Electronic Theatre Preview: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

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Electronic Theatre Image            Nintendo are back on form, proving once again that it is not the Final Fantasy series, nor the Dragon Quest franchise that dominates the RPG genre, but The Legend Of Zelda. Having been able to sneak nearly an hours worth of play out of the four sections available (with the average visitor only being allowed a single 15 minute play) I can honestly say that there is nothing at the show that has impressed me quite as much as The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess. After dabbling with horse-back fighting, helping monkey-pals in the Forest Temple and discovering the amazing Gale Boomerang, I was left speechless – and desperately trying to find some clean underwear…

            The first arena was a simple jaunt around Taoru Village, with Link prancing about in his own attire.Electronic Theatre Image The arena was quite limited, focussing on the story-driven aspect of the title and character interaction. A second Level was available on the same demo – featuring the much touted horseback fighting. Here, Link had to fend off hordes of marauding goblins while trying to defeat a boar-mounted Orc Warlord. The speed boost executed by whipping your steed seen in The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time makes a grand return, executed by pressing the A button. Link attacks to both the left and the right sides by pressing the B button and, in this demo, only a Sword was a useable weapon. A potion was also available to be assigned to either the Y or X buttons, much like in previous titles a cut-scene denotes Link’s usage of the disposable item and left an empty bottle in place. The enemy AI is flawless. Ranging from ultra-intelligent double-mounted Goblins who race up alongside you, hacking and slashing with either the rear riders’ sword or maintaining distance and firing flaming arrows, to simpleton single riders who don’t seem to be to maintain control of their steed quite as well as they should when facing the indomitable Link. The steed was able to jump small fences and walls in the usual fashion, but once again only when charging head-on towards the obstacle.

            The field in which the combat took place seemed almost infinite – within a fifteen minute venture through the area I cam across one single edge-limit, or at least I thought it was until I ventured further and found that the ravine ended and the player is able to charge back up the other side. The control of the steed was flawless. With perfect analogue calibration and item selection now on the D-pad, a lot of time had obviously been spent making sure the combat was done just right. To top it all off, not only will the day/night feature return, but also the game features changing weather patterns. The sky roared and all-of-a-sudden the floodgates opened – it began to rain. Upon severely whooping the Orc Warlord’s spotty behind, he charged into a nearby castle, and the scene ended.

            After my cavaliering escapade, I was asked to venture to the next room, through a twisting corridor featuring video scenes from the title and a seven-foot-tall animatronics Stalfos behind bars. The next room housed no less than thirty GameCubes with, to my Electronic Theatre Imageimmense surprise, two more playable demos. Firstly, I entered the Forest Temple. The Legend Of Zelda traditions such as pot smashing, long grass blowing with the breeze, amazing architecture, automatic jumping and the “do-dee-do-dee-dee” tune when gaining new items from Treasure Chests remain intact, as the game retains the feeling of The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time. After a small amount of puzzle solving (of which I won’t spoil any) I was greeted by a fleeing little monkey-dude. Being chased by a large baboon – who looked rather like I.R. Baboon from the cartoon, I Am Weasel – the monkey became an aid to my endeavours in return for rescuing a trapped cohort of his.

            Discovering the Gale Boomerang generated squeals of excitement form the several press members observing my endeavours, as I assigned it to the Y button and immediately discovered that by holding the button, the weapon could be charged similar to Link’s sword. A burst of wind was summoned which interacted with everything it came into contact with, bringing back Rupees, bombs and dead leaves with it also. With the Gale Boomerang usable as an attack – first-person targeting remains and multiple targets can be selected by pressing the R trigger – Link also had a new move – the downward stab featured in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Context sensitive, the finishing move was executable by pressing A when an enemy had been downed. The L-targeting remains intact as does the slight pause when making contact with your sword, allowing a brief examination of the action to organise your next move.

            The final chapter encountered was the Forest Temple Guardian – a bizarre plant-like enemy with an eyeball in its mouth. The big baboon swings back and forth upon high carrying with it a bomb. After much deliberation with the bystanders, we realised that by selecting multiple targets, the Gale Boomerang could be used to grab the bomb and launch it into the boss’s eye – BOOM!

            With truly amazing graphics and animation – the best I’ve seen on this generation so far (and I’ve played a lot of games on this generation) and a true feeling of Electronic Theatre Imageadventuring within just a 15 minute play section, it’s no surprise that The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess won the coveted E3 Game Of The Show award. Truly groundbreaking work which raises the bar for not just RPGs, but all adventuring games, and yet there was still very little in the way of clues as to exactly what the key-features of the title are. Nintendo once again have a gaming gem on their hands, a dark, brooding gaming gem which will not only encapsulate The Legend Of Zelda fans, but also the industry as a whole.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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