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The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks DS & DSi Review - -

Gameplay 9.1
Graphics 8.5
Sound 8.0
Value 9.0
Distributor: Nintendo
James Wright


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 destinations.

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.

Special Features

  • Link has a valuable new companion. While navigating dungeons, hes 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 Nintendo DSi

  • As with The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, players can draw notes on the in-game maps using the stylus on the touch screen.


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