Title: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Format: Nintendo GameCube
Release date: 2006
Place of purchase: Gameplay.co.uk
Price: Unknown (probably around £30)
Warning: Spoilers contained not just for this game, but also Skyward Sword!
Twilight Princess spent longer languishing in my ‘must complete’ pile than any other Zelda game apart from Majora’s Mask (which, to date, I still haven’t got around to finishing). I finally this year made a concerted effort to get through it, and did actually manage it. TP is pretty much everything you’d expect from a modern Zelda game; in many ways it seems a kind of ‘greatest hits’ compilation, with modern redressings of settings from Ocarina of Time with a darker edge to the story and graphics that are reminiscent of Majora.
It is a brilliant game, as you might expect from its pedigree. There are wonderfully tricksy puzzles, a combat system that is really the pinnacle of the non-motion-controlled Zeldas (I’m talking about the GameCube version here, of course), and one of the best supporting characters ever in the shape of Midna. But there is a problem: it’s too long. It took me around forty hours to complete, and I didn’t really do an awful lot of the side-quests as they mostly seemed likely rather tedious collect-a-thons. For some titles, forty hours isn’t an issue, but in the case of TP it seemed rather as if the last few hours were rather tedious. Unfortunately for me I’d reached the point of ‘oh-not-another-dungeon’ around three of them before the end. It doesn’t help that the last couple of levels don’t really add anything new to the game other than some locations which occasionally lapse into exercises in frustration when you mis a jump by pixels because of the 3D camera. The final boss fight is also dragged out by virtue of taking place over four separate phases, the last of which features a Ganondorf with more hit points than you can shake a Deku stick at. It’s not hard to beat him (certainly a lot easier than Demise at the end of Skyward Sword), just rather tedious because it lasts that long.
This all sounds rather negative, though, which is unfair because for the vast majority of the game the typical Zelda excellence shines through. There are a few brilliant stand-out moments, like the battle on horseback on the Eldin Bridge against the Moblin boss, and searching for the tears of light, but it’s the general high-quality of the game that’s most noticeable. I’m glad I went back to complete it, though I don’t think I’ll be attempting it again for quite some time.