Archive for January, 2012

On a night that was already memorable with the naming of the court in Comcast, the home stand against Duke brought Maryland fans out by the thousands. I was very impressed with the amount of fans in the arena well before the start of the game, after being greatly disappointed with every game prior to tonight. Maryland has been a decent team in its first year with Mar Turgeon as head coach, but this game would serve as a litmus test for the momentum going into the heart of the ACC season.

A few minutes prior to the start of the game, the unveiling of the long-awaited naming of the court had arrived. After 22 seasons, 3 ACC regular season titles, 1 ACC tournament title and 1 National Championship, Gary Williams was officially honored with his signature permanently added in the Comcast Arena. With the classic fist pump and a short appreciation speech, Gary thanked the fans and the former players for their dedication to the school and the basketball program. It was a great way to transition into the game.

With the traditional method of pregame ceremonies, Maryland fans were booming with energy. Comcast provided newspapers on all of the seats to serve as the traditional, unified intimidation tradition against the opposing team. While the “sucks” chant was one of the most mild of the students’ attempts at intimidation, the energy was electric. Student also got to do their “hey, you suck” chant prior to tip off. There was no telling how the game was going to play out, but there was no denying it was going to be an exciting evening.

Maryland won the tip and started the game fairly even with the Blue Devils. It was clear that the Duke bigs were going to be a problem for the slightly smaller forwards and inexperienced center for the Terps. Surprisingly, Maryland went out with an 18-10 lead nearly halfway through the first half. The arena was truly rockin’ heavy. Even though the dance that is basketball always allows at least moments for the other team to shine, it was only a matter of time when Duke was going to turn it on. To the surprise of the fans, and even the players and coaches, the turnaround actually began when the refs decided they would determine the outcome of the game.

I have been to a number of games where there are bad calls, but the more talented team of the day wins as they should. I have even been to some games where the calls start to angry me because of the impression of favoritism for one team. I was not just angry but furious with the extremely lopsided calls happening one after the next and for imbalanced reasons. Alex Len did not start, but somehow pulled off two fouls in less than a minute, one of which occurred when he went for a block and was called for simply being in the vicinity of getting close to touching Ryan Kelly. Near the end of the half, the refs called two questionable back-to-back fouls on Pe’Shon Howard and Ashton Pankey. It appeared that the refs not only were calling fouls against Maryland that were committed by Duke players, but they were even calling fouls when there was absolutely no contact. There were also three offensive charge calls that occurred when the Duke defender was clearly committing a moving blocking foul.

On the other side, there were a number of occasions when Duke committed clear holding, over-the-back and slapping fouls that ended in being no calls. In the first half, Terrell Stoglin missed a jumper, Duke committed an over-the-back penalty (no call), Ashton Pankey got the rebound, Duke fouled on the attempted shot (no foul) and then Duke committed a push in an attempt to get the rebound (no call). Ryan Kelly was credited a block, rather than the clear foul call.

Between the blatant no calls in favor of Duke and the pathetic calls against Maryland, it was surprising that the Terps hung in there throughout the first half. When the buzz sounded, Maryland was only down by 3 and made the final score at the halfway mark. The halftime games came and went, but the producers sent out Gymkana to serve as a great break from the action.

The first couple minutes of the second half looked close, but Maryland found a way to pull back out in front after a mid-range jumper from Stoglin and a mid-range jumper by Alex Len (which happened to be his only 2 points). That would be the last time Maryland held a lead. Throughout the season, Maryland has become known as a slow-out-of-the-gate second half team. This was particularly true when they dropped a double-digit lead to Cornell and had to fight back from a tied game and a 10-minute drought in points. Mason Plumlee dominated the remainder of the second half with assistance from Austin River, Ryan Kelly and Tyler Thornton. Sean Mosley had a mediocre game with only 6 points and fouled out with over a minute left to play. the Blue Devils finished their resurgence and recovered from their huge home loss to Florida State less than a week ago.

The game featured moments of cooperation and brilliance, but Maryland fell back to the problems that have plagued them all season. After starting the game shooting perfectly from the stripe, it looked like Terrell Stoglin could not buy a free throw. Alex Len’s two early fouls were the only ones he suffered but his confidence was shot from the very beginning. Ashton Pankey, Alex Len and Sean Mosley suffered from a seemingly biased referee group, which led to a number of poor decisions. The cohesiveness at the beginning of the game popped up for short bursts later on, allowing the Terps to feel like they were still in it, but it could never be sustained for long.

I love my Terps, but we could have played better. We could have seen better sportsmanship from the fans. And we certainly cannot let this steal all of the spirit out of us. My message to the Maryland fans is let the loss simmer and move on. There is still another couple months of college basketball, the women’s team is 7th in the nation and you never know where we will be by March.

Although there are a lot of sports stories that could be highlighted from this weekend, there is one particular headline that certainly deserves to take the attention. Joe Paterno, former coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions, passed away early this morning due to complications from lung cancer. The coach was a staple to the historic football program, though his exit was less than ideal. During his time, he won 24 bowl games (most in FBS history), 3 Big Ten championships, 2 national championships and a record-setting 409 total wins. He won Coach of the Year numerous times and coached longer than any other in football history.

His exit from the school was an issue of accountability but not direct responsibility. It may even be debatable in light of recent evidence. Pushing all of that aside, his legacy will be based on all of the successes listed above and I wish his family well during what must certainly be an extremely difficult time.

Rest in peace, JoePa.

No, I am not going into a whole VH1 tribute or parody. Instead, I would simply like to share a little about the music behind one of the greatest game franchises in the history of gaming. The Legend of Zelda’s main theme is one that is recognizable to so many as the games have been enjoyed across generations. From the original NES world theme to the most recent orchestral soundtrack to Skyward Sword, the music evokes emotion, excitement and joy to match the experience of the adventure on screen. By itself, you may not even recognize that it actually came from a video game.

This past year in celebration for the 25th anniversary, Nintendo hosted a concert in Los Angeles to highlight the music that helps to define this character and the whole franchise’s universe. The 70-piece orchestra played a series of selections and medleys from the games, spanning the entire history of the series. It was originally announced at E3 to joyous applause of the fanboys and was performed on October 21st.

To celebrate the series and reward the fans, a CD was added to the recently released Skyward Sword featuring the music of the concert. Here are the selections from the performance:

The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Medley – http://youtu.be/UCExYO-NNMA

  • Random assortment of themes and musical selections between the original and up to/including Spirit Tracks
  • Original theme appears toward the middle in a light violin section
  • Includes the following elements: Triforce Theme – A Link to the Past; Theme from Spirit Tracks; Dragon Roost Island – Wind Waker; Original Theme similar to Twilight Princess version; Dark Word Theme – A Link to the Past; Combination of Main Theme and Zelda’s Lullaby

Kakariko Village (Twilight Princess Theme) – http://youtu.be/t_FmaQiQcNE

  • Similar in sound to the theme from Ocarina of Time
  • Very smooth and slightly regal sound, particularly toward the beginning

The Wind Waker Symphonic Movement – http://youtu.be/J7yZ-jAj7Zk

  • Includes music that follows the chronological progression of the story
  • Strong moments featuring the boss themes and sailing theme mixed in with the lighter elements of character interactions

Gerudo Valley – http://youtu.be/THdRs7grqhE

  • Taken from Ocarina of Time
  • Bolder and more defined than the original

Great Fairy’s Fountain Theme – http://youtu.be/U7JQgyNw068

  • Orchestrated with a series of harps to capture the mystical side of the series
  • Not specific to one game but captures the spirit of all of them

Twilight Princess Symphonic Movement – http://youtu.be/nKhLkgqEFZM

  • Similar to the Wind Waker movement, captures the excitement and energy chronologically through the game (particularly in the most bombastic world theme out of the series)
  • Captures the essence of the story more than the actual music programmed into the game

The Legend of Zelda Main Theme Medley – http://youtu.be/qkYSuWSPkHI

  • Greatest focus on 2D games appears in this medley
  • Consists of a collection of interpretations of the main theme across the entire series

Ballad of the Goddess from Skyward Sword – http://youtu.be/hetWofrCz7U

  • Serves as the newest of the main game themes and will fit in nicely among the best of the series
  • One of the few main themes to be set in 3/4 rather than 4/4 time

Not only is this album one of the best orchestral video game collections but it was FREE with the game. I will definitely be listening to this entire album over and over again.

Alright…I know this series is a little quirky and happened to score a lot of fanboys, but Joss Whedon created quite the show. Focused around the idea of a “slayer” who takes out supernatural beings (mostly vampires), Buffy’s character goes through a transformation from high school drama to facing death to facing life to the end of the world (multiple times). Each season brought a new arc, new central villains and new stages of Buffy’s life.

There was the occasional episode that was a little off, particularly the episode that served as an anti-drinking campaign, but the show had a plethora of excellent moments. There are quotable moments aplenty. The characters develop from episode to episode but they maintain the clever quips that make the writing intriguing. From musical numbers to the end of the world, these are my top 10 favorite Buffy moments.

#10: Restless (4.22) – As the only season that does not end with a huge battle, season 4 ends with a series of dream sequences that frame what is to come for the slayer and her friends. Though Xander, Giles and Willow all experience similar themed lessons, Buffy finds herself face to face with the first slayer. There are a number of allusions with Dawn and the beginning of Adam, prior to his transformation. With a different approach to this season finale, the storyline was opened up for at least a few more seasons of Buffy-mania.

#9: Once More, With Feeling (6.7) – Though there are a number of moments in this episode (regarded one of the best musical episodes of all time), the most vital one is near the end. As Buffy attempts to make a deal with the demon, she begins her song “Give Me Something to Sing About.” The song comes with a revelation for the rest of the characters. Though they believed her resurrection was a blessing, they realize that she does not feel the same. It is also another moment in the Buffy-Spike saga that brings their love story more toward fruition.

#8: Becoming Pt.2 (2.22) – In a season that saw Angel go from vampire with a soul to full villain, Buffy has a tough choice to make. With an odd backing by Spike, he and Buffy take down Angel and Drusilla. At the moment Angel has his soul returned, Buffy realizes that she must say goodbye. Though Angel is completely confused by her actions, he fades away, changing their relationship from that point forward.

#7: Grave (6.22) – Though the episode is focused on the near destruction of the world at Willow’s hands, there are two moments that actually make this an amazingly good episode. The first is how Xander saves the world. Approaching the enraged Willow slowly, he is able to talk some sense into her and she breaks down, eliminating her power’s strength and world destruction. The second comes at the end of the episode when Spike finishes his quest in Africa. Though it is not clear what he wants from the previous episodes, his last moments end with him receiving his lost soul. This is a game-changer going into the last season.

 

#6: Chosen (7.22) – In the final moments before the epic battle, the main four characters meet up for one last conversation. Rather than talking about the impending struggle, the group breaks into a conversation similar to that of an earlier battle. It is a moment of levity in a period of turmoil and allows Xander to show a little of the humor that once defined his character.

 

#5: Dirty Girls (7.18) – At the vineyard, the slayers attempt to take out the preacher. When Xander gets brave and caught in the middle of the action, he pays for dearly for his involvement. The preacher blinds him in one eye, changing his character permanently. Going from the comedian of the group to its darkest member, he and Willow attempt to joke with each other but realize those moments have passed. It was a tough moment for anyone who appreciated the Xander character.

#4: Seeing Red (6.19) – Buffy, having just destroyed Warren’s powers, finds herself facing mortality again when he shows up in her backyard the morning after their confrontation. Armed with the only human weapon that can seemingly kill her, Warren pulls out a gun out of desperation. Firing shots without aiming, he hits Buffy in the stomach but a stray bullet flies through the upstairs window and strikes Tara in the chest. Falling into Willow’s arms, she fades aways and leave Willow in shock. This moment leads to Willow’s transformation into the evil spirit that concludes the 6th season.

#3: The Gift (5.22) – During Buffy’s defining moment, she promises to Dawn that she will find her way back somehow and dives into the open portal. Releasing her energy, Buffy sacrifices herself to save everyone, particularly Dawn (her only significant remaining family. While her first death ended in her revival through CPR, this is seemingly permanent. Spike also has a moment that pushes his character to the next level in his display of love for Buffy. He had led on to his feelings throughout the past couple seasons, but he exhibits true loss when he sees Buffy’s body lifeless on the ground.

#2: The Body (5.16) – The show has a number of emotional moments, but this is one of the most difficult to handle. It does not matter that Buffy dies twice, but when her mother seemingly passes away from natural causes unexpectedly, the characters fall into a rather intense level of grief. The best reaction comes from Anya, who suffers from a lack of understanding human emotion. Like a child, she looks at those around her and asks what she should be feeling. It also sets the stage for another growth moment for Buffy into adulthood.

#1: Prophecy Girl (1.12) – Though a short moment in the span of the series, the first season had appeared to be more of a teen romantic sci-fi comedy than a drama. The ridiculous situations during the first several episodes set up a show that did not seem to have any real depth. The scene when Buffy begins to truly deal with her mortality and snaps at Giles’s focus on the prophecy takes the show to a new level. Buffy appears to have a number of inner demons and a true value for life. This ends up being only the beginning of her battle between life and death but definitely a meaningful moment in her development.

The national title game was one of controversy. LSU finished the season undefeated and was clearly deserving of the #1 ranking and automatic bid to the BCS title game. On the way, they defeated impressive opponents, including Oregon (40-27), West Virginia (47-21), Florida (41-11), Auburn (45-10), Alabama (9-6), Arkansas (41-17) and Georgia (42-10). They possess the #2 ranked defense in the nation. The debate then popped up between Alabama and Oklahoma State. As I highlighted in a previous blog, Alabama certainly was deserving of their title bid, due to their #1 ranked defense and only loss in overtime against LSU.

In the first meeting between the two teams, Alabama was held to under 100 yards rushing and turned the ball over twice. They missed 4 field goals and still were able to force overtime because of their defense. LSU was held under 100 yards passing and also committed two turnovers. The game was truly a game between two stout defenses. The teams were fairly even across the board and the final field goal in overtime sealed the deal for LSU. The game served a number of results. Jarrett Lee’s two interceptions led to his eventual benching for Jordan Jefferson. The loss pushed Alabama down to the solid second in the nation, but still ahead of Oklahoma State. A buzz was created to potentially see the teams match up again in the national title game.

Well, it happened. Alabama and LSU went on to continue their winning ways. Though the Tide did not get to play in their conference championship game, their status as the stingy defense and the one close loss helped give them the push to the bid. There was a feeling that the nation may actually see a touchdown, but the two defenses were not going to let it happen. In the first half, LSU could not get anything going. Jordan Jefferson and his offense had a measly total of 33 yards, but the defense was able to keep Alabama to only field goals. On the other side, the Crimson Tide were able to get 230 yards, mostly from the play of AJ McCarron. Oddly enough, Nick Saban kept using Eddie Lacy instead of Trent Richardson in the running game. Ending the half at 9-0 in favor of Alabama left many stunned by the lack of scoring offense. Saving LSU for the time being was a blocked field goal, something to try to build some momentum around.

The second half looked very similar to the defensive battle of the first. Though Alabama was able to extend the lead slightly with a field goal in the third, they also watched Jeremy Shelley miss his second field goal (kicking wide right). LSU started to get a little more offense going but still, after three quarters, could not cross the 50-yard line. The fans began to chant for Jarrett Lee to replace Jefferson after the careless interception on the shovel pass, but Les Miles continued to stick with his starter. It was not until the fourth quarter before a touchdown was scored. After recovering a fumble on an LSU fourth down attempt, Trent Richardson finally found a burst of speed and dashed for a 34-yard score. The missed extra point left the score at 21-0 and that is where the game ended. Jefferson remained on the field for the last LSU drive, and Les Miles watched his team punt the ball, sealing the first shutout in BCS Championship history.

The game may not have seen the offensive production that both teams exhibited during the regular season. LSU may have lacked the energy to compete with the determination of Alabama to get their revenge for the heartbreaking loss in November. Alabama may not have seen Richardson dominate the opposing defense. In the end, the game concluded with a historic victory for the Crimson Tide and a devastating loss for the Tigers.

As another college football season comes to a close, I will turn my attention to what looks to be an exciting conclusion to the NFL postseason, including the continued quest of Tebow and Broncos, and an exciting conference season with NCAA basketball.

Congratulations to the Alabama Crimson Tide! You hung in there and pulled off an impressive performance against a challenging conference rival.

One of the most exciting endings to a playoff game just took place about an hour ago. Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, showed a bit more consistency in his play throughout the game and his defense was able to come up with big plays to force the game to go into overtime. After Pittsburgh ended up starting on defense, Denver came out on the first play from scrimmage and decided to go big. Tebow pulled back and fired a bullet pass up to Demarylius Thomas, who took it the rest of the way for a huge game-ending touchdown. The Steelers sit there stunned at the result and Tebow takes his traditional kneel down for a prayer. Most people predicted this to be the most lopsided match of the weekend with Pittsburgh winning in huge fashion, but the Broncos used the comments as motivation and pulled out the unpredictable win.

While many make fun of Tebow for his spiritual commitments or call his praying fake/staged, he truly is a spiritual man who did not originally want to play football. Prior to playing football in high school, Tebow wanted to live his life as a missionary and began his involvement in a number of charitable efforts. In high school, he actually did not attend an organized program but rather was a home-schooled child. He and his family fought for his ability to play for his local high school but remain a home-schooled student. After receiving a scholarship to the University of Florida, he packed up his belongings and left for his first experience of institutional education.

He was projected to be a leader in the shift in quarterback play, paving the way for a new style of running quarterbacks. Though he sat behind starter Chris Leak (who led the team to their 2007 National Championship over Ohio State), Tebow immediately made an impact as the backup. He made his debut with a running touchdown on the goal line and contributed several touchdown over the course of the rest of the season. After assisting Leak in winning the BCS game, he was quickly identified as the starter for the upcoming season. Tebow went on to win the Heisman in the 2007-2008 season and was the 2nd runner-up the following year after actually receiving the most 1st place votes. The team struggled a bit during his Heisman season but won a national championship over Oklahoma during his junior year and beat Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl during his senior year.

During his time at Florida, there were many moments where he talked about his charity work, openly expressed his faith and was seen on the sidelines in prayer. Controversy actually arose when criticism came out about his use of eye black to project important messages involving biblical passages. During the National Championship game in 2009, he wore the verse title John 3:16 under his eyes. While he was not the first person to use the eye black in this way, the NCAA denied that his religious messages led to what later was unofficially nicknamed the “Tebow Rule,” banning the ability to use eye black for personal messages.

There was varied appreciation for his talents while heading into the NFL combine, there were several current and former NFL coaches that highlighted their interest in Tebow as an early 1st round choice but even more that placed him out of the 1st round. The Broncos took Tebow with their 2nd 1st-round pick, in a move that seemed to suggest their interest in Tebow as the future of the team. He was not named the immediate starter, as Kyle Orton had been acquired to hopefully lead the team to the playoffs. When they were clearly out of contention, Tebow received his 1st and 2nd starts, finishing the season with a 1-1 record as a starter and 2 Rookie of the Week awards. In his 2nd season, Orton got the start but was benched and traded away after the 1-4 record. Tebow got off to an astonishing 7-1 start with several 4th quarter comebacks. Even after losing in the final week, the team made the playoffs and pulled off the miracle victory described above.

I do not know what the future holds for this athlete, but he at least has solidified himself as a quarterback worth watching and in which to invest a little faith. The critics certainly need to let go of the criticism regarding his faith and understand that his beliefs help to guide his success. While not everyone is a fan, Tebow is at least a genuine person and an exceptional athlete, more than his critics can really acknowledge.

On a little of the friendly comedic side, my sister told me about one of her friend’s Disney movie idea to tell the Tebow Story. Using the Steelers as a evil team standing in his way, Tebow defeats the menace and stamps out a place for himself in NFL history. I would certainly see that film, unless Tebow were played by Zac Effron.

After just completing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, I definitely have that feeling achievement and reflect on the quality of the game. Overall, I would give it a lot of credit for living up to the hype and certainly would say that I appreciated the combination of the Twilight Princess models with the Wind Waker cell-shading technology. There are a number of critics that have issue with the art design, but I think it works well with the style of game created. Without being all dramatic with providing a score at the end of a long analysis, I will simply say that it is worth the wait and the cost, especially with the added elements of a Hero Mode (replay with greater challenge) and Boss Mode (fight after fight of each boss completed in the game).

Main Characters

  • Link – A young man, seemingly an orphan, who is a student at the knight academy in Skyloft. Unaware of his role as the hero of destiny, he is the childhood friend of Zelda.
  • Zelda – Daughter of the academy’s headmaster, Zelda has always been a close friend to Link. Her status affords her royal-like attention and she serves a special role in the ceremony attached to the race involving students rising to the status of knighthood.
  • Lord Ghirahim – A member of the tribe that rules the surface world, he appears to be the one most interested in resurrecting his dark lord, the Imprisoned.
  • Fi – Serving as Link’s guide, she is a spirit that lives within the Skyward Sword. Though she is extremely calculated in her analysis and communication, she appears to understand the difference between good and evil.
  • Demise – The dark lord who was banished and imprisoned in monstrous form. His goal is to absorb the power of the Goddess and take control of the world.
  • Gaepora – Zelda’s father and headmaster of the knight academy. He appears to hold a greater status among the people of Skyloft, but it is a little undefined within the small community.
  • Groose – One of Link’s competitors at the knight academy, he is the leader of his peers and has a little thing for Zelda. Though seemingly unimportant to Link’s story, he has a purpose to aid the hero’s quest.
  • Impa – She is the guide who aids Zelda in her quest to discover her true power. With Zelda lacking any physical treat or defense, she protects Zelda with her agility and strength.

                            

Main Bosses

  • Lord Ghirahim – Link battles Ghirahim three times throughout the game. In the first session, Ghirahim only uses a fraction of his power, taking pity on the weak hero. The second session included a bit more of a struggle, leaving Ghirahim in retreat to resolve his issues of vanity. In the final battle, he cuts loose his full power and transforms his sword. These are some of the more interesting fights of the game as Link has to follow certain patterns to land hits and expose the weak points.
  • Scaldera – Located in the Earth Temple, this fire beast is a molten crab-like creature which shoots fireballs from its mouth. A fairly easy battle, the key for Link is to use bombs to disable the beast’s momentum.
  • Moldarach – In the Larayru Mining Facility sits the arachnid beast. With an eye on each claw and a hidden eye in the middle of its head, the beast uses claw and tail swipes to disable its opponents.
  • The Imprisoned – Though actually the monstrous form of the demon lord, this beast is located in the Sealed Grounds and continually tries to break free. The first attack includes the beast with just two massive legs. When it breaks free again, the beast has sprouted arms and can climb up the side of the pit. In its final escape attempt, the beast learns how to fly. Aiding in his attempts to take down the Imprisoned, Link has to rely on Groose’s technology to subdue the beast.
  • Stalmaster – More menacing than the hordes of Moblins, this boney creature has four arms and four swords to take on Link’s one sword.  Unable to block every angle, the creature relies on different sword patterns to block oncoming attacks.
  • Koloktos – Deeper in the Ancient Cistern, Link finds the mechanical creature with six arms. Though the weak point is easy to spot, the arms help to prevent Link from having a clear shot at its chest.
  • Scervo – The former captain of the large pirate ship, Scervo blocks Link’s path to the ship’s major treasure. It is a battle of back and forth blows from sword to sword.
  • Tentalus – Awakening near the pirate ship, this leviathan uses its numerous tentacles and snake hair to protect its weak point on its eye. Link must dodge tentacles flying in every direction or get taken overboard.
  • Levias – Though not inherently evil, this sky whale has been taken over by a parasite. Adding a collection of tentacle eyeballs, the creature can only be battled while riding a Loftwing.
  • Bilocyte – The parasite that has taken over Levias, this acid shooting creature burrows deep into its host. It has few ways to defend itself if an attacked can get close enough.
  • Demise – The demon lord responsible for the villainous takeover of the surface world, Demise’s resurrection is the only focus for Ghirahim. Armed with Ghirahim as his sword, he uses raw power and a similar version of Link’s Skyward Strike to take down his opponents.

                    

Link’s Inventory (showing highest upgrades)

  • Shields – This game features four different shields, including the wooden, iron, sacred and Hylian versions.
  • Swords – After receiving the practice sword, Link eventually finds the Goddess sword (which becomes the Master sword).
  • Wallets – Though he only can store 300 rupees at the beginning, he can later hold as many as 9900.
  • Seed Satchel – This bag holds seeds used by the slingshot.
  • Bomb Bag – Holding explosives, this bag can store bombs found around the surface world for later use.
  • Quiver – Used with the bow, this item holds as many as 35 arrows at a time.
  • Adventure Pouch – Used to hold a variety of items, Link needs as many as possible to go on his journey.
  • Fireshield Earring – This jewelry helps Link keep from burning up when traversing areas with extreme temperatures.
  • Water Dragon Scale – Allowing Link to swim, this item opens up a number of new areas to the hero.
  • Beetle – This mechanical creature allows Link to reach items out of reach, similar to a boomerang.
  • Bottle – Used for a number of different items, bottles can hold potions, water and faeries.
  • Bow & Arrow – As a longrange weapon, the bow can be used to attack targets far out of reach or knock down opponents.
  • Bug-Catching Net – Used to capture many of the insects around Skyloft and the surface world, it truly has a singular use.
  • Double Clawshot – This item allows Link to travel to locations above pits and to greater heights.
  • Gust Bellow – With a never-ending amount of wind, this can be used to remove sand or move objects.
  • Mogma Mitts – An upgrade from regular digging mitts, this set allows Link to travel underground.
  • Sailcloth – Given to Link by Zelda, this cloth allows Link to glide down from great heights.
  • Scattershot – An upgrade of the slingshot, pellets fly out in a circle pattern to catch enemies on the periphery.
  • Whip – This item can be used to grab levers from a distance or to swing across pits.
  • *Medals – Creating additional effects like increased rupees or hearts, medals help to bolster items needed to complete the journey.

                                          

Major Areas

  • Skyloft – The town above the clouds, the townspeople call this place home. This is also the only true organized community in this world.
  • Faron Woods – This is the home of the Sealed Grounds and woodlands. Among its inhabitants are the Kikwi and an sweet old woman.
  • Skyview Temple – Home of the first prayer location for Zelda, the Lord Ghirahim encounters the hero first at this location.
  • Eldin Volcano – Covered in lava, the Mogma call the heated terrain their home.
  • Earth Temple – Holding a similar danger of high heat, Link encounter the Scaldera on his path to meet up with Zelda.
  • Lanayru Desert – The barren landscape includes timeshift stones which cause the earth to revert to its former lush greenery.
  • Lanayru Mining Facility – Timeshift stones affect the state of the terrain in the facility as well. Moldarach awaits Link’s attempt to pass through.
  • Isle of Songs – Hidden in the Thunderhead, the alter provides owners of mystical musical instruments to learn songs which grant access to secret areas.
  • Lake Floria – Home of the Parella, the lands are home to the Water Dragon.
  • Ancient Cistern – Hidden in the Faron Woods, this temple holds Link’s first opportunity to restore the power to his Skyward Sword.
  • Lanayru Sand Sea – To the east of the desert, the sea had dried up years ago, but can be restored using a timeshift stone.
  • Sandship – This ancient ship used to be run by robots but has been taken over by moblins and the pirate Scervo.
  • Volcano Summit – At the peak of the volcano, this serves as the pathway to the next temple.
  • Fire Sanctuary – The next temple for Link to restore his sword’s power, the Lord Ghirahim chooses this place to yet again stop Link.
  • Sky Keep – A part of the Skyloft, the Temple used to exist on the surface world and holds the three pieces of the triforce.
  • The Sealed Grounds – This location serves as the prison for the Imprisoned and the place of the resurrection of Demise.

                              

Extras of the Game

  • Hero Mode – After completing the game, the story can be replayed with a few changes. Recovery items are harder to come by and enemies do twice the damage.
  • Boss Mode – In the Larayru Province, the Thunder Dragon is the keeper of a special game, battling each of the bosses over again. The mode bosses defeated equals the quality of the prize, but there are no recovery items available for use.
  • Gratitude Crystals – Across the Skyloft and floating islands, Link can collect gratitude crystals after completing tasks of kindness to be shown to the misunderstood Batreaux.
  • Bug Rock Mini Game – Taking bug catching to the next level, Link can compete to catch a specific collection of bugs within a given time limit.
  • Goddess Cubes – Throughout the game, there are cubes that have the triforce symbol on them. With a Skyward Strike, the cube dissolve and open up treasures in the clouds.