Take One Link, Add a Dash of Ocean, and Presto...
Among all the characters that are employed at Nintendo, only a few have top status. The plumber and friends sit on high but they are required to share the top with another group. Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf are three characters that hold Nintendo super star status and their games are stuff of legend. This legend has many chapters and spans twenty-one years which puts it on the level with the Super Mario Bros. as far as age goes. This franchise has seen the shift from a birds eye view scroller to the revolutionary shift to the third dimension in Ocarina of Time. Synonymous with Mario’s move to the N64, Link and the gang came through with a game that defines the term, “Nintendo Revolution”. The only set back was that it set the bar for all following Zelda games very high. When Wind Waker finally landed on the Gamecube, well let’s just say that it was like following an act that received a standing ovation. Every Zelda fan had the criteria on which they would judge this game. Heck, many of the fanboys judged this game before they even played it. The expectations were for a Twilight Princess style of game but what they got was something unheard of, unthinkable, simply unacceptable! They got something different.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker follows the story of Link (or Timmy, or John, or whatever you want). Link lives on an island and does island things. Goes to the beach, plays with pigs, cuts grass. You know, carefree, kids stuff. Everything in Links quiet little life changes when a giant bird arrives one day and scoops up his little sister and flies away. Link is thrust into the position of hero and must summon all his courage to save her. This sets in motion a chain of events that has you sail across the ocean, in a talking boat, in search of your sister.
As far as all Zelda games go, there is a solid foundation onto which the game play is built. You have a sword and a shield. You collect items to use in your quest. You roam through various dungeons in search of bosses. This can all be found in Wind Waker. This game follows the foot steps of it’s N64 brothers in the sense that you have buttons on the controller to assign various items. All your favourites are here too. Bottles to capture fairies, the Hookshot, heart pieces, etc. Again like the N64 games, you obtain the "Wind Waker", a magical baton that conducts the winds. You use it in the same fashion you would use your trusty ocarina. Like the Ocarina of Time, the Wind Waker plays a central role in this game. Go figure. A new feature allows you to collect spoils from enemies to which you can trade for rupees or other things. I really didn’t trade them because I collected all the rupees I needed out in the world. So these items tend to stock up and collect dust. The game play was smooth for most of the game but the GC actually lagged when fighting lots of baddies. The world you play in is very large and it’s one of the reasons I really enjoyed this game. You can explore all kinds of islands and it takes time to travel. I’m not much of a sailor but this game gives you a (very) watered down experience of a life at sea. This game is certainly replayable because there are tons of things to collect. You can take photos of the various enemies and characters throughout the game and take them to a certain island to get them made into a figurine. If you are like me and you don’t consider a game beaten until you collect all there is to collect, then you will be able to squeeze many hours out of this game. On the negative side, you can’t get all that this game offers unless you have a Gameboy and a link cable. Since I don’t own a Gameboy or a link cable, I felt like I missed out. Overall the game play was a lot of fun and tagged with an awesome story, it will hook you into playing hours on end.
When it comes to graphics, Wind Waker leaves the straight and narrow and takes the path less traveled. This put the fanboys in a frenzy of dislike and loathing towards the game before it was even released. The graphics are... how do you say... artistic then what most desired. I believe that fans were expecting the graphics of Twilight Princess and instead, got anime Link. I on the other hand applaud Nintendo’s courage to move away from mainstream and provide something that was very good looking. When you defeat an enemy, it bursts into black and purple smoke and when I saw it for the first time, I thought it looked great. The vibrant colour, the detail of the ocean, It all was very well done. Fans should have an open mind and not shun this game because it’s not what the expected.
Audio is what you would expect from any Zelda game. There is great Zelda music, average sound effects. This game is offered in Dolby Surround so you can hear Link’s grunts
in surround sound. Would it be sacrilege if these games had voice overs? Probably.
Overall, this is a strong addition to the series, despite what many may say. Its has all the elements that we all want in a Zelda game and it took a different approach in how it was presented. The story is just great and there is tons find and do. If you are hesitant to play it, well, it’s like trying a food you don’t like. Once you start to get the taste of it, it becomes one of your favourites. You just need to give Wind Waker a good chance and it won’t disappoint.