Zodi Plays: The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks (Choo Choo Chosen One)

And so we return to Hyrule. The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks is a game for the Nintendo DS, and is a direct sequel to our last Zelda game, Phantom Hourglass. The amount of… DIRECTNESS this implies is rather shocking. Sure it’s one hundred years later, but everything’s mostly the same. Only the smallest, tiniest changes, for good or ill, where introduced. All in all, the game is… fine, baring one specific mechanic that makes it unbelievably intolerable. But we’ll talk about all THAT fun stuff later.

Updates will be, as usual, Monday and Friday. I hope you all enjoy, and are ready to have some fun train adventures!

Zodi Plays: The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks [1] All Aboard

Video Length: 42:02

We start off our adventure with a lovely story, and news of our impending graduation from train conductor school, which is a thing I guess. Over seen by the princess Zelda, because of course why wouldn’t it be. Of course once we’re there we meet the delightfully small Chancellor Cole, and we also receive a message from Zelda asking us to meet her after the ceremony. Long story short, she obviously noticed all the evil, ominous stuff going on, and is going to go do something about it! We’ve been recruited to help, and one decently easy but still miserable stealth section later (yes, in video one) we head off towards the Spirit Tower… and proceed to have a bad time.

Suffice to say our adventure is off to a stellar start! Hope you all enjoyed, I’ll see you all next time.

I feel like I played this less than Phantom Hourglass because I’m the weirdo who enjoyed Temple of the Ocean King more than this game’s equivalent, but it has a really distinct atmosphere, and does have notable improvements over PH.

Also I’m pretty sure I know which mechanic you’re talking about. I don’t think there’s ever been a game where the DS mic has been good.

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How about, more train zelda.

Zodi Plays: The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks [2] Full Metal Princess

Video Length: 36:23

In this episode, I attempt to make a fun little conversation about how Zelda’s Butler’s ranting about how we need to find Zelda to tell Zelda she’s kidnapped is actually a hint towards the fact that we should hunt down that glowing sphere of light that came from her. As it turns out we get an explicit cutscene not five seconds later showing very clearly and concisely that actually no we don’t need to do any thinking, just following the dead princess please. After some banter, we pick up a very nice and not bad at all flute and head off to the secret path that leads from the castle to the Spirit Tower.

The secret path isn’t all that extensive. It features your bog standard Keese and Rats, but also introduces the new enemy Spinenuts! They’re little goomba boys who somehow take two hits to kill if you don’t jump attack them, and for some reason I cannot understand the jump attack just was NOT working for me on the day of recording. This is concerning. Other than that, it’s the same puzzles we saw last time, almost literally, to teach you that drawing on the map screen is a very useful tool. All in all, not that bad.

Then we get some exposition from Anjean, one of the Lokomos (think train oriented sheikah) and we learn what we must do to defeat Malladus; fix the tower’s segments by purifying the four shrines, then climb to the top to stop them from using Zelda’s body as a meat suit for the demon king! Sounds simple enough, but as we enter the Spirit Tower we get the first of two frightening realizations in the game… this game has an Ocean King’s Temple! Yes, that right, we have basically the exact same mechanic this time around! I don’t think/recall there is a time limit this go around, but to make up for it they made the puzzles extra challenging. They also, however, introduced the BEST mechanic; Zelda can possess a stunned Phantom and become your controllable partner! This part is super cool, and is a fun inversion of the earlier stealth segment. Zelda can move fine, it’s Link who has to sneak. I don’t think this justifies having such an early stealth segment, but overall the end result is pretty cool I think. We get through the exactly one floor of puzzles to get our Rail Map, which is totally not a Sea Chart, and with that end the video on a high note.

So yeah. I hope you all enjoyed this one! I’ll see you all next time for… the worst, if I’m remembering correctly. Take care.

Spirit Tracks Zelda is probably my favorite non-Tetra Zelda. She’s just so energetic and weird and it’s great. Also, unlike Phantom Hourglass making Tetra irrelevant for the whole, this game reversed Wind Waker’s Zelda and allowed her to actually have a presence. Weird how that worked out.

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Train Zelda is the most active Zelda out of all of them, somehow, and she’s literally dead. It’s fantastic.

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I bring unto thee, a Zeldo.

Zodi Plays: The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks [3] Blow Hard

Video Length: 23:53

In today’s exciting episode, we ride our train to a tree farming village, hang out with some burly lumberjacks, learn about the Lost Woods and have a… let’s say fun time getting through it, and then have a rather annoying bomb puzzle to get to our actual destination! Once we’re there we meet Gage of the Lokomos, who begins teaching us the ways of the Spirit Flute, which will consume much of my own written word here in this update.

So, the Spirit Flute. You hold the screen and blow into the microphone to play a note, moving the stylus left and right to change where you’re blowing. Simple enough, and yet somehow so very very bad. As you can plainly see, the hit detection is… off, in a lot of ways, and even when it does hit it often hits for half-notes or stutters weirdly. Now, for this first Lokomos song, this is fine! No harm done, it’s actually surprisingly lenient!

The final song took me like an hour or so. Possibly longer. It’s not that this is even necessarily a BAD mechanic, but it’s not implement well at all. Given the fact that I’m talking on top of blowing my lungs out trying to play the damn flute, this game is probably going to be the hardest game I’ve LPed from a “okay let’s record this” standpoint.

That all aside we’ve cleared the song and cleared our way forward to the Forest Temple. Hope you all enjoyed, I’ll see you all next time where we take it on man to building. Take care.

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How about a Zelda? That sounds cool yeah?

Zodi Plays: The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks [4] Forest Temple

Video Length: 21:46

In this exciting episode, we ride our train off to the first dungeon; the Forest Temple! Much like Phantom Hourglass (and in retrospect a lot of Zelda’s probably) the highlight is the dungeons, and we start off on a pretty good one. While it’s not very elaborate, the Forest Temple in Spirit Tracks is a really solid first dungeon. It’s not too hard, but not too easy either I think. The enemies within (minus the Spinenuts) all interact with the dungeon item, either due to removing the stank left behind by the Vengas, removing the stank from the Bubbles so you can hurt them, or using the Blastworm’s as possible objects. It’s actually pretty cool! Minus the fact that uh, you need to get used to using the Whirlwind, which requires standing ramrod in place, swiveling with he stylus, and blowing into the mic. This at least doesn’t require THAT much effort, but it takes a bit for me to get the hang of things and I end up kinda straining myself. Oops.

Not helped that the boss, Armoured Colossus Stagnox, requires the Whilrwind almost exclusively. First to blow the stank from his (or her, she does give birth to all those Blastworms) butt so you can slice it up, then to blow Blastworms back at her to stun her during phase 2. This is actually a pretty cool boss fight, even if it’s not all that difficult. IT also shows the weird cutscene oddity with this game; the rooms and bosses that involve both screens being used are positioned to sync up together! The cutscenes otherwise are not! It’s so weird, since the tech is clearer there to make it work properly, they just don’t use it 100% of the time.

At any rate, we slay Stagnox, unseal the Green Force Gem (bet you were expecting something other than one of these!) and reconnect the spirit tracks to the Spirit Tower, fixing one fourth of the tower. We get a heart container for our trouble, and the satisfaction of having blown a monster to death. Sweet!

Hope you all enjoyed, I’ll see you all next time for our first dip into the game long dungeon that is the Spirit Temple. Take care.

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Hey let’s do some training today.

Zodi Plays: The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks [5] Spirit Tower Block One

Video Length: 24:59

Look it’s hard to come up with funny titles ALL the time okay? Anyway, in this exciting episode, we blitz our way back to the Tower of Spirits so we can see about getting our next rail map. On the way we encounter some nasty Dark Trains that can instantly kill us if they do much as touch us, which is going to be… let’s say a bit of a hassle with regards to traversing the world. They can’t be killed, just stunned, so we’re always going to have to deal with this looming threat of “we’re on a collision course and I can’t actually adjust our path” and that’s just unfortunate. It’s weird because like, in terms of “you are a train conductor video game” this kinda rules, it feels very much like you ARE piloting a train and have to make every move in advance. But mechanically it’s kinda awful garbage that just moving across the game world is THAT dangerous.

At any rate, we get to the Spirit Tower relatively unscathed and begin climbing it once more. We encounter some new enemies (Miniblins on Armos, Geozards) that we need to dispatch and new puzzle elements to keep in mind (riding on Zelda’s shield, blowing wind at fans though this isn’t actually NEW, persay). All in all I like it, though it’s pretty clear that we’re missing a lot of stuff in this cube that we’ll need other floors and other items to get too. It’s over relatively quickly though, another trade up from Phantom’s Ocean King Temple.

With the Snow Realm rail map acquired, we can now go wherever we wish! Only it turns out the monsters of the world are getting more restless, so we uh… actually need to stop by Castle Town to talk to Alfonzo. He’ll know what to do to deal with these porcine threats to our poor train’s safety! And he does… only he has to take us home to Abode Village first. And that’s where we leave it off for today.

Hope you enjoyed, I’ll see you all next time for a good and happy fun time. Take care!

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Onwards, to further Zeldas!

Zodi Plays: The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks [6] Rabbitland Rescue

Video Length: 23:18

In this exciting episode of Spirit Tracks, we prepare to leave the Spirit Tower… only to be horribly menaced by boars in a very clear and present attempt to tell us we really, truly have to go do this plot thing or we’ll die. This is a conflicting thing for me because on the one hand, we do NEED the thing it’s telling us to go do, both to defend ourselves and just progress in general. And if we went all the way to the edge of this realm to find that we needed to choo choo all the back… that would be bad. But ruthlessly beating the crap out of you is probably not great design either. At any rate, we return to Castle Town and pick up Alfonzo, who is ready to go back to Abode Village.

Once back home, we’re given the cannon for our train so we can defend ourselves, and Grandpa Niko gives us his stamp book. Now, he never managed to get the stamp machines to STAMP anything, in his youth, so I have no idea how he knew what these things were, but hey it’s a game long side quest. Let’s get it done! And we do so, revisiting all the areas related to the Forest Temple and getting them stamped (plus some treasure chests and loot on the side). Then we’re off… only to encounter a second game long side quest; Rabbitland! The… odd fellow who runs the place gives us our bunny catching net and tells us to go forth and catch bunnies so that we may frolic in peace. We’ll attend to this as we can.

And that’s… basically it. We end off this episode in the land of the Anouki once more. I’m curious if they’ll have any fun puzzles with horrible punishments like last time, because I truly genuinely do not remember. This is one of the fun parts about playing a game I played and beat once long ago; I remember just enough to not be blind, but I forget so much details it may as well be blind. It rules.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed. I’ll see you all next time for… snow. More snow.

I actually do like the Demon Dark Trains, though sometimes they are more of a nuisance when you’re just trying to travel. Still, there’s a certain area in the game that’s basically made to be an extended game of keepaway from the murder trains and I really enjoyed that.

The rabbits, though… that’s a sidequest I didn’t care for.

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Admittedly I don’t remember any of the rail maps except for the forest realm, so we’ll see. I’ll probably come off with a better opinion of the Dark Trains once I’m used to them again.

Stop me if you heard this one before; what if we did a new Zelda today.

Zodi Plays: The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks [7] Mr Big Deal

Video Length: 30:27

In this episode, we are forced to interact with the Anouki once again! In Phantom Hourglass they were quite a hassle, and here… not as much, but still pretty silly. On the plus side, the puzzle they ask us to do is actually pretty easy and has some visual aids to help with it. It’s cool and I like it. After matching up all the Anouki into combat pairs (and helping defeat a few enemies around the village) we’re given the go-ahead to head to the Snow Sanctuary, through a scary ice cave. The ice cave in question has a monsterous miniboss in it, though it’s rather easy all things considered. The double-edged sword of Train Combat is that there’s only so much you can do with it.

With that done we make our way through the Snow Sanctuary, up to where Steem is. We cut our way through wolves and Ice Chu’s, and have to solve a puzzle that… honestly feels broken and weird, and then finally meet our Lokomo friend. And then… it is flute time. Oh is it ever flute time. The flute has some issues in this episode, some of which I manage to find a solution for; the microphone is actually off set to the right on the 3DS I’m using to record, like the original DS’s… but in the bottom right of the system, instead of the top right corner of the bottom. Which means nine times out of ten a hand will end up blocking it. So yeah, I manage to beat this one, but not without some frustration. And we’re not even at the hardest one yet…

Regardless, the rail map is energized and the path to the Snow Temple is clear. Aside from the horrible blizzard surrounding it. Hope you all enjoyed, next time we take on a new dungeon!

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All board, it’s time for another Spirit Tracks.

Zodi Plays: The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks [8] Ferrus Boiler’s Day Off

Video Length: 22:58

In this episode, we discover- unsurprisingly- that the path to the Snow Temple is obscured by a horrible magic blizzard. The Anouki let us know that a youth who researches the Spirit Tracks likely knows how to get through it. We check out his home at the Wellspring Station, and find he’s gone to take photos of the Dark Trains. After some futzing around on the tracks looking for him, we find the guy and learn how to get through to the Snow Temple. We then do so.

Yeah not a very eventful episode. This happens sometimes. Hope you all enjoyed though, I’ll see you all next time!

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This feels like a fine morning for a Zelda.

Zodi Plays: The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks [9] Fraaz

Video Length: 28:31

In this exciting episode, we take on the Snow Temple! And while I don’t really mention it in video since I’m just having a lot of fun with it, this dungeon is a wonderful example of iterative puzzle design! Now, there’s really only the one critical path, no variety in what ways you CAN do the temple, but all the puzzles build off each other in a really interesting way. We’ve got the bells we need to collect, done through a series of ice pushing puzzles. We’ve got the fire and ice flame torches, interactable with the dungeon item; our fancy new boomerang. We’ve got increasingly harder challenges WITH those torches, culminating in a challenge were we’ve gotta hit multiple torches with different elements all at once, while staying within the length limit of the boomerang. It’s all really cool!

Made even cooler by two facts. Firstly, the Whirlwind fan is still relevant for much of the dungeon! That’s cool, and a little rare for this series. Secondly, the boss also uses those same mechanics the dungeon used. Fraaz requires being hit, sometimes multiple times, with the opposite element to whatever one he’s currently preparing to spit out. It’s a hectic, troublesome boss fight but it’s one that really feels like a capstone to what the dungeon has been making you do in general. The Forest Temple kinda has that as well, with blowing the bomb larva at it and stuff, but it doesn’t’ quite have the same feel.

With Fraaz defeated, the Snow Force Gem is saved and another main line to the Spirit Tower is restored. Another chunk of building snaps into place, and our next destination is clear; next time, we return to the Tower of Spirits to climb it ever further. Hope you all enjoyed, I’ll see you all next time.

Fraaz is a really cool boss, though surprisingly difficult for the second boss of the game. Maybe it’s the lack of resources; four hearts is pretty low for how accurate Fraaz can be.

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