When Link awakens from his seven-year slumber in the Sacred Realm, he encounters Zelda, disguised as a young man of about Link's age named Sheik, who claims to be a survivor of the Sheikah Tribe. Thereafter, Sheik gives Link clues to the locations of the various temples, and teaches him special songs enabling him to warp to specific points near these temples.
The Wind Waker is parallel, and takes place in the other timeline branch, more than a century after the adult era of Ocarina of Time. Phantom Hourglass is a continuation of the story from The Wind Waker, and is followed by Spirit Tracks, which is set about 100 years later on a supercontinent far away from the setting of The Wind Waker. At the time of its release, Four Swords for the Game Boy Advance was considered the oldest tale in the series' chronology, with Four Swords Adventures set sometime after its events. The Minish Cap precedes the two games, telling of the origins of villain Vaati and the creation of the Four Sword. A Link Between Worlds takes place six generations after Link to the Past. Important events that occur in the game include the Triforce being reunited, and Ganon being resurrected.
The traditional Mega Man boss design is another knock against the Power Gear as a useful ability. Because bosses already have vulnerabilities to certain weapons, there’s no point in amping up the weapons that already easily cut them down, and increasing the damage of weapons that barely do any is like upgrading your Nerf gun to Super Soaker. However, I found two pretty cool uses for the Power Gear. One is that Tundra Man’s T. Storm can be amplified to wipe out all enemies on screen like a more efficient Infinite Gauntlet. People watching me play in the office got a kick out of me hitting what amounted to the “nuke’em from orbit” button when frustration set in. The second is Impact Man’s P. Driver ability, which is a mid-air dash attack which is more useful for getting around because its charged form lets you zoom across the whole screen. See ya, disappearing block puzzle!
Though all incarnations of Mega Man feature unique stories, settings, and characters, they share several common features. All main Mega Man games released prior to 1997 are side-scrolling action platformers. The player character must fight through the levels using Mega Man's "Mega Buster"—a cannon attached to his arm—to shoot the robotic enemies inhabiting his environment. When Mega Man was released in 1987, the characteristic that made it revolutionary was the choice given to the player of which robot master to attempt first. After defeating a Robot Master—the boss of a level—Mega Man gains the ability to use that Robot Master's special weapon. Each Robot Master is representative of a specific element or object, with such bosses as Fire Man, Ice Man, Guts, Griffith, and Elec Man. The weapons Mega Man gains share the theme of the defeated boss. After defeating all of the Robot Masters, Mega Man travels to a multi-stage fortress to confront Dr. Wily, the person responsible for the robotic enemies' destructive acts. In the fortress, Mega Man fights past new bosses, clones of the game's Robot Masters, and Wily, who is usually in a large multi-phase war machine.
Other games in the series deviate further from the typical formula. Final Fantasy XII has player characters learn License Points (a variation of the ability points system) to spend on a License Board to purchase "licenses" to wield different equipment, use different spells and boost stats, with total freedom. In the International Zodiac Job System re-release the License Boards are based on jobs. In Final Fantasy X characters learn abilities based on a Sphere Grid that begins linearly but the player can eventually branch the grid out further, and potentially max all stats with various items usable to alter and improve Sphere Grid growth. Another example featuring items for growing skills is Final Fantasy VIII where magic spells are collected into an inventory similar to items, and acquired through refine or draw abilities, with other abilities learned via ability points from the character's equipped Guardian Forces.
Spirit Tracks features several moments that can be interpreted romantically. Early in the game during the Graduation Ceremony, Zelda walks into the room in front of Link, who is bowing down respectfully. Link then looks up and gasps, blushing at her in amazement. He is then scolded by Chancellor Cole for raising his head without permission. Later, when Zelda's spirit is separated from her body following the first encounter with Chancellor Cole and Byrne, Link is the only one who can see her besides the Lokomos, demonstrating a clear and strong bond between himself and the Princess. After Zelda and Link defeat Byrne in the Tower of Spirits, Byrne, disbelieving, comments that he was beaten by two mortals. Zelda, while still possessing a Phantom, says that when she and Link combine their strength, no one can defeat them. Link turns to her, surprised. The background turns white and Zelda's Lullaby plays as they both laugh and high-five, gazing at each other all the while.
Four Swords Adventures includes two gameplay modes: "Hyrulean Adventure", with a plot and gameplay similar to other Zelda games, and "Shadow Battle", in which multiple Links, played by multiple players, battle each other. The Japanese and Korean versions include an exclusive third segment, "Navi Trackers" (originally designed as the stand-alone game "Tetra's Trackers"), which contains spoken dialogue for most of the characters, unlike other games in The Legend of Zelda series.
In Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors Legends, Impa is Zelda's faithful servant/protector, general, and advisor. General Impa possesses a samurai-like devotion to Zelda, similar to her Ocarina of Time and Skyward Sword incarnations. When Zelda goes missing, Impa is determined to find Zelda and enlists the help of the inexperienced Hero Link to find her. Ironically, Impa is suspicious and distrustful of the mysterious Sheik, mostly due to Sheik claim that she is a Sheikah survivor and member of Impa's tribe. Impa fails to realize Sheik's true identity, until it is revealed following Fake Zelda's defeat. However she knows Zelda character well enough to realize the Princess Zelda causing trouble in the Era of the Hero of Time was nothing more than a fake. She is shown to be visibly relieved when she learns that Princess Zelda had been fighting alongside her and the Hyrulean Forces while disguised as Sheik, despite her deception. After reuniting with the Princess, Impa returns to her role as Zelda's advisor and defender. Though she respects Zelda's judgment, Impa is shown to voice her opinion about the potential consequences, such as when she warned Zelda of the dangers of having Link remove the Master Sword from its pedestal in the Temple of the Sacred Sword in order to defeat Cia. Impa's fears are later realized when the final seal on Ganondorf's soul breaks, though continues to serve Zelda even after Ganondorf obtains the complete Triforce.
It’s been eight long years since Capcom’s venerable Mega Man franchise last slapped a new numeral onto the end of its name, a span that’s seen the Blue Bomber’s NES contemporaries—most notably Nintendo’s own Mario and Zelda games—evolve dramatically in response to increasingly powerful technology and changing gaming philosophies. But while the franchise’s latest title, Mega Man 11, does its damnedest to try to teach itself a few new tricks, this might be the point where even the most devoted practitioners of the time-honored art of murdering octets of themed robots to steal their magical arm-guns have to accept that this series has comfortably settled into its limits, probably for good.
LIkewise, while many of the levels are incredibly well designed such as Block Man's stage (which makes a great tutorial for the double gear system) or Tundra Man's stage, this just makes it more obvious when level design falls short of expectations. Bounce Man's stage may be the single most frustrating stage to appear in a classic Mega Man game, and the flame wall in Torch Man's stage is more frustrating than challenging.
The Mega Man series has always been known for its difficulty, but as someone who has mixed feelings on difficult games, one of the things I always loved about the series is most of the games (except a few) were fair when it came to being difficult. This meant either more checkpoints as the series evolved, or short levels like the older titles. This gave the player the opportunity to learn the levels without punishing them and the bosses waiting at the end were usually pretty quick and easy to beat provided you had the right weapon to exploit their weakness.
Upon defeating Terra, Mega Man finds out that his nemesis, Dr. Wily, was ordering the Stardroids to dominate Earth. Mega Man sets off to the mad scientist's new base, the Wily Star to stop him. In the base, Mega Man has rematches with the Mega Man Killers, before facing off against the eight Stardroids once more (strangely, Terra does not appear again). After Wily is stopped once again himself, he releases a mysterious and ancient robot called Sunstar to destroy Mega Man. However, Sunstar disobeys and attacks Wily instead, and then turns his attention to Mega Man. The hero wins the battle and tries to convince Sunstar to be repaired by Dr. Light. However, while Sunstar would like to see such a world, he is already too badly damaged, and minutes later he explodes, taking the Wily Star with him. Mega Man escapes using Rush, and in the game's epilogue he again walks through the field seen in the opening sequence, pondering the recent events, when Wily makes one last, unsuccessful attempt to attack him. The game ends with Mega Man chasing Wily off the screen.
The series has spawned many spinoff franchises. The most notable, Kingdom Hearts, is a crossover between Final Fantasy characters and Disney characters, and has gone on to be successful in its own right with 21 million units sold. Many games have been released by staff who previously worked on Final Fantasy titles. Bravely Default began as a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, and includes the job system and similar abilities. The Last Story was developed by series creator Sakaguchi after leaving Square Enix, while Granblue Fantasy was developed by former staff and had a musical score composed by Nobuo Uematsu.
One of the features of the series is the use of various power-up items obtained by driving into item boxes laid out on the course. These power-ups include mushrooms to give players a speed boost, Koopa Shells to be thrown at opponents, banana peels, and fake item boxes that can be laid on the course as hazards. The type of weapon received from an item box is influenced by the player's current position in the race. For example, players lagging far behind may receive more powerful items while the leader may only receive small defensive items. Called rubber banding, this gameplay mechanism allows other players or computers a realistic chance to catch up to the leading player.
Overall, the Final Fantasy series has been critically acclaimed and commercially successful, though each installment has seen different levels of success. The series has seen a steady increase in total sales; it sold over 10 million units worldwide by early 1996, 45 million by August 2003, 63 million by December 2005, and 85 million by July 2008. In June 2011, Square Enix announced that the series had sold over 100 million units, and by March 2014, it had sold over 110 million units. Its high sales numbers have ranked it as one of the best-selling video game franchises in the industry; in January 2007, the series was listed as number three, and later in July as number four. As of 2018, the series has sold over 142 million units worldwide.
Some time later, Dr. Wily claims to have changed and teams up with Dr. Light to create a giant peacekeeping robot called Gamma. However, the new Robot Masters created to mine the Energy Elements needed for Gamma's construction have gone out of control. Mega Man goes after them, meeting his brother, Proto Man (under the alias Break Man in this game, until the ending) along the way. Mega Man soon retrieves the crystals, but returns to discover that Dr. Wily has stolen Gamma and plans on using it to take over the world.
According to GamesRadar, the Mega Man games were the first to feature a non-linear "level select" option. This was a stark contrast to both linear games (like Super Mario Bros.) and open world games (like The Legend of Zelda and Metroid). GamesRadar credits the "level select" feature of Mega Man as the basis for the non-linear mission structure found in most open-world, multi-mission, sidequest-heavy games, including modern games like Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption and Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. In Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist tenth episode "Raging Demon", Ryu and Ken were seen playing Mega Man 2 from a gift from Ken's father.
Following Breath of the Wild, Nintendo's nascent system is lacking in exclusives two months into its lifecycle. Mario Kart 8 was a big hit for Wii U when it released in 2014, and now the acclaimed title makes the leap to Switch. While remastered games are rarely the most anticipated releases on any system, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe includes myriad important improvements and adds portability to create the definitive version of an already great game.
In Ocarina of Time, Link met up with a mysterious member of the Sheikah Tribe, fittingly called Sheik. This person taught Link a multitude of different songs and gave him tips on how to proceed in his quest. At the end of the game, Sheik revealed himself to be none other than Princess Zelda in a disguise. During the seven years Link had been asleep while maturing to become ready to fight Ganondorf, Zelda had gone underground and taken the disguise as Sheik so that Ganondorf would not find her in his search for the two remaining pieces of the Triforce, one which was held by Princess Zelda herself.
Artistic design, including character and monster creations, was handled by Japanese artist Yoshitaka Amano from Final Fantasy through Final Fantasy VI. Amano also handled title logo designs for all of the main series and the image illustrations from Final Fantasy VII onward. Tetsuya Nomura was chosen to replace Amano because Nomura's designs were more adaptable to 3D graphics. He worked with the series from Final Fantasy VII through Final Fantasy X; for Final Fantasy IX, however, character designs were handled by Shukō Murase, Toshiyuki Itahana, and Shin Nagasawa. Nomura is also the character designer of the Kingdom Hearts series, Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, and Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy. Other designers include Nobuyoshi Mihara and Akihiko Yoshida. Mihara was the character designer for Final Fantasy XI, and Yoshida served as character designer for Final Fantasy Tactics, the Square-produced Vagrant Story, and Final Fantasy XII.
Mega Man gains various additional options from his custom moves. Shadow Blade and Ice Slasher are good for immobilizing opponents and are less susceptible to being used against Mega Man himself. Hyper Bomb and Danger Wrap are harder to land, but deal much more damage and knockback. Tornado Hold has more offensive value due to it dealing damage and granting Mega Man new combo potential. Plant Barrier does not last as long as the default Leaf Shield, but can deal and absorb more damage. Skull Barrier lacks a hitbox when circling Mega Man and deals less damage when thrown, but it reflects projectiles when orbiting and cannot be destroyed, giving it a more defensive value than both Leaf Shield and Plant Barrier lack.
From the beginning Uematsu was given creative freedom, though the series' creator Hironobu Sakaguchi would request specific set-pieces to fit themes, and early on there were specific notes Uematsu was unable to use due to hardware limitations. From Final Fantasy IV onwards, he had more freedom of instrumentation. For "One-Winged Angel", the Final Fantasy VII final boss theme and the series' first vocalized theme, Uematsu combined both rock and orchestral influences having had no prior training in orchestra conduction.
In 2009, Final Fantasy XIII was released in Japan, and in North America and Europe the following year, for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It is the flagship installment of the Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy series and became the first mainline game to spawn two direct sequels (XIII-2 and Lightning Returns). It was also the first game released in Chinese & High Definition along with being released on two consoles at once. Final Fantasy XIV, a MMORPG, was released worldwide on Microsoft Windows in 2010, but it received heavy criticism when it was launched, prompting Square Enix to rerelease the game as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, this time to the PlayStation 3 as well, in 2013. Final Fantasy XV is an action role-playing game that was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2016. Originally a XIII spin-off titled Versus XIII, XV uses the mythos of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series, although in many other respects the game stands on its own and has since been distanced from the series by its developers.