Play Time: The time is not recorded in this game.
Where am I? I completed Outset Island and the Forsaken Fortress. I also did a few of the side quests in Windfall Island, but not all of them. I actually stopped right when I met that wacky Tingle character. Remember him? He became so popular that he stared in his own game. I will always remember Tingle as the most surprising character introduced in Wind Waker.
Gameplay advancements: The first major change Wind Waker brought to the table wasn’t gameplay related, but still made a tremendous impact on fans the world over. I’m talking about the vastly altered graphics. When the GameCube was originally announced at Spaceworld 2000 a much darker, more realistic demonstration was shown for what we all assumed would be the next Zelda. When Wind Waker was finally officially announced the following year, it wasn’t what anyone expected. The cel-shaded graphics were starkly different than the high res polygons we all saw only 12 months earlier. That said the game has aged far better than I remember. The animation was better than any other cel-shaded game from the time and remains a solid looking game, so long as you play in progressive scan. Naturally the game isn’t HD-compatible.
Pertaining to gameplay, Epona was gone and so was all of Hyrule, replaced with a giant ocean that spread over the entire world. Travelling now took place via a boat, and progression was extremely slow in comparison to Ocarina of Time. Unlike the previous games in the series, Link was unable to swim for long periods of time thereby forcing him to use the boat and only the boat. I found this limited how much I wanted to explore the world. At least when you could get off Epona you could look around, but because I couldn’t really swim far from the boat, I always felt limited in just how much exploration I could do. That said the world itself was massive, just not very much land in amongst all that water. The game’s only just begun though so we’ll see what happens as I get further along.
Another new feature gameplay includes the ability to crawl whenever you want. There are tons of rupees hidden underneath ledges, porches, and even in-between rotten trees. OoT allowed Link to crawl only through specific areas, but now the power of crawling was at your disposal whenever you wanted, and even if you didn’t want it, you had it.
Wind Waker also features heavy musical influences, for example every time you strike an enemy a musical note plays. Hit them enough times and a nice little jingle plays. I almost completely forgot about how musical this game was. It makes sense considering all the Ocarina play in OoT.
One of the most surprising gameplay additions was the heavy focus on stealth gameplay in certain dungeons. While it’s true there were a moment or two in OoT where you had to use stealth to avoid guards at Hyrule Castle, it was nothing like this. Here there are entire areas, like the Forsaken Fortress where stealth is required in order to complete dungeons, etc.
One of the most unique and original gameplay elements introduced in Wind Waker has to be the Tingle Tuner. This gadget works with the Game Boy Advance or the GBA SP. You connect the GBA to your GameCube or Wii in my case, and activate this gadget whenever you want. Tingle will be able to spot hidden locations and bomb secret treasure chests for you. The main objective is to locate five hidden statues Tingle’s brother, Knuckle made for him. You can use the tuner to find all sorts of other goodies though and I actually dug out my old SP and my GBA-GCN connector cable just to have a blast with this nifty gadget. It works great.
Favorite weapon thus far: I have yet to find a new weapon outside of the sword and shield.
Plot Points: Wind Waker begins by recounting Ocarina of Time’s storyline. A young boy, who traveled through time and was known as the Hero of Time, saved Hyrule from an evil prince of thieves who tried to steal the golden power. The music that plays out during the opening story is fantastic and remains one of my favorite Zelda opening sequences ever. This story was passed down through the generations until it became a legend. The evil that had been sealed away had slowly started to come back and spoil the land, but when the people prayed for their hero to return, he did not appear. The people then prayed to the gods to protect them and in their last hour they left their fate to the gods, but no one knows what happened to those people.
Even though those people no longer exist the legend remains. Now boys who come of age must wear green clothes to honor the ancient hero. Link just so happens to have his birthday as the game begins, thereby being forced to wear these green clothes for the day. When Link’s sister gives him a telescope he sees a girl being carried by a giant bird and a pirate ship chasing after it. One of the cannonballs hits the bird and the girl falls into the forest just above their village. Link races off to investigate and find out what’s going on. This birthday is starting off great.
Eventually Link finds the girl and it turns out to be a pirate caption, Tetra. Meanwhile Link’s sister, Aryll is kidnapped by the giant bird who mistakes his Aryll for Tetra. Link asks Tetra to join her crew so he can set out and find his sister. Tetra declines the offer at first until the village postman, who also happens to be from the Rito tribe (flying creatures), explains that girls with long ears have gone missing from all over the Great Sea, not just Outset Island. If Tetra hadn’t come to the island Aryll wouldn’t have been kidnapped, simple as that. Tetra agrees, but only if Link can acquire a shield. After getting the shield, you leave Outset Island.
The giant bird happens to have a nest at the Forsaken Fortress. Once Link found his sister the giant bird comes down and snatches Link up before he can rescue Aryll and the two other girls in her cell. The bird flies up to Ganondorf and he tells the bird to fling Link away. In the water a boat comes to Link’s rescue and we learn it is alive and calls itself the King of Red Lions. It’s interesting because the boat calls Ganondorf Ganon, even in his human form. The boat recounts the tale of how Ganon tried to obtain the power of the gods, but it was that very power that eventually sealed him away. Ganon is the same one that fought against the Hero of Time. The boat doesn’t know what happened to the seal, which freed Ganon, only that his evil magic powers are now threatening the world yet again. The King of Red Lions tells Link he alone has the power to stop Ganon, but he has quite a few hardships ahead before he will be ready to take on the challenge. To start, the boat needs a sail. After purchasing the sail, the open seas become available and the adventure continues.
Moving the series forward: The biggest problems, or perceived at least, with Wind Waker were mostly addressed with Twilight Princess. These include the cumbersome traveling via the boat, which was fixed with the return of Epona and Hyrule field, and the much younger demograph Wind Waker apparently aimed at. Looking at both titles now it’s rather shocking to see just how opposite Wind Waker and Twilight Princess are to one another. Keep in mind that technically both games are GameCube games so it’s highly odd to see such drastically different games in the same series for the same console. Another issue was just how easy Wind Waker was. I have yet to lose a single heart and it doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon. Twilight Princess was quite a bit more challenging.
To locate all installments in this series: http://www.projectcoe.com/category/hands-on/legendary-journey