Review by Vyse_skies

"Now This is a Title Worthy of Your GBAs Attention."

Introduction
I have to admit it straight out that I've never really understood how Zelda games managed to accumulate such massive critical acclaim. Gamers love Link and his adventures just as much as the critics do. Myself though, I've never been a big fan even after playing godly titles such as the massively successful "Ocarina of Time" and its indirect sequel "Majora's Mask". But even so I decided to purchase this title to fill the loose gaps that lay empty within my GBA collection and this is what I thought.

Story ??/10
I think it was something like this. Link, the lead hero, once again has to save the kingdom of Hyrule; but this time from an evil sorcerer named Vaati. Link is sent out to collect the four elements in order to make the Four Sword to save Princess Zelda, defeat Vaati and save Hyrule. It's a typical Zelda story and there's not much of it to follow. But who plays a Zelda game for the story? I've heard that it's a continuation from the Zelda: Four Swords storyline, but I've never played Four Swords so I can't say for sure.

Gameplay 10/10
This area has been revised and is truly superb. Yep, a Zelda hater thinks the gameplay is top notch. You go through fantastically designed dungeons, collecting items, solving puzzles and defeating bosses in order to get enhancements or important story items. Puzzles were perfect here and never really too hard nor too easy. There are a few new things added to The Minish Cap. The ability to shrink in size and explore more areas was an ingenious idea. There are also puzzles that need you to change size and those puzzles are just as great as the others and are interesting. There are many new items. E.G. Digging Gloves (They allow you to dig through certain walls). Many side-quests and many new additions. The Minish Cap is never a tedious game and that's a rarity.

I'd like to further elaborate on one specific addition and that addition would be the Kinstones. Kinstones are one of the main new entries here. These are little amulets/medallion like things that you find all over the world, but you only find them in half pieces. You talk to people with the L button and certain people will fuse Kinstones with you. Kinstones come in different shapes and matching up a Kinstone correctly opens up secret places, enemies or chests that are otherwise unreachable. The Kinstones can be very helpful by giving you access to Rupees, Piece of Heart containers or even Bottles to carry stuff in. But the Kinstone system can become after a while, a little repetitive and for me would probably be The Minish Caps weakest addition.

Visuals 10/10
Superb. I'd say the second best to only Riviera: The Promised Land. I was so impressed from start to finish. The graphics resemble that of The Wind Wakers and are very nicely done. The camera is close in on the map and dungeons and there is a ton of detail to be seen here. There are times I felt that The Minish Cap was in 3d but that could be just me. Shades and sunbeams coming through the trees are just some of the amazing details that take place in this game. There's never any slowdown even when there are tons of sprites on screen at the same time. Characters and monsters alike are very detailed and you can easily tell them apart. I always say visuals in the game come 3rd to Gameplay and Story, but Capcom and co managed to make every area perfect and the visuals are no exception. Absolutely marvellous.

Audio 10/10
This area is simply fantastic. A lot of the music/sound effects are the same as other titles in the Zelda Series that we all know so very well. The tunes and themes are done extremely well and are still just as memorable as they have always been. Link also makes his typical screams and battle cries as you go about your journey and they were perfect and never felt out of place at all. In fact Link's grunts and stuff were probably the best I've ever heard in a GBA game to date. The strange thing is that I never seem to get bored of Links scream as he falls down a hole or something. How cruel am I? LoL, not very, it's just that I really appreciate this area a lot as its pretty darn awesome if not perfect. Everything here is brilliant and so well-done. You have to pat the developers on the back because there is nothing here to fault.

Controls 8/10
The controls were nice. I didn't like how Link couldn't move diagonally as that kinda hindered the gameplay a little and made things a pain in the buttocks at times especially when trying to position yourself; or sometimes when fighting enemies have to press up and then across (for example) to attack the enemy when you could have easily just pressed diagonal and attack to do the same thing in a shorter time. The controls are very responsive and fluid. Apart from the diagonal thing everything moved and ran smoothly. There's nothing to worry about here. In fact, I'm just trying to find a fault by picking up on that because the lack of diagonal is the only thing that's wrong with The Minish Cap.

Replay Value ??/10
I can rarely place a rating on these things because most games rarely do warrant a second play-through. The Minish Cap isn't as big as other Zelda games but its so much more fun that you may play through it just one more time just to complete all of the side quests. There is so much variety when it comes to side quests, like collecting figurines in return for mysterious shells. Figurines are of characters, enemies and areas you have visited in the game and each has a small description telling you about them. There are also many mini games and secrets that give you little goodies that you may not have come across on your first playthrough. As you can probably tell, I really like the game and so I'll probably play through it once more just to marvel at its greatness.

Conclusion
The Minish Cap is a brilliant GBA title that's fabulous in every area. It's a real treat for the eyes, the ears and your thumbs. It has a great difficulty curve and never really frustrates you as much as the other Zelda's do. Even if you do hate Zelda, this game will still impress. I'm so glad that I decided to purchase this as it by far surpasses most GBA titles I've played, and that my friends is a lot. But what I really wanna say is thank you to Capcom and Nintendo for the bringing us a truly fantastic gaming experience. The sheer amount of detail, effort and of course developing experience that was pored into this title allowed it to become one of the GBAs best titles. Maybe even one of the most well-rounded titles of all time. Go and buy is and you too may be impressed. Just ignore the fact that it's not as large as other Zelda games and you will have a blast.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/04/08

Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (EU, 11/12/04)


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