Review by theoriginalL5

"A Link to the Past this aint; but that doesn't mean it's not great!"

Before I begin, I want to clarify 2 things. One, I'm a LTTP fanboy, it's far and away my favorite Zelda title. Second, I don't shell out 10's because I like a game, I shell out 10's when a game is GOOD enough to DESERVE it. That said.. it's review time.

Story - 5/10
Egh.. I guess Zelda stories are never going to be any good. The game starts as the Picori Festival begins. The Picori are little kinda elven people that only children can see. They brought the gift of the Picori Blade (think Master Sword), to banish evil to the humans. You later find out these are the Minish People. The winner of a swordfighting tourney gets to touch the sacred blade, and this year's winner is a young wizard named Vaati. Naturally Vaati turns out to be evil, and uses the opprotunity to turn Princess Zelda to stone. So.. the point is to restore Zelda and save Hyrule.. again. You reforge the blade using 4 elements that you must collect, and then go after Vaati. Not much on the story. Considering that every Zelda game has the same basic story framework since LTTP, it's not great, but oh well.

Graphics - 9/10
Sweet. The style of Wind Waker brought to 2D. Everything's fluidly animated, bright and colorful, and no slowdown. Perfect for this kind of Zelda game. Nice special effects, such as large bosses, scaling and rotation, transparencies, fog, translucent light. It all looks wonderful! Better than LTTP!

Sound - 8/10
The music in this game is top notch. The original tracks dominate what you'll be listening to, they capture and emulate the Wind Waker feel without trying to simply copy it. Also for nostalgia's sake there are remakes of classic Zelda tracks, which fit in nicely with the new stuff, and it all meshes great! The music on it's own is a 10/10.

The sound however... egh. Capcom for some reason decided to bring many of the sound effects from Link's Awakening. They're slightly cleaned up, but they still sound very 8-bit in quality, are very bland and lack emphasis. LTTP had better effects, and if Capcom HAD to bring over something already created, well.. I don't know why they didn't choose LTTP's sound library instead.

Gameplay - 10/10
This game is much shorter than say, LTTP. However, it perfectly fits the nature of the beast that is handheld gaming. Gamers can complete the game 100% in less than 1 week. The difference here is that 1 - ALL of the gameplay content is very polished and meshes together beautifully. The puzzles are great, and the sidequests are as well. The game lends itself as a combination between LTTP and Link's Awakening. Typical 2D Zelda with fairly deep dungeons and a plethora of new types of weapons and items that haven't been tried before in Zelda (Gust Jar, Mole Mitts) along with classic Zelda items (Bow/Arrows, Pegasus Boots).

There are 6 dungeons, and while each is long, it's the game's tangent fetch quests and optional sidequests that will keep you interested here. Each dungeon takes maybe about 30 mins tops to get through, but are put out to the player in a way that makes it harder to get lost, and more fun to see what might happen should they try different things. You'll swim, dig, burn spider webs, and use a Gust Jar to blow yourself downstream on a lily pad. Good stuff here. The game really shines in the way that it lends itself to the Zelda staples, while adding much that is new. This helps players who are familiar with other Zeldas to not be bored with the game, while lending itself as easy to pick up to newcomers to the series.

My only small gripe about the gameplay is that I would had loved to see the L/R buttons mappable to items instead of the Roll (useless) and the Kinstone Fusion (which you only need on occasion really). They could had auto-switched to "Lift" and "Fuse" but, this isn't a huge issue at all. Add in all of the quests and areas of the game where you must shrink down to Minish size and back again to solve puzzles or meet new people, and you're talking about something that is extremely fun to play overall.

Overall - 9/10
Simply awesome. Aside from rather bland sound effects, the game is totally polished from start to finished. Everything feels solid and nothing feels added in. The controls are tight, the puzzles are well thought out, the bosses are innovative, and the result is extremely satisfying. You'll have fun finding all the Kinstone fusions, sneaking into people's houses as a Minish, and taking on normal-sized enemies when you're the size of a pin! If you like 2D Zelda, Capcom has put out something so fresh, yet so familiar, that this truly is a no-brainer.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/29/05

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