Product Type: Nintendo Nintendo DS games
Newest Review: ... the biggest difference here is how you travel around the map. Whilst there are still on-foot parts, the majority of the trekking to and fr... more
Zelda, once again on the right track
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS)
Member Name: Lynda_Mck
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS)
Advantages: Great game with lots to see and do
Disadvantages: Puzzles can be difficult at times
I always find that there is just something about a Zelda game that sets it apart from other games on the market. The games are a nice mix of puzzles, patterns and fighting, and you always get a sense of achievement when you figure out how to complete whatever seemingly impossible task you need to do to collect another key. I must say though that Zelda seems to suffer from the marmite effect, i.e. you love them or hate them, so if you're a first timer, perhaps you might want to try borrowing the game before you buy.
I've owned, or at least played many of the games for the game boy, game cube etc, so I'm a bit of a veteran when it comes to Link, Hyrule and Zelda. I bought and loved Zelda "Phantom Hourglass" which was the previous instalment in this franchise, and whilst I knew that it would be hard to better it with "Spirit Tracks" however, with the track record of Zelda games I had faith that it would.
In "Phantom hourglass" you were the captain of a ship, this time round, as the name might suggest, you are the engineer of a train with the abilities to pick your track and switch the train points to change direction. You also have a cute little whistle to scare away baddies and amuse the dolphins.
The basic plot is that a nasty demon has kicked Princess Zelda's spirit out of her body and has taken up residence inside it. Clearly Zelda wants it back, and as Link is the only one who can see her, the task falls to him. So you and the disembodied Zelda travel around in your train visiting villages and fighting villains in an effort to collect together what you'll need to beat Malladus, that nasty spirit I was talking about.
Zelda simply shines on the DS because the of the stylus. I have quite a few other DS games, and none of them seem to have understood the abilities that the stylus allows you to have in the same way that Nintendo have here. Because so much of Spirit tracks is completing puzzles a drawing tool work much better than a keypad because it's so much easier to manipulate things on the screen, such as drawing symbols or plotting routes. The stylus also allows you to control the action of your boomerang, which simply is the best weapon in the game. But Nintendo weren't simply happy with just using the stylus, oh no. Those of us familiar to the DS will know that they include a microphone, which you can blow into to use some of the weapons, or- and I do think this is rather cool- to play a set on pan pipes.
The other new thing that Nintendo has done in this game which you won't really find in other Zelda games is the extensive number of side quests which allow you to unlock the warp points. Side quests will generally involve you transporting a certain amount of a commodity from one side of the map to the other in an allotted space of time. Or catching bunnies.
If you played the "Phantom Hourglass" you might be familiar with the armoured phantoms that haunt some of the dungeons, and that must be avoided at all costs. In "Spirit tracks," you have the ability to use Zelda to possess these Phantoms, turning a foe into an ally. This adds an interesting cooperative play, particularly as each phantom may have a different function such as rolling, teleporting, carrying a burning sword etc. You will find yourself having to switch in and out of these phantoms to complete various tasks, which at times can be a bit monotonous, but for the most part is rather fun.
All in all I really enjoyed this game, and found myself being really addicted to it. Whilst the storyline can be a little simplistic, the graphics and game are so fun that I didn't really mind. If you enjoy games which are a little more strategic than others, or if you've enjoyed any games in the Zelda franchise before, you should certainly consider giving this one a try.
Summary: One of the best games available on the DS