The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
The world's favourite
green hero returns in The Legend Zelda: Spirit Tracks that once
again returns gamers to this mythical universe and although players
control Link, they now have the ability to join forces with Princess
Zelda, albeit through possession!
The story is set a century after the previous game, Phantom
Hourglass and when you are summoned to Hyrule Castle for the
royal blessings to become an engineer, you are forced to help not only
the royal family but also the world as well. To compound the situation,
the evil Chancellor wishes to use Zelda's body as a vessel for a demon
but through luck, she manages to escape... so to speak.
With Princess Zelda in
corporeal form, you need to help her find her body and also restore
power to the Spirit Tracks which are the train lines that connect this
planet together. Once the tracks are connected, you'll be able to enter
the Demon's Tower and rescue the princess from her ethereal state and of
course go one enjoyable journey through the world of Zelda. Yes my
readers, Nintendo have done it again!
Although the gameplay is
similar to the previous instalment, this current version seems more
refined and being able to work in conjunction with the spirited Zelda
does make this quite a memorable experience and assists with the various
puzzles in the game.
For those who have never played a Zelda game
before, newcomers will feel straight at home in this current title as
players don't need to know the convoluted history of the series. In
essence, the game is quite reminiscent of those Japanese RPG games as
there is a considerable amount of exploring and meeting characters in
this game. Of course travelling on Spirit Train is quite a surreal
experience as you visit a variety of impressive and challenging
However, the fun
of Zelda have always been the side quests which gives you a considerable
amount of freedom and helps break up the sometimes linear gameplay of
the title. Whether your hunting rabbits or transporting citizens on the
Spirit Train, the gameplay is quite diverse and yes, there is a healthy
amount of combat to engage in as well.
The twist of the game is of
course using Zelda who is able to access places and areas that Link
cannot as she transfers her spirits in different Phantoms which are
basically like suits of armour and each has their pros and cons. Of
course this does add some challenges to the player, especially when
you're trying to get them both from A to B.
Control wise, everything has
been perfectly mapped on the DS which makes good use of its touch screen
capabilities, whether your fighting enemies or scrolling through your
items and weapons, it's rather intuitive. Of course the other buttons
come into play but if you've played the previous game, you'll be right
home but it's sturdy control system will ensure that the game can be
played by gamers of all different ages. Using the train is also quite
fun as you are awarded new accessories and upgrades for it as you blast
your way through rocks and enemies, trying to set things right again.
When it comes to weapons, Link has everything he needs to get the job
done, whether it's his trusty bow and arrows or his whip, they are also
needed in some of the puzzles. There is even a new whirlwind weapon that
requires the player to blow on the screen which is actually quite fun
and puts a new aspect onto the gameplay. Of course, nothing is more fun
than exploring the various dungeons littered through the world as you
encounter enemy after enemy but best of all, it's quite varied and some
are quite frustrating to defeat.
Keeping to the roots of the character,
Link also has the ability to play various songs with his musical
spirit instrument, the flute and by using the microphone of the DS, you will make the
music come alive. Of course the point of using the flute is to awake
various spirits and fairies to come to the aid of Link and Zelda. Thankfully this is a mini-game in itself as you create some interesting musical combinations.
Although The Legend
Zelda: Spirit Tracks contains a multiplayer mode, unfortunately it only
supports local multiplayer which is a shame but for fans of this series,
a nifty little feature is the Contact Mode which seeks out other Zelda
users and allows you to exchange treasures and items between both games.
Considering that online multiplayer was available in the previous game,
it does bring into question why it was removed from this incarnation?
Graphically, the title is oozing with Zelda goodness and that cartoon
universe perfectly suits the Nintendo DS. The characters are well
animated with some great facial expressions and the environments are
quite fun and visually interesting as you explore this world. Add in
some special effects and a variety of interesting characters and it's
easy to get lost in this diverse and varied world. The sound effects are
"cute" but what makes the game so compelling is the music which also
uses some scores from previous games to help older gamers feel at home.
The only issue with the graphics and the music is that in some places in
the game, there are a few excruciating slowdown issues but thankfully
few and far between.
Nintendo have really mastered this series and The Legend Zelda: Spirit
Tracks is a prime example of this that features two popular gaming
characters from this interesting mythology. The story is classic Zelda
that will appeal to a wide gamut of gamers and if you're after a fun and
magical adventure game, than this is that game. Working with Zelda does
add a new twist to the franchise as do all the various side quests and
The Legend Zelda: Spirit Tracks was one of those games that when I first
started playing, I did not put the console down for another 4 hours.
Definitely an A grade title for the DS that will keep you entertained
for hours upon hours.
Link has a valuable
new companion. While navigating dungeons, he’s accompanied by a
Phantom, a hulking suit of armor that responds to his commands.
Players can tap the Phantom to take command of him, then draw a line
on the touch screen to direct him where to go. The stout Phantom can
walk through fire or lava, be used as a platform to carry Link above
dangers, or even run interference to block Link from harm.
When Link conducts
the train, players enjoy a satisfying combination of action and
real-time puzzle solving as they determine which track to take and
how to best manipulate their speed. When on the train, Link must
plot the best route to the end of the line around ever-moving
obstacles. While en route, Link might need to fire an onboard cannon
at enemies who attack the train or sound the whistle to scare
animals off the tracks.
Link uses a variety
of new items and weapons, including the Whirlwind, which players
activate by blowing into the microphone of the Nintendo DS or
As with The Legend
of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, players can draw notes on the in-game
maps using the stylus on the touch screen.