the artistry and psychology of gaming


Greenmaze (Landstalker)

Greenmaze (Landstalker)

Today’s world is a very large one; one of which I’ve explored only a small portion.  The small portion that I saw, which was rather large on its own, was once the domain of King Nole, a long-forgotten legend.  All that seems to remain of this latent monarch is a slew of legends about his great treasure, hidden in parts unknown.  It seems every adventurer in this kingdom and even most every kingdom nearby is interested in finding this treasure, and many have disappeared trying to find it.  It seems that the only clues to its whereabouts lie in the ruins strewn about the kingdom.

The particular area that stood out most to me during my time in this land is Greenmaze.  Greenmaze is exactly what it sounds like: a gigantic labyrinth of trees.  Sure, nearly any forest is a maze if you’re not used to navigating them, but despite what you might imagine upon hearing such a thing, it really is special beyond the normal parameters of your typical forest.  The area is surprisingly diverse, featuring caverns, swamps, ruins, and more.  Even having grown up in the woods myself, I was still quite taken with this place.

The entrance is in a little hollow beneath a statue outside of a castle.  Once you enter Greenmaze itself, you’ll find yourself surrounded by thick walls of coniferous trees.  Said trees form the vast majority of its labyrinthine structure.  If you wander a bit from the beaten path, you’ll find yourself in a poisonous swamp, which has brown rock slabs hovering over its murky bluish waters.  The swamp itself is difficult to find, since it is in a relatively small clearing in a particularly thick section of the forest.  Despite it being quite deadly, especially if you fall in, this odd scene is well worth taking the time to seek out.

The main roads lead through some rough terrain, featuring several cliffs, gaps, and caverns.  The path itself is three-dimensional, since there are multiple points at which one can drop down and follow another road.  There’s just something special about the layout here with the green trees emerging from the sienna dirt all around. It’s hard to describe, but it almost gives the impression of being in the midst of a patch of gigantic carrots.  It’s an aesthetic that’s as hard to match as it is to adequately describe.  The color scheme is somewhat reminiscent of Salad Kingdom.  After following the path for quite a while, you’ll wind up in one of the many caverns, which will take you to a square opening in the midst of some very sturdy shrubs.

The next area is quite a bit more rugged, with more cliffs that reach higher than anything you’ve encountered thus far.  There are many vines to climb in order to navigate the area, as well as many caverns that connect otherwise inaccessible areas.  Perhaps the strangest feature of this area is the two areas covered in rock tile.  Each area is square, but neither seems to have any rhyme or reason to its existence.  This area also features a very tall rock spire, which has a square opening at the top.  Diving in, you’ll land in yet another cavern, which has some mysterious features.  Aside from finding a small shrine with a golden goddess statue, one can also find a warp to an area with some odd guardian statues and a large underground waterfall.

Climbing out of the waterfall, one will reach a moderately wooded area that leads to something of a clearing.  This clearing has another cavern leading back to the entrance, as well as a hidden area with two pillars, each to the side of a gigantic crystal known as the Sun Stone.  This stone got its name from its powerful luminescent properties, which are strong enough to be used in a lighthouse.  Heading back to the entrance, there is an overgrown path, which leads to the mountains, which are home to some strange ruins.  Not much is left of these but a few structures and a goddess statue, which is said to hide a secret entrance to King Nole’s Cave.

Greenmaze is a special place, full of beauty if you follow the set path.  However, like many places, its greater beauty lies in the forgotten areas.  Even if not in the literal sense, when adventuring, you’ll find that most every path leads to treasure.  You’ll often find it worth your while to stray a bit if your interests go beyond the material.  You just might see a small area or scene that will follow you your whole life.  I remember as a child looking into a metal bucket filled with stagnant water and finding a small, worm-like creature swimming through a beautiful underwater world, no matter how small.  It’s nothing anyone else ever got to see and existed only in a fleeting moment, but it’s something that has stayed with me, even in my dreams.  It just goes to show that you never know what you might find when you’re exploring, even in your backyard.

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