This week we had the opportunity to try out Nintendo's recently announced limited edition collector's disc for the GameCube. The disc, dubbed The Legend of Zelda Collector's Edition, is set to be bundled with the Nintendo GameCube for $99.99 beginning on November 17. The disc will contain four classic Zelda games in their entireties, in addition to bonus material related to the popular franchise. We dutifully sampled the four full Zelda games included on the disc--The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask--and were taken back to our formative years.
While the two NES classics were pretty much spot-on conversions of the 8-bit cartridge games, but with less flicker than their old-school counterparts, we did notice some minor slowdown. Each game requires its own three-block save on a standard GameCube memory card and features the same basic save system as the original games. Control for the games is mapped out pretty well on the GameCube pad, although it takes some getting used to. The original Legend of Zelda keeps things simple, for obvious reasons. You'll use the analog stick or D pad to move Link. The A button swings his sword, and B uses an item. The start button lets you view the equipment subscreen. The Y button lets you pause and resume the game on the main screen, and it also lets you move the cursor on the file select and save menus. The X button lets you quit and save while on the subscreen. Finally, the Z button lets you call up the game menu that lets you return to the Collector's Edition title screen.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link uses a similar layout, although there are some differences due to the "love it or hate it" side-scrolling gameplay. The analog stick and D pad now serve several different uses depending on where you are in the game. On the field, you use either of them to move Link. In battle, you use them to perform different attacks. You also use them to utilize your shield or to make selections on the magic and level-up menu. When in towns, pressing up lets you enter buildings. The A button lets you use your hammer in the field, and it also lets you jump during a battle. The B button lets you use your flute on the field, it lets you swing your sword in battle, and it lets you speak to people in town. The Y button lets you move the cursor on the file select and save menus, and it lets you use magic in battle. The X button lets you quit and save while on the subscreen. Finally, the Z button lets you call up the game menu that lets you return to the Collector's Edition title screen. The setup works fairly well for both games once you get used to it--although purists will likely miss the NES' small rectangular controller.
The two Nintendo 64 games, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, fare equally well. Anyone who preordered The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker will know what to expect from Ocarina of Time, in terms of visuals and control. The game is identical to the conversion on the preorder bonus disc. As for The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the game has received a face-lift similar to Ocarina of Time's and offers higher-resolution visuals. The only slight blemishes on the game's veneer are the frame rate, which appears choppier, and the audio, which has a few inconsistencies. In fact, you'll actually find a message screen alerting you to the fact that the sound irregularity is the result of transferring the game from the Nintendo 64 to the GameCube. The demo of this year's Wind Waker is a timed 20-minute run through one of three areas that focuses on three gameplay elements--stealth, dungeon crawling, and island exploration.
The final features of the disc are two movies. The first is essentially a highlight reel of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker that shows off some of the cool moments in the game. The second is a retrospective on the entire franchise made up of clips from every game--from the original NES game to The Wind Waker--and features rendered art of Link's many incarnations.
The Legend of Zelda Collector's Edition is slated to be packaged with GameCube hardware starting November 17. While the disc will be bundled with the GameCube hardware and not sold separately, existing GameCube owners will still have an opportunity to get the disc in one of two ways. GameCube owners who register their GameCubes and two of the following five games--Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Mario Party 5, and 1080: Avalanche for the GameCube and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance--will be eligible to receive the disc. The second option is for existing GameCube owners to subscribe to or renew their subscriptions to Nintendo Power magazine. The final part of either option is to register with Nintendo's Web site.
The offer will only be available while supplies last.