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As if the official unveiling of Nintendo Revolution and Game Boy Micro wasn't exciting enough, we were invited to a post-conference Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess sneak preview with Eiji Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto, the director and producer respectively. The demo consists of four different areas - Link's home village, a horseback fighting section, a forest dungeon and a boss battle - each one offering a distinctly different style of gameplay.
It begins in a town area and, more specifically, on a ranch. Link's first task is to herd some goats, so he calls his mount by playing a tune on some horse grass that he picks from the ground. Because Hyrule is such a large area and would be impossible to traverse on foot, the game's creators wanted to introduce Link's horse early on. The town is also located away from Hyrule, so the opening section prepares you for the journey to Zelda's kingdom.
Apparently there'll be a lot of mounted combat in the game, and an extensive number of horseback sections in general, although what these will entail besides riding and fighting, neither Aonuma nor Miyamoto were willing to reveal.
And so on to the dungeon area, namely the Forest Temple, where Link is joined by a monkey creature. The two characters work together to overcome various obstacles. This partnership is reminiscent of Wind Waker, although it doesn't appear as though the buddy will be a controllable character at any time in Twilight Princess.
Some melee combat was also demonstrated, and illustrated that the fighting system is indeed an evolution of that used in Wind Waker, with Link circling and rolling around enemies. New moves included a shield parry and a downward stabbing finishing move. Unfortunately we weren't treated to a demonstration of any of the 'Link as a wolf' sections, although Aonuma did reveal that when playing as the lupine Link, you'll be able to communicate with animals, and will also have heightened senses.
Having snagged an early look at the game, we're more desperate than ever to play it ourselves - rest assured that we'll be bringing you a hands-on from the show floor in the very near future.