The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks Review
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Nintendo 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Nintendo 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Dec. 7, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Treasures and collectibles are similar to the ones found in Phantom Hourglass, but this time you'll be able to trade them for train parts. You'll also get a Stamp Book you'll use to collect stamps throughout the game. Additionally, there's a weird side quest that will have you catching bunnies while in your missions. Altogether, these side quests are not extremely exciting, but it helps you fulfill those ulterior completionist's motives and extend the adventure. If you were to ignore the side missions, you could probably end the game in about 20 hours, but we all know most Zelda fans like to squeeze their games till the last drop!

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks screenshot

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks looks just as great as Phantom Hourglass, with comical character design and fantastically rendered 3D environments and characters, full of details and vibrant colors. The textures are still a little iffy, but there isn't much more that can be done with the DS when it comes to graphics. Luckily, the music really helps to complement the brilliant presentation. It's like a console game in a little package. Every section of the game is accompanied with great tunes, some borrowed from previous games, and some new. Like everyone knows, Zelda soundtracks never disappoint!

As far as controls, don't expect major changes from Phantom Hourglass. That game already had near perfect controls, so why change them? Still, it surprises me that everything is done with the stylus. You just tap and hold where you want to go, and Link will get there; tap the enemies, and Link will attack them; draw a circle, and he'll do a spin-attack - everything is simple and accessible, yet I would like to have the alternative to use the D-pad to control Link. Maybe that would just mess things up, but I kind of miss the classic control style. On the other hand, the stylus just seems to offer the most intuitive controls, plus you can draw on maps and write down reminders for the ongoing quest - very useful indeed.

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Spirit Tracks also includes a local multiplayer battle mode for up to four players. Players have to fight for the Force Gems that drop on the stage while avoiding enemies, obstacles, and their own adversaries. The player who collects more gems will be the winner. This MP mode is simple and lighthearted, but it can also be a blast! Wi-Fi play would have been great too, but I'm not complaining.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks screenshot

All in all, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is a great package and also one of the best portable games available this holiday season. It's not quite as lengthy or extensive as a Zelda game for the Wii, but it certainly includes all those elements Zelda fans are looking for: lots of dungeon crawling, puzzles, good storyline, charming visuals, etc. Best of all, you can take it with you on your next trip and even play it with a friend. If you're a Zelda follower, you simply can't miss this game, and if you're not, just make sure you're okay with investing time exploring, talking to characters, and solving puzzles, as that's what the series is all about.

By Maria Montoro
CCC Site Director

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.8
Graphics
Dazzling Wind Waker-style environment and character design really stand out on the DS. The only thing that could be improved is some of the textures.
4.6
Control
Very accessible stylus-based controls. However, additional D-pad controls to move Link wouldn't hurt.
4.9
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The game is filled with wonderful, console-quality tunes that you can only find in games of this caliber. Zelda soundtracks never disappoint!
5.0

Play Value
Zelda fans cannot miss this new installment in the series. It contains a great story and awfully fun gameplay with plenty of dungeons, puzzles, special items, and lands to explore. In addition, there's a fun, lighthearted local multiplayer mode that only requires one game cartridge.

4.6
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • For the first time in the 23-year history of The Legend of Zelda series, Princess Zelda is leaving the villainous clutches of the underworld behind and joining the adventure with Link. In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, the spirit of Zelda accompanies Link on his quest to save Hyrule. Directly affecting gameplay like never before, Zelda's spirit can take control of hulking suits of armor known as Phantoms, allowing the player to direct both Link and these new allies as they battle enemies, solve puzzles and uncover secrets.
  • When Link conducts the train, players enjoy a satisfying combination of action and real-time puzzle solving as they determine which track to take and how to best manipulate their speed. When on the train, Link must plot the best route to the end of the line around ever-moving obstacles. While en route, Link might need to fire an onboard cannon at enemies who attack the train or sound the whistle to scare animals off the tracks.
  • Link uses a variety of new items and weapons, including the Whirlwind, which players activate by blowing into the microphone of the Nintendo DS or Nintendo DSi system.
  • As with The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, players can draw notes on the in-game maps using thestylus on the touch screen.
  • Up to four players can compete in a new multiplayer mode via a local wireless connection with one game card. In this mode, players explore six unique areas in search of valuable Force Gems. Players must also avoid patrolling Phantoms, while setting off traps and using hidden abilities to foil their opponents.


  • Screenshots / Images
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