Best game on the GBA!! Minish Cap delivers in every aspect
The Bad: easy; short
Ah Zelda. One of the most widely loved series in gaming, and personally my favorite. With the GBA addition of Minish Cap in 2005, the Zelda series was taken to a new level on the hand held series of games, and it was also the last, and one of the greatest, 2D Zelda games.
At the beginning of Minish Cap, Zelda comes to invite you to the Picori Festival, held every 100 years in Hyrule. Rumor has it that the door to the sacred realm opens once every hundred years, because of the Picori. But these Picori like to call themselves the Minish, and are only seen by children. At the end of the sword competition, the winner, Vatti, breaks the Picori blade and turns Zelda to stone. Yes you are saving the princess again, and you must collect the four elements and fuse them together to make the legendary Four Sword and vanquish Vatti.
The gameplay in Minish Cap has that great Zelda feel. There are six Temples in all; each one filled with monsters, keys, weapons, the usual Zelda gameplay. Of course the puzzles in the dungeons are all creative and some are challenging, and you will have a great deal of fun solving them. In each dungeon you find the amazing weapon that will help you to vanquish the boss and collect the elements of the story and move on. There are all new weapons in Minish Cap, like the Gust Jar, Cane of Pacci, and the Mole Mitts. And there are some classic items that return as well like the bombs, bow and arrow, and even Roc's Cape makes and appearance.
All of these items are a blast to use on enemies and puzzles, too, and the new items are as fun as the old ones. The Gust Jar sucks up enemies and objects, and shoots gusts of air. Just one example of the numerous fun items in MC.
The boss fights in particular are great, though of course some can be easy, but there is no doubt you will be impressed by their creativity. But some fights are hard as well. The final boss delivers a great challenge. It is three stages and uses a variety of items obtained throughout the game.
One of the main points of the game, the Minish Cap, is really a living hat called Ezlo, a Minish magician turned into a hat by none other than the evil sorcerer Vatti. He will be your assistant throughout the game, and even gives you the special power of being able to shrink down to the size of the Minish people. They are tiny creatures, and they live simplistic lives among the big people of the world. They can be found in the roofs of houses, they have their own forest home, and they can even be found living in library books! Throughout the game there will be puzzles that require you to shrink to the size of these people. Passageways that seem too small to go through are all of a sudden passable when you are Minish size. Almost all of these puzzles are wonderfully designed, and are really fun. And you will also be able to be human size a lot too, so it is not overkill.
A new concept in the Minish Cap are things called Kinstones. When you find these throughout the game, you only get one half. If you meet someone in the game with the matching half, they will be fused together and something good will happen. Things like treasure chests, golden enemies that when killed give you a bunch of rupees, and other things. Kinstones are used to advance the story as well, about ten times you will need to collect golden Kinstones to advance past one area to another. The other Kinstone fusings are completely optional, however. Feel free to play around with them, as there are many throughout your adventure.
The graphics are certainly a point to be praised. When you are human size, there are plenty of detailed environments, but the graphics will really blow you away when you are Minish size. Giant plants, grass, shoes, books, humans, apples, are all stunningly detailed and really help put in perspective how small you really are. These graphics are no doubt pushing the GBA's engine to its limits, and you will love them. Trust me.
Classic Zelda tunes return in this game. The original Zelda Main Theme will be the theme of you overworld this time around, and it is a welcomed return. There are plenty of fresh new tunes as well, and you will be humming them before you know it.
Really the only problems I can find with this game is that it is a bit too short. While there is plenty to do in between dungeons and getting to the next can sometimes be lengthy, only six dungeons can feel a bit short. The Oracle games, after all, have nine, so I think Minish Cap could have had a bit more length to its adventure.
The only other gripe I have with the game is that it is a little too easy. While the final boss is challenging and the latter levels have some challenging puzzles and enemies, too much of the game is just linear progression without much difficulty. Seasoned LoZ veterans will agree.
All in all The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap delivers a game with the Zelda feel we have come to know and love, while still feeling fresh and new. A must have for a fan of the series, and a must have for GBA owners and Action Adventure enthusiasts.