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Bill

Saturday July 20th,, 2002

The Legend of Zelda
Game Preview
Console:
GameCube
Release: February 2003
Genre: Adventure/RPG

Originally published on N-Philes.com-

The Legend is Born
It's hard to believe it's been 4 years since the Nintendo 64 first got Its first Zelda game, but that's reality and so is the fact that the experience that is waiting for players in the latest installment is going to be a lot different than the one that lured in many gamers. We're talking about one of the best games on Nintendo 64, Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Nintendo of course hopes to be able to make the new Legend of Zelda for GameCube an even better experience. Before this, years amazing, Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) people thought that Nintendo's change in visuals, from a realistic dark version like Ocarina of Time and the Space World version, to a slick Cel-Shaded cartoon-like engine which was first revealed at Space World 2001 was a BIG mistake. It's no secret that Nintendo struggles with a kiddy image that it is trying to shake off with some of their recently released mature games such as, Eternal Darkness. But the fact is after playing, and viewing a lot of new media it's obvious that Nintendo is doing the right thing with The Legend of Zelda for GameCube.

Features:
- The newest Installment in the Zelda series
- An innovative storyline, involving Link rescuing his kidnapped sister, Arilla
- Ocarina of Time play mechanics returning in the epic first Zelda ever
- Dolby Surround Sound support, including Pro Logic II and others a like.
- Advanced Cel-Shaded graphics engine, making the game much like an interactive cartoon.
- The first Zelda to ever be Cel-Shaded
- Detailed Animation, including face expressions - making the experience all the more realistic
- 480p progressive scan support for all HDTV users
- Possible February 2003 US release
- Possible late 2002 Japan release

While the Space World 2000 version of Zelda looked pretty, and showcased our hero, Link fighting off his enemy Ganondorf with beautiful visuals and great textures, the new Cel-shaded toony looking Zelda definitely is if not as beautiful in it's own way, but more creative and definitely innovative than the Tech Demo we saw two years ago. The new Zelda may have shocked and upset many fans around the world, but the creator, Shigeru Miyamoto knows what he's doing with his series. The game has that "A Link to the Past" feeling that Ocarina of Time also had. The world-surrounding Link will definitely bring back some memories to veterans of the game who first got into the series many years ago. We assure, despite that negative image that the new visuals have received from disappointed and upset fans, the new Zelda (which has still yet to receive a proper title) will be everything you hoped for in the Space World 2000 version, if not more.

Storyline
Even though Nintendo, like always has kept the press on a virtual lockdown on most the storyline of The Legend of Zelda some of the storyline was showcased at E3 this year to get players in the mood, and to give players a pr-mature background on the game. In this adventure, which seems to be the newest 'real' installment in the series since Ocarina of Time - since Majora's Mask was nearly a simple spin-off, or side-quest that the "gaming god" developer, Miyamoto had little to no involvement with. Link finds himself no longer on a mission to save Hyrule from Ganondorf, or a wacky Skull Kid with plans to destroy the world, but instead on a quest to save a his sister, "Arilla". Some people didn't even know that this sister existed, but believe it or not he does. In the beginning of the E3 Demo Link is shown living what seems to be a "normal" life, Players are introduced to a few new characters mainly Link's Grandmother, and more importantly his Sister, "Arilla"

Soon enough the storyline begins to take action and un-rolls, Arilla is snatched away by a huge, menacing bird. Though this happening seems simple compared to Links earlier adventure in Ocarina of Time -- It most likely do to the fact that as usually Nintendo seems to be hiding something from the world, for this seems to simple and ordinary for a Zelda/Miyamoto game. Keeping that in mind and that according to Shigeru Miyamoto the Legend of Zelda for GameCube is the first adventure of Links ever is crucial to understanding the placement of Link in the game -- so think of it as a prequel such as Episode One and two are to, Star Wars. Knowing this - we are surely missing something and there is more to the game than what was revealed at E3 this year. Judging the games storyline to harshly now may be the wrong thing to do, in other words. It's only natural of Nintendo - don't feel too special. Nintendo speaks more of the storyline at there website:

"The latest Legend of Zelda adventure begins with young Link living a peaceful life on a tiny island. One day, Link witnesses a huge, menacing bird that snatches Link's younger sister and flies away with her. Link follows in hot pursuit. His search for her sets in motion an epic adventure that will have Link sailing the high seas and searching for answers to the mystery behind her disappearance."

The only worry that surfaces when considering the simple storyline is that Nintendo will defiantly give us a game with supreme gameplay and experiences, but may neglect the storyline of The Legend of Zelda. But like we said before - there is more to the storyline than we have seen, and expect a lot more media and revealing on the storyline of The Legend of Zelda as its Late 2002, and Early 2003 release date draws nearer. There is defiantly more to be learned and we have plenty of time left to learn it all.

Gameplay
Even if you haven't played the E3 Demo of The Legend of Zelda it's obvious that it is packed with similar gameplay to both "Ocarina of Time" and "A Link to the Past". Link takes to sea, ground, and even mountains in the game. Plenty of action is stirred up, and a little bit of Nintendo Humor will be found along the way, as well. For those unfamiliar with how Zelda games are played out - we'll sum it up for you. Zelda is an all real-time, action, adventure, and role-playing game. No turn-based battles like in the popular RPG series Final Fantasy. You control every swing Link takes, and every step as well. It would even be okay to say that The Legend of Zelda's gameplay (or at least the way you get around) is similar to most 3-D Platform/Adventure games. Mario, 64, Conker's Bad Fur Day, and the upcoming RAREWARE game, Star Fox Adventures all use similar travel systems to The Legend of Zelda. Players find themselves in a huge, animated world - something that looks like it is straight from the movies, when Link's journey first begins. The game is very much like a cartoon now. A lot of enemies look like ones you'd see in a cartoon, and even the battles you have as Link are very similar to the ones on TV.

Once E3 had been here and left us new things were learned about The Legend of Zelda. The game will once again play similar too Ocarina of Time. Instead of using "Z" Targeting this time around, though Nintendo has made it so you use the "L" shoulder button for all your targeting needs. Since it will be triggered with your left index finger, like in Ocarina of Time's "Z" Targeting, gamers will most likely find it comfortable, convenient and similar to "Z" Targeting. With the ever so comfortable GameCube controller new buttons will be used, and some may find it too different to play the game with a new controller, but for the most part, people that got to play the game at this years E3 did anything, but complain.

Like said before "Z" Targeting is replaced by "L" Targeting, which allows gamers to target an enemy and then attack it. People who played Zelda: Ocarina of Time (OoT) should find this similar, and easy to use. The "R" button is used to use your shield, which is simple enough, and remains the same as in Ocarina of Time. The "Y" button is used to use items. The "X" button also is used to use items that are set on "X", just like "Y" uses items set to "Y". The "Z" button is not used as much in the game but serves for a hint button when used in certain areas of the game. It also serves as your free look button. The "A" button is used to attack with Link's sword. (Which was well expected, considering the size of the "A" button.). "B" button serves as your action button. The "C" stick is used to change your view of Link by rotating the camera angle (like it is used in most 3-D games). Of course the Analog Stick (control stick) is used to move link and move cursor when in menu screen. Control Pad (D-Pad) is used for several purposes. Pushing up on it is a short cut for sub-screen short cuts map. Right: Item, Down: Turns off window display screen control (turns on/off map), and left: quest status.

Even though a lot of the game will leave players pretty much free to explore the world around them, Zelda has the same old Dungeon System. To help move on through out the game, players must make it through many different dungeons. The dungeons are very similar to ones seen in past Zelda games in theory: players battle enemies, solve puzzles, climb objects in different rooms to find keys to unlock doors to move on through dungeons. At the end of a dungeon you will find yourself face to face to some sort of Boss. Each boss is always innovative, and will prove difficult for players to defeat. While this all seems simple - it's not. You wont know the real difficulty of making it through these dark dungeons until you have experienced it yourself. In order to make it through dungeons expect plenty of the traditional torch lighting, item finding, and the traditional treasure chest opening. Compasses, and Maps some time are what players will find in these hidden treasure chest, but you'll get a fair share of other items, weapons, and plenty of secret that we don't even know about yet. Link will defiantly have his share of boulders, blocks and what not to push into places that indented waiting for something heavy enough to reveal a hidden area, or item of some sort too, as seen in the E3 Demo - The Legend of Zelda is very similar to Ocarina of Time. This will make many people happy. It made us happy. One thing that was completely different from Ocarina of Time though is the change from Fairy to a Gem that Link wears around his neck. The Gen gives him hints just as Navi did in Ocarina of Time. Although it's not a big deal, it came as a surprise, and well - was different. We'll adjust.


Nintendo also has included something new for veterans of the game. By using the Game Boy Advance icon in the game and having the Game Boy Advance hooked up to the GameCube, Tingle, from Majora's Mask, will appear onscreen. You can then move Tingle around using your GBA controls, while the Zelda game indicates where Tingle is on the map. You can then use Tingle to drop bombs on enemies even when the enemies are not on screen. The person operating the GBA can also use a Megaphone and the NGC player will hear Tingle shout "Hey!" and the screen will look in the direction of the Tingle cursor. This extra will help add to the experience, making it more joyable, and something new for veterans of the game.

So if the graphics of the game frighten you - don't fringe - behind the visuals lies what seems to be the proper next installment in the Zelda series.

Sound, and That Cartoon Thing
First thing that was really good to hear in the E3 Demo was Links shout as he jumps to attack enemies. It was like a sound to sore ears. This signature "shout" will be a common sound in the game, so if you don't like it, get over it. But we're sure that most people loved that shout that was used in Ocarina of Time. For those of you who did, it's back! No really, it may sound a little silly, but the signature shout that Link makes when jump attacking enemies really made it clear the epic journey about to be felt was the real thing. To further more set players in the mood The Legend of Zelda is Surround Sound, Dolby Pro Logic I, and Pro Logic II compatible. Basically you can play Zelda with any surround sound system you have, it will defiantly sound great. With the new fluid animation, and some of the "cartoonish" sounds it is an experience that's a must to get the full out of Zelda. I know when I get my hands on the finished version of the game I'll be playing in Surround Sound.

As for that "Cartoon Thing" It's call Cel-shading. It's a new engine that has become a lot more popular over the years, and many other games have used the engine. If you haven't seen any other games using this engine - the best way to describe it is: as cartoon. At first the new look of the game wowed us (maybe in the wrong direction), but slowly we've recovered, and are looking forward to the wondrous things that can be done with the type of art. Originally when the new look was revealed there wasn't much to say. Only a few mediocre still screens were shown, and short video with some stellar animation. Things only got better this year at E3. Opinions definitely changed. It was obvious that even though the realistic Ocarina of Time visuals were missing the new "cartoonish" visuals were going to help set the mood of the game, and add to the experience. Seeing Link run, and then him winking only adds to the experience - that type of thing can't degrade the experience you're going to get when the games released. Changing the visuals was defiantly the right thing for the game. Everything we've played, and seen looks, feels great. The battles are tight, and quick. Action is around every corner. Using the powerful, Cel-Shaded engine is one of the best things that can happen to Zelda, and it's happened. Anyone who's going to deprive himself or herself from this game because they don't like how it looks is making a huge mistake. Of course the gameplay will be top notch, but the visuals are too. So swallow your pride, The Legend of Zelda is an artistic, visual masterpiece.

Outlook
The Legend of Zelda is not a disappointment. It's still a letdown to some people, but the truth is those people aren't willing to except the fact that there's not Space World 2000 Zelda coming out anytime soon. The sooner those people except the fact that The Legend of Zelda is a interactive Cartoon the sooner they can move on and experience what is sure to be one of the best GameCube games, and one of the best games period. It's been a long time since a proper Zelda game made its way onto a next-generation system, but that's all changing soon. The game is expected out February 2003 in the US, and a possible late 2002 Japan release. Nintendo will continue to release media of the game, hoping to change even more people perceptions of the game. Hopefully this preview will help enlighten those who still refuse to like the new Zelda. There's a reason why the series creator, Shigeru Miyamoto changed the game, if you loved Ocarina of Time then you're sure to love, or at least enjoy The Legend of GameCube. It's definitely "Shiggy's" baby, back in action!

From what we've seen and played it's very noticeable and obvious that The Legend of Zelda for GameCube will take players to new heights with its spectacular visuals, and epic gameplay. In every way The Legend of Zelda seems to live up to Ocarina of Time, but the question is will it exceed its older brother, Ocarina of Time? Will it sell systems? For the answers we'll have to wait, but from what we've seen - It certainly seems like it will be an adventure only available on the Nintendo GameCube.

________________________________________________

Old June 02, 2002 Preview (outdated)--

Before E3 this year The Legend of Zelda was considered a failure by a small few (because of the unaproved cel-shaded look), but thanks to some beautiful, and fluid videos showing Link in action, whether it be slashing his sword, running, pushing things, or sailing an awesomely designed ocean, fans have reconsidered such a harsh impression and are eagerly awaiting the title.

As E3 approached new things were learned about The Legend of Zelda. The game will once again play similar too Ocarina of Time. Instead of using "Z" Targeting this time around, though Nintendo has made it so you use the "L" shoulder button for all your targeting needs. Since it will be triggered with your left index finger by most, like in Ocarinia of Time's "Z" Targeting gamers will most likely find it comfartable, covinient, and similar to "Z" Targeting. With the ever so comforatble GameCube controller new buttons will be used, and some may find it too different to play the game with a new controller, but for the most part, people that got to play the game at this years E3 people did anything, but complain.

Like said before "Z" Targeting is replaced by "L" Targeting which allows gamers to target an enemy and then attack it. People who played Zelda: Orcarina of Time (OoT) should find this similar, and easy to use. The "R" button is used to use your shield which is simple enough, and remains the same as in Zelda: OoT. "Y" button is used to use itmes. "X" button also is used to use items that are set on "X", just like "Y" uses items set to "Y". "Z" button is not used as much in the game but serves for a hint button when used in certain areas of the game. It also serves as your free look button. The "A" button is used to attack with Link's sword. (which was well expected, considering the size of the "A" button.). "B" button serves as your action button. The "C" stick is used to change your view of Link by rotating the camera angle (like it is used in most 3-D games). Of course the Analog Stick (control stick) is used to move link, and move cursor when in menu screen. Control Pad (D-Pad) is used for several purposes. Pushing up on it is a short-cut for Subscreen short cuts map. Right: Item, Down: Turns off window display screen control (turns on/off map), and left: quest status.

As you can see the controls look easy, and gamers will begin to love the GCN's comfortable controller even more than they already do. The hardest part of the game to get used to will be undeniebly the new look to it. In OoT, and the last Zelda game: Majora's Mask, the game revolved around a real looking world. No longer will Link appear as if in a movie, or in real-life. Now Link is cel-shaded. Incase you don't know what that is, it's simple. Link, and his world now look like a cartoon. Some people love the look, some hate it, and some could care less about it, but the truth remains the same. Cel-shaded engines can do AMAZING things. Link will be able to move fluidly, and can now have face-expressions. Gameplay will look like something that is seen in a awesome Cartoon Movie.

Scenes such as link sailing on a a small sail-boat are beautifully done, and give gamers a sense of a whole new experience. The water is done great, the sky, and the sounds around link. You can hear what seems to maybe be seaguls. The sound of the ocean is percise, waves crashing, with the sound of a breeze thrown in too.
Scenes with Link slashing at enemy's remind you of OoT the most. From is signature jump to his signature shout as he jump-slahes enemy's... Everything seems to be in memory of old Zelda games. Old music, the kind you last heard in Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Orcarina of Time return, as well.

Gameplay, and Storyline
Not only does appearances, and controls change in Legend of Zelda. Storyline takes a drastic transformation. Somthing that was never expected, and could be something unforgetable. Link no longer finds himself on a quest to rescue Princess Zelda like in previous Zelda games, but this time Link is on a quest to find non other than his sister. This comes as a shock to some. Most of us didn't even know the little guy has a sister. Make you think, why is it still called The Legend of Zelda, and not something more appropriate too the storyline. Well that would be because the title: The Legend of Zelda is on a tenative title, and will be changed soon for release. When it is changed expect something that will fit in, and deal with the storyline.

Just like in all Zelda games, players travel room through room in dungeons killing enemy's, solving puzzles, and getting items to get keys to unlock locked dungeon doors. New enemy's will be found in the game, along with new items, and new dungeons. Gamers should feel satisfied, if not very pleased with the Legend of Zelda's gameplay. It is a new adventure that will be one of the best of this generation. Thats for sure.

According to new videos of gameplay Link will not only be on land in the game, either. Link can now take to the ocean swiming, and sailing his boat. We're sure there will be other secrets that will be unveiled as the title comes closer to release as well. Will we see Epona? That is one question we hope to get answered as well. Since the game is reportedly interactive with the re-make of Zelda: A Link to the Past on Nintendo GameBoy Advanced which is being released sometime around with Legend of Zelda anything is possible.

Future, and Outlook
Legend of Zelda is sure to be a hit game, and will live up to other Zelda games. Once again Link will return to your living room t.v. for you to explore, defeat, and rescue things never imagined. Since the game will be out after the release of the Nintendo WaveBird controller players will be able to play as Link for the first time wireless.

No release date is set for Zelda yet, but Nintendo rumors an early 2003 release, and says that it will have a special conectivity with Zelda: A Link to the Past for GBA. But one things for sure, we will find ourself in an adventure like no other.

We are eagerly awaing The Legend of Zelda, and want to learn more about it. We are sure we will before the game is released and when we do we will tell you all about it.

--TazedSoul



 

 

 

 

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