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SummaryOne of the Best Games for the GBA
The GoodAlmost everything.
The BadIt has less dungeons that previous Zelda titles, and fans may not like the new Kinstone system.
The Bottom LineThe Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap was developed by Capcom (yes, Capcom) and published by Nintendo on January 10th, 2005.
So it turns out that Vaati’s intentions aren’t all that great. He turns Princess Zelda to stone and Link gets sent on a quest to retrieve a legendary sword forged by the Picori that can restore her. Why Link? Apparently, only children can see the Minish world of the Picori. And not only are the Picori invisible to adults, they’re also very, very small.
Everything about The Minish Cap is good. Like the music. Mixes range from the NES Legend of Zelda all the way to tunes from Ocarina of Time; many of the sound samples take their cues from Ocarina of Time and the Wind Waker respectively. If you find enough of a particular item you can unlock a means of hearing every song in the game, I was actually surprised to hear how close in quality the songs are to their console counterparts. I don’t know if the GBA’s sound capabilities are being maxed out or if the console sound is severely under utilized. Link’s little boy yell is ever present and sounds nearly as good as it does on GCN. Which is good.
Minish Cap is one of the best looking games on the GBA to date, taking after the toony Wind Waker style. Which is good. Many of the puzzles in this game require Link to shrink to Picori size. Watching out for the tiny Minish world while stomping around Hyrule brings a whole new dimension to the Zelda series. Minish Cap’s over-world is incredibly lush as a result, and when Link shrinks to Picori size you see just how much went into the level design. You’ll find yourself walking under gigantic leaves, climbing up gigantic bookcases, and treading the rafters of houses that are home to colonies of Picori. The trade-off is that Minish Cap doesn’t feature quite as many dungeon levels as previous Zelda titles, about six in all.
Shrinking aside, Minish Cap sticks close to the Zelda formula and plays just like you’d expect a Zelda game to play. (Good.) Basically, discovering the secrets of any given area hinges on the finding of certain items. Familiar items like the bow, and the bomb return. But there are also new additions like the Gust Jar, which allows you to vacuum up objects and enemies and clear away dust. Play mechanics remain largely the same as in previous installments, but there are some new puzzles that require Link to replicate himself. Another important new feature is the Kinstone; magical medallion halves that you can fuse together with the halves of NPC’s to uncover necessary and unnecessary secrets.
Because such emphasis has been placed on over-world exploration and the finding of Kinstones, it takes quite a while to find every last secret in Minish Cap. If you’re not into finding the little treasures that this game offers you’re still in for quite a good game. So much has gone into creating the Minish world in conjunction with Hyrule that even those who aren’t fond of collecting treasure will be sucked in. You won’t be able to resist climbing a beanstalk just once, or digging out an entire cave just to make sure you didn’t miss anything. This is certainly one of the best GBA games there is, not mention one of the best (goodest?) 2D Zelda games ever. I hope it’s not the last. A