Set sail for Link's most colourful adventure yet.

Typically, when a new Zelda game is announced everyone is feverishly commenting on the scale of the adventure that awaits them or reminiscing in the nostalgic feelings that few franchises such as The Legend of Zelda can provide. However, this was not particularly the case in regards to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

When Wind Waker was revealed at E3, many fans were in outcry at the dramatic art style Nintendo had adopted for Link’s latest adventure. After The Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, many fans were expecting a more mature, realistic design of Link. But instead they had to kiss good bye to pseudo-realistic Link and say hello to cartoony, big cat-eyed Link. Even Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the The Legend of Zelda series, recently commented on the controversy that the now dubbed ‘Toon Link’ created.

In an interview with GameBlog Miyamoto said “I’ll admit it took courage to make this design more cartoon (like). In the end we took this decision at that time because we really wanted to make a typical Nintendo game – an adventure that represents the soul of our society”.

“So Link is a boy. It was completely reinvented with a more streamlined look. Moreover it allowed us to create a real distinction between his adventures on home console and portable. Each has its own identity and that is just fine.

“So yes, well I know, there are plenty of people who hate (the) cartoon version (of Link)… but there it is!”

The Legend Re-Drawn

I remember frantically running around every retailer when Wind Waker was released searching for a copy. I was never a big fan of pre-ordering games, even now it’s something I tend to forget to do. After countless, ‘sorry mate, it’s sold out’, I tried one last store, usually they never had anything worthwhile in stock. But guess what? *Play Zelda item catch theme* they had one copy in stock! I was delighted when the shop assistant came out and handed me the beautiful, gold adorned GameCube case. I instantly knew I held something special in my hands.

As was customary, I read the manual on the drive home.

As was customary, I read the manual on the drive home. For some reason when I read game manuals while traveling, I never tended to feel motion sickness as I would with any other reading material. Please bear in mind I was not driving at the time and attempting to do so would be rather dangerous or talented depending on the way you regard road safety laws…

Small Disc; Big Journey!

I inserted the rather novel miniature GameCube disc (how cool were those?) and there he was, the controversial ‘Toon Link’ in all his cartoony, animated glory. The nautical musical stylings of classic Zelda themes accompanied the new-look hero with aplomb.

Did the drastic change in graphical direction pay off for Link’s first adventure on the GameCube? Yes, superbly. Never before had the magical enchanting aura, a trademark of the series, been more noticeable or engaging. The artistic direction was revolutionary, producing beautiful cell-shaded graphics unlike anything seen before. The world was alive with charm and wonder, begging to be explored by land or, a central aspect of the game, by sea. Quite simply, Wind Waker was a graphical marvel. Even today Wind Waker exudes class and the typical timeless Nintendo charm is immediately apparent.

Wake Hoarding

If you’ve played any of The Legend of Zelda games, (if you haven’t, then seriously, what the hell have you been doing!?), then you know what to expect when it comes to how the game works.

A captivating story unfolds as you follow Link on a heroic quest. This typically involves vanquishing enemies, collecting items, solving puzzles and, a staple of the series, obtaining a magical musical instrument vital to the quest you have set upon. Oh and don’t forget all the while attempting to thwart Link’s evil nemesis, Ganondorf. The less said about that jerk the better.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker holds up extremely well to this day.

In this case, said musical instrument is the Wind Waker. By using the baton, Link can control the direction of the wind at his whim. Why would you need to do this you may ask? Well, Link has a rather important companion reliant on this very technique. A talking boat no less. This charming fellow is named ‘The King of Red Lions’. Personally, I believe he was one of the most engaging companions Link has encountered to date. ‘Navi’ (the fairy and essentially Link’s guide from Ocarina of Time) was just plain annoying.”HEY… LISTEN!” Christ…

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker holds up extremely well to this day. The graphics are still unique, the story enchanting and the solid gameplay is intact. If you were originally put off by the game’s art direction then I implore you to try it out. I’m sure that you will find it impossible to resist such a beautifully envisioned and well executed game.

Time to set sail…