The Wind Waker offers a memorable adventure as you embark on a heroic journey across the open sea.

User Rating: 9.5 | The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Limited Edition) GC
*** THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE WIND WAKER ***

THE GOOD

-Huge world that's extremely fun to explore
-Exciting boss battles
-Fun puzzles, accessories and mini-games
-Charming story and characters
-Memorable soundtrack
-Fun artistic visuals

THE BAD

-Funky camera in tight spaces

OVERVIEW

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is an extremely lovable addition to the Zelda series. Don't let the cartoon graphics fool you because Wind Waker has a heart of gold and an exciting adventure to enjoy. This Zelda game is set far into the future after the events in the Ocarina of Time. You play as a young kid named Link and the game starts off on his home island of Outset. Link lives with his grandmother and sister Aryll and the start of the game just happens to be his birthday. The legend of Hyrule, the Triforce and the Hero of Time has been passed down through the ages by the people that inhabit the tiny little islands all throughout the Great Sea. When young boys come of age they take on the green garbs that the Hero of Time once wore as tradition.

Now everything was nice a peaceful until, later that day, a huge bird appears out on the horizon and makes a B-line towards Outset Island. The menacing beast was carrying the pirate captain named Tetra in its talons until she dropped into the forest nearby. Right as our Hero rescues Tetra, the bird reaches out, captures Aryll and flies off. This event starts Link's quest to rescue his sister and bring her back safe. What he doesn't know is that he is a part of an even grander adventure when he meets up with a talking sailboat called the King of Red Lions. Red informs Link that he must command the winds in order to sail across the Great Sea to complete necessary quests in order to defeat the true evil known as Ganondorf. Link is then presented with the coveted Wind Waker; a magical baton that, if used correctly, can control the wind.

The main story is filled with plenty of excitement and adventure. The playable world is vast and you'll get to experience the enjoyment of sailing and exploring new places kind of like what Christopher Columbus did back in 1492. There are many wonderful and light-hearted people along Link's journey that add greatly to the overall experience and really make you feel right at home.

GAMEPLAY

I guarantee that you'll be astounded with how big this Zelda world really is when you set sail for the first time (and probably many times after that). Exploration is the dominant activity in Wind Waker, whether it's finding sunken treasure, discovering new places or completing side quests. Most of the traveling around in this game is enjoyable but there are a few instances where the fetch type objectives can get tedious.

During Link's journey you'll encounter all sorts of enemies both on land, sea and air; so just being a skilled swordsman won't be enough. Thankfully, there are plenty of great side items to find like the boomerang, bomb and grappling hook. The Deku Leaf is a new addition to the series and happens to be one of the more notable standouts. Flapping the leaf will create a puff of wind used to stun enemies but that's not the best part. You can also use this piece of foliage as a hang glider. This coupled with the Wind Waker and you're able to sore to new heights which adds another fun aspect to the gameplay.

The control scheme works well in Wind Waker. The targeting system lets you focus on enemies and other objects with ease. The X, Y and Z buttons are customizable so that you can map up to three items to quickly use at your disposal without painstakingly referring back to the main menu. Plus, there are many sword techniques to utilize which keeps the fighting fresh. The only shortcoming with the controls is the camera angles. In some cases it felt like the camera was positioned too close to Link which hindered your peripheral vision. Also, tight spaces often times lead to your view being obstructed. Using the C-joystick to zoom out helped a bit in some aspects but wasn't very helpful in other situations.

Like any good adventure, this game offers many heart pounding and intense boss battles. All these foes are giants compared to the hero from Windfall but with patience, a strategic mind and the right tool, you'll be able to take down anything that crosses your path. Killing these beasts will not only reward you with a full heart piece but a great sense of accomplishment.

Another staple from the series that is heavily included in Wind Waker are the puzzles. Problem solving is essential for finding those hard to reach treasures and taking down mammoth adversaries. This welcomed aspect gives the game that added depth that other hack-and-slash type games just don't include. Not only will your skills with a sword be tested but also your mental aptitude.

The main quest is quite enjoyable but there are many other side quests and mini-games to partake in to extend the fun factor. I mean let's face it; it's not a Zelda game unless there are other things to distract you from completing more important goals like saving the world. Some of these activities include photography, hang gliding, and sword sparring. If that's not enough there is always the task of finding all the heart pieces scatter throughout the world or searching for underwater buried treasure.

GRAPHICS & SOUND

The graphics are a big controversial topic for the game. Some diehard fans and mature audiences might be taken back by the cartoon-like feel and may think that this is merely a kid's game. This is absolutely false. Even though the game doesn't look like the Zelda of old doesn't mean that mature audiences can't get into it. Instead, the artistic style adds another level of greatness to the creative developers of the series. There are many great things to look at in Wind Waker with a standout going to the awe-inspiring design of the environment.

The new soundtrack has an identity all of its own with some glimpses of the series' past music thrown in for those faithful fans. There are many memorable themes that fit the game perfectly. Plus, the added sound effects make this entire adventure much more unforgettable and epic in nature.

CONCLUSION

The creative geniuses at Nintendo created a fresh new look and feel to the popular series. You won't be traveling around on a trusty steed this time around. Instead you chariot is a talking red boat and your world is full of beautiful open sea. Wind Waker not only delivers in giving you an epic adventure but really gives a new meaning to exploration. There are plenty of bosses to slay, puzzles to solve and heart pieces to find, making this Zelda experience amazing. All GameCube owners need to play this game because it is one of the best for the console. Now, it's time to set sail and travel wherever the wind takes you!
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