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Zelda Brightens GameCube's Twilight Years

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Friday, March 16, 2007

With the arrival of the Nintendo Wii, the GameCube has become all but dead. Now, three years in the making, arguably that platform's last hurrah has come in the form of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

This is the Zelda title many have waited for since The Ocarina of Time, as the cartoonish Wind Waker was a disappointment. The new story is a bit darker than in previous installments. A mysterious being has entered the land of Hyrule and shrouded it in darkness, or twilight, as the game calls it. Players assume the role of Link, who must travel between the light and twilight worlds to restore Hyrule to its former glory. As in any Zelda game, there is more to the story, but revealing it would ruin the experience.

Link must traverse through nine dungeons, each more challenging than the last. Between those dungeons, Link travels through the light and twilight. In twilight, Link can't sustain his human form and transforms into a wolf. As a wolf, Link has a new set of moves and can do things human Link can't, such as talk to other animals for hints or follow trails based on scent.

Graphically, this is one of the best-looking games on the GameCube this side of Resident Evil 4. The worlds are expansive and characters look great, although certain textures up close can look blurry. The game is best played with component cables if possible. It should be noted that only the Nintendo Wii version supports a 16:9 aspect ratio.

There is no fully orchestrated music, which an epic game such as this deserves. Some of the music sounds like MIDI files. The really disappointing aspect of the sound is that there are no voice-overs. Having to read text for conversations with the characters in this day and age feels outdated.

Still, sound aside, this is a top game and a fine way to close the book on the GameCube and open a chapter on the Wii. Games just don't come on a more epic scale than a new Zelda game, and with a quest spanning 40 to 50 hours, this is Link's greatest adventure to date.

-- Gregory McDougal

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Teen; GameCube, Wii ($50) Nintendo


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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