My Favorite Moments in Darren Aronofsky’s Epic

Noah is one of the finest epics coming out of the 21st century. I argue that it has some of the most beautiful and meaningful narratives than such popular epics like Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings. Here, I would like to share some of my most favorite moments coming out of this work of art. Part of the beauty of this movie is due to Clint Mansell’s beautiful composition.

In the Noah soundtrack,  “Make Thee an Ark” is likely one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever listened to. To make matters just as impressive, the music track is complimented well with a beautiful sequence of shots that start with Noah planting the seed while explaining to his family that the Creator has given them a task.

Skipping forward, the theme continues with the seed growing a multitude of trees, and then a brilliant montage of sequences that symbolize time passing by until two doves land on the ground. Next, the doves fly  towards the construction of the ark. This whole sequence is absolutely breathtaking, beautiful, immersive, and filled with emotion. I consider it to be some of the most powerful scenes I have ever seen on film. If you want to have a taste of what I am talking about, then watch this:

My Ultimate Third Chapter – The Legend of Zelda: Mask of Time

Controlling the Hero of Time

B – Sprint

Y – Attack

A – Action

X – Jump

R – Shield

L – Item

ZR – Bow

ZL – Target (hold) / Center camera (light)

+ – Inventory

 

Up – Mask

Down – Item

Right – Sword/bow

Left – Shield/arrow

 

 

 

3 Modes of Left and Right D-Pad

Just as there are 2 modes in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I have included a third one to help players quickly equip Link in a realistic fashion. In Breath of the Wild, the Left and Right directional buttons are used to change the bow and arrow type in bow & arrow mode. The second mode in the game is when you are both unequipped or equipped with the sword and shield, you can quickly reassign the shield & sword with the same directional buttons.

Now, my take to improving this with The Legend of Zelda: Mask of Time is to basically provide one mode for the unequipped Link and the other for the sword & shield. That is the only difference. Now, I will expand this with the following 3 modes: unequipped, sword & shield and weapon.

Let me specify how these buttons work. By pressing and holding down the directional button, you can quickly assign the item you want to use in the same way as Breath of the Wild.

Unequipped Mode

This mode is a condition when Link has everything in his arsenal unequipped. To better understand this condition, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker only allows Link to crouch with the R button when his sword and shield is put away. That is when the following two directional buttons are available:

Left:Quickly assign and pull out useful tools and powers

  • Ocarina of Time
  • Farore’s Wind
  • Elegy of Emptiness

Right: Quickly assign masks to help Link transform

  • Deku
  • Zora
  • Goron
  • Skull

Note: Like Skyward Sword, unequipped mode can easily be done with a little sprint (B button while moving with the left control stick). Or, just press the A button to put away your gear while standing still. And when I say gear, I mean both the sword & shield mode and the weapon mode.

Sword & Shield Mode

Like The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, this mode can be activated by simply pressing the Y button to pull out Link’s sword & shield.

Left: Quickly assign shield

  • Any spoils from enemies (like Breath of the Wild)
  • Hylian Shield
  • Wooden Shield
  • Mirror Shield

Right: Quickly assign sword

  • Any spoils from enemies (like Breath of the Wild)
  • Deku stick
  • Megaton Hammer

Weapon Mode

This mode can easily be activated while Link has either or both of his weapons assigned to the L or R button pulled out. Changing from unequipped or sword & shield mode to weapon mode is as easy as pressing L, R, or both L + R.

Left: Quickly modify weapon assigned to the L button

Right: Quickly modify weapon assigned to the R button

Note: Every weapon in The Legend of Zelda: Mask of Time has its own unique modifications. Some weapons that take up both the L and R buttons (like the bow & arrow) have both the Left and Right directional buttons to modify just as it is in Breath of the Wild.

What about the Up and Down Directional Buttons?

I am glad you asked.

The Up button is used to assign weapons to the L and R buttons. However, the only difference is you do not have to hold the button at all like the right and left directional buttons. Like the Gamecube version of Twilight Princess, all you have to do is press it. Then, assign away your two weapons of choice.

The Down button is used to quickly assign miscellaneous equipment to the R button.

Up: Assign weapons to the L or R buttons

  • Hookshot
  • Bow & Arrow
  • Bomb
  • Deku Nut
  • Gale Boomerang
  • Rod of Time
  • Iron Boots
  • Lens of Truth

Note: these 8 weapons are cycled in a circle just like Skyward Sword.

Down: Not yet determined

*Revision advised. While writing this, I just realized it makes more sense to have both the L and R buttons assigned to any of the following 8 weapons listed above. Under weapon mode, the modifications are only based on which weapons are pulled out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been developing this idea for a long time, and decided to comprehensively put it together under the inspiration of my personal favorite gameplay mechanics  from previous Zeldas I have played up until the most recent console game, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. This game is going to appeal to core gamers. With each newly released Zelda, I have noticed changes made to keep the franchise fresh by adding new ideas while taking things away that made previous installments so much better than the new ones. Since this game is going to be a sequel to Majora’s Mask, most of its formula will be borrowed from its predecessors. Honestly, I thought the gameplay in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask had the most perfect controls out of most 3D Zeldas, but future installments took away the little things we used to do that made all the difference like striking with your sword while holding down your shield button. At the same time, new installments came up with brilliant ideas that surpass the old ones like the new stamina and sprint feature introduced in Skyward Sword.

My goal is to not only preserve most of the original formula, but to improve and add additional brilliant ideas from Zelda games that came after. Like Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, time and the use of masks will make a return on this game. I would also like to imagine that this will be the very first M-rated Zelda game ever. The Legend of Zelda: Hero of Time will explore extremely dark themes that will surpass its sequel (Majora’s Mask), but it will also have a beautiful artistic expression surpassing Shadow of the Colossus and its epic cinematic presentations combined with a very tragic-themed stylized blood equivalent to Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd. I want to not only make this the most gorgeous “Hero of Time” Zelda ever, but to also present a story just as legendary as Ocarina of Time, explore personal, sad, and bizarre themes that surpass Majora’s Mask, and a gameplay system that stretches its predecessors as Metal Gear Solid 4 did in comparison to the first Metal Gear Solid. All these elements combined will be presented in an artistically open-ended expression that keeps simplification in mind with all the complexities going on, so I am also trying to make things simple yet deep just as Shadow of the Colossus has done.


 

Background

I mentioned earlier that this is a sequel to Majora’s Mask. Now, what is my reason for doing that? Well, I was always curious about what happened to the Hero of Time after he randomly disappeared to the woods at the end of Majora’s Mask. Plus, 3 time’s the charm! Having the Hero of Time return offers great potential for exploring deeper into one of our favorite and most popular Links in the entire franchise. So, where does this game fit into the official Zelda timeline? That is self-evidently obvious, but I would like to elaborate: the game takes place a few years after Majora’s Mask, but before the execution of Ganondorf (a flashback scene from Twilight Princess). This creates symbolic relevance on the fact that I want this game to have a desert setting from the start of the game, which means exploring lore from the desert area in Twilight Princess like Arbiter’s Grounds. Another symbolic aspect of that scene I will explore (as you continue reading this below) are the distinguished themes of water compared with other elements of the game in order to justify and foreshadow the death of the water sage that Ganondorf successfully killed after the execution failed to eliminate him.

As you can probably tell, I am also taking advice from the most current Wii U Zelda in development at this time, which is trying to break the mold of conventional Zelda games. I am breaking conventions with the following: start our hero at the desert than typically from a forest-themed environment, and slightly change the formulaic order of the dungeons and items. It’s going to throw off the player at first with mainly items, but eventually it’s going to feel rewarding. Not to mention, there’s going to be multi-layered depth and purpose from the items in this game, which helps greatly increase replay value. I can list an endless amount of other new major changes, but I think I will leave most of the explaining below. Alright, I’ll give one more! Ha ha! Do you remember how most Zelda dungeons seem to have one item rewarded to you, and used against the boss and puzzles (with exception to dungeons like Stone Tower Temple, which awarded more than just the light arrows)? Well, in THoT, you will expect more than one item rewarded from each dungeon. How exciting!


The Five
Now, how about we begin with the most exciting part of any Zelda game? Dungeons! In THoT, there will be 5 grand, challenging dungeons. 5 is something very symbolically important in this particular Zelda title. I would like to recall that in Majora’s Mask, we had 4 major dungeons outside of the final dungeon. I am including one more. Plus, due to the potential level of challenge from the start of this game, Link will begin his journey with 5 hearts. You will need it! In Skyward Sword, Link starts with 6 hearts. I reduced one in order to balance a slightly greater challenge than Skyward Sword, which I remember how many near death experiences I had from the start of its first dungeon. Now, let us go over the 5 dungeons in order:
  • Desert Temple
  • Forest Temple
  • Water Temple
  • Fire Temple
  • Desert Temple

Now, let us be very clear. The reason why Desert is listed twice is due to the fact that the desert temple you start with, like the Spirit Temple in Ocarina of Time, is done in two parts. There’s another part of that dungeon that cannot be completely accessed until the end of the Fire Temple. The only difference is that accessing the Desert Temple again won’t happen until near the end of the game compared with the immediate return in the Spirit Temple.

Desert Temple

The first dungeon in the game is the Desert Temple, a training ground for Link (or the gamer) to get used to the game’s controls. Do not expect it to be easy, though. It will push the player to know what to expect on the rest of the game. It is one of the most challenging starter dungeons you will ever face since Skyward Sword’s first dungeon. Hence, the reason why the developers started that game with 6 hearts. In this dungeon, Link basically has nothing to help him progress through this dungeon. Long story short, before entering this dungeon, the game’s story revolves around Link imprisoned and losing everything he had in the process (very similar to Metroid Prime). Link escapes with the assistance of his first comrade, who rewards Link with all that he can provide him that helped Link escape in the first place: the hookshot. Yes, shocker! The first item of the game is the hookshot. Take a deep breath, be open-minded, get used to it, and move on reading. This is equivalent to the way Link escaped from prison in Gerudo Valley from Ocarina of Time. So, back to discussing the dungeon, having just the hookshot isn’t as bad as it sounds. Sure, you do not have a sword and shield yet, but a ranged weapon is better than nothing. In this dungeon, you learn the mechanics of how to use the hookshot. Trust me, there’s more to the gameplay mechanics of the hookshot than just extending chains. I will discuss this further on “the items” section below. Before moving on to discussing the weapons rewarded in this Temple, let me explain myself on the randomly selected hookshot as your first item: the reason for doing this is to throw off the gamer a bit, and present a sense of realism to progressing towards the game rather than a logically consistent one. However, I don’t always do that throughout this game. I create a balance. Throughout this process, the items are treated in extremely free and creative ways. You need to find out how to use those items in new ways rather than having Fi from Skyward Sword constantly spoon-feeding everything.

So, what weapons are rewarded in the Desert Temple? Well, the sword is indeed one of them. However, you will be able to retrieve the shield first at midpoint like the Spirit Temple’s retrieval of the gauntlets and the mirror shield. I know, you get the shield first without a sword still? The hookshot is meant to do damage, while the player gets to learn the mechanics of the shield. After Link gets back his beloved Hylian Shield, he will also be rewarded back his trusty sword. To conclude, it seems rather comical when you think about it: going back to the first Zelda where the old man gives Link his first item (the sword), I break that tradition with providing the hookshot early into the game. As traditional Zelda games are concerned, the hookshot is commonly rewarded midway through every long Zelda quest. As you read further, the hookshot is treated as a very special item with very refreshing gameplay mechanics that expand far beyond any hookshot from previous Zelda games.
Forest Temple
The second dungeon is the Forest Temple, and it will be the hardest forest-themed dungeon with an even more bizarre atmosphere that surpasses the Forest Temple in Ocarina of Time. Now, before I begin elaborating this dungeon with generalized details, let me first explain the way those dungeons are structured. The two parts of the Desert Temple are distinguished from the trio dungeons (Forest, Water, and Fire). Those are actually the dungeons where you will be given your transformational masks as one of the rewarding items. Now, before this dungeon even began, you have already discovered items like the deku nuts and deku sticks. The Forest Temple is filled with thick trees with plentiful quantity as if this dungeon adapted and matched with the surrounding forest environment. It’s as if you are not sure whether you have entered a dungeon or not.

This temple rewards the following:

  • Bow and Arrows
  • Deku Mask
  • Whip

Wow, 3 items in one dungeon? I know what you are thinking. There’s something to be understood about the trio dungeons: the masks actually are somehow connected to one of those items, so as soon as you dig deep into the Forest Temple, you’ll receive 2 items at once somehow. Another thing that’s impressive about the Deku Link is his ability to combine previous items for new uses. For instance, the whip is inherently combined with the Deku Mask. Technicality aside, this Deku Shrub is one that can do things others shrubs can and cannot do. I will elaborate with visual aid on the technical aspects of this shrub in the future. For now, that whip is treated like the sword for Link. Just like enemy Deku Shrubs, Deku Link can use the Deku Nuts for projectile stunning attacks. Also, there’s a way to combine the preexisting magic bubble used from Majora’s Mask combined with the Deku Nuts for a more devastating paralyzing strike. Again, all item controls will be explained in the section I write about items.

Water Temple

Remember when I said earlier that water is a very symbolic theme in this game to represent the foreshadowing of the Sage of Water’s death by the hands of Ganondorf? Well, in this water-themed dungeon known as the Water Temple, it is simply a combination of the Shadow Temple and the Great Bay Temple mixed together. It is an eerie place filled with death, evil, frightening moments, and mystery. Not only that, it will utilize some means of transporting water to a minimal level by destroying bouldered walls that block the path of water flow that existed in the past. Yes, this means that bomb arrows will be making a return to this game. As previously mentioned in the Forest section, Link’s magic bar finally makes a comeback. Now, onto the items rewarded in the Water Temple:

  • Ice Arrows
  • Zora Mask
  • Dual Gale Boomerangs
  • Lens of Truth

Like I said, the trio dungeons receive trio items. Get it? Tee hee! However, with the exception of the Water Temple, it will have a total of 4 in the very end. Remember that water is a special theme of this game. This also means that ice arrows may be used to create platforms on water where there are no hookshot points to help Link across. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why repeat the mask transformations? What’s so creative about that? I think that’s a very good point. Honestly, I think returning to those well-known races are worth exploring and updating further from what Majora’s Mask has already established. I loved swimming as Zora Link! However, if anything, those transformations look very different from the Majora’s Mask counterparts. So, they have their own creative designs with some updated gameplay mechanics that can be combined with other items. For instance, Zora Link has always been able to share actions similar to Link. Henceforth, Zora Link is perfectly capable of using the hookshot. This is done for reasons to conduct Zora Link’s electrical embodiment to the hookshot’s chains for more devastating results against enemies. In addition, the dual boomerangs will also be yours in Link’s form. With the help of the divine, we introduce to the origins of the legendary Gale Boomerang from Twilight Princess. There’s two of them, though! At the end of the game, one will be gone while the other lives on for Twilight Princess Link to claim back from the monkey (he finds it at the time of Twilight Princess times). I would also like to add that due to the inherent embodiment of the electrical attack of Zora Link, his dual boomerangs (while released) may also be combined with electricity for more devastating damage. Now, there’s actually something very distinguishing about the Water Temple. You will return to this Temple after progressing far into this game in order to retrieve its fourth item: the Lens of Truth. With this, you may see things as well as unlock the secrets underwater while swimming as Zora Link. Yes, you can use the Lens of Truth while as a Zora underwater. The Lens of Truth is meant to symbolize the shadow-themed dungeons from Ocarina of Time, so it’s a means of communicating to the audience on the foreshadowed death expected from the Sage of Water before the events of Twilight Princess.

Fire Temple

Now, before I begin with the fourth dungeon known as the Fire Temple, let me just stress that this is the point at which you will see a dramatic rise in difficulty. This is going to be the most difficult dungeon that you wished you had more hearts! The fact that I broke the formulaic order of Forest, Fire, and Water is my opportunity to allow this fire dungeon to surpass the environment of the original Fire Temple from Ocarina of Time. Now, let us explore the items rewarded in the Fire Temple:

  • Fire Arrows
  • Goron Mask
  • Megaton Hammer

This Goron Link is going to be a favorite for quick transportation just like the Goron Link in Majora’s Mask. However, there’s going to be an added level of charge to speed him up even more than the spiked form (coal form in this game). If there’s anything to be understood about Darmani the 6th, he has cracks all over his body filled with coal and dirt surrounding his body with a back with holes to release coal. Basically, the theme of designing this Goron Link is steam, coal, and lava. What do I mean by lava? Well, the beauty of this Goron is when he immerses himself in lava, he’s capable of charging his body with a meter that randomly appears under the magic meter to be utilized and released at the discretion of the gamer. That is where his third speed form comes into play. After the coal form, Goron Link releases the lava preserved from within his chi to release it into a fireball. It is actually possible for you to preserve this lava all the way to Hyrule Field, and use it to travel around. As you look behind, the grassy path will be marked with a single line of fire. It’s a beautifully surreal site to behold during the day and night to have lava interacted outside. You may also preserve lava in a bottle to recharge Goron Link. Other additions to Goron Link’s gameplay mechanics is the inclusion of the bomb combined with the Goron Ground Pound to create an explosive result. Aside from Goron Link’s impressive punching combinations, he also has the most devastating physical attack aimed straight at the ground. This translates to unlocking the Megaton Hammer, which will welcome even more diverse mechanics for both Link and Goron Link. The Fire Arrows are treated the same to light things on fire like torches, melting ice, activating explosives like bomb flowers, and burning enemies to the crisp.

Desert Temple Revisited

The second part of the Desert Temple is kind of like a comprehensive dungeon with all the elements from previous dungeons utilized to the fullest extent. It is also a long, challenging dungeon that will promise the use of all mask transformations and its accompanying items. Speaking of items, the following are rewarded in the Desert Temple (Part II):

  • Dark and Light Arrows
  • Mirror Shield

As you can see, in combination, you will switch between a total of 5 arrows: regular, ice, fire, dark, and light. In The Wind Waker, there was a total of 4 configurations. The bomb arrows are separately assigned, and can be combined with either of the elements with different circumstantial effects. For instance, combining bomb arrows and fire arrows upon release will blow Link up. It’s a comedic easter egg! The ice arrows upon release will freeze the bomb itself. After the ice shatters, the bomb will continue its timer and explode. It’s a neat effect! We know how normal arrows work with bomb arrows. As for dark arrows, these babies extinguish sources of light like the sun, brightly lit rooms, undo the sun symbols, and so much more. In combination with the bombs, the light of the bomb will extinguish after release, and the bomb becomes a dud. You can still pick up that arrow to resupply it back as well as the bomb. It’s another comedic circumstance! As for the light arrows, the end result is equivalent to the 1-hit KO like The Wind Waker. It makes the enemy disappear from existence. However, the end result of the light arrow combined with bombs will not make the enemy disappear, but blow them up into little pieces. It’s a violent site that will be utilized for the purposes of puzzles. The Mirror Shield is used in the same ways, but it can be used in combination with the Dark and Light arrows against enemies, bosses, and solving complicated puzzles. As you can imagine, this is going to be one hell of a dungeon that may surpass favorites like the Spirit Temple and the Stone Tower Temple.

The Items
Before I begin explaining in great detail about how each item operates and how each is controlled with the Gamecube controller, let me restate that my intention is to expand on the old items revisited in this game as well as add new ones to the mix. I intend to utilize these items with as much integrity as possible with multiple purposes that may be combined in other ways never thought of from any Zelda game.
Hookshot
I would like to start with the first item Link receives in the game after losing all of his stuff: the hookshot. Now, this item is given to him as a gift by a stranger that helped him escape from imprisonment. This NPC will be an important part of Link’s main quest later. For now, any Zelda game’s hookshot or clawshot generally work in the same ways: the chains extend to allow the tip to hit a target, then immediately retracts with Link going straight to the target. The difference is the player’s ability to control that entire process with a bit more freedom that approaches reality. In other words, the hookshot is controlled a bit more manually than automatically:
Before I begin, let me first be clear that the item button is known to be the L trigger. Pull out the hookshot by pressing and holding L. Upon release will extend the chains until the maximum distance is reached. Then, it stops in its tracks! That is the prime difference there! The hookshot’s extended chains will only react as soon as the player chooses to press the item button again. Or, hold the item button to retract and still continue aiming for the next target of interest.

Now, what is my reason for making such a vital change by expanding it with additional steps? Well, it all comes down to the core of things I favor in Zelda games or any games in general: strategy and problem-solving. This is an opportunity for the player to utilize this new mechanic for the strategic purposes of defeating enemies, and for the expansion of creative ideas in problem-solving during a temple.

Upgrading the hookshot
Outside of this mechanical expansion of gameplay, there are other amazing aspects about the hookshot. Throughout your adventures, this hookshot has the ability to get upgraded with the stranger. In a sense, this item you first start with grows alongside you as you progress through the main quest. Upgrades such as extending its distance, adding customized designs to increase its damage potential against foes, and having a second hookshot added into the mix for more multitasking damage potential. Now, how can one control a second hookshot after extending one? Well, for the second hookshot to only be extended is when the player switches their L-targetting on a second enemy. The other condition is to click the left and right joystick together in order to alternate between the first hookshot and the second hookshot. The beauty of this is the first one is still extended without distrupting it at all. After the second one is done, L-targetting is the only way to retract one at a time. Without the use of L-targetting allows for both hookshots to retract at the same time.
Using the hookshot as Zora Link
The beauty of your first item in the game is its compatible use with the Zora Link form. See? Water’s a very distinguished and special expression to this game. I told you for the millionth time! Anyways, the hookshot’s conductive material works well with Zora Link’s electricity. I have mentioned before that Zora Link’s dual boomerangs can be applied with electricity to increase damage, and the same applies with a hookshot extended with the tip stuck on an enemy or target. After the hookshot is at its extended state, all that must be done is to press the ZR button. The ZR button is the only way to activate electricity when Zora Link either uses the hookshot, the boomerang, or while he is swimming (just like Majora’s Mask).
More coming soon.

Oracle of Ages vs. Oracle of Seasons

Capcom’s The Legend of Zelda handheld twins, inspired by the same art style and gameplay of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, titled Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons are not as evenly matched as originally assumed. This is an understandable first impression given the history of Nintendo handheld titles like Pokemon Red and Blue versions. These games are perfectly equivalent with varying differences, but the beauty behind Capcom’s take on this is they are both Zelda titles with completely unique maps and dungeons. Now, my determination of which title is superior to the other is purely subjective, but I plan on using rational reasons for why I prefer one over the other.

More coming soon!

The Suspiciously Shared Manufacturing of Irrational Views from the Mainstream Media to the General Public on M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender

M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender is what I consider to be a highly underappreciated and misunderstood film by mainstream media and the American public. This first post I wrote is not only just an introductory statement, but a foreshadowed taste of what is expected to come in future posts. I believe my position to defend this severely underrated work of art can be a more rational and easier stance to defend than the other extreme side of the spectrum. Yes, one’s views on any art form is subjective. There is no denying that. However, my challenge to all readers watching any piece of cinema is to come with an open and critical perspective. The one thing that inspired me to say something about defending this film, or any M. Night Shyamalan work, is how poorly critiqued it was from mainstream media followed by the public borrowing the same so-called justifiable conclusions. I challenge that the film’s content contradict these irrational views, and my plan is to explore this further in the near future. Stay tuned for more.