The Legend of Zelda Four Swords
Heres the good news: Nintendos two oddball GC Zelda offshoots (Four Swords and Tetras Trackers!) wont be sold individually, as originally planned. Nope, these two action-adventure games will come together in one nifty hodgepodge package, where they now go by the titles Shadow Battle and Navis Trackers, respectively.
Heres even better news: third game, entitled Hyrule Adventure, comes along for the ride, and its an all-new, traditional Zelda romp for four players in the spirit of the Super NES classic A Link to the Past Expect dungeons, overworld secrets, towns to explore...the whole deal.
Now for the bad news: Youll need to bust out your Game Boy Advances (with those requisite-yet-sold-sepa-rately GBA-to-GC link cables) in order to even play Trackers and Shadow Battle. Curse you, foul connectivity!
Download The Legend of Zelda Four Swords
It's perfectly natural to be skeptical about The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures. After all, it seems like a devious money-making scam: Nintendo slaps an old GBA game on a GameCube disc, forces players to control it with link-cabled Game Boys, then frolics in a giant pile of money. Your wariness will fade, however, as soon as you (and, if you're lucky, three GBA-bearing comrades) give it a shot--Zelda works shockingly well as a multiplayer game. Four Swords' gameplay offers all the familiar Zelda staples, like tossing boomerangs, bombing walls, exploring labyrinths, felling bosses, and thwacking innocent chickens with swords; only now, you've got four Links in on the action (you can play solo, but expect diminished thrills). Surprisingly, the old-fashioned graphics actually look pretty sharp. While the basic look mimics that of Zelda: A Link to the Past for Super Nintendo, a cavalcade of wild special effects tilt, ripple, zoom in on, and explode the familiar world of Hyrule. The visuals are a product of style and functionality: "We really think that each new Zelda game needs a unique look to distinguish it," explains Producer Eiji Aonuma, "and it's very difficult to show multiple players onscreen in three dimensions."
And even though you and your linked-up buddies are all working toward the same ultimate goal, a little friendly competition tends to break out. "We try to balance elements that force players to cooperate with chances for them to compete," says Aonuma. "For example, all four players might have to stand on a switch to activate it, but doing so causes one huge [treasure] to drop, so suddenly everyone scrambles to go grab it." If EGM's Four Swords experience is any indication, the infighting can get a bit out of hand, with several Links charred beyond recognition and/or tossed into chasms. Perhaps we should take Aonuma's stern advice: "Heroes must not fight amongst themselves--they are allies of justice!"