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The games that shaped a generation: GameCube

5. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Nintendo | Nintendo | 2003

"A young boy clothed in green appeared as if from nowhere." While everyone expected an epic Link adventure on GameCube, many were surprised by this entry's bold departures from the past

What made it so great?
Anyone who complains that the Zelda games don't take enough chances must have missed this one. The Wind Waker risked everything by transforming everything - the series' familiar look, its beloved world, even its iconic hero.

You know what, though? It all paid off. The clean and colorful Disney style ensures that the game will never date; like a classic animated film, it will appear vibrant and beautiful forever. Likewise, switching the setting from endless green forest to endless blue ocean, and your transport from horse to boat, proved that the Zelda formula is immortal. Its magic works no matter where or how you apply it.

Finally, and most controversially, Link is recast as a bite-sized tyke. But the brave spirit of the character is intact, and his wide-eyed childlike expressions actually make him more sympathetic than ever before. If you can get through the scene where he says goodbye to his grandmother without getting a little emotional, then you're made of tougher stuff than us.

Get ready to play
Setting sail for the first time is pure exhilaration, with wind and waves whipping by as you watch the land melt away on the horizon. The whole world is open and ready to be explored, so feel free to get distracted from the main quest. Any information or treasure you discover is guaranteed to help you in the long run.

Been there, done that?
Hungry for more puzzle and inventory driven action? Star Fox Adventures is no masterpiece, but it mimics Zelda gameplay well... and throws in space combat with dinosaurs for good measure.