Review by horror_spooky
"Zap! The Zapper!"
The Nintendo Wii has had quite the history when it comes to peripherals. Hell, one half of its basic controller functionality requires a peripheral, and I'm talking about the nunchuck. Since then, the Wii has seen the WiiSpeak, the Wii MotionPlus, the Balance Board, and the Zapper. The Zapper is a piece of plastic in the shape of a machinegun that you connect the Wii remote to simulate light-gun arcade games in arcades like for The House of the Dead series or Capcom's Resident Evil spin-offs. To showcase how this Zapper peripheral works, Nintendo released what can only be described as a tech demo for the system called Link's Crossbow Training.
Link's Crossbow Training isn't necessarily a bad light-gun game. It is actually more entertaining than some full-fledged light-gun shooters like Dead Space: Extraction for example, but the fact remains that it has hardly any content. Granted, you can find it uber-cheap, but my job as a reviewer isn't to review the game's quality to price ratio, but rather simply its quality alone, to see if it can stand on its own merits. And quite frankly, Link's Crossbow Training cannot do that.
The basic structure is that the game is separated into different levels with three stages to each level. These stages require you to do different things. For example, one stage might require you to shoot down targets as they appear for points while the next stage might ask you to walk around an environment and mow down foes before they can get their hands on you. That about covers the gameplay, except that there are a lot of items in the background that you can destroy, and by shooting these green floating things you can get automatic fire for your crossbow, which is pretty legit. A gold coin appears if you destroy some objects in the background that helps out your multiplier.
The first three stages are available to play right off the bat, and after that you have to earn at least a bronze medal to unlock the next stages. The game's ranking system is surprisingly demanding, requiring an insane amount of skill and demanding hours of practice if you want to truly complete Link's Crossbow Training. Completing such a task would be annoyingly repetitive and the entertainment to gameplay time ratio is way out of whack.
There is also a multiplayer mode available to play for up to four players. This is easily the game's best feature, as it allows four players offline and it can cause flashes of fun simply not to be had in the single-player Score Attack mode. The other mode of play is Practice Mode, which is pretty self-explanatory, but since you won't feel the pressure of trying to be absolutely perfect to earn the medals, it can be a relaxing alternative to the game's main mode of gameplay, and it has its place here for sure.
Oddly enough, the Zapper that Link's Crossbow Training is packaged with ends up being detrimental to the gameplay. It's much simpler to juse the Wii remote/nunchuck combination. By using the Zapper, you are handicapping yourself. I've heard that the Zapper actually has a negative effects on other games like Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles the House of the Dead games, so is it worth it to buy this piece of plastic? It doesn't seem to have nearly the amount of qualities that other Wii peripherals like the Balance Board or MotionPlus does, and quite frankly, there are enough peripherals floating around nowadays with all the plastic instruments that the music/rhythm games are packaged with and all the stuff Nintendo tries to shove down our throats annually for their wildly successfull Wii system.
Link's Crossbow Training doesn't necessarily have a storyline. However, the game does take place after Twilight Princess if you really want to consider it part of the chronology. The game is about Link learning how to use a new weapon, the crossbow.
The environments are nicely done, though they seem to be a step down from Twilight Princess. There is no slowdown or lag or anything like that, and the destructibility present is a nice touch. It's technically sound.
Featuring some Zelda tunes, Link's Crossbow Training's soundtrack is considerably impressive. It's probably the best part of the package really, along with the classic Zelda noises and quirks that fans of the series have grown to love over the years.
You can complete the game in one sitting. You might revisit it for the multiplayer a few times, but I doubt if you'll have the ambition to try to better your scores. Since it's really cheap, you might not be too bothered by this, but don't think that the Zapper justifies a brand new purchase.
Link's Crossbow Training is a game you can have fun with. However, you'll have reaped all of its benefits in one sitting. The Wii Zapper is a useless peripheral. If you are looking for some mindless fun for a couple of hours and you can find this for like a dollar or something, I say why not. But as a video game standing on its own legs, it's hard to recommend Link's Crossbow Training to anyone less than some nutcase who obsessively collects everything with the Nintendo logo stamped onto its packaging.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 07/19/10
Game Release: Link's Crossbow Training (w/Zapper) (US, 11/19/07)
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