Review by zeldafreak1234

"Little people, Big game"

Zelda: The Minish Cap is a superb game that lives well up to the Legend of Zelda name. With excellent graphics, a compelling story, and fresh aspects added to classic Zelda gameplay, it is one heck of a title for the Game Boy Advance.

The story begins with Link dozing away in his room, until his dreams are interrupted by Zelda, who has come to pick Link up for the annual Picori Festival. Picori, also known as the Minish, are microscopic elves, tucked away deep into the cryptic forest, there appearance only visible by the innocent eyes of a child. The Picori bestowed a gift unto the Hero of Man, the Picori Sword, who sealed away evil using the force of the mighty blade. An annual tradition of the Picori festival is to conduct a sword fighting contest, and the declared winner gets the immense honor of touching such a blade. The winner is a mystical sorceror named Vaati. But Vaati is an imposter, who destroys the sword to unleash the vast evil sealed inside. Zelda confronts the wicked warlock, and in the course of Vaati's rage, is turned to stone. Vaati abandons the crisis, leaving a disaster behind him. Now Link must search for a way to revert Princess Zelda back to her original state, and heads out in search of the magical Picori elves.

Zelda: The Minish Cap sticks with the same classic overhead slash and hack game-play of all 2-D Zelda games but adds new twists to that make the presentation feel and look new and fresh. Link's vast conglomeration of items has increased with two new items. The Gust Jar, for instance, is an invaluable item for Link to succeed in his quest. Acting as a vacumm, it can suck up items and then hurl them back at lurking enemies. The Gust Jar can also blow out gusts of air to stun enemies or to make objects move. The Cane of Pacci is another recent addition to Links inventory. With the ability to make objects flip over, enemies become easy prey to Link's sword. Original items are back as well, in all their glory.

Sword-fighting is no longer swinging a small sword back and forth. Minish Cap is chock-full of new sword moves and techniques, making fighting enemies less limited to the same attacks. For example, if an enemy is a short-distance away, rolling and attacking at the same time will slaughter the beast with a rolling attack. This gives game-play a high amount of freedom when dueling enemies. With these new techniques added, game-play becomes Minish Cap's most attractive and redeeming quality.

The game also receives a new theme that holds the story together along with creating a new form of game-play, sound and graphics in its favor as well. This is when Link steps on certain portals, shrinks down to the size of the Minish with the help of his Minish cap, Ezlo, a bossy and talkative cap, previously a Minish elf. The whole story and game-play revolves around Link converting from one size to another. Things that can't be done by normal Link, like fitting through a small hole, can be done by a Minish sized Link, and vice-versa. Also, Hyrule is looked at through each of the different sized Link's perspective. Things that are harmless to Link are terrifying to Minish Link, such as a puddle becoming a gigantic lake, or a Chu-chu becoming a monstrous beast. This makes the game feel like its split into two different dimensions, each with filled with peril and danger, each object reflecting itself onto the other world.

Using the cartoon look seen in previous games works perfectly for Link's world, because it fits the cheery and tranquil atmosphere of the environment, while complimenting the innovative game-play. Hyrule's beautiful landscape bursts with bright and exuberant colors, filled with enemies, their crude lines mixing with their complexion. Link moves smoothly and elegantly as he attacks, rolls, and defends. As if the normal world wasn't enough, at a Minish perspective bookcases become towering skyscrapers, each book having its own detail and hue. Small rocks become monstrous mountains, bearing tons of Minish elves, mining for silver.

Sound and music are also very good, tying together the game's bright and colorful graphics and tranquil atmosphere, and is friendly to game-play, creating a more intense environment using superb sound effects, and well fitting music. It keeps up with the action, yet blends with the graphics at the same time. The game's soundtrack has new songs to for a fresh feel, and some Retro Zelda music thrown in as well, some even remixed to add to the game's style.

New collectible items called Kinstones pour an endless amount of replay-value into the overall presentation, and also play a vital role in the game. Link can find them anywhere, under rocks and grass, and hidden inside chests. They can be won in contests or by doing favors. Kinstones can be fused with other people in the game, and when they fit, certain things happen. Kinstones can open new pathways, give ideas to people, and make treasure chests appear. There are hundreds of people to fuse Kinstones with, meaning that there are hundreds of secrets just waiting to be unlocked, shooting the game's replay value through the roof, and does the same for it's lasting appeal.

With all these new things presented combined with the old, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap comes out a superb game. It looks great, sounds awesome, and plays incredible, each of the game's qualities complimenting each other. Plus, with so much to unlock, Minish Cap will keep your appetite satisfied for a very long time. Any fan of the franchise shouldn't be without this game, for it would be a total mistake to let it go. People who aren't fans should still get it due to it so spectacular that anyone will like it. In the end, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is worth every cent and everyone should give a chance.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/22/05

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