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The Legend of Zelda: Time's Menagerie (Windows)

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Released
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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
1.5
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Pixelspeech (955)
Written on  :  Jun 13, 2012
Rating  :  1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars
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Summary

Pixelspeech's rant on mature-games: part II

The Good

- Improved graphics with hand-made drawings

- Animations during combat

The Bad

- characters and events only serve to annoy you

- Story has little in the way of twists and is really boring

- Villains won't stay dead

- Same problems as Fallen Sage, but worsened

The Bottom Line

You might be wondering why I am playing this title, after all, I did grind the previous title in this fan-series into the ground in my re-review of it. Well, I wasn't quite done with my rant, there were some more items I wanted to talk about. However, I figured that too much information in just one review would be a little too much for the readers and the message would get lost because of it. Consider this more like a part 2 instead of a separate entry.

To summarize my argument from the last review, "Undyingnephalim" made an overambitious game that failed to grasp the meaning of mature, resulting in a huge mess of a story that left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I have always lived by the notion that you should never let the child inside you die, the reason for why I am telling you this is because after submitting my review on Fallen Sage I was verbally harassed by the creator over Youtube because I wrote a counter-argument to a statement he made on a video. That was when I finally realized what is wrong with the man, his inner child is not just dead, it has been thrown into an oven and slowly burned to death. I actually feel somewhat sorry for the guy, as he seems to be convinced that a Zelda game that isn't utterly and completely devoid of cheerful themes is somehow an insult to the franchise and must be purged, he even claimed the CDI games were better than Skyward Sword.

Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask are clearly the games that he keeps coming back to whenever somebody tries to argue with him, but I think his nostalgia completely blinds him and he now lives in an alternate universe where those two Nintendo 64 games were the scariest games to ever come out the video games industry. I enjoyed both these titles and of course I remember stuff like the Moon crashing into Termina, Ikana Canyon and the first time I saw a ReDead. However, I also remember stuff like racing with beavers, running around with bunny ears on my head and dancing Gorons. Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask had plenty of cheerful and comical moments as well, but Undyingnephalim seems to not see them, just like how he can't see stuff like satanic symbols in Wind Waker and he has stated Skyloft won't appear in Hyrule: Total War despite the fact that every man in that nation HAS to become a soldier.

So what is new in this game? Well the graphics have improved significantly and there is some really amazing stuff now. We see pictures of the actors when they talk and instead of battler graphics we get animations that show whenever you use an attack. Presentation and graphics-wise this game is a real improvement over the previous one. Most images are also hand-drawn this time around, so a character like Annara doesn't have to make use of a misplaced image that came with the engine. Undyingnephalim has always been an amazing drawer and I would recommend his manga, despite the fact it suffers from the same fate as his games, for the style alone.

I enjoyed the new graphics, they felt like a novelty to me, but even a novelty like this can be easily overshadowed by the big problem that this entry in the franchise has made even more apparent, namely the melodrama. Melodrama is when characters and events are created based on insanely exaggerated emotions. It's another problem which I believe relates back to the creator's idea of mature, but to everybody else it just feels like we are experiencing a story written by some 11-year old brat. Every single female in the party is sexually attracted to Link in this universe and every man in the story is attracted to Zelda for example, to us, the scenarios this fact create are so unrealistic to us that it becomes a parody instead of a serious story. The story itself starts off with Saria (one of the calmest and most kind of all people in the lore) freaking out and killing an entire army because somebody said she can't love Link due to her been a kid... These aren't even the first ten minutes of the game, this is literally the start of it, you boot the game and it's the first thing you see.

Then Liyer shows up and decides to try and kill the enraged Saria and this is the point where I turned off the game, fifteen minutes in and I turned it off. Why? Well because it was already clear to me that we were once again wandering the very narrow path of Undyingnephalim's sadistic fantasy. To me, Liyer was the character that caused all this stuff to happen in the first place, she repeatedly bullied Saria and ordered other people to leave her for death on multiple occassions, even going as far to mock her seconds after she died. To assume that everybody in the group, even Darunia, was going to side with Liyer is not in-universe logic, but it is the creator's logic, because Liyer was the main love interest for Link, so naturally she deserves to be the hero of this scene.

I eventually continued, but the story is pure blandness all the way through. One of the big problems is that Neph has three villains; Akazoo, Dark Link and Sulkaris, but can't for the love of god stop banging on about them. These three villains are constantly been ressurected, you actually already fought Sulkaris like five times in Fallen Sage, but Time's Menagerie reveals that she will continue to be revived as long as even a single Gohma is still alive (an arachnid race that shits out dozens of children every second). Dark Link also returns and I can't even tell you how many times you fight him, roughly two times every dungeon? The Zelda series is no stranger to returning villains, but most writers don't ressurect their characters twelve times a game. Saria herself also died like five times already and this time around we once again go on a quest to ressurect her, because apparently items that defy the laws of life and death come with the happy meals in this lore.

As I am finishing this review off, I do feel kind of sad. RMXP is an incredible engine, one that is both advanced and accessible at the same time. Genuinely great games have come out of this, like Yume Nikki for example. I also feel bad about myself, for as much as I am hating on this fan-series, genuine good things have come out of this as well. Majora and the Ooccaa are kind of cool, The Zora have a very interesting personality and just looking at the world map used for Hyrule: Total War makes a fan like myself feel like a tactical genius as I evaluate possible alliances and threats. Perhaps these two RPG's and the manga were made when the designer was still young and Hyrule: Total War will be the groundbreaking reimaging of the Zelda franchise we have been promised. You shouldn't play this title, you shouldn't play Fallen and you probably should also avoid the manga, but Hyrule: Total War still holds promise, so check that out when you have the time instead.