Thursday, 2 March 2017

Top 5 Worst Zelda Games

At the time of writing this blog entry, there is just one more day until the release of Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. So what better time to talk about the peak of adventure gaming than the day before a new Zelda game comes out?

I could talk about my top 5 Zelda games, but the problem with that is, no matter which five I pick, someone, somewhere is going to get insanely angry that I didn't put their favourite on the list. So, if people are going to be offended anyway, why not go all out and do something that everyone will get angry at? Talking about the WORST games in the franchise!

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to The Red Fleece's Top 5 Worst Legend of Zelda Games!


In all honesty, Phantom Hourglass isn't really that bad a game. It actually had some good stuff going for it. It's a portable sequel to Wind Waker with modified sailing mechanics and the touch controls work well. But the big problem with the game is it's main dungeon- The Temple Of The Ocean King. You have to keep returning to this central dungeons, repeating the same floors, doing the same block puzzles over and over and over again. As if that wasn't enough, doing so on a time limit, with invincible phantom enemies that can drain huge chunks of your time in one hit makes this dungeon the most frustrating water themed area in the series. Give me the water temple from Ocarina of Time any day!


Skyward Sword is basically the Frozen of the Zelda series. Not horrible, just not as good or as original as people claim it to be.

Unlike Phantom Hourglass, this game doesn't suffer from one gigantic problem, but several reasonably large problems that add up to a less enjoyable experience: Such as the empty over world in the sky, the linear game progression and having to repeat the frustrating boss fight with The Imprisoned numerous times.

A lot of people praise this game for it's story, but for me personally, the story seemed pretty cliché and just overstayed it's welcome. Let's begin with the story's biggest pain in the arse- Fi.

Take everything you found annoying about Navi, multiply it several hundred times, give her zero personality and have her repeat every-single-direction another character gives you- You've just experienced Fi. The NPC has just told me to go to the Volcano Dungeon. I REALLY don't need Fi butting in with “Master, I have calculated an 88.65% that you should go to the Volcano Dungeon.”
Fi, I have calculated a 100% chance that you are the most annoying companion character in the history of Hyrule.

Everyone gushes over the relationship between Link and Zelda in this title; what, you mean that cliché anime childhood friend twaddle? It's just a carbon copy of Link's relationship with Ilia in Twilight Princess and Saria in Ocarina of Time. Hell, it's not even the first time he's had this sort of relationship with Zelda herself- they were childhood friends in Minish Cap. Or does that game not count because it's on a handheld and not a home console? First time Zelda actually had a personality? In Minish Cap, she's bubbly, fun loving and down to earth. Sounds like a personality to me!

Like our previous entry, Skyward Sword does have redeeming qualities. I love the orchestral soundtrack (it actually reminds me of my childhood watching The Dreamstone) and I found the motion controls fun to work with. Its definitely not the worst Zelda game (there are three more spaces on this list after all!), but I do think its the most overrated.


Before I begin, I'd just like to clarify something- I am not hating on Link's Crossbow Training just because it's a shooter instead of an action adventure game. That would be like hating on Mario Kart or Mario RPG just because they aren't platformers. Bashing a game just because it's not the genre I expected would be narrow minded and childish...okay, admittedly I am a narrow minded and childish person, but that's beside the point!

The reason Link's Crossbow Training is on the list is simply because there's really nothing to it other than shooting. It's really just a showcase for the Wii Zapper peripheral with a Zelda theme. There's no story so all you're doing is shooting to get a high score. It doesn't even have a good multiplayer mode. You have to take it in turns passing the zapper around. They could have at least given us a split screen battle mode, like in Golden Eye. Even just adding a story mode would have made for a more satisfying one-player campaign.

Rail Shooters and First Person Shooters can be fun games, as long as they're done well. Think of games like Doom, Time Crisis, or even Nintendo's own Metroid Prime series. Shooting games that still gave you a sense of adventure.


The last three titles that I've talked about all had their flaws, but there was still some fun to be had. Now we move on to the really bad Zelda games- Wand of Gamelon and Faces of Evil. Much like Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, these two CDI exclusives were different games, but two sides of the same coin (hence why I've put them here together). Due to their high price on the market, they are two of the only Zelda games that I haven't actually played.

But isn't it narrow minded to call these games two of the worst, when you haven't actually played them?”

Yes, it is. Even if they are infamous for their bad controls and frustrating level design. But horrible gameplay isn't why I've placed them so high on the list.

Two words- YouTube Poop.

The infamous cutscenes in these two games are one of the biggest reasons YouTube Poop exists.

And that is why they are on the list.


Triforce Heroes...without a shadow of a doubt, the worst Zelda game that I've ever played. Nintendo was so focused on multiplayer that they left the single player story mode virtually unplayable. In said single player, you are accompanied by two dummy Links, who remain stationary until you switch your soul into them. To progress through the level, you have to either carry them totem style or keep switching between the three. Ridiculously tedious.

Now, the Anniversary Edition of Four Swords on the 3DS was also geared towards multiplayer, but you could still have a decent single player experience- the other Link followed when you whistled and automatically performed the actions that you needed to do to get past the obstacles. Triforce Heroes doesn't have anything like that. And because the bosses are geared towards you using your Totem formation to hit the weak spots with Top Link, Middle Link or Bottom Link, fighting them becomes a complete nightmare.

When you actually try to go through the game in Multiplayer, teaming up with two random people, it still doesn't help. Mostly because of all the trolls who drop out in the middle of the stage, meaning that the entire party has to return to the hub.

So why don't you just play it with friends that you know you can trust?”

Simple. None of my friends own the game. It really is that bad, nobody I know wants it.

So there's the list of my Top 5 Worst Zelda games, OR the 2 (technically 3) Worst and 3 of The Least Best. Will this list change when Breath of the Wild comes out tomorrow? Hopfully not. I'm cautiously optimistic about the new entry to the series. While this list does show that even the Zelda franchise can have a rotten apple or two, Nintendo does learn from past mistakes, as is the case with the HD re-release of Twilight Princess for the Wii U. It no longers interupts the game to remind you of how much the blue, red, yellow etc rupees are worth and it allows you to skip the cut scenes. 

Now if you'll "Excuuuse me, Princess/Prince", I'm off to change into my Goron Tunic to protect myself from the incomming flames being fired at my unpopular opinions.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

The True Villain of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night?

Happy January 5th! Also known as the twelfth day of Christmas, or if you're a theatre buff, twelfth night.

I've been watching a lot of Game Theory and Film Theory as of late, so I thought it would be fun to try doing a similar styled theory of my own. So what better piece of entertainment to cover on twelfth nigth, than Twelfth Night?

Written as late New Year's entertainment, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night or What You Will, has a lot of similarities with a traditional pantomime. Very straightforward, some people say. Viola's the heroine and Malvolio is the de-facto villain, right?

Well, I'm sorry to say, that is a false conclusion. I hate it as an unfilled can (or an antiperspirant that doesn't work).

People often label Malvolio as the villain, but when you pay attention to his actions during the play, he never actually does anything wrong, legally or morally. So, he's not really a villain at all. Arrogant- yes, ambitions- yes, in possesion of an ego the size of Seattle- oh, God, yes...

But evil? Not really.

What's that you say? He antagonises Viola? Well, yes, he's rude to her, when he gives her Olivia's ring and tells her not to come back, but remember- who was it that told him to do that? Hmmm, name's just on the tip of my tonge...Oh yes! It was Olivia!

Really, you can't fault the man, just for doing what his employer asks of him, can you?

In fact, the most antagonistic he gets is when he puts a damper on Sir Toby's drinking party, threatening to kick them out of the house if they don't behave. Seriously, that's the worst thing Malvolio does- tell a bunch of party animals to keep the noise down. For years, this poor man has been labelled a villain, just for doing his job.

“Ah! Then the villain must be Sir Toby!” I hear you say “Of course! He's the one playing pranks on everyone, instigating fights with the twins and setting Olivia up with Sir Andrew! Of course, he must be the real villain!”

Again, a false conclusion, more hated than an unfilled can, or a season finale of The Big Bang Theory that ends on a cliff hanger, so I have to wait another year or so before...

Anyway, Sir Toby Belch, the portly partaker of pickled herrings isn't the villain either. This may come as a shock to you, but Toby is actually the true protagonist. And before you ask, no, I'm not just saying that out of narcissism, because I actually played Sir Toby in a local production of Twelfht Night (or What You Will)...okay, I suppose it is parly out of narcissism...but I can back up my claim with evidence. Firstly Sir Toby has the most lines out of any character in the play.

No, I'm not making this up. 343 lines, just above Viola's 335. 


Numbers aside, Toby's actions through the play aren't really villainous either. A common misconception is that he's trying to arrange a marriage between Olivia and Sir Andrew, so Toby can help himself to Andrew's family fortune. But if that were the case and Toby was just marrying her off for money, why is he helping Andrew instead of Orsino?

Considering that Orsino is the one who governs Illyria, it makes sense that he would not only have higher social status but more money. If Toby was just trying to marry Olivia off for cold hard cash, why set her up with a buffoonish knight when he could just barter with the Duke himself?

Because he and Andrew are friends. He simply wants Olivia to be with someone he knows that he can trust. I mean, Orsino has no sympathy for the fact that Olivia's still in morning for her late brother. Not exactly winning any points with the family, Orsino.

While it's true that Toby does play some mean spirited pranks, that's really all they are- pranks. He does instigate fights between Andrew and other people, but he knows when his pranks have gone too far. Both times when it escalated into the actual drawing of weapons, Toby stood up for Andrew against Antonio and later Sebastian, only relenting when the officers (or his cheesed off niece) show up.He's pretty down to earth, too. His relationship with Olivia's chambermaid Maria is actually a lot better fleshed out and more believable than the ones either of twins end up it.

So who are the real villains?

Not Malvolio, not Toby or Maria, not even Feste. 

It is in fact the twins themselves.

Yes, Viola and Sebastian, the cover girl and poster boy of modern adaptaions are the real villains of Twelfth Night (or What You Will). These two, who have been hailed as heroes are in fact, shallow, dishonest, opportunistic gold-diggers.

Now, since it's ladies first, we'll start with Viola, one of the most two-faced characters in Shakespeare's entire cannon of work.

First thing to address is the fact that she spends most of the play lying through her teeth, introducing herself as a boy named Cesario. Hell, her real name isn't even mentioned until the final scene. One thing that's puzzled me lately is WHY Viola dresses up as a boy? If she needed to find work, she could have just got a job as a maid, like Maria.

Put simply- more money.

Disguised as a man, she would not only earn higher wages, but would also have better prospects for promotion. Hey, it is still the 16th century, after all.

In fact in the very first scene, she asks the ship's captain “Who governs here?”. Right here, she's planning on going right to the top, seeking out the man in charge of Illyria and disguising herself as a boy, not only for higher wages, but also to get close to the Count.

In the following scene she and Orsino share, where she utters “Myself would be his wife...” Orsino never actually shows any attractive qualities. Most of his dialogue is either gushing over Olivia or telling Cesario lines that in modern English, translate to “You look like a girl.” So, what does Viola see in him? Well, first of all, money, as we've already established- she doesn't see a potential husband, she sees a walking £££ sign (or at least Illyria's equivalent of a pound sign.)
Though another possibility is that she's just sick of hearing Orsino going on and on and on about Olivia when there's a perfectly good set of female organs right in front of him.

Hmm...compulsive liar, motivated by greed, jealousy and ambition...traits you'd associate with the villain. Know what other characters in Shakespear's works share these traits?

Claudius in Hamlet, Iago in Othello, the title character of Macbeth.

Oh, just a minute, I need to do the superstition


So Viola is really a manipulative gold-digger and not the goody-goody heroine modern adaptations try to paint her as.

But as vile a person as Viola is, she's not a patch on her horrible brother Sebastian.

Lets start with the company he keeps- the notable pirate Antonio. He rescues Sebastian from the shipwreck and takes him to Illyria, yet doesn't ask for anything in return. He follows Sebastian into enemy territory, knowing full well that Orsino's men are on the look out for him and even lends Sebastian his purse. This all seems...surprisingly generous for someone who's CV lists pillaging, plundering and looting as special skills. Sure, you could just say that Antonio is doing all of this out of the kindness of his heart. Like Captain Jack Sparrow, it is possible to both a pirate and a good man, but why would Antonio risk his life and lend a large amount of money (all he has on him , apparently), for someone he's only just met?

To answer that question with a question- what if they've actually met before the events of the play?

Back in Act 1 scene 2, the ship's Captain tells Sebastian's money hunger sister-

I saw your brother, most provident in peril, bind himself, (Courage and hope both teaching him the practice), to a strong mast that lived upon the sea.”

Captain Nameless claims that it's “courage and hope” teaching Sebastian how to tie himself to a mast, but that's all it is- a claim. I have a theory that the twin with the Y chromosome already knew how to do that. What I propose is that Sebastian is himself... a pirate.

It would explain why a salt water thief like Antonio is willing to stretch his neck out for him without asking for something in return. 

But, of course, that's just speculation.

If you want actual evidence of what a nasty, evil person Sebastian is, you only have to look at his behaviour in act 4.

After Andrew belts him one, believing him to be Cesario (whom Andrew has reason to believe abandoned his friend Antonio and fled their duel. So Andrew's actually doing somehting wrong for the right reason), Sebastian beats him up and then goes for his weapon. Toby, seeing that he's got Andrew in trouble again, tries to defuse the situation by grabbing Sebastian's arm and threatening to throw his knife over the fence. Sebastian breaks free and pulls his knife on Toby, who in turn is forced to draw steel in self defence.

So, just to reiterate- Sebastian pulled a knife, durring a fist fight, and threatened a man who was simply trying to break it up.

Then Olivia storms on gives Toby a bollocking, believing him to be the one at fault (if something stinks, it's usually The Belch. Yes, I was looking for a way to sneak a Phoenix Wright reference in here. =P ), she then takes Sebastian aside, also believing him to be Cesario and proposes marriage. Shallow Scallywag Seb agrees to marry Olivia, simply because she's beautiful and obviously rich.

Again, to reiterate- he takes advantage of a woman who's mistaken him for somebody else.

Then in the final scene, Andrew and Toby stagger on, after Sebastian beats them up. Round 2 of Delinquent vs Dunken Knight obviously happened off stage, so we're supposed to believe that the Laurel and Hardy of Illyria jumped him again, only to get their clocks cleaned. Well, what do you expect? Toby's niece, the only family he has left has just married a violent sociopath that she literally only just met. Of course Toby's going to be angry at his niece being taken advantage of! What would any self respecting parental figure do?! Most adaptions of this final scene also show Toby to be drunk at time, so there's also Sebastian beating up a man who's too drunk to fight back.

It looks like a happy ending because those shady twins have married rich and attractive nobles. But audiences overlook the fact that Olivia is now shackled to a violent and shallow man she that she doesn't even know. No sympathy goes to poor Malvolio, falsely imprisoned and humiliated. It's like “Who cares! The twins are happy and that's all that matters!”

Therein lies to real tragedy of Twelfth Night (or What You Will). The bad guys get everything they want without trying, while the real heroes are beaten, disgraced and humiliated. Despite their best efforts they failed to save Olivia from the clutches of an evil, bad tempered and cruel scrounger.

Like they say in the anime, Ouran High School Host Club- Twins with too much time on their hands are the devil. 

So do you agree with my interpretation of the characters? Or are you now after a pint of my malapert blood? Please, let me know in the comments. Please be aware, I'm not trying to ruin the play for you, I'm just having bit of fun. Hey, the fact that I've even come up with this over the top fan theory proves that Shakespeare's work is still enjoyable after 400 years.
Have a great twelfth night and remember- don't follow Toby's example. He's the 16th century star of “Why let good times go bad.”