Skyward Sword: Lanayru Desert and Mining Facility
Hi, Chani here again, with her continuing adventures playing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword!
So, as I said to one of my friends: “This game is almost as wonderful as it is annoying. Or vice versa.”
Basically, it’s about half-and-half annoying and wonderful. We’ll start with the wonderful. Ignoring side quests and the like, let’s talk about my adventures with the basic game and its story. At this point, I was heading down through the clouds into the Lanayru Desert for the next leg of the journey and the next dungeon.
You arrive in the Lanayru mine area. I must admit that my first assumption on hearing the word ‘mine’ was that it might not be as pretty a place or have as pretty music, but I was pleasantly surprised when, although not especially pretty, the area was dark and mysterious and had a WONDERFUL bit of mysterious, quiet background music. Did I mention I have a thing for mysterious things as well as background music? 🙂
Fi informed me that the little broken robots in the area were from ages past.
Then we come upon these Timeshift Stones:
What they do is pretty amazing, and made me love this area even more. When you hit one with your sword, or bombs, or any weapon really, they shift a part of the area around Link to the past (haha I just realized I almost wrote ‘A Link to the Past’… silly pun, but I find it funny :-D). Aaaaaaanyway, a small area becomes more colorful and any machinery and robots in the area return to their full functionality.
The robots are kinda cute. I guess they are this area’s equivalent of a ‘race’.
The entire Lanayru mine area consists of shifting different Timeshift Stones to the past and activating certain areas and mine carts which transport you between areas only when they’re activated in the past. You can even push mine carts from the present transformed areas into past transformed areas to make them functional. Enemies such as deku babas come back to life in the past, too, btw, while they have the electric yellow chuchus and electric yellow spumes in the sand in the present.
My players guide, oddly, doesn’t realize that you can just throw or roll bombs at the spumes and the bombs won’t sink in the sand and therefore the bombs end up killing the spumes. My guide says I don’t have the tools to kill spumes right now… silly guide, I’ve killed plenty with my perfectly-functional bombs. I really only have the guide so that there’s an easy place to go if I get stuck – and I don’t have to run over to the computer and go to an online gaming site to figure out what I’m doing wrong. I also sadly admit that I’m not always the best at figuring out which techniques to use to defeat bosses – and I don’t really play games for the bosses, I play for plot, side quests, and music, so I’m not ashamed to say that I just use guides to get through the bosses and move back into story mode which, for me, is more fun. I’m not a ‘boss’ kinda gal. 🙂
In the mines, the music changes to a more upbeat but still rather nice version of the more mysterious ‘present’ tune while you’re in the past areas. All in all, I was very excited with how they handled this part of the game.
And it gets better. Once you finally get through the mine area you emerge into the Lanayru Desert and are greeted with THIS glorious view!
This took my breath away. The triforce off in the distance shining over the glowing desert sands. Perfectlymysterious to suit my tasts. It also triggered some nostalgia joy inside of me as it made me think of the poem that came in the instruction booklet of the original Super Nintendo Entertainment System version of A Link to the Past back in ’93 when I first got it (I think it was actually released in 1992):
In a realm beyond sight;
The sky shines gold, not blue;
There, the Triforce’s might;
Makes mortal dreams come true.
I just recited that from memory and it should be at least 90% accurate. The view above makes me think of that poem. In the original instruction booklet the included picture was below:
I also thought that this area with the sun behind the mountainy-cliff thing in the back of the Dark World pyramid in A Link to the Past reminded me of the picture from the guide and the poem:
Ahh, this took me back to the good ol’ days, my first Zelda game, fun times… *fangirl squeal*. So, in short, yes, these are the things that made this area of Skyward Sword wonderful.
So my lovely Triforce, cool past-present and time-shifting storyline, mysterious music, desert areas (I love desert areas when they are accompanied by good music)… all things wonderful.
Of course, there is still the not-so-wonderful. Once in the desert the game and puzzles got quite a bit more challenging. Also I was to encounter these cute but annoying creatures, the Ampilus.
When you go back to the past they turn into little eggs which are electrified and you can use them to turn on machines. In the present they just roll themselves at you and you have to go behind something so they run into that thing, instead of you, and knock themselves temporarily unconscious so you can hit their body and defeat them. But they regenerate quickly (how annoying). You can also use their shells to ride safely across areas of quicksand, until the shell disintegrates so the enemy can be regenerated back in its original spot.
The cacti in the background you can also hit with your sword but they just bounce back and hurt you.
The robots in the desert, when activated in the past, provide me with an upgrade to my Beetle, making the Hook Beetle which can grab bombs and drop them places – necessary for getting through the area. Long (very long) story short, I use Timeshift Stones to turn on some generators which allows me to raise the Lanayru Mining facility up out of the sand, my next dungeon and the dungeon that will connect me to the Temple of Time where the Triforce is – after I beat the darn boss of course.
Although the boss was annoying (more on him later), my biggest beef with this particular dungeon was that it was SO … DANG… LONG! I mean, by the time I got through it I was exhausted, sick of it, and thinking I’d been in the dungeon forever. The music was okay, but honestly, this dungeon was too long. Certainly longer than most or all other Zelda dungeons to this point that I can think of, though I could be exaggerating in my annoyance. Either way, I visited the same rooms a million times, did a bunch of crap, and it felt like it was never going to be over. Now, dungeons can be okay especially if they have pretty architecture and mysterious music but, again, I play the games more for the story and areas outside of the dungeons… this dungeon was just too long. It made me dislike it greatly by the time I was through.
Then there’s the boss… Moldarach. A 1000-year old arachnid or so they say.
Now here’s where I have another slight beef with the guide and I will argue my point here. There are also little larvae of scorpion critters in the dungeon known as Arachas.
Fi (I believe) states that once they reach maturity at 1000 years they will become moldarachs, and they take a long time to grow. Fine, that is valid enough. But the player’s guide I have takes it a step further and decides to extrapolate this and declare that this means the difference between the ‘past’ and ‘present’ times in the desert is 1000 years. Now maybe that WAS the intent of the game creators but based on the evidence we have I do not believe this can be definitively concluded. I am not certain, but it appears that we fight the Moldarach in the present as there is sand in the boss arena and we don’t have the sand in the past version of the dungeon. The arachas are also from the present. There are no arachas in any of the past areas. And even if there were, we are only in the boss room area in one time period. We do not, for example, go into the boss room while in the past and see a little aracha, then transform it to the present to find that the little aracha has grown into a moldarach. For all we know, the past could be 3000 years ago and the moldarach found its way in later, 1000 years ago. There is no way to be sure, in my opinion. Also, if for some reason we were fighting the battle in the past, then the insect was already 1000 years old back then and killed ages ago and it tells us absolutely nothing about how many years there are between the past and the present. Not that it’s a big deal, but I take issue with the extrapolation the guide makes. Fi does tell us that it takes ‘several’ hundred years or some such for the area to transform into the desert, but we are given no official number. And since we don’t see any arachas or moldarachs transforming with the Timeshift Stones (pretty sure we only see them in the present), there is no real empirical evidence to support the guide’s claim. That’s the scientist in me coming out. 🙂 I personally like to think it was a good deal more than 1000 years as that makes it feel more mysterious to me but that’s personal preference. It could be more, it could be less, it could be exactly 1000. We can’t be sure.
So now that I’ve argued my point I’ll just say that the moldarach was annoying to beat. I had to use the item I got in the dungeon (the gust bellows), to blow away sand and reveal him fully, which is a lot easier said than done. Then I can only attack the eyes in his claws and on his face when his armor is down. It wasn’t complicated to figure out; it just took a long time and was as tedious as the dungeon was.
So once I defeated him it was on to the Temple of Time. Well, I was really really REALLY hoping to get to visit a nice pretty-architecture indoor temple area and to hear some newly arranged version of my oh-so-loved Temple of Time theme which has appeared in both the Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess games… but it was not to be! *whines*
We end up instead in an outside area near the big Triforce I loved so much seeing from a distance, where Zelda is playing her harp, and then sees Link.
And Zelda could have actually had a chance to go and touch Link as they start to run to each other but Ghirahim attacks and she has to quickly escape darnit! Oh well, it’s not as if it was something unexpected. Impa is kind of cool as she tries to defend them:
And Zelda gives Link the Goddess Harp. Of course, every Zelda game has to have an instrument.
Impa is overpowered and Link hops in to the rescue. This time Impa is kind enough to tell Link that he arrived on time – I was given three comments to choose from to give to her: “Protect Zelda!”, “Go!”, or “Am I late?”. I chose the third. Then she smiles at me and says nope, this time I’m right on time. I feel a bit vindicated here 🙂
Impa and Zelda escape through the outdoor Gate of Time to who-the-heck-knows-where after telling Link that he should ask the old woman at the Sealed Grounds what to do next.
After all this, apparently Ghirahim has no time to deal with Link right now and disappears after threatening to get him later.
Poor Link looks sadly at the spot where Impa and Zelda disappeared and we are done with this portion of the game!
Can’t wait to see how the story turns from this point forward! Although the Lanayru Desert has been, as stated, both wonderful and annoying (annoying mostly because it took too long), I hope the game errs on the side of wonderful now 🙂 Either way, there are definitely some great things here that I really like.
I look forward to continue sharing my experiences!