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November 1, 2005

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

For some, the words "new Zelda" are all that need to be said. Eyes light up, minds recoil in joy. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess continues a series which contains entries that many name among the greatest games of all time.

With a darker world, a more realistic approach, and perhaps the final big release on Gamecube, this game has much to prove. Fortunately, it keeps true to its roots, forgoing an angsty and irreverent Link while attempting to make him a much more mature character.



The demo opens on a village, where Link's animal affinity is expressed early. The area serves as a tutorial, with the youngervillagers asking for swordplay demonstrations. Link starts off in a different outfit than the green tunic, but retains his charisma. In the village you

can do such Zelda staples as cutting the grass or grabbing the nearest chicken to glide. Link has also got a few new tricks up his sleeves. For instance, you can pick up a flower, and by blowing it summon a hawk. A small letdown is that once again there are no voice-overs for the dialogue.

The next area I played was the forest dungeon. Though no context was given, Link was in the traditional outfit with the Hylian shield. Ocarina fans will recognize several enemies in the area like the Skulltulas and Deku Babas. After a brief sojourn into the dungeon I received the Gale Boomerang, which can be thrown like a normal boomerang or charged to fire whirlwinds. As you can imagine, this plays an important part in solving dungeon puzzles. It can also lock on to multiple enemies as in Wind Waker, but you must manually select them this time.

Combat is similar to the previous games, using the lock on feature. Link does a basic yet stylish combo if you repeatedly press B, and lunges with A. I was relieved that lighthearted elements still have a place in the game despite the game's more mature theme. For example, in the forest temple you befriend a gang of monkeys that are expressive and often comical. Of course, they play an important role in navigating the dungeon as well.

The environments in Twilight Princess are beautiful. The water, characters, and most of the textures look great. The artistic direction is superb, and struck me more than the technical specs. Unfortunately, the much touted wolf aspect of Twilight Princess was not a playable part of the demo. But if the screenshots and trailers for the game are to be believed, then the wolf aspect is shaping up to be a crucial and exciting part of the game.

word on the street

Expectations for this game are unbelievably high. The gamers of E3 have certainly sat up and taken notice of Twilight Princess. For many this this was a must play game as evidenced by the 3 hour wait to play the demo at E3 2005. Indeed, many gaming publications have already voted it best of show and tagged it as being a frontrunner for game of the year. The only detriment to the game's success seems to be that Microsoft's new console, the Xbox 360, is due for release at the same time this Holiday season, so Nintendo will need a large marketing presence if it wants to reach more than their usual audience. Nintendo has suggested that a premium version of the game will ship alongside the regular version. Whether this is a pre-order bonus or a package more like Halo 2 is unknown.

press release notes

When an evil shadow stretches from the heart of Hyrule to its peaceful borderlands, a young farm boy named Link must awaken the hero ... and the animal ... within.

  • When Link travels to the darkened land of Hyrule, he transforms into a wolf and must scour the land with the help of a mysterious being named Midna.
  • Ride into battle against troops of foul creatures, using an incredible horseback combat system, then take on massive bosses that must be seen to be believed.
  • Many puzzles stand between Link and the fulfillment of his quest, so players must sharpen their wits as they hunt for weapons and items.
  • Characters include Link, Zelda, Midna and many others, both new and old.
  • Link, a young man raised as a wrangler in a rural village, is ordered by the mayor to attend the Hyrule Summit. He sets off, oblivious to the dark fate that has descended upon the kingdom. When he enters the Twilight Realm that has covered Hyrule, he transforms into a wolf and is captured. A mysterious figure named Midna helps him break free, and with the aid of her magic, they set off to free the land from the shadows.
  • Link must explore the vast land of Hyrule and uncover the mystery behind its plunge into darkness. As he does, he’ll have to enlist the aid of friendly folk, solve puzzles and battle his way through dangerous dungeons. In the Twilight Realm, he’ll have to use his wolf abilities and Midna’s magic to bring light to the land.
  • Besides his trusty sword and shield, Link will use his bow and arrows, fight while on horseback and use a wealth of other items, both new and old.


Already impressive, the countdown to Twilight begins! The new visual style, new gameplay elements, and new story work in tandem with the established and classic Zelda elements. This game is shaping up to be a Game of the Year frontrunner, and it is no hyperbole to say that it could be the best Gamecube game. Ever.

Staff Avatar Matt McDaniel
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"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes"

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