Wind Waker Before & After
Months ago, upon hearing (and seeing) Nintendo’s plan for Link’s
first adventure on the GameCube, I was, like most others, a little
appalled. I didn’t understand why Nintendo decided to do that
to the series. Never mind, scratch that. The cel shading was ok,
but I didn’t understand why Nintendo decided to make Link look like
that. I mean, you can cel shade and still have the character
look older. The big-head big-eye small-feet thing wasn’t attractive
to me. But, I decided that Miyamoto and Nintendo knew what they
were doing (ha) so the game would be added to my wish list. I had
no intention to reserve until I learned of the bonus disk, so I
figured that getting the 3+ games in one deal would be worth it.
And now the time has come. The Wind Waker is in my house. In my
‘Cube. Being played.
And what do I think?
With only a few hours completed, I already have mixed feelings. Let’s
start with the positive. The graphics. Amazing. Outstanding. Cel
shading is a simply remarkable technique. It seems so much like an
FMV and cartoon that it doesn’t feel like I should be playing it. The
game moves so smoothly and without flaw, which makes it seem more like
something that should only be watched. When the word got out, some
complained about the game being “flat.” It most definitely is not
flat. Cel shading gives a great sense of depth, from every crack in
the wall to the strikingly realistic shadows cast by light in a dark
area. Battles are enhanced like crazy by this technique, by having
bright flashes and quick movements when Link attacks. Sometimes, you
get a sense of Pixar-style 3D, and even see a glimpse of our good
friend, Mr. texture mapping. Using the cel shading was not a
mistake. It surely shows the true power of the GameCube.
So yeah, I like the graphics. But does it feel like Zelda so far?
I’m not sure. It’s very “happy,” but that comes next. For one thing,
the story has been taking place on the sea. Zelda has traditionally
been on land, so the water twist is a little odd. Also, there is the
plot. This game is strongly based on The Ocarina of Time. No
other Zelda game has ever directly referred to another installment of
the series. The opening story, as mentioned in the manual, revolves
around the legend of the Hero of Time. Link the 1st
anyone? Besides completely destroying the Single-Link Theory, it
makes the Link in the game feel kinda fake. For example, in A Link
to the Past, there is no reference to another hero, so it makes
Link seem like the first and only one. Wind Waker Link seems
like more of a descendant (if even that) than the legendary hero. All
past installations of the series have been loosely connected if
connected at all (I still refuse to believe that any link between them
was originally intended,) and Wind Waker is breaking the
rules. Although, I must admit, the twist that has turned up is VERY
different and I know I’ll enjoy the plot, but I’m not sure if it will
end feeling like a Zelda.
As I said, the game is very happy. A little too happy. Everything is
all bright and cheery. Even the dark areas have certain brightness to
them. Battles look great, but enemies die in a puff of cartoony smoke
that looks like something straight from Disney’s Hercules. There is
some item called a “Joy Pendant” that looks like a butterfly. A Joy
Pendant? Give me a break! This is Zelda, not Barney’s Great
Adventure! The menu screen is also too happy. It’s all bright green
with big bold letters. I’m getting memories of old preschool software
that my sister used to have.
How can I mention happy without mentioning Link himself? I still
can’t get over the way he looks! I thought it would fade away, but
no. Link looks KIDDY. Maybe THAT’S why this doesn’t feel like Zelda-
the hero is some goofy elf-boy. From his huge eyes to his ridiculous
expressions to his disproportioned feet, everything about him is
wrong. On top of that, Link looks like some graceful ballerina when
he uses the Wind Waker. OTHER people in the game look normal. Why
can’t Link? Nintendo had many chances to be comical with the cel
style, so they shouldn’t have done it with him. That was a mistake.
Watch out! Samus might be toonerized next! Ugh, I want Link not a
Ehheh. If my decision was solely based on Link’s looks, I would not
have this game right now. Luckily, my passion for Zelda is stronger
than the looks of one character. The cel shading, the water concept,
and the direction of this plot are all pulling me in. Stay tuned (no
pun intended) for my next updates! I’m off to finish!
Check out what he thought after completing the