The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Preview

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is without a doubt one of the most anticipated games, let alone RPGs, to date. It follows the adventures of Link, in this game a simple farmyard boy, as he sets off to rescue the world... yet again. Twilight Princess will be the first Legend of Zelda game to be released for the Nintendo Wii, and the second to come out for the Nintendo Gamecube.

The only differences between the two has been confirmed by Shigeru Miyamoto to be technical; the Wii version will display in widescreen (16:9) whereas the Gamecube version will display only in 4:3, and the controls will of course vary -- because as you should all know, the Wii's controller incorporates gyroscope and motion sensor technology, or in plain ol' English -- you get to wave the controller about instead of just mashing buttons. This of course adds a whole new level to the gameplay as it likely will for every single Wii game.

From horses to cats, Link's an animal-lover.

The game begins with Link in his home farm village, name as of yet unknown, (Although thought to be called Toaru, roughly translating into Japanese as "unnamed") where he's a simple farmyard goat herder. A girl named "Ilia" (Thought to be Link's girlfriend, although that may just be speculation) is kidnapped by a gang of monsters, and Link is knocked out, but when he wakes he pursues and battles the monsters' leader on horseback (Horseback battle is set to be another new and enticing feature in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess)

Plot details are vague, but it is known that Link enters a world known as the "Twilight Realm" and becomes a wolf, much like his transformation into a pink bunny rabbit when entering the Dark World in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (GBA) Wolf link is captured and imprisoned in a castle, but is later saved by a strange imp-like creature known as "Midna". Link will also become older through the game -- it's uncertain how exactly this will happen, whether it is in the same fashion as in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, or whether he will actually age throughout the years. One thing is certain though -- we see Link as a child, an adolescent, and an adult.

Midna riding on Wolf Link's back in the Twilight Realm

It is fair to say that a very, very large amount of the hype about this game stems from the fact that the Wii version will incorporate the Wii remote with the Nunchuck attachment. Players will be able to fire a bow and arrow realistically, fish almost as if actually using a rod, and make use of the motion capabilities to pull off an advanced sword move. (Although basic sword-swinging will be done through the usual mashing of the B button)

Jabbing the remote will cause Link to drive into his enemy with his shield, and the "spin attack" is performed by rotating the Nunchuck attachment. Items can also be thrown via the Nunchuck attachment, and jabbing sharply downwards with it will have Link perform a finishing move on his enemy, driving his sword through it and into the ground. Also, the built-in speaker the Wii remote offers will play sounds such as the fishing reel reeling in, the bowstring tightening and being released, and all the usual bleeps and bloops the Zelda games are famous for.

Link must once again face the usual perilous dungeons of classic Zelda lore..

Classic old enemies of the series are to return all spruced up in next gen graphics and AI engines, ready to give Link a run for his money. Keese, Stalfos, Moblins, and Bokoblins have been seen in screenshots and trailers, as have monsters reported to be redheads. What is thought to be a Skull Kid from The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time (N64) has also been spotted in footage of the game, and appears to be in control of a group of tall monsters which attack link. Lizalfos are also set to return, fighting with swords, shields, axes, and some appear to wear helmets. Huge spiders resembling Skultulas are also seen in footage of the game.

Fighting bosses appears to be the usual deal as with other Zelda games; Link must find a way to utilise his weapons/surroundings to somehow outwit the boss, either causing them damage or knocking them out so that Link can hack and slash at their weak spots. An example of this is the giant fire boss found in the Goron Mines. Link has to blind the monster, pull on the chains it uses as a weapon to bring it to the floor, and slash away at the boss's weak point. Another boss battle includes a jousting match.

Aww, isn't it cute?

Classic weapons and armour are also very likely to return; although perhaps slightly upgraded, renamed, changed, or otherwise somehow slightly differentiated from earlier versions of the weapon. Set to make an appearance is the Gale Boomerang, which Link is seen receiving from a chest in the forest temple. This has the ability of the boomerang in earlier games to pick up and carry back items to Link. However, it is also able to deliver objects (such as bombs) to enemies. This ability is needed to defeat a plant-like boss during the game. The hookshot will also return renamed as the "Clawshot".

For the first time in a 3D Zelda game, Link will have an Oil Lantern and Lantern Oil. The Lantern oil is held in a bottle, and is used with the Oil Lantern to illuminate dark dungeons and so on. Bottles, potions, and so on are also going to return. Footage of the game has suggested Link can drink these potions while fighting on horseback, too. Iron boots will return, however they are upgraded with magnets, allowing Link to walk along walls and ceilings as he pleases.

Horseback combat, a much anticipated new feature in Twilight Princess

The graphics of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess so far, are nothing short of beautiful as expected. Shadows, lighting, and so on are done in a truly magnificent fashion, and movements are reported by testers of the game to be smooth, albeit the occasional jagged edge here and there.

Twilight Princess returns to the pre-Windwaker graphics, realistic and detailed, because, as Game Director Eiji Aonuma explained, the game was more specifically targeted at its North American audience.

Overall, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess looks as if it is quite literally going to blow gamers away. Especially on the Wii console, as the motion-sensory controls add so much spice that if the game was a curry (which quite frankly I hope it does not turn out to be), it would completely melt through your tongue and possibly a large portion of the rest of your body, depending on how quick the ambulance is. Of course, Nintendo assures us this game is most definitely not a curry and gamers WILL keep their tongue -- if they can find a way of using it to accurately describe the sheer awesomeness that will turn out to be The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. It's set to launch in the fourth quarter of 2006.