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Author Topic: Review: The Legend of Zelda: Darkness Uprising.  (Read 5306 times)

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Hoffy

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Review: The Legend of Zelda: Darkness Uprising.
« on: August 30, 2008, 01:34:45 am »
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Review:
The Legend of Zelda: Darkness Uprising









Developer: imfletcher of Zsanctuary Productions
Release Date: July 9, 2004
Genre: Action/Adventure
Language: Game Maker
Players: 1


    The fan game many ZFGC'ers would refer to as the "original Zelda fan game" would have to be, not TheRealMethuselah's Ocarina of Time 2D, but none other than imfletcher's very own The Legend of Zelda: Darkness Uprising. The game was originally released in the July of 2004 when Zelda Fan Game Central was still powered by InvisionFree. One would assume that the amount of money the administrators were paying to keep the forum up (in case you're not on the same wavelength, that's zilch) also reflected the amount of quality Zelda fan games that were popping up in the old Completed Projects board... that was, until imfletcher came along with Darkness Uprising. Not only was this Zelda fan game the first to feature multiple areas, enemies, bosses and puzzles, it was also the first to feature a unique gameplay element not even seen in the main Legend of Zelda franchise - the ability to summon creatures for a variety of uses. Four years later, does Darkness Uprising even have a chance of comparing to the independent projects currently on show? Or does it fall behind into the darkness? Read on and find out.

"The package takes on a very Link's Awakening-type theme."

Story: 6.0
    The story opens with Link and Zelda in a small row boat out in the far reaches of the Great Sea. When a storm approaches, the princess insists that the two find shelter on a nearby island, which appears to be deserted. Upon arriving on the island, Zelda decides to wait by the row boat while Link wanders off to look for shelter. Our green-clad hero doesn't get far before he encounters a ghostly figure by the name of Rauru, who claims a horrific sea serpent by the name of Yarivan appeared from the ocean and destroyed the island, reducing the island's population to ghosts. Rauru tells Link that he must travel to alternate dimensions which can be accessed on the island and collect the four ancient relics to gain access to the Tri-Point Tower, where Yarivan is said to be held. Link agrees to help and returns to Zelda, where he discovers she's been possessed, taking on a vampire-like form. After a short monologue, Zelda teleports to the Tri-Point Tower, before Link goes to work once again.


Boss fights! Oh my!

    Even though the story is fairly basic for the most part, imfletcher doesn't overwhelm the audience by pushing the Zelda formula beyond it's limits to include themes of romance and death, and in this case, it's a good thing. The events that unfold through the plot are very Zelda-esque in nature, and overall the package takes on a very Link's Awakening-type theme, which is very much appreciated particularly for fans of the older games in the series. There are also more and more tidbits revealed as the story progresses and the dungeons are beaten, such as what exactly the Darkness Uprising is. At the same time the story can seem a little too basic, and this simplicity often leads to a lack of motivation when it comes to completion.

"It's hard."

Gameplay: 7.0
    The Legend of Zelda: Darkness Uprising plays a little differently to your average Legend of Zelda title, and in a way it is difficult to tell whether this is because the developer imfletcher was aiming for innovation or he felt the inclusion of many classic Zelda elements would slow down the development time. The fan game was developed by imflecther and imfletcher only, within the timespan of six months. In this sense, it could be considered a small project, but even with this factor in mind, it's not difficult to see that Darkness Uprising can still hold it's own through excellent design. With that said, there are still some flaws.


I don't care what they were like in A Link to the Past, that crab will kill you.

    Darkness Uprising is unlike any other Zelda title in that Link cannot swing a sword, hold up a shield or fire an arrow from a bow. As a matter of fact, he cannot use any of the items of which he was granted in any other Zelda title. What our hero can do is master the art of summoning in order to call on creatures with a variety of uses. These include an Octorok which fires a rock in each of the four compass directions, a Wizzrobe for healing, and a Tektite for powering portals and machinery, to name a few. Naturally, it's up to the brilliant minds of the players to use and abuse these summons in order to solve the mind-boggling puzzles. And that's exactly what they are - mind-boggling. Seriously, these puzzles are outrageously difficult. Often there isn't a clear indication as to what you are required to do and you'll find you're reduced to trial and error when you notice something even slightly suspicious. At any rate, the four dungeons are really quite short if you know what to do... but sometimes you'll be spending upwards of 20 minutes on the same puzzle. It really is a cruel process, which can be enjoyable for some and downright annoying for others. It's hard.

"If you learn from your mistakes and play the game right, you could complete this fan game within an hour."

    It could be said that imfletcher has taken a step back as far as health is concerned. Essentially the player has too bars; one for magic and one for health. The one for magic works as it did in the other Zelda titles, in that it will decrease when you use a spell. The difference here is that practically everything Link can do is classified as a spell, which means you'll have to pay extra attention to this meter. The health bar on the other hand provides less opportunity for tactical play as it provides for inconvenience. The bar will decrease whenever Link is in contact with something painful, as you'd expect, the only downfall here is that there is no recoil when Link is hurt, which means oftentimes it's difficult to tell you've been hurt at all. This, and the meter decreases quite quickly when you're contacting a nasty fellow, and there are few instances when you can actually regain heath easily. Whether this is an inconvenience or not really depends on whether you grew up with this sort of gameplay system in the '80s. Either way, Darkness Uprising is not easy.


Thanks, ghost lady.

    In terms of scale, Darkness Uprising would otherwise be considered a relatively short game if it weren't for the amount of time involved in completing a puzzle. Death in Darkness Uprising also brings on great inconvenience, as the player is forced to pick up from their last save point - and there are only four save points across the entire game. Whenever a dungeon is completed you're given the opportunity to save, which means if you die in the boss fight at the end of the dungeon you're going to have to do everything again. This could be considered a poor design choice, but at the same time it just adds to the difficulty. It's not as if Darkness Uprising is impossible to complete, and really these kinds of problematic gameplay elements add to the satisfaction involved when the game is actually over. If you learn from your mistakes and play the game right, you could complete this fan game within an hour. Of course, you might not complete it at all.

"This is the first decent Zelda fan game to be completed at ZFGC."

Graphics: 6.5
    imfletcher's The Legend of Zelda: Darkness Uprising doesn't strive to present an impressive 2D art style of any kind, though the use of customised A Link to the Past sprites gives the game a unique flair all the same. The mapping doesn't hold true to the A Link to the Past style, as the worlds aren't quite as detailed as the worlds of the SNES classic, but the maps present few faults in their design and in this sense the maps hold their own through refined uniqueness. But even with these distinctive sprites and maps the game falls short in it's ability to impress. The grand bosses and other character sprites look fairly basic, and animation, especially in the case of the bosses, is really simple. But, the game does look great - it's colourful, everything is in proportion, and it's easy on the eyes.


Link and Zelda are... LOST.

Sound: 6.0
    There isn't really a lot of variety in the MIDIs chosen for Darkness Uprising. Every outside area plays the Great Bay Coast theme from Majora's Mask, which is certainly a good choice in terms of atmosphere, but there aren't any other MIDIs for the outside worlds. On the other hand, the dungeon and boss music haven't played in any Zelda game to date, and these choices certainly bring the uniqueness to the table. The menu music is also very pleasant, as the Credits song from Ocarina of Time plays. Sound effects are implemented quite well, with the regular Zelda noises and jingles playing at the appropriate moments. There were certainly no weak points in Darkness Uprising's soundtrack, there just could have been more originality.

Overall: 6.9
Summons are cool and implemented well, controls okay, song choices, challenging, actually finished.
Difficult, enemy AI fairly basic, collision issues, sort of cheap, looks and sounds sort of plain.
    None of these scores matter, really. Even if they can be considered quite low scores for such a game, that doesn't mean you should hold back form playing this game. Nobody should. This is the original Zelda fan game, the first decent Zelda fan game to be completed at ZFGC. Every game developer here should immerse themselves with Darkness Uprising, they should appreciate it, and most importantly of all, they should learn from it. Zelda fan games don't need to be overly ambitious to be enjoyable. Simplicity and passion is often the key, and Darkness Uprising is a true example of those attributes.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2009, 02:53:29 am by Hoffy »
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Hoffy.
Re: Review: The Legend of Zelda: Darkness Uprisi...
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2008, 01:42:30 am »
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Nice idea to review that Hoffy!
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Review: The Legend of Zelda: Darkness Uprising.
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2008, 04:20:49 am »
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It would look better if the images used with the comments under them were centered, but the review is nice and the format is good.
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Hoffy

Hero of Fire
Re: Review: The Legend of Zelda: Darkness Uprisi...
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2008, 07:01:41 am »
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Fix'd. I never really realised how good that looks XD.
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Hoffy.
Review: The Legend of Zelda: Darkness Uprising.
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2008, 05:15:30 pm »
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I liked the review. It was nicely presented and offered a great amount of detail about the game. Now I think I'll actually play it.
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