As mentioned in my “Majora’s Mask” article, I have a thing for video games with dark undertones. The Legend of Zelda series doesn’t shy away from getting dark. We have games like “Majora’s Mask” that explores an apocalyptic universe, but we also have games like “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” that explores the darkness within yourself as Link. “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” is a title for the GameCube/Wii. It released almost 13 years ago on Nov. 19, 2006. During this period, the GameCube was coming to an end and the Wii was fresh on the market.
“Twilight Princess” is your typical Legend of Zelda game. It’s filled with dangerous dungeons, with countless traps. We have well-designed puzzles, that keep the player on their toes, and of course, a Zelda game wouldn’t be complete without interesting characters. During the time of its release, it was advertised as the new and exciting Zelda game of the decade. However, for me, it seemed like the other Zelda games, but with better graphics.
In this game, you start as Link, living in the small village of Ordon. Ordon is a farm village on the outskirts of Hyrule. He lives a simple life of being a farmhand, running errands for the mayor and helping around town. At the beginning of the game, we start by doing some of those chores that Link does daily. We wrangle goats, we go fishing and my favorite: save a baby from an annoying monkey. After completing the tedious beginning chores, we jump right away into the games’ main story. Ganondorf’s men invade the land of Ordon and capture Link’s friend Illia. While trying to rescue her, he is knocked unconscious. As he wakes up, he tries running after Illia. As he is running, he sees this huge wall of light; a hand eventually grabs him and pulls him in.
We then cut to a scene of Link, where Link transforms for the first time into his wolf form. After transforming, he gets kidnapped by Ganondorf’s men, brought to Hyrule Castle, and is imprisoned. After being knocked unconscious in two cutscenes, Link finally wakes up and is greeted by one of the best companions in this game’s history: Midna.
Midna is a twilight being who was banished from her kingdom by this game’s main antagonist, Zant. Midna helps you escape the prison and becomes your companion for the entire game. She’s like Navi and Tatl, the companions from the previous Zelda titles. She guides Link on his adventure and gives him advice and tips on how to progress through the game. In wolf form, she rides on the back of Wolf and helps him in combat with her twilight powers.
In the early parts of the game, before completing the dungeon of the area, Link must journey into the twilight. There are three areas that Link must travel through Faron, Elder and Lanayru. Each of these areas is shrouded in twilight. Link must venture through all three of these areas and collect the lost soul vessels to restore those areas to normal.
One thing this game did a good job at was offering a variety of ways to play. There was the GameCube controller, that had a more traditional feel. The controls were similar to games like “Wind Waker,” “Ocarina of Time” and “Majora’s Mask.” The Wii version is a mirrored version of the GameCube. It was one of the first games on the Nintendo Wii that allowed the player to use motion controls.
“Twilight Princess” will take the average player around 35-40 hours to complete. The dungeons are filled with monsters, and the puzzles are challenging, yet rewarding, like the not so mini-dungeons. The game is full of side quests to fill the void when the player may be stuck in an area. It also helps us as the players learn about Hyrule’s history, characters and more. The boss fights are big and exciting fights. Overall, I feel at the time this game came out, it came off as a bit disappointing. Some fans felt that the series didn’t develop well over the years and that Nintendo was selling us the same game with better graphics.
I can be a bit biased since this game holds a special place in my heart. This game was the first Zelda game that I started from the beginning and completed to the end. The story reminds me of a bit of “Ocarina of Time” but with darker undertones. I enjoyed that they stuck with the classic layout that we see in a lot of Zelda games. I love having to help people in an area and collect items to discover those areas’ secrets. Those secrets usually lead Link to the temple. This game is my second favorite Legend of Zelda game in the series because it stays true to other traditional Zelda games, while also showcasing challenging dungeons, puzzles and more.
This game will always be one of my favorites. It’s one of the games that got me stuck on the Zelda series. It captured a dark atmosphere while showcasing a joyous adventure.