Breath of the Wild: Master of Disaster Mode

Holy cannoli! Nintendo wasn’t screwing around when they originally christened this “Hard Mode.” I’ve been tooling about in my DLC replay of The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild and I’ve learned right away that the giant world of Hyrule is best used to give those monsters their space, man.

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The new mode replaces the game’s wimpy red monsters with their black and silver brethren, and reduces weapon durability to the level of dried straw. There are also snipers hanging about in the sky, and Lynels on the Great Plateau! This new Hyrule is no place to strut like the lord of the land, at least not without some careful strategies.

First, you gotta play it sneaky. I’m not used to doing that, but it really makes a difference. Sit by fires until nighttime, and then slip into enemy camps for weapons. Then get the hell out of there before you wake anyone up. Master Mode monsters recover their health if you don’t finish them quickly, and odds are those spears and clubs you just gathered won’t last long enough to kill even one of them. Save those weapons for when you really need them, because they’re precious.

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Second, getcha ass southwest, and into Lurelin Village as soon as you can. If you want to counteract that enemy health regeneration, you’ll need the bananas and Mighty Porgies found there to make strength-boosting meals. Also, Lurelin is one of the few places where you can buy Shock Arrows, whose power to disarm enemies is invaluable.

Third, play with physics. Use two-handed weapons to send bad guys soaring, specifically off of cliffs or into deep water. If you have no two-handed weapons, use charged attacks. If you have no weapons at all, use bombs. If there’s no chance for victory, knock the monsters away and run for the hills.

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I’ve found that these strategies are most important when facing Silver and Black Bokoblins, who can absorb so much punishment that toe-to-toe fighting will only eat up your armaments. Moblins are usually easy to Sneakstrike or avoid altogether, while Lizalfos aren’t especially hardy, and don’t require so many hits to take down.

I’m not very far into my replay, so there may be many challenges that I haven’t seen yet. I’ve heard that there are Gold monsters, even tougher than the Silver ones, who have yet make their debut. I…think I’ll avoid the dungeons for a while so I can delay their arrival.

Still, I’m kinda looking forward to it. Encouraging creative thinking is what Breath of the Wild does best, and I can’t wait to put my Zelda skills to their greatest test yet.

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Top Cartoons: Dragon Quest – Legend of Hero Abel

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Dragon Quest – Legend of Hero Abel

When I was growing up, my favorite cartoon was Dragon Warrior, a Japanese cartoon brought to America by Saban Entertainment. It was based on the Enix role-playing games (known as Dragon Quest in Japan), which involved groups of heroes going on lengthy quests to slay monsters. When I first saw the commercials for the DW cartoon, I was skeptical, as other game-based cartoons, such as Captain N and Video Power, were pretty lame and disparate from their source material.

Still, I decided to give Dragon Warrior a try, and I loved it. Freaking LOVED it.

The love was two-fold: first, the artwork was fantastic. The character designs were done by Akira Toriyama, creator of Dragon Ball Z, and his inimitable style was unlike anything seen on television at the time.

Second, the source material. This was no whimsical kid’s show with compartmentalized episodes with morals at the end, like He-Man or BraveStarr. No, this was a grand, high fantasy epic that followed the continuing story of Abel in his desperate quest for his kidnapped love Tiala. Everything from the video games was here: graphic sword fights, freaky monsters, mysterious legends, and even some sensuality (though this was significantly reduced in the localization). There was also plenty of humor as the characters bounced their personalities off of each other. The English dubbing, which I find miserable in most anime, was stellar, too. The actors really threw themselves into their roles, and it was astounding to hear such true performances in a cartoon.

The characters and adventures all grew in complexity with each week, but sadly, the show was cancelled after only thirteen episodes. Copyright issues or some such thing. It might also have had to do with the god-awful time slots the show kept getting. I remember setting my alarm for 5:25 a.m. every Sunday morning just so I wouldn’t miss an episode.

The mystery of what became of Abel and his friends after episode thirteen gnawed at me for years. The show and its characters really meant a lot to me, and I felt cheated that I couldn’t see more of them. Then, one day, I happened across some recordings of the original Japanese series on the internet. I swept them up without hesitation. They didn’t have English subtitles, so I can’t fully understand the dialogue, but the general plot is clear enough, I think. I’ve decided to share the series on my YouTube channel as a curiosity, and for any other fans like myself who grew up knowing only the beginning of this grand adventure. Just follow the link above.