Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Design Flaw: Zelda: The Wind Waker

The game: Zelda: The Wind Waker

The background: One of the islands in the game, the largest of the Mother and Child Isles, is impossible to reach on foot. A talking fish that's swimming in the area tells the player he may reach the island by taking "a ride on a whirlwind":
"They say that inside the ring of rock that makes up the perimeter of that island, there lives an incredibly beautiful fairy! But the thing is, nobody's ever met her. Supposedly, the only way you'll ever meet her is to take a ride on a whilrwind and drop inside that rock perimeter from the sky above. Doesn't sound easy, fry..."

The problem:
The fish's suggestion is potentially misleading. In certain areas of the game world the player can use his Deku Leaf to glide over cyclones and be lifted high up in the air, extending his gliding range. Recalling these experiences, some players will improperly deduce they're supposed to ride the small cyclone that's found in the immediate vicinity of the Mother and Child Isles.

In fact, the only way to reach the island is to play The Ballad of Gales, which players can learn by defeating Cyclos, the wind deity, using Link's bow and arrow. A player who has yet to learn The Ballad of Gales1 is unlikely to realize it's the only way to get to the island.

The solution: One way to solve this problem is to allow the player to enter the island using only his Deku Leaf. This approach is consistent with what the player already knows about the game's mechanics, and is therefore consistent with his expectations.

If that approach is not desired, a different way to solve the problem is to get rid of the small cyclone that's swirling in the vicinity of the Mother and Child Isles. This would eliminate the primary source of confusion: the presence of a cyclone that cannot be used to get into the island.

Finally, if for some reason the cyclone should not be removed, the fish's message should be modified to make it unambiguously clear that entering the island requires something more than just a Deku Leaf.

  1. The only clue to defeating Cyclos is provided by the fish near Shark Island:

    "Tell me, small fry, have you ever been caught in one of those cyclones? The wind deity, Cyclos, uses those cyclones to fly across the sea instantaneously, or so I've heard. Could be just a rumor. Boy, if you had that power, you wouldn't have to spend so much time sailing back and forth across the sea all the time. Wouldn't that be nice, fry? But let me tell you, there's no way he'll give up his power easily! You can't get near the guy, so you'll have to figure out how to shoot him from a distance. Don't you have a weapon that can pierce things from a distance? You know, fffwip? FFFWIP, I tell you! You get my point, fry?!"


viagra online said...

I think I need another clue in order to get what is exactly this about.
By the time, I just can say that I'm surfing to let everybody know that Zelda rocks!

online pharmacy said...

This is perfect because I was looking for the solution for this game, It's perfect because I realize that the best way is to allow the player to enter the island using only his Deku Leaf, it was something I didn't know.m10m

Elliott Broidy said...

Good info!