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Looking back: The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures | GC (2004)

A nearly unnoticed GBA side project becomes its own full-fledged game, dragging Zelda into multiplayer territory. And you know what? It friggin' works.

The legend: The seal surrounding a powerful wizard has become weak, so Link, Zelda and a group of maidens investigate. When they arrive, Shadow Link abducts the maidens and tucks them away in crystals a la Link to the Past. Link then obtains the Four Sword, which splits him into four separate Links and also releases the aforementioned wizard, Vaati. After a long trek through an abridged Hyrule, the four Links stop Vaati and his master - yup, you guessed it, Ganon.

Master swords: This is more of a time killer than a true Zelda adventure. As such, most of the graphics, items, sound effects and enemies are recycled from previous games. The emphasis was put entirely on the multiplayer aspect, with each Link responding to a different player. Up to four could play at once, each trying to beat more enemies and collect more Force Gems than the rest. Sure, you had to team up to move large boulders, solve certain puzzles or tackle stronger enemies, but the atmosphere inevitably turned competitive, with green Link tossing blue Link off a bridge or into the drink.

The Force Gem hoarding wasn't just about points though. If you hadn't collected a set amount by the time you got to a boss (every three stages), you had to take a step back and try again. This became a huge nuisance once the levels started ballooning into multi-stage escapades, though the ability to split up did alleviate some of the backtracking troubles. For example, one Link could enter a house or proceed through a dungeon while the others fought on the overworld - the spelunking Link would appear on your connected Game Boy, while the rest would be on the main TV. It was one hell of a sight to see, and even more fun to play. We never would have imagined a multiplayer Zelda could work, but here it is, nearly forgotten to time.



Best Moment: Getting four people (with four GBAs and four Link Cables) together for a multiplayer brawl.

I AM ERROR: Um, yeah... all that cool stuff up there? The multiplayer bit with the pushing and shoving and stealing of Gems? Doesn't work with one person. The game kinda loses its appeal when played all alone, as the controls really weren't designed to handle four Links at once. But even having four willing bodies isn't enough, as each person needs a Game Boy Advance and a Link Cable. What are the odds that all those criteria will be met? We managed to tear through the game as it was meant to be played and loved it, but we sincerely doubt that was the case for everyone else. It was possible to play with just two people, but it's just not the same. The graphics are two generations behind the GameCube, but we aren't holding that against Four Swords Adventures - we love all the extra effects and huge amount of enemies displayed at the same time.

It's a secret to everybody: Four Swords began as a bonus game attached to the GBA version of Link to the Past. Most everything here got its start on that cart two years earlier - The villain Vaati was practically an unknown when he appeared here. His only prior appearance was that same GBA cart - In an effort to encourage multiplayer games, it came packed with a bonus Link Cable - Though there's no direct connection to Wind Waker, this game borrows many visual cues from that 'tooned-up adventure.

Hero of time? No way. We love it, respect it and applaud it, but calling this the best Zelda ever is misunderstanding what the word "Zelda" means. 8/10

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17 comments

  • thefreakysurgeon - August 27, 2010 12:13 a.m.

    Let's all hope that Skyward Sword will kick so much ass that it'll be titled "Best Zelda Ever".
  • Gorlack312 - July 23, 2010 9:28 a.m.

    Yo Gamesradar, Imma let you finish, but Ocarina is the best Zelda game of all time. Of all time!! Though i am a bit biased, since OoT was my video game (started at age 4) and i still have memories of watching my brother play Ping Pong with Ganondorf. Oh, and thanks for giving Majora's Mask a 9/10, not many people are hardcore enough to play through it.
  • radishboy - May 30, 2010 8:09 p.m.

    I have always loved Wind Waker. Probably my favorite Zelda game ever. actually, one of my favorite games in general! I instantly loved the style of the game, and the cell shading. I'm very glad that they didn't do that stupid anti-aliasing affect where they put the black outlines around everything, which I see on a lot of other cell shaded games. (think the Dragon Ball Z games, or that P.O.S. FPS for PS2 "XII" (Thirteen.) I don't mind the black outlines if done correctly but they rarely are. they usually look bad due to technical issues, it looks like the outlines are jumping around the character, shaking or squiggling sort of? like those "squiggle vision" cartoons, where the all the lines/outlines are drawn in squiggly lines on purpose, so they wiggle and and jiggle and what not. (think "Home Movies," "Dr Katz," "Ed, Edd, and Eddie", etc...) anyways, I think Wind Waker is going to be one of those few games that are not only great, but will stand the test of time, pretty much forever. Even now, going back to play a PS1 game like Tomb Raider" is almost impossible, it looks and feels just so awful. But Wind Waker's style is timeless, it will always look, feel, and play great.
  • jwolf182 - November 5, 2009 3:46 a.m.

    I my opinion, The best Zelda games were Ocarina of time and majora's mask. hand down. Twilight Princess was a great game, but it just felt weird, i mean no Ocarina, no musical instrument? That's like history for Zelda. Wind Waker was a great game, but the cartooniness got old after awhile along with sailing. Idk i just didn't like twilight princess' going from wolf to Link, i just found that process stupid, and ganon turning into this giant boar thing? C'mon that's just stupid...
  • Nitemarish - October 9, 2008 4:45 p.m.

    Water Temple.
  • VGFreak1225 - November 30, 2008 4:36 a.m.

    I don't know, I don't hate Tingle that much, and the Tingle Tuner, while could have been a little more refined, was a nice addition and never necessary to finish TWW. Also, I'm still going to put OoT as greatest game ever. While Twilight Princess was obviously an improvement over OoT, it didn't innovate and there were more flaws that shouldn't have been there after eight years of opportunity to refine it. While I'll welcome both, to me, innovation is more important than inevitable refinement.
  • Digidabee - November 15, 2008 8:55 p.m.

    I agree Twilight Princess was the first one of the Zelda games i played right to the end although I had others before.
  • Christrigg1 - October 15, 2008 3:22 a.m.

    they shouls make a game where vaati finds the majoras mask, puts it on zelda, and then the real link must face her, who has all 3 peices of triforce as the second to last boss. the thirs to last would be fighting and sealing vaati. the last boos would be zelda using her magic to make there two of each triforce, since gannondorf had controll of all 3 and couldnt get it away from him. she did that so link would then fight gannon 1 on 1 with an awesome swordfight, and magic fight and thw whole 9. ending with a light arrow to the chest, and the master sword lodged in the forehead
  • skyguy343 - October 12, 2008 11:38 p.m.

    agreed, tingle is innocent but did Nessrox (also agreed) just say the Water Temple was good?
  • Nessrox - October 11, 2008 12:16 a.m.

    Good times.
  • BHT128 - October 9, 2008 3:06 a.m.

    Why does everyone hate Tingle so much? You dont have to love him or even like him, but I dont understand what he did to earn the loathing of an entire continent.
  • Danomeon - April 10, 2009 8:44 p.m.

    I don't beleive it, you guys gave link to the past a 10 and ocarina of time a 9! Both were great games, but that may be the first person I have ever heard say anythign other than, "BEST GAME EVAR!"
  • shadowleon - April 2, 2009 11:26 p.m.

    on link's awakening did they steal the ball and chane from Mario or did Mario steal it from them
  • KatamariLovesSpock - May 17, 2009 5:18 p.m.

    I really like the artistic direction that Wind Waker took, considering cel-shading can't really go out of style or become obsolete considering it has been pretty much at It's peak since the GC and PS2. But I personally want a Zelda in which they use the cel-shaded art style but still make it a darker more adult Zelda. They could make it with an older link even... Just because it has a "cartoon" style doesn't mean it can't be more mature. Not only that but a more stylized Zelda (no offence to Twilight Princess, which was a great game but doesn't nearly have as much character.) may make it a more solid game in general. As Twilight Princess showed you don't have to have a blood-caked protagonist... So I think cel-shaded is a great direction to take but they need to make the creatures less disproportional and make an older Link. Maybe closer to the DBZ style of cel-shaded games, those look great and, although DBZ tone may be very "YAAAAAAAAAARGH IMMA CHARGIN' MAH LAZURZ, I SCREAM TO POWER UP!!!!111ONE11!ELEVEN!1!!!" It still shows how a more adult cel-shaded Zelda is possible.
  • BodyDamage - February 19, 2009 8:33 p.m.

    I just watched the video on page 7 when the moon falls and noticed it bears a very striking resemblance to when *spoiler* meteor falls on midgar at the end of FF7.
  • Mr.Epic64 - February 16, 2009 11:59 p.m.

    Whats with the skin coloured teeth in Awekening? WTF!?
  • wolyfox - January 17, 2009 5:13 a.m.

    i mostly like fire temple and twilight princess the spider boss

Showing 1-17 of 17 comments

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