Review by JD99705alaska
"Same Great Story, but..."
Well, I can honestly say that I love this game, but this is a review so I'll be frank. Nintendo seems to seriously be fetching for ideas in it's Zelda series with these last few games and it shows. They have gotten easier as time goes by, reflecting the fact that the Zelda series is not what it was back in the day of Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time. Majora's Mask was an utter failure and this game lends nothing to the reputation of the series.
For the company that designed and manufactures the GBA, Nintendo honestly doesn't use the power and flexibility of the GBA very well. We can see the true power of the GBA in Golden Sun and The Lost Age, also partially developed by Nintendo, but The Minish Cap comes nowhere that level of polish and shine. The boss animations are horrid, as seen in the boss in the Earth Temple, the game's first dungeon. The animations in the field and maps are rigid and not very breathtaking to behold. There are some minor glitches that can be seen, but the average user won't see them or notice them. The field and locations are beautifully crafted in the style of the Four Swords adventure, but they are too much like Link to the Past. Many people are looking for something new and original for this series in terms of graphics, and the Minish cap just doesn't deliver.
The audio for The Minish Cap is a horrid picture of recycled sounds from past Game Boy ventures, Link to the Past, and the N64 games. Nintendo did throw in a few new sounds and music tidbits for the player to hear, but not enough to make this game's score anything to move you with. The musical score itself is ripped right from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask and shrunk down to fit the stereo capabilities of the GBA.
The gameplay, I have to say, is the place where this game stands out. It has taken something never before seen in a Zelda game and tested it's limits. No more are the mundane items that were present in almost every other Zelda installment. Nintendo has brought to the table, several new items that make the adventure worthwhile. My one beef is that there are not enough items to be found throughout the adventure. Many players of other Zelda titles will find this installment much like others, but a little on the short side.
The story and plot, while not very long, are pretty good. The same things that are present in other Zelda installments, such as the legendary friendship between Link and Zelda, although the seem to be on different levels in every game, is still there. The story kicks off kind of slowly, but picks up a nice pace as the game progresses. There are many things to do in terms of side quests that give little insights to the story, such as the quest to find out Link's ultimate "secret". Zelda, once again, is the one in trouble, and once again, poor Link is forced to come to her aid. The bad guy in this title looks vaguely like that of one of the bad guys from the Oracle titles, but I won't spoil which one it is. Whether this was done of purpose by Capcom, escapes me.
You're probably wondering why the controls in this game to me were horrid. Well, the game doesn't tell you at all that you can skip the Mini-Link transformation sequences....ever. I sat through half the game watching these animation, letting my batteries run dry, until finally, I accidentally pressed the R button and WHAM, it skipped it. This, to me, is a major bummer. The button timing transitions are little slow, making it hard to try and grab and object with the R button without accidentally rolling around a few times. There is also the fact that there is no QuickEquip function. You have to open the menu, select your item of choice, and then exit the menu, every time you want to switch items of punishment.
All-in-all, this was a typical installment of the Zelda series. It uses the same story dynamics, the same characters, and the same old style of gameplay. In my honest opinion, this will not hold Zelda fans out until the next installment for GameCube, but it will at least partially quench their thirst for a little Linky action. Nintendo should seriously find ways to keep the series alive, maybe some new dynamics to gameplay, maybe a whole new system altogether. In the end, I think that this game only adds to the fact that Zelda is old and maybe Nintendo needs to move on.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/30/04
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