We all know that joke, yes? Of course you do: the first time you heard it you laughed - because, ha ha, a door isn't a jar!!! And then you had to ask what "ajar" meant. I still don't know.
"What do you mean you don't know what ajar means? You idiot. You stupid little idiot. Go to your room!"
Let's try another one: when is a Zelda game not a Zelda game? When it's Cadence of Hyrule!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nintendo has become quite adept at placing its biggest franchise characters into genres that are a far stretch from their origins. Super Smash Bros. is the most obvious example, but over the years Zelda has lent itself to light-gun games, strategy "things" and puzzlers.
Its spin-off catalogue isn't quite as diverse as Mario's - lest we forget Mario Teaches Macramé? - but it's getting there, as Nintendo strives to keep the series pumping along twixt bona-fide instalments.
Cadence of Hyrule is a weird one in that for all intents and purpose you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a bona-fide Zelda game. It isn't.
I... I... I said IT ISN'T.
Oh, so you did hear me...
Cadence of Hyrule - or, rather, Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer featuring The Legend of Zelda, to give this game its full title - is a crossover-cum-spinoff of Crypt of the Necrodancer, a game I admit that I haven't played, featuring locations, characters, and music from the Zeldaverse. You can play as Link, Zelda or Necrodancer's Cadence, whoever that is.
Zelda trimmings or not, I can safely say that Cadence of Hyrule: The Dog: The Movie is unlike any game I have ever played. It has a very Zelda-y storyline, it looks like a top-down Zelda RPG, albeit with a chessboard-like overlay, there are bosses, and dungeons, and quests... and yet it plays like a Zelda game in only the most superficial sense.
In short, Cadence of Hyrule: Prance Along With Link Featuring The Ganon Hot-Steppers is a rhythm-based action game, wherein famous Zelda themes have been given a sort of disco remix.
When enemies are on screen, your character can only move or attack in time to the beat. And you don't even have an attack button: you just sort of bump into enemies to attack them... unless they bump into you first. It's like every nightclub you've ever been to!!!!!!!!?!!!!!!
It's kind of structured in a weird way with light - shudder - roguelike-elements; the map stays roughly the same, but the placement of the areas are randomised, and some dungeons are randomly-generated. You lose certain items and money whenever you die. You'll receive certain bonuses for moving and attacking in time to the beat; move off-beat, and you won't get your reward for clearing a screen.
Initially, it's bewildering and impossible. It took me ages to stop trying to play it like a regular RPG, and I got frustrated that I kept dying. Once it clicked into place, and I realised that there was a certain choreography to the combat - I had to study enemy movement patterns, and plan my attacks accordingly - then I started to enjoy Cadence of Hyrule: The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance featuring Jay-Z.
Well, sort of. To a point. And that point was the point that I realised I didn't really like these sorts of games.
Cadence of Hyrule has been getting good reviews across the board, but I think it's important to state that this isn't a game for everyone.
Speaking as somebody who has absolutely no sense of rhythm, I spent much of the time enjoying the aesthetics, while wishing it was just a new, classic-style, Zelda game. You can actually switch off the rhythm stuff, but it sort of blunts the entire purpose of its existence.
What can I say? The biggest hurdle I struggled to overcome throughout its roughly six-hour length was how much I wanted it to be something it isn't. For me, Zelda games are never better than when they're played from a top-down perspective, and this felt like a cruel teasing of that format. Like your mum telling you she's made your favourite pie for tea, but there's secretly a balloon inside it which bursts when you bite into it.
"Ow! My lips!"
Again, I clearly appear to be in a minority. It's one of those games where I can understand why people like it, can see that it's a game which is original, and has had love poured into it, but simply have to accept that it doesn't chime with what I want from a game. This happens. We are not all the same.
I award Nintendo full marks for stretching the definition of what a Zelda game can be, and the Necrodancer gameplay is certainly a one-off, but - ultimately - it's not really my bag.
Which is fine. WHICH IS FINE, DO YOU HEAR?
Oh, you heard.
SCORE: 60bpm out of 100bpm