Zelda Skyward Sword - Demise - No damage

I've said this a lot already, but Zelda: Skyward Sword's motion control was really wasted on the boring enemies in the game. Most of them attack maybe once every ten seconds, and far too many feature auto-blocking. That is, it doesn't matter how they're holding their weapon or shield initially, they'll always block at least your first slash unless you can catch them off guard, and you have to force them into blocking one direction so that you can then hit them from another. And Lizalfos — about the only strong enemy you encounter a lot of — are even worse. No matter how you swing at them, they always dodge until you've swung enough... At which point they sit motionless, hiding under their shield with one spot clearly exposed, as if to scream at you, "Swing in this direction to hit me!" After the initial thrill of the motion control wears off and you see through the enemies' gimicks, the result is that combat in SS tends to feel more like a series of button prompts or routine patterns than fluid and dynamic tests of your reflexes.

But then, at the very end, the game throws Demise at you and gives you a glimpse of what could've been. Unfortunately, he still does the auto-block BS, but he also attacks quite often, which does a lot to break the feel of monotonous button prompts. You actually have to pay attention to more than just the direction he's holding his sword, or he'll beat you down while you mindlessly try to get past his blocking. The first round of the fight is close to what I expected Darknuts to be like in SS, except then they went and left Darknuts out of the game for some stupid reason, and despite its flaws, it's genuinely fun and actually somewhat difficult.

The second round is slower-paced than the first, but it's more complicated to make up for that. Even the tired stun-and-slash mechanic that's overused for 3D Zelda bosses is done in a much more interesting way. Because even though you're not directly attacking Demise while trying to get lightning to strike your sword to stun him with, you're still having to balance offense with defense. Offensively, you're attempting to get a lightning charge, while defensively, you're trying to avoid Demise's attacks. And what makes this complicated is the fact that you don't know when exactly lightning will strike, and when it does, you're vulnerable for a short period of time. So if you're not careful about when you raise your sword to try for a charge, you can end up getting attacked right as lightning strikes, which not only hurts you, but also makes you lose your charge.

So yeah, I have to at least give Nintendo props for this fight, even if most of the rest of the game's combat is subpar. I had a lot of fun replaying it and learning its intricacies, which resulted in the below video.

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Played in real time on Dolphin 3.0. The depth of field effect is turned off and other graphics may not look quite right because I had to turn the settings down to get it to run at a decent frame rate.

During the first round, the most important thing to remember is to avoid swinging too quickly. Demise's attacks all have a very long windup animation and they're always either one or two slashes, which makes them easy to block with shield bashes, but you won't be able to shield bash if you're still hacking away with your sword. Space your swings out, and if you see him pull back for an attack, stop and get ready to shield bash.

Demise's blocking can be easily exploited by swinging in the right directions with the right timing. When you first run up to him, swing down, then up, then down again and the third slash will almost always hit. (Up-down-up also works, but I find starting on down easier.) Then just keep alternating between up and down, and every other slash will hit him if you time it right. But again, don't swing too quickly, and watch out for Demise's attacks. After blocking an attack, start the pattern over.

When Demise falls to his knees after getting hit enough, you'll have time for about five quick slashes. After that, he'll block your next slash and then counter with a two-swing attack, so count your hits and be ready to stop swinging and shield bash when he gets up.

After 25 hits, the second round will begin. Don't try to attack Demise until you've stunned him during this phase. While his sword is electrocuted, you'll be hurt if he blocks, and if you're attacking him when lightning strikes his sword, you'll get thrown back and damaged. Instead, stay about two sword lengths away and wait for him to fire a sword beam and lose the electric charge. Sidestep the beam, then raise your sword straight up in the air, like when charging a Skyward Strike, and wait for lightning to strike it.

With your sword charged with electricity, fire a sword beam at Demise to stun him, then move in to attack. Once he recovers, backflip away so you're out of his sword's range, then raise your sword again to repeat the pattern. The trick is to stay far enough away from Demise so that he can't hit you with his sword, but close enough that he won't use his charging attack.

If he does crouch down and then charge at you, lower your sword and get ready to shield bash to block his swing when he reaches you. If lightning strikes your sword just before Demise reaches you, you won't be able to shield bash to block his attack.

After 20 more hits, you'll knock Demise onto his back and be prompted to use a fatal blow. Don't do it. It may be possible to get him the first time you knock him down, but it must require extremely accurate timing if it is because I've never managed it. Each time you knock him down, he'll stay down a little longer, though.

When Demise gets up, lightning won't strike your sword for a bit, and he'll usually get a charge before you can. Again, stay about two sword lengths away and try to get him to fire a sword beam. Getting him to do it seems more difficult than at the start of the fight, however, so you may need to just raise your sword to try to get a charge of your own.

If lightning strikes your sword just as Demise fires a sword beam, DO NOT try to block it with your own sword beam. You're more likely to get hit this way and you'll also waste your charge. Sidestep it as usual, then counter with your own sword beam.

After another 5 hits, you'll knock Demise down again. Count your hits and then stop swinging, because you'll need to be quick in activating the fatal blow to get him on the second knockdown. If you activate it too late, Demise will dodge and then usually get an automatic hit on you while your sword is stuck in the ground.

Streaming: Zelda Four Swords Adventures

I'll be streaming probably the last segment of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures in a little while, after I eat dinner. You can watch on my Justin.tv channel, and I'll be on Skype at the same time. Past streams are also archived on my channel for anyone who's missed them.

Edit: It's over! If you have a suggestion for what game I should stream next, leave me a comment.

I also don't do LPs

After several days of testing to get the video to not be full of eyecancer, I got myself set up to stream SNES/GBA/GB gameplay to my Justin.tv channel. Anything else I can use an emulator for would also be doable with little effort. And I can even do commentary through my headset mic if I wanted. (Key word: if. I generally don't like doing commentary.)

To kick it off, I just streamed Lv7 Eagle's Tower in my long-stalled play through Zelda: Link's Awakening DX that I mentioned a few posts down. That dungeon is by far the most confusing in the game and possibly second only to the Great Bay Temple in the whole series. Makes the Water Temple seem easy to figure out by comparison. And of course, not having played LA in forever, I remembered absolutely nothing about it. The video's saved for now if anyone wants to watch me wander around lost for an hour.

If you guys have anything you'd like to see me play, let me know.

2D Zelda Never Disappoints

I've been on a classic Zelda stint lately. A few months ago, I started playing through A Link to the Past yet again. After Level 5: Ice Palace, I got distracted and didn't play for quite a while, but then I started up the original Legend of Zelda on a whim. After beating that (first quest only), I went back and finished up my game of LttP, and now I'm playing through Link's Awakening.

Poor Zelda II gets no love.

I think it's been around ten years since I played Link's Awakening. I played through it twice back-to-back when I first got the game, along with my Game Boy Color, back in the day. But then I never played it much after that, which is rare for me with a Zelda game. Even Majora's Mask got picked up again a while after I beat it the first time, though I couldn't bring myself to do the Great Bay Temple again and stopped there.

While I don't remember a lot of details in LA anymore, I still amaze myself sometimes by sort of instinctively knowing what to do or where to go. And the more I play, the more memories of my first time through the game keep popping up. It's been a fun nostalgia trip, and I've only gotten to Level 3: Key Cavern so far.

Maybe I'll play the Oracle games again after I finish LA.

Edit: No, wait, I know what I need to replay once I finish LA. Zelda: Four Swords Adventures. I played it to death when I first got it because it was and still is the only 2D Zelda game to rival LttP, but it's now been around six years since I played it. That needs to be fixed.

Zelda A Link to the Past - Lv8 Ganon's Tower - Part 2 of 2

This is it! The last one! It wasn't quite one video per day (did anyone seriously expect me to keep that up?) but I am happy that I managed to finish this project in a timely manner. Now, if only I could get paid for doing this...

The climb up Ganon's Tower from 2F is definitely the hardest part of the game other than Ganon himself. Even when you know the best strategies for getting through each room, actually pulling everything off correctly is extremely difficult.

I had a couple close calls with the red Goriyas at the start where I was surprised I didn't get hit by their fireballs. And then the Beamos rooms... Those are just evil. I practiced those a lot and I still had to resort to using Bombos in the last one. It's just ridiculous.

The Lanmolas are actually a lot harder with that fireball turret thrown in. The timing on the fireballs match up way too well with the dirt clods from the Lanmolas and makes it really hard to find openings where you can hit them without a fireball nailing you right afterwards.

Wizrobes continue to be a joke.

The spike room with the two masked beetles and two fireball turrets is annoying. Again, the fireballs always seem to come at the worst possible times in there. I stepped on the spikes to get the key because I just didn't care.

Moldorm is really easy the second time because you can kill it without letting it speed up. The platform is also bigger, making it easier to dodge. I'm not sure how this one was supposed to be harder than the original fight in the Mountain Tower.

Agahnim also continues to be a joke, especially after having beaten Trinexx earlier. The two clones do make it significantly harder to beat him without getting hit but, unless you're already on the verge of death, he does so little damage that you're unlikely to die.

The majority of the run's re-records were spent on part 2 here, mainly in the Beamos rooms. In fact, five or so of the twenty-one total were spent just attemping to find a good way to clear the last Beamos room until I got fed up and decided to use Bombos. The Lanmolas also gave me some trouble but not too much.

And thus Desbreko did pwn A Link to the Past once more.

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Zelda A Link to the Past - Lv8 Ganon's Tower - Part 2 of 2

Part 2 of 2 of my Level 8: Ganon's Tower walkthrough for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Played in real time on Snes9x v1.43+ with re-records used to optimize video length.

Equipment checklist: 20 Hearts, Golden Sword, Silver Arrows, 1/2 Magic

- The Golden Sword and Silver Arrows can be obtained by buying a super bomb at the bomb shop north of the Swamp Palace and using it to blow open the cracked wall in the Pyramid. Inside is a fairy pond where you can upgrade your sword and bow.
- The 1/2 Magic upgrade can be obtained by jumping down the well next to the smithy's shop in Kakariko Village and sprinkling some magic powder on the statue within.

[00:13] Goriyas
The Mirror Shield can block the red Goriyas' fireballs, which makes killing them in narrow spaces much easier.

[01:46] Beamos
The Mirror Shield cannot, however, block Beamos' lasers so be careful around them.

[02:12] Ice and conveyor belts
Go through the center of this room, don't try to run around the outside on the conveyor belts.

[02:35] Miniboss: Lanmolas
The good news is that the Lanmolas only take two slashes from the Golden Sword to kill. The bad news is, there's now a fireball turret in the room, which makes things a lot harder than you might think. Remember that the dirt clods fly out diagonally until there's only one Lanmola left, at which point they fly out in all eight directions.

[04:57] Miniboss: Moldorm
There's no difference to this fight the second time around except that the platform is a different shape. Two spin attacks from the Golden Sword will kill the Moldorm without ever letting it speed up.

[05:38] Boss: Agahnim
Agahnim is back and this time he has two clones with him. You can tell them apart by their faded color so position yourself to hit the fireballs back at the real Agahnim. You won't have to worry about lightning attacks this time but the real Agahnim will still occasionally throw a blue fireball ring. Hit it with your sword as usual to split it and then hope your shield blocks it. Spin attacks can be useful for reflecting fireballs from multiple angles.

I also have another no damage video here: