Review by ZeonAce0079
"Slightly De-minished yet still kickin"
Many people have been upset with the Legend of Zelda series since the release of the Wind Waker's cell shaded wonder. Despite the game not only getting great rankings along with being remarked for its superb graphics something was wrong. The game had a bitter taste that only a Zelda fan would say as something that was good, but much too different. Although the Minish Cap itself is not a cell shaded setup like Wind Waker was (obviously not possible on the GBA) if the system could handle it the game would have been structured that way. Despite this hate of a Link that is more appealing to a younger audience it is still hard to judge these games since they play so well.
Well done graphics make you think back to the cell shaded wonder of the Wind Waker, although the game itself isn't cell shaded the quirky environments and character designs are impressive. The graphics are a big update when compared to the Zelda: Link to the Past which made its presence earlier on the GBA. The games environments are quite the appeal, and are quite an accomplishment for a system so small. However the graphic designs on the much larger characters such as large bosses that are fought in the Minish form are way too blocky and slightly blurry. The graphics may be great but they are still not on par with that of the Golden Sun series, but are pretty close.
This game adds onto the primary setup of Link to the Past, but adds a few new sound features that were missing in the game. For instance the game has more character sounds such as when Zelda says ahhhhhh she actually does make a screaming sound. When you enter the blacksmith's you can hear the sound of a hammer hitting against steel. These sounds may not seem like a lot, but together they add a better sense of environment and surrounding to the game. The background music is a somewhat remix of previous Zelda titles through out the game. When you go into a house you'll notice a slight remix of the Ocarina of Time house music. Some remix's are done quite well like the Hyrule Castle music. However despite the keen sense of nostalgia this is simply at best slightly reused music. Remix soundtracks are nice but not when they consist of over eighty percent of the entire track list. The sound effects suffer from the same problem as the background music, they seem to be an exact transfer of those heard in Link to the Past. While they work out they could be slightly updated, and I think this would give a more modern feel to the game. All in all the sound is just fine, and some of the remix tracks must be heard by fans of the series.
Using a similar control scheme as the first Zelda game setup on gameboy (Link's Awakening and Oracle games) with a few adjustments to include the R and L buttons is how the game is setup. The biggest problem with this is that you can only have two items equipped at one single time (both sword and shield are considered items as well). This will be the cause for Major swapping during gameplay, which takes away from the heated boss battles you will encounter through out the game. The new addition of the multi function R button allows you to turn into minish size along with a standard roll that slightly speeds you up (speaking is also used with this button). The problem with this is picking up something like a bottle is made hard by this because the game sometimes gets confused between rolling and picking up the item. Kinstone fusion the main new point of the game however is extremely simple just hit your L button when you come with someone you wish to fuse with. I think they should have reconsidered digging up the classic gameboy Zelda setup, but rather setup an entire new system which would have worked much better with the controls available.
This game has Legend of Zelda written all over it, and you will notice this right when you enter the first dungeon. The game plays very similar to other 16-bit and under Zelda games where you look for pieces of something that will provide much greater power to our hero later in the game. In this case you will be crossing the great land of Hyrule in search of the four elements (earth,wind,fire,water). This is a very interesting concept seeing as how each of the four elements could be implemented in many different ways. However the problem with this is that there are simply not enough pieces to look for, and the game ends up being over well before your satisfied your Zelda hunger. So is the game really that short? I'm not saying you'll beat it in one or two or even three sittings, but veterans of the series will find the game over and still be thinking there has to be another dungeon. Link to the Past featured ten different dungeons (not counting the final dungeon) and this game will feature a number surprisingly lower I cannot give an exact amount as this may be spoiling the gameplay.
Another new innovation to come to this game is the kinstone system. What is the kinstone system? Why it's a system in which you go around to pretty much every person you can talk too (that includes animals) and fuse pieces of what is called a kinstone together. Each kinstone is sort of a puzzle piece that must be fitted to the opposite of the piece you carry. In the end when you fuse a piece each time you will be rewarded with a variety of treasures, and some kinstone fusions are required to progress through the game. This is an interesting system that has a few flaws inside it. While the fusion system is nice it is simply to easy to get one of all the kinstones available (about 12 total, specials included). Another major problem is that although it is too easy to find the kinstones it is too hard to find an exact person to merge with, for instance say someone says the name of someone you need to merge with to progress it will take you a good amount of time going up to people just looking at their names trying to find them to fuse with. Another huge flaw with this system is that it requires you to do certain things at certain times, and should you not do them they will be lost for good. Most of these once in a game deals are very hard to spot, and can easily be looked right over leaving you mad since you won't be able to receive this treasure (yes, I missed out on them as well).
Next the game has two distinct worlds that are sort of one in the same. The normal world which we all know about, and the minish world that when tiny you can talk with a group of tiny people which can only be seen by people of the same height. This makes the game very interesting in some situations such as dungeons that you play as minish sized. In these dungeons you will find creatures that are pushovers in the normal world to be quite the challenge them being ten times the size of you and all. The games items are almost directly taken from other games in the series (all but a select few), but they seem to work out just fine.
The new technique learning system makes learning new ways to pummel your enemies fun. Some of the main quest however can be very frustrating, not because it's hard either. The frustration primarily comes from quests that are just plain boring, you must journey to great lands in order to find over due library books. The game also follows a strict pattern that the Zelda series is all to familiar with, go through a dungeon then do a quest to find a way into the next dungeon. I hate to say this but this system is becoming a little to overplayed. The game is fun but in the end it just seems lacking when compared to other games of the series (some of which can be played on the GBA).
I find the story moves the game along, but I can't see someone writing a book about it. The story speaks of the ancient light power that was bestowed upon Hyrule to rid itself of monsters that plagued it. The power of the four elements were sealed away within the Picori Blade, and the sword would one day return to its master's hand. Ok, now onto where the game takes place. It starts off when Hyrule is having its annual sword fighting tournament in order to find a winner, the winner gets to touch the famous Picori Blade with his own hand. Vaati the winner of this years tournament is not after the Picori Blade however, he is after the ancient light power that is said to be unstoppable. Vaati turns Zelda into stone with his sorcerer abilities and breaks the Picori Blade in two. He then finds out that the light power he has been searching for is not where the Picori Blade sits however. Thus you begin your journey knowing that only the four elements can bring the blade back together and break the curse that turned Princess Zelda into stone.
Final Score 7/10 (not on an average)
Although this is a nice game to play for anyone looking for a quick Zelda fix before the big Zelda game hits this summer (Link is bac k to normal) it isn't really on par with the rest. The game is far to short for you to become deeply engrossed with it, and the kinstone system becomes to much of a nuisance after awhile. The graphics are nice but there not jaw dropping, and the sound is simply re-used from other games. It is however interesting how they use the system between the normal and minish worlds, and the array of techniques are cool looking and useful. In the end however this leaves me with a somewhat similar taste that was left by the Wind Waker (which is what the game is sort of setup like). It leaves me wanting to play a new Zelda game that plays like the good old Zelda games. Innovation is nice when it works out, but when it doesn't we never are able to look at just the innovation. There is no question about buying this if you're a fan of the series so go pick it up. Others however that are not fans of the classic dungeon crawling may want to play a little before they pay. This game is a good game but for a Zelda game I was expecting something better.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/26/05
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