Throwback Bit Thursday: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, was Nintendo GameCube’s Swan Song, and the Wii’s launch killer app for the Nintendo core gamer. While I ranked the game as the 4th best Legend of Zelda game in our “Top Ten  All Time Zelda List“, Twilight Princess is my personal second favorite Zelda game, after Ocarina of Time.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask was a great direct sequel to Ocarina of Time. But it didn’t take place in Hyrule.  Princess Zelda, and Ganondorf were missing. The game was a dark, and epic side adventure, but not a conventional Zelda entry.

After finishing the Majora’s Mask, I yearned to return to Hyrule’s green pastures. In 2001 the announcement of the – then – ultra powerful GameCube promised unlimited possibilities to my teenage mind.

Nintendo’s Space World “The Legend of Zelda tech showcase trailer” in 2000, only served to drive my expectations up to near cosmic levels.

The Legend of Zelda Space World
Link’s character model in Space World’s tech trailer might have set the expectations for the next “The Legend of Zelda” entry a bit too high.

The Space World trailer was just too fantastic. It featured a battle between Ocarina’s Link and Ganondorf that showcased some of the greatest visuals seen at the time.  I was giddy in anticipation only to be let down by the eventual reveal of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker a few years later.

Don’t get me wrong, Wind Waker was a great game, but after the visually mesmerizing Space World Zelda trailer, a  super deformed cartoony Link is the last thing that I had expected.  Nintendo itself, would later admit that the company went with a darker, ‘realistic’ Zelda visual style in Twilight Princess because the Wind Waker didn’t sell well in comparison to Ocarina of Time.

Thus, after Wind Waker, I was pleasantly surprised by Twilight Princess’ epic reveal at E3 2004. Needless to say, I was not the only one who shed a tear while watching the trailer video. Grown men in the audience cried in emotion while watching the version of Hyrule that we all wanted. The Hyrule that we had all envisioned after Ocarina, but that Nintendo had denied us in the Wind Waker.

The trailer was spectacular, perhaps because it was all that we had imagined, and then some. Also, The Lord of the Rings was at, or close to its apex in popularity, and watching Link battling a top of horse was eerily reminiscent of Peter Jackson’s films. There was even a boss (shown in the trailer) that had an eerie resemblance the Lord of the Rings’ Balrog. In short, for the times, Nintendo couldn’t have made a better trailer for the game.

Twilight Princess vs Oblivion

I will always remember Twilight Princess, in a way, for the fact that I was in my early stages with the Xbox 360, and my shiny new 720p HD TV when I first bought the game at launch in 2006. You see, I had acquired Oblivion a few months before I did Twilight Princess, and was about 10-20 hours into the game when suddenly, the game ended up in a shelve collecting dust. Twilight Princess’ Hyrule (GameCube outdated tech and all) had captured my interest – and imagination – in ways that Oblivion’s Cyrodiil had not.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was the reason that I never got much further past the 40 hour mark in Bethesda’s game. Twilight Princess was nearly as magical as Ocarina had been in 1998, and felt like a natural, and even larger successor to it.

The Story itself, might be the best that a Zelda game has had to offer. It featured Dark (and depressing) implications for the most iconic Link of all time (Ocarina’s Link), and Midna, unlike Navi, was a showstopper of a companion character for our hero. The music was fantastic, and the game pushed the GameCube hardware to the limits.

It is difficult to find something wrong with Twilight Princess. I later bought the Wii version, as it featured motion controls, and a wide screen mode, but found the controls lacking in comparison to the good old controller pad. Other than that, my experience with game was more than memorable.

Twilight Princess Wii U
Twilight Princess deserves to be ported in HD form to the Nintendo Switch.

Twilight Princess, was the perfect Ocarina sequel. It was direct continuation of the plot line, it had bigger dungeons, more collectible items, and a better array of mini-games. Apart from all of those wonderful things, it met the visual standard that as fans of Ocarina we had expected from a GameCube entry on the series. In short, Twilight Princess, is in my opinion, one of the greatest games of all time.

I keep praying to the gods at Nintendo for an eventual port of the Wii U Remaster of the game on the Nintendo Switch. Let us hope that they listen!

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By Samuel Rivera

An avid video game player and book reader, Samuel has been playing video games for the last 31 years. He has played nearly every PS1 JRPG known to man, and loves Ocarina of Time more than any other game.