Double Take: Four Swords

Steve, Keith, and Sweeney recently spent an evening with Webber playing through The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition together. What follows is a group chat they had a few days later. It’s the first ever gametimebro Triple Take!

Steve
alright guys, lets talk four swords

Keith
let’s do this

Sweeney
are we doing a write up?

Steve
i think this is the appropriate level of effort

Keith
tri-forced

Steve
it’s a triple take – unprecedented
and also webber-free

Keith
phew

Steve
so we played this the other night, the three of us and webber
in one room, the way co-op games used to be played

Keith
thanks to a clutch text from me in 2014

Steve
and despite sweeney’s best efforts, we beat it in like two hours

Sweeney
please leave my love of the chain-chomp out of this

Keith
i wish you had left it out of the final boss fight

Steve
we’ll get there
actually yeah, sweeney even being able to play this game was also despite his best efforts to ignore your text, keith
guys, what happened that night two years ago?

Sweeney
the text was late at night
and i go to sleep early
and when i woke the next day, the deal was gone

Keith
the text happened during the super bowl
not sure i buy that
no wonder we had no team chemistry in four swords

Steve
hmm i can weigh in here
i actually received the text at 11:11pm that night

Keith
make a goddamn wish
i wish sweeney wasn’t a liar

Steve
i wish sweeney had received your text and downloaded four swords instead of borrowing stevie’s ds
so yeah, nintendo in their infinite wisdom released a free download for four swords
and it expired at midnight that night
and from that moment forward, the game was completely unobtainable

Keith
well technically it was available jan 30 – feb 2 or something
but i didn’t learn about it until the day of its expiration

Steve
yeah with like an hour to go
anyway, sween, how much would you have paid for that game?
because nintendo wasn’t letting you have it for any price

Sweeney
i mean, if it was in the $10-15 range, i would have jumped on it
so we could play already, like we’ve been talking about for 2 years

Steve
yeah
keith and i have discussed playing this game like half a dozen times since then
but we waited, and i think that was the right call
i’m not sure how this game would have worked with two people
and also it was nice to experience it with you and webber and all of that

Keith
i played it a little bit solo (which was added to this version)
the four-player dynamic is definitely what made the experience for me

Steve
so we started the game out in a tutorial level we didn’t realize was a tutorial level

Keith
we spent like 10 minutes lost in the tutorial

Steve
“chamber of insights” i think it was called
did you guys gain any insights for how to play the game?
because we also had to quit out of the first level when we couldn’t figure out how to light a torch

Keith
which we never figured out

Steve
no, someone definitely lit a torch at some point

Sweeney
i think the one time i saw us light one
it involved someone shooting an arrow at the same time someone swiped it with a sword

Keith
that seems awfully complex for this game

Steve
i think the arrow was a red herring
i think it was just a fully-charged sword spin
but we’ll never know
just like we’ll never know why they put a chain-chomp item in there that takes rupees away from your co-links

Keith
all i really figured out was how to pick up an item on a pedestal
i mean we didn’t learn a lot

Sweeney
but we managed to work together
to get through the whole thing
which is really all i can ask for out of this game

Keith
exactly
we didn’t even strategize on rupees until our second attempt at the last boss
we spent the whole game throwing each other off of ledges
which we didn’t realize hurt us all

Steve
we did eventually learn that our rupee count was a shared one
and we also learned that those rupees were basically “continues” for when we were killed
by bosses or by sweeney

Keith
it would have added an interesting dynamic to the game had we cared or paid attention
but the challenges weren’t difficult enough for our hearts to feel that important
it did add a bit of drama to the final boss, but that was about it

Steve
no, not in the least
the levels were semi-random in that you were never sure which elements of each one would be where

Keith
yeah – which just let us quit out of a level we couldn’t solve
only to return to a new level entirely

Steve
which i think was meant to add a replay factor to this game, but i’m good on that front

Sweeney
really the only puzzle to them was figuring out which direction to go

Steve
we started slow for sure
ten minutes in the tutorial, another fifteen wasted on a level we’d end up quitting, and then we lost our local connection to each other on our first boss fight, which set us back another twenty minutes or so
but then we barreled through all three levels in less than an hour

Keith
so, we’ve alluded to the fact that this was a shallow experience

Steve
we made it more challenging
by killing one another
repeatedly

Keith
but don’t forget this was originally just tacked onto the gba version of a link to the past

Steve
yeah, good point

Keith
the fun in this game came from our interactions with each other, not necessarily from our interactions with the game itself

Steve
it definitely felt like the least essential zelda game i’ve played
unless link’s crossbow training counts

Keith
oh absolutely, but it some ways it was the most unique
and teamwork was ALWAYS required
which i appreciated
even if it was as simple as communicating to each other where we needed to go

Steve
one thing i found interesting was what a war of attrition it all was
like, on each other’s patience
two of us would be at a four-man switch, and the other two would be across the level, and there was just so much “guys, guys, get over here”

Sweeney
yes
i thought the boss fights were really good too
for emphasizing teamwork

Steve
oh yeah, lets talk about the bosses
what was your favorite boss fight?

Keith
okay so we had
the plant one that we failed out of the first time when our connection failed
the weird frozen thing
that we had to hit against ice

Steve
that ice boss fight was great
because it was nothing but charging at him with pointy swords
just a pipelined machine of four of us timing our charges perfectly

Sweeney
right

Keith
yeah we wrecked the ice guy
what was the lava one?

Steve
i’m not remembering any details on the lava one

Sweeney
i did like that one moment in a boss fight where we all were shown different colors
and had to tell each other where to stand

Steve
i liked that too
i was green link, but couldn’t see which side was green
i could only see the red side
so i had to call out to keith, who was red link, hwere to hit that boss

Keith
that boss also had the tornado round, no?

Steve
the final boss had the tornado
and then also the dual-colored petals
and we had to throw bombs in his tornado
and thats when sweeney’s chain chomp just wrecked our shit

Sweeney
its got a mind of its own

Steve
because it looked like a bomb
and id try to pick it up and throw it
and then i’d lose rupees
which meant we’d all lose rupees
which we didn’t fully appreciate until we lost against the final boss
man why didn’t we just play with stevie instead of sweeney?

Sweeney
listen, we’re not here to play the “blame game”
i don’t want to ask “who killed their teammates the most” or “who wasted the most rupees” because it really doesn’t matter

Steve
i guess youre right
we played it, we had fun with it, we beat it
and you got home well before 11:11 i’m sure

Sweeney
it was already past my bedtime

Keith
so the lava monster
gouen
he’s the dude we had to hit the balls at

Steve
ah of course
gouen, the zelda stalwart

Keith
which we also had to do in the final boss i believe

Steve
the final boss was vaati

Keith
yes
so we sorta learned how to beat the final boss by playing the other bosses
because the plant thing sorta returned as well, no?

Steve
yeah i think vaati incorporated piece of all three previous bosses

Keith
it’s clear that we liked the boss battles most of all
because they were really the only semi-challenging parts of the game
they required more teamwork

Steve
the rest of the game just didn’t really feel very zelda-like
its obvious what item you need to use when the game provides that item for you while taking away all other items

Keith
it bothers me that we never had to manage multiple items
why not incorporate puzzles that require someone to be small and someone to have a boomerang and someone to have an arrow?

Sweeney
i was ok with it
that seems like it would have been a pain to me

Steve
yeah, one thing i would have liked to see was more of that, keith
like for instance hitting an arrow with a sword spin in order to light a fire
that heightened level of teamwork and knowing roles only came during the boss fights
where the bosses would dictate that green link must hit an orb toward blue link, for instance
i was green link, the one true link

Keith
also, of course webber was purple/pink
it looked very much like link to the past
which gave me some nostalgia

Steve
it also gave me some minish cap vibes – granted i just played the minish cap
but minish cap has several puzzles where link clones need to push heavy things together

Sweeney
minish cap actually comes directly before four swords in official Zelda canon
which makes sense, that’s when link finds his clones somehow

Keith
including the ability to pick each other up is such a master stroke here
it just made up for so much of the tedium

Steve
oh yeah, that reminded me of all the recent co-op mario bros games where you can just kill one another by tossing each other off ledges
but where i think those games are actually harder in co-op mode, this one was much better in co-op mode
sometimes all four of us would just split up and kill different enemies and get different treasure chests

Keith
despite all of this game’s shortcomings, i found it uniquely satisfying

Sweeney
it helps that this was short, so it didn’t feel like a chore

Steve
i think you nailed it when you said it wasn’t the game that was any good, but just being able to play it together in the same room

Keith
but like
it has the bones of a good game
with better puzzles
more challenging, varied puzzles
i think it would be incredible

Steve
im sure if we played through it a second time and a third time we would have been very sick of it
and thats what the game wants you to do, for 100% completion
maybe it gets harder each time

Keith
tri force heroes seems to do a lot of what i wanted in this game
each player typically has a different item, there are more gameplay options in play
stacking people up, being able to shoot from the top of the stack

Steve
alright, so should sween and i get tri force heroes?
or should we ditch sween for webber?
i guess what i’m asking is, are there any chain chomps in tri force heroes?

Keith
well the beauty of download play means that even if sween misses a text, we can still play together
also, the purple link is gone

Steve
damn
thats a pretty clear message
sorry webber

Sweeney
hey, i don’t need a text, this is a game nintendo will graciously allow me to purchase, for money
like how most businesses work

Keith
so you guys can play with me without the game, but you won’t keep all the cool dresses you unlock for link
and we can’t play it online
so you guys can try it out and see if it makes the necessary improvements

Sweeney
i’m seeing 13.5 hours to beat tri force heroes
maybe we can meet up at 8 in the morning and play well into the night and beat it in one day

Keith
well it took us 2 years to beat four swords

Steve
but that might be okay, playing offline
we had way more fun playing four swords in the same room than we would have if we played online
in fact the way we had to call out colors to one another during boss fights, i dont think it would have worked any other way

Keith
absolutely, i think it’s an experience that should be played in the same room
but yeah, everyone buying a copy to enable us to have a worse experience makes little sense
i bought a copy the day after we beat this game

Sweeney
then lets get to it

Steve
we have two years to make this happen

Keith
march of 2018 isn’t as far away as you think

Steve
but it sounds like this triple take is ending
thanks again to red link keith and blue link sween
for helping me, green link, get the girl
she was great, you guys
she was exceptional

Keith
green with envy link
red link got the girl after blue and green link went to sleep
twice
😍

Sweeney
alright we’ve hit erotic fiction
let’s end this NOW

Keith
sweeney, throwing this triple take over the edge

Steve
yeah we’re done here


Double Take is a recurring gametimebro feature in which two (or more) bros have an in-depth conversation about a game they’ve both been playing.

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