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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (GameCube) Preview

The Nintendo Conference was vastly disappointing. In short, Nintendo waved about a couple of very small boxes, one of which was just a box that does something we already all have, and the other Nintendo said sod all about. Needless to say I was annoyed. So, I took to the show floor in search of something a little more worthwhile, needless to say the first place I stopped (after trying to break into a room where I thought the Revolution might be hidden) was the long, long line for The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess.

All the stupid idiots who pretend to go into semi-orgasmic pleasure at the mere mention of new Zelda details were in attendance, a lot of people carrying a little bit too much weight and jiggling excitedly as they got closer and closer to the game. Had it not been for my DS keeping me distracted I might have lost all faith in the games industry, thankfully the time passed away nice and quickly.

So, the game itself then. At the show Nintendo had four mini-demos on display, one showing off the horseback riding aspect, one showing off the town, one displaying a game dungeon called Forest Temple and the final being a boss battle for this dungeon.

First up, the controls. They are very much what you would expect. You use the analogue stick to move Link about, the A button lets link perform a number of context sensitive moves, the B button handles the sword and the X and Y buttons are buttons to select items from your inventory that are assigned to them. The C stick moves the camera about and the L trigger allows Link to lock-on to enemies. Finally, the Z button provides hints and tips on what you need to do.

Screenshot for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on GameCube

The first demo we played was that of Toaru Village. In it we are introduced to Link. The Nintendo Rep explained to me that Toaru Village is a small settling just outside Hyrule, and the Link you will be playing this time is a whole new character. The story of the game kicks off decades after the era of Ocarina of Time, but before Wind Waker. Confused? Yes, I was too. This time, Link isn't a mighty warrior or anything of note, just another guy working at the local ranch.

Link has been asked to attend the annual Hyrule Summit, but before you can leave, you have to do some herding! But Nintendo wouldn't give you cows; they've done that, or chickens, this time you get to herd goats! They stand dotted about a penned-in field, and if you walk up to one, you can press A and Link will grope it pleasingly. Huzzah.

Using some grass and a familiar whistled song, Link causes a hoofing great big horse to come crashing into the enclosure, hello Epona! When she comes trotting up to Link you can mount her from the side or behind (ahem

Screenshot for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on GameCube

With the challenge being timed we did manage to get it done just before the clock ran out. This demo was really quite structured, we jumped some fences with Epona, ran through some cut-scenes that push along a nice chatty, village-feeling plot. What is more, this area of the game is simply huge. There are beautiful shimmering streams, busy townsfolk wandering about the place, animals busying around town. The game world is all nice and interactive, and there are loads of little distractions to keep you occupied in areas like this.

One challenge we really liked was that of the mother with the lost baby. Now, we could swim after the poor bugger, but why do that when you can jump in a canoe? Using the L and R buttons to manoeuvre. It is great fun and the water just looks fantastic. We decided to play about with the villagers and village itself for a while, and found plenty to do before we were ushered to its conclusion by the Nintendo Rep. We come to an opening where Epona and a beautiful young girl. Once again cut-scene kicks in, a seemingly prominent feature in this title. And this final one is certainly dramatic. The girl is shot by a group of boar-riders who come crashing into the scene, she falls (unconscious or dead?) into a stream. Link is then struck about the head and he too falls down. Later, Link awakens, exploring the nearby area, something is horribly wrong. A blackness has appeared, and as Link moves into it a hand reaches out from within and pulls him inwards.

Screenshot for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on GameCube

The second E3 2005 demo level explores the horseback combat mechanic that has got so many people talking. Here, Link stands in a small field, with the Chiefton Marauder (the git who kidnapped the girl in the previous sequence). He raises a staff, on which a kidnapped girl is strapped, her body hanging limply. A blow of his horn and more Marauders appear, time to race.

The idea here is to knock Chiefton off his horse. To do this you have to catch him. Once again, sounds easy; but it isn't. You first have to catch up with the speedy git, and you do this by basically kicking Epona (with your spurs), sadly you don't get enough in a row to catch Chiefton on your own steam, so you have to kill other foes running alongside you to get more and kick up some real speed. If you're not careful you can get knocked off your horse (this happened to us twice), but once you get into the swing of things fighting on horseback is second nature, great fun and a wonderful new aspect to the game!

Eventually we catch up with Chiefton and beat him, which kicks off one of the best scenes we have ever seen in a Zelda game. When Chiefton gets knocked off the bridge you were fighting him on, the camera swoops back out to a greater distance. We see Link on Epona and a huge shimmering red sun. Epona rears up on her hind legs and Link raises his sword...all in slow motion, and all in 'awesome-o-vision'.

Screenshot for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on GameCube

Worth waiting for?

Graphically the game is stunning, the level of detail is massive, and everything is done to a stunning level of perfection. Enemies are just as well crafted as Link himself, and the same can be said for random characters in the game that you just pass by when playing. Furthermore, the whole thing looks huge. Hills and mountains roll off towards the horizon and it all just looks so epically fantastic. We'll have impressions of the other two sections of the demo very soon, check back for those later!

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (66 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Preview

That's the thing about Zelda games. The animation is even better than the graphics making the game world feel so REAL!

Nice Preview! :Smilie

I'm pretty sure it is a boy attached to the chieftan's staff, but with gender confusion these days who knows

this is the best review because you added funny parts and hillarios parts so this is the best out of 5

peter rodriguez

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