The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Capcom
Genre: Adventure RPG
Format: Cartridge
Release: US 01/05
Japan 11/04

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Talk about drug-induced hallucinations...
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Link has a stalker.
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Hey baby, wanna see my kinstone?
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Whoa, those are some Magic Mushrooms...
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Mark P. Tjan
Preview First Look
Mark P. Tjan

The Legend of Zelda is one of the most familiar series to gamers. Starring the boy hero Link and his ever-growing bag of tools, one adventure after another has seen the Elven warrior hack and slash his way through mobs of enemies, all the while solving puzzles, conquering dungeons, and saving those in distress.

In the Minish Cap, the young hero Link will learn to grow large and small, interacting with a diminutive race known as the Minish people. A mystery surrounds this people, although what it is isn't particularly clear. But then, if it was, it wouldn't be a mystery, would it? With the aid of the Minish Cap, an item found early on in the game, Link will be able to shrink down to tiny proportions, entering a miniature realm where his adventures will begin in earnest.

One of the noticeable changes from previous installments such as Four Swords Adventures is the addition of Link's new garment. Link's hat, perpetually pointy in the past, now features a bird-like tip which councils the Elfish warrior as he wanders. This is the Minish Cap itself. The bird isn't always present, but emerges whenever necessary, replacing Navi as Link's supernatural guide. Fans of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask will remember Navi as the faerie that travelled with Link on throughout his quests.

The recent GameCube release, The Wind Waker, has served as the graphical inspiration for the latest GBA renderings of Link, including this latest incarnation. While the designs for the Wind Waker caused a great deal of controversy among fans, they've received much kinder regard in the two-dimensional realm. The Minish Cap appears to be making good use of the GBA's technical capabilities as well, featuring rotating, scaling areas; large, deforming bosses; and all the stylized special effects Capcom and Nintendo fans should expect.

One of the most relevant graphical effects occurs when Link shrinks. Blades of grass will be as large as trees once were, and mushrooms will become the size of houses. Everything once normal is now huge, and everything once tiny suddenly becomes normal. The E3 demo showed several dungeons in this tiny world, but it isn't clear if the entire adventure will be played this way. At the very least, fans should expect the variety and ingenuity in dungeon design they've always been privy to.

Fans worried that this new Zelda title wasn't being developed by Nintendo directly need not be afraid. Capcom ably handled both Oracle games on the GBC, as well as the GBA version of A Link to the Past and both Four Swords games, so things seem to be shaping up well for The Minish Cap. If all goes well, the game will see release this November in Japan, and January 2005 in North America.


© 2004-2005 Capcom; Nintendo Co, Ltd.
All Rights Reserved.

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