I had meant to write this post back when I beat “Zelda: Twilight Princess” a few days after it and the Nintendo Wii came out in 2006, but never got around to it, and the idea of writing about a game that came out long ago seemed rather antiquated. The initiative to write this post popped up again though as I just finished replaying “Zelda: Ocarina of Time” (N64).
I have been a really big Zelda fan for a very long time, and have played most of the series. I got to a GameStop ~8 hours, IIRC, before they started preordering the Wii to make sure I could play Twilight Princess as soon as it came out, as I was very anxious to play it. It was a good thing I did too, because when the Wii actually came out, they were next to impossible to acquire. I knew of many people having to wait in lines well over 15 hours to get one soon after the release, and they were still rarities to attain well over a year later.
While I really enjoyed Twilight Princess, I was very frustrated by a rupee and treasure problem. “Zelda” (NES) and “Link to the Past” (SNES) had it right. Whenever you found a secret in those games it was something really worth it, namely, a heart piece (increased your life meter), or often even a new item. Rupees (in game money) were hard earned through slaying enemies, only rarely given in bulk as prizes, and you almost always needed more. As I played through Twilight Princess, I was very frustrated in that almost every secret I found, while hoping for something worth it like a heart pieces, was almost always a mass of rupees. There were at least 50 chests I knew of by the end of the game filled with rupees that I couldn’t acquire because I was almost always maxed out on the amount I could carry. What’s even worse is that the game provided you a means to pretty much directly pinpoint where all heart pieces were. These problems pretty much ruined the enjoyment of the search for secret treasures in the game. You could easily be pointed directly to where all hearts were, new game items were only acquirable as primary dungeon treasures, and the plethora of rupees was next to worthless.
So, as I was replaying Ocarina of Time, I realized how unnecessary rupees were in that game too. There are really only 2 places in the whole game you need rupees to buy important items; one of which is during your very first task within the first few minutes of the game. The only other use for rupees is for a side quest to buy magic beans which takes up a small chunk of your pocket change through the game, but besides that, there is no point to the money system in the game as you never really need it for anything. What’s even more a slap in the face is that one of the primary side quests in the game just rewards you with larger coin purses to carry more rupees, which again, you will never even need to use.
While these games are extremely fun, this game design flaw just irks me. Things like this will never stop me from playing new Zelda games however, or even replaying the old ones from time to time, especially my by far favorite, Link to the Past, as they are all excellent works. I would even call them pieces of art. Miyamoto forever :-).