When you think about a Nintendo Wasteland, I bet that Zelda doesn’t even come to mind, but it should. Between 2003 and 2004, we were given three stellar new Zelda games, with Wind Waker being one of them. While Wind Waker had tons of people enjoying it, the same couldn’t be said about the other two. These two titles had many complaints, and thus had far less people enjoying them than past Zelda titles. These two Zelda titles in the Nintendo Wasteland are called Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures.
The original Four Swords was included on the rerelease of A Link to the Past on the Game Boy Advance in 2003. While A Link to the Past is only playable by yourself, Four Swords is only playable with two or more people. If you wanted to play as a group of four, everyone needed a Game Boy Advance, a copy of ALttP/FS and a total of three Game Boy Advance Link Cables. Unfortunately for Zelda fans, they were missing either one or more of those components to take part in the first Four Swords adventure. One of my friends had the game, so I was able to play through Link’s first new quest on the GBA.
Sadly this was the only screen some Zelda fans saw of Four Swords
Including Four Swords with A Link to the Past was a great move, as FS shares many similarities with Link’s SNES adventure. While the design of Link is inspired from Wind Waker, the overworld and much of the music was taken from ALttP and remixed with new twists on classic Zelda tunes. Not only that, but there were bonuses for players who completed FS in ALttP. Completing FS will unlock the Palace of the Four Sword dungeon in ALttP, with the entrance being inside the Pyramid of Power in the Dark World. Upon completion of the dungeon and a side quest, Link will have the ability to use the Whirlwind Sword Attack, a continuous spinning attack that dealt tons of damage.
Four Swords is a perfect reason to break out your Game Boy Advance one last time and have a blast with your friends. Game Boy games and Link Cables are extremely cheap today, so there is no reason as to why you can’t play this game. If you want to be able to say that you’ve beaten all Zelda games, you have to beat FS, and you have to beat its sequel.
In 2004, Nintendo gave us Four Swords Adventures, the second title in the Four Swords series, for GameCube. This time around however, players had the ability to play by themselves. However, if you wanted to play with your friends, you needed one Game Boy Advance and one GameCube Game Boy Advance Link Cable per player. The GBA was utilized here in a clever way. Whenever your Link went underground or inside a building, he would appear inside on your GBA.
People complained that the full experience ended up costing way too much money. I don’t really buy that though. The Game Boy Advance was so popular (many more people had a Game Boy Advance than a GameCube), that all you needed were friends. I had a GBA, as did my sister, so getting two more to play FSA wasn’t a problem at all. I think it came down to people not wanting to spend $15 on the cable to connect your GBA to your GC.
I don’t agree with that, but it is understandable if money is tight. But as I said, that isn’t an excuse as to why you haven’t played this game, as it is playable in single player. Not only that, but in my opinion, single player is the way Zelda is supposed to be. You can control four Links with the Four Sword in Minish Cap, so do it here in FSA. Besides, if you do play with your friends, it is likely that you will spend more time killing each other than actually playing through the game.
As with FS, FSA borrowed much from ALttP, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like ALttP. Much of the best music from ALttP was taken and revamped, including the Dark World and Hyrule Castle themes. The game has a good story, and even has a twist part of the way through. Since the game is similar to ALttP, many enemies make a return, including the Hyrule Guards. The difference this time is that they are in much greater numbers. In ALttP, there may have been four to five guards on screen at once. In FSA they would come in such numbers that they would take up the whole screen.
If you love ALttP or Zelda in general, you are really missing out by not playing these games. Do yourself a favor and play them today. These two fantastic Zelda titles will help tide you over ’til the release of Skyward Sword. Granted, if you no longer have a GBA, playing FS is going to be tough, but there is no reason for not playing FSA, since you can just go ahead and play it on Wii. If you have played these titles, then join with me in the comments in trying to get those that haven’t to start playing them now.