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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Video Game Connoisseur

Video Game Connoisseur
Video Game Connoisseur

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Publisher: Nintendo System: GameCube $49.99/ ESRB: T (Teen) Ah, Legend of Zelda: the perfect mix of action, puzzle and role-playing.  Legend of Zelda holds a special place in my heart near the left ventricle, from its intuitive controls to its engaging, and surprisingly deep, story I have been a fan ever since I received Legend Of Zelda: Link to the Past for the SNES for Christmas many years ago. This Christmas, I was able to relieve those fond memories of my first meeting with the silent boy dressed in green with a funny hat. It was like meeting Link all over again.   If you’re a gamer, you’re probably familiar with the Legend of Zelda series. Each game follows the same pattern: tragedy strikes, you are the chosen one and only you can save the world while everyone else is either completely oblivious or cowering in fear. You need to travel through a series of dungeons of increasing difficulty in order to obtain a set of treasures, which are necessary to stop evil and rescue the princess (who you never get by the way because you always ride off into the sunset in search of another adventure). Why the hell can’t you just, say, live in the lap of luxury brought on by eternal gratitude from the people and the royal family and become a hedonist? Twilight Princess follows the same pattern as all of the previous Zelda games with a few new additions. One of the big ones is the ability to fight on horseback.  In previous Zelda games, all you could do while riding your faithful steed is use your bow and arrow. Now you can use any item, and you can swing your sword, making you a dragoon (an infantry soldier who moved on horseback but usually dismounted for combat and typically were raiders; that’s your history lesson for the day, so congrats, you’re now a little smarter).  With this Zelda featuring the largest map in terms of area the player can walk on, you really need to master the art of riding and fighting on your horse if you want to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time.  The other big addition is the Link is now a lycanthrope, or for people with lives, a werewolf.   The story is this: Twilight Princess opens in the small village of Ordon in the southern most region of Hyrule. Link is a ranch hand, is considered the best horse-handler around and one day will probably take over as mayor. It has come time for the village to deliver its yearly tribute to Hyrule castle and Link has been chosen to deliver it. However, just before he can leave, monsters attack and kidnap all of the children and Link’s love interest Ilia. Attempting to chase after them, Link gets pulled into a barrier of darkness and is transformed into a wolf. Wolf Link then wakes up imprisoned in a dungeon and after escaping you find out what the hell is going on. While Link and his fellow townsmen were blissfully unaware in South Bumblefuck, Hyrule Castle was conquered by a dark king named Zant, the ruler of the descendents of a group who tried to take control of the Triforce in ancient times and were cast into Twilight. (They are in no way affiliated with Ganondorf, Link’s usual arch nemesis.) Wolf Link, with the help of Midna, an imp creature from the realm of Twilight who opposes Zant, must first find a way to restore Link to normal then stop evil. Every time you enter a new region of the map for the first time, you are stuck in wolf form. In order to revert to human, you must restore the power of the local light deity in the area by tracking down a dozen or so items called “Tears of Light.” This is pretty easy to do and mainly serves to familiarize you with the new map. As a wolf you can move faster, sense items that are buried in the ground, invisible monsters and grab onto enemies and bite them repeatedly.  After a certain point in the game you gain the ability to switch between human and wolf at will. As for items and weapons in the game, it’s the usual Zelda fair with a few new additions. There is the boomerang and bow and arrow as per usual, but now you can combine bombs with arrows for an explosive attack and the boomerang is upgraded to created whirlwinds.  The new additions are a ball and chain, which describes itself, and a staff that lets you control certain statues. The real treat is something I’ve dreamed about ever since I used the hook shot in the first 3D Zelda game, Ocarina of Time: the claw shot. First of all, unlike the hook shot, you can actually hang from the wall or ceiling with it, and second (this is the cool part), later in the game you get a second one, allowing you to have a claw shot on each hand. Gaining this has fulfilled my dream from Ocarina of Time of using two hook shots (or in this case hook shot-like items) to move around like Spiderman.   This is one of the best games in the series. It’s hard to compare Zelda games because for all their similarities, they also very different in the angles they take.  Link to the Past had you traveling between dimensions, Ocarina of Time used time travel between two periods, and Ocarina’s sequel Majora’s Mask had you repeat the same three days over and over again in a fantasy version of the movie Groundhog Day. Then, Windwaker broke away from the time and space theme to have you traverse a great ocean and go island hopping.  Now, they’ve taken a completely different track: instead of changing the world, they changed the player. To me the evolution of the Zelda series is fascinating.  While I can’t pick my favorite Legend of Zelda game, I can say that this is my favorite incarnation of Link. We finally have the mature and serious adult-looking Link, who finally has visible chain mail under his tunic and can really use a sword (in fact, there are seven new techniques you can learn throughout the game).  I was worried after this game was delayed twice and arrived more than a year after it was supposed to, but the wait paid off. This gave fans one last hurrah for the GameCube and quite possibly the best Legend of Zelda yet.