Progressive Scan, GBA/GCN Link Cable (Tingle Tuner)
Everyone in the gaming community has been highly
aware of the hubbub surrounding The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker,
dubbed Celda. When first news of Wind Waker's graphical presentation
broke, there was a flurry of outrage and shock at the cel-shaded
animation, clearly aimed at a younger audience. After E3's stunning
realistic scene portraying an adult Link (earring and all) battling
Ganondorf, many were expecting GameCube's graphical abilities to be
put to the max for the latest Zelda adventure. So, understandably,
there was at the very least surprise at Nintendo's decision. I
myself had been looking forward to seeing Ocarina of Time's
graphics, magnified brilliantly, in the next Zelda. So, when I heard
the news I was skeptical.
Well, let me tell you something. Best part about Wind Waker? The
graphics. I know, I know, they look "kiddy". Whatever. They look
gorgeous. The animation on Wind Waker is luxuriously smooth that
every environment, every one of Link's movements is a spectacle to
behold. It's almost hard to concentrate on the game with so much going
on. Shadow, light, water, facial expressions, wind, body movements, et
cetera. It's all great. The shifting light and dark as a candle swings
on a rope is astounding. You acquire a telescope at one point, and
upon zooming in 8 times on an enemy or an object, not even the
slightest sign of pixilation shows. Every single cel-shaded object is
brilliant and masterfully done.
Every little thing is like a work of art; the dark plume of smoke with
which every enemy dies with a “poof”, every explosion of every bomb,
and countless others. The detail and effort put into each little
thing. The music, like the graphics, is great. Every track has a full
vibrant sound that reflects the environment and the action. The game
opens with a Celtic-sounding piece that made me giggle with joy before
I even started playing.
The story starts with Link and his sister chillin’ on their home
island, where they live with their grandma. All is well until due to a
major flub, a giant evil bird that had captured Tetra the pirate,
drops her, and in confusion, grabs Link’s sister instead. Link almost
immediately joins up with Tetra’s pirate crew to go in search of her
sister. Link quickly discovers that this journey is more than he
bargained for, and that he is involved in something much more sinister
and complex than he realized. He acquires the boat/person King of the
Red Lions (kind of a wordy name wouldn’t you say?), who can sail him
about the water-covered world of Hyrule (once you get a sail, anyway).
To defeat your nemesis, you must collect the three pearls (sound
familiar?) of the goddesses, and prove your worth as a hero. Then the
game really gets going.
For all the change in appearance, Wind Waker plays a lot like the N64
Zeldas. L is used to lock on (and you have to hold), and R and B are
used to perform various activities, like “crouch” or to swing an
acquired weapon. A is used for the sword, and X, Y, and Z are used for
items. Link’s abilities are upgraded, and little tweaks here and there
make the gameplay more fun, and easier to control. One major update
that I love is the ability to pick up weapons dropped by enemies.
Another nifty thing is the ability to move the camera completely
freely at any time with the C stick. To be dramatic, I like to do a
360 degree view of Link as he runs somewhere. Highly nifty.
There are also more facets to the gameplay than in previous Zelda
games. The most notable is of course sailing. Sailing is a lot of fun,
and although sometimes tedious, it generally offers interesting,
somewhat challenging, adventures. Treasure map collection, treasure
collection, battles with sea creatures, and other things make sailing
possibly the best part of the game. Use the Deku Leaf to navigate the
winds of Hyrule in attempts to reach far off or high up places. The
grappling hook allows Link to swing like Tarzan from swingable areas.
Music makes a gameplay comeback in a downsized role as well. Instead
of learning a myriad of songs, you learn a single tune (which you
conduct with the Wind Waker) to change the direction of the wind, and
a about five others later. It’s nice to see that Nintendo isn’t
harping on that theme so much for every game, but more music would
have been nice. Also, masks, which debuted in Ocarina of Time and were
the focus of Majora’s Mask, are nowhere to be found.
Wind Waker tends to the less challenging side, but there are certainly
puzzles and events which require skill. On the whole, the game goes by
fairly quickly, but you may become stuck here or there and require
time to solve.
This game is possibly the best game out period, with
Metroid Prime coming to mind as the only possible competition. The
graphics, the music, the time-tested gameplay, and every other
little thing (like the Tingleceiver) make Wind Waker a great
cohesive game adventure experience. It’s difficult to point out
problems with Wind Waker, the only one I can say is that it’s maybe
a bit too easy. Of course, there are little problems here and there
that make Wind Waker less-than-perfect, but its about as good as one