i played oracle of seasons earlier this year, but i was hankering for some more zelda. i’ve finally found me a gaming buddy, and so instead of hitting up oracle of ages i decided to take advantage of the situation and instead try out the original zelda four swords which was included with the GBA remake of the SNES classic a link to the past.
four swords is intriguing in that the game modifies the layout of the levels depending on how many people are playing (i.e. 2, 3, or 4) as well as within each set configuration. it’s still unclear to me how much the levels change within those constraints, although from my limited 2-player experience it seemed that levels do repeat and can be pretty much the same aside from the locations of items, etc. from what i gather from reading online it seems that the bosses are exactly the same each time through, although i haven’t verified that for myself. there were some surprises in the game, including a couple of great new items and some new enemies, including the new main baddie vaati who apparently has gone on to appear in several other games in the series.
not too much to say about the particulars. the game definitely succeeds as a multiplayer romp with a good mix of cooperation and competition (and in a way foreshadows new super mario bros. wii, including its ability to pick up your companions and throw them into a bottomless pit), and although there isn’t much in the way of a true zelda experience in terms of the game’s progression, it’s still fun to play through at least once. playing it through at least twice more is required to “finish” the game, but although there seems to be some variety between the levels it feels like it would get to be a bit tedious because the levels themselves are generally too repetitive. the chance that i’ll be able to coerce someone else to play through the game twice more with me is somewhat slim, but one of these days … in the meantime i’ll have to just play through the one-player version of the gamecube follow-up four swords adventure.
link’s double-edged links:
– the official site for the game includes basic info and screenshots
– nice entry on the game at zeldawiki.org including the story that i assume is from the instruction manual, and info on the bosses, items, etc.
– entry at wikipedia
– zeldauniverse.net also has a nice entry on the game, including a transcript of the in-game prologue and a FAQ that details the requirements to complete the game. the site also mentions this regarding the game’s level generation: “Also note that the layout of each level changes, but it changes in two ways. First off, there’s the setting–which is the outer rim or overall layout of the stage. Then there’s the part–which is the area in the middle. So sometimes you’ll come to a level where the setting is the same, but the part in the middle is changed–or vice versa.” i’m surprised that no one’s tried to generally catalog all the possible level parts or types of level parts because from my limited experience the number of parts doesn’t seem to be anywhere near infinite, but it doesn’t seem that many people have played the game anyway.