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The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords

Nintendo have been harping on about GBA connectivity for absolutely ages and, apart from Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles and Pac Man VS, we've seen precious little evidence that the feature is really worth bothering with. Four Swords is going to change that.

Anyone played Zelda: LTTP's Four Swords extra? No? Well, shame on you, because it's one of the gaming worlds most criminally underplayed experiences - with you and your mates navigating through dungeons, solving puzzles together, combining special items together, help each other out and using your combined power to rip apart some of the most inventive boss encounters you're ever likely to play. In the midst of all this lovey-dovey co-operative gameplay, Nintendo have added a cruel twist that forces you to stab each other in the back, so you'll find yourself blinding your comrades, knocking them out of the way, or even better, chucking them into bottomless pits. Quite simply then, a fantastic experience.

In the Gamecube version there are three different modes available. Navi Trackers, Shadow Battle and Hyrule Adventures. The latter of these three modes is very similar to the GBA version of the game - which is a very good thing. It explores the basic idea and expands it, with bigger areas, more involving puzzles and more items to use. On top of this the game has been the recipient a huge graphical overhaul. It mightn't look like it from these shots, but the game is stunning, with loads of stunning lighting effects, transparent layers and suchlike livening up the action like you wouldn't believe.

The other two modes are a little simpler perhaps, but by no means less enjoyable. Navi Trackers sees the four of you high tailing it across a massive map attempting to seek out special stamps hidden about the place. In this game your television works like an information hub (telling you where all the other players are for example) while you navigate the world on your GBA screen, thereby hiding the exact nature of your activities from the competing players.

Of course, no multiplayer game would be complete without an out-and-out battle mode. Thankfully Four Swords doesn't disappoint. It's got a fab Shadow Battle mode, which allows you to batter each other until there's only one of you left to claim victory. Again, things aren't as simple as they seem, though: with many areas in the battle arena only visible on your GBA screen, the player can access hidden areas for extra items, and the other players won't know what on earth the hidden player is up to. Like Pac-Man Vs, this is a game that doesn't look like much in screenshots. But believe us, it's already a whole heap of fun.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords has yet to receive a UK release date