Zeldasages.com Review by Lt_Justin
For more information on how Zelda Sages reviews games see the ZS QA
Awoken for a simple day of fun at the carnival with long time childhood friend Princess Zelda our hero sets out to simply enjoy the day. However, a swordsman competition winner by the name of Vaati turns to destroy the day; shattering the Picari Sword and turning the young princess to stone our hero must set forth to repair the Picari Sword and stop Vaati. However, will he succeed before Vaati's plan can unfold...
In the Minish Cap we are not blessed with seeing Ganon; instead a dark shadow looms over the land of Hyrule brought on by a being know as Vaati who in his first act of evil stones Zelda and forces the hand of the king to dispatch the infantry. The general story revolves around retrieving four essences which will restore full power the mysterious Picori Sword. To accomplish this task you will be guided along the way by a strange talking hat known as Ezlo. The Minish Cap's story on the surface may seem a bit simplistic, although as you progress through the game a great deal of backstory is given on Vaati and the true identity of Ezlo. All of this comes together to make one heck of a great story package that is both easy and enjoyable to follow. So, I'll give the story a 10/10.
The general gameplay mechanics are similar to that of the GBA version of A Link to the Past. However, you will notice a great deal of advances over that system of gameplay. First, you have Ezlo the Minish Cap. With a combination of Ezlo's power and the use of tree stumps you are able to shrink to the size of the strange Picori race. Shrinking actually becomes a very well used technique for puzzle solving and further exploration. You'll be exploring whole new worlds as a minish just as you will the normal world. In addition, we also see a great deal of Wind Waker mechanics make their way into the game. For example, one of the first items you obtain is the Gust Jar. This allows you to suck like a vacuum cleaner and blow air at whatever you choose. You'll make great use of this item in virtually every area of the game as it is so versatile. From moving lily pads to disarming foes the Gust Jar is the way to go. Why this rather long example one may ask, simply put the items in this game actually have long term use!
In addition to all this there are a good number of sidequests to complete...including collecting evil kinstones! Kinstones appear pretty much everywhere and can be traded to a traveler to make good things happen. Of course, there are times when you'll be running across Hyrule and smack a bush..wait...NO...ANOTHER KINSTONE!!!! Nevertheless, Minish Cap has excelled in new gameplay mechanics and ways to keep everything fresh, so I give the gameplay a 10/10.
For the range of Midi that the GBA can handle this game has very reasonable sound plus the music of Vati's lair reminds me of Meatloaf music :). You're going to hear alot of sound from the N64 Zelda games as well, like I swear Vaati's laugh is from that mask salesman! Anyway, Minish Cap sports some really awesome sound, so 10/10.
The graphics were yet again very well done and kept right in with the other four sword games. However, there are some areas n-game that seem to lack the quality of other areas of the game. Most of what you see is really amazing, although when you're in a specific area of Southern Hyrule you're going to look at your game and think "were they lazy here". Still, this is only a small blemish on the game so I am going to score the graphics as a 9.5/10.
This game is very well made and is one of the only GBA games that I am upset that I can't locate anymore (GAH!). If you are more organized than me you will be playing The Minish Cap again and again until your hands fall off from the pain and agony of having played your GBA for several weeks straight. This is not only one of the bet Zelda games out there, but it's also one of the best GBA games for your buck. So, do yourselves a favor and pick up The Minish Cap...and don't lose it!
Why must they make GBA cartridges so small...
*Scores weighed differently, total 100%*