Title:

  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Genre:

  • Action-Adventure

Developer:

  • Nintendo

Publisher:

  • Nintendo

Release Date:

  • March 24, 2003 (US)

System(s):

  • Nintendo GameCube

Systems Used:

  • Wii

Box Art Credit:

On Wikipedia:

  • Yes - Spoilers

The following review I wrote in June 2015 and was revised for CSS use and re-posted in March 2016. The reason I'm adding this bit in front is because when I wrote this, I decided to do something totally different by making it over-the-top with unusually (for me) rough language and crazy theories. I remember that I did ultimately chicken out in trying to describe the Great Fairy as below and change what I originally had written, but everything else still stands, making this a bit unique among the reviews here.

Ah, Wind Waker. I borrowed this from my bro back in fall 2012 and it wasn't until summer 2015 when I finally beat it, and it sure did bring back some good memories. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker had the misfortune of being lambasted when a tech demo featuring then-advanced graphics of Link and Ganondorf was turned into a cel-shaded design that everyone hated at first (even if the "Toon Link" design has since been completely exploited since), sealing the GameCube's fate as a "kiddie" console and ensuring Nintendo would never again truly compete with its competition like it did with Sega in the early 1990s or even PlayStation, when it lost but still put up a fight.

Hearing the great music of Wind Waker again (like, say, sailing over the open seas) takes me back to better times (summer 2004 era, or at least that's how I remember it--see the EarthBound review for a glimpse into this era), well, at least in terms of being a fan of Nintendo, because in reality 2004-2005 wasn't so hot in reality, stuck in the "dork age" of middle school. The game was actually rather interesting. Special note goes to the Earth Temple, where there were some weird sun/moon things with light puzzles going on. That kinda weirded me out, and probably if I was a whole lot younger, it would've been far more unsettling. But I digress. It's been well over 10 years since I first played it, and summarizing it at this point is beating a dead horse at this point. Sure, I can talk about how cool some of the items were (the grappling hook!), or gimmicks that brought down the game (the Tingle Tuner), or other oddities, such as how the hell the Zoras (fish/human hybrids) evolved into the Rito (bird/human hybrids) complete with a totally different culture.

Let's focus on is Ganondorf. Now, I'm not going to come out and say that Ganondorf is this conflicted anti-villain who deserves sympathy after all, but taking into account the events of Ocarina of Time and assuming that the whole "coveting the wind" was not bullshit to trick Link into not attacking him (though you could argue it as such), was his actions in Ocarina of Time really that bad? OK, he orchestrated some sort of coup to take control of Hyrule, but it isn't exactly clear how he did it. Given that King Daphnes seemed to survive to some extent, he might've had the king of Hyrule deposed but not killed, and everything afterwards was just bad rulership than actual evilness. The chaos at Lake Hylia was caused by monsters, the Kokiri Forest didn't have the Deku Tree to protect it, etc.

Speaking of which, did he actually kill the Deku Tree, because it seems like he lacked enough magic to do the trick (pre-Triforce), and unless he conjured up a bunch of Velpar, there's no way that he did the deed—perhaps the Deku Tree went into some sort of stasis mode to protect itself (as well as to convince Link to leave Kokiri Forest), as the new Deku Tree popped up just fine after Link saves the day as an adult, and he seems to retain the knowledge of the old tree. So back to "bad rulership", those monsters are there not because he actually placed them there but they just had nothing to stop them. If he wanted to put an end to all rabble-rousers, he would've destroyed Kakariko Village as well, and he doesn't. Instead, Hyrule Castle Town exhibits classic "white flight" syndromes, a dark-skinned fellow moves in down the street (in this case, Ganondorf), they eventually move to a smaller town (in this case, Kakariko Village), and everything falls apart there.

And while we're on the subject, let's talk about how Link essentially doomed the Gerudo race. There aren't Gerudos in the future because they went into extinction. You see, in Ocarina of Time it mentions a male is born every century, which seems to establish that Gerudos have longer lifespans than the average pointy-eared Hylian. As there doesn't seem to be any lesbian-based reproduction in the land (otherwise, the need for males is kind of irrelevant), therefore Ganondorf (like his father), the alpha male would be out there banging every other member of his species in ensuring the survival of his people, which Ganondorf seems to have not followed through on.

The game looks great, but you won't achieve this with RCA cables.

Ganondorf tells Link in the penultimate final battle (it's a fake-out) that "Your gods destroyed you!" referring to the opening narrative of a distant future in which Ganon(dorf) comes back somehow years after Link, the Hero of Time, moved on, and that the answer that the heavens gave was to flood the earth and leave a people who forgot the past. Besides contradicting the laissez-faire way that Ocarina of Time played it, it was a bit annoying how often it played up the whole pagan god aspect. It wasn't outright propaganda, but it was certainly more central to the plot and kind of annoying if you're not into that. You (yes, you) who are reading this: I am guessing that you are either monotheistic or a flavor of atheist. And if you were by chance one who believes there are gods, these are not your gods. No matter what, this should probably annoy you some.

Despite Ganon being right and leaving Tetra (Zelda) and Link to find a better land (which is a long shot to begin with, there just might be nothing left, the final battle with Ganon was pretty easy, especially compared to the brutal beatdown he gave me in Ocarina of Time. It's not just "I'm a better player", the complaint was that it really was too easy, and I beat Wind Waker 6/18/15, a day that will live forever here.

OK, now that I've got that whole bit off my chest, I felt that in terms of actual game play, Ocarina of Time still soundly trounces The Wind Waker (maybe if they had actually added in more dungeons instead of the whole Triforce Quest nonsense, that complaint wouldn't be there), leaving The Wind Waker just another, lighter, slightly different quest for those that loved Ocarina of Time, and if you can get past the wildly different art style, you should. The Great Fairies are a million times less obnoxious (still kind of odd looking, six arms, but not a screaming harpy with excessive makeup and a leotard made of dead leaves), but there's so much to do. You can play a version of Battleship, take pictures of every character in the game, follow behind an impoverished girl and meow like a cat in a desperate attempt to fool her (and somehow, it works! But it was a still a frustrating quest and I ended up with only 3 empty bottles by the end of the game), go through a trading quest (optional, and the payoff isn't worth it), battle waves of monsters for a Piece of Heart (another one I attempted), and search the seas looking for treasure.

June 23 2015

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Hi Rez Screenshot from this website though the author claims it was from another place. Can you help ID the source?