OK, I've been playing this patch and am up to the 3-eye hidden dungeon. I've been using a FlashCart with custom mappers, on an NTSC-U machine at 60Hz, running through yellow & white A/V cables on a PAL CRT television which can accept NTSC signals. Here are my impressions:
I love it. The changes feel natural. It's actually kind of amazing how right all of the small quality of life changes feel. I had to check the original game to remind me.
* The text speed up is perfect - I can't believe we've all been playing the slow version all these years. On actual hardware the sound is great. It reminds me of the fire sound effect for the fire wand, a bit. Like the words are being burned onto the screen.
* Magic - the rebalanced magic feels just right. Again, I wonder how the dev team came to the decision to make it so expensive in the first place, because this feels so much more natural. It allows me to use SHIELD and FIRE spells more regularly, but the LIFE spell is still just expensive enough to prevent over-use. Also, the magic drops now add a real tactical advantage. When I see a red one, I immediately got to my menu and use all the spells I can, powering myself, before refilling the meter.
Importantly, this has allowed me to reach the 3-eye dungeon comfortably. I game overed 8 times so far, and my level ups are Attack 7, Magic 7, Life 8.
* I didn't notice much rebalancing, apart from the skull bubbles. But I haven't played in years. The skull bubble rebalancing is great because it actually allowed me to farm them a little bit in a couple of dungeons when I was 500 EXP away from a level up, but on my last life before the boss. So I'd level up, then either fight the boss, or game over and restart outside.
* The blue around the hearts looks really, really nice on actual hardware and a CRT.
(See my palette comments below)
As this stands, it's perfectly sufficient for me if you don't make any more changes. I'd feel satisfied completing the game like this. Though obviously you want this to be the ultimate redux, so well done on doing all this.
Fight on good sir!SUGGESTIONS
These are just things which bugged me. Ignore or consider as you wish.
* Magic deselecting itself after use. This is annoying, especially early in the game with SHIELD, where you basically want to use it in each room you enter.
* Beeping - I am cool with the health beeping! It's not so annoying and it keeps me alert. However, I tremendously dislike the beep for getting EXP. It sounds similar to the health beeping, especially when you get two EXP gains in quick succession. This causes a Pavlovian response in me whereupon I think my health is at critical levels. Usually it's in the thick of action where I'm felling lots of enemies (maybe easy blobs) while also fending off and taking damage from the bigger armoured knights or skeletons, when there's multiple enemies in a room. On more than one occasion I've incorrectly thought "Crap! Health is low!" and hit the Select button to use my LIFE spell, only to discover I nearly had full health.
Any chance of changing the tone of the EXP beep, or removing it altogether? Considering how much EXP grinding one does, the EXP beep gets very annoying.
* It would be nice if all enemies gave EXP. Even the kobolds (white headed rat/wolf enemies), and Moblins. Sure they're one-hit kills, and their original function was to induce fear by stealing EXP, but considering that level ups soon cost 2000 or 5000 a pop, I doubt anyone is going to farm kobolds if they gave 2 EXP. However, psychologically that little floating "2" will feel nicer than getting literally zero reward for swinging a sword. (I blame modern game design which has conditioned me to want prizes for every action. I want those prizes!)
* Would it be possible to keep one's EXP when saving using the controller trick, as opposed to a game over? I forgot how annoying it is to have 3500 EXP, away from a 5000 level up, and needing to turn the game off. Obviously one should be penalised when getting game over, by losing EXP, but saving normally? Obviously those emulating won't have this problem, it's exclusive to real hardware. Is the SRAM even capable of recording this, or would it require heavy recoding?
* Someone else mentioned it, but I also find it annoying that you might have 5800 EXP after beating the boss, and you basically waste all your EXP when placing the crystal. You should really get a free level up and then keep all the EXP you previously had. The game is hard enough as it is - cutting out some of the pointless grinding for EXP would not be a bad thing. Is this possible? So far I've been going back to farm skull bubbles before actually placing the crystal if I was a few hundred away.
* Regarding fixing the localisation, I have not read the page you link to, however, I think the following would be good:
- A clue revealing that Bagu is hiding in an invisible square in the swamp. I had to check online for this, and discovered other players have the same problem, wondering how anyone back in the day would find him without a guide. Someone in the river town really should tell you to find the hermit hiding in the swamp. One poster online joked that he thought Bagu was the town mayor, in hiding due to Ganon's "eyes" in the town, and that's why his note has the clout to persuade the bridge guard.
- Is there a clue for finding the water of life? I only found it by accident because someone said there's magic in a cave in some swamp. So I went back to that cave blocked by a rock in the firs swamp, and found the water of life in there. Not sure if this clue was referring to an actual cave with actual magic upgrade, or they meant water of life. But either way, it'd be nice if there was an obvious clue to "curative water" or "healing water" so people know how to cure the sick child.
- The kidnapped child clue is a bit rubbish. They say the child has been taken and is on an island. At first I thought they meant the maze island (which they do), but I could not find him. So I play the dungeon, I get the boots, and then I leave and walk to the Ocean Palace, which is also on an island, and I conclude: "Aha! This must be where the child is!" When in fact, no, the child is on maze island hidden to the south east. I had to use a guide for this after many hours of fruitless searching. Would be nice is the clue was a bit more on the nose - "The child is hidden in the maze on the island" or whatever fits.
Remember, anyone coming to this game for the first time in the current era, won't have copies of Nintendo Power, or necessarily friends playing it at the same time to help. They will only have in-game clues, or FAQs online which kind of spoil the experience.
* Any chance of assembly coding a map system into the game? The original Metroid on NES, and also Simon's Quest, both had map systems inserted into them, and they both work pretty damn well! I was astounded at how good the Metroid map is.
* Any chance of making the cave system easier to navigate? I managed to get through on trial and error, but it is kinda annoying. Not removing the maze, just... I dunno. Maybe having a letter or bit of text at the entrance/exit so you can keep track better?REGARDING THE PALETTE
Please consider providing two patches, one with and one without the graphical changes. As any NES fan will know, the system does not natively output RGB, and there are various emulators which provide different types of palette. Basically what I'm seeing is not what everyone else is seeing, and vice versa.
To be honest, at first I thought the patch included the palette changes already - and then I checked a clean ROM and discovered everything looked the same.
Also, there is artefacting and natural blending of vertical lines on actual hardware. The easiest way to see this is load the original Zelda. See the two item boxes? The vertical columns look like they are twirling, like blue pieces of fusilli.
In Zelda 2, this inherent artefact causes an interesting "colour shimmer" on the roofs of houses when walking - as the screen scrolls the colours blend and artefact, and it seems to create artificial pseudo "extra colours", which resemble "dirty patches" on the roofs. Basically I still stick with the original NES, because I've yet to find an emulator filter which replicates these quirks which you find on CRT TVs.
Random evidence I googled:http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?t=7261http://emulation.gametechwiki.com/index.php/Famicom_Color_Palettehttp://www.firebrandx.com/nespalette.htmlhttps://me.me/i/what-indie-developers-think-what-retro-games-actually-retro-games-5973719https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
I can also try to put a photo of my TV screen up. But looking at all the posted screenshots in this thread, they do not match what I see.
For me Link does not look like this on my TV:
He actually already looks more like this, but with grungy pixelation around the edges:
The browns are all darker, and the sky outside is much, much lighter than in emulated screens. This might also be related to my CRT TV settings.CLOSING THOUGHTS
I've nearly finished the game anyway, so any further changes probably won't affect me.
So I'd like to say thank you for doing this and allowing me to go through the game again, properly, without quick saves, and enjoy the experience at the same time. It's been a lot of fun so far.