Posted: March 29th, 2004
By: Webmaster-Josh
Our waiting of two and a half years for a new Zelda game paid off when The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker arrived.
And this game really started Nintendo on a pre-order bonus disc streak. But is this game better than Ocarina of Time?
Sound

There's quite a variety of music here, and that's thanks to four people who composed the tunes, including my all-time
favorite, Koji Kondo. I felt inspired listening to the beautiful tunes to just sit back and enjoy it, not caring about the game.
From the Japanese style tunes to the heart-pounding boss songs, The Wind Waker pleases to all ends. The Helmaroc King
(Forsaken Fortress' bird boss) tune is the single best tune that I've heard in years! Dragon Roost Island is also very well
done, and I don't think there is one bad tune here.
Now for the sound effects. They are surprisingly better than I expected. The ocean waves are fine to hear with approaching
enemies on the seas with bomb cannons and other weaponry. The effects are very interactive. Depending on where your
camera is situated, some things sound louder than others, but it all feels right in the end. The Dolby Pro Logic 2 really
brings this game to life, and I am very glad that Nintendo put it in. But you don't need it to appreciate all there is to hear
in this game!
Control

The control scheme is based on the previous N64 Zelda games. When Ocarina of Time was ported to the GCN, Y, Z and X
were used as substitutes for the C Stick. I preferred using the buttons anyway. Now it's better! Y, Z and X are to use
items, but the C Stick actually has a good use-it's camera control. Instead of just using L, you can now freely move the
camera anywhere. This much-needed feature is based off of the Super Mario Sunshine camera, which is based off of the
original Super Mario 64 camera. The C Stick also acts as the controls for your Wind Waker instrument.
One thing different from playing tunes is the metronome like rhythm that the songs have. Holding the control stick
changes the beat, making it faster. This is required for some songs that have four or six notes. This can get tedious to hold
the control stick and hold the C Stick to play notes, but it keeps things to a rhythm and isn't strenuous.
The control scores everywhere except for jumping. When you jump off a cliff, you go straight down, and can't really
control the fall as much as you could in Ocarina of Time. This is usually an unnoticed problem since the camera helps your
sense of judgment when you move. When you're in the ocean, it's easy to navigate because you can pull up a map and it
shows you a compass and certain other charts can pinpoint exactly where items are located. The game is easy to control
and is a top-notch idol for games that need better control ideas.
Graphics

I had my doubts looking at E3 2002 pics of this game, but those doubts quickly
faded when I bought the game on the first day and realized how incredible
cel-shaded graphics can be. This brings Zelda to life in ways never thought
possible. The cartoonish look suits the style of the game because it is still very
high-polygon figures and the details are thought-provoking. Everything seems
real although you know the look and feel of the game tells you that this isn't
realistic. That's good, because this style allows the player to feel like they are in
a fantasy world, not a real world.
This style isn't realistic, but it is creative, and a great new way to experience a
Zelda game. Still, I'm waiting for a very realistic version of Zelda like we saw in
E3 2001. This will do for now.
Replay

As any typical Zelda game, there's lots of dungeons here right? Well sort of. There's 7 dungeons in this, including the
Forsaken Fortress. Although that's not too shabby, Ocarina of Time had 10 plus 2 mini-dungeons. I felt like there could
have been more dungeons, not all the extra boring stuff like finding 8 Triforce Shards. They could have made a dungeon
with eight Triforce shards in it. Ganon's Tower is too short; they try to make up for it by replaying bosses you've already
beat. I want something more original than that.
Now that the bad is out of the way, the good thing is that since there are less dungeons, there are less heart containers,
meaning more Pieces of Heart to find elsewhere. There are plenty of charts to find, used to then find treasures hidden
(one on each square on the map). There's also some exploring you can do if you're bored because there are tons of islands.
There are also plenty of fun mini-games to find. There's even a Tingle Tuner which is basically like adding a second player!
This great idea finally brings some sort of multiplayer to Zelda. Overall, the good far outweigh the bad.
Design

Zelda games have always had unique designs, but this one falls short a little. It is so much based on the older Zelda games
that there really isn't much new, except for the graphics idea. I really felt like this was a sequel to Ocarina of Time and
not much more than that. There's less dungeons (what most people prefer over stupid treasure hunts) and it doesn't have
the 'adventurous' appeal like Ocarina of Time has. This is partly because of the graphics, but mostly because this game is
based around a world of ocean. There are ocean battles, but not as much fun as land battles anyway.
The good things are that the battle system is slightly improved so the enemies are harder, but you can execute cooler
moves. There's no Epona, but the boat traveling is the next best thing. The ocean is vast enough that you can just sail away
and see what you find. The dungeons are slightly bigger than before and contain all the neat puzzles we're familiar with.
One great feature is the Command melody. This allows you to control other characters basically allowing you to feel like
you are that character. This adds more variety and isn't as annoying as it could have been. There's even warps now, so
getting around this vast world is easy.
The Tingle Tuner is a great new feature only possible with Nintendo Gamecube allowing a GBA to control Tingle. This
really helps you get through dungeons better, but some of his 'services' cost rupees. Good thing you can eventually hold up
to 5000! Overall, this Zelda game satisfies and even though some fans may be disappointed with the changes, they'll get
over it and see how this new experience really is a great Zelda game and definitely worth our waiting.
Scores
Sound

9.3
Control

8.9
Graphics

9.2
Replay

8.7
Design

8.8
9.0
Final Words

For a Zelda game, this could have been better. Compared to other GCN games, this game rocks! There's a reason this is
one of the highest rated GCN games. It utilizes tons of features like GBA connectivity, Progressive Scan, Dolby Pro Logic
2. It didn't even need these features to be a stellar game, of course. I wouldn't go as far to say that this is better than
Ocarina of Time but it is definitely a competitor with Soul Calibur 2 and Mario Kart: Double Dash as game of the year in
2003. I would highly recommend this to anyone!
Nintendo Reviews Rating:
Age 10+