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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Action / Adventure

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Nintendo

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q2 2003

 

 

- Deep, deep game

- Great presentation

- Effortless to get into for Zelda fans

- Tons of stuff to do

- Deeper fighting system

 

 

- Itís a big, big ocean out there

- Wind Waker wand might get on your nerves

 

 

Review: Legend of Zelda - Ocarina of Time (N64)

Review: Legend of Zelda - Majora's Mask (N64)

Review: The Legend of Zelda - Link to the Past (GBA)

 

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The Legend of Zelda:

The Wind Waker

Score: 9.5 / 10

 

Do you like being on the ocean?  The smell of salt and seaweed?  Sunken treasure?  Pirates?  The occasional talking fish?  Sea shanties?  Giant squid?  Then the Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (WW) is your game because no other game has so much martime action.  If you thought crossing the open fields of Hyrule in Ocarina of Time was boring, WWís ocean may likely put you to sleep.  Of course, there are objects to find and quests to complete on the open ocean so itís not a complete washout.

 

And so ends my lone gripe about WW.  Everything else is classic Zelda-gaming joy.

 

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Over the many hours it will take you to finish WW, the story unfolds around you.  If you havenít played any of the Zelda games the story might surprise you but for everyone else the inevitable showdown with the evil-as-ever Ganondorf is a given.  There are many sidequests and mini-stories along the way but nearly all contribute to Linkís development as an operative of Good.  Basically, itís all weíve come to expect from a story featuring Link.

 

The control system (and inventory and item management) is very much like Ocarina of Time and Majoraís Mask but with more depth in the fighting department.  Link can now string combos and parry enemy attacks not seen in the previous two games.  Combat also requires better timing and strategy since enemies wonít wait their turn to start pummeling you.  Link also has some new non-combat moves including the ability to slide along walls (a move made so fashionable by Snake and Sam Fisher).

 

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Familiarity will greet old school Zelda fans when it comes to WWís puzzles.  Youíll be lighting torches, pushing blocks, stepping on floor switches, swinging to higher levels and collecting those ever-handy silver keys.  Link will also spend time talking to some weird-looking NPCs Ė gathering information and quests.  Although there are typical puzzles, there are some not so typical puzzles, which may give your gray matter some exercise.  One constant challenge youíll face is waving your Wind Waker Magic Wandô which acts like Linkís ocarina from 

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the previous two games except for one important aspect.  Not only do you have to get the moves right (performed with the C-stick) you have to do so in the correct time.  Once you get the hang of it and become a bit of a maestro itís really no problem but some players are likely to cringe whenever some wand work is necessary (and itís necessary often).

 

The much talked about graphical style is a non-issue.  Thanks to an early demo reel of a ďrealisticĒ Link and Ganondorf pitted in battle, the expectations were quite different from what Mr. Miyamoto and team delivered. (If you missed the demo reel, Link looked more like the model found in Soul Calibur 2.)  Letís get over it Ė itís a game, it looks great and animates well.  The comparison to a good animated feature are warranted but the constant bickering about Linkís looks arenít.

 

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Also familiar is the audio.  Many sound effects have been directly lifted from the N64 titles but much of the music is new (and tinged with themes many years old).  This doesnít prevent WW from presenting a complete audio package.

 

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is deserving of the Zelda label and a great game.  Although there are a couple of annoyances, Wind Waker does too much right (and in spectacular detail) to be ignored and every GameCube owner should give it a shot if not buy it outright.  Itís an example of a game that doesnít skimp on deep gameplay in favor of style Ė instead, it has both and itís already a GameCube classic.

 

- Omni

(May 24, 2003)

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