Friday, February 17, 2012

Waixing Zelda
Let's open with an analogy:
Opening Analogy
Question #45 on the MAT for nerds.
Waixing Zelda Cover
Cover photo courtesy of
(Don't ask how this relates
to Zelda even one iota.)
If you've solved the riddle, you realize: 1) is NOT an authorized Vuitton dealer; and 2) we're again dealing with a pirated Famicom game. As the above sprite should make clear, this (slightly less animated) entry into the 8-Bit Encyclopaedia elucidates "塞尔达传说众神的三角力量," which translates to: Zelda: Triforce of the Gods. The game is a Famicom de-make of A Link to the Past for SNES (which was originally titled, Triforce of the Gods), and was produced sometime in the late 1990's by Waixing Computer Science &Technology Co. It should be noted before we dig into Triforce of the Gods that the majority of Waixing's games are utter rubbish. What else would you expect from Chinese Pirates (編曲!*)?

Uncle Dies
I don't read Chinese, but I'm pretty sure he's
telling Link to destroy all the filthy Capitalists.
That said, Waixing's reimagining of A Link to the Past on NES hardware is [Vader] Impressive.[/ Vader] Right from the start its clear Waixing's pirates, unlike other companies, put serious effort into this cart. The spites, despite the limited color palette, are taken pixel-for-pixel from the SNES game. The hit direction is a bit wonky and Link has WAAAAAAYY too much health, but despite having roughly only 25% of the processing and memory of A Link to the Past, Waixing's Triforce of the Gods--despite a few exceptions--follows it's SNES progenitor step for step. Link...dying uncle...Zelda...questing for magic pendants... it's got sharp... it can leap...LOOK AT THE BONES!

Screen Comparison
Thank God. That damn table was effing up the dungeon's Feng Shui.
I should make it clear: my Chinese literacy is exactly zero. I have no idea what's being said. My Zelda literacy,on the other hand, borders on Gladwell Expert Levels. A Link to the Past's strategy guide is hard-coded into my brain (beside EVERY SINGLE WORD of Spaceballs and Monty Python and the Holy Grail). So questing throughout Hyrule was a simple matter of remembering, "OK, so Zelda got kidnapped (again)--I need to get some crystal something or others... to the East Palace!"

Eastern Palace Boss
Weren't there three Indians last year?
The biggest challenge here was getting into the damn place. How was I supposed to know I had to talk to the guy in the adjacent shack twice?

After wandering the much-truncated dungeon and getting the (mostly useless) bow and arrow, it was off to kill the Armos Knights. There's only 4 (as opposed to 6) and they literally don't attack--the most difficult part was discerning if I was actually harming them (spoiler alert--I was).

Desert Boss
Wasting away in Margaritaville.
With the Armos Knights dead, Adjacent Shack Guy rewarded me with a pair of Pegasus Boots. I'm still not certain which button makes them work. Same as A Link to the Past, the boots get the book which opens the Desert Palace. It's amazing how quickly 20-year-old knowledge comes back.

Again, the dungeons in this game are merely key-gathering exercises. Look under pots, find keys, get equipment, defeat boss, repeat as needed. Here it's Power Gloves (for lifting stones) and a snake which resembles three sentient beach balls.

At least this sentient trio of beach balls has eyes. 
After clearing the stones blocking the path, it's up Death Mountain! An anteater-looking guy gives Link a Magic Mirror to jump between the Light and Dark worlds, and a crystal orb in the Mountain Palace make it so he isn't turned into a Rabbit in the Dark World. But eff that shit--I beat the mountain boss, I collected the stupid pendants...

I skipped down the mountain, over the river and through the woods and WHERE THE HELL IS THE SWORD? The entire plot of A Link to the Past is predicated on a Hero strong enough to wield the legendary Master Sword... Apparently the Communist Chinese Overlords found such caste-hopping distasteful. "Comrade must use his government-mandated sword!"
What. The. Fuck.
Fuck. This. Shit.
Lamest wizard since "The Wizard."
Sans Sword, I went back to Castle Hyrule to do battle with the wizard Agahnim. Of course Link arrives just in time to see Zelda banished to the Dark World. With his poontang stolen, Link does what any 8-Bit Hero would; stab the poon-thief's eye. In the SNES version, Link can only harm the wizard by reflecting his attack back at him. Here, you just stand beside the dope and slash him to death.

With the wizard reduced to ashes, Link is shuttled into the Dark World, where instead of 3 MacGuffins, he must collect 6.

Dark World Bosses
Like a boss (or 6)
The Dark World dungeons (like the Dark World itself) offer little variation over color swapping and aren't worth detailing. The Ice Palace doesn't even contain ice, for fudgesake! Link beats some bosses, gets some gear, collects more MacGuffins. You'll notice Waixing has axed the dungeon beneath the Village of Outcasts--Gargoyle's Domain--and moved the Death Mountain dungeon from Turtle Rock to the Tower. I'd be willing to sacrifice another dungeon for the Master Sword, but hey, what should one expect from Chinese Pirates (編曲!*)?

Equipment Screen
No idea what goes in that empty spot.
Shitty Hookshot
Hookshot? More like Hookshit.
With each dungeon cleared, Link should have the above equipment going into the final battle. Considering the memory space, the fact Waixing wedged two sword upgrades, an armor upgrade, a glove upgrade and a shield upgrade in with the other items is again [Vader] impressive [/ Vader].

I should say though, like the Pegasus Boots, the Hookshot really only works when it wants to. Pressing the item button with the Hookshot equipped does nothing. The thing only works--and this took me literally two days to figure out--when you're standing in front of something which can be Hookshoted. Lousy Chinese Pirates (編曲!*). Bombs are equally useless--try as I may, I found not a single bomb-able surface in the game. And finally, considering the most expensive item in the game cost 500 coins, my wealth by the end rivaled Buffet (Warren, not Jimmy).

Squatting Gannon
"Can we hurry this up? I've got
tickets for GWAR tonight."
Crystals collected, Link returns to the Temple at the center of the Dark World to battle the evil Gannon. As this video illustrates, Gannon looks like a warthog popping a squat and is harmless; his swinging trident attack is easily dodged. Only Light Arrows (obtained in the Death Mountain Tower) can harm Gannon, but thankfully Waixing ups Link's quiver to 99 Arrows at the battle's start. This means Link has a near-inexhaustible supply of weapons faster and deadlier  than Gannon's.

The battle is a breeze. Hyrulian Birds, as you can see below, are much deadlier than Gannon:

Two birds can kill Link ten times faster than the all-powerful lord of darkness. Seems Gannon should give up Triforce and take up falconry (and don't ask what "Gome Over" is supposed to mean).

With Gannon, aspiring falconer, shaken loose from the mortal coil, Waixing rewards its faithful players (and to progress this far through such a shoddy game, one must have--above all else--faith) with an ending fitting the game's stature:
Waixing Zelda Ending
"Congratulation!! Link have save Hyrule from two-headed demon being Democracy & Capitalism!!"
The nicest thing I can say about Waixing's Zelda: Triforce of the Gods is that the game isn't horrible. On the bell curve of Pirated NES Games, "Not Horrible" is like getting a 99 from Metacritic. Compared to other pirate ports, Triforce of the Gods is a masterpiece. Control is clunky and the enemies offer little variation, but the faithful translation from SNES to NES make the game a wonder to play. They managed to squeeze 9 dungeons and most of Hyrule onto the head of a pin. Yes, I would have liked to see the Master Sword , but beggars can't be choosers. Waixing's Zelda: Triforce of the Gods, sometimes despite itself, provides a fun and somewhat satisfying experience.

For the curious, the Overworld Map of Waixing Zelda: Triforce of the Gods, can be viewed here.

*Translation: Arr!

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