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The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Platform: Nintendo GameCube
Publisher: Nintendo of America, Inc.
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Style(s): Third-Person 3D Action RPG
Synopsis: Nintendo's acclaimed action role-playing series receives a face-lift with the release of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker for GameCube. Moving away from the traditional 3D polygon models found in the two previous Nintendo 64 titles, creator Shigeru Miyamoto and the design team decided on using a cel-shaded look for a more whimsical effect. Enemies and principal characters emote, stomp, and attack with more fluid animation than in previous efforts, although the basic control and interface remain the same. Taking place long after the events in Ocarina of Time, the game finds a young Link with expressive, almond-shaped eyes who is suddenly pressed into action when a giant bird swoops down and abducts his sister. Thus begins a epic quest taking place on a series of different islands, each of which can be reached by a sailboat players guide amidst swirling winds. Once on land, Link must fight his way past new and familiar monsters across a variety of outdoor vistas and underground dungeons to find his sister. To fight his enemies, Link can swing a sword in multiple directions, block with a shield, and perform a variety of acrobatic maneuvers to close in for the attack or to escape harm's way. Link can also acquire and use bombs to open up new areas, as well as acquire fallen items from defeated enemies. New items include a telescope, which can be used to spot important items from afar, and a baton that helps redirect the wind to propel the sailboat to its intended destination (similar to how Link's ocarina manipulated time in his first N64 adventure). The lock-on targeting system implemented in the N64 games is featured in the GameCube version as well. When players are confronted with multiple targets, they can isolate their attacks on a specific creature or divvy up damage by quickly switching between enemies while swinging the sword or firing the hookshot. New forms of attacks tie-in to the comic theme associated with the graphic engine, such as targeting an exposed foot or somersaulting between a creature's legs before swiping it from behind. Wind Waker also supports connectivity with the Game Boy Advance for two-player cooperative adventuring as well as a number of additional features. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Package Contents: Precautions Booklet
Colorful, appealing, and concise, the manual is a pleasure to read, though a little light on some of the many features found in the game. A strategy guide is a must to delve into all this title has to offer. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
While there is a minor problem with the game blurring objects far in the distance until the player moves closer, the animation, color, and amount of detail is excellent. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
A sharp departure from previous games in Nintendo's vaunted series, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker resembles an interactive cartoon with bright colors, simple shading, and extremely fluid animation. Yet the childlike shift in presentation doesn't mean the game has been reduced to silly jokes, cartoon physics, and pratfalls. Instead, its whimsical look is used as a platform to support a genuinely funny, touching, and dramatic storyline that has an unusually strong sense of history. The action, interface, and control are almost identical to Ocarina of Time. Items such as the bow-and-arrow, hookshot, bombs, boomerang, and sword are back and control exactly the same. Players assign certain items to three buttons for quick access, the lock-on targeting system is back for fighting enemies, and players must journey into dungeons and defeat their bosses to obtain important artifacts. In fact, many of the same puzzles are present, including shooting eyes with arrows, pushing crates and boxes, and lighting fires using torches. Even the new baton serves the same function as the ocarina, only players manipulate the direction of wind instead of time. Thus, Wind Waker is not the substantial leap in gameplay as Ocarina of Time was from A Link to the Past; it's more a different scenario in a completely new world. While Link essentially performs the same moves, he also has a number of enhancements. Link can sidle across narrow ledges by placing his back against the wall and carefully sidestepping his way across, which is a necessary technique to reach certain areas. Link can also parry with his sword, which involves timing the swing at the precise moment of an enemy attack. Link will automatically roll or leap overhead and slash at the enemy if performed correctly, and it is the only way to defeat certain enemies such as knights. The grappling hook is perhaps the biggest addition to the series, allowing Link to swing back and forth to cross gaps. Players must find overhangs located above a gap, target them from a first-person perspective, and then swing back and forth, climb up the rope, or swivel their character's direction to reach another area. The Deku leaf acts as a parachute and fan rolled up into one: Link can slam the leaf down to create a small gust of wind (to solve puzzles or to blow back enemies) or grip it with both hands and float across areas. With the help of the baton, Link can also gain control of specific people and items during the course of play. Where Wind Waker falters in comparison to Ocarina of Time is featuring a world consisting almost entirely of water. Instead of traveling in one huge interconnected world, Link must instead sail to smaller islands. Sailing can be tedious since there's not much for a player to control other than the rudder. Players never have to battle the wind, since they can change it to whichever direction they want with the baton. The world of Wind Waker is neatly arranged in a grid of 49 squares, with each square containing a reef or island of varying size. Yet players never have to worry about their boat capsizing, for instance, even though there are stormy areas with rain, lightning flashes, and gray skies. The water doesn't rollick as much as it should in these situations, either. There are enemies in the sea, but most can be avoided. Sharks, strange propeller-head fish, and massive squids are the primary things to worry about, and natural disasters in the form of typhoons can literally blow players off course. Players can do a bit more at sea, but it's not very exciting. In order to map out their world, players must look for a jumping fish in each square on the map and feed it bait. It will then draw on the chart and players will be able see the name of the featured island -- for some reason merely landing on it is not enough. There are also 49 treasure maps to find that reveal buried heart pieces, rupees, and other goodies somewhere in the sea, as well as a few pirate ships to battle, but these situations don't require much strategy or skill other than sailing right up to the vessel and plugging it with the cannon. Each square takes roughly a minute to travel across with the wind directly behind your back, so getting from point A to point B can take some time. Fortunately, players can eventually learn a warp song that minimizes the tedium associated with sailing. While the seafaring segments are not as immediately appealing as the horse riding in Hyrule, there is a certain satisfaction one gets for fully completing the ocean chart and exploring the individual islands, even if there isn't much there worth acquiring. Though many are small in size, there is a sense of a world here, one rich in tradition and culture. The main islands, especially Windfall Island, are great fun to explore and players will be able to interact with dozens of characters. They will also stay connected with the people they meet thanks to a postal system that features mailboxes at nearly every major destination, so players can expect feedback from friends, words of encouragement from family (along with some money for the road), and even some surprise maps or packages. The new additions to Link's arsenal of items, however slight, add an immeasurable amount of fun to the exploration. You can climb atop the pillar of a broken drawbridge, switch the wind direction, and then leap off with the Deku leaf in the hopes Link can make it to the other side, or simply use the grappling hook to swing back and forth until Link builds enough momentum to reach a tucked-away platform. The new dungeons are beautiful, and the game deftly throws specific challenges at you until you are completely familiar with an item. It could almost be argued the game's first half is an extended training session that, by the time you're finished, has you fully prepared to face the clever puzzles and tough enemies that lie in wait toward the game's conclusion. Nintendo took a big risk with the game's presentation and setting, especially considering this is the first console game in the series set outside the traditional world of Hyrule, but it has created as compelling an experience as any of the earlier Zelda games despite few changes to the classic formula. Wind Waker offers the most convincing use of cel-shaded graphics and animation in a game released to date, and its world yearns to be explored and experienced. Wind Waker's style of play may not be the breath of fresh air players were expecting from the move to GameCube, and the islands seem much too small, but the change in scenery is a nonetheless welcome one that is sure to surprise players in how well the game works in its current visual style. Not to be missed. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Though the world seems much larger than the one offered in Ocarina of Time, it's not necessarily better -- since the majority of it is water. Surprisingly enough, there is no marine fishing mini-game, there are only six main dungeons, and many of the side quests offer little reward other than knowing you've completed them. Yet the game is still fun, which means you won't stop until you've seen everything there is to see. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
The game is filled with remixed versions of classic Zelda tunes, including many songs from the Nintendo 64 games as well as the original on the NES. While there is no dialogue, it's not missed. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
While the sailing isn't as involving as it could have been, and some of the later objectives seem more like busy work than fun, it's hard not to be enthralled by the amount of detail placed into this watery world. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
the game requires Joystick/Gamepad.