Taking place many years after the events in Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker follows a new Link on a new adventure. The game plays very much like the previous title, and feels almost like a direct sequel in some ways, though it adds a few twists of its own. As the game begins, we meet Link, who's a young boy on a small, yet sunny island. He's about to come of age and gets a special green outfit to wear, as the legendary heroes of the past had. Suddenly, a large bird appears in the sky and kidnaps Link's sister Aryll. After these terrifying events, Link finds his mission, which is to rescue her and save the world from the clutches of the evil Ganondorf. This evil being has been unleashed on the world once again after hundreds of years. Many of the most familiar elements from the previous games make return appearances in the new game. While it wouldn't be fair to ruin all the surprises in the game, players will be happy to learn that Hyrule and Princess Zelda herself are included in Wind Waker, as well as many of Link's traditional enemies and some familiar elements such as the Tri-Force. These throwbacks are really cool and should please the many fans who have followed the series since its inception on the NES.
The land-based areas of Wind Waker should immediately feel familiar to players who played Ocarina of Time because its controls are strikingly similar. The camera system works almost exactly the same but is still effective and easy to use. The game's inventory system is intuitive, and allows you to carry various objects in several carrying objects such as bottles and pouches. Link simply opens the pouch and can then assign any object in that to one of the action buttons. This allows you to have plenty of items, and makes them easy to get to as well. It's very much like the system used in OOT and veteran players should have little trouble navigating the menus. At the start of the game, Link receives a Telescope from Aryll that he can use to view and zoom around his surroundings. While it's use on land is limited, the Telescope is quite effective during the sailing sequences. Another aspect of Wind Waker that should be familiar for Zelda veterans are the rupees. These are the currency that Link uses to purchase items and can be earned in a variety of ways including breaking objects, cutting down shrubs and beating enemies. Link can also earn these by playing the some of the many addictive mini-games that are included in the game. However, Link can only carry a limited number of these at first, so you need to spend these wisely in the shops. Link can find other items such as golden feathers, amulets and chu jelly that he can use to trade with other characters in the game as well.
Link has several new abilities in Wind Waker that should keep things fresh for Zelda veterans. When Link battles enemies, he's got several sword techniques to use, which are taught to him at the beginning of the game. Link can either slice the enemies with a standard swipe, or use more elaborate techniques such as a Parry, Roll and Spin attacks. These are easy to perform but quite effective. However, the standard camera system can be a bit confusing. To compensate for this, Link can use the L-target to lock onto specific enemies, making attacks much easier when he faces multiple foes simultaneously. Another weapon Link can use are the traditional Bombs, which can either be found growing in flowers, or Link can purchase some at one of the many shops in the game. However, Link doesn't always have to use close-range weapons and can attack enemies from a distance using by shooting arrows at them with his bow or using the boomerang for a devastating attack. In addition to these weapons, our hero has some cool new moves as well. The coolest one of these are Links new stealth moves. During the game, there are several areas where your faced with guards who will over-power you no matter what you do. The good news is that Link can get past them by using Stealth techniques. All he needs to do is find and hide inside a barrel. However, the guards will spot him if he moves when they're nearby, so you need to be careful. Link can swing over the gaps in each map in two ways: he can swing on a lantern, or use the grappling hook to get over these sections. There are many perilous narrow paths in the game which Link can cross using a special move called sidling. He stands with his back to the wall and slowly crosses over these gaps. This is surprisingly easy to perform, requiring you to face in the right direction and press the A button.
In addition to his standard items, Link can earn several special items that are essential to complete the game. The first of these is the Wind Waker, which like the ocarina in the last game, is a music device that lets Link perform magic spells. The Wind Waker acts like a conductor's baton and by using it in time to the music, he can make things happen. The other magic item can only be acquired by visiting the Deku Tree and that is the Deku Leaf. When he's equipped with the leaf, Link can summon the powers of wind and make them blow in a specific direction. He can also use the Deku Leaf as a glider to fly short distances. One of the side-quests in the game involves taking pictures and to do this, Link needs the Picto Box. This works similarly to the Telescope, but here Link can snap shots and save them. It seems a little superfluous at first, but these pictures play a large role in many of the puzzles later on. Finally, Link gets the coolest item in the game from a strange man known as Tingle. He gives Link the Tingle Tuner, which allows two players to play simultaneously using the Game Boy Advance. The Tingle Tuner can be used in a variety of ways and lets players locate hidden treasures, unlock maps and even attack enemies. Players can also use the Tingle Tuner to give Link special abilities such as a shield for a short time. Tingle can be controlled independently to perform special moves, give advice, find hidden areas and more. However, many of Tingle's abilities will cost you money. The Tingle Tuner adds a new dimension to the gameplay and is a very cool bonus feature but it isn't essential to completing the game.
Even though Wind Waker is highly reminiscent
of other Zelda titles, the method used to move around is inventive and clever. Instead of walking from one town to another, Wind Waker allows you to
sail on the seas between different islands. Your vehicle is quite special and
is actually a distinct character in the game. Your boat is a named The King of
Red Seas who talks, gives you directions and guides Link through the oceans.
Once you set sail, you can consult your maps to get you to the next island, and
it's important to know where you're going, because you can get lost quite
easily. You can increase your speed by sailing into the wind, or can stop by
pulling the sail down. Initially, the King of Red Seas guides you to your next
destination automatically, but later on, you are given the freedom to roam the
seas in any direction you want. During the seafaring portions of the game,
you'll meet several characters who will help you along the way by giving you
advice or pointing out treasure locations. Link can also play some mini-games
such as boat-racing to earn additional rupees.