Review by Super Smash Bro

"Classic gaming and mad multiplayer fun"

When I first heard that my beloved Nintendo was porting A Link to the Past (ALttP), I said ''Man, that was a great game, but I'm not going to buy it again.'' And then Nintendo said it would be multiplayer (Four Swords [FS]), and I was all like ''Oh, that's going to be crap. Just another way for Nintendo to appease us GBA gamers about all their ports.'' Well, I stumbled into this game for free around 12-14-02, and boy was I wrong.

Note: I have given the following sub scores three scores in each, one for ALttP, FS, and overall, respectively.

Graphics: 8/10, 10/10, 9/10

A Link to the Past had great graphics back in the day, and they carry over almost perfectly to the GBA. Unfortunately they are slightly outdated and weird (what's with the purple hair?), but again, because they were so good in the first place, it would have been hard to fix that.

Four Swords is just plain darn pretty. It has a pseudo-cel-shaded look reminiscent of Gamecube's Wind Waker, and looks wonderful on the GBA. The sprites are large and animations fluid. Walking through the grass has never been a good Zelda thing, but it works here.

Sound: 10/10, 8/10, 10/10

Sound is probably the only area where ALttP beats out FS. ALttP has a wonderful score by Koji Kondo (the Zelda Overworld Theme is the greatest song ever), and new voice samples have been added. They sound like they were taken from the N64 Ocarina of Time, and work very well, but are annoying at first. But after about an hour, you'd miss those ''AH! GYARG!''s if they weren't there.

The thing with FS is that the music is forgettable. I was having so much fun otherwise I didn't notice it much, and the lack of familiar tunes hurt it. The only thing both games needed was a fast paced boss tune.

Control: 9/10, 9/10, 9/10

Control in both games is top notch except each has its own single problem. In ALttP, the menu is accessed with Select and the Save menu with Start. At first (cough through the game cough) this is annoying. These controls should have been switched. It's not a major thing, but annoying when you keep having to exit the save menu when you really wanted the item list. FS's problem is that sometimes when you try to pick up a partner, the detection for this isn't perfect, and many times you'll push your friends instead of lifting them (often to their deaths off pits). But everything else is perfect.

Gameplay: 10/10, 11/10, 10/10

I really don't like giving stupid 11/10s, it's kind of generic and stupid, but FS really deserves it. Both games will have you stuck to your GBA until you've beaten them, and FS much longer. ALttP, (and all Zelda games except The Adventure of Link), has the best gameplay formula ever: real-time fighting, exploration, and lots of secrets. FS forces you to cooperate with buddies, but also lets you/makes you compete with them. This must have been hard to work out for Nintendo/Capcom, getting the formula right, but it pays off. This is simply the best handheld multiplayer fun ever (I would say any multiplayer fun ever, but there are games like Super Smash Bros and Halo).

Story: 7/10, 6/10, 8/10

Sadly, this is the shortcoming of both games. ALttP is just ''Collect this pendant/orb, hear a block of history, repeat'', and FS is just ''Oh. The Princess has been captured again.'' Both stories are acceptable, however, because ALttP is like 10 years old, and FS is just a multiplayer add-on basically. The overall is higher than the combined parts because you come away with the sense of having participated in a great story, but while playing the game it seems a little forced.

Replayability: 7/10, 10/10, 8/10

If you've already played ALttP in the past, this cart may/won't have much replay for you if you can't find friends (they also need a copy of the game). Nintendo did try by adding a new dungeon and a new side quest, plus the original did include lots of stuff to find. And of course you will want to play FS until the batteries corrode in your GBA.

Overall (obviously not an average): 9/10

Everyone needs a copy of this game. That's probably a flaw with it, because everyone <U>doesn't</U> have a copy and it is often (always) hard to find someone to play with. If you love Zelda titles, have friends with this cart, have never played ALttP, have a wonderful nostalgia for ALttP, love adventure/RPGs, or just have an extra $30, go get this game. Otherwise... well, just go get it anyway.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/03/03, Updated 01/03/03

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