I've never been a fan of puzzle adventure games that include an progress-hindering ticking clock. You know the idea. "Jump through all these rings in ten seconds to lower the drawbridge!" "Stab all four statues in four different rooms in one minute to reveal the treasure!" I like to take a moment and think about the puzzle challenge in front of me. Basically, I don't like to be rushed. If you feel the same way then I'm afraid I have some bad news for us all. The upcoming Nintendo DS title The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass includes a "hurry up!" gimmick: chasers.
The dungeons contain invincible and deadly enemies [Eiji] Aonuma affectionately calls "chasers". When they see Link, they'll pursue him relentlessly. They're invulnerable to Link's attacks, and can down him in a single hit, so these guys aren't someone you want to try to hack your way through. Thankfully, they appear on the top screen map, so Link can plot routes around them. The dungeons feature sanctuary zones where Link can hide from the chasers as well as special jars that, when thrown, create smaller sanctuaries Link can use anywhere.
While the new game could turn out to be loads of fun, the news of these chaser creatures doesn't fill me with excitement. I've often observed that forcing an ongoing ticking clock or similar gimmick in a game is an attempt at padding out a short gaming experience, as since gamers will often fail to complete the frustratingly arbitrary task before time expires, they'll have to try again and again (I'm looking at you, Star Fox Adventures). When I complete a section of a game that includes this type of dynamic my first thought is usually "Whew, glad I've finished that part and I never have to play it again." Does that seem odd to anyone else? If I'm not having fun then why do I keep playing?