The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, GameCube

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was developed and published by Nintendo for the GameCube and Wii in 2006 and is an unusual, beautifully-produced game with stunning visuals and evocative gameplay. It was the final first-party release from Nintendo for the GameCube.

Twilight Princess features involving, varied, and ever-evolving gameplay, with a more mature-looking Link in the title role (possibly in response to criticism of its predecessor, 2002’s The Wind Waker, due to its cartoony, cel-shaded graphics). The story involves Link trying to stop Hyrule from being engulfed by a corrupt parallel dimension called The Twilight Realm.

The controls are pretty much the same as introduced in Ocarina of Time, with context-sensitive action buttons and L-targeting, and Link will automatically jump when running off the edge of a ledge. In the GameCube version Link can only equip two secondary weapons at a time (in the Wii version he can equip four).

As you’d expect: Link can do a wide range of interesting things, like blowing grass (to make a sound) that summons a hawk. It flies down and lands on his outstretched arm, then you can aim and let it fly towards a target for you, which is very useful. For example, you can use the hawk to grab a Cucco for you; bring it to you, and then use it as a hover device. You can use it to take down hazardous bee hives; grab far-off things for you; and other things.

Twilight Princess features nine major dungeons where Link battles enemies, solves puzzles, and works his way towards a boss battle at the end, where he’ll either obtain a key item or advance the story in some way.

The game turns on its head at a pivotal point early on in the story – when Link enters The Twilight Realm – and in doing so Link will transform into a wolf. After some progress Link will be able to transform between his normal self and his wolf form at will. When he’s in wolf form he cannot use his sword or shield or any secondary items, but he moves faster, can dig holes (useful for finding hidden passages or buried items), and also has improved senses. He also carries Midna, a small imp-like creature who gives him hints, attacks enemies, helps him jump further, and eventually allows him to warp to a variety of preset locations in the overworld.

Twilight Princess is an epic adventure, with beautiful graphics and emotionally-evocative music, that was critically and commercially successful (it was actually the biggest-selling Zelda game until Breath of the Wild came out), and is also great fun to play. Nintendo obviously went all-out to make this game as good as it possibly could be, which is why it was delayed a number of times before release (so that the devs could add more content and refine the game more). Twilight Princess has a dreamy, otherworldly atmosphere, with lots of lens flare and magic hour lighting bloom and is so utterly charming that you can’t help but love it.

A HD remake of Twilight Princess was released for the Wii U in 2016.

More: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on Wikipedia

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