Review by HM Master

"Truly Worthy to be Part of the LOZ Legacy!"

Ah, Zelda. One of the most beloved series of all time. Yes, I hear that a lot, but I totally agree. The LOZ series is one of my favorite to date (Ocarina of Time being my favorite) and Minish Cap is definitely a strong entry in the series. I am going back and reviewing all the Zelda games I have played, starting with the newest one, this one. Being a big fan of Link's Awakening on the GBC and loving the Oracle games (also on GBC) made me absolutely certain I needed to have this game. It was not hyped as much as most Zelda games are (what, Wind Waker?) and I didn't know a lot about it when I started it up. Needless to say, I was playing deep into the night to get the last few Kinstone fusions and figurines. A lot of people prefer the previous GBA Zelda, A Link to the Past, over this one. After going 100 percent through them both, I have to say I like Minish Cap better! It just feels like a Zelda game, and with characters I could relate to from Wind Waker. Don't get me wrong, LTTP is an incredible game, but Minish Cap is my pick. Now, here is my first Zelda review. Remember that the final score is NOT an average.

Gameplay (10/10)- This category has always been top notch with the LOZ series, and Minish Cap is no different. As with all portable Zelda games, the A and B buttons are used primarily. Items or weapons can be assigned to the two buttons and then used when the button is pressed. The start menu shows three screens. The first one showing all equip able weapons and items that can be used with the A and B buttons. The second screen shows various game completions: Elements that you have, heart pieces (shown in a four piece heart container), auto equipped items and Kinstone/Figurine numbers. The third screen is a map of the whole land, and new places are added when you venture to that section. Pressing A enlarges the sector of the map the cursor is on, showing a detailed and helpful map of the area. The R button is the action button, used for talking to people, picking things up, and rolling (A quick way to travel). Controls work perfect, and will come naturally quickly after starting. Exploring is very fun, and can yield a lot of rewards. Kinstone fusion is one of the major side quests in the game. This involves finding half pieces of stones and trying to match them with just about every character in the game. When matched, something will happen. It could be a treasure chest appearing somewhere, a beanstalk growing, or it could affect someone. Finding Kinstones is easy enough, and getting all the fusions is very fun. Dungeons are standard Zelda fair, with a map, compass, and many keys throughout. There are not a lot of dungeons, but they will test you, especially the later ones. The bosses are great, and most of the time they are large, covering the screen. One in particular will have you jumping around in midair, fighting and dodging all at once. I am now going to make a bold statement: The final boss definitely could be the hardest boss in a Zelda game to date. Trust me, even with all the hearts; he WILL give you a tough time. I have heard a lot of complaints that this game is too easy. While there isn't anything that will really beat you up or cause you to die more than once (with the exception on the final boss), the game is not a walk through the park. Later dungeons will keep you on your toes, dodging the many traps. Overall, A very fun game playing experience.

Story (8/10)- While the LOZ games don't differ in story radically (except Majora's Mask), they all have compelling and fun stories. Minish Cap is a little on the light side story-wise, but it does keep you playing. Princess Zelda, as usual, finds herself in trouble. The wizard Vaati has turned the kingdom to stone, including its inhabitants. Being a friend of Zelda, Link goes on a quest to save her. He meets up with a hat named Ezlo. Teaming up, the two need to track down different elements to stop Vaati. The story does have some nice scenes relating to Ezlo and Vaati and how everything came to be. Link gains help from the "Picori" a tiny-sized race that lives all around Hyrule. While fairly predictable, still fun stuff. Unfortunately, it falls short when compared to console based LOZ games (Which is understandable).

Graphics/Sound (10/10) - I like these graphics! Continuing the LOZ tradition of having good graphics, Minish Cap goes for the Golden Sun, round kind of graphics. I love these graphics, and Minish Cap makes them look great. All of the major characters have face boxes when they talk, enhancing the text box a little. If you have played Wind Waker, some of the graphics will definitely be familiar. There is not a whole lot to say about these, except that they look great! Now onto the sound. I love thinking about the LOZ games sound, because the melodies and rhythms are ones that I have remembered for a long time. Returning (of course!) is the LOZ theme, and many other new themes are great. The dungeons all sound perfectly in tune with the Zelda universe and the sound effects are the favorites of the series. One of the cooler things in the game is the unlockable sound test (which is not exactly easy to get, so be prepared for some work) which can play all of the songs from the game. A very nice touch I say. Excellent job here.

Play Time/Replayability (9/10) - The nine here represents two things: An 8 for the main game length and a 10 for the amount of side quests. First off, the main game, like you have heard most likely, is on the short side. There are not as many dungeons as other LOZ games, even the older handhelds. IT is unfortunate, because you really will want to play more Zelda. It really is a blast playing through, but once the final boss is beaten, the main part of the game is beaten. However, before you stop reading and run to play OOT or a longer game, the side quests are really the games shining achievement. There are a lot of things to do in Hyrule, many that need to be completed after you finish the game. Minish lets you save after beating the game, so you can play until the game is complete. With enough Kinstone Fusions and Figurine collecting to fill up the required side quest factor, Minish Cap has even more. There are hidden, more powerful weapons to be found, and getting them will take some time. There are four bottles to find and ways to get new things to fill them with. I haven't even mentioned the heart pieces, but every Zelda player knows about that. Getting them all certainly takes some time. Even with all that, there is still more. Maybe you should try exploring, because there are definitely some hidden moves and chests that you will want. So play through the main game and enjoy every minute of it, but when the side quests start, then the game reaches that 10 rating. I played it way after I beat it, just trying to get everything. If you are just going for the main game, then it may feel a little disappointing. Hopefully, everyone will complete the side quests also.

Ah, ending the first LOZ review, with many more forthcoming, is always bittersweet. I loved this game and it belongs next to my other GB Zelda games. While not as great as Link's Awakening or the Oracles, it is still a Zelda game. And a great one at that. Don't let it's shortness push you away, there is enough to do to warrant a purchase. Zelda fans, you cannot do without this excellent entry. And hey, who doesn't like a fresh serving of LOZ?

Gameplay- 10/10
Story- 8/10
Graphics/Sound- 10/10
Play Time/Replayability- 9/10

Final Score- 10/10!!!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 03/23/05

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