By now, I have over 2000 rupees, and I decide it’s time, finally, to buy the stealth outfit that’s available in Kakariko village. I transport there, do a fairy fountain run, and pick up four fairies, and then head down to the shop where I buy the full outfit, plus a Hylian hood, just because it looks cool, then go back up to the fairy fountain, and get everything augmented.
Then I transport to the Gerudo Highland tower to pick up where I left off. I figure the stealth outfit will be helpful for sneaking around and avoiding fights while I’m focusing on exploration. This outfit was pretty expensive, and having the whole thing, augmented should make me a lot sneakier. It probably won’t get me into Gerudo town, but I figure a solution to that problem will present itself at some point.
While in Kakariko, I went to the statue and traded in four spirit orbs for a Heart Container, bringing me up to 7. I’ve also had 3 Stamina meter boosts, and I’m wondering if maybe that’s enough to tame the Giant Horse in Gerudo.
I also have no idea what I would do with the Giant Horse, but if I can get him, I figure I’ll run out to the Horse Goddess and see what she thinks.
I transport to the shrine nearest the place where the Giant Horse lives, and it’s the one with the conveyor belt challenge, so I decide to give it another try. This time, I get a lucky bomb to blow the ball off of the conveyor belt right into the basin below, and unlock the door, to access the second challenge. This one is tougher; there are two little guardians on the conveyor belt, and they are weak, but they shoot blasts at me, and I have to take them out with arrows. Fortunately, they don’t take much to defeat, and then they don’t come back. But this conveyor is further away from the platform I’m standing on, so my bomb won’t reach when I throw it, and this confirms my suspicion that bombs weren’t really the best answer for this challenge. I try time stopping the conveyor instead, which works. But then I still have to figure out how to get the ball to go into the basin. I try magnesis, but it doesn’t work on the ball. Then I try using stasis on the ball, rather than the conveyor, and this works just as well to freeze it into place. I fire an arrow into it, lining my shot up carefully like a billiards shot, and when the time stop unfreezes, the ball shoots right into the basin, unlocking the second challenge.
The third challenge involves two conveyors, running parallel to each other, one carrying boxes, and one empty. There are several laser blocks firing beams across both conveyors, and an orb. I can pick up the orb, but not run very fast with it. At the far end of the room, I can see another basin, and the challenge is to get past the laser beams while carrying the orb.
I try a run at it without the orb, to see if I can figure it out, and it’s not too difficult. I just wait for the boxes on the other conveyor to block the beam, and cross in the box’s “shadow”. The second laser is on my side, so the boxes don’t help me here. I figure out that if I duck, I can go under the beam. But probably I could also have just grabbed a box from the far end of the room using magnesis and brought it over to shelter me on my side. That might have been better, but also required a fast and accurate hand, and quick timing.
At any rate, after finishing my dry run, I go back and grab the orb, and do it for real. The final door opens, and I spot a shrine chest coming down the conveyor on the far side of the room. I snag it with magnesis, and open it, it’s a weapon of some kind, I think a spear or a bow, I forget which. I take it, dropping one of my weaker weapons, and go to the final chamber to claim my spirit orb.
I’m pleased with myself for solving this one.
Exiting the shrine, I check the map to get my bearings, and try to head on a beeline toward the Giant Horse. There’s a lot of climbing between me and there going as the crow flies, so I end up going down into the canyon below, and trace around the edge of the canyon wall rather than try to climb over it. I end up going a different route than I’ve taken before, and encounter several lizals, and a few yellow chuchus, and have to fight them. It doesn’t go badly for me, though, and I continue on. Eventually I get twisted around and take a wrong turn, and end up going through a whole canyon cul de sac that dead ends. I do manage to find a few more koroks, though, so it’s not a total waste of time. I turn around and head in the right direction, and have only a little bit of climbing over a rise, to get down into the valley of the Giant Horse.
I can see him, standing among the rest of his herd, and I try to sneak up. I figure with my recent stamina meter bosts, I might have a shot, but my first attempt fails. I decide I’ll burn an elixir that boosts my max stamina, since I seem to have sufficient stamina to do almost anything else. But now that I’ve tried riding the Giant Horse once, he’s a lot more skittish, and even wearing my stealth suit and having no other gear equipped, he keeps running away from me, and I spend like 20 minutes chasing him. Eventually, when night falls, he seems to let his guard down more, and I’m able to get close enough to try to ride him again.
The stamina extender elixir does the trick and gives me just barely enough to bring the Giant Horse under control. I have just a tiny sliver of yellow left on my meter, when he calms down and breaks. I have done it!
Now I just need to ride him safely to a stable to get registered. I immediately save the game, because there’s no telling what will happen when I try to sneak past the two lynels between me and the nearest stable.
On my first attempt, I try to get the Giant Horse to run fast, past the first lynel, but this horse is the biggest, not the fastest, and he doesn’t seem to have a temporary boost beyond his gallop speed. This takes me by surprise and the lynel knocks me off my horse, and I lose my weapon. I run to grab it, but now the lynel is on me and I have to fight him. There’s no getting to the Giant Horse and getting away. I put up a pretty decent right, but the lynel still trashes me. I’m fighting with a one-handed weapon, and this affords me the use of my other hand for a shield, and I find this makes a tremendous amount of difference, and is way better than trying to fight it with the slow, heavy damage two-handed weapons that I’d always gone in with in previous encounters. I actually manage to pull off a couple of the parry and dodge moves, but the game’s camera still is a problem, screwing me up and disorienting me when the lynel gets right on me, and I can’t see what I’m doing or even where my enemy is, which is a disaster when he’s right next to me and can kill me in one shot. I’m not sure how far I got his life meter down, but I did mange to hit him a bunch of times, so maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of his health before I died.
This is encouraging, and maybe I can get better and take one of these things down soon.
My second attempt, I handle the Giant Horse better, and get past the first lynel before it can make an attack on me, and then I get past the second lynel without it even noticing me.
The last major obstacle between me and the stable is the mounted bokoblins. The Giant Horse’s slow top speed means that I can’t outrun them very well, and I end up taking a few arrows in the back as I run through them and away. I’m going to have to go back there at some point and teach them a lesson.
I do end up losing them eventually, outrunning their range of interest. I come to a road, and follow it a ways, and then come to a fork where there’s a tree, and a couple of Hylian men sort of hanging out under there.
I talk to them, and they ask me about Giant Horses, which kicks off a new side quest, to find a Giant Horse. Since I am riding a Giant Horse, it’s the shortest side quest ever, and completes immediately. But it’s pretty obvious that I did things out of order. I guess that’s always a possibility in an open world game like this, but I think it could have been handled better.
The men give me a reward of 100 rupees for finding the Giant Horse, and then one of them invites me to do a mounted archery challenge, but I’m in a rush to get the Giant Horse registered at the stables before something happens and I lose him, so I decline, and continue to the stable. I register him there, and a number of people make remarks about the massive animal. I name this horse Horsiest, replacing my previous Horsiest who I sold to the stranded man back in the canyon, and it’s an apt name.
I decide to take him to the Horse God’s spring, but the Horse God’s only purpose seems to be to resurrect lost horses, and it doesn’t seem to care at all that I have a special horse. Oh well. I ride the horse back to the stable and check him in.
Having accomplished that much, I return to Gerudo town, transporting myself to the shrine there. I talk to the guy who’s looking for the merchant who sneaks in, and I stand with him for several game-hours, thinking he’ll come by and then I’ll see something, but much time passes, and nothing happens. A few other travelers do come by, and I talk to them all, and none of them really tell me much that can help me move forward in my quest to sneak into Gerudo town.
One guy is running around the city’s outer wall, and brags about his sand boots, which make it easier for him to travel. I want those boots, but he won’t let me have them, and he’s only interested in talking to women, because he wants to find a woman to woo.
I also take a lap around the town’s perimeter, and observe that there are gates at the North, East, and West sides of town, but not to the South. The West gate guard tells me about a secret treasure hidden in the desert, with the statues of ladies holding swords pointing the way. This opens another side-quest that immediately resolves, because I had found that shrine all on my own. Again, the out-of-order nature of this sequence feels like it could have been better handled. Like, the story writers should have written an alternative script in the event that you solve that shrine on your own before having this conversation. But I suppose the sheer number of combinations of things that would have forced them to have to account for in the game would have made that an overwhelming project.
I’ve already pretty much figured out that I’m going to need to find some women’s clothing to disguise myself so I can sneak in, and it’s just a matter of finding them. There was that woman back at the oasis, who talked about her tailoring skills, but she doesn’t seem to be interested in making me any clothing. But maybe if I go back there she’ll say something different now.
I run back to the oasis and talk to everyone again. Maybe there’s some different people here, or maybe I missed a few the first time. I meet a Goron, the first I’ve encountered, and he talks about watching the sandstorm, waiting for it to clear up. There’s a Hylian man also watching the storm, and he’s interested in going out and finding a treasure when it clears. This unlocks another side quest for me, and this one I haven’t solved already. So that’s interesting, apparently there’s two separate treasures/shrines that I need to go into a major sandstorm in order to find.
I talk to several more people and everyone seems to know something about this merchant who sneaks in, or a female Hylian who has been here recently, staying at the inn. I go and talk to the innkeeper, and they tip me off that they sometimes spend time on the roof of the inn, but not during the day.
I go to sit by a fire until night, and ten climb to the roof of the inn, and find our merchant-in-drag who has been sneaking into Gerudo town. He offers to sell me his clothes for 600 rupees, but I don’t have that much, as I’ve spent a fortune on the stealth clothes and arrows. But I have over 130 amber gems, which is more than enough to bring the needed coin if I sell them, so I do that, and then go get my new outfit.
There’s some attempt at comedy at Link’s expense for dressing in women’s clothing, but it’s not a big deal. It’s not especially funny, and it doesn’t especially offend me, but it seems that Link is slightly embarrassed at first to be dressed as a woman. But the game doesn’t seem to want to make too big a deal out of it, which is good.
The new clothes are also giving me a slight shift in the temperature range I can safely exist in, making desert travel during the day possible even without my frost wand equipped.
I run back to Gerudo town, and along the way I have to fight 5 or 6 lizals. I probably should have just teleported to the shrine right by Gerudo, but I wanted to take the road again just to see what might happen, maybe I’d run into some more people, who could help advance the story or tell me useful things. Taking weird detours and flying and teleporting, you lose a lot of opportunities to meet people on the roads, which come to think of it is probably why I feel like I’ve been missing some big clues about what I’m supposed to be doing, and why the game feels like a korok easter egg hunt rather than a quest to save Hyrule from Ganon. And it’s probably why I haven’t seen Hestu since the first time I met him. I have taken roads around a lot of places, but I often veer off them very quickly and end up spending much more time in fields, woods, and climbing cliffs and mountains, which means probably I’m not triggering a lot of storytelling events that happen on roads.
I make a note of this and think I’ll have to go back and travel along the roads more if I don’t figure out where to go next.
The Gerudo guards allow me to come right into the city. I enter the West gate, and there’s the sand seal rental place. They tell me these seals are easier to manage than the wild ones, so maybe I’ll try them again soon.
I talk to an old lady sleeping in under a tent in the street who says I seem familiar to her, but I don’t think I’ve talked to her before. Maybe she’s someone Link knew 100 years ago?
I go into a building and there’s a Gerudo woman and her young daughter, and I talk to them both. The woman is studying the nearby circle of seven massive statues, where I found a shrine already, and this open-completes yet another out of sequence side quest. The daughter tells me that the people who spend their nights in the cantina are so loud, she can hear everything they say when she’s by the window of the cantina. So I guess that means I’m supposed to do some eavesdropping myself.
I’ve made a ton of progress in this session, so I stop for the time being, and save the game.