Edited 01 March 2015 - 03:12 PM
"Zodiac, Story of the Guardian" is a tribute to the best games I remember playing on the NES as a small child. Megaman, Blaster Master, the Guardian Legend, Metroid... games that reward tough memorization of enemy patterns, deep exploration, and scary bosses. This uses the Zelda Classic engine, but don't be fooled - it has more in common with Symphony of the Night than it does any game in the Zelda series.
The game mixes side-scrolling exploration with overhead-view shoot-em-up levels, like The Guardian Legend. Also like TGL, the introduction level will dump you into the action, and you may find it overwhelming at first. I assure you, once you learn the patterns and develop a plan of attack, it is completely beatable. It will not, however, be easy.
When you open the quest, you're en route to an Asteroid that is bearing down on Earth, having been engineered to do so by Earth's enemies in an interstellar conflict. You are one of many Guardians, transforming robots that have been deployed to attack the incoming Asteroid. Most of your companions will not make it past the defenses. You might not, either.
But, assuming you do, you will infiltrate the Asteroid, learn more about the enemy's operations and the origins of the strange creatures that live there.
=========== CONFIGURATION ==============
The game expects your buttons to be laid out this way:
A and B are used for your items, as normal.
L is used in flying levels to deploy a massive laser blast which clears out enemies but also consumes your energy at a very fast rate. The key to doing well in the flying level is knowing when to hit the blast so you can refill your energy with drops from the result.
L is used in side-scrolling levels to jump.
R is used in side-scrolling levels to activate the dash when you have it. Holding R will allow the Guardian to move at double her normal speed, but it consumes Energy to do so.
=========== ITEMS ==============
While I take advantage of the Zelda Classic engine to handle lots of basic things, very little in this quest is normal. Just about everything has been revamped and retooled for a new purpose. As you explore the Zodiac, you will find the following items:
Sidearm - Your trusty plasma pistol. Starts out pretty slow and weak, but you can collect upgrades as you go. Power and Speed upgrades do what you think they do, but they also increase the energy requirement of each shot. Energy upgrades decrease the cost. You want a balance that allows you to spam the shots, which is very useful in clearing out small enemies, while also making your sidearm strong enough to tangle with bosses. In addition, each type of Sidearm uprade affects the power of your Zodiac weapons, but the equation for each is different. Finally, collecting large numbers of power, efficiency, or speed will have a secondary effect on your sidearm shots...
Missile Launcher - Roughly ten times as powerful as your starting sidearm shot. Missiles have limited ammunition but deal much more damage.
Life Tank - Refills the Guardian's health. You can carry up to 9 at a time, and picking up new Tanks stacks with what you have. Beware; if you get more than the cap of 9 tanks, any additional tanks will be wasted.
Shield Module - Halves the damage taken by the Guardian. Be wary; there are some weapons your enemies will use that will cut right through your armor and deal continuous damage if you remain in their area of effect. Such attacks are not affected by shield upgrades!
Pulse Hammer - Your first "main" armament. Spits out a high energy pulse a few blocks in front of the Guardian to deal reasonable damage and shatter cracked blocks.
Explosives - An infinite number of explosives that you can drop and forget. As with the games that inspired it, Zodiac makes heavy use of bombable walls. There always hints to point you towards critical bomb points, but many upgrades are hidden behind walls with no hints at all. Make a map!
High Jump - This does what you think it does - the Guardian's jump doubles in height.
Disintegration Beam - Produces a short range energy beam that vaporizes rock and sand, and emits a twin stream of high-energy particles to damage creatures at a distance. Replaces the Pulse Hammer.
Explosive Missiles - Upgrades the Missile Launcher. Now it does more damage and explodes on target, damaging creatures in an area of effect and triggering anything explosives could trigger.
Dash Jets - Hold L to move twice as fast, allowing you to make much longer jumps and evade enemies. If you were not bothering to get Energy upgrades for your Sidearm, you will probably find you don't have enough energy to use both the Sidearm and Dash during the same encounter!
Zodiac Weapon - Aquarius Bubble - Fires a bubble which spins in a circular pattern in front of you. Where the bubble is emitted, you can still break rocks and dissolve sand. Replaces the Disintegration Beam. If you replace the Bubble with another Zodiac weapon later, you can always return to the pickup room to swap. All Zodiac weapons can be charged up by holding down the button, at the cost of a large chunk of your energy. When fully charged, the Bubble creates a shield around you that will absorb a single hit without you taking any damage.
Zodiac Weapon - Scorpio Sting - Fires an energy blast that moves in a wave pattern. Still breaks rocks and sand, replaces any other Zodiac weapon you have. Replaces the Disintegration Beam. If you replace the Bubble with another Zodiac weapon later, you can always return to the pickup room to swap. All Zodiac weapons can be charged up by holding down the button, at the cost of a large chunk of your energy. When fully charged, the Sting releases a huge rotating ball of death that deals repeated damage equal to about twice a single sting.
Stun Beam - Fires a halo of stunning bolts all around the Guardian. Consumes energy. Stuns most enemies temporarily. Also can be used to wake up some enemies who need a jolt of energy to hatch,
Grapple Beam - Shoots a grapple line out in one of eight directions, and if it connects with a grapple hook, will pull the player towards it.
Zodaic Weapon - Aries Saber - Slashes three tiles in front of the Guardian. Deals decent damage if you glance something, but where it really shines is if you get close enough to hit the enemy with one of the closer tiles of the saber. The enemy will get hit by the other parts of the blade as it is pushed back, resulting in massive short range damage. When fully charged, the Saber will create a stationary vortex of spinning blades that deal damage over time to anything caught in it.
Life Re-charger - Slowly recover health over time. Comes in 2 levels of power.
Ship Upgrades (Gun, Bomb, Speed) - Upgrades a part of your ship in the flying levels. Gun upgrades the ship's main weapon. Bomb makes the Energy Eraser, the "L" button blast, more powerful, but also makes it consume more Energy. Speed makes the ship move faster. There are five levels of Gun, four levels of Bomb, and three levels of Speed.
Double Jump Boots - Allows the Guardian to jump a second time in mid-air. The second jump is substantially less high than a jump off of the ground, but allows you to maneuver into spaces you could not otherwise.
Advanced Comsat - Allows you to access communication systems and the contents of computer drives even with the CPU disabled. Also, once you have this, you will be told exactly where (By coordinates) a switch made something change in the Zone you are in. It will display when you are on the screen with the switch.
Black Hole Armor - The Guardian takes only 1/4 normal damage.
Ice Beam - Replaces stun beam. Fires the same spray of stunning energy, but also fires a projectile that encases enemies in a block of ice that you can climb on to reach higher places.
Wall Cling Boots - Cling to walls by pressing against them while you are NOT holding the jump button.
Zodiac Weapon - Gemini Twin - Fires three powerful lasers; two in front and one out the rear. When fully charged, the Twin creates a duplicate of you that stands in front of you and fires bullets in your direction for a short period of time.
X-Ray Scope - Reveals secrets in a radius around the Guardian. Consumes energy.
Zodiac Weapon - Cancer Splatter - Shoots out an arcing glob of organic matter that splatters on enemies or solid surfaces, doing damage over an area. When fully charged, the Splatter releases a bloody tornado that deals large damage to creatures horizontally.
Super Missiles - Massive, powerful explosion that can clear out blocks too tough for regular explosives and deal huge damage. However, each shot consumes 5 of your missiles, so it does not replace your Explosive Missiles.
Zodiac Weapon - Virgo Whip - Play Simon Belmont! The whip strikes 3 spaces in front of the Guardian for moderate damage. If it connects to an enemy, it will strike repeatedly, draining the enemy's health. Whenever the Whip deals damage, the Guardian gains life. Keen! When charged, hold down the button to maintain a vine shield. While the vines are up, you will recover missiles each time you take damage.
Energy Recharger - Increases your natural energy recovery rate. Available in two levels of increasing power.
Zodiac Weapon - Taurus Torch - Fires a spinning fireball upwards at an angle. Very powerful. When fully charged, releases a slow-moving fireball that deals large damage and melts icicle blocks.
Zodiac Weapon - Libra Crystal - Fires two diamonds that ricochet off of walls. Moderately powerful alone, but it is possible to slam all three crystals into an enemy in a single shot that will deal large damage. When fully charged, creates a short-lived ice platform in front of the player.
Anti-Gravity Device - Consume energy to propel yourself straight up. You cannot move horizontally while ascending.
Overcharge Adaptor - Consumable, and you can only carry one at a time. When you use it, your health and energy regeneration go absolutely bonkers for a short period of time. This makes you into an unstoppable killing machine in the corridor levels, where you can spam your giant laser.
Stomp Boots - Destroy enemies by hoppin' on em.
Zodiac Weapon - Leo Laser - A.K.A. the Murderbeam. Activating the laser shoots a persistent beam that causes damage over time to any enemy caught in the beam's path. Absolutely devastating to enemies that can't get out of the way, including bosses who have a consistently vulnerable weak point. Some bosses are particularly vulnerable to the Laser, and some are not very vulnerable at all. When fully charged, the Laser wraps the player in a large fireball and launches the player until it hits a solid combo or the side of the screen.
Zodiac Weapon - Capricorn Wave - Fires a single large projectile in a straight line, can be fired at a shallow diagonal. Deals the most damage of any Zodiac Weapon in a single hit, but lacks the repeated-hit ability of some other weapons. When fully charged, the Wave deals repeated damage to every enemy on the screen.
Voltaic Key - Does two things. First, it can power machines and cause certain alien technology to phase out of existence. This opens up the Warp Zone so you can quickly get around the Zodiac to find the final corridors. Second, it will create a field that neutralizes incoming fire. Potentially very handy for the Corridors that get spammed with bullet hell. .
Interdimensional Shifter (Dash Jets 2) - What is better than Dash Jets? Dash Jets that let the Guardian punch right through any solid wall that is exactly one tile wide, that's what. Phase your way to new secrets and the final corridors. Technically, this is the last item you should actually need to finish the game.
Supernova Armor - The Guardian takes 1/8 damage.
Spin Attack - When double (or infinity!) jumping the Guardian creates a damaging field around her that will continuously damage enemies in close range.
Grapple Beam 2 - A Grapple beam that works on any solid surface, not just on grapple points. Play Tarzan today!
Zodiac Changer - Isn't it irritating that you can only have one Zodiac weapon at a time, and have to backtrack to replace it if you need something else? Wouldn't it be handy if you had a way to swap between Zodiac weapons on the fly? Yes, that would be nice.
Infinity Jump Boots - Jump, jump, and jump again. Combine with the Spin Attack to create ye ol unstoppable ball of death.
========== QUEST FILE AND SCRIPT ===============
This quest is un-passworded until it's done. Check out the scripts if you want to use them in your own game, but be warned; so much of the script is made custom for this .qst file that you're probably gonna have to rewrite the scripts from the ground up to use them yourself.
========== FINAL WARNING ===============
Hack computers often and repeatedly. You may gain critical information cluing you into where you need to go next or what you need to do, although the game will stop holding your hand and trust you to search every nook and cranny for the way to proceed fairly quickly. While some messages, e-mails, or notes you discover are just lore, many of them have clues to the Zodiac hidden inside of them. Pay attention. This is the kind of game that might require a note or two.