Review by XtremePlaga

"The Grape Factor"

I felt many emotions deep in my heart as I played through my copy of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Admiration for the amazing graphics and responsive controls that let me know I was always in complete control. Amazement at the deep storyline that spanned the entire game and made me remember why I love this franchise. Glee when I earned a new item that opened new areas I could never reach before or when I earned a new attack for my sword.

The lock-on system first displayed in Ocarina of Time appears once again. In fact, the whole game is like a bigger, better, badder version of Ocarina of Time. There's the obligatory Fire Temple, Ice Temple, among many other old standbys. Actually… If you have played Ocarina of Time, or Majora's Mask or even Wind Waker then you have already played Twilight Princess.

Almost all the items you get throughout the game are reused from old games. Remember the Master Sword? Get ready to swing it again. Had fun using the hook shot? Prepare to use two at the same time, but this time you got to call it the Claw Shot. Want to polish your skills with the bow? Go right ahead. There's even a nifty item you can get that gives the bow a zoom feature and cross-hairs.

That is the main reason why The Legend of Zelda is one of the greatest series in the gaming world. Because no matter how many old ideas are reused or how often you get a feeling of Deja vu, Nintendo always manages to make it feel new and revolutionary. You could say the Legend of Zelda is like wine. Time just makes it taste better than it did before.

The story this time around is much more engaging than previous titles. The King of the Twilight, an alternate world that coexists with Link's own world, is out to conquer the land of light. Dark Cloud's cover the land and turn people into either monsters or spirits. Early on in the game, Link is pulled into the world of Twilight, where he transforms into a wolf.

Wolf Link faints from the shock of the transformation and is captured by the dark beasts. It is while he is trying to free himself from his shackles that he meets Midna. Think of Midna as the new Navi, except less annoying and more helpful. Midna accompanies you throughout the whole game. She acts as a source of information when you are not quite sure where you need to go and she even helps you in a few of the battles.

Link's horse Epona also returns. And this time around you can choose what name she gets. There is no Epona Song to call for her at any given time, but there is grass you can blow on that does the same thing. Later on you get a flute shaped like a horseshoe that you can use to call Epona at any given time. By the time you get this charm however, you will also have the choice to get Midna to teleport you to pre-specified locations.

One of the high points of the game is the fact that you fight a total of three boss battles while riding Epona. The first is on a narrow bridge fighting a big green monster riding a fully armored boar. The second is on another bridge fighting the same green guy on the same boar. The third boss… let us just say it was a nice surprise.

There are also lots of mini-games and sidequests to keep you entertained. Remember that day you spent all afternoon at the fishing hole trying to find the biggest fish you could? You can do it again, but this time around there are different fish species, including the legendary Hylian Loach, and different lures to use.

Right near the fishing spot is another minigame called Rollball. It plays exactly like the marble madness games play. You have to maneuver a small ball into a small opening, and you do so by controlling the tilt of the board itself. The first few stages are easy as pie, but later on it gets harder and harder.

There are also a few collectibles you can, well, collect. There are a total of 24 golden bugs you can find throughout the world that can be traded in for rupees and bigger wallets. There are also poe souls you need to collect by first fighting and defeating poes. Do not think that this is going to be easy, or that you can just use the zoom in feature on your bow to fight them from a distance. A poe is invisible to Human Link, only Wolf Link can fight them. Also, if you defeat a poe, but you do not collect the soul in time, then the poe will rise up and you will have to fight it again.

The bosses this time around are tougher and meaner than previous bosses you fought against. Even the mini-bosses are hard, sometimes even more than the main boss of that particular dungeon. Expect a challenge when going up against these new baddies, especially if you are one of those players that attempts to beat Twilight princess with three hearts only.

Do not be discouraged when you come across an area you find to be really hard. You can bottle fairies found around just like before, and they can revive you if you bite the dust. However, unlike previous games where a fairy completely healed you when it revived you, this time around a fairy only heals 8 hearts. So if you die and you had 14 hearts, then you'll be brought back at half health.

The boomerang has been revised from its previous incarnations. When you throw it, it creates a gust of wind that can be used during puzzles. You can also lock-on to various targets at once, which is easier than throwing the boomerang over and over.

Bombs return once again, and this time around there are three versions to choose from. There is the normal bomb. You take it out, you set it down or throw it, and things blow up. There's the Spider Bomb, which works just like the Bombchus worked, except it travels a much shorter distance, and it does not go up walls. Then there's the Water Bomb; the most useful bomb you will ever use for one simple reason: You can use it underwater! You can also combine your bombs and arrows to make explosive arrows. It is a lot of fun to watch a group of minor enemies running toward you, only to see them fly everywhere because of a well placed bomb-arrow.

There are new items to be found here, including a set of armor that makes you invincible, just as long as you have rupees to keep it active. But for the most part, these new items are only useful for specific puzzles and against the main boss in the dungeon it was found.

The new skills you earn for your sword become necessary in later stages, especially considering that almost all the tougher enemies carry shields around with them. Besides… Beating a bad guy is okay, but beating him in style is just plain awesome.

Finding heart pieces this time around is much easier than before. Mainly because there is a certain person that you can pay that shows you a screenshot of the exact location where you can go find the next heart piece. Of course it is still up to you to figure out what you need to do once you get there, but for the most part it is not that hard to figure out.

I wish I could tell you the bad parts of Twilight Princess, I just have not found any yet. Any gamer with any ounce of self-respect will rush out and buy this game if they have not already. It is more than just game of the year; it is the greatest Zelda game you will ever play.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 04/17/07

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