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Sun 28th Aug 2005
By David Whyld - See all my reviews
I’ve never actually played any of the Zelda games - on which this is based - so I’m not sure if I missed out on something and enjoyed the game far less as a result. Or, on the other hand, if it just isn’t that remarkable full stop.
It starts off reasonably well. You leave the cave of Impa - some kind of chronicler from what I gather - to be informed that the King of Hyrule has been kidnapped by a strange creature in blue armour. Princess Zelda has demanded your presence and off to the palace you go to meet her. Here, unfortunately, things start going rapidly downhill.
Zelda wants to accompany you and so you set off to find the King with her. Figuring out what to do next is the hardest part. Most of the time I spent wandering around the town which seems to comprise the bulk of the game, not having a clue what I was doing. There were a few NPCs scattered about - the Windmill Man, a librarian, a few guards, some others - but all were very poorly done and had next to no depth about them. The IF equivalent of cardboard cut-outs? It would seem so. Interacting with them was difficult: they react only to "ask [name] about [subject]" and while I was able to garner a few responses from them, nothing I discovered was in any way useful. Most attempts ended in the default message that such-and-such "does not respond to your question".
The few items I have - a sword, a hookshot, a shield and an (empty) money pouch - I was hardpressed to find a use for. The hookshot I eventually managed to use to get some information out of the moblin I discovered in the palace dungeon but the others so far I haven’t discovered anything to do with. In fact, I no longer have the shield. Some monster with the seriously unscary name of Like Like swiped it in the graveyard and I don’t know any way to get it back. If I need that shield to finish the game, I’m clearly screwed...
The town itself is fairly empty and lifeless. The few NPCs don’t so much add depth to the game as merely emphasise just how desolate everything is. Descriptions of the various things you see are basic and to the point without any effort expended to make them feel real; often they don’t tell you anything more about the item in question than you had already seen in the location description.
Difficulty wise, Legacy Of A Princess is a hard game. Few games come without so much as a few hints somewhere along the way. Unfortunately this is one such game. It’s also not the sort of game where hints are unnecessary as I soon discovered when, after several hours of playing, I still hadn’t managed to make any further progress than I had made in my first five minutes. To date I’ve achieved precious little: I’ve recruited Zelda to my side, spoken to the Moblin and been attacked in the graveyard while searching for a boat (why is there a boat in the graveyard? I wish I knew.) And about that’s it. Okay, there’s also the shop which sells a mask I might need but as I don’t any any money (rupees) I can’t buy it and stealing doesn’t seem to be an option. One location in the game contains gazillions of rupees but is no longer available to me and, reloading from a previous save, I was told I couldn’t take the gems anyway! There’s also the lake I’m unable to cross without a boat - the idea of swimming the lake obviously never occurred to the writer as there isn’t an option for it. And that really is it. There could well be a fairly reasonable game past the points I’m stuck on but I suspect not. Most reasonable games start out that way and few of them start bad and then dramatically improve somewhere along the way.
Errors (Obvious and Otherwise)
Not too many but they are annoying.
There were obvious ones at the start in which you’re told there you can see some bookshelves; however, trying to examine them hits you with the unhelpful message "Which shelves. The books or the shelf?" The books can be examined but the shelf/shelves can’t. You get an ambiguity error each time you try.
The conversation system is unhelpful but never more so than when you try ask certain characters about certain other characters and run into a flaw in the design system. "Ask Katie about Impa" produces "Impa isn’t here!" Strangely, "Ask Zelda about Impa" works fine.
This isn’t a terrible game by any means and it even looked like it might be worth playing from the opening paragraphs, but lack of hints and depth just persuaded me I’d be far better off trying something else instead.
4 out of 10