The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker
by decoy octopus

The Legend of Zelda. Where do I begin? The original for NES was one of my first games I actually owned myself, along with Mike Tyson's Punch-out and something else I forget. After Mike Tyson pimp slapped me down, I fired up some strange looking gold cart called "The Legend of Zelda" and never looked back. I've played through and beaten every console Zelda game so far (ZELDA II IS NOT A ZELDA GAME IT ISN'T CANON OLO) and I've enjoyed it. Yes, my friends, back behind my well played copy of Crazy Taxi, next to my import copy of Shenmue is both Zelda games for the hated Nintendo 64 (Hated by people who not a few years ago owned one themselves I might add). And while the engine is the same as the last two games (Ocarina of time and Majora's Mask), Wind Waker brings a lot of new elements to the table.

First off, let's get over the graphics. Bitching or praising, in my mind Cel Shading began and died with Jet Grind Radio (Or Jet Set Radio whichever you prefer) and the Looney Tunes Racer released on Dreamcast (Which wasns't bad except for the rubber band AI, but I'm getting off topic). They're nice to see when it's one or two games that use it, but when every other game was using it, it grew tiresome. I like how it's used here, but it's not the splotch your pants up thing everyone claims it to be. So that's all I have to say about graphics. Besides the fact that they've given Link facial animations that will melt your heart (UNLESS YOU ARE A COLD FUCKING FPS PLAYER OR A SONY FANBOY AND IF YOU ARE I WANT YOU TO DIE IN A CAR FIRE).

Also, the music hasn't really changed. There's a few new tracks, but most of it is the main theme from Zelda, some tracks from the N64 games and even some from link to the past. Which isn't a bad thing when the Zelda theme is kinda embedded in your brain for all time. Don't fix what isn't broken is Nintendo's motto lately (Mario party 17 coming soon with nCam support baybee).

The thing about this Zelda game, is if you hated the two N64 ones, just don't play this. The engine is mostly unchanged from those two titles, and you'll have to do a lot of gruntwork with the camera sometimes, and make blind leaps. And the until you get the first three pearls set and enter the Tower of the Gods, you'll struggle through this game. Until you go back in time to Hyrule. Then the game kicks into high gear, and becomes a nostalgia spoogefest for the Zelda fanboys. They mention the hero of time from Ocarina, so the Links from all the games are intertwined in a bloodline of heroes that will save the world from the evil (Ganondorf) when he arises. Because like Dracula from Castlevania, someone's always resurrecting this fucker every few centuries it seems. So you start out on Outset Isle where Link is sleeping (Lazyness runs in the blood it seems) and it's his birthday. He recieves the suit from every other Zelda game, and then the story kicks into view. You'll meet all sorts of interesting people along the way (Like most other Zelda games) and eventually aquire a boat.

If there's one thing I hate about this game, it's the sailing parts. When I have to sail what feels like 15 miles with nothing happening, there's a problem in Tinseltown. Later in the game you aquire a Waker tune that cuts down on the bullshitty sailing, but for a while you have to grin and bear sailing across the map for one single thing. But also, if you take your time and explore the map, each square on the map has an island on it, and most of these play a part in the game somehow. Either by fairies (Replaced thankfully with more normal ones than the screeching ones from Ocarina/Majora) being on the island to grant you powers, or heart pieces or even a Nintendo Museum. I don't mind exploring later in the game, but at one point I just wanted to cry.

If I can go off on a tangent real quick, what the fuck is with Tingle? Is it supposed to be some in-joke I'm not getting? For one, the guy is frutier than the whole cast of Queer Eye for the straight guy, and the motherfucker overcharges me to translate maps. If I could, I'd knife him in the head and dump his body in a far off place. And Tingle here is a part of a small wave that failed by Nintendo to have interconnectivity between the GBA and the Gamecube. You hook your GBA to your GC and tingle can annoy you in whole new ways. The only useful thing he can do is bomb shit far away for 10 rupees a piece. But later in the game I found the hookshot and other stuff that invalidated Tingle's existance, so happily I sent him about his fairy ways.

Nintendo did a bunch of good things in this game. They dropped the whole sillyness of having to collect a side item (Like broken faries in Majora's mask) in dungeons. Most of the time it's just bam bam bam do the dungeon and move on with your life. And Wind Waker does the most brilliant dungeon I've seen in years. It's a perfect blend of teamwork and it's just fun to do. The puzzles and everything just make it really fun. It almost makes up for the crying and cold shivers the Water Dungeon in Ocarina gave me.

In conclusion, if you liked the N64 games, or you can stomach the evil but much better than Mario Sunshine/64 camera, pick up Wind Waker, and enjoy it for what it is. A romp through a Hyrulian setting on water, with lots of cute animations and some brilliant dungeons. It's only 20 bucks and it's not like there's a flood of games that you NEED to play for Gamecube after the newer RE4.


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