Link's Crossbow Training (Wii) Review

By Mike Mason 08.12.2007 21

Who likes accessories? Well, we don't mind them, but we weren't too sure when we saw the final form that Nintendo's Wii gun-shell would be taking. A sub-machine gun with two awkward-looking handles? Alright then. Thankfully the decision was made to include a game with the accessory, starring Link taking a break from the main Zelda series. At least one of the products included in the package has to be good, right?

Right. One of the products is good. Unfortunately for those looking forward to it, it's not the Zapper. We snatched it out of the packaging like greedy children snatching up jelly babies and were quite happy with how it looked – the plastic is sturdy, it looks to have a good shape to it. However, when you come to actually use it the problems arise thick and fast. The remote slots in fine, but the nunchuk is a little less secure because of the fact that it only sticks in place via its screw holes and a small plastic lock at the bottom. The wire from the nunchuk is wrapped inside a compartment on the underside of the Zapper, which is quite well-designed but doesn't have any room for the wrist strap, leaving you with the strap waving around irritatingly as you play.

More importantly, though, how is it when you play the game with it? It has a nice weight to it when the necessary components are slotted in, but the way it is held makes the hands ache – the plastic from the nunchuk support section digs into the hand that is holding the trigger section. We had no problems with accuracy using it, but the thing is just too cumbersome to use properly, which means that your speed takes a hit in the process. It feels good to be using a 'gun' rather than just the standard controller, but overall it wasn't worth playing with the more 'immersive' device when it made things much more awkward. We chucked it out of the way after fifteen minutes and used the Wii remote and nunchuk alone and suddenly found ourselves much better at the game. Funny, that. Summary of the Zapper, in a word? Rubbish.

Screenshot for Link's Crossbow Training on Wii

On to the second product in the package, the oddly-titled Link's Crossbow Training. There's not exactly any training in here – we'd be worried if a Wii game teaching people to shoot deadly projectiles appeared on shelves – as it's a nice, simple target shooting game at heart. The main game consists of nine levels, each of which has three timed stages that last a minute or so each. You earn points for shooting things (who didn't see that coming?) in each of the three stages and try to gain enough to be awarded medals (bronze to platinum). The scores you gain in each of the three stages per level are added together to make your final score for each level. New levels are unlocked when you score bronze medals or above until you have the full quota of nine. Alarm bells: feasibly, if you're naturally good at target shooting games and have a bit of luck, you could complete the single player mode within half an hour. We're not quite that good, but we polished it off within an hour – not with maximum scores, but it's still worrying how short the title is.

The three stages of the levels are divided into different categories. The first is the humble target shooting, wherein you're placed in a first person viewpoint and take out the targets. At pre-defined points the game will sound out a whistle and whisk you off to another location within the area and you will continue your penetrating of wooden circles with arrows. Some of the targets are a different colour and give you more points. Exciting stuff. As well as shooting at the targets you can also destroy quite a lot of the random things hanging around the environment for extra points – just don't shoot the Cucoos, or they'll minus points from your tally. Sometimes bonus gems pop up out of pots/barrels/etc. that you shoot to give you much-desired points. It's essential to be careful and string together successive hits without any misses to build up your multiplier and thus get decent scores if you want to progress. Disconcertingly, one of these stages asks you to shoot Gorons in the groin. Well, the targets they're holding there.

Screenshot for Link's Crossbow Training on Wii

The second type of stage is the 'Defender' mode. This one's third person, but Link is stuck on the spot. You can turn around 360 degrees by moving the reticule to the edges of the screen, and you must take out enemies as they swarm you from all sides. Luckily you have a radar that lets you know where they're all coming from to help out. You've got to continue using multipliers to build up your scores so that they're satisfactory, and now there are power-ups bobbing about that allow you to use your crossbow like an automatic machine gun for 100 arrows. We're not quite sure of the logistics of that one (where are the arrows stored? Wouldn't the launching mechanism get jammed if used repeatedly in such rapid succession? Oh screw it...), but it is quite fun to mow down a bunch of Stalfos. It's even more fun if you're using the Zapper, but you'll probably have realised how uncomfortable it is by this point and decided that the fun factor of this one instance just isn't worth the hassle.

The final stage type is the deepest and probably the best. Ranger mode puts you in a third person view and allows you to move around using the analogue stick to tramp about the stage and deliver metal to the bodies of several enemies that are prowling the environment. Sort them all out within the time limit and you get a Triforce bonus and get to wander around shooting up the environment at your will until the time runs out. As before, multipliers play a large role and you can get the strange automatic crossbow power-up. We would have liked a complete story-mode with this type of stage.

Screenshot for Link's Crossbow Training on Wii

That's about it, then. There's some lovely diversity between the modes and it all plays well, but it's really short. A multiplayer mode for up to four players is included to try and stave this off, but it's a case of one person playing a level, then passing the controller over and letting the other person play the level, so it's not very good. Other than that there's a practice mode that allows you to go through stages individually. It'll take a bit of work to get the best medals on each, but we can't imagine it's going to take more than a few hours in total.

What's there is fun, though. The Zelda licence works well with the title, which is especially surprising in the Ranger sections, and it's good fun to go through the locations of Twilight Princess decimating enemies with bolts of steel. You have to be a bit cynical though and ask why they felt the need to have the pack-in Zapper game be a member of the Zelda series – oh, of course, for the sales. Plus they could re-use all the Twilight Princess assets cheaply which, surprise surprise, they have. There's nothing wrong with Link's Crossbow Training aside the length, but seeing how it turned out makes us wish they'd put some more effort in, released something else with the Zapper and turned out Crossbow Training at a later date with a lot more in it. And a better title.

Screenshot for Link's Crossbow Training on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


The Zapper that hogs all the glory on the box is a waste of plastic that's only good if you really feel like immersing yourself in the game with something that resembles a gun at the cost of your comfort. Link's Crossbow Training is a good effort and great fun while it lasts, but it really needed to have more put into it and to be longer. Get Crossbow Training on its own if you can find it pre-owned – you can add a point onto the final score for the game alone, as the Zapper just drags the whole package down.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (3 Votes)

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


Thanks for that. My wife has been telling me that I don't really need to get this, despite my best efforts to persuade her otherwise. All of a sudden, I can see her side of the argument more clearly!

I honestly don't think it matters the "game" actually is. It's not intended as a stand-alone title, it's intended as packaged-in software to compliment the hardware. Think of it like Wii Sports being packaged in with Wii. With that in mind, 9 levels with 3 stages each level is really a beefy serving on what is essentially software to literally train you on using the Zapper peripheral.

I don't post much, but I will appreciate any feedback on the posts I do make. Feel free to PM

But the funny thing is... it's actually better without the Zapper...

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

so u didt like the Zapper then 0_< i feel alot of hate in this lol

but it get the job done i cant think of any other way of makeing the wii mote feel like a crossbow

Sorry about that. I was thinking about getting this, but I guess I will just stick with Wii Play for my target shooting needs.

I am not so sure about the zapper being THAT bad, maybe it's just one of those things you have to get used to, like the wiimote. At first it felt awkward to most, if not everybody. Nowadays it feels natural, so I would say to give the zapper some more play time to see if first impressions really were just that, first impressions.

I don't post much, but I will appreciate any feedback on the posts I do make. Feel free to PM

Whilst that review holds some truth to it, i would have rather have had Tempo review it simply because he reviewed Twilight Princess.

Now you say the models and the sounds used are the same of those in Twilight Princess. Infact i think they look a lil better and in the Twilight Princess review the Graphics and Sound both got higher scores than in your review.

Furthermore you are quick to put people off the Zapper. If you do use the wriststrap on the Wii-mote then take it off before connecting it to the Zapper. I dont use mine because i dont have a problem of throwing the controller out of my hand.

Also are you sure that you are connecting the Nunchuck correctly because it is very secure on mine, doesnt shift at all.

Maybe people with abnormally small hands will strugle with the Zapper.

No offence against your review though, you are meant to be critical. But looking at the posts made by other members, you have put them off majorly and i think this game is really one that you have to try for yourself.

For all of those in doubt i would buy this game for the pick up and play value!

One last thing...7,8,7,7 = 5?

Now i dont quite get that....surely it would equal 7?


The Zapper just isn't comfortable to me at all mainly because of the back handle on it. I find it awkwardly placed and it presses into the hand holding the trigger handle on the wrist/forearm. Believe me, I've given the Zapper a chance and tried it in the second configuration also (nunchuk in one hand, Zapper in the other), but it just doesn't feel right to me. I'm keeping it around in the hope that it'll work better with a proper lightgun game such as Ghost Squad without the need for as much movement - Umbrella Chronicles works better with it, but the game is unfortunately not designed for it despite Nintendo mentioning it when they showed off the Zapper so it doesn't work too well with that either as you need to be shaking the remote and pressing A.

Now you say the models and the sounds used are the same of those in Twilight Princess. Infact i think they look a lil better and in the Twilight Princess review the Graphics and Sound both got higher scores than in your review.

If there are improvements they're minimal. If we regarded the game to the same standards as a year ago we wouldn't be doing the game justice - we've had better looking and sounding games since then, and those scores are how I feel it stands up.

Furthermore you are quick to put people off the Zapper. If you do use the wriststrap on the Wii-mote then take it off before connecting it to the Zapper. I dont use mine because i dont have a problem of throwing the controller out of my hand.

So to use an accessory that's supposed to be quick and fun I'm supposed to remove a component I otherwise use, as many other users will do? That's just silly design, it wouldn't have hurt to have put an extra little hook on it somewhere to keep it out of the way.

Also are you sure that you are connecting the Nunchuck correctly because it is very secure on mine, doesnt shift at all.

It doesn't go falling out, but it is more wobbly than the remote. Have you seen the build quality of the nunchuk 'lock'? It doesn't exactly have the toughest hinge on it.

One last thing...7,8,7,7 = 5?

Now i dont quite get that....surely it would equal 7?

The scores aren't added up for an average. Overall I felt that the package was what the final score dictates - middle of the ground, alright, not bad but nothing worth writing home about. However, because two products are being scored at once the Zapper has taken that score down. Crossbow Training on its own would be a 6. It's undeniably good value for the price, though, and Crossbow Training has good if shallow gameplay, hence the 7s.

Because I can't edit review comments...

Minimal wobble on the nunchuk, that is. I have it secured properly, of course, but you can't deny that the way it's locked in isn't as secure as the way the remote is.

Whilst that review holds some truth to it, i would have rather have had Tempo review it simply because he reviewed Twilight Princess.

I was meant to be reviewing it, but Nintendo refused to send us a copy due to limited stock. Shame, as it would've made sense. I still think the final score Mike gives it is fair, especially based on what other people have been rating it.

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

Hmm fair enough, i thought the scores were done on average. I guess i was wrong. If thats the case than thats aight.

I can't say the Zapper is the coolest item for Nintendo to release, i still think it works perfectly for me.

I guess if you find Links Crossbow Training easier without the Zapper then it would be added challenge to do it with the Zapper.

Im also trying to get platinum medals on every level...that is prooving difficult.

Maybe i got a lil to pumped up a lil too quickly, but it doesnt take long to remove the wriststrap and then connect the Wii-mote to the zapper and then to reconnect it when uve finished.

The Zapper isn't meant to provide a challenge, if it's a challenge that means Nintendo fail at making peripherals. It's meant to improve experience, but it doesn't.

The thing I hate about the Zapper is Nintendo's hypocrisy. They stated the Wiimote could simulate guns, swords, and steering wheels. Why the fuck do they think we need an empty piece of plastic? It's a waste of plastic, a huge waste. Because of the Zapper and the Whiil, I can understand why GreenPeace said Nintendo sucked so much.

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

Yeah, the Nintendo not having stock was annoying. It was a last minute decision on our part to get a review out as soon as possible, and I was the first one willing to go out and buy it immediately.

The knot of the wriststrap annoys me, so that's why I'm not really willing to take it on and off for the sake of the Zapper.

I've just been playing again, alternating between Zapper and remote/nunchuk alone and I definitely think it's better without the Zapper - I find it less of a chore to play. I'm thinking where the Zapper will come into its own is a game like Ghost Squad where you're not having to shift around quickly as in the Defender levels.

Getting platinum medals is a great challenge, it's going to take me a bit to get all platinum. Despite the score I'd say it's worth

The Wiimote isn't a lightgun, so using a zapper isn't going to be anywhere near as good as something like a GunCon.

Add me on anything. I'm always looking for new friends/opponents/town visitors/chances to appear more popular than I actually am.

Actually the new GunCon (or whatever the TimeCrisis 4 gun is called) uses the same sort of technology as the wii remote.

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

Oh and about the game yeah i'm gonna probably give it a miss, I have zero interest in it and I don't want the zapper as is dosn't seem to add anything to anygame.

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

It's 20 GBP for you as well? Phew, as much as it is in money, I'm a bit relieved, that not only Germany pays 30 EUR, but UK as well. it's expensive methinks, that's almost 35 USD. At least it felts like this.

I already have my 2 Wiimotes under use: one in my Fender Stratocaster (Guitar Hero 3) and one to play wrapped in it's condom. Another to snap forever into Zapper is out of the question. And from the start I thought Zapper looked a bit odd with Nunchuck snapped into it on the rear.

Your Review may sound a bit harsh on Zapper, but with confirming after, that you gave a chance and was willing to let it be a fair bit of equipment (which it failed to be), I believe you, Mason. That's very okay to restate your opinion with very good arguments against very good concerns from us here. That's why I like Cubed

I find your lack of faith disturbing!

I think the game is worthy of a just hitting a 7 myself, I like it.

It may be brief but then this for me is a game where bettering your scores is the primary objective. I don't think the Zapper is all that bad but agree you can play this game a lot better without. I think the Zapper is all about feel and hopefully it will feel better in games to come.

Sounds alright, I was gonna get American Sk8tland, but never got round to getting it. Not sure about this though.

Good review Adam :Smilie

Thanks Marzy - do you like C3's new, snappier 'Quick Review' format, by the way? Saves us writing two full pages for 'smaller' games.

If you're a fan of TH games, but haven't tried a DS one yet, then definitely choose this. It's certainly not for those who played Sk8land or Downhill Jam, though, as it's far too similar.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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