Tag Archives: Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Watch me flout the Spirit Flute

I’ve progressed further with The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, now ready to tackle the Sand Temple, but man oh man…it’s been a struggle. A struggle to not throw my Nintendo DS across the room out of frustration, that is. See, a lot of reviews have complained about how boring riding the train is versus the shippy freedom of The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass and that traveling between towns and temples is such a chore. It is. But here’s the biggest problem with Link’s latest outing:

Yup, music.

Actually, the music in Spirit Tracks is pretty good. It’s bouncy and bubbly when it needs to be, dark and alarming when enemies show up, and soft and ethereal during Zelda’s many musing moments. The trouble is with the Spirit Flute. This device is used in two ways. The first is to play tiny little riffs that will do a variety of things in-game: awaken statues, call birds, heal yourself, shine a beam of light, and find treasure. The other use is to open up hidden tracks by playing a duet with a Lokomo, which are minions of Satan. Er, not really. They are on our side, I think, but sure make Link work hard for their help.

Anyways, each time you meet a Lokomo, the songs get harder and more complex. You can practice all you want, but there’s no thumbs up/thumbs down to let you know you’re even close to playing it correctly. Do I hold this note longer than the previous one? Is it okay to accidentally hit another colored note? When should I start playing, when the notes light up or after the Lokomo stops? It’s a guessing game in the end.

So, after the eighteenth time of unsuccessfully jamming along with Rael, I had to put Spirit Tracks down and look up a video on YouTube, something I hate to do. Evidently, based on this vid, I was playing the song too well. You need to mess up a bit to get it right, not hold every note, just sputter a bit here, miss a beat there. Ugh.

I really pray that this was the last duet song of the game. My mind and lungs just can’t take any more…

Nintendo DS and car rides DO NOT MIX

I helped carry stuff in for a baby shower this weekend, and then the plan was to whisk the guys (husbands, fiances, boyfriends, any homeless that wandered in) away from all things baby for pizza and beer until we were allowed to return. To get to where we were going though would take some driving, so I came prepared with my Nintendo DS in my pocket and Spirit Tracks ready to go. It’s not like I was going to talk to anyone.

However, I quickly found that car rides and a touchscreen-only game do not mix. They are not peanut butter and chocolate; they are peanut butter and Crisco shortening. For one, when riding the train around the world map, hearing the music is vital to staying alive. It lets you know when enemies show up, especially the head-tossing snowmen that sometimes materialize behind your train. As the car bounces around, trying to tap the screen with accuracy for firing your cannon is nigh impossible. You will miss. You will lose trainy hearts. And lastly, I looked out the window for a second, got distracted by the fact that it was snowing again in New Jersey, and crashed headfirst into another train.

Game over, maaaaan. Game over.

It was worth a shot though.

And I didn’t even attempt to play the Spirit Flute this time…

Spirit Tracks: Blowing, Not for the Faint of Breath

Recently, I brought my car in for an oil change. Normally, since this place is right next door to a shopping development, I’d wander for an hour or so until it was time to come back and mosey on home. However, I decided to use this hour to my benefit instead of wasting it window shopping…or worse, actually shopping. So I sat uncomfortably in the dealership’s tiny waiting room and took out my Nintendo DS, the cartridge for The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks ready to go. All I had to do was ignore the blaring TV and few other waiting souls in the room. Easy enough to do…until I had to play the Spirit Flute to continue playing.

For those not in the know, the Spirit Flute is one of the first items you’ll receive in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. To play it, you have to slide the flute around via the touchscreen and simultaneously blow into the microphone to hit the different colored notes. Some songs will perform special actions in-game while other songs are vital to plot progression.

Unfortunately, the song I had to currently play to continue was not a simple one like the first two or three were. This song involved skipping a colored note and playing the one next to it. A tricky manuever, I can assure you. Why? Well, blowing into the mic and moving the flute around are two actions that work against each other because, naturally, you’re also trying to do a third: see. Yup, fight as you must, you will be trying to look down at the touchscreen to see where you’re moving the flute, and when you do that, if you’re exhaling, your breath will miss the microphone hole considerably, setting yourself up for EPIC FAIL. Well, maybe not that hardcore. I just never get to write EPIC FAIL, y’know?

And I was hoping to get it right on try #1…because, while simply playing a Nintendo DS in front of a bunch of manly men talking about gears and tire pressure and engine noises got me some looks, the ones I got for raising a tiny device to my mouth and then blowing at it like a candle gone wild were, more or less, variations of the following:

But I didn’t get it right on the first try. Or the second. Not even the twelth attempt. Practicing didn’t help much either. Each time I failed, I grew more exasperated, and I think one of the fellows sitting across from me suspected I was having a panic attack. I wasn’t. If only I could have told him the truth. If only the truth wasn’t so ridiculous.

So I stopped playing and wasted the next forty-five minutes watching TV.

I later got past the tricky song part when I was home, in the comfort and silence of my apartment, where the only mocking looks I got were the ones I gave to myself in the mirror. In short, I’ve never much liked DS games that implemented the microphone, and now I have another reason why to add to the list. The Spirit Flute is fine when used optionally, which most of the time it is, but a pain in the jaw when forced down our throats.

Christmas loot

I made out very well this holiday season, finding the following beneath the Christmas tree:

Touchmaster 3 – Haven’t played any yet because I’m going to be doing a half-hour handheld review for The First Hour. I did, however, look over my fiancee’s shoulder a few times as she jumped between games. Seems like an interesting mix of mini-games. More to come later…

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks – Only an hour into the game or so (just received the whirlwind tool, to be more specific), but I’m looking forward to more already. I’m not quite as put off as I was upon initially starting The Phantom Hourglass.

Lastly, I got this big boy:

Bioshock – I tried the demo a few months back and enjoyed it more than I expected. So now I’m ready to head deep underwater into the throwback city of Rapture. Wish me luck. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m not terribly great at shooters unless they are a mix of RPG/shooting.

These three should keep me busy for quite some time. Plus, there’s always Fallout 3. Always…

New trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is quietly coming up to its release date (December 7) and not much is known about the second Zelda game for the DS other than it involves trains and phantoms and many of the same elements from The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. But check out the new trailer below, which hints at Princess Zelda’s importance to both plot and gameplay:

I’ve yet to beat The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, mostly because I’m tired of digging deeper into the same ol’ tomb, but it’s still a great, colorful time that I pick up now and again, and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is looking to improve on that formula in every way possible. It’ll probably make my Christmas list…