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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Spirit Tracks’ worthy addition to Zelda saga

    “”The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks”” was ready to disappoint me. The only two “”Legend of Zelda”” games I’ve ever played were “”Ocarina of Time”” and “”Twilight Princess.”” Any seasoned Nintendo fan knows those two games were among the best of the series, so, upon deciding to review “”Spirit Tracks”” on the Nintendo DS, I was preparing for a let-down. With diminished graphics, sub-par sound and touch screen controls, I saw no way the DS version of “”Zelda”” could match up.

    Well, don’t worry about any of that. “”Spirit Tracks”” is a thoroughly enjoyable ride and a worthy addition to the “”Legend of Zelda”” pantheon.

    A few minor complaints before we get to the good stuff, though: The game is 25 hours long, but about five hours of this is backtracking and mindless fetch quests. Our resident hero Link has been transformed into a railway engineer, which means you are going to be spending a fair amount of time on a locomotive. Nintendo has taken a lot of liberties with the universe in this vein, so if you are a die-hard “”Zelda”” fan, this may turn you off to the game. Are all of the above complaints good with you? Good. Let’s move on.

    “”Spirit Tracks”” features your usual mix of exploration, plot development, parading Princess Zelda around and solving mind-bending dungeon puzzles. The touch controls actually work well even though being able to use the directional buttons once in a while would be a welcome option. The combat is exciting, and Link’s relationship with Zelda is stronger than ever as she is an integral part of your combat and puzzle-solving. When you gain the ability to defeat enchanted suits of armor called Phantom Knights, the princess will gain the ability to use them via her ghost form. This often carries unique benefits such as having a fire-lit sword to clear the way or being able to ride on her shield. The combination makes for a different interface in terms of combat and is a welcome and creative addition to the series.

    During the game, you’ll spend most of your time fighting through a huge tower called the Spirit Tower. It is the key to the game’s gigantic plot, and I’d be remiss to spoil it here. Suffice it to say it is challenging, loads of fun and a compelling device for the game. The final third of the game revolves around this tower, and the conclusion will leave you breathless.

    For an unassuming little title on the Nintendo DS, “”Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks”” will surprise you in ways you can’t imagine. If you own a DS, be sure to pick it up. Enjoy the ride.

     

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