Riding the Backlog - Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Part 9)

By Chris Pranger

Session 9: The Eventide Challenge

Hello and welcome to Riding the Backlog, an article series where I ride my exercise bike while playing a video game. This particular series has me playing Breath of the Wild, a Zelda game that many consider the best in the series. I’m still working on forming a more nuanced opinion of where I place it against other series greats, but today’s immediate task is to defeat the Eventide Island challenge. Let’s get into it!

Before we can do anything, we have to take a moment and see what bounty the great amiibo can provide. Scanning my Ganondorf, Zelda, Toon Link, and Link amiibo nets me a whole lot of nothing, or at least nothing exciting whatsoever. Some days the amiibo deliver nifty new hats, some days it’s just a bunch of herbs and fish. It’s like, a metaphor for life, man.

I should give a little confession before we continue. Riding the Backlog happens in spurts, and while it’s been relatively consistent on the posting side, a lot of that is because I frontloaded the articles. In all honesty, I haven’t played Breath of the Wild in about a month, partly due to other things cropping up at night, and partly because I became utterly absorbed into Hollow Knight.

I say all this to explain why I did the thing I’m about to tell you I did. To get to Eventide Island I need to jump off of my current cliff and ride the breeze all the way over the ocean. This requires a simple jump over the edge followed by popping open the paraglider. Since I’d been gone so long, instead of jumping over the edge and starting my glide, I ran over the edge and plummeted down the cliff face before the paraglider button prompt appeared to tell me I was, indeed, a dummy. Apparently the game wants me to press the correct buttons or something.

So instead of going straight to Eventide I took a swift detour right around and landed on a cliff ledge full of bird nests. If I remember correctly, eggs can be used for some pretty tasty meals if cooked properly, including bread, so I stocked up and attempted to climb back to the top. The cliff was too tall, so I ran out of stamina and fell back to the ledge, doing a few apples of damage (a heart and a half). Properly shamed, I teleported back to my starting point at the top of the cliff next to the shrine.

Take two on the gliding goes correctly, meaning I landed on Eventide without issue. Last time I tackled the island starting on the right side, encountering a small camp with a few Bokoblins next to some yellow Chu (the electric ones). This time I decided to try going left and exploring that direction first.

My bomb rune is going to become my best friend here. Having an upgraded bomb rune actually makes it a viable option for scattering enemies and detonating both explosive barrels and elemental Chu, vital in a challenge like Eventide that has me start the island with only my hearts and boxers. No weapons, no armor, no food. Survive or die!

Along the left side of the island I discovered a boat oar, used here as a type of heavy two-handed weapon. With a power of 14, it puts it far ahead of the basic wooden spears all over the island or even the rusty sword hanging around. A few Bokoblins are gathered around a campfire on the beach next to some explosive barrels, which I intended to blow up using my bomb rune. One Bokoblin caught on and chucked a barrel in my direction, severely hampering my good beach vibes.

After swiping a trio of spears from the defeated Bokoblins, I kept circling the island clockwise, bringing me around past an orb altar on some rocks out in the water. The challenge on Eventide involves placing three orbs on the appropriate altars, with the first being in the Bokoblin camp off to the right on a slight hill. This makes orb altar number two, a good mental note.

Continuing on brings me to a bunch of bananas, a definitely useful commodity here without much emergency food to speak of. Wandering through the banana patch had me wander a bit too close to a hidden Octorok though, causing a yellow treasure-chest wielding Octorok to explode out from the ground and hurl me back, knocking out half of my hearts before skittering around and disappearing. Cool.

A little pool of swamp water sits in the small wooded area with a stump and a woodcutter’s axe in the center. My magnesis rune helps me nab the axe, as well as a submerged treasure chest that contains a claymore with 20 attack power. That should come in handy against some of the challenges to come.

I make my way back to the beach and decide to head up the right side of the island again like I did on my first Eventide attempt last session. I found the Bokoblins hanging around, same as always, as well as the yellow Chu, but something happened and I have no clue what but I died. Seriously, I can’t explain it any clearer than that. I had detonated a bomb next to the explosive barrels, and then set off one of the electric yellow Chu, but then it’s not exactly clear what kills me. It could have been one of the yellow Chu blobs rolled over to me and also went off, killing me, or I could have taken a swift rock to the face or something. Point is, I’m back on the cliff with my full gear, ready for attempt number three.

So yes, attempt number three. I have a vendetta against the random enemies on that hill to the right, so I start there and go wreck their day before cooking some grub and repeating my clockwise progression across the beach, grabbing spears, picking up the boat oar, gathering bananas, getting surprised by the treasure Octorok, plucking the axe from the lake, and pulling out a submerged claymore. We’re back on track!

Minor side gripe though: dying and having to go back to your last save point means having to take pictures of items and enemies all over again, and that’s just annoying. Sure, I died, that’s my fault (unless it wasn’t, like last time, probably), but having to do a tedious task is just no fun. I already took a picture of the boat oar, I don’t want to have to do it every time I die.

My clockwise island trip takes me to another Bokoblin camp, this one made from a few strategic platforms. I’m able to glide down to one platform and surprise a bow-equipped sentry. Joke’s on him because that’s my bow now, finally returning my ranged attack options. The main platform only has another red Bokoblin and blue Bokoblin, so some arrow shots and spear pokes clear the area and deliver me some serious spoils, including the first orb.

Nabbing some weapons and arrows first, I make the decision to take this first orb over to the far side of the island and drop it in the altar on the rocks in the water. The trek while holding the orb is simple enough as Link plods along in his underwear, confident and sassy as always. Actually getting the orb onto the altar presents a light bit of puzzle to solve since I can’t just toss it up and I can’t carry it while swimming. I decide to toss it in the water near the platform and then use my cryonis rune to raise it up on a block of ice, which works as intended and completes my first task. Two more to go!

The most logical next step is to take on the Hinox and swipe the orb from around his neck. I love the Hinox world bosses as they’re unique and goofy and very satisfying to fight. Their weakpoints are their one giant eye, taking critical damage and going into a stunned state after getting either shot by an arrow or having a weapon thrown directly into the eye. This Hinox also has wooden shin guards, keeping me from injuring his legs, and a few items around his neck including a powerful club and bow.

I’m feeling very confident about this fight until the gentle rain turns into a thunderstorm. Lightning thunders down, striking anything metal and blasting anything around the strike zone. The lightning mechanic is a simple enough one but one that only serves to inconvenience the player, similar to the rain mechanic. Avoiding lightning is easy as long as you’re not wearing or carrying any metal items, indicated by a flashing shock effect during a thunderstorm. That means no metal swords, shields, bows, or armor. It also means this Hinox fight will have to consist of the wooden weapons I’ve got.

Thankfully, both the powerful club and the powerful bow around its neck are made without metal, probably a safeguard to keep the Hinox from being a boss you can just wait out while lightning strikes it over and over. I whittle it down to half health before running out of arrows, forcing a change in tactics.

The rain has stopped, but it’s given me an idea. The yellow Chu globs I picked up earlier seem like a useful bunch of items if used correctly, in this case as a makeshift shock trap. I pull three out from my inventory, toss them on the ground, and chuck a bomb at them. As I turn around to flee while still keeping the Hinox in my sights, I’m suddenly dead again from something that I don’t know what. My theory this time is that a blue Chu spawned behind me and knocked me over while the Hinox kicked my bomb over to me, blowing me up along with the yellow Chu goo. This trap did not go as intended at all

Back to the cliff for attempt four. Paraglide to the island, clear the hill on the right side, clear the beach clockwise, nab bananas, get a boat oar, attract an axe, salvage a claymore, kill some Bokoblins and take their arrows. We’re back to the Hinox fight, this time once more as the rain starts and the lightning begins.

I make an attempt to utilize the world’s mechanics in my favor, feeling brave enough to attempt to harness lightning in its raw form. No more messing with yellow Chu blobs, we’re going straight to the source. I pull out a rusty metal shield and grab it with my magnesis rune, carrying it safely over to the sleeping Hinox.

Frustratingly, this doesn’t work as intended. Lightning apparently never strikes when or where you want it to, so despite my best efforts, the metal shield isn’t bringing the thunder. Dejected, I rub it all over the Hinox’s body before setting it down right behind its head. No effect. Thanks for nothing, weather! We’ll do this the old-fashioned way!

I pull out my bow and shoot for the eye, missing the critical weakpoint but waking it up. I take some more shots, backing up as I do, tagging it in the eye so that I can steal the weapons around its neck. After a bit things look like they’re going rather well. I managed to lead the Hinox over to one of the Bokoblin camps where a small campfire ended up accidentally lighting the Hinox’s wooden shin guard on fire, forcing it to panic and hop around while I took more potshots with my bow. Eventually I ran out of arrows, shifting over to bombs for the remainder of my onslaught. With enough patience, victory was soon mine, giving me a glowing orb for my trouble.

I decided to take the Hinox orb to the far side of the island and then swing back around for the orb in the enemy camp, placing that one on the hill pedestal. While there I cooked up some meals made with mighty bananas, giving me added attack power. With two orbs completed, the only place left to inspect was up a small cliff adorned with rushrooms.

Getting to the top of said cliffs presented another enemy camp, this one with a black Moblin in addition to some red and blue Bokoblins. It’s not my smoothest battle, looking more like a smash-and-grab than anything, but my tactic of slowly whittling down each enemy one at a time to thin the herd worked well to ensure I wasn’t unfairly swarmed. The mighty bananas upping my attack certainly added the extra oomph I needed to succeed.

There were some tense moments where the Moblin landed a pretty significant hit on me, bringing me down to a quarter heart. Despite the frustrations Breath of the Wild puts me through, I’ll give it credit for at least ensuring you can’t be one-shotted from full health, always leaving you with the least amount of health left. I’d prefer not to take random full-health-draining attacks out of nowhere, but we’ll accept concessions when they’re granted.

At last the camp is clear and all threats are completely dealt with. The orb is sitting out in the open but the last altar requires I move a stone slab by using stasis on it and then slamming it to build up kinetic energy. It’s not really a puzzle since it’s the same obvious problem/solution each time you see these slabs around the world, but there’s still something satisfying about flinging a big stone sheet end-over-end.

Placing the final orb summons a shrine at the very top of the island, that being the Korgu Chideh shrine. I enter it expecting a further challenge, but this is one of those instant reward shrines usually found after solving a riddle or completing a bigger challenge. In essence, Eventide Island is itself just one large shrine, and it’s a fun one. My reward, besides a Spirit Orb, is a gold Rupee worth 300 Rupees. Not too shabby.

Getting a single Spirit Orb though? That feels bad. Considering the skill, effort, and time necessary to complete the Eventide challenge, the shrine really should more adequately reward you. If I were developing Breath of the Wild, I’d have made each orb altar summon a shrine with a final fourth shrine only accessible after one final boss fight or enemy gauntlet or something unique right at the top of the island. That way you get rewarded with four Spirit Orbs, meaning either a new heart container or additional stamina. As it stands now, the Eventide challenge gives you the same reward as early shrines where all you have to do is jump and glide over to your reward because, hey, you learned how fans work. Cool.

But with Eventide done, I’m faced with a new problem, perhaps the largest of all: where do I go now? There are four main story missions highlighted on my map that will take me to meet the Goron, Rito, Zora, and Gerudo peoples, so choosing which one to find first is a daunting task. I posted a poll on Twitter, so we’ll see where everyone decides to send me next time.

For now, it’s time to stop riding. Join me in session 10 when I make my way to a new village, and perhaps start searching for Tingle’s clothes. We’ll see you then!
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