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Gaming Evolution
Unable to include file. Unable to include file.Unable to include file. Unable to include file. Gaming Evolution - Features
Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Genre: Action Adventure
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: November 19th, 2006
Written By: Andrew S.
Screenshots: Link










Since its debut on the NES in 1985, The Legend of Zelda series has been one of most popular and critically acclaimed videogame series of all time. The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II were major successes on the original NES and the series truly became legendary when A Link to the Past hit the SNES. In 1998, Nintendo released Ocarina of Time and was instantly considered one of if not the best videogame of all time. After several installments across several consoles and handhelds, series creator Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo are setting out on their most ambitious project yet: to create best Zelda game of all time. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is that title. Not only is it set to be the last great Gamecube game but is also the lead title for Nintendoís upcoming console, the Wii. Can Nintendo improve upon perfection?

Starring Cast

Link - Like all other Zelda games, Twilight Princess stars the young hero Link. This time around, Link does not begin the game as a hero. In fact, heís a simple ranch hand in the town of Ordon Village. Link is set to represent the town in a festival in the Kingdom of Hyrule, but before he is able to leave, two of his friends are suddenly kidnapped. Link must dawn his sword and shield and set out to save his captured friends.

Midna - Midna, creature from the Twilight Realm, serves as Linkís sidekick. Midna first meets Link when she springs him out of prison in the Twilight Realm. While she might not exactly be Linkís ally, she believes that helping the hero in his quest will help achieve her goals that as of now are unknown.

Princess Zelda - Zelda, the princess of Hyrule, remains trapped within the Twilight Realm and can only watch helplessly as the void consumes her home.



Ganon - Nintendo has confirmed that series antagonist Ganon will once again make an appearance in Twilight Princess but it is unknown what his exact role is.

Twilight King - The King of the Twilight Realm has forced Zelda to surrender her kingdom to him. It is likely that this is the gameís main protagonist.

Linkís Horse - Link will be accompanies by his trusty steed throughout most of time. The player may choose to name it anything he or she wants, but for the purposes of this preview we shall call her Epona.

Technical Aspects

The fist noticeable thing about Twilight Princess is the graphics. When Nintendo decided on a cel-shaded look The Wind Waker, many thought that the series would no longer feature a realistic look to it. Luckily Nintendo has chosen a more realistic look for Twilight Princess to go along with a more mature Link. Twilight Princess is pushing the Gamecube to its limits and is set to be the best looking Gamecube game yet and the best looking Wii launch title. Director Eiji Aonuma didnít completely want a realistic look to the game like there was in Ocarina of Time and Majoraís Mask. Twilight Princess features a manga inspired art style. This is evident from charactersí anime looks. Also cel-shading hasnít been completely tossed away. Cel-shading will still be used for some portions of the game like Midnaís robe.

Nintendo composer Koji Kondo is once again bringing his music talents to this new Zelda. In the past, the music in Zelda games were MIDI files. This tradition even continued when Nintendo moved to discs with the Gamecube. Despite their limitations, Koji Kondo has created some of the best and most memorable tunes in game history. At long last, Twilight Princess will be the first Zelda game to feature fully orchestrated music. While some tunes will remain MIDI, orchestral music will be used for the games ďspecialĒ moments. To the disappointment of a few, while the music will certainly be enhanced in Twilight Princess, Nintendo has decided not to incorporate voice acting. They did hint however that their may be a few voiceovers during important events, but much is still unknown. As always, the game will feature the series traditional grunts and laughs fans of the series have come to known.



Storyline

The Story begins with a young teen named Link living in Ordon Village which boarders the Kingdom of Hyrule. Link is not a hero, but a simple ranch hand, but a respected one. The hero to be must first solve the townís big crisis: an outbreak of goats. Linkís job is to round him up with his trusty steed Epona. Afterwards, heís free to explore the rest of the town. On this particular day, the mayor of the town asks Link to represent the town in an upcoming festival in Hyrule. Before he sets out on his journey, Link has one last meeting with his friendís Colin and LLia. The three meet by a small lake when they are suddenly attacked by a mob of bokoblins riding boars. Link must find his friends who have gone missing. He locates and brings them back to the village only to have marauders raid the village, knock Link out cold and kidnap his two friends. When Link awakens, he discovers that the town is surrounded by a larger barrier of sorts. Link goes in for a closer look when he suddenly grabbed into the mysterious void.

Link arrives to a place only known as the Twilight Realm. He doesnít make it far until he succumbs to the realms strange powers and transforms into a wolf. Shortly after, Link is captured and thrown into a dungeon below a castle. Luckily for Link, a creature of the Twilight Realm named Midna has arrived to spring him out of his prison. The two break free and Midna directs Link to a tower in Hyrule Castle where he meets none other than Princess Zelda. She describes how the Twilight King invaded Hyrule and demanded that she surrender her thrown to him or have everyone in Hyrule killed. She unwillingly does so and the residents of Hyrule are trapped as spirits. After her story, Zelda tells Link and Midna that they much escape and the two finally head out of the Twilight Realm.

When Link exits the Twilight Realm, he discovers that he is still in wolf form. The people of Ordon Village no longer recognize him. He must sneak around the village and communicate with the other animals. Soon the hero meets the Twilight spirit Ordona, who tells Link that he must capture the Tears of Light to regain his human form. After Link regains his human form, he and Midna set off to find the other Twilight spirits and free Hyrule from the Twilight Realm

Gameplay

Twilight Princess will follow the basic 3D Zelda formula set by Ocarina of Time. Players will have an open-ended world to explore filled with enemies, dungeons, secrets, and much more. Most of the game world will be closed off at the beginning, but at the Link gathers more skills and items, the more he can traverse across the vast land. It is expected that the classic Zelda pattern will continue in Twilight Princess: Explore new area, get new items, explore dungeon, fight boss, repeat. Luckily itís a formula that works.



The original Legend of Zelda helped define what it means to be an open-ended game and Twilight Princess looks to take it to a level beyond any other game in the series. In the game world, youíll be able to explore a variety of towns and locations. The towns will serve as Linkís resting spot where he can buy items, talk to various people or play a number of mini games. Outside the towns are vast open areas. Here is where Link will do most of his traveling. These areas are typically filled with enemies, but it is also where Link will find most of the secrets in the game. At any time, Link is free to leave dungeons and explore other parts of Hyrule. Navigating the vast land is one of the highlights of any Zelda game.

Playing as Human Link

Playing as human Link should feel familiar to anyone who has played past 3D Zelda games. All of the elements that defined the way a 3D game should be played make a return. Of course, the analog stick moves Link. The A button serves as the context sensitive button. While walking, the A button will cause Link to roll but when heís standing next to context sensitive objects, the A button will prompt Link to read, push, pull, activate, etc. The Z button is used to lock-on enemies or certain objects. Locking on will keep Link and the camera focused on a single enemy, allowing for easier combat. The D-pad is used to equip Linkís various weapons. There are differences between how the Wii and Gamecube versions control sword movements and use items, which weíll get into later on in this preview.

Playing as Wolf Link

The controls for wolf Link are essentially the same as human Linkís with a few differences. The A button is still your context sensitive button and Z is still lock on. The B button is used for wolf Linkís attacks, which is a simple pounce. Holding down the A button will cause Midna to create a shield of sorts around Link. Anyone caught in the shield will be immobilized. Once the A button is released, Link will do jump bite attacks on any enemy caught inside. Unfortunately for Link, he is unable to use any items as a wolf, but itís not all a total loss.

Link gains new world abilities and powers from Midna. For starters, as a wolf, Link will be able to run faster than he was as a human. He also gets the ability to talk to other animals and sense spirits trapped in the Twilight Realm. While Link wontí be able to talk to them, heíll be able to ease drop on their conversations. The ability to dig will come in handy to burrow underneath barriers or to search for underground treasure. As the game progresses, Midna will learn new abilities which will aid Link on his quest.

Wolf form is also where the series new ďinstrumentĒ is used. Wolf Link can howl to create music. The player much change to the pitch of howl to make different tunes. A video shows Link howling to the Song of Healing, which fans should remember from Majoraís Mask.



Riding on Horseback

One of the biggest draws of Twilight Princess is the return of riding on horseback with a few new added touches. Controlling Epona is nearly identical to Ocarina of Time and Majoraís Mask. The button will accelerate Epona and give her a quick burst in speed. However, Epona decelerates as time goes by. The player is limited to a few amounts of speed bursts as shown by carrots at the bottom of the screen. If all of them run out, the player will have to wait a bit for them to refill.

The biggest addition is the new horse combat. In previous Zelda games, Link was only limited to firing arrows while on horseback. This time, Link will be able to use his sword and other items. Marauders riding on boars will attempt to bring Link down. The player will need to slash his sword to kill off the enemies. Like on foot, it is possible to lock-on to a specific target. Projectiles such as Linkís bow and arrow will also be used. However, taking them out means the player will no longer have direct control over Epona, so theyíll need to take their shots quickly and then steer Epona again. Even though Link is unable to wield his shield while on a horse, it will protect his back from any rear attacks. Link can also ride the boars of fallen enemies. The new horse combat should bring about a new combat dynamic to the series.

Difference Between the GCN and Wii Versions

The Wii and GCN versions of Twilight Princess are essentially the same with some noticeable differences. First and for most is the controls. The GCN version will play like all the other 3D Zelda games, but the Wii version uses the controllerís unique motion sensors to use Linkís sword. Simply swing the Wii-mote will cause Link to swing his sword. The motions arenít one to one and a simple flick of the wrist is all thatís needed to attack. Flicking the nunchuku will do Linkís spin attack. The speaker inside the Wii-mote will be used to hear specific sounds such as arrows firing, Midna cuing you in for hints, and even the classic Zelda chime. The Wii-mote will also be used for aiming projectiles. Simply point and shoot. Since motion controls the sword, that frees up the B-button. When you tap the D-pad for a specific item, it will assign it to the B-button and pressing it will use the item.

Since Nintendo felt the majority of people would be swing the sword in their right hand, they make Link right-handed as well, though we will remain left-handed in the GCN version. To accomplish this, Nintendo flipped the world horizontally so the Wii and GCN versions will be like mirrors of each other. Also important is that the Wii version will run 16:9 widescreen while the GCN will not. From the looks of it, the Wii version looks to be the version to get.



Locations

The world is Twilight Princess is vast and varied. It is roughly ten times larger than that of Ocarina of Time, contains 9 dungeons, and it is said that traveling from one side of the Hyrule to the other takes 45 minutes on horseback.

Ordon Village - Ordon Village is a small town that boarders Hyrule. Here is where Link lives and where his journey begins.

Twilight Realm - The Twilight Realm isnít a completely new world, but rather itís an entity that slow devours anything in its wake. The realm features a faded haze look to it. Humans are unable to retain their normal form, either turned into animals or have their spirits removed from them.

Hyrule Field - Hyrule field once again makes a return. It is five times the size of Hyrule Field from Ocarina of Time. It serves as the games central hub from which all the others areas branch off.

Kakariko Village - Kakariko Village has always been the biggest town in past Zelda games. When Link first arrives to the town, it has been consumed by the Twilight Realm. It appears to be abandoned, but Link discovers that its residentsí spirits are still trapped within and he must set the town free from the Twilight.

Hyrule Castle - Where the throne of all Hyrule is seated; the Twilight King has taken possession of the castle and forced Zelda to remain imprisoned inside.

Forest Temple - The Forest Temple is the games first dungeon. Itís familiar to past forest temples. Here Link must aid a bunch of monkeys.

Goron Mines - The Goron Mines is, you guessed it, a mining facility for the Gorons. The mines sit at the top of Death Mountain and should be familiar to the Fire Temple from Ocarina of Time.

Old Western Town - While the name of the town is still unknown, Link will come across a town that looks familiar 19th American western towns. The residents of the town even have similar attire.

Gerudo Valley - Gerudo Valley makes a return. Itís the desert valley where the female race of warriors known as the Gerudo live. It is also the birth place of Ganondorf.



Weapons/Items

One of the trademark additions to the Zelda franchise is the wide variety of weapons and items the player receives throughout the game. Twilight Princess follows the tradition and promises to deliver more items than other Zelda game.

Ordon Sword - The Ordon Sword will be Linkís first weapon. Itís a basic sword

Ordon Shield - The Ordon Shield is the first shield received in the game, but it is also the weakest.

Hylian Shield - The trademark shield since Ocarina of Time makes a return. It is stronger than the Ordon Shield.

Master Sword - Yet again, Link must wield the Master Sword, the sword of evilís bane. This time around the sword glows like it did and Wind Waker and is slightly bigger than previous incarnations.

Slingshot - Normally a weapon for young Link, the slingshot is the gameís first weapon. While good for hitting targets that are far away, itís not particularly powerful and wonít kill most enemies.

Bow and Arrow - The bow and arrow serves and the games main projectile weapon. It can be used to take down most common enemies. The bow can also fire bomb arrows which explode when they make contact.

Gale Boomerang - The Gale Boomerang unleashes a small tornado when thrown. Itís useful for picking up objects from a distance and the player can select multiple targets with the weapon.

Iron Boots - The iron boots remain relatively the same as in past Zelda games, except they can be attracted by magnets when worn, allowing Link to walk on magnetic walls and ceilings.

Bottle - The bottles contain a variety of substances that may come in handy during the quest.

Lantern - Linkís first item from A Link to the Past returns. The lantern requires oil to light up but it will be needed in dark places. The lantern can be placed on Linkís belt, allowing him to use other items at the same time.

Clawshot -The Clawshot is a combination of the hookshot and grappling hook. Depending on how itís fired will determine is acts like a retracting device that will bring Link across long distances or a swinging chain that Link can swing on.

E3 Walkthroughs

There have been a total of 5 demos shown at E3. Here we will describe four of them. The other demo, fishing, will be detailed later. Note that some of these demos date back to two years ago, so they may change in the final product.



Ordon Village - The first E3 was that of Ordon Village. The village serves as a basic tutorial. Link first must call on Epona and chase goats back into a barn. After he has done so, he is free to explore the village.

Forest Temple - The first demo shown at E3 is also the first dungeon in the game. The monkeys that usually live within the dungeon have all been captured by a crazed baboon. Link must free them so they can aid him to get the dungeonís end. The forest temple is where Link receives the Gale Boomerang which becomes the main tool for puzzle solving in the dungeon. Link eventually meets up with the baboon where he must do battle with him. The baboon jumps from pillar to pillar throwing a boomerang at Link and Link must hit it back with his sword. The battle should feel familiar to Phantom Ganon from Wind Waker.

The dungeon concludes with a boss battle against a giant named Diababa. Diababa has one main head and several small ones. Link must use the Gale Boomerang to bring several of the bomb plants scattered about the room to him. Link then must throw the bombs into the smaller heads. Once the smaller ones are gone, the baboon from before returns to throw bombs at Link from afar. To finish the fight, the Gale Boomerang must be used to target the bomb carried by the baboon and then targeting Diababaís head. Unleashing the boomerang will pick up the bomb and slam it into the head allowing Link to hack and slash at it when it falls. A few sword slices and the battle is won.

Horseback Battle - Link eventually meets up with the boar riding gang that attacked his village. However, the leader has hung Colin up a pole unconscious. Link must take down the boss to free his friend. The chase begins and as Link gets in close to attack, several other boar riders close in to impede the his progress. Obstacles must be avoided, foes must be taken, and eventually the player will need to land in three sword attacks on the leader.

The battle then heads to a bridge. The two ends are set ablaze so there is no where for the two to escape. Link must joust with his enemy. As the two begin riding towards each other, the objective is to dodge the leaders attack and then land in a sword blow himself. After three strikes, the leader is knocked off the bridge and Link strikes a victory pose.

Goron Mines - The Goron Mines is the gameís second dungeon. Whatís noticeable about this dungeon is that it contains a number of industrial elements previously not seen in other Zelda games. Unfortunately, only the dungeonís last part was shown. The demo simply begins with Link outside fighting off some enemies. He then must use the clawshot to latch onto a chain fence. Then itís a simple matter of walking underneath a magnetic crane, putting on the iron boots, and let it take him to the door that leads into the mountain. The door must be shot down with arrows then Iíll thatís stopping the player from the boss is a bunch of enemies.



The boss, Pyrus, resembles the Balrog from Lord of the Rings. The beast breaks free of its chains and sets out to crush Link. An arrow must be fired into the diamond that rests on top of its forehead. This will blind the boss and cause it to go on a rampage. The chain connected to its feet must then be grabbed onto, the iron boots equipped, and then Link must walk in the opposite direction of Pyrusí movement. This will trip the boss allowing Link to run in and slash the diamond. Rinse and repeat to finish the boss off.

Mini Games/Sidequests

Twilight Princess is no short on mini-games and sidequests. Throughout the long journey, players will have the opportunity play a variety of different games and missions.

Fishing - The fishing in Twilight Princess is perhaps the best of any other game. While the GCN version will have the standard affair, the real draw is the Wii-version. Fishing consists of either shore fishing, where Link simple stands by the shore and fishes or actually getting into a boat and fishing out in the middle of a lake. Flicking the Wii-mote will cause the Link to throw his fishing line. Ouch a fish is caught, spinning the nuchuku will reel it in. It feels almost exactly like fishing and itís a mini-game everyone should check out.

Sumo Wrestling - Oddly enough, Twilight Princess features sumo wrestling. Link first learns this in Kakariko Village and will become essentially when battling the Goron atop Death Mountain. The controls simply require pushing the Wii-mote forward. When Link climb the mountain, the Gorons will attempt to impede his progress and Link must pick them up and toss them aside when they roll at him. One mini-boss fight has Link fighting a Goron above a lava bit. When the Goron rolls at him, he must grab, equip his iron boots, and then swing the Goron around and launch him off the side. The battle feels similar to that of Bowser in Mario 64.

There are tons more in the game, most of which are unknown. Other events include canoeing and snowboarding. Twilight Princess is certainly varied and you wonít be doing the same things for very long.

The Wait is Almost Over

After over 3 years in development, across two platforms and a year long delay, Twilight Princess finally ships on November 19th alongside the Wii. The GCN version will arrive later on December 11. Is Twilight Princess the greatest Zelda game of all time like Nintendo promised? The game is the GCNís last great game and the first big hit for the Wii. Find out how it turns out November 19th.

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