Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Why you should play....

When discussing Legend of Zelda games the majority of the conversation tends to be about Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past, following that it tends to be about Majora's Mask and Twilight Princess/Wind Waker and for some reason most of the time the handheld games tend to get ignored or only mentioned briefly. It's a real shame as the handheld games are rather excellent especially for me The Minish Cap for the Game Boy Advance.

Developed by Capcom and Flagship (one of Capcom's subsidiaries at the time) the game was released in 2004/2005 to critical acclaim.

The plot of course centres around Link having to rescue Zelda but this time instead of Ganon she has to be rescued from the clutches of Vaati (the evil being from Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures) after being turned to stone and then nearly drained of life. Turns out that for Zelda to be rescued Link needs the assistance of the Picori who can only be seen by children, hence why Link was chosen. On his Travels Link meets and rescues Ezlo (the cap of the title) who along with Vaati was once Picori and who aids you on your quest, mainly by moaning and insulting you and occasionally giving you useful hints and tips as and when required.

I won't delve any further into it so as not to spoil it for people who haven't yet played the game.

So onto the game play. As with any Legend of Zelda the basic game play has barely changed at all but it's the little things that make the difference and in this game it really is a 'little' thing as Ezlo has the ability to shrink Link to the size of Picori allowing him to access whole new areas to find secrets and to complete side-quests. It really is an interesting element as you may come across some water that you cannot pass and all you do is shrink down, hop onto a leaf and using the Gust Jar (one of three new items in the games, the other two being the Mole Mitts which allow for Link to dig through certain obstacles and walls and the Cane of Pacci which turns over anything that it hits) push yourself across the water to the other side.

Another new element is the inclusion of Kinstones that need to be fused together. On your travels you will only ever find halves of Kinstones with characters in the game holding the other halves. Making a complete Kinstone will have numerous different effects with new paths opening up or ruppees and even hearts being found once the fusion has been completed. Some of the Kinstones are related to the main game and have to be found whilst the majority are to be found for the side-quests but it's fun and useful to find them none the less.

Another element is the Tiger Scrolls, which there are eight of, that grant Link the power of new moves, mainly for the sword but also for the Pegasus Boots. Finally there are the shells that can be collected which are used on a machine that allows for Link to collect figurines of the characters and enemies in the game and of which there are a lot of. The more shells you collect the better a chance you have of collecting all of the figurines as the higher the shell total you submit the higher the percentage is of receiving a new figurine.

So enough with all that and onto the reasons you should play The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. Well for a start it's a genuinely warm and fun game to play. The graphics are great on the GBA/DS (depending on what you use) and the sound and music are wonderful. The game play on the surface is your useful Zelda game play that you will be very familiar with if you have played any Zelda games previously but if you have played Zelda games previously you will know that it's everything else on top that makes the games so wonderful. The addition of the new 'weapons', the Kinstones and the ability to shrink adds a whole new level to the games and makes the series feel new and inventive, so kudos to Capcom to that.

One of the criticisms of the game is that it's too short at around the ten hour mark, especially compared to the home console games but for a handheld game, for me anyway, that's a good time as the majority of the time I'm playing my handhelds in shortish bursts whilst out and about on the train anyway. Plus I can guarantee that you will be enjoying the game too much to notice anyway. If I remember correctly there are only five dungeons including the last level but that really is enough as a couple of them are rather large anyway.

Another criticism is that the difficulty is too easy, again especially when compared to other games in the series, but the way the game is you wouldn't want it to be difficult as it would take away some of the enjoyment that you have with the game and that is a main reason to play games, the enjoyment. So I really would recommend ignoring the negatives about time and difficulty and pick up this great as soon as possible if you don't already own it.


  1. I have to admit, I've never played any handheld Zelda games either, although this is largely due to the fact that I've never had a handheld for any length of time. I might give this one a go via emulation though :)

  2. It's a brilliant game. At the moment I would put it fourth in my list of Zelda games. It's just really enjoyable.