A new look for an old Link. Preview

A new look for an old Link.

Many outraged gamers cried bloody murder when they first saw a wide-eyed, cartoon

version of Link in the upcoming The Legend of Zelda for the Gamecube. Where

was the cool Link fighting against Ganon in a nasty duel to the death as promised

from early

Gamecube screens?
Did Jedi Master Shigeru Miyamoto go completely loco?

No,

not all. In fact, he knows exactly what he’s doing, and after playing with Zelda

a bit at E3, my faith in both legends has been restored.

Picasso had his Blue period, and Miyamoto has his Power Puff period.

So long as the style fits the nature of the game, I’m happy. And the style of

this upcoming smash hit references Saturday Morning Cartoon lore to tap into

a different, youthful spirit of Link.

Link is on yet another quest, but this time not for the hand of Princess Zelda.

A menacing bird (perhaps none other than evil

Big Bird
himself) has stolen away Link’s sister. Any time a Muppet goes

AWOL it’s cause for consternation, but when family is involved, it gets personal.

So Link mounts up, gets his glock in gear, and sets off in search of some fried

chicken.

Having finally had a chance to see Zelda running live, I can safely

say that the cartoon graphics are fantastic. The screenshots haven’t been able

to convey the visual fluidity of the game – the animation’s closest equivalent

would be something like Samurai Jack. It looks like something out of

those old Golden Books illustrations.

But it’s much more complex than just simple cel-shaded lines. A torchlight

flame flutters like crisp tissue paper while the background shows minor heat

warping. Link moves with startling realism; his animations flow into one another

beautifully. Enemies vanish in a stylish purple cloud. By all accounts, this

is shaping up to be a gorgeous game. Don’t believe me? Then watch

the video!

Though I was concerned about the graphics, I’m not terribly worried about

how the gameplay will end up. The controls are an extension of the already mature

Ocarina of Time and

Majora’s Mask

setups. Alternate weapons are still shown overlaid on the top corner with corresponding

buttons. Apparently, the automatic jump has been removed in favor of a context

sensitive player-controlled jump. Likewise, there are other context sensitive

actions, such as moving crates and speaking to villagers. Just expect more control

in general.

The E3 demo allowed you to play through one particularly cool scene. Link

is captured and thrown into a dungeon by ugly boar creatures and has to sneak

his way out of captivity. Link grimaces at being tossed into the dungeon, and

smirks with defiance when he manages to break free. Rats scurry along earthen

crevices, nipping away at Link, causing him to lose precious Rupees. This game

is really the closest thing to a playable cartoon I’ve ever seen.

And in February of 2003, you’ll have a chance to experience this Gamecube exclusive

yourself.





Click

here for more screenshots!