The Missing Link
Let’s be completely frank; Link carries a lot of stuff around. No human being (or Hylian, for that matter) could honestly violate physics so badly as to have all that stuff at a moment’s notice and get away with it. (Physics is a harsh mistress, after all.) Even if we were to just imagine that there indeed was this satchel over Link’s shoulder in which he lugged around all those items he’s not currently using (there’s not, but we’re pretending!), well… dang, it’d have to be the biggest bag I’ve ever seen. (Can you even something the size of just the Bomb Bag, a sack that is designed to carry 30 bombs, each one the size of a decent-sized stone!? Just how big are these standard-issue Bomb Bag anyways!? Probably the size of Liechtenstein or something!)
But for the moment let’s put all of that aside and focus on just a single item: the Iron Boots.
The Iron Boots have just about been a console staple since Ocarina of Time. Wind Waker had ‘em. And yes, as we’ve seen from the Twilight Princess trailers, the Iron Boots are back in the newest Zelda title too. And from experience we all know what these beauties do for our verdant-clothed hero. For starters, they allow you to sink to the bottom of whatever liquid you should so happen to end up in, allowing you to trudge across the bottom of the pool of whatever in hopes of slaying enemies, finding treasure, and getting the girl. (Don’t laugh about that last part. Remember Ruto? Wink wink nudge nudge? ) The other historical use, of course, is preventing yourself from getting utterly blown away by fans, steam vents, water spouts, or whatever other force of nature might blow our hero off course. And as we’ve seen in the Twilight trailers, they allow you to walk along walls and ceilings that are lined with this electromagnetic substance. (Who put it there and for what inane purpose is left as an exercise for the reader.) So the Iron Boots are useful, hurrah! and we’re all very glad their in our Zelda games.
To boot (pun intended), any Zelda player will be able to tell you that Link is able to sink in water and not get swept away by the winds because the sheer weight of the darn boots. (Non-Zelda players often call this magic.) The same goes for walking on the walls; they’re magnets, and magnets attract each other and stuff. (Also magic to some.) It makes some sort of physcisense, and life is wonderful and such. I dig it. (Besides, who’d want to spend all day analysing the principles of gravity on a fictional universe? That’s worse than doing timelines on fictional universes!)
But there’s absolutely one thing that just drives me batty. Let’s say I’m in Lake Hylia with my ultra-cool boots… and then I take them off. What happens? I float, as any good Link without Iron Boots should do. When I’m in a wind storm and I take them off? I get blown away. Magnetic strips on the ceiling? Mr. Link gets very friendly with Mr. Floor. But here’s the rub: Link didn’t throw the boots away. He’s still got them! (The inventory list does not lie!) They’re, as we all know, stuffed into the Imaginary Country-Sized Sack o’ Weaponry that Link carries around wherever he goes… which means… he’s still carrying around the weight; it just so happens to be in a different place, slung over his shoulder (like a Continental soldier).
Now I realising that I’m quibbling over something that’s less important than the price of tea in China, but every time I see a new puzzle that is predicated solely upon making sure you’ve got the proper boots equipped (such as to sink or float on cue), my suspension of disbelief in a game cracks a little bit further. The boots are still with Link, after all. (And then worst of all, they have the audacity to make me do weight balancing puzzles on a set of scales. So totally unfair!) Now, granted, we can solve this quite easily by converting that invisible, magical bag that Link is holding is some glorified portable hole (that can be folded up for easy storage!) straight from the Looney Tunes cartoons so that Link can store his hundreds of pounds of junk in it without actually encumbering him an ounce. (It’s as wonderful an invention as our beloved Hyrulian Velcro.) Such are the numerous illogical wonders of cartoon physics.
Of course, the real trick about this is that I wouldn’t want Nintendo to implement the inventory system any differently. I don’t want to have to leave my Iron Boots at the bottom of the lake and/or drag them to the shore every time I wear them. It’s, dare I say it, convenient to forget those pesky rules of physics when playing a Zelda title because, well, it makes us feel cooler. Heck, if we get a feeling of joy because we solve a simple block puzzle, the fact that we can go Reggie on hundreds of enemies with tens of weapons (thousands of combinations!) without care of whether we REALLY could do it or not… well, that’s heroic! That’s epic! That’s hardcore! And who doesn’t want that and a bag of potato chips, hm? Sign me up for two!
So I’m going to have to deal with the fact that Zelda isn’t at the threshold of absolute realism. It’s always been that way, and it will never change (or so I hope!). I guess that I have to check my knowledge of physics at the door when I step inside Hyrule and believe that the world—no matter its form—is filled with the cartoon laws that were so easy to accept with Wind Waker. (After all, what other Zelda game would make you believe that you could shoot yourself out of a cannon and live to tell the tale about it? Am I right, or am I right?)Follow This Entry | Leave a Response | Trackback
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