Category: games

“Atari VCS” launches

“Atari” has finally shipped a physical product to its Indiegogo backers.

I didn’t back the campaign, because I didn’t have faith in the company calling itself “Atari” these days to deliver value. One of the backers received theirs already and has published an unboxing/review on YouTube.

And there’s a lot of rough edges. The controllers work differently, depending on whether they’re connected via USB cable or by Bluetooth? Hitches in the e-commerce experience, getting double charged for a failed download? You have to pay for Atari Vault Vol 2, a collection of 30+ year old games? Browser accounts aren’t properly connected to the local user? Really? I wish I could say I am surprised.

The launch library is, as expected, sparse and uninspiring, offering nothing new beyond a warmed-over Missile Command remake. I haven’t seen the new Missile Command in detail — it looks OK, I guess — but having participated in numerous game jams, and knowing the original Missile Command, I know enough to say that a Missile Command reboot could be tackled with a game jam’s worth of effort — in other words, 2-3 people, 1 weekend, bam, playable new Missile Command game. Realistically, to be completely generous, a game like that could be developed in a month or so.

“Atari” have spent $3 million and 3 years creating a cool-looking case and joystick for a commodity PC that runs a Free OS and have developed a front-end for it that could be used to deliver new original games, first-party exclusives, if Atari had them. but all they currently offer is Google Chrome browser, Netflix, and a couple bundles of emulated games that have been available for 30+ years, and absolutely don’t need a new console to deliver them.

Legend of Zelda Overworld Randomizer

Another awesome Legend of Zelda romhack, this one by Garret Bright. This one is an overworld randomizer.

It takes the rom file for the original Legend of Zelda (not included), and replaces the original overworld map with a completely new map. The new maps are randomly generated by a seed function, and the seed value always generates the same map, so if you find one that you find especially interesting, you can easily share it with your friends, without copyright violations, by sharing the seed.

Hyrule #25325045

The randomized overworlds seem to be well designed, for a randomized generator, in that they feel like they are following similar design principles that are evident in the original game, meaning that the maps are playable, and feel like they are broken up into zones, much like the original. It doesn’t just take the existing overworld screens and re-arrange them, it creates new tile layouts for novel overworld screens that have never been seen before, and stitches them together to create a coherent overworld consisting of distinct zones.

But, curiously, some design rules that are present in the original game, are not followed in the randomizer. For instance, in the original, most dungeon entrances have a single enemy roaming around outside, but in the randomized maps, this does not seem to be the rule. Also, enemy placement seems to be less concerned about starting Link in a part of the world that is far away from the more powerful monsters. You can expect to start on a screen with the cave to the Wooden Sword, but you may find yourself surrounded by blue Leevers, Peahats, and Moblins sooner than you’d expect to run into them in the original. And the trick where leaving a single enemy on each overworld screen prevents the screen from re-spawning enemies again doesn’t seem to work any more.

I’ve always wanted to see more games made with the original LoZ engine, so this is probably one of the best things ever. Now I can play unique Legend of Zelda games for the rest of my natural lifespan. If only there was something that created new dungeon maps and new items as well. Perhaps we’ll get something like that one day. Until then, I’ll be burning every bush, and blowing up every rock, until I find every secret there is to find in a virtually limitless multiverse of alternative Hyrules.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be in world 25325045.

You can download the overworld randomizer at bitbucket.org.

Atari Age 2020 Pre-Order

Atari Age, the fan-operated homebrew operation that holds the most legitimate claim to the legacy of Atari-that-was, has opened up pre-orders for a new batch of games for the Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, and 400/800/XE systems, and even the Atari Jaguar.

Zoo Keeper - Champ Games - Atari 2600
Zoo Keeper (2021, Champ Games) – Atari 2600

I’m most excited about Zoo Keeper, a faithful port of the early 80’s arcade classic to the 2600 developed by Champ Games — who have been killing it with their talented Atari 2600 ports of classic arcade games like Galaga and the upcoming Robotron 2084 — and Ninjish Guy in Low-Res World, a homebrew platformer for the 2600 in the vein of Super Meat Boy. I’ve been looking forward to playing a 2600 homage to one of my top early 80’s arcade classics Zoo Keeper for quite some time.

Ninjish Guy - Atari 2600
Ninjish Guy in Low Res World

Also worth a look releases are Deepstone Catacomb, a zelda-like adventure game, which looks really well done for an Atari 2600 title. Venture Reloaded, another early dungeon crawler, finally does justice to the classic arcade game Venture, should appeal to fans of the original.

Deepstone Catacombs - Atari 2600
Deepstone Catacomb

Fans of the maze genre should find Hugo Hunt and Robot City to their liking. Dare Devil shows off some impressive chiptune chops and parachuting action reminiscent of classic games like Frogger, Freeway, and of course Sky Diver. But it appears to be an update or direct sequel to 1983 release, Parachute. Cannon Head Clash is a really fun-looking 2p artillery duel with destructive terrain and frantic action. If you enjoyed games like Outlaw/Gunslinger, and Combat on the 2600, this is one to check out. It’s even available for SECAM60 television sets, which is amazingly rare for a homebrew. Avalanche should appeal to fans of Activision’s classic paddle game, Kaboom! Tower of Rubble features fantastic audio, and super-slick animation and platform-edge hanging action as you struggle to stay atop a crumbling tower of falling blocks.

All of these new games show that the Atari 2600, released now 43 years ago back in 1977, still has many extra lives nearly half a century later, and nearly three decades after the last Atari 2600 rolled off the assembly line. The dedication of the programmers who pull off these minor miracles to their craft is astounding. The fact is that every produced by the homebrew community these days are among the best ever released on their platform. While the prices might seem steep at $40-50 apiece, the games are produced by hand in small batches, and are every bit as professionally presented as the best games produced by top industry developers during the system’s heyday. If you’re a fan of the system and still have working hardware hooked up in your house, they are absolutely worth their price.

I haven’t even looked at the titles for the other systems yet, because my budget frankly can’t take it. Just about game I have looked at looks like a game worth playing, with most of them being must-buys.

Legend of Zelda HD Remaster

The original Legend of Zelda has received a HD remaster treatment by the romhack community.

The hack is playable through an emulator called Mesen. Mesen is free, and you’ll need a copy of a specific version of the original of the Legend of Zelda ROM as well as the HD remake files in order to play it.

Applying the HD remake files to the game is not difficult, but requires following a series of instructions that are demonstrated in the video below.

I gave it a try. The graphical updates give it a look on part with the SNES, and have a look reminiscent of Zelda III: A Link to the Past, although the sprites appear to be original artwork, not rips from the SNES ROM. Likewise, the audio sounds much like a SNES update of the original LOZ soundtrack.

The terrain sprites are fantastic, and make old Hyrule look spectacular. The repetitive tiled look of the original is completely made over, and now overworld features like bombable rocks and burnable bushes are a bit less of a pain than they were before — rather than having to try to burn every single bush on the screen, there’ll be one bush (or a small handful) of bushes that will stand out and look suspicious from the rest of the background terrain.)

I’m not as impressed by the character sprites. Moblins, Goriya, and Stalfos all look less charming than they did in the original. Creatures like Octorocks, Tektites, Leevers, and Kees look like they are done better, to me.

One thing I notice right away is that Link’s HD sprite looks visually smaller than the original, but his hitbox doesn’t seem to have changed. This makes him feel somewhat clumsy, and I kept colliding with enemies when it looked like I should have a bit of space between us. While I’m sure this can be gotten used to, to me it’s an unfortunate, huge, and immediate negative. Ultimately, enjoying a videogame comes down to gameplay, not graphics, and gameplay is impacted by an improper hitbox like this. I believe the developers of the HD Remaster could fix this pretty easily by making adjustments to Link’s sprite.

Another thing I noticed is that when climbing up/down stairs, there is no animation showing Link descending and disappearing into the dark hole, as there is in the original.

The HD Remaster enhances the game in a few other notable ways: increased bomb capacity, pressing Select toggles your B-inventory item so you no longer have to pause to the subscreen to select it, text draws faster, and the dialogs are somewhat altered from the original, offering better translations and more useful clues than were present in the original.

I’ve played through the first dungeon. I notice that in the dungeons, the map doesn’t seem to give you any visual indication to differentiate between rooms you have visited vs. rooms that you have not yet reached. This is another gameplay issue that I feel should be rectified by the maintainers of the mod.

Overall, this seems like a fantastic mod, very well done, but not without minor flaws. It is nevertheless enjoyable and should not be missed if you’re a fan of the original game. Nintendo legal often clamps down on fan projects like this, so if you want to play this yourself, it’s best to grab it while you can. Although, the maintainers do appear to have taken pains to separate the mod pack from anything that directly infringes on Nintendo copyright, such as the original ROM that is needed in order to make the mod pack work.

Tangle: A simple Snake clone

After about a year of not feeling like doing anything related to game development, last night I felt like making something. 

So I stayed up all night and made a simple Snake clone that I call Tangle. 

There’s nothing special about this project, it’s just a bare bones, no frills clone of the classic snake game, but I think for a few hours work it’s decently well done, and it plays well. 

I think it took about 2-4 hours to build, and would have taken about a quarter that if it wasn’t for the fact that I haven’t done anything with GameMaker in a long time, and have never felt comfortable using GMS2’s revamped IDE.  It’s minimalist, so don’t expect a whole lot, is what I’m trying to say.  But enjoy it for what it is.

itch.io

play in browser

Zelda: BOTW Diary (92)

Three more shrines today.  I looked them up on the internet rather than discovered them in-game through my own effort.

The first is one in Tabantha.  I go there and there’s a mountain with a great stone door in the base, similar to the one in Hebra that I found weeks ago.  Like that one, I have to bowl a snowball into it in order to open the door.  But I have to carry a small snowball up a hill, then roll it down and have it hit the door.  I do this, but the ball just sort of nudges the door, and it doesn’t open.  So I hit it with time-stop, and put energy into it, and it knocks the door down.

I don’t really remember the inside of the shrine.  I think maybe it just says you already passed the challenge by finding it, and gives me a spirit orb.

The second shrine was in the Gerudo highlands, near the area where I had to rescue some Hylian travellers who got kidnapped by monsters in the canyon ahead of the Gerudo stable.  I explored one side of this canyon thoroughly, but the other side, I missed completely.  Here, there are three Gorons who are challenging themselves to endure heat.  I talk to them and they invite me to partake in the challenge.  I put on the flame resistant armor and pass the first challenge, but then they tell me to take it off and prove myself for the second one.  I take an elixir and endure the heat with no problem, and a shrine appears.

Inside the shrine, I have to use motion controls to re-orient a cube to electrify all 6 faces of it, to open a door.  Then I get into another room, where there’s a more difficult puzzle, involving motion controls and a cube that has wind blowers on it that I need to aim to hit four turbines.  Two turbines are on a lower level, but can be raised by activating a switch.  There’s a metal box that I can put on one switch, but the other is harder to figure out.  I eventually use inventory items to weight down the switch, and it triggers, and then I can blow all four turbines.  This opens a third room.

Inside this room, there’s another cube, with six unlit torches on it, and two water fountains.  I have to light the torches using a fire in the ceiling, and get all six sides lit without putting them out with the water.  It’s tricky, and after failing once I decide to just cheat it and use fire arrows to hit the torches without moving the cube with the motion controls.  This makes it easy, and I get a diamond and a spirit orb.

Outside the shrine, I spot another korok seed block puzzle that I hadn’t gotten before.  I have enough seeds to buy another shield inventory slot from Hestu, so I go do that.

The third shrine is found by a shrine quest triggered at Tabantha Bridge Stables.  I transport there, and there’s a man named Geggle, who I’m supposed to talk to during the day.  It’s night, and he’s inside the stables, but talking to him doesn’t trigger the shrine quest.  I go sit by a fire until noon, but then he’s nowhere to be found.  So I talk to random people at the stable, and I find another korok race puzzle under Tabantha bridge. I can’t find Geggle anywhere, so I go back to the fire and sit by it until morning.  At 5am I get up and go back to the stable inn, and Geggle’s sitting where he sits at night, and doesn’t do anything.  I have to wait for four hours before he finally gets up and does something, which is to run out from the stable.  I follow him, and try talking to him several times, but he just asks me if I need something.  I continue to follow him to where he’s running to, and he stops and looks out across the valley. At the far end of it, he is looking at something.  I talk to him, and he says he sees something out there, that looks man made, and asks if I can see it too.  I use the sheikah scope to get a better view, and see a large design painted on the side of the cliff.

I mark it, and then look on the map to see how far it is, and it’s rather far.

I make the journey, climbing and gliding as much as I can, and get to the end of my trek.  There’s s series of scaffolds and catwalks built into the cliff face, with monsters patrolling.  They’re not tough, I take care of them easily, and continue toward the point I marked on the map, until I get to where I’m going.  This involves riding up two updrafts with the glider, and then I’m there, looking at the giant design painted on the wall.  It looks like in the center there’s a shrine pedestal.  The painted design looks like lightning and birds, so taking a guess I shoot at the pedestal with a lightning arrow.  I barely miss with the first one, as it falls slightly short, but correct my aim and connect with it on the second shot, which reveals the shrine.

This one is another no-puzzle blessing shrine, and I get a diamond and a spirit orb.

I have enough orbs to upgrade my stamina wheel, so I go to Kakariko village and do that.

So that’s 6 shrines in 2 days, and I think there’s now only 2 more left in all of Hyrule for me to find.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (91)

I haven’t played in a few weeks.

Just wrapping up the remaining loose ends on the BOTW ToDo list.

The last active sidequest I have running is to show the boy in Hateno village an Ancient Short Sword.  I transport to Akkala Tech Lab and have them make one for me, and then transport to Hateno and show him.  The kid gives me a diamond.  This kid’s flippin rich.

While in Hateno, I visit with Bolson for a minute, and he tells me I should try to popularlize a dance that he shows me how to do.  I never had him tell me this before. Is it the start of a new sidequest?  How do I do these dance moves?  He also has an amulet around his neck, and the dialog tree gives me the option to ask about it, and he talks more about Hudson’s wedding.  I guess he used the amulet to create a stream of falling confetti or something.  I do not understand why in fantasy literature amulets always have powers.  Real amulets don’t do anything. They just hang from your neck, and do nothing.  What gives authors such ideas?

I notice that all the Akkala Tech Lab weapons costs the same, 1000Rs, + some ancient tech parts.  Specifically, it’s the exact same recipe to make a short sword, which does like 30 damage, or a bladesaw, which does 55 damage.  Why would you ever buy a short sword then, other than to show it to the kid in Hateno and get a diamond?  I haven’t bought a bladesaw yet, but I guess it probably must be a two-hander.  I think about picking up an Ancient Bow.  I have enough coin for it, but not enough weapon slots.  Maybe later, then.

I’ve completed 71/77 sidequests according to the pause screen, but I don’t know what the remaining 6 are, or where I’d need to go to find them.  I wonder if there’s a list of BOTW sidequests online that I can look up and see what I have yet to discover.

The controller feels rusty in my hands. I forget that you can’t transport to stables, and momentarily wonder why I can’t.  I figure it out eventually.

I have found 112 of 120 shrines in Hyrule, so there’s still 8 more out there somewhere for me to discover.  

I don’t have time to aimlessly wander around the world hoping to stumble into them, so at this point I am OK with cheating a little bit and looking them up.

The first one I couldn’t find on my own is right off the road after Fort Hateno.  There’s a shrine quest involving the man who lives in the little cabin just inside the ruined wall.  I’ve been to this house a few times, but never at night.  I arrive there during the daytime and read the book that’s sitting out on the desk, and it gives me a clue about some statues that glow at night.  I don’t remember reading this before, but it’s possible I just never noticed the book, or that I read the book but couldn’t figure out what it means, and forgot about it long before I learned enough about the game to figure it out. I notice there’s a bed in the cabin, and when I stand near it, it gives me the option to sleep for free.  I never knew that before!  How did I not know that?

The clue in the book speaks of a statue that has eyes that glow at night, so I use the bed to sleep until night. When I wake up, the inhabitant of the cabin is there!  He is a doctor who is studying the mystery of the glowing statue.  We talk for a bit.  It reminds me a bit of the other shrine quest on the top of the snowy hill near the Gerudo desert, where I discovered the ruins of an old cabin and a diary there that gave a clue about the shrine there.  I feel like in so many of the shrine quests in this game, you meet someone who has been looking for the shrine their entire life, and then you go and discover the solution to the puzzle in usually a short time, like five minutes.  Sometimes I’ve taken longer to figure them out, but that was really only the first couple; once I learned what shrine quests were about, most of the rest of them were simple to figure out.

In this case, though, I do not know where the statues that glow are.  I have to look this up, too.  It turns out, a little ways down the road toward Hateno village, there’s a canyon off to the left, where there are numerous statues. One of them glows at night, and if you shoot it with an arrow, it reveals the shrine. I mostly don’t travel the roads — when I walk on foot, I’m usuually foraging and exploring off-road, and often climbing and gliding, and if I’m not exploring, I usually transport with the teleportation power to save time.  So I have probably only used this road maybe a couple of times, and apparently went right past this canyon and never noticed it was there before.

Although, when I walk into the canyon, I do find a Korok buddy who I had already discovered, so apparently I have been in this place before, at least one time.  I don’t remember it, really.  But there are a bunch of little statues, and one of them sure enough has glowing purple eyes.  I shoot an arrow at it, and the shrine appears.  This one has a complex mechanical platform puzzle, involving a rotating drum with a couple of spikey metal balls, and platforms that line up, and treasure chests that are difficult to reach.  I do not bother with the chests, since I am not in need of any more equipment, and proceed directly to the shrine master’s chamber, to collect my spirit orb.  The trick to getting up to him is to time-stop the rotation of the room briefly, to enable you to cross over the center of the room when the platforms are properly aligned.

I look up another two shrines that I haven’t discovered, and both are in the northwest area of the map, near Rito village and Hebra.  One is well hidden in a overhanging rock cave with a swift river of icy water that damages you quickly if you try to swim in it.  I just tank the damage and get across, and enter.  The shrine offers no challenge, and rewards me just for finding it.

Exiting the shrine, there are two logs laying about on the little island with the shrine entrance.  I push one of them into the water and climb onto it, and ride it out of the cave.  The rushing water runs out of the cave and comes to a waterfall.  When the log goes over the falls, I glide to a landing on a little island in the river at the base of the falls, where at the top of a tree I find a korok seed.  I find another korok seed at the top of another tree nearby somewhere, too.

Nearby, there’s another shrine, at the bottom of the Tanagar canyon.  I drop down and find it, and go in.  This one has puzzles that involve using the time-stop power to move heavy objects to activate switches.  I get a Great Thunderblade from one chest, ignore another chest, and get the spirit orb.

 

Zelda: BOTW Diary (90)

It’s been nearly two weeks since my last play session.  Having beaten the game, the missions nearly 100% completed, there seems to be less draw for me to return to play more.

I had not found the Hylian Shield, and wanted to do that. My last save point is right at the doorstep to Ganon’s sanctum, in the center of Hyrule Castle. I know the Shield is supposed to be somewhere on the castle grounds, and I’ve been through most of it and not turned it up yet. Also, there’s supposed to be a shrine in the castle complex somewhere, and I’ve yet to find that either.

I glide down from Ganon’s doorstep to the northeast quadrant of the castle, as I have a general idea that the shrine is in that general area.  I start exploring, and enter the castle at the dungeon.  I’ve been through here before a time or two, but this time I’m not in a hurry, and I explore thoroughly, and clean it out completely rather than avoid unnecessary combat.

At the far end of the cell block, I find a large, round chamber, and as I draw near to the entrance, I see a huge pile of bones in the middle of the floor, and recognize it immediately as a dormant Stalnox.  As I enter the chamber it springs to unlife, and we fight. 

I am hoping it will be an extra special boss-level Stalnox, but it seems that it is just a garden variety specimen and it’s not any more difficult to fight than the others I’ve faced much earlier in the game.  After vanquishing it, a treasure chest appears and I open it to find the Hylian Shield.

That’s one thing off my checklist.

I proceed to explore as much of the Hyrule Castle complex as I can, following every corridor to its end, and I definitely covered a lot more of it than I had on previous expeditions, but I don’t know that I found everything there is to find.  I did manage to find three more koroks.  Two hiding under rocks, and one at a pinwheel archery challenge — I couldn’t manage to hit the balloon for this one, as it was a great distance away, and I didn’t have the range with my bows, but I tried shooting a sword beam at it, and nailed it on the first attempt with that, after wasting several arrows.

I eventually fought my way down to the lower levels of the castle, and re-entered it at the banquet hall.  I cleared it out again, and followed the hallway down to the library, and cleared it out again.  This time, using magnesis, I note that some of the bookshelves on the lower level are movable.  I had never noticed this before.  I discover the King’s Study, and a hidden room where I find a number of nice arms and shields, and some rupees.  And the third bookshelf leads down a staircase to an underground cavern, filled with water, where there are some lit torches and a large, unlit torch.  

Using my great flame blade, I light the torch, which triggers the emergence of a shrine.  I enter it, and find a combat trial.  It’s a Major Test of Strength, and again I’m hoping for something really extra special.  But this shrine guardian seems almost docile, hardly aggressive at all, and I have an easy time fighting it.  I use electric arrows and the Master Sword, and together they seem to be rather effective.  It doesn’t seem to get off its spinning charge attacks, and when I get its health down it doesn’t start shooting its super laser at me, either.  

The guardian drops an Ancient Axe++ and a Spear++ and a Sword++, but all I have space for in my inventory is the axe and sword.  At the end of the shrine, I’m awarded a flame sword, but I don’t need it.

After emerging from the shrine, I continue exploring the cavern and find some docks down by the water, patrolled by some red lizalfos.  I find a lot of loot in the crates on the docks.  I explore the cavern a bit and find that the cave opens out to the outside, and then I realize that I’m just about back where I started, at the entrance to where the dungeon cell block is.

I make my way off the Hyrule Castle compound, and once back on the overworld map, transport to Kakariko village to visit the goddess statue so I can exchange four spirit orbs for my final Heart Container upgrade. Thus my life meter is maxed out.

Checking my progress, I now have 112 shrines completed, meaning that there must be 8 more shrines yet to be discovered somewhere in the world.  I have no idea where to look.  I’ve been everywhere, or so it would seem.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (89)

To max out my sheikah slate photos, I cash in a bunch of gems at Hateno’s shop, and then go to the Ancient Tech Lab and drop about 18k and buy everything left to buy.

As a “reward” for buying all the photos, Purah’s assistant, Symin, gives me a special photo in an envelope.  The game doesn’t let me actually see a photo, but it is supposed to be a beautiful young woman.  It’s implied that the image is of a “young” Purah, who reversed her age as part of her research.  

I want to see if I can find the Hylian Shield, and I have heard nothing about this shield in all my adventures in the game so far; the only reason I know about it at all is that I’ve read about it in articles about the game. I have no idea where it might be found, but I suspect it is in Hyrule Castle somewhere.

I return to the castle, and explore. This time, I take another route through the castle grounds, and I find more treasure chests, containing bomb arrows, ice arrows, swords, bows, rupees, but no Hylian Shields.  

I continue to continue exploring, and eventually find my way to the inner sanctum. I’m here, I might as well do a Ganon battle.

This time, the fight takes less time, because I know what I’m doing this time, and defeat his first form in a fraction of the time that it took the first time. 

Dark Beast Ganon takes even less time.  

The final battle is so easy.

This time after the credits roll, there’s a bonus cutscene where Zelda and Link are preparing to travel by horse to Zora’s domain to check out Vah Ruto, which has stopped functioning. I guess the implication is that the adventure continues. 

I’ve enjoyed playing the game, but it is finally running out of things for me to do.  I have a few sidequests and shrines left to find and do, if I want to. It might be better to spend time on the DLC packs.

I’m planning on writing up some wrap-up thoughts — I don’t know whether they’ll be final thoughts, as a capstone to this series, but I’ll save that for another time.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (88)

I spend a bit of time staring at the painting in Impa’s house of the image of Link’s last remaining un-recovered memory, and conclude that I must have been close when I looked for it before.  

Before heading out to find it again, I walk down the wrong road, and end up at the end of Kakariko village where the garden of stones is, and I see the little girl, Koko, who likes to cook and is too hard on herself, standing there, which is unusual.  As I draw nearer, I see that she is crying.  I talk to her, and learn that her mother has died. This fills me with a deep sadness, for I have had a soft spot in my heart for little Koko.  She cries a little, and I feel overwhelmed. There is nothing at all that I can do.  

This isn’t a side quest, it’s just a tear jerker moment that you can’t do anything about. So much death and loss for this world.  Of all the characters in this world to do this to, why Koko?

I spend longer there than I need to, before moving on.  Before leaving, I take one of each of the different types of flowers that you can pick, and drop them there.  It does nothing, but feels appropriate.

I turn back to head down the road out of Kakariko, and pass by the clothing shop, and decide to stop in one last time.  I never bought the Hylian tunic, since around the time I  first came here, I received the Champion’s tunic.  But it’s only 120 Rupees, and I have the trousers and the hood, so I might as well complete the set.  I’ll see about upgrading it later.

Winding my way down the road from Kakariko village, I hop in the air and glide, following the path, but moving a bit faster than running, to make time.  I land at the bottom of the trail near the north end of Kakariko Bridge. There’s a traveler by the side of the road, and when I talk to him, he reveals himself to be a Yiga Clan ninja, and attacks me.  I cut him down quickly with the Master Sword, and then cross the bridge.

It occurs to me that I really haven’t been here but perhaps a handful of times — once I gained the ability to transport, there was little practical reason for traveling along the road. I decide to take a little bit of time and look around the vicinity to see whether there might be anything of note hidden nearby.  Looking down into the water toward the west side of the bridge, I see a ring of rocks that signifies a korok seed spot.  I need to toss a boulder into the ring, but this is one of the most difficult things for me to do, as the aiming is difficult.  I carry a boulder down to the bank of the river and use the Cryonis power to create an ice bridge to carry me to the ring, one block at a time, and then just jump into the ring carrying the stone.  It works, and I get my korok.

When I extract myself from the water, I notice a little campfire beneath the bridge, on a sandbar, and swim over to investigate it.  There’s a couple of steel boxes and some roasted fish and I find some arrows and an old, weak shield, but little else worthy of mention.  It’s late afternoon by this point, so I decide to sit by the fire and wait for morning.

At dawn, I resume walking out along the road, taking the fork that leads to Hateno village, and am quickly beset upon by some little chuchus, and I blast them with a bomb, and move on. My eyes are locked on the skyline, trying to spot the familiar contour of the mountains from the last memory photo. I feel like I must be very close, as there are some features which do look like they match with the photo.  I move off the road, watching the horizon and watch as the shifting parallax creates the image from the memory, more and more faithfully, until I’m sure I’m in the right area.  I look around and keep moving about, and then finally I spot the shimmering energy field that signifies the spot. 

I recall the memory.  Link and Zelda are in the field 100 years ago, there has been a great battle, and the Guardians are marching towards them.  Link is badly injured and exhausted, besotted with dirt, and looks like he is near his limit. Zelda implores him to leave her and save himself, but he doesn’t leave her side. Then, a Guardian approaches, looming over them, and is about to blast them, and Link is too weak to defend them, when Zelda steps in front of him and something happens.  Her power finally awakens within her, and she emits some kind of energy field that does something to the Guardians that renders them inert.  Link collapses. A moment later, two Sheikah soldiers run up, a bit late, to rush to the Princess’s aid.  She commands them to take Link to the Shrine of Resurrection at once.

So this is the spot where the Hero of Hyrule fell.

I now have all of the memories, and so the main quest to recapture the lost memories of Link is finally completed.   After returning to the present moment, Link hear’s Zelda’s voice telling him that now is the time to face Ganon, and to head to Hyrule Castle for the final battle.

I just need to do a few more things before I’m ready to do that again.

First, I want to farm that last bit of Star Fragment that I need in order to upgrade my Ancient Helm to full power.  I also want to find the Hylian Shield, which I believe is somewhere on the castle grounds that I haven’t yet found.  

I decide to look for falling stars by standing on the top of the Dueling Peaks, and wait for night, and watch the sky for as long as it takes.  From this point, I’m pretty close to the center of the map, and can see a long way in any direction, which should make it likely that I’ll see any falling stars that happen to come at night.  Only, I do not know how long I might have to wait for this.  I hope it will not be very many nights, but it might take quite a while. I just don’t know.

I’m also running way low on normal arrows, so I go to all the places I can think of to buy arrows, and buy every arrow they have:  Gerudo Town, Kakariko Village, Hateno Village, Korok Village, Tarrey Town, Beedle’s stable shops.  I end up with 160 by the time I’m done scouring Hyrule for all the arrows I can muster.  

While at the Dueling Peaks stables, I find a couple of guys who look like they want to talk to me, and discover a new sidequest that I hadn’t known about previously.  These guys are looking for the treasure rumored to have been hidden by a master thief.  They give me a clue for 100 Rupees, and it’s easy enough to interpret.  There’s a pair of bridges nearby, which the riddle references, and then says to find a cave at the source of the river.  I hike out that way and find it, and it’s a decent hike, but the treasure is pretty good, although this would have been a lot better to find in the early game.  I bomb open a cave at the top of a waterfall, and find about 5 or 6 treasure chests, containing a sapphire and some weapons. There’s a hidden bonus chest behind a bombable wall, which I get as well.

While at Hateno village, I go into the clothing shop by mistake, and see an armor set that I’d never purchased before, the soldier’s armor.  I vaguely recall when I first came through Hateno that I had visited here, and was pretty low on Rupees then, and the suit just seemed way too expensive for me to think about buying right then, and so I eventually forgot about it.  I think also that when you’re looking for better equipment, there’s not really an advantage to buying the suits, because anything you buy starts out low power, and doesn’t give you an immediate boost.  So unless the outfit has a special bonus, like the climbing gear or the rubber suit or the fireproof suit, or the Gerudo Vai clothes, until much later in the game when you realize that you can upgrade clothing at Fairy Ponds, you look at these things and think they are way overpriced and don’t really do anything for you, and it seems like a waste of resources to buy them.

Now, however, I have a surplus of rupees, so I buy the Soldier’s Armor suit, and then go back to the Kakariko fairy and get it upgraded.  To fully max it out, I need more Hinox guts and Lynel guts, so I go kill a Hinox, the one near Zora’s domain, and it doesn’t drop any guts, so then I go to the one in Giant’s Woods, in central Hyrule, and get guts from that one.

I also stop at Hateno Ancient Tech Lab, and drop the rest of my cash on Sheikah Slate photos.  I still need close to 18,000 Rs in order to get every last photo for the album, and you can bet your bippy if I spend it all I’m going to spend a good 6 hours looking through the whole damn thing so I can say I got my money’s worth. 

Then I go to raid the Lynel near Eldin’s Leviathan, and I have a decent fight with it, it drops a Savage Lynel Sword and Bow in addition to Lynel Guts, a gem, and 10 shock arrows.  Pretty good loot drop.  I still need more Lynel Guts, so I transport out to the plains that separate Gerudo from Faran, and fight the two Lynels there.  I drop in from above on my glider, and get a slow-motion mid-air headshot on the first one to start off the fight with a stun and mount, then as I dismount I nail it with 3 perfect headshots before I run out of stamina and fall to the ground.  It comes back and hits me a couple of times, and I have to heal myself, but I have a pretty good fight with it, and this one drops a Savage Lynel Crusher with a high attack bonus, this one has an Attack rating of 104, which is sick.

The other Lynel has a Savage Lynel Spear, which also has a pretty good attack bonus, and is the best spear I’ve ever seen in this game, with an attack rating of 41 or 42.  Against this Lynel, I manage to get my first perfect dodge and flurry rush since the training shrine where they teach you those moves.  I jump left just as it’s coming at me with its spear, trigger bullet time, and rush in to do a flurry of extra strikes with the sword.  It recovers and does a flame burst attack, which generates updrafts, which I take advantage of to ride up and get another slow motion headshot with the bow, stunning it again, land, mount it, and hit it a bunch, then fire more arrow headshots as I’m dismounting again, and this takes it down pretty quickly.  With the multi-shot Lynel bows, those dismount headshots hits are super effective at running their hitpoints down.

Having acquired all the monster parts that I need, the only thing left for me is to get the final star fragment so I can finish upgrading my Ancient Helmet.

Because this is such a rare item, and I don’t have a lot of other things to do while I watch the sky for falling stars as a background task while I attend to other business, I decide it’s time to go to the internet and read up on star farming.  I learn from this that shooting stars occur on Full Moons, and there’s a guy at Dueling Peaks Stables who I remember way back when who first told me about the moon cycle and the Blood Moon.  So I go there, and talk to him, and pass days sitting at the fire until it’s the day of a Full Moon.  Then I transport to the shrine atop Dueling Peaks, and wait until night and watch the sky to the East, until finally, just past 2am, game time, a shooting star appears at the right of my peripheral vision. 

I watch it fall, and mark the site with the Sheikah Scope, then glide down as close to the crash site as I can get, and run the rest of the way, and retrieve the fragment.

I return to the fairy fountain one last time and upgrade the Soldier Armor and Ancient Helmet, maxing out both sets.

Looking at the Adventure Log, I notice that it says that I’ve completed 71 of 77 side quests, and 38/42 shrine quests. I’ve found 330 of 900 korok seeds, and 111 of 120 shrines.

So there are 4 more shrine quests, and 9 more shrines.  I wonder how I could have missed the shrine quests, and where I might find them.  And for that matter where the other 5 shrines that are not associated with shrine quests might be found.

I’m so close to 100% completion for the game now, not including korok seeds, I consider whether I should continue looking for the remaining 9 shrines.  One more will give me a fourth Spirit Orb, which will max out my life meter, and then that leaves 2 final upgrades for the stamina meter.  These final upgrades will only give me a marginal power boost over where I’m at already, so I’m pretty much at full power right now.