Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

It does not get any better than this.  Okay, maybe it does but Ocarina of Time is as close to gaming perfection as you're likely to find anywhere else.

Ganon is once again up to his old tricks, and Princess Zelda, as well as the Great Deku Tree ask for Links help. To guide him, a young fairy called Navi shows him the tricks of the trade. You begin the adventure with the task of collecting your sword and shield, and then saving the Deku Tree from the evil that has attacked. From there, you travel to Hyrule, and the many worlds that stem from Hyrule Field.

There are many, many new things in this Zelda compared to past versions, including the use of time travel and the two different Links on each side (young Link, who you start the adventure with, and teen Link, who you must turn into to complete certain areas of the game). Weapons are also a key feature, with bombs, swords and other nifty gadgets available to help you in your quest. 

Being one of the most popular games for the Nintendo 64, this game emulates perfectly using almost any N64 emulator.  Of course, if you have your hands on a 3DS system, you may want to wait till you can play the enhanced version in 3D.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dreamfall: The Longest Journey

If you have any desire to play a great adventure game, you can't go wrong with Dreamfall.  From its captivating main character to its wonderfully detailed worlds, the game keeps you entertained from start to finish.

Dreamfall is the sequel to The Longest Journey and is a 3rd person adventure game with some action episodes.

The game begins in Casablanca, 2219. Zoë Castillo is about to get involved in a conspiracy that involves two worlds, one in magic and the other in technology. There has been static interference that is disrupting technology, and it seems to be linked to a little girl seen only by Zoë. As Zoë begins her search for a lost friend, she discovers the truth about the two worlds and the search is now on for the one person who may help Zoë unravel the dangerous web she has become entangled in: April Ryan.

Dreamfall puts you in control of three playable characters. It also introduces the focus field feature which bridges the gap between the classic point and click adventure game, where you could click on any given point at the screen, and the action adventure. This allows you to scan your entire visible environment as seen by the characters and also use it to eavesdrop into other people's conversations. The game also presents you with a number of ways to solve a confrontation, you can sneak, fight, or talk your way out of the problem. The game spans 13 chapters and like the previous game Zoë keeps a diary of all the events that occur in the game.

You might be able to find this game in the discount bin still.  If not, there's some used copied going for less than $5.00 at Amazon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rush 2049

I'm still waiting for a true successor to this game.  I think I'm mature enough now to admit I really like arcade racers over their sim counterparts.  I like the sim racing games as well but they don't hold my attention for hours the way an old-school arcade racer like Rush 2049 could.

This game got everything right.  Once you got a handle on the physics being used, you could make your car do just about anything.  It helps when a button pops out wings and allows you to do flips and spirals.

The racing is certainly the meat of the game.  This mode not only had a fairly challenging "career" mode in which you unlocked other exciting tracks but also had collection objectives where you would have to hit a ramp at just the right angle or discover some secret alleyway to find all the coins.  The coins then unlocked cars and upgrades.

And these tracks had a lot of shortcuts.  Similar in feel to SSX, where you could race through the main course, and probably win, but you could also find several unique lines through a course by knowing where the proper shortcuts are and give yourself a completely unfair advantage.  I loved it.  These shortcuts, for the most part, were fun and required nearly expert timing in order to succeed in a jump that would clear a dozen buildings or something spectacularly similar.

Rush 2049 also boasts an impressive stunt mode.  Earning high scores in one of the stunt arenas would unlock other arenas.  There's nothing like the feeling if hitting some obstacle at full speed, performing a dozen stomach churning flips and spins, and landing the move without using your wings.  Awesome.

And last but not least, is the battle mode.  I think, when this game came out on the N64, me and my friends played the battle mode nearly as much as we did Goldeneye or the battle mode in Starfox 64.  The levels were well designed and the weapons were fun to use.  Hitting something with the sonic detonator (giant speakers on top of your car) as they drove by at one hundred miles an hour still puts a smile on my face.

Maybe now that some of my other favorite games from this era are getting remakes, someone will make a decent sequel to the Rush franchise, one with the same quality of courses, shortcuts, stunt mode, and battle mode.  Yeah, a guy can dream.

Good news, both the N64 version and the Dreamcast version emulate great these days.  Though I played the N64 version in the day, I recommend the Dreamcast version now if your system can handle nullDC.  The graphics are better.  If you have a lower end system. the N64 version is awesome as well and emulates great using Project64.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Confession time.  I only just started playing Shenmue.  I did not have a Dreamcast back in the day and I was only recently able to get my Dreamcast emulator working to a sufficient level to play the game without distraction.

Shenmue rocks!  It does as good a job as any modern game (like Alan Wake) at creating an atmosphere.  If it wasn't for the dated graphics, this game could come out today and still be groundbreaking.  The characters feel real mostly due to their subtle and emotional reactions to events.  I'm only six or seven hours in and I've only encountered a couple of over-the-top stereotypes.  The rest of the characters are drawn as well as a modern Oscar worthy film.

The gameplay reminds me mostly of an old-school Adventure game.  Talk to people, sometimes fight people, and play "minigames" between adventures.  For me, the fighting is probably the weakest part of the game but its not terrible and the rest of the game more than makes up for any perceived weakness on my part.

The game feels open world though I'm definitely being guided down a certain path. But the world is so interactive and fully realized, it feels more open world than anything released at the same time.  If you like Red Dead Redemption and any of the LucasArts Scumm games, this is like a combination of the two.  You owe it to yourself to get this game working and give it a try.

This game runs great using the nullDC emulator though you may need to do a lot of tweaking to get it working correctly and it make take a slightly higher end system to run at speed.   


Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Goonies II

Make no mistake, Goonies II was one of the best games for the NES.  I would place it on the same tier with the original Zelda and Super Mario World.  Definitely a top ten for the system.

The progression of upgrades throughout the game was Zelda like.  You always felt like the next thing you needed to open a whole new aspect of the game, was just around the corner.  Most of these upgrades were acquired in Goonies II's adventure mode.  You would walk through rooms, smashing walls, searching for secrets.  This was thern combines with the platform areas.  There were plenty of platformers at the time but Goonies II did it right.  The enemies were challenging and just a little frustrating.  Hard enough to where I felt good taking them down successfully.

Combine that with the music and the length of the game and you have what would retrospectively be known as one of the few examples of a good game made from a film, or at least the premise of a film.   You could have honestly slapped any film's title on this game and it still would have worked.

I highly recommend hunting down this game and giving it a try.  It takes a couple of hours of gameplay to really get into it and understand how great the game is so make sure you have some time when you do.  It will run using just about any NES emulator on any modern system but I'm partial to VirtuaNES myself.


Friday, April 15, 2011


To prepare for the Portal 2 release, I played through the first Portal.  It's still fun.  Yes, figuring out the puzzles to get through each locked room is a great challenge but just playing with the portals gives a lot of enjoyment as well.

I don't want to give away too much for anyone who has yet to experience Portal but there are moments when playing the game when you realize how Portals work, how the physics through Portals work, and how moving through Portals works.  Each of those moments is a wonderful "Aha!" feeling.

And then there is the antagonist.  Your foe in Portal is both unique and entertaining.  Not really that challenging but the difficulty level can be forgiven with the cleverness given to the rest of the game and the good amount of dialogue spoken by the big bad throughout the game.

If you have not played Portal the game only takes (at most) four or five hours to complete so you don't have to invest a lot of time.  I recommend the game on PC as the mouse control really helps but, from what I have heard, the game plays great on consoles as well.  The sequel will most likely offer the same fun, puzzle solving, and experimentation offered in the original.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

PilotWings 64


This is another game where they captured the feel just right.  Along with that, PilotWings 64 had, for me, one of the best carrot-stick relationships of any game at the time.  I kept wanting to open up one more level or bonus stage regardless of how difficult the current level was.  And make no mistake some of those levels were very difficult.  Sure, you could pass most levels pretty easily but getting the top score was usually a worthy challenge.

One of the best aspects of PilotWings 64 were the different vehicles.  Controlling the gyro-copter was fairly standard arcade flight simulator but the hang glider was something entirely new.  Aiming for thermals and trying to give yourself just enough height for the perfect landing was fun and difficult.  The jetpack brought back memories of playing Moon Landing or Scramble, using physics to fit your character through tight spaces.

And the mini-game bonus stages were perhaps the best part.  Along with Monkey Ball and Mario Party, these were great group games.  I still have fond memories of a house full of people attempting to fire a gangly character at the side of a mountain.

Good news - PilotWings 64 emulates nearly perfectly.  Either using Project64 and 1964 and a comfortable gamepad controller and you can have a wonderful PilotWings 64 experience on just about any modern desktop computer.  Of course, you will need to download the rom somewhere but I can not help you with that here.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011


This one is all about feeling.  I started playing this series with SSX Tricky on the GameCube.  For the first month or so, I didn't care for the game.  It was kind of fun going through a track but the game ramped up the difficulty and made everyone who played it look like a fool initially.  But then, something ticked inside my video game brain and I got it.  Before long, I was dominating every course, pulling any trick with ease, and riding rails like a walk in the park.

The cool thing was, this skill translated to SSX 3.  Even now, I've gone back and loaded up the game and although it took a run to remember the controls, once I did it was like riding a bike.  This game just feels right in your hands.  Pre-loading before hitting a big jump and then unleashing a huge trick is a natural and incredible experience that keeps me addicted to the game.  SSX 3 was exactly what a sequel to Tricky should have been.  More courses, more characters, more tricks, all wrapped up with a pretty bow.

Unfortunately,  this is something the makers of the new SSX coming out in 2012 (possibly) look like they may have forgotten.  The game just started development so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt but the prospect doesn't look good at this point.  Hopefully, in the end, they can return us to the fun and addictive quality of pulling off tricks, finding shortcuts, riding rails, and getting huge air.

Though you can play this game on a PC using an emulator, the best way is to get a hold of the GameCube or PS2 version.  The two are fairly comparable.  The GameCube version plays great in a Wii of course so if you have the little white miracle and can find a copy of SSX Tricky or SSX 3 for GameCube in your local Half Price Books or other used game store, definitely pick this up and give it a try.  Just be sure to give yourself some time to get the skill right.   

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tempest (Arcade)

My love of Tempest grew from three factors.  First, I liked playing the game and was terrible at it.  I think the game simply moved to fast for my young brain.  Couple that with the fact that  my older brother rocked at it meant this was a game I kept pumping quarters into only to be frustrated time and time again.

The second factor was the game's sound.  Something about hearing those awesome sounds pumped through speakers that were better than what my parents were using at home at the time.

The third factor was the cultural references I kept seeing the game in.  Having the game show up in a Rush video was enough to cement the game's incredible worth in my brain forever.  Also, having it be the game the evil kid was playing in the Twilight Zone movie elevated the games status even further.

These, days, the only way to play the game, other than finding one of five arcades left in the world (that number may be a fabrication), is downloading MAME and finding a Tempest rom somewhere.  The good news is, you do not need a screaming computer to run this particular game unlike some of the other arcade roms.

Tempest is an arcade game by Atari Inc., originally designed and programmed by David Theurer. Released in October, 1981, it was fairly popular and had several ports and sequels. The game is also notable for being the first video game with a selectable level of difficulty (determined by the initial starting level). The game is a tube shooter, a type of shoot 'em up where the environment is fixed and viewed from a three-dimensional perspective.

The object of Tempest is to survive as long as possible and score as many points as possible by clearing the screen of enemies that have landed on the playing field. The game takes place in a closed tube or open field which is viewed from one end and is divided into a dozen or more segments. The player controls a claw-shaped spaceship that crawls along the near edge of the playfield, moving from segment to segment. This ship can rapid-fire shots down the tube, destroying any enemies within the same segment, and is also equipped with a Superzapper, which destroys all enemies currently on the playfield once per level. (A second use of the Superzapper in a level destroys one random enemy.)

Enemies swirl around at the far end of the playfield, then enter the playfield and move toward the player. When all enemies in a level are destroyed or reach the near end of the playfield, the player "warps" to the next level by traveling down the playfield. The player must avoid or shoot down any spikes left behind while warping. The player loses a ship when an enemy comes into contact with their ship, shoots it or otherwise destroys it, or if the ship hits a spike while warping. If an adequate point threshold is reached, the player can earn a new ship. The game is over when the enemies destroy all of the player's ships.

The game consists of sixteen screens with unique geometric shapes, some of which are closed tubes that allow the player to loop around, while others are open fields that have distinct left and right endpoints. When all sixteen screens have been played, the sequence repeats with a different color scheme and a higher difficulty level, including the invisible (black) levels (65-80). Each sequence of levels adds additional enemies that are faster and more deadly to the player's ship. The numbered levels stop incrementing after level 99 and a random one of the 16 variations will appear after successful completion of subsequent levels. Early versions of the game could only count a score up to 999,999 after that it reset to zero.

(Blue Levels 1-16) No Pulsars On Any Level (Red Levels 17-32) Pulsars From Level 17 forward (Yellow Levels 33-48) Fuseballs and Spikers On All Levels (Grey Levels 49-64) (Invisible Levels 65-80) (Green Levels 81-) Final Color.  

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dark Forces

Being a Star Wars fan, I actually played this more than I did Doom I think.  Awesome level design, combined with Star Wars setting made for an unforgettable game.  Add to that, the dynamic soundtrack which seemed to know what you were doing and you have a game that certainly kept me up to the wee hours of the morning on a couple of nights.

The best way to get this game working on a modern system is to download a copy of DOSBox.  You do need to mount the CD (or CD image) in the DOSBox conf file to get everything working properly.  Looks like you can still buy a copy of the game itself at Amazon.

Star Wars: Dark Forces is a first-person shooter video game developed and published by LucasArts. It was released in 1995 for DOS and Apple Macintosh, and in 1996 for the PlayStation. The storyline within the Dark Forces is set in the Star Wars fictional universe and follows the character Kyle Katarn. Katarn is a mercenary working on behalf of the Rebel Alliance. He discovers the Empire's "Dark Trooper Project", which involves the development of a series of powerful new battle droids and power-armored stormtroopers.

Dark Forces uses the Jedi game engine, which was developed specifically for the game. The engine adds gameplay features to the first-person shooter genre which were uncommon at the time of release. These features include level designs with multiple floors and being able to look up and down.

Critics gave very favorable reviews for the DOS and Macintosh versions of Dark Forces, but not for the PlayStation version. The DOS and Macintosh versions were praised for the level design and technological advances. The PlayStation version was criticized for having poor graphics and slow frame rates, reducing the playability of the game. A sequel to Dark Forces, Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II followed in 1997.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Trackmania United Forever

For me, Trackmania is the closest thing to the video game version of playing with Hot Wheels around the house.  Building tracks feels like when we tried to get the orange tracks down the stairs, through the living room, under the couch, and into the kitchen.  I'm convinced, when I would grab my favorite car and it would race across the coffee table and jump for the couch, Trackmania is what I was picturing in my head.

If you are going to get a version, Trackmania United Forever is the way to go.  However, as of this writing, Trackmania 2 has not been released but is just around the corner.  Look for it at E3 2011.

TrackMania is a series of racing games for Windows, Nintendo DS and Wii. It was developed by the French team Nadeo for the PC. Instead of following the usual trend of choosing a set car and track for playing in the game, the TrackMania games allow the player to create their own tracks using a "Block" process in the spirit of the 1985 game Racing Destruction Set and the 1990 Brøderbund release, Stunts.

In contrast with most other racing games, the TrackMania series lets the player race a track as many times as they want, until time runs out. They can choose to respawn at any time possible, due to landing upside down, going off the track or because the start did not go optimally. Although in multiplayer games multiple cars race on the same track, they cannot actually collide or otherwise influence each other.

On June 30, 2006, TrackMania United was announced. The game is basically all TrackMania games built into one game that includes all the environments from the earlier games, and, later, future installments of the series. TrackMania United features a peer-to-peer system so players can more easily share custom content, and a unified ranking system. The engine has been updated to include a pre-lighting accelerated system, which is used in the most recent, Stadium environment. The new system allows for more realistic shadows on high end systems. The Stadium environment has double the amount of blocks featured in the free version, including for instance dirt paths, water, and indoor sections.

Trackmania United Forever is an updated version of Trackmania United. It has seven environments and an all-new mediatracker. It was published by Focus Home Interactive and developed by Nadeo. It has a similar layout to Trackmania Nations Forever. It features four main modes: race, stunt, platform, and puzzle as well as all of the tracks from Trackmania Nations Forever.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Adventure (Atari 2600)

I realized, after reading my last post, that I said I had played Companions of Xanth when I was a kid.  After seeing the year the game came out, I remembered, I actually played the game in my early twenties.  I must have combined my memories of reading Xanth when I was younger with playing the game.

To make up for that mistake, I'm posting a game I did fall in love with as a kid.  The first game I remember getting addicted to.  I swear, my brother and I could complete the level three mazes with our eyes closed.  We even had a little song for the dragons.  And yes, I hated the stupid bat!

Adventure is a 1979 video game for the Atari 2600 video game console and is considered the first action-adventure game. Its creator, Warren Robinett, also introduced the first widely known Easter egg to the gaming world.

Adventure was published by the console's developer, Atari, Inc. It was inspired by a computer text game, Colossal Cave Adventure, created by Will Crowther and later modified by Don Woods.

Despite discouragement from his boss at Atari who said it could not be done, game designer Warren Robinett created a graphic game loosely based on the text game. Atari's Adventure went on to sell a million copies, making it the seventh best selling Atari 2600 game.

At the time of the game's creation Atari did not credit any of its authors for their work. Robinett included a hidden message in the game identifying himself as the creator, thus creating one of the earliest known Easter eggs in a video game. According to Warren, a young player from Salt Lake City, Utah first discovered the easter egg and wrote in to Atari regarding it.

The total memory used by the game program was 4096 bytes (4 KB) for the game code (in ROM) and 128 bytes for program variables (in RAM). The Atari 2600's CPU was a 1.19 megahertz 8-bit MOS Technology 6507, which was a cheaper version of the 6502.

Because of a limitation in the Atari 2600's hardware, the left and right sides of nearly every screen are mirror images of each other, which fostered the creation of the game's confusing mazes. The notable exceptions are two screens in the black castle catacombs and two in the main hallway beneath the Gold Castle. These two hallway screens are mirrored, but contain a vertical "wall" object in the room in order to achieve a non-symmetrical shape, as well as act as a secret door for an Easter egg.

Not only was Adventure the first action-adventure game on a video console and the first to contain a widely known Easter egg, it was also the first ever to allow a player to have a stash of items, which required the player to select which one to use at any given moment, usually through keyboard or joystick input. Adventure allowed the player to drop one item and pick up another without having to type in any commands.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Companions of Xanth

This was one of my favorite games as a kid and, along with a number of Sierra and Infocom titles, was one of the first adventure games I remember completing without getting the hint book from the bookstore (the 1990s version of the internet).

It helped that I was knee deep into Piers Anthony's Xanth series at the time.

Companions of Xanth is an adventure game published in 1993 by Legend Entertainment. The game is based on Piers Anthony's Xanth novels and is loosely based around much of the plot of his novel Demons Don't Dream, in which a young man uses a computer game to enter and explore the world of Xanth.

Typical to Piers Anthony's novels, the game is filled with puns and visual gags, and some knowledge of the Xanth universe is helpful; for those players who haven't read any of the Xanth novels, an in-game 'Com-Pendium of Xanth' is provided to the player for the majority of the game.

It was available on both floppy disk and CD-ROM. The game uses 256 colour 2D graphics. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Minecraft is a sandbox building indie video game written in Java originally by creator Markus "Notch" Persson and now by his company, Mojang, formed from the proceeds of the game. The game is focused on creativity and building, allowing players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D world. The game has two variants - free Classic and paid Beta -  where Classic is focused entirely on construction with unlimited material supply, while Beta requires players to acquire resources themselves, and contains mobs, player health, and additional features and items. The gameplay is inspired by Dwarf Fortress, Dungeon Keeper, and Infiniminer.

The game is currently in development and Beta is the only continuously updated version of the game. Minecraft was developed for about a week before its public release on May 17, 2009 on the TIGSource forums, where it gained a considerable level of popularity. It has been continually updated and patched since then, and while it was still in alpha release, it garnered several hundred thousand sales and received critical notice and acclaim from many reviewers. It passed a million units sold on January 12, 2011, less than a month after reaching Beta.

The core gameplay revolves around construction. The game world is essentially made up of cubical blocks arranged in a fixed grid pattern, that represent different materials, such as, dirt, stone, various ores, water, tree trunks, etc. While the players can move freely across the world, objects and items can only be placed at fixed locations relative to the grid. The player can gather these material "blocks" and place them elsewhere, thus potentially creating various constructions.

Minecraft has two currently available variants, Beta and Classic, both with single-player and multiplayer options. Classic is the earliest free version and initially featured only creative game mode with only building (block placement and removal) aspects of the game and unlimited block supply. The Classic was then split into single-player survival mode (referred to as "Survival Mode Test"), which contained monsters and a much greater variety of blocks and items available, as well as requiring players to mine their own blocks. As of Beta release, only creative Classic mode version 0.30 is available in single-player and multiplayer modes.

Classic survival mode served as the base for development of single-player non-free Indev ("In Development"), and later non-free Infdev ("Infinite Development") versions, each expanding the number of features. Indev and Infdev were later replaced by the non-free Alpha variant which continued to add features to the game, including multiplayer mode. As of December 20, 2010 the game entered into Beta. It includes music by Daniel "C418" Rosenfeld. For multiplayer games, servers are currently hosted by individual players or groups; there are no "official" Minecraft servers yet, the only way to connect to a server is entering the hostname or IP address in-game.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, known as Zelda no Densetsu: Kamigami no Triforce (ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース Zeruda no Densetsu: Kamigami no Toraifōsu?, lit. "The Legend of Zelda: The Triforce of the Gods") in Japan, is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game console, and the third installment in The Legend of Zelda series. It was first released in Japan in 1991, and was later released in North America and Europe in 1992. Shigeru Miyamoto and his team were solely responsible for this game's development.

A Link to the Past's plot focuses on Link as he travels on a journey to save Hyrule, defeat Ganon and rescue the seven descendants of the Sages. A Link to the Past uses a top-down perspective similar to that of the original The Legend of Zelda. It added mechanics and concepts to the series that have become commonplace, including multi-level dungeons and new equipment (such as the hookshot and the Pegasus Boots), as well as establishing the concept of an alternate, parallel (and sometimes far more dangerous) world. It has been very well-received since its release - today it is viewed as one of the greatest video games of all time. To date, A Link to the Past has sold more than four million copies, and has been re-released for the Game Boy Advance and the Wii's Virtual Console.

Instead of continuing to use the side-scrolling perspective introduced to the series by Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, A Link to the Past reverts to an overhead perspective similar to that of the original. Despite using mechanics and concepts from the original, A Link to the Past introduces new elements and innovations. For instance, arrows are now separate items, as bombs are in the original, instead of using a Rupee to fire an arrow. A Link to the Past also takes concepts from The Adventure of Link, such as the magic meter, which is used by items such as the Lamp. Control of Link is more flexible than in previous games, as he can walk diagonally and can run with the aid of the Pegasus Shoes, an obtainable item. Link's sword attack was improved to swing sideways instead of merely stabbing forward; this gives his sword a broader range and makes combat easier. Link swings his sword as the default attack in future Zelda games, although stabbing is also possible in the later 3D incarnations.

Recurring items and techniques were introduced for the first time in A Link to the Past, such as the Hookshot, the Master Sword, the Spin Attack technique, flute, and the Pegasus Boots. Heart Containers that increase the player's maximum health (hit points) in the earlier two games are present, but many are split into "Pieces of Heart", four of which make up one Heart Container. Most of them are well hidden, adding replay value to the game. All dungeons are multi-level, requiring Link to walk between floors and sometimes fall through holes to land on lower levels.

A Link to the Past is the first appearance of what would subsequently become a major Zelda trademark: the existence of two parallel worlds between which the player travels. The first, called the Light World, is the ordinary Hyrule where Link grew up with his uncle. The second is what was once the Sacred Realm, but became the Dark World when Ganon acquired the Triforce. The Dark World is a corrupted version of Hyrule; the water is a dark, unpleasant green color, the grass is dead, skulls replace rocks and pots, and trees have faces. People change forms in the Dark World based on their nature; without an item to prevent it (in this case, the Moon Pearl), Link turns into a pink rabbit. Each location in the Light World corresponds to a similar location in the Dark World, usually with a similar physical structure but an opposite nature (e.g. a desert in the Light World corresponds to a swamp in the Dark World, a peaceful village in the Light World corresponds to a dilapidated town of thieves in the Dark World).

Link can travel from the Dark World to the Light World at almost any outside location by using a magic mirror (and back again from the same location using the portal left where he reappears in the Light World). There are also hidden warp locations throughout the Light World. This enables puzzles that exploit structural differences between the Light and Dark Worlds