn't, who would have been the one to make the system freeze to prevent his opponents from coming back late in the game? :P:

NinSageMarch 21, 2011

Very enjoyable show this week, guys!!  My responses...

Xexyz! I had/have that game.  Man, it sure confused the hell outta me back in the day.  It's one of the few NES games that I had but never beat.  Maybe I should dust it off and see if my adult brain can handle it?

Metroid Prime 2 is my favorite of the trilogy as well.  It just had a sense of atmosphere that trumped even the other games.

I'd never heard of Landstalker.  Which is funny since I was a Genesis kid during that era.  So, I looked up some YouTube videos of the game.  I imagine the guy from Landstalker later went on to star in Alundra =P

Speaking of awesome, Zelda-y RPGs on Genesis, I'd always wanted to play Beyond Oasis back in the day but didn't get around to it until downloading it for the Virtual Console.  Holy heck! I loved that game!! So good!  I bought a Sega Saturn a few years ago and would like to hunt down the BO sequel sometime.

I got into Pokemon just a few years ago and have never regretted it.  They're just so enjoyable.  It's like the most relaxing addiction ever =)  So worry not, Lindy, no one will judge you.... around here at least. =P

Also just wanted to throw out there: I would also really love to own a DSi XL but just can NOT justify the purchase.  And I don't even have a DSi, just a DSLite.  But hey, maybe when the 3DS comes out the DS family will drop in price??? Maybe????

Great job, again, guys.  Rock on.

Alundra is much better than Landstalker. Still not as good as A Link to the Past.

NWR_KarlKarl Castaneda, Contributing EditorMarch 21, 2011

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

They were planning to record something with Karl subbing for someone else, but I don't know if it ever happened.

We recorded. It should be coming soon.

NinSageMarch 21, 2011

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Alundra is much better than Landstalker. Still not as good as A Link to the Past.

Yea, I liked Alundra quite a bit.  Very dark considering its company in the genre.
... I think you guys brought up Alundra in the not too distant past.

I was just commenting on the character designs....

Landstalker - http://www.jap-sai.com/Games/Landstalker/Landstalker_Art_01_a.jpg
Alundra - http://www.rpgfan.com/pics/Alundra/art-004.jpg

I mean COME ON! It's like the same person!

... think it's the same artist?

And yes, ALttP trumps them all.

... with Beyond Oasis in a reasonably close second =P just my opinion.

viciouskillersquirrelMarch 21, 2011

It's not like ALttP didn't have puzzles of its own, though.  Having to use the cape or the cane that protected you to cross spikes or using the Cane of Somaria in Turtle Rock, for example, or figuring out how to get to the Misery Mire by travelling in/out of the dark world, then using a specific spell a la Zelda 2.

Most of these were more "figure out how to do it then do it before the time runs out" sort of puzzles, like lighting all the candles at the same time.

I don't think Skyward Sword will necessarily abandon the "dungeon item being required to beat the dungeon" structure, but I do think (more hope) that the line between dungeon and overworld will make it seem less obvious and structured.  Think the dark forest in ALttP.

KisakiProjectMarch 22, 2011

I thought that was you on retronauts Johnny.  Cool.  Plus I love how Kohler was shilling for the show on the panel.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusMarch 22, 2011

Quote from: viciouskillersquirrel

It's not like ALttP didn't have puzzles of its own, though.  Having to use the cape or the cane that protected you to cross spikes or using the Cane of Somaria in Turtle Rock, for example, or figuring out how to get to the Misery Mire by travelling in/out of the dark world, then using a specific spell a la Zelda 2.

Most of these were more "figure out how to do it then do it before the time runs out" sort of puzzles, like lighting all the candles at the same time.

I don't think Skyward Sword will necessarily abandon the "dungeon item being required to beat the dungeon" structure, but I do think (more hope) that the line between dungeon and overworld will make it seem less obvious and structured.  Think the dark forest in ALttP.

As I said during this episode, ALttP has some very memorable "Eureka!" moments in it (the example I referenced was bombing to create the shaft of light into the empty boss room in the Thieves' Town dungeon, which then reveals the boss when you take the prisoner girl into the light). However, the puzzles are not the "bread-and-butter" of the dungeons as they are in later Zelda games, and a good number of them seem rather straightforward now (like the time-limited ones you describe above). Remember, this discussion is all in relative--not absolute--terms, comparing Zelda games to one another.

The dark forest is an interesting example as the overworld in that case is almost part of the dungeon itself, as it contains several entry points and you have to travel between dungeon and overworld to make it through successfully. The only problem with this in ALttP is: if you die inside the dungeon you restart at an entrance, whereas if you die outside you appear atop the Golden Pyramid and have to make your way back to the forest; that discrepancy would probably need to be addressed if a similar approach were employed to dungeons in Skyward Sword.

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)March 22, 2011

To anybody who likes the different brand of puzzle solving from A Link to the Past, there's been one after Ocarina of Time to follow that mould, which is Four Swords Adventures. Obviously, because it was clearly adhering to ALttP in several ways, that's no surprise, but it's probably a game that many people missed. There are a lot of puzzles based on the formations of the four Links, and very few item-based puzzles, as you can only hold one at a time, and they are taken away at the end of every level.

KDR_11kMarch 22, 2011

Hm, games for children... What did I play back in the day?

Pong. Pac-Man. Any Super Mario Bros games. R-Type. Gradius. Galaga. Megaman. There's a coop-enabled version of R-Type on the XBLA store.

Speaking of impulse purchases, I got Batman: The Brave and the Bold for a tenner today (I don't need to be in a specific mood to buy an interesting game for a tenner but I guess in America that's not as rare as it is here). I considered getting Pokemon HeartGold after seeing it marked down to 30€ but I think I can get Black for 33€ if that offer hasn't expired yet. For someone who hasn't played anything after Red (with the exception of Rumble) which is the better choice?

viciouskillersquirrelMarch 22, 2011

Quote from: Yoshidious

Quote from: viciouskillersquirrel

It's not like ALttP didn't have puzzles of its own, though.  Having to use the cape or the cane that protected you to cross spikes or using the Cane of Somaria in Turtle Rock, for example, or figuring out how to get to the Misery Mire by travelling in/out of the dark world, then using a specific spell a la Zelda 2.

Most of these were more "figure out how to do it then do it before the time runs out" sort of puzzles, like lighting all the candles at the same time.

I don't think Skyward Sword will necessarily abandon the "dungeon item being required to beat the dungeon" structure, but I do think (more hope) that the line between dungeon and overworld will make it seem less obvious and structured.  Think the dark forest in ALttP.

As I said during this episode, ALttP has some very memorable "Eureka!" moments in it (the example I referenced was bombing to create the shaft of light into the empty boss room in the Thieves' Town dungeon, which then reveals the boss when you take the prisoner girl into the light). However, the puzzles are not the "bread-and-butter" of the dungeons as they are in later Zelda games, and a good number of them seem rather straightforward now (like the time-limited ones you describe above). Remember, this discussion is all in relative--not absolute--terms, comparing Zelda games to one another.

The dark forest is an interesting example as the overworld in that case is almost part of the dungeon itself, as it contains several entry points and you have to travel between dungeon and overworld to make it through successfully. The only problem with this in ALttP is: if you die inside the dungeon you restart at an entrance, whereas if you die outside you appear atop the Golden Pyramid and have to make your way back to the forest; that discrepancy would probably need to be addressed if a similar approach were employed to dungeons in Skyward Sword.

I see what you're saying.  And yes, little quibbles like where you restart would have to be fixed in Skyward Sword if they want something like that to work.  It should be a trivial matter.

Speaking of dungeons with overworld elements, the desert dungeon in ALttP and one or two dungeons in Oracle of Seasons/Ages had you crossing into the overworld in order to complete the dungeon as well.

They've clearly experimented with the idea in the 2D games.  Why never the 3D games?  Was the reason technical (loading times etc.)?

Quote from: Killer_Man_Jaro

To anybody who likes the different brand of puzzle solving from A Link to the Past, there's been one after Ocarina of Time to follow that mould, which is Four Swords Adventures. Obviously, because it was clearly adhering to ALttP in several ways, that's no surprise, but it's probably a game that many people missed. There are a lot of puzzles based on the formations of the four Links, and very few item-based puzzles, as you can only hold one at a time, and they are taken away at the end of every level.

Yes.  Every Zelda fan should play this game.  I played it in single-player and even then it was fantastic.

KDR_11kMarch 23, 2011

I think it's just that dungeon surroundings are such special-built set pieces that even venturing outside would feel like you're still inside the dungeon.

Good episode, guys. Glad to hear Evan's still kickin'!

yoshi1001March 24, 2011

One thing I really liked about LttP is that there was often more than one way to do things. Several bosses could be defeated by more than one combination of weapons (even the bug-catching net was good in a place or two).

Glad to hear about your "Mock-My-Video" experience. The only way that could have been better is if it was the INXS version. Then again, seeing as I liked Pokemon Channel...

SuntopApril 30, 2011

Just want to thank you guys for giving me suggestions on games for kids. Been busy and just recently got around to listening to the show.


I went out and bought a used gamecube controller. I miss the wave bird, I knew I should have bought a couple of those when the gamecube was on it's way out it was the best controller ever. I settled for a regular black GC original.  I also bought a few games i either hadn't played yet or don't own anymore and loved. Kirbys air ride, mario kart DD (had played but never owned) Burnout and SSB, I just couldn't help myself on that last one. I don't own it anymore and figured I should.


Heard pretty good things about the kirby game and figured I'd give it a try. Tried to pick up windwaker, but none in stock. Guy at the counter said it was selling for $40 bucks used and just recently dropped to $20. I really wanna snag a copy of that. Loved that game.


Thanks again!




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