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The Legend of Zelda (tentative)

Preview By: Siou Choy

Developer:  Nintendo
Publisher:  Nintendo
Genre:  Adventure
Est. Release:  Q4 2002
Posted:  3-14-02

Fans of that cheesy elf from Nintendo’s other fan favorite series take note: Zelda is about to make its debut on the Gamecube with what is tentatively being referred to as Legend of Zelda. Yeah, yeah, I know, they already glommed that title way back in the days of 8-bit, but who ever accused the guys who gave us the late, unlamented N64 of originality? Regardless, many of the Zelda games offered gamers solid storylines and challenging gameplay, and this newest model promises to be no exception to that rule.

The characters and environments will come sporting a trendy new look: a mix of 3D polygons and cel-shading. While based on 3D models, rather than going the expected route of adopting more realistic texture maps, the characters have been mapped with textures more closely resembling Sega’s Jet Grind Radio or the Playstation’s Fear Effect series. Link will appear somewhat younger than he has in recent offerings, with more emotion and expression capabilities (courtesy of the increased power of the Gamecube). Speaking off the cuff, he looks for all the world like some cheesy Rankin-Bass puppet show reject. I kept expecting him to whine "I wanna be a dentist", but as long as I waited, he never did (I guess that’s just too lofty an aspiration for a still frame video capture…sigh). Real-time lighting and shadows add to the feel of the game.

Those familiar with Zelda on the N64 shouldn’t have any problems with the controls on the Gamecube version. Most of the moves are back, as is the lock-on feature which grants special ease to warding off certain enemies.

What Zelda game would be complete without huge worlds and environments to explore? The landscapes look massive and well detailed. The "cartoon" look of the new Zelda looks much better than some "realistic" next-gen games.

Making sure that we’re kept in sufficient suspense, Nintendo is saying very little about Zelda at this point, with more info to be released at E3 later this year. Shigeru Miyamoto has promised that the newest Zelda title will be released sometime late 2002, so we can only wait with baited breath. Who knows, maybe Link’ll face up to his fears and pull the tooth on that abominable snowman yet.



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