Review by Crocomire
"The Legend Continues and it's still going as brilliantly as ever!"
Thanks for reading my review on The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap for Game Boy Advance.
A very long time ago, when danger threatened the land of Hyrule, some very small people known as the Minish appeared from the skies and handed a special sword and an amazing power known as the Light Force to one man. This man fought off the evil that threatened the land and in turn, the people of Hyrule enshrined that sword and from then on held an annual festival to honor the Minish. Once every 100 years on the day of the festival, a secret doorway that connects the Minish world to Hyrule opens and the Minish can enter this land.
Back in the present, a one hundredth year is once again upon Hyrule and Zelda and Link decide to go to the festival together. Link is given the task of handing a sword crafted by his grandfather to the winner of the annual festival fighting tournament. The winner of each tournament is allowed to touch the sacred Picori Sword (the Hylians call the Minish a different word Picori for some reason) that is enshrined in a chest. This year's winner is called Vaati and he reveals he is about to open the chest that the sword is enshrined in. The guards attack him but this man is too powerful. He ends up opening the chest and releasing evil monsters into the land of Hyrule. Zelda stops Vaati from doing any more damage and she confronts him. He unleashes an attack on Zelda and Link tries to block it with his new shield but to no avail. Link is thrown to the floor and the princess is turned to stone. Vaati disappears and goes in search of the Light Force that the Minish blessed onto the hero of ages gone by.
We soon find out that only one item can reverse the evil curse on the poor Princess Zelda. It is the sword that was given to the hero many years ago by the Minish. But it is currently broken. We also find out that the Minish only reveal themselves to children and the King of Hyrule thinks it would be a wise idea to send young Link on this quest to restore the sword. He will require the help of the Minish because it is only these people who can repair the sword. The blade must be infused with four different elements in order for it to break the curse on Zelda and so Link sets off on an adventure to save his childhood friend and stop Vaati from turning Hyrule into a world of darkness.
If you have played any of the other top-down view Zelda games on NES, Super NES or Game Boy, you will already have a good idea of how this game will play. Put quite simply, the controls are perfect. You'll pick the game up and find no problems getting to know how to play at all.
At the start of your adventure you come across a strange cap called Ezlo. He too knows of the evil man Vaati and wishes to help Link in his quest to stop the villain. He is a very special cap and decides to travel around with Link on his head. He has the ability to make Link transform into Minish size so that he can enter Minish areas and speak with the Minish. This opens up whole new areas in the game and there are many secrets to be found by entering small holes dotted around Hyrule.
Hyrule Town is where you'll probably find you spend most of your time at. It is remarkably big and there is so much to do there. The game is traditional Zelda in which you must collect a certain item from the end of each level to progress with the story. In this case, you must search for the 4 elements which will restore the sword to its former self and fight off evil. Naturally, the levels require some thought with the puzzles that feature in many Zelda games and they're full of enemies to stop Link in his tracks. You'll find a new item for you to use in each level, just like in every Zelda, and by using this item you will be able to access more areas in Hyrule.
As well as the main adventure, there are tons of side events to take part in. The most notable additional side quest to this game is Kinstone fusing. Around the land of Hyrule, you will pick up many Kinstone pieces. These are basically fragments of round coins and by matching up with the correct opposite half with someone in the game you will get a reward. In some cases, you have to do some fusing to progress in the game anyway. The rewards vary from small things such as a chest of rupees to underground tunnels hiding a Piece of Heart.
Also making a return to Zelda are the figurines that were found in The Wind Waker. Instead of taking pictures this time around though, Carlov wants you to trade him Mysterious Shells. The more you give him the higher the chance of you getting a figurine you haven't got yet. You just pull a lever on a machine and a figurine comes out. Another nice side quest of the game.
It is very nice to see some new items make appearances in The Minish Cap. I won't spoil anything but by adding these new items it makes for different ways of playing the game. Certain areas require certain items for you to be able to access them and it means the levels can be set out in various ways to make you use the items and create different puzzles.
Unfortunately, The Minish Cap suffers in the difficulty and length department. It reminds me much of Wind Waker. I found Wind Waker very easy and it was shorter than Ocarina of Time which kind of had me disappointed, even though I still love it. But I feel the same with Minish Cap. While I do love this game, it is shorter and easier than A Link to the Past, a game which many would compare it to. Long time Zelda fans would be a bit disappointed with that but there are many extras that make up for it. Newcomers would love it because it's so easy to get into and to get to grips with and I think this game could get more gamers into the Zelda series because of its simplicity yet brilliant gameplay. You'll have lots of fun playing through the game but will be upset when it's all over.
The controls are everything you'd expect from a 2D Zelda game. Everything is so very simple. The D-Pad naturally makes Link run around. You can assign your 2 items of choice to A and B. You can speak, roll and open chests with R. Pressing L in front of someone will ask if you want to fuse Kinstones with them. Start brings up the Menu and Select makes you speak to Ezlo who will give you hints on where to go next.
You can't complain about the controls for Minish Cap. Everything is perfect and no one will have a problem with it at all.
The graphics are wonderful. Especially as this is just a 2D Game Boy Advance game. You can tell it uses the same type of graphics found in Wind Waker. The game itself looks like it is cel-shaded much like Wind Waker is. The bright and colorful graphics make it look very similar to Wind Waker. For such a small screen, the game is capable of some very nice effects and contains a lot of detail in some areas. The graphics are some of the best seen on GBA.
You can't fault the sound and music in Minish Cap either. The music is very catchy and you'll soon be humming along to the tunes after a few plays. Older Zelda players will be glad to hear that there are some tunes from previous Zeldas in this game too. There's a good load of different tunes throughout the game to keep you happy. Everything's top of the range Nintendo music so you know it will be good.
Play Time/Replayability 8/10
This is where Minish Cap slips up. It took me about 4 or 5 days to beat the main game but I did play it for hours on end each day. Sadly, I found it shorter than Link to the Past and a lot easier too.
But as with every Zelda there are a ton of side quests to do. You'll still have to complete all the Kinstone fusions and collect all the figurines too. There are a couple of hidden items in there too. And there are quite a few mysteries in Minish Cap which nobody has figured out yet so just these alone will keep you playing through the game and experimenting with various different things to figure them out.
Anyone who was looking for something to excel from LttP might be a little disappointed but this is still a fantastic Zelda game. After all, this is Zelda! The storyline in Zelda is one of the best things about the series so for every Zelda fan you'll want to go through this game just to find out more of the Zelda series' on going story.
I really wanted to give this game a 10, I really did. Everything in Minish Cap seems to be perfect until you've actually beaten it, which unfortunately didn't take as long as I'd hoped. The only thing that lets this game down is the fact that is shorter than most 2D Zelda games and I got through it pretty easily. I may be making excuses for it but I find it could be that as I am a life long Zelda player, I am finding the next Zelda games in the series too easy now because they seem to be much the same style. Now I don't mind that at all but Nintendo must cater for the Zelda players who've been playing the series for years. I was expecting Minish Cap to be a long and tough game but it was quite the opposite. Maybe it's that I'm too good at Zelda? I don't know, maybe it's just that the game is easy after all. I have faith that the next Zelda for GameCube will change everything though.
But don't listen to all that about me putting it down just because of a couple of things! I've given it a 9/10 for crying out loud! Minish Cap is a brilliant game and every Zelda player is in need of it. You'll have great fun getting through the adventure and there are many references to other Zelda games that this will have even more people debating how the Zelda timeline goes.
I can quite comfortably say that every GBA owner should get this game, whether you are a Zelda fan or not. Because of this game's simplicity, I think it could well bring more players into the Zelda series of games. A must buy for everyone!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/01/04
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