The Legend of Zelda:  The Wind Waker
Platform:  GameCube
Players:  1
Memory Usage:  12 blocks
Gameboy Advance Compatible

    When this title was originally presented it created quite a bit of controversy over it's graphics.  Not only would the younger version of Link take center stage but in addition all the graphics would be cel-shaded and cartoon like.  Well here we are nearly a year later and the game has finally been released and let me say, once you begin playing you'll find it hard to stop.  This will be a hard review to write without giving any any plot twists.

Description:  It's the newest Zelda game, does it really need any introduction?  The game begins with an introduction sequence that sets the stage for adventure to come.  Basically it recaps the outline of Ocarina of Time (which was rereleased as a bonus for reserving Wind Waker) in which the Hero of Time, Link, sealed Ganon away.  Eventually his evil power returned and once more the people of Hyrule believed the Hero of Time would return to save them.  But the Hero of Time did not appear.  None who remain know what became of that lost kingdom, but its legend survived and was passed down.  On a certain far off island it became customary to garb boys in green when they came of age, hoping to one day possess courage like the hero of legend.  That's right, this game takes place hundreds of years after Ocarina of Time, Hyrule is but a memory and the Link in this game isn't the good old Link we know from games past.  Now that you know it's a different Link, let's lay off being upset that he doesn't look like the N64 games and Super Smash Bros. Melee Link, okay?  It's your birthday and you come of age, are given a ceremonial green tunic like the Hero of Time and thus the game begins...

Graphics:  Never once in this game did the graphics seem out of place.  Everything is extremely well done to the point where the game just feels alive.  If you've been a fan of the earlier Zelda games you'll notice Nintendo has definitely tipped their hat to you.  The enemies have that classic Zelda feel and everything has life and movement.  Link has a wealth of expressions as do other people in your quest and the enemies you will encounter.  Attention to detail in this game is insane, a good example is when fighting against a Darknut, remember them from the first Zelda?  You lock on to one and wait for him to thrust, then parry attack when he does so.  As you attack like this parts of his armor will come off:  if he loses his helmet you can use the boomerang to stun him, if he loses his plate armor you can run up and wail on him with your sword, if he loses his sword he'll guard and wait for an opening to go and retrieve it.  It sounds like it would be a chore to fight such enemies but truthfully you'll have a most entertaining time.  I've never really laughed while playing a Zelda game but Wind Waker is full of subtle humor all the better conveyed with its vibrant and beautiful graphic design.  I really couldn't imagine this game looking any different.

Sound:  There are a wealth of remixed classic Zelda tunes and I'd be hard pressed to find anyone that has played the original The Legend of Zelda that doesn't smile when the classic theme comes up during the intro sequence.  Sound design is perfect throughout the entire adventure and is structured very similar to Ocarina of Time, where as music changes depending on the conditions around you.  When Link is out at sea, it sounds like he's out at sea...  Again, the sound is done with such quality, the player won't even notice it.

Play Control:  Excellent, absolutely excellent.  Camera control is a huge improvement over the previous 3-D Zelda games and feels like a modified version of the Super Mario Sunshine camera system.  The difference here is that the camera stays put after you move it, rather than wildly spinning around at the most inopportune moment.  L-targeting is back (Z-targeting modified for the GC controller) and while it feels much more solid here than it ever has before, there was one boss fight that it became extremely frustrating with, no big deal though. The Wind Waker is used a lot like the Ocarina of Time was but now is closer to actual music, it feels like a really simplified version of Mad Maestro but the Wind Waker songs can still be easily played by anyone.  Aside from that, the rest of the controls play exactly like the previous two Zelda games.

Replay:  This game is a huge adventure in exploration and will take you some time to complete.  After you complete the game the first time through there is a second quest of sorts with a few changes but nothing major that I've noticed.  After a certain point in the game, if you link up your GBA to your GameCube you can summon Tingle (from the previous Zelda game) to assist you and also to work on a side quest with him.  You get much more here than with your standard adventure game.

Final Verdict:  I'll admit I was bummed when I completed the game, but only because everything was of such high quality.  If you like the games in the Zelda series you should already have this title.  If you enjoy adventure games, need a game to keep you busy for a long time, or want to see what all the fuss is about, then pick up this game.  The only thing I find funny is that young newcomers to the video game scene have it a lot harder with figuring out the world of this game than gamers of my age did back in the late 80's with the original.  Final note, I was able to complete the game inside of four days of heavy playing.  I will admit however, I did read a walkthrough of the Japanese version about a month ago.

Written on 04-05-03 by David,
Last amended 04-13-06 by David,

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