Review by Nevest
"A great addition to the LoZ line-up."
The Legend of Zelda:The Minish Cap blindsided me, and I'm not afraid to admit it. With practically no hype build-up for it, it was quietly released to the UK crowd, and the upcoming US release seems to be going the same way. That said, you shouldn't let the "release flash", or lack thereof fool you. Minish Cap turns out to be a great, albeit short ride.
Classic Legend of Zelda controls make actually playing the game a smooth experience, even for the LoZ newcomers who may be experiencing this series for the first time. Occasionally, you may feel like the controls aren't responding the way you want (particularly with a few jumping sections), but it's really in your head and just takes a little bit of practice.
Items are used in the Links Awakening/Oracle of XXXXXX Vein, in that you assign items to the A and B buttons and use them independently of each other.
A few of the attack techniques from Wind Waker have been added in, along with a few brand new ones. All of which offer a unique advantage if used right.
Actually getting around and accomplishing your goals is great, though occasionally some backtracking is required and can annoy you if you don't have any patience. The ability to "roll" by pressing the R button can make things a bit faster as you move around and offers you a fast method of escaping an attack.
Another great feature in Minish Cap is the Kinstone Fusions. Essentially, through your travels you find various Kinstone Pieces (seals/medallions, take your pick). Many of the NPC's have their own Kinstone Pieces that you can fuse with your own. By going up to, say, one of the Dogs in town while shrunk, you can see a little thought bubble pop-up over their head which indicates they want to perform a fusion with you. Many different things can happen after a Fusion, including opening access to a new area, making a chest appear that could contain anything from Rupees to new items to rarer, more valuable Kinstone pieces. Some NPC's can be fused with more than once, and some will actually refuse to fuse with you at one point, only to want a fusion later on.
Also, the "trophy" system from Smash Brothers makes an appearance in a new form. You collect seashells (link's Awakening players will recognize them immediately) that are used as coins. In town there is a trophy keeper with a machine that you can deposit any number of shells, from 1 to..well not sure, I usually only did 1-75. With each extra shell over 1, the chance that you will get a new trophy/figurine rises. A great feature for hardcore players who must have everything a game can offer, but will most likely be overlooked in the end by a casual gamer.
What can you say? It's a Legend of Zelda, which almost invariably leads to the "rescue the Princess" storyline, but it's the path the story takes that changes the way you get into the game. You've no doubt seen the screenshots that show the Minish Cap. It's a cap you wear to, well, shrink. Helping you along on your quest by offering tidbits of information about your surroundings, and delving deeper into it's own history, the Cap is in itself an actual character you learn to love, or hate depending on your mood.
Minish Cap uses the Wind Waker type graphics, making it a little cartoony for some, but perfect for others. An absolutely beautiful game, the only people I can find that complained about the graphic style were the same people who wouldn't play Wind Waker b/c of the way it looked. A bright, colorful palette is used in most of the areas, while in dungeons and certain world map locations are a little darker, which is the way you would expect it to be.
The sound is great. The music is great. Classic Zelda theme songs make numerous appearances, along with new music that fits the mood. The only reason I give it a 9/10 instead of a straight 10 is that you really need the headphones to appreciate the sound, and if you're using the GBA SP, as you know, you need the adapter.
The overall game, from start to finish, isn't as long as you would expect from LoZ. A seasoned LoZ player will fly through parts, while a newcomer may have a little bit of trouble getting past some points. The length of your first play through is actually going to be a good time if you don't rush through the story and actually take time to get all of the current kinstones/heart pieces/extras that are available to you at that point of the game. Unfortunately, once you actually *finish* the game, you might find yourself going through the clean-up phase of collecting the last few heart pieces, fusions, and item upgrades.
Yes, I said Item Upgrade. A few of the Items that you an upgrade can only be done after you have beaten the game, and never really have a purpose except to say "I did it". Which leads to the question as to why have them if they can't be used in full effect? This may change in the US release, depending on what extras/dungeons/figurines are added, but for me, there was just no point as I had done almost everything you could before beating it.
My only big complaints were the items that you could only upgrade after you had finished the game, and the small number of dungeons. The dungeon and boss design overall was absolutely wonderful, which worked against itself in the end as it left me saying "I want to see more!", which is not a bad thing, and I hope to see an extra dungeon in the US release. If there is an extra dungeon in the US release, then this overall score increases to 9/10, and 10/10 if the upgraded items gain usefulness in that area.
Well worth the price of 20 bucks that I've been seeing float around, and I would actually pay 30 upon US release if asked. As it was I managed to import the UK version for a grand total of 25 bucks, which was well spent.
One thing to look forward to is the final boss. You will have a blast figuring out exactly what you're supposed to do, and actually pulling it off your first time.
I hope you enjoy!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/10/05
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