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The 2003 GameCube Fantasy Action Adventure video game

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A fun but tedious game.

  • Jan 18, 2010

The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker was the first in a series of Zelda games that made use of cel shading, resulting in a "cartoony" appearance. Due to the childish animation, I myself made the assumption that The Wind Waker would be one of the more kid-friendly Zelda games. After completing the game, I have found that that much is true.

While The Wind Waker follows the traditional Zelda formula, there are a few twists to the plot that keep the game from seeming like a recycled version of previous installments. Initially, you aren't certain who Princess Zelda is, and while Link is on a quest to save Hyrule (which has become immersed in water as a result of the Gods' attempt to seal away Ganon), he is also determined to save his younger sister, who was kidnapped by one of Ganon's minions because she was mistaken for Zelda. One thing that is starting to grow old with me, however, is the fact that Link always happens to come to don the green tunic in every single game. It's becoming a little too convenient.

The game's soundtrack is probably one of its greatest attributes. As is typical of most Zelda games, The Wind Waker is full of catchy melodies, some upbeat and fun to listen and hum along to, others haunting and beautiful. My one complaint is that, although Link wields a magical instrument, there aren't as many songs to play on the instrument as there are in, say, The Ocarina Of Time. The songs that you can play in this game are either only a few notes long, or are forgettable.

The animation in the game was, for me, a mixed bag. While the cel shading isn't necessarily "bad", I just didn't like the look of the game as much as I did the previous Zelda installments. I much rather prefer the beautiful and more realistic animation in Ocarina Of Time, Majora's Mask, or Twilight Princess. The animation in The Wind Waker matches that of the subsequent games Phantom Hourglass  and Spirit Tracks.

The Wind Waker
, like most Zelda games, offers several highly likeable characters, each with unique character designs. There are sarcastic pirates, gentle bird-like creatures thought to have evolved from the Zoras, and everyone's favorite wannabe fairy, Tingle. A few of the islands are also home to small communities of people, paving the way for fun side-quests. To several people's relief, Link is not accompanied by a fairy on this adventure, but rather by his boat, which is capable of speech, much to Link's surprise. Because Link is a young child in this game, he himself is entertaining to watch, as he makes several funny expressions throughout the game. Especially silly moments include Link mewing like a cat in order to avoid being discovered by a girl he'd been following, as well as Link glaring at others when they outbid him in an auction that is held on one of the islands.

The Wind Waker also features several new weapons and items, such as the Deku leaf and the Wind Waker (a magical conductor's baton), as well as a few familiar ones, including the slingshot, the bow-and-arrow, and bombs. There are also several new enemies, such as Moblins and ChuChus, and a few familiar ones, such as Keese (bats), ReDeads (mummies), and Octos. Most of these enemies are relatively easy, and are only difficult to defeat if you are swarmed by several at once. The controls in The Wind Waker are smooth and easy to use, making battles and overall gameplay simple and items easy to maneuver.

My biggest complaint, however, is with the overall gameplay. While the weapons and controls are easy to handle, and the storyline follows the traditional Zelda formula while adding new twists on the story, the way in which the game is laid out causes this game to take way longer to finish than necessary. Due to Hyrule being immersed in water, the majority of the game is spent traveling by boat between the forty-nine (yes, forty-nine) different islands that remain above the water. After traversing either by foot or on horseback in the previous installments, the idea of sailing through the ocean is incredibly refreshing, at least at first. The excitement wears off very quickly, however, as the islands are quite far apart, and only toward the middle of the game are you able to warp to the islands without having to actually sail to them. Even then, only a handful of the islands can be warped to directly. Another thing that seems to slow down the game's pace is one particularly lengthy quest toward the end of the game. In order to be able to confront (and hopefully defeat) Ganon, you have to locate the eight broken shards of an ancient relic known as the Triforce of Courage. That doesn't sound too difficult, except for the fact that before finding each of the shards, you must find maps detailing the locations of each shard. Each shard has its own corresponding map, and upon travsersing through a small dungeon to obtain each of these maps, it is revealed that Link is unable to read these maps because they need to be "deciphered". Tingle is willing to decipher each of the eight maps for you...for 398 rupees each. So, not only do you have to locate eight maps, you also have to come up with 3,184 rupees total in order to have them deciphered before setting off to locate each of the eight Triforce shards. In my opinion, it seems like this little quest was thrown in as an attempt to extend the length of the game, because before that point, there are only two temples that you must complete, and unless you take the time to discover every heart piece and complete every side quest, the game does not take terribly long to complete. Even with the inclusion of the Triforce shard quest, however, neither the game's enemies nor its puzzles and dungeons are too terribly difficult, because as I said before, this game seems to be geared more toward younger game-players.

Overall, while The Wind Waker is not my personal favorite game of the Zelda franchise, it is an all-around fun game with solid controls, animation, and music. The game seems to drag a bit toward the end, but the overall conclusion is almost worth the trouble. If you enjoyed The Wind Waker, I would recommend Phantom Hourglass, The Wind Waker's direct sequel.
A fun but tedious game. A fun but tedious game.

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January 26, 2010
Last time I played Zelda was on N64 but then I preferred the Super Ninitendo version for some reason. Nice review.
January 27, 2010
Thank you. I prefer the N64 Zelda games to any of the newer ones. I never played any of the Zelda games on the Super Nintendo.
January 19, 2010
Ooooh, the graphics are super cute, but that's disappointing to hear about a game in the Zelda franchise! Thanks for sharing this with us in such great detail, Ulalume, and thanks for the recommendations!
January 20, 2010
You're welcome! I hope to review some of the other games as well.
More The Legend of Zelda: The Wind ... reviews
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
Don't write it off just because of the graphics. The storyline is much darker (in a good way!) than I ever thought it would be.
review by . July 11, 2010
posted in The Gaming Hub
I had loved the Zelda series, but was dismayed when I saw Wind Waker. The cartoonish graphics look childish and amateurish. I nonetheless decided to rent the game and give it a shot. However, I gave up after a half hour or so. It just wasn't fun and wasn't worth my time.
review by . April 06, 2003
.. they make blockbuster games that stick with you long after you have finished playing them.Despite what detractors have said regarding the change in animation styles, the game looks and plays unbelievably well. I've been a huge Zelda fan for years, and bought my GC in anticipation of this game being released. It doesn't disappoint.The storyline has been recapped a million times, so I won't go into that. What I *will* say is that the developers of this game clearly understood what fans loved and …
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My user-name was derived from the title of a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. I came to Lunch with the hopes of publishing reviews that would be appreciated by others and reading the reviews of others that hope … more
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The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker‚Äč is an action-adventure game and the tenth installment in The Legend of Zelda series. It was released for the Nintendo GameCube in Japan on December 13, 2002, in North America on March 24, 2003, in Europe on May 3, 2003, and in Australia on May 7, 2003. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for the Nintendo DS is the direct sequel to The Wind Waker.

The game is set on a group of islands in a vast sea—a first for the series. The player controls Link, the protagonist of the Zelda series. He struggles against his nemesis, Ganondorf, for control of a sacred relic known as the Triforce. Link spends a significant portion of the game sailing, traveling between islands, and traversing through dungeons and temples to gain the power necessary to defeat Ganondorf. He also spends time trying to find his little sister.

The Wind Waker follows in the footsteps of Ocarina of Time and its sequel Majora's Mask, retaining the basic gameplay and control system from the two Nintendo 64 titles. A heavy emphasis is placed on using and controlling wind with a baton called the Wind Waker, which aids sailing and floating in air. Controversial during development for its use of cel shading graphics, The Wind Waker received acclaim on release and is one of the Nintendo GameCube's most popular games.

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Console: Gamecube
Release Date: March 24, 2003
ESRB: Everyone
Number of Players: 1
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Genre: Action Role-Playing

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