Review by FierceDeityYS

"Best handheld Zelda title to date"

It's hard to believe that there hasn't been an original handheld Zelda game since 2001. Well, fear not, because The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is finally here! In cooperation with the same division of Capcom that helped make the Oracle games, Nintendo has finally given Zelda fans a new handheld Zelda title. Does The Minish Cap rise to epic proportions? Well, you'll just have to keep on reading to find out.

Graphics:

The Minish Cap definitely blends the graphical style of multiple Zelda games, those titles being A Link to the Past, Four Swords Adventures, and The Wind Waker. The result is what I'd consider some of the best graphics capable on Nintendo's little handheld. There's always plenty of action occurring on screen, and the way everything fluidly moves along is purely amazing. Everything is detailed to the extreme, and even when Link is tiny and only a pixel big, he's still fully animated. The style that Nintendo chose gives you that good old Zelda feeling, yet it also feels fresh and invigorating.

Sound and Music:

If you're looking for an excellent blend of classic Zelda tunes and new ones, look no further than The Minish Cap. I thought The Wind Waker used a lot of classic Zelda songs, but The Minish Cap definitely uses more. While some may find the use of older songs a problem, those people obviously have no appreciation for classic Zelda music. Now, don't get me wrong, because there are plenty of new songs in the game as well. In fact, one of the best songs in the game is a new song. As for the sound effects, everything is what you'd expect from a Zelda title. A lot of the sound effects, such as the grunts and groans, were taken from The Wind Waker and re-used within the Minish Cap. As with the A Link to the Past/Four Swords remake for the GBA, Link still yells and screams when you attack and roll. However, the sound effects are more fitting to the visual style than they were to A Link to the Past's.

Storyline:

It appears that Ganondorf is……what's this; Ganondorf isn't the main bad guy? How refreshing! If you didn't already know, The Minish Cap is a prequel to the entire Four Swords series of Zelda games. Instead of the usual main bad guy Ganondorf, this time around your nemesis will be the evil sorcerer Vaati. Since the game tells the backstory behind Vaati, you'll finally be able to see him in human form, instead of the Wind Mage form from Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures. Not only does the game tell the story behind Vaati, but it also explains the origins of the Four Sword as well. While I'm not going to summarize the entire premise of the game, I will tell you this. The storyline within The Minish Cap is deep, filled with a few twists, and is definitely the best in the realm of handheld Zelda titles.

Gameplay:

For the most part, The Minish Cap plays just like any other 2D Zelda title. What makes it different is a new character by the name of Ezlo. You see, Ezlo is a talking hat who you save from a group of attacking enemies. Hearing about your quest to save Zelda and defeat Vaati, Ezlo decides to tag along. With his help, you can now use certain pedestals in the game to turn into a tiny version of Link. This is important, because in order to access the tiny world of the Minish, you'll need to be the same size as them. Along with that, becoming tiny also leads to certain secret areas within the game. Just like with the Oracle games, the addition of a new ability helps add new and interesting styles of gameplay. As for the parts where you're not tiny, The Minish Cap is similar to every other 2D Zelda game. You'll spend your time collecting the four essences, which are required to restore the power to the once powerful Picori Blade. Despite the fact that there are only four essences, there are actually a total of six dungeons. Four of them lead to an essence, one helps progress the storyline, and the last one leads to the end boss of the game. As for other gameplay elements, there's the usual assortment of weapons and items. However, there are a few new additions to the bunch. One of these additions is the Gust Jar, which allows you so suck in objects/enemies and shoot them back out. Another new addition is the Mole Mitts. The Mole Mitts basically serve as an enhanced shovel with the ability to dig through certain walls. Lastly, there is the Cane of Pacci. With the Cane of Pacci, you'll be able to attack enemies from a distance, save energy in holes to make you jump higher, and flip over an assortment of different objects. The addition of these new elements helps to bring new life to the Zelda series, yet the game also has the same Zelda style we've all come to love.

Controls:

As usual, there really isn't much to say about the controls. The A and B buttons are for using your assortment of items, while the R and A button can both be used for actions such as talking and opening treasure chests. Also, when on a pedestal, the R button is used to shrink Link down. Along with that, the R button is also used to roll. Once you've partnered up with Ezlo, you can use the Select button to talk to him, although he doesn't tend to say something that you don't already know. Lastly, the Start button is used to access the game menu, which is where you'll equip items, keep and eye on special items, and save.

Replayability:

The Minish Cap is definitely the most expansive handheld Zelda title to date. The main story of Minish Cap won't take you more than a week to beat, but there is a multitude of different things to do once you complete it. There is a large amount of Kinstones to fuse, which will grant you access to money, heart pieces, new areas, and mysterious shells. As for the mysterious shells, you can trade those in to a guy in Hyrule Town to gain figurines. Just like in The Wind Waker, there is a large set of figurines to collect (130 in all). Lastly, there are the good old heart pieces to collect.

The fact that The Minish Cap's main quest isn't that long might be due in part to the fact that it is such a great game. I found myself hardly putting the game down, and I actually took my DS to school just so I could play it during my study halls. With a new gameplay twist, new items, and a crap load of things to do once you've completed the main storyline, The Minish Cap is definitely the best handheld Zelda title to date. In fact, it's one of the best Zelda titles period.

Graphics: 9.8/10
Sound and Music: 9.7/10
Storyline: 9.0/10
Gameplay: 9.7/10
Controls: 10/10
Replayability: 9.5/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/19/05


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