Progressive Scan, GBA/GCN Link Cable (Tingle Tuner)
If you ever doubted
the new style chosen for the latest Legend of Zelda game, the Wind
Waker, then beg for forgiveness. Bow before "KNOWTENDO!" Nintendo
knows best and they have proven once again; I am currently in my own
process of seeking redemption (between playing their latest
masterpiece, of course). After being blown away by the sheer
brilliance and quality of Wind Waker, I realize what many other
probably already have: the epic scale of this game can hardly be put
into words. However, since this is what I am here for and I am not
one to disappoint, I will do my best. Outlining the grand features
of Wind Waker is perhaps the next best thing. Of course, as hard as
it may be to fathom, that also means pointing out some of the games
not-so-grand features, too.
Now knowing it in full, I would have to say that the intriguing and
amazingly woven story of Wind Waker is one of the most alluring
features of the game. If you do not want any spoilers, at all, then
be forewarned and you would probably benefit to just skip to the next
paragraph. To keep from revealing to much to those of you who do want
an idea, I will just point out a few things. Okay, in short, every
generation a new Link is born, or simply a new hero is. As you might
have guessed, that hero is you and you have to save the Great Sea and
its many islands from the grasp of Ganondorf. The Great Sea is, as is
later revealed, the world made anew above the flooded ruins of Hyrule
Kingdom. The islands are the tops of Hyrule's ancient mountains and
lands. Of course, when your journey starts out, your hero knows none
of this and is just on a quest to save his sister from the giant bird,
the Helmaroc King, who stole her and many other girls.
Of course, even as it good as it may be, many avid gamers probably
already know that a good story can only go so far on its own. The
rest of that load must be pulled by the graphics. And, while several
games have managed to slip past my often-harsh eye just because the
story is so exceptional, Zelda did not. Because it didn't need to! The
graphics of Wind Waker, as controversial as they once were, fully
compliment the exceptional story. This is not to mention that,
coupled with the awesome story, the graphics raise the bar on how good
video games should be. Imagine, if you will, a vast and flowing ocean
with crisp waves, washed over with swirls of powerful winds, and
studded with a myriad of fantastically shaped and inhabited islands,
filled with the most imaginative characters and creatures you could
ever imagine. Now, imagine such a beautiful picture cast amazingly in
the cartoon-shaded graphics, which had snowballed so much debate
before the game's release. Even with all that, you hardly have a
glimpse of how great the graphics of Zelda are, though it does give
you a nice starting point.
From the swirl of purple smoke from a vanquished foe to the look on
link's face when he reacts to his surroundings and actions, Wind Waker
is lush with detail. With its epic attention to such detail, it was
very rare I noticed bad interaction with the environment. However,
even when I did, I think I perhaps turned a blind eye to it, too
amazed at the rest to care; when a game can accomplish so much, it
seems only fair to overlook the small areas where I would normally
scrutinize any other game.
Perhaps part of the simple and great Zelda tradition and a powerful
ingredient in the games winning formula, the level design is as
amazing as ever. The puzzles in Wind Waker may at first seem as
though they are quite easy, however, you will soon learn otherwise.
While it is true that you can get quite far by just ambling through
the first levels and often time relying on sheer dumb luck to find the
right way, a little more work may be required on your part to get
along later in the games. It is not as though the work is really that
hard, but in the end it is just a matter of talking to the right
people and using your eyes; that, of course, has a double meaning.
When you come to a point where you are stuck, it is quite important to
scan the room carefully and, if you notice it, looking at Link's eyes
for help. When there is an opportunity or direction to go, Link's
eyes will generally drift towards that item or way. After that, it is
pretty much just a matter of deciding whether to use your Hookshot,
Bow, Bomb, or other. Speaking of those items, the levels of Wind
Waker often require the use of your latest required item, or items.
This game mechanic only further adds to the fun levels of a game that
focuses on knowledge and exploration, just as much as skill. If you
are the type who prefers to not waste time hunting for items and
clues, you will most surely benefit from a good game guide. Having
received on free with my purchase, I highly recommend you try the game
without it first, because I found the already short game breezes by
much quicker with it.
Of course, as we all know, the cherry in top of any game level is the
boss. Needless to say, the Wind Waker's were absolutely stunning, as
usual. But, between the sometime mind-racking puzzle and the
often-overpowering bosses, there was a gap that needed to be filled.
And, to fill that, Nintendo delivered perhaps the best developed and
intriguing characters to ever grace a Nintendo game; well, that's just
my opinion, at least. Not just the villainous monsters who roam the
wild and precede boss battles stalking the dungeon halls, but also the
terrific cast of spectacular characters that inhabit the islands and
the Great Sea, all tying together the story. A perfect blend of
classic characters and the fantastic new ones, the two eras continue
on a legacy.
Undoubtedly, some of the appeal to the purchase of any game is the
consideration of replay value. Where other games make up for it with
multiplayer and various difficulties, some to be unlocked by special
performance levels, Wind Waker serves up a whole package designed for
replay. Perhaps in part to make up for the games breeze-through game
play and lack of any epic length, Wind Waker allows you to play
through the game a second time. As perhaps as dull and cheap as may
at first seem, there is more to it than merely playing the same short
game again. The game also adds a few extras to that second playing,
they are not much, but they do make up for some of the games
shortness, if nothing else. Assuming that you opened the special
Nintendo Club area the first time around and got the Deluxe Picto box,
you can now start the adventure with your upgraded camera, taking
pictures of some of the rarer people who you missed the first time
around. Take clear and "inspiring" pictures of any man or beast to
Carlvo, the Nintendo Club carver to have him fill the many rooms with
small, detailed sculptures that even include character descriptions.
Though I have yet to finish my collection yet, I hear a special statue
awaits you when you finally do. Also, when you start your adventure
anew, there are new costumes for you and your sister. Your sister's
shirt is decorated with the seagull pears, while your own costume is
the same that your wore in the games start, a sort of
And now, with the seemingly endless parade of merits out of the way,
it is time for the dreaded, if not even unbelievable, list of the
game's downfalls. First off, one of the things continued to disturb
me through most of the game was the fact that the cinemas were often
choppier and less fluid than the games actual game play. A small
point to argue about? Perhaps, but once you see the choppy video of
Link's grappling hook hundreds of times, it will start to irk you
too. Also, until you get the Ballad of Gales, the game is
predominately sailing, often for several uneventful minutes on end.
And, for such a short game, that is not a good thing. In fact,
because of this, there are still areas on my map I have yet to
explore, simply because I hate sailing that much now, even with the
self-made favorable wind. Taking control over another character, and
even Link sometimes, also seemed to be noticeably twitchy.
Beautiful, eye-boggling and even awe-inspiring graphics.
Wordy, but true.
Epic story that will, for better or for worse, suck you in
and never let you go.
Commendable level design, traditional with Zelda games, that
keeps game play fresh until the end.
Unrivaled character design that makes you stop and watch (or,
in some cases, photograph) the characters for a moment, even the
The grand detail of the game, demonstrating some of the best
character and environment action I have seen so far.
Fantastic music, as always, that sets the perfect mood for
Replay, even if it does seem to try and compensate for
something, it is still better than nothing, and somewhat original.
The mere thought that the actual game can be more fluid than
the cinemas simply boggles the mind.
Water, water everywhere and not a damn place to learn the
Ballad of Gales until I get the friggin' Hero's Bow.
Twitchy character control of other characters and sometimes
even Link. Though it is still better than, say, the sniping in Turok
If great stories, graphics, characters (both good and evil), music and
levels are a Zelda tradition, than The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
upholds it perfectly. Proving to be just as great, if not even better,
than all the other Zelda games, Wind Waker doesn't miss a step. The
pros were many and its cons were few, it doesn't exactly take a
mathematician to figure out that this game is a must have; heck, with
an equation like that, it doesn't even take a gamer!
Supporter of cartoon shaded graphics or not, fan of Zelda or not,
GameCube owner or not, I cannot think of a single reason why this game
should not instantly become part of your video game collection. If
you don't get it now, but are waiting for the best seller price (as it
will no doubt achieve soon), you should at least rent this game. As I
understand it, another Zelda game is supposedly in the works already,
as is the next Nintendo console. And, while I am certain that gamers
will be playing this for a long time down the road, you don't deserve
to won a game system if you remain a virgin to this instant classic.