by Michael Moore

The Legend of Zelda series returns to the GBA with the Minish Cap. Which was made by Capcom, not Nintendo, just as Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons were. Although it seems strange for Nintendo to let someone else make one games from one of their most prized franchises, I honestly don't mind when the games turn out this good.

Minish Cap finds us again in Hyrule, and again in the shoes of Link (more like cap really.) So as the story goes there is a door in Hyrule that opens every 100 years, and it just happens to be 100 years since the last time. So when the door appears it allows the Minish or Picori people into Hyrule. Now the Minish are good guys, who a long time ago brought a sword which they gave to a great hero so that he could destroy a great evil, blah blah blah. So every year since they've held a festival in Hyrule in the Minish's honor.

At the festival a man named Vaati wins the sword fighting tournament, the winner of which gets to touch the sword the Minish brought. But instead he unleashes a bunch of monsters that the sword was keeping sealed away, and he turns Zelda to stone. So as Link you get to take up the sword to try and defeat Vaati, and return Zelda to normal.

So after that you have to go in search of the four elements in order to make the sword whole so that you can defeat Vaati and break his curse. On the way you find a talking hat that aids you in your quest by feeding you clues to puzzle, and who also does all the talking for Link since he doesn't.

So the game unfolds as you run around Hyrule trying to get to the locations of the four elements, which you do by switching between normal size Link and shrinking to Minish size Link, since there are puzzles and areas that can only be solved/reached when you shrink. See the Minish don't actually come through the door, they actually live among the Hyrule people, they are just really really small.

So its pretty much your typical Zelda game in that you go dungeon to dungeon, but there are only five of them in this one. Which seems small, but you are usually required to complete a bunch of puzzles before you can even get near the dungeon, so you won't miss trekking through all those dungeons. Plus the over world looks a lot nicer then dungeons do.

And speaking of looks, this is probably the best looking 2D Zelda game I have ever seen. It's really colorful as you'd expect, but there are also a lot of great effects, especially when you are small.

The game also has this on going side quest involving these things called Kinstones. Basically they are pendents that are broken in half, and you can try and fit the ones you find out in the world with ones that people, and other things have. And if you get a match something happens, usually a chest appearing out in an area, or a passage opening up to somewhere. Its a nice distraction from the main game, which you really don't have to go too far out of your way to do.

One thing I really like about the game was that they didn't just use all the old standard Zelda items that you typically collect as you go through a Zelda game. You do get about five that have been in other games, but thats it. All the other ones are new, and are pretty inventive. It adds to the gameplay since it allows there to be new and different kinds of puzzles, instead of the same old rehashed stuff.

So overall this is probably one of the better Zelda games, but there are a couple things I didn't like. One was that it seemed really short, especially for a Zelda game. I would have liked to have seen more levels, and maybe a way to keep track of which people you've fused kinstones with. Anything beyond that is really just nit picking. So I do recommend this game for anyone, especially Zelda fans that need their Zelda fix before the next Gamecube version comes out.

Rating 9/10

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
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Release Info

Release Date: January 11, 2005
Catalog Number: 246335
Number of Players: 1
System: GBA
Suggested Retail Price: $29.99