I Paid No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

So I’m still playing through Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. And I’m still finding it to be a shockingly good game. The combat system, open world, and the amount of detail in that world continue to impress me on a moment-to-moment basis.

For the last couple of days, though, I’ve been the victim of a terrible wild goose chase. See, I fought my way through a castle to an evil sorcerer’s door. Then I majestically broke the lock of fire on the door with my magical sword. Then I fought through another tower of neat (but not very challenging) combat-puzzles to get to the wizard himself. As I entered his chamber he magicked Zelda away into The Other Zone (I think it’s called the Dark Zone, perhaps). Then he ran off.

So I stood there as Link, thinking, “shit, Zelda’s in the Dark Zone and the magician has escaped!”. I stood there in the empty room, noodled around a bit, punched some walls, fired some arrows, then left. I wandered around outside for a while, trying to work out what to do, when it came to me. Go into the Dark Zone (where I’d been once before en route to another death-defying escapade in another dungeon). The magician had clearly sent Zelda there, then headed over himself. The indicator on my map said the magician was exactly where he was before I found him, but I now knew he was in the same location in the Dark Zone.

Somehow I got distracted for a while, looking for magic flippers, finding magic elves, swimming, the usual. Then I returned to the task, heading into the Dark Zone to go rescue Zelda. But things went kind of haywire from there, and I couldn’t seem to make my way back to the castle where I figured it was all going down. In fact, eventually I noticed the indicator for the magician was not on my map of the Dark Zone. It was still in the light zone. What. The. Hell?

It was at this point I capitulated on my stand to play through the game without assistance. I looked it up. I figured there was authenticity to it – I don’t know how many people finished Zelda on their own, but presumably not everyone. So I went through the FAQ, looking for what you do after the magician went into the Dark Zone with Zelda. Looking… looking… ah. Oh my god. Do you want to know what really happened? The magician sends Zelda to the Dark Zone, as surmised. And then he runs away… yes, yes… and then…

He hides behind a curtain.

Yeah. Not so much The Dark Zone as Behind The Curtain The Entire Time. I trekked back the long distance to the castle. Fought my way through all the same crap for a second time, re-entered the room. All was as before. Empty. I hacked at some curtains. They fell down. Why had I not done that before? Oh, that’s right, it’s a stupid thing to do. The fallen curtains revealed a secret door which led to the magician. He hid behind the curtain. And then he stayed hiding there for a good couple of hours (and who even knows how much fictional time) while I walked the ends of the Earth looking for him.

Was he chuckling the whole time? Did he get a terrible cramp? Did he risk running down the hall to grab a bite to eat? These are just some of the many mysteries shrouded by the curtain.

18 August 2010
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