The first temple
No doubt about it, Phantom Hourglass was pretty damn easy. Spirit Tracks, so far, seems to follow that course with a cakewalk first temple designed to wean newcomers on the inner workings of the Zelda universe. As usual you’ll find one new item per temple that’s used for puzzles and/or battle. In this case, you find a whirlwind blower that pushes items out of unreachable areas (a dangling key, for example) and disperse poisonous gas left behind from dead enemies.
Above: Hey, there it is
Everything else is similar to Hourglass. General layout, sound effects and annotatable maps all return, making any trip through the dungeons a bit easier than the menu surfing required on the console versions. Before long, we were at the boss, a giant flying beetle named Stagnox.
Above: Obviously armored in the front, but his butt is oh so soft
Stagnox flies around trying to swipe at you, and after you’ve stabbed him a few times he’ll take to the air and drop worms down onto the battlefield. We won’t spoil the tactic used to take him down, but remember you have a windmill that can pick up and toss items…
Spirit Tracks’ initial announcement left us puzzled. Most people disliked the sailing in both Wind Waker and Hourglass, so why replace that, which was open and free, with trains that have to stay on a locked course? Sadly, we can’t exactly answer that yet, as the train sections weren’t available to play. The rest, however, is classic Zelda. And thanks to a few much-needed gameplay tweaks and a snappy set of characters with fun dialog, Tracks will undoubtedly be another strong addition to the franchise.
Assuming the train parts are no more obnoxious than sailing, at least. Look for our full review this December.
Nov 6, 2009