The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker


The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
ZeldaWindWakerGCNCoverArtUS.jpg
North American box art
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Eiji Aonuma
Producer(s) Shigeru Miyamoto
Takashi Tezuka
Writer(s) Mitsuhiro Takano
Hajime Takahashi
Eiji Aonuma[1]
Composer(s) Kenta Nagata
Hajime Wakai
Toru Minegishi
Koji Kondo
Series The Legend of Zelda
Platform(s) Nintendo GameCube
Release date(s) JP 20021213December 13, 2002
NA 20030324March 24, 2003
EU 20030502May 2, 2003
AU 20030507May 7, 2003
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s)

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, released as The Legend of Zelda: Takt of Wind[2] (ゼルダの伝説 風のタクト Zeruda no Densetsu: Kaze no Takuto?, lit. "The Legend of Zelda: Baton of Wind") in Japan, is an action-adventure game and the tenth installment in The Legend of Zelda series. It was released for the Nintendo GameCube in Japan on December 13, 2002, in North America on March 24, 2003, in Europe on May 2, 2003, and in Australia on May 7, 2003. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for the Nintendo DS is the direct sequel to The Wind Waker.

The game is set on a group of islands in a vast sea—a first for the series. The player controls Link, the protagonist of the Zelda series. He struggles against his nemesis, Ganondorf, for control of a sacred relic known as the Triforce. Link spends a large portion of the game sailing, traveling between islands, and traversing through dungeons and temples to gain the power necessary to defeat Ganondorf. He also spends time trying to find his little sister.

The Wind Waker follows in the footsteps of Ocarina of Time and its sequel Majora's Mask, retaining the basic gameplay and control system from the two Nintendo 64 titles. A heavy emphasis is placed on using and controlling wind with a baton called the Wind Waker, which aids sailing and floating in air.[3][4][5][6] Controversial during development for its use of cel shading graphics and younger Link character, The Wind Waker was one of the Nintendo GameCube's most popular games.

Contents

Gameplay

The control scheme of The Wind Waker is largely unchanged from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. Link's basic actions of walking, running, attacking, defending, and automatic jumping at ledges are retained. Link also uses the control system introduced in Ocarina of Time that allows him to "lock-on" to an enemy or other target. An addition to this basic control scheme is the ability to parry. When Link is locked-on to an opponent and not actively defending, certain attacks by the opponent will trigger a visual cue, a vibration of the controller, and a chime. Attacking at that point causes Link to dodge or parry then counter-attack from the rear or while leaping over the foe's head. This tactic becomes crucial for defeating armored enemies or bosses.

The new art style used in The Wind Waker gives Link eyes that are much larger and more expressive than in previous games. This allows Link to focus his gaze on approaching enemies or important items. For example, if Link needs to solve a puzzle by lighting a torch to set a distant object on fire, his eyes might turn to look at a nearby stick, giving a hint to an observant player on how to proceed.

As with all Zelda games, The Wind Waker features several dungeons—large, enclosed areas. Link battles enemies, collects items, and solves puzzles to progress through a dungeon, fighting a boss at the end. To complete a dungeon, Link primarily uses a sword and shield. Other weapons commonly used by Link include a bow and arrow, a boomerang, bombs, and a grappling hook. Certain enemy weapons can be picked up and used, a feature new to the Zelda series.

The Wind Waker, like most Zelda games, includes many side-quests, such as the Nintendo Gallery. When Link is in the Forest Haven, he can use a Deku Leaf to glide to a cylindrical island with a hatch containing the sculptor Carlov and his gallery. Once Link obtains a color camera called the Deluxe Picto Box, he can take pictures of non-player characters and enemies, which Carlov uses to sculpt figurines. There are a total of 134 figurines to collect, but Link can only hold three pictures at a time.

After completing the game, the player can replay it with minor modifications: Link starts with the Deluxe Picto Box, making the Nintendo Gallery side-quest easier to complete; Aryll wears a maroon dress with skulls given to her by pirates; Link can understand the Hylian language; and Link wears his blue crayfish outfit, as in the beginning, throughout the game, instead of the traditional green tunic and cap.

Another side-quest present in all Zelda games (except The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks), collecting Pieces of Heart, returns. The Wind Waker also includes Treasure Charts, which are scattered throughout the Great Sea. The player can find these maps and recover them, then search for whatever is charted on the map. Treasures include Rupees, Pieces of Heart, and other various charts such as the "Big Octo Chart" and the "Island Hearts Chart".

Wind and travel

The Wind Waker is set on a sea consisting of 49 sections arranged on a seven by seven grid. Each section contains an island or small group of islands. Therefore, a significant portion of the game is spent sailing between islands, allowing the game to mask loading times by accessing data while the player is approaching an island.

To sail between areas quickly, Link uses the Wind Waker, a baton that manipulates wind direction with a series of pieces of music. Additionally, wind is often needed to solve puzzles. The Deku Leaf allows Link to use wind to spin turbines or to glide for short distances. By creating a tailwind, Link can glide farther distances to reach remote areas. An on-screen weather vane displays the current wind direction.

Plot

Interviews with the game's director have specified that The Wind Waker takes place about a hundred years after the defeat of Ganon in Ocarina of Time.[7][8] However, the dialog of the game describes the period that has passed as "hundreds of years".[9][10] The Wind Waker is set in a sea scattered with several islands, which necessitates frequent sailing and naval combat. Link lives with his grandmother and his younger sister Aryll on Outset Island, one of the few inhabited islands of the Great Sea. The people of the Great Sea pass down a legend of a prosperous kingdom with a hidden golden power. Ganon found and stole this power, using it to spread darkness until a boy dressed in green sealed the evil with the Blade of Evil's Bane. The boy became known as the Hero of Time, and passed into legend. One day, the sealed evil began to return, but the Hero of Time did not reappear. The inhabitants of the Great Sea are unsure of the kingdom's fate, but it is clear that this legend is the story of Ocarina of Time.

When boys of Outset Island come of age, they are customarily dressed in green like the Hero of Time. The elders hope to instill the courage of the Hero in the children. It is Link's birthday as The Wind Waker opens, and he receives the familiar costume. Aryll's present to Link is permission to use her telescope; as he looks through it, he spots a large bird carrying a girl to a nearby forest. After retrieving a sword, Link sets out to investigate. Link rescues the girl, only to have Aryll kidnapped by the same bird as it returns. The girl rescued in the forest is Tetra, captain of a pirate ship. At Link's request, they sail to the Forsaken Fortress, where a mysterious figure is holding Aryll and several other girls. Following an unsuccessful raid, Link is thrown from the fortress. A talking boat called the King of Red Lions rescues Link, and tells him that the master of the Forsaken Fortress is Ganon, the evil of legend.

The King of Red Lions gives Link the Wind Waker, a baton able to control the wind and move it in all directions, and instructs Link to sail the Great Sea in search of the three Goddesses' pearls. Link retrieves the pearls and takes them to the three Triangle Islands, causing the Tower of the Gods to rise from the sea. After battling Gohdan in the tower to prove his worth, Link sails into a ring of light and is taken beneath the waters to Hyrule Castle, overrun with enemies and frozen in time. Link descends a hidden staircase and finds the Master Sword, the evil-repelling blade used by the Hero of Time to seal Ganondorf. By removing the sword, Link awakens the castle and all enemies inside. He destroys the enemies and returns to the surface.

With the Master Sword in hand, Link returns to the Forsaken Fortress and joins Tetra and the pirates. He frees Aryll and the other captives and slays the Helmaroc King, the bird that captured Aryll, but is easily overpowered by Ganondorf. Ganondorf tells Link that taking the Master Sword has fully lifted the seal, unbinding his full power; furthermore, the Master Sword has lost its own power to repel evil. Ganondorf lifts Tetra by the neck, and notices that she is wearing a fragment of the Triforce of Wisdom as a necklace. As he calls her Princess Zelda, two Rito that Link helped while finding the Goddesses' Pearls rescue Link and Tetra, and the dragon Valoo sets the entire fortress ablaze.

Link and Tetra sail back to the castle at the bottom of the sea and descend the staircase, where they meet Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, the King of Hyrule and the voice of the King of Red Lions. He tells Link and Tetra that the prayers of the people in the legend were answered—the gods sealed Ganondorf and all of Hyrule with him by flooding the kingdom with a torrential rainstorm, ordering those chosen to take refuge on the mountaintops, revealing that the islands of the Great Sea are the tallest points of the now-flooded Hyrule. The King combines a piece of the Triforce of Wisdom with the fragment in Tetra's necklace, causing her to transform into the traditional appearance of Princess Zelda. The King then discovers that the cause of the Master Sword's loss of power was the assassination of the Sages of Earth and Wind. Link plays the Earth God's Lyric to Medli and the Wind God's Aria to Makar, awakening in them the knowledge that they are new Sages of Earth and Wind. Their prayers restore the full power of the Master Sword.

Link goes on a variety of quests to find and decode eight Triforce charts that mark the locations of the pieces of the Triforce of Courage. Link raises the pieces from the sea and restores the Triforce of Courage, which dwells inside Link, marking him as the Hero of Winds.

With the restored Master Sword and the Triforce of Courage, Link returns once more to Hyrule Castle, where Zelda disappears before him. Link breaks through the barrier beyond Hyrule Castle and enters Ganon's Tower. Ganondorf reveals himself to Link, claiming that Link is the reborn Hero of Time and that fate has allowed him to bring the Triforce together again, just as he had with the Hero of Time. The three Triforces are extracted from Ganondorf, Link, and Zelda and combine to form the complete Triforce. As whoever touches the complete Triforce gets their wish granted, Ganondorf demands that the gods expose Hyrule to the sun once more, under his control. Before he can reach the Triforce, however, King Daphnes suddenly appears and touches the Triforce. He asks the gods of the Triforce to give Link and Zelda a future and to wash away Hyrule and Ganondorf. The Triforce splits apart and the ocean above begins to pour down all around the tower.

Knowing that the King has just ensured his own destruction, Ganondorf, whose mind has finally cracked, begins battling Link. The battle ends with Link plunging the Master Sword into Ganondorf's head, turning him to stone. Link and Zelda float to the surface in a bubble, leaving Ganondorf and the king to drown underwater with Hyrule. Link and Zelda, now in the form of Tetra, sail away on the pirate ship and the now inanimate King of Red Lions in search of a new land with the wind as their guide. These events are immediately followed in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.

Development

Nintendo announced on March 3, 1999 that a new video game system was under development. This system, the Nintendo GameCube, was revealed on August 24, 2000, the day before Nintendo's Space World 2000 exposition.[11] Along with the specifications and designs for the console, Nintendo had several software demonstrations on hand to showcase the power of the GameCube, one of which was a realistically styled real-time duel between Ganondorf and Link. This demo was given the name The Legend of Zelda 128, similar to Super Mario 128. Despite being a hastily assembled technical demonstration, fans and the media speculated that the battle might be from a game under development or at least an indication of the direction the next Zelda game would take.[12] Staff at IGN referred to the demo as an "unofficial sequel", calling it "absolutely everything we could have hoped for in a Gamecube Zelda title" and stating that "the future looks very bright for Nintendo loyalists".[12]

A screenshot from the Legend of Zelda Space World 2000 tech demo.

Nintendo said nothing more about the possibility of a GameCube Zelda game until one year later at Space World 2001, where a completely new Zelda was shown. Replacing the dark, gritty demo of 2000 was a new cel-shaded look, which resembled an interactive cartoon. Shigeru Miyamoto said the new look was designed to "extend Zelda's reach to all ages".[13] The cel-shaded approach was a radical shift and IGN staff wondered if two separate games might be in concurrent development.[14]

Details such as explosions are rendered using 2D sprites in a 3D environment, making the game feel stylistically similar to a cartoon.

While some at the event enjoyed the new look, there was a backlash from disappointed fans who had been expecting a realistic Zelda game. Many critics referred to the game as "Celda", a portmanteau of "Zelda" and "Cel-shading". Miyamoto was surprised at the reaction to the footage and the media's claim that Nintendo was shifting its focus to a younger audience,[15] and he refused to reveal anything further until a playable demonstration became available. It was hoped that once critics played the game, they would focus on the all-important gameplay, rather than simply reacting to the new graphic style.

Miyamoto promised a playable version for E3 2002 and a release later that year.[16] When Nintendo did exhibit a playable demo at E3 2002 it picked up the 2002 Game Critics Awards for Best Console Game at E3. An editor at IGN said the cartoon look "works very nicely" and that "it feels very much like Zelda".[17] The whimsical style was compared to A Link to the Past and promotional artwork from previous Zelda games. E3 also introduced new features, such as the ability to connect to the Game Boy Advance and receive help from Tingle.[18] The script of the game was written by Mitsuhiro Takano and Hajime Takahashi,[19] based on a story idea by Aonuma.[1]

On October 15, 2002, the Japanese subtitle Kaze no Takuto (Baton of Wind) was revealed, to emphasize the role of wind in the game.[20] Nintendo announced the official translation, The Wind Waker, on December 2, 2002,[21] and a North American release date of March 24, 2003 was set two days later.[22]

Bundling and legacy

On November 22, 2002, an update to Nintendo's Japanese Kaze no Takuto website revealed that a special bonus disc was being offered to pre-ordering customers.[23] This bonus GameCube disc, given at the time of the pre-order, contained an emulated version of Ocarina of Time and Ura Zelda, an expansion for Ocarina of Time with modified dungeons and other small changes that had never been previously released due to the failure of the Nintendo 64DD. On December 4, 2002 this offer was extended to North American consumers, with Ura Zelda translated to Ocarina of Time: Master Quest.[24] Some retailers made the mistake of giving the bonus discs away then allowing consumers to cancel their pre-orders without returning the disc. As a result, the European bonus disc was included with The Wind Waker in a two-disc case.[25]

On November 17, 2003, Nintendo released a new GameCube bundle that included The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition, a compilation disc containing versions of The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, a twenty-minute playable demo of The Wind Waker, and two short featurettes. The disc was also given to consumers who registered a GameCube and two games at Nintendo's website or subscribed or renewed a subscription to Nintendo Power.[26]

Wal-Mart customers could buy a special Nintendo GameCube bundle, including The Wind Waker, the Ocarina of Time bonus disc (each in the same case), and a Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Advance Cable for a limited time. In Australia, Collector's Edition was available with the purchase of two GameCube games or a GameCube console; Australians could also purchase a bundle with the console, The Wind Waker and Collector's Edition for a limited time.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, a direct sequel with a similar art style, was released for the Nintendo DS in 2007. In it, Link sails the Great Sea with Tetra and the pirates, but is separated after an encounter with a ghost ship. Director Eiji Aonuma was inspired to create the sequel out of his desire to continue The Wind Waker's art style.[27] A modified version of The Wind Waker's engine was used in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess,[28] released in 2006. Twilight Princess uses a realistic art style, but some cel-shaded elements remain.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl has a second playable Link character, called "Toon Link", based on the style of The Wind Waker, with all of the various weapons that the regular Link uses.[29] Other content based on The Wind Waker includes trophies,[30] stickers,[31] music,[32] and a partially cel-shaded pirate ship stage.[33]

Music

The music in The Wind Waker was composed by Kenta Nagata, Hajime Wakai, Toru Minegishi, and Koji Kondo. The game's soundtrack, Zelda no Densetsu ~Kaze no Takuto~ Original Sound Tracks, was released on March 19, 2003, and comes in a two disc set featuring one hundred and thirty-three tracks. The music has an Irish influence,[34] and some pieces feature uilleann pipes. The theme for Dragon Roost Island, which was composed by Nagata, is more influenced by Andean or Incan music, relying heavily on pan flute and guitar. Several pieces from The Wind Waker are featured in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.[32] The mandolin played in the intro story scene was borrowed from Shigeru Miyamoto.[35]

Track listing

Reception

 Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 95%[37]
Metacritic 96% (80 reviews)[38]
Review scores
Publication Score
Famitsu 40 of 40[39]
Game Informer 10 of 10[40]
IGN 9.6 of 10[41]
Nintendo Power 5/5 stars[42]
Awards
Entity Award
GameSpot Game of the Year, 2003[43]

The Wind Waker is the fourth of fifteen games to receive a perfect score from Famitsu magazine, despite claims that it lacks the sense of newness that accompanied Ocarina of Time, the first 3D Zelda game.[39] Reviewers favorably noted the gameplay similarities to Ocarina of Time and praised the cel-shaded art style that had initially met a cold reception. GamePro called the game "a combination of vivid artistry and timeless gameplay";[44] IGN advised gamers to "forget that Wind Waker looks totally different from Ocarina of Time" since "these two games are very much alike".[41] The 2004 Game Developers Choice Awards and the Seventh Annual Interactive Achievement Awards gave The Wind Waker awards for Excellence in Visual Arts[45] and Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction,[46] respectively. In 2007, it was named fourth best GameCube game of all time in IGN's feature reflecting on the GameCube's lifespan.[47]

The game's most common criticism is the heavy emphasis on sailing. GameSpot noted that the game "starts out in a very brisk manner", but that in the last third of the game, the "focus on sailing … is pretty tedious".[48] IGN complained that viewing the animation of using the Wind Waker "hundreds of times" became "a tedious nuisance", and that the lack of an option to skip the animation "is more bothersome still".[41] GameSpot thought that some players would be "a little put off" by the "easy puzzles and boss battles"; IGN called the boss battles "slightly simplistic" and noted that enemies "inflict little damage onto Link". GamePro, on the other hand, felt that the dungeons tended to be "huger and more challenging with new twists", with treasure hunts that would "tax even the most accomplished Zelda gamer".[44]

Despite some negative comments, critics consistently gave The Wind Waker high reviews, with Nintendo Power calling the game the fourth best game to ever appear on a Nintendo console,[49] while Official Nintendo Magazine placed it 12th.[50] Nintendo Power listed its ending as one of the greatest in Nintendo history, due to the final battle's climax.[51] The game also met commercial success, propelling sales of the GameCube console,[52] and becoming the most successful pre-order campaign in Nintendo history.[53] UGO listed The Wind Waker on their list of the "Top 50 Games That Belong On the 3DS", stating "Sailing through the oceans of a submerged Hyrule in 3D shatters the word epic into pieces."[54]


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