Release dates: US, March 24th 2003, UK, May 3rd 2003.
One hundred years after the events of Ocarina of Time, Link obtains mysterious green clothes tied to the
legend of a warrior in this anime-inspired addition to the Zelda series.
Zelda: The Wind Waker is different from the last few Zelda games because instead
of featuring realistic graphics like Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask had, it uses a cel-shaded look that makes the game
look like a cartoon.
The look is done really well. The game runs in 30 frames per second and has
little or no slowdown. During certain scenes, Link and other characters will change their facial expressions, something
that could not be pulled off as well using the realistic look.
The world is also different from past Zelda games. Most of the world in the
other games has been composed of land. In Wind Waker, Hyrule has been completely flooded, leaving only small islands
above water. The world is huge, consisting of a 7 x 7 grid of squares each approximately the size of Hyrule Field in
Ocarina of Time. Each square of the grid contains an island of some sort. Some are large with areas to explore,
some are small and contain only a fairy fountain or hidden cave. In addition to this, there are submarines and shops
in some of the squares as well. The world is absolutely huge, although it could have had more areas above ground to
explore, none of the islands were big compared to areas in previous games.
The enemies in the game are fun as well. Most are relatively easy however.
The only normal enemies that provide even a moderate challenge are the Darknuts and Wizzrobes. Unlike the Zelda games
on Nintendo 64, in Wind Waker there are enemies all over the place. You run into them while sailing your ship, on islands,
and especially in dungeons. There is no shortage of action in Wind Waker.
The dungeons are huge in Wind Waker. Each one is very detailed with a lot of
enemies in nearly every room, and the typical Zelda puzzles to solve. In a change from previous Zelda games, instead
of finding your items mostly in the dungeons, you will have to seek out a certain item before you can enter each dungeon,
so you get one item before the dungeon, then once inside the dungeon. The item you find inside the dungeon always has
some function in defeating the boss. The dungeons are as fun as they were in any previous Zelda game, but there were
only 5 in the game, 6 if you include Ganon's Tower, so there could have been more.
The bosses are done very well in Wind Waker. Each one is large and requires a special
strategy to be defeated. Generally speaking you use the item you find in the dungeon combined with the sword to defeat
each one. None of them are overly challenging and only the bosses in the final area of the game really provided even
an intermediate challenge.
Overall, Wind Waker is one of the best Zelda games in the series. The only major
improvements that could have been done would have been to make some of the islands larger so there was more land to explore,
and to add more dungeons to lengthen the game. Wind Waker is an excellent
game and the new look provides a fresh take on the series. Although the next Zelda will not be cel-shaded, I think this
game shows just what can be done with the technique and does a great job of it.