GBA REVIEW: THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE MINISH CAP

Capitalizing on the success of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, this new game entitled, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, continues the adventure but with a completely new storyline and fresh gameplay ideas. This is a true gift to Zelda fans.

If you've played Four Swords chances are that you enjoyed it. It was a very well received game. It featured four Links in what could best be described as a four-player co-op game. Teamwork was paramount to completing the quest. The Minish Cap uses some of the same elements as Four Swords, such as multiple links and the ability to shrink Link but it's very well done and in no way reeks of rehash. There is no multi-player mode. The story is all new and was created specifically for the GBA. Consequently this is the best version of Zelda to ever grace a GBA.

Princess Zelda, that helpless wench, has been turned to stone. Link, the hero, must embark on a quest to find a race of tiny people called the Minish that will be able to assist him in normalizing the princess. Only kids with pure hearts can see these little guys. With the ability to shrink, Link can locate and interact with the Minish.

As in past games, Link's adventure will be a blend of exploring, combat and puzzle solving. All these elements are perfectly blended although the length of the game is instrumental in making some aspects repetitive. The normal and miniature worlds break things up quite a bit. When Link turns small, everyday items such as books, stairs and mushrooms become major obstacles. Not to mention the woodland creatures which become dangerous bosses.

Kinstones are a new addition to the gameplay. They are halves of a whole icon that you will find in your travels. The various NPCs in the game will have the other halves. Once you find the character that has the other piece you will unlock some kind of useful surprise such as rupees to purchase weapons or armor, health, and new areas on the map with new quests. Matching all of the Kinstones will require some major backtracking as you will run into some characters earlier that have the other half of a Kinstone that you may not find till later in the game. You don't have to find all of the Kinstone but you have to locate a few major ones to complete the game.

As in past Zelda games, you learn as you go. Powers, abilities, weapons, enemies, information, puzzles and quests will be dealt with as you encounter them. The gameplay is not overly complex but it does keep you on the edge of your seat. There's some new development at virtually every turn which keeps you engaged. It's truly the kind of game that can be played by any player of any age or skill.

With tons of enemies on screen, multiple scrolling backgrounds and the occasional special effect, The Minish Cap is one seriously good-looking Zelda game. It puts any N64 version to shame. I just wish the screen was bigger. Orchestrated music adds a dimension of class seldom experienced in GBA games. Link uses his grunts and groans to good effect but don't expect any full-blown voiceover work.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is an excellent game with great production values. If it had been released a month earlier it would definitely be up for GBA game of the year 2004.

Another Viewpoint By Kelly
OVERALL
3.0
GRAPHICS
3.0
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
3.5
VALUE
3.0

Capitalizing on the success of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, this new game entitled, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, continues the adventure but with a completely new storyline and fresh gameplay ideas. This is a true gift to Zelda fans.

If you've played Four Swords chances are that you enjoyed it. It was a very well received game. It featured four Links in what could best be described as a four-player co-op game. Teamwork was paramount to completing the quest. The Minish Cap uses some of the same elements as Four Swords, such as multiple links and the ability to shrink Link but it's very well done and in no way reeks of rehash. There is no multi-player mode. The story is all new and was created specifically for the GBA. Consequently this is the best version of Zelda to ever grace a GBA.

Princess Zelda, that helpless wench, has been turned to stone. Link, the hero, must embark on a quest to find a race of tiny people called the Minish that will be able to assist him in normalizing the princess. Only kids with pure hearts can see these little guys. With the ability to shrink, Link can locate and interact with the Minish.

As in past games, Link's adventure will be a blend of exploring, combat and puzzle solving. All these elements are perfectly blended although the length of the game is instrumental in making some aspects repetitive. The normal and miniature worlds break things up quite a bit. When Link turns small, everyday items such as books, stairs and mushrooms become major obstacles. Not to mention the woodland creatures which become dangerous bosses.

Kinstones are a new addition to the gameplay. They are halves of a whole icon that you will find in your travels. The various NPCs in the game will have the other halves. Once you find the character that has the other piece you will unlock some kind of useful surprise such as rupees to purchase weapons or armor, health, and new areas on the map with new quests. Matching all of the Kinstones will require some major backtracking as you will run into some characters earlier that have the other half of a Kinstone that you may not find till later in the game. You don't have to find all of the Kinstone but you have to locate a few major ones to complete the game.

As in past Zelda games, you learn as you go. Powers, abilities, weapons, enemies, information, puzzles and quests will be dealt with as you encounter them. The gameplay is not overly complex but it does keep you on the edge of your seat. There's some new development at virtually every turn which keeps you engaged. It's truly the kind of game that can be played by any player of any age or skill.

With tons of enemies on screen, multiple scrolling backgrounds and the occasional special effect, The Minish Cap is one seriously good-looking Zelda game. It puts any N64 version to shame. I just wish the screen was bigger. Orchestrated music adds a dimension of class seldom experienced in GBA games. Link uses his grunts and groans to good effect but don't expect any full-blown voiceover work.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is an excellent game with great production values. If it had been released a month earlier it would definitely be up for GBA game of the year 2004.

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System: GBA
Dev: Flagship
Pub: Nintendo
Release: Jan 2005
Players: 1
Review by Shelby
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.5
GRAPHICS
4.0
CONTROL
5.0
MUSIC/FX
4.5
VALUE
2.0