Pros: Fun to play from beginning to end with the high production you
would expect in a Legend of Zelda title.
Cons: Some people won't like the "cute" style or the short length.
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is the fourth game from Nintendo and
Capcom's collaboration. Originally, this game was set to debut shortly
after the Oracle of Seasons and Ages games that were released way back
in the Game Boy Color days. After all these years in limbo development
was it worth the wait? Defiantly.
The Minish Cap is a completely
original Zelda adventure, it takes a departure in gameplay and style
from the older Oracle games. First of all you'll notice that the art
style of the game is a mix between Four Swords Adventures and The Wind
Waker. Like it or not, the game has a "living cartoon" feel to it. Link
looks young, almost like he just stepped out of the Wind Waker and onto
your GBA. He's animated with boyish expressions, instead of looking like
a hardened warrior. The enemies that Link battles also reflect this
style. You'll be battling smiling blobs, towers of raccoons stacked on
one another and a pirate cat. Gamers who didn't like the art direction
of the Wind Waker won't easily embrace The Minish Cap, but they should
give it a chance. Beyond the innocent look of the game lies a large
The Minish Cap takes no time getting players into the action. At the
start of the game Princess Zelda is turned to stone and all of the evils
of the world are released from a sealed treasure chest. Of course it's
up to the boy dressed in the green tunic to repair a legendary sword and
seal the evils back up again. Once you move out into your adventure
you'll stumble up on a bag that two octrots are spitting rocks at. After
you take care of the octrots the bag starts following you and jumps on
your cap less head. The cap is none other than the Minish cap, a cap that
allows Link to shrink down into size. Link will need this new ability to
walk to new areas and to enter dungeons.
Becoming tiny is one of the coolest parts in the game. When you're
small all of the sudden your a speck of dust on the main map. When
you're the size of the flea all of the sudden the scale of the world
changes. Leaves become giant, small puddles become oceans and even the
tiniest enemies become a great threat. One of the early bosses you'll
meet is a giant slime monster. In fact, this slime monster is one of the
easy simple monster that you've battled a couple of times when you were
a full sized hero. Although, when you're small this walk in the park
monster becomes a true challenge. The scope of changing large and small
makes the world of The Minish Cap even larger.
Beyond growing and shrinking you'll find a lot of traditional Zelda
elements in the game. The hero starts out small and rather weak, slowly
growing into a powerhouse. There are plenty of heart containers to find
and there are dungeons to conquer. The dungeons in The Minish Cap aren't
as long as they are in say the Oracle of Seasons. You'll still find lots
of puzzles to solve like pushing the blocks out of the way, moving the
statue onto the correct switch and lighting all of the switches to open
a door. There's combat to be done, but the stages aren't flooded with
enemies. In fact you won't be fighting as much as you would
comparatively to other Zelda games. You'll be spending more time
exploring the dungeon layout, progressing through it to get the treasure
hidden inside. You'll see a lot of familiar items like Bombs, the
Bow, the Ocarina and the Magic Boomerang. Link also has a few new items
like the Wind Vase. The Wind Vase serves a purpose to blast balls of air
at enemies and suck up distance objects. On top of that it can also be
used to propel Link riding a floating Lilly pad. Link will also have
access to a set of claws that lets him dig for treasure.
The true upgrades for Link are contained in skill scrolls that can
teach Link a new fighting skill. At the start of the game Link won't
even be able to perform the simple spin attack. By the end of the game
he'll be able to shoot beams from his sword, do a charging attack and a
split into fighting clones. Obtaining these skill scrolls are vital to
building Link up into a lean moblin killing machine. Outside of the
fighting Link has another job to do. Scattered around the world are
kinstones. Each of the kinstones are split in half, with one half being
held by say an elfish townsfolk and another hidden in the world. When
you fuse two kinstones together you can unlock treasure and pick up new
items. Sometimes you'll be forced to track down a particular kinstone
piece to continue the game. Finding the kinstones can be sort of a pain
because they are essential fetch quests. On the other hand they provide
more of a challenge and give gamers something else to collect.
Speaking of the game's length it's short. You'll go through six
dungeons, which can be played through pretty quickly. Fortunately, the
overworld has enough areas for you to run around there are enough hidden
items to keep gamers busy well beyond completing the game. The Minish
Cap isn't as epic as say A Link to the Past, but it is on par with other
handheld Zelda titles. Even though the game excels in high production
values with a lot of care being put into the graphics and gameplay the
aural aspect is lacking. Flagship chose to reuse the "voices", rather
the grunts, from Four Swords Adventure. The music also reuses the same
old Zelda songs in MIDI quality sound. The few new tracks that are
present are mostly atmospheric and aren't really inspired.
As a GBA title there is a lot to love about The Legend of Zelda: The
Minish Cap. It draws on the already successful Zelda gameplay mechanics
and tweaks them to give gamers something new. Link has a whole new set
of moves, which makes combat in this game really varied from other Zelda
titles. There are also plenty of puzzles to solve, some of which can be
solved by "gamer instinct", but some will make you think for a minute or
two. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is everything that you would
expect and want in a Zelda title.
The inclusion of the kinstones and language heavy hints from the
Minish Cap makes this really tough to play through if you don't know
Japanese. You can still complete it, but you'll need the aid of a full
Coming to the US on January 10, 2005. If you can't wait until then
you can pick up the European version on the 12th of November.
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is a great action adventure game.
It really sucks you into the game's world early on and it has plenty of challenges for gamers to take on.