Zeldasages.com Review by Webmaster Bob
For more information on how Zeldasages reviews games see the ZS Q&A
Note: Wind Waker has been shortened to Windwaker in this review to make my life easier ;)
On the island of Outset it is tradition young men upon their 12th birthday wear the green tunic of the legged Hero of Time. It has been over one-hundred years since the hero was last seen, although he was always remembered as a great warrior and savior of the great land of Hyrule. Now, it is the 12th birthday of a young boy Link. All seemed to be going well until his young sister was suddenly snatched away by a monstrous bird. From a simple mission to save the one he loves Link will find himself in a world once forgotten, a world buried by legend.
The Legend of Zelda the Windwaker certainly presents a twisting story of it's own. At first, the idea is a very simple one. Link's younger sister is captured, Link meets a crew of pirates who help him, Link meets a talking boat.....WHAT!? Well, we'll get more in depth on that later. When you initially begin the game you will be presented with eerie music while scrolls are presented on the screen. These scrolls initially fill the gaps between the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, and the present game. Throughout the game you will find many twisting plot stories which all make reference back to the hero once long ago lost in time. Evidently, the Windwaker has a very keen way of revealing great secrets to you. The only thing I truly need to harp about is how near the very beginning of the game the "King of Red Lions" tells you directly that Ganondorf is the enemy, thanks for taking away a good spot for a bit of mystery. I must truly say though the story in turn is very beautiful. This is really the hardest category to grade as I can not really give in to many details which would ruin the game for you. I can say one thing though, the games ending is sad. The ending had me literally sobbing for more then one reason. Don't fear, the ending of the game is marvelous, however it really pulled on my heart strings for a long time and even now, years after completing the game, my heart still aches for...well...I won't say that.... sniff 9/10
The Legend of Zelda the Windwaker truly plays like a Legend of Zelda game. All the classic weapons like the hookshot, bow and arrow, bombs, boomerang all return. However, there are many strange items which appear throughout the game such as the Deku Leaf as an example. This strange leaf obtained a bit after the beginning of the game allows Link to parachute like it's 1942 and fire gales of wind to stun opponents. The Deku Leaf plays a very large part in the game allowing Link to travel to many areas thought unreachable. Another of the great new gameplay elements is that of the Windwaker itself. The windwaker is similar to that of a conductors baton in that you must properly conduct a melody in time. The time stretches from the standard 4/4 to 8/4 *for music buffs out there*. For those that do not play an instrument or sing, it takes a very small amount of time to get used to conducting in time via the C stick and control stick, however it has shown to be very simple after a few tries. The windwaker can conduct many songs you learn throughout the game such as "Ballad of the Gales" which can transport you to specific points on the Great Sea. The windwaker can also allow you to take temporary control of different characters in the game. These events are really only given in the games final dungeons where you and another character must navigate the labyrinth together. I could really go on forever talking about the many item abilities, however I will end it with this. Any game which allows you to drive a battleship and fire deadly bombs from a canon at opponents is brilliant in my book!
Through all the item advances there also lies the elements. The Earths elements are used widely throughout the game. When sailing, if the wind is not in your direction you will move very slowly. If you are wet, you stay wet for a period of time and dry. If something smells bad Link will give a little nudge. There is truly almost no end to the fun you can have simply driving through the ocean and exploring. Searching for lost treasure *which by the end of the game you will never want to do again, just wait and see* to searching islands everything is truly a load of fun. However, with all that was done there could have been a few more dungeons included. According to rumors there were supposed to be two more dungeons prior to the final dungeon of the game, however in a rush to get the game out they were nixed and replaced with a horrifying...well lets just say this is why you will hate treasure hunting. Overall a spectacular showing of gameplay 9.5/10
The music and sound of the Legend of Zelda the Windwaker is truly something. Although the game is composed with high quality midi sounds *not real orchestra* the game keeps the tension high. From the moody opening music to the happy sounds of Windfall Island you'll be hearing all sorts of Legend of Zelda remixs throughout the game. Really, I believe some of the pieces in here are some of the finest works of composer Koji Kondo. All the music is set perfectly in mood with the actions and happenings on the screen. The music is slightly different then what most fans are used to, however everyone should find a song to love. 10/10
Ah yes, this was the game that in 2001 caused a riot at its showing being that instead of a realistic Link, audiences saw a cartoon-ish cel-shaded Link. In the graphics department, overall this has to be one of the most controversial games of all time. I have had friends who stated they would never buy the game or play it simply because of the style of graphics that were used. Just like any art a game can be expressed in many different ways. It was the vision of the designers that Link appeared in this fashion. I will tell you my own honest opinion and thought. When I first saw the Spaceworld 2001 movie I was shocked, angered, confused. I simply could not believe what I saw and remember saying again and again "WHY ARE YOU KILLING ZELDA!" So, I reserved the game still, and once I got my hands on the game I saw how much great detail was put into every aspect of the characters. How much the environment and emotions all showed themselves so well. It truly struck me as amazing how good the game looked cel-shaded. All I can say is Nintendo pulled it off and boy did they pull it off well. Coming straight from a former skeptic just to make anyone who will simply not purchase the game due to the graphic style used, I'm awarding the graphics a 10/10. Don't be angry, the game earned it.
Overall the Legend of Zelda the Windwaker is a great buy for your Gamecube. No respective owner of the console should be without it in their collection. The stunning cel-shading done will truly send you for a whirl. You'll end up having enough fun to last a long while. We only wish the game had a few more dungeons. Otherwise as it stands, do yourselves a favor and purchase the game.
Scores weighted differently and based on 100%