This wasn’t my first time playing through Four Sword Adventures. I played through the game one before, many years ago when I still had roommates who were into that kind of thing (My wife has many good qualities but action gaming is not one of her interests). I remember enjoying the game but not so much that I ever intended to play it again. My plans changed however when my older son found the game after digging through my box of Zelda stuff and basically forced me to play it.
The game serves as a tech demo for what could be accomplished with the GameBoy Advance Link cable (I’m only aware of one other game that ever used it like this). Up to four players can play the game at once using the GameBoy advance as a controller. Each player gets their own second screen on their controller and the main TV is shared by all players. In single player mode you can use a normal GameCube as a controller and the areas that would normally be displayed on a GameBoy show up on the TV in an overlay window. I played the game exclusively in single-player mode this time though since I have my GameBoy Advance loaned out at the moment.
Since the game needs to work on both the GameCube and GameBoy Advanced the graphic style is based on something that would work on either system. The presentation feels almost exactly like the old SNES classic ‘A Link to the Past’. On the big screen the GameCube also throws in a few modern animation and lighting effects that manage to simultaneously look both awesome and oddly out of place.
The game breaks the normal Zelda formula and presents itself as a series of stages. There are 8 areas with three stages in each area. Each stage varied between 10-30 minutes in length and they are mostly linear. Some stages involved fighting enemies and dungeon crawling while others focused more on puzzles and exploration. There was actually a surprising amount of variety involved in the stages. Each three stage area ends with the rescue of a captured maiden who takes you to the next area.
My sons both loved the game enough that they’d clean the house if I promised to let them watch it when they were done. They enjoyed the memorable cast of characters including the nefarious Shadow Link and of course Princess Zelda. They’d often pretend they were the red and blue link and they’d practice doing spin attacks with various objects with toy swords while we’d play. It doesn’t matter how you package up a Zelda game. Kids will love it.
The game isn’t great, but it’s still a Zelda title so it’s not bad either. I’d love to see Nintendo do more with the Four Swords series. A Wii U multiplayer networked Zelda game would only help make the world a better place.
- Zelda game with up to four players.
- Somewhat lacking single player experience.
Genre: Action / Adventure