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The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

Score: 92%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Capcom
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

When coming into playing this game, I wasnít expecting one of the best Game Boy Advance games to date. Iíve had run-ins with the previous Capcom-produced Zelda games, and I really didnít enjoy them very much. When I heard of The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, I didnít know what to think. Not only did it appear almost out of nowhere, but it took almost no time to produce (at least, as console Zelda games are concerned). All that was put to rest when I actually started playing the game, however.

The maps in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap are amazing for the Game Boy Advance. The art style is taken from The Wind Waker and the earlier Four Swords Adventures game, and it fits the Game Boy Advance quite well. There are many animations, such as when you defeat an enemy, that look really good even on the small Game Boy Advance screen.

Sound and music are things that just never were problems for the Zelda series. In The Minish Cap, there are both remade tracks from the older games and completely new arrangements by Mitsuhiko Takano. If you grew up playing Nintendo and the Zelda games, youíll feel a rush of nostalgia as you hear a remade level theme from The Legend of Zelda, as well as a few sound effects that are reminiscent of those in the original classic.


Gameplay:

Zelda, the princess of Hyrule, is turned into stone by the evil wizard Vaati. Vaati also breaks the Picori Sword -- the sacred sword of Hyrule that guarded it from evil. Now, the hero, Link, is charged with a quest to restore Princess Zelda and re-forge the Picori sword so he can defeat Vaati and save the land of Hyrule (once again).

In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, there are essentially four main dungeons where you must go in order to retrieve four elements. With these elements, you can re-forge the broken Picori sword and save Hyrule. Each of the four dungeons is hidden in some way, and you have to put the pieces together to unlock each one. Along the way, there are various friendlies that will help you out by giving out power-ups or advice.

The one aspect that I liked that is new in The Minish Cap was the kinstones. A kinstone is essentially half of a charm that can be fused (via kinstone fusion) to kinstones that others possess. In order to fuse a kinstone with someone, they must be compatible with each other, so you need to find as many as you can throughout your quest. What happens when you fuse a kinstone, you ask? Usually, a new doorway will open or a treasure chest will appear when you successfully fuse a kinstone. While most kinstone fusing is voluntary (in some places, you have to in order to open the way to a labyrinth), it is greatly beneficial to your quest.


Difficulty:

Like most games in the Zelda series, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is not all that difficult. The Zelda series is more focused on exploration and discovery than making levels tough as nails. If you seek out the various power-ups and upgrades, then you will be fine, even if you donít have the best of coordination.

The levels arenít large enough to be maze-like, so you can get around with no problem. Even if you forget which way to go, the handy auto-map features of the Zelda series will show you where youíve gone already and which rooms you have yet to visit. This is a lifesaver at times in the larger dungeons, especially if you put your game down for a day or more and forget which way you were heading.


Game Mechanics:

One Zelda game plays almost identically to the next, so if you have played any of the top-down 2D Zelda games (The Legend of Zelda for the NES, A Link to the Past for the Super NES, etc.), there are no real surprises here. The control is more akin to Linkís Awakening on the Game Boy and Game Boy Color than it is to A Link to the Past, however. In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, you can put any combination of weapons and items into the A and B buttons, so you arenít limited to using your sword all of the time.

There are several interesting new items in this Zelda game that include the ďStaff of Pacci,Ē which turns things upside down, and the ďRocís Cape,Ē which allows you to jump and even glide through the air for a very short time. This makes The Minish Cap one of two games in the Zelda series where you can actually control jumping (in most previous Zelda games, you either couldnít control jumping or it was controlled automatically).

This Zelda game is my personal favorite for the Game Boy line. Itís a fun game all around, not too hard to be annoying, and is real nice on the eyes and ears to boot. Fans of the Zelda series donít need me to tell them to go out and get this. But if youíre straddling the fence or even within sight of it, then you should get this game. It will be worth the $30 price tag for GBA games twice over.


-Z64freak, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bret Hall

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