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Getting It Right: Resident Evil

Sep 24 // Allistair Pinsof
Resident Evil [2002] (GameCube, Wii)Developer: CapcomPublisher: CapcomReleased: April 30, 2002 In a nutshell: In 2002, Capcom did what no developer would dare do in 2012: made a faithful recreation of a six-year-old game with a cult following. This remake added new areas, enemies, endings, and improved controls, but the biggest upgrade was in the visuals, which added the horror back into the game's large, foreboding mansion. Though we still use the label "survival horror," the emphasis has been taken off "survival" since the release of this gem. A large, interconnected world Like any great horror movie, there is an ebb and flow to the horrors of Resident Evil, and it's all dictated by the game's brilliantly crafted setting. Some would love to have a mansion, but the thought of all that empty space and dark corners scares me away from the idea. Resident Evil is a game about this feeling -- the unnerving fear of the unknown and the comfort of familiarity. At the start, the Spencer Mansion is a foreboding place where every door is an invitation to evil and dismemberment. Soon, you start to map out the first floor. Next, you find brief sanctuary in the save rooms. By the time you clear out the halls, the house begins to feel like a home, and your heartbeat relaxes. The game teases you with locked doors -- even worse, mysteriously jammed doors! Unlocking them to discover a shortcut to a previous area is as satisfying as taking down one of the game's bosses. Never knowing what's around the corner As a culture, we live in fear of spoilers. A great surprise is as close to a holy moment as us geeks get, and there will be hell to pay if someone takes that away from us! Lucky for you, Resident Evil is a game full of surprises, though they aren't very nice ones. It never highlights what's around the corner or gives the false security of a checkpoint, so you'll be constantly praying that the next room is a puzzle and not a boss encounter. As you travel further into the game, old areas start revealing hidden items, cleared rooms start offering new enemies, and old bosses rear their head again. You'll be wishing you didn't leave that ammo box on the ground in that one room that you can't remember where the hell it is and OH GOD A GIANT SNAKE FUUUuuu ... It goes without saying that surprise is essential to a good horror game. Just look at Silent Hill: Shattered Memories to see how limp a horror game can become when it advertises its next move. Resident Evil asks the player to blindly trust the game; that if the player tries their best, they will survive. But some players will soon realize that their best isn't good enough. Just like in Dark Souls and Spelunky, making it to areas that you know others could never reach makes the journey all the sweeter. Finding comfort in a familiar place Resident Evil is a grueling game that isn’t shy about playing with expectations. Dogs provide literal jump scares, new enemies invade old areas, and there is a price to pay for every zombie you don't fully dispose of. Along with the horror of feeling locked outside areas and trapped within others, there is a simple joy to playing virtual cartographer. For those God of War and Super Metroid players who feel giddy after fully exploring an area, Resident Evil will make them pee their pants -- assuming they don't shit themselves first. Finding solace in the save rooms and main hallway is a unique feeling that I don't get from any other series. By the end of the game, you feel like you know the mansion inside and out, making you feel empowered. Or maybe that's just the grenade launcher with 18 acid rounds talking? Regardless, you feel like you've been on a wild ride as you return to familiar places and reflect on all the horrifying events that have transpired. The game allows you a moment to catch your breath before giving you another reason to let it all out in a scream, again. Alternate paths and strategies Maybe it's the fault of marketing and media exposure, but the branching paths of Heavy Rain and Mass Effect never shocked me in the way those of Resident Evil do. While it's clear that those two games were designed around the branching path concept and wanted to make the element of design clear to the player, Resident Evil is a game about psychological fear and withholding information. There are several times in the game where the player can choose drastically different options, but you'd never think you had an alternate choice unless you read about it in a FAQ. Even when you do read a guide, you'll often find yourself lost. "Wait, where is the automatic shotgun and why am I carrying this broken shotgun?" you’ll ask. Or, "Why did I never have that boss fight at the end?" In addition to these narrative splits, there are some clever alternate approaches one can take in the combat. There is the binary choice between evading and fighting with the common zombie, but things become more interesting with the boss fights that often offer a non-combat approach if you go the extra mile in your puzzle solving. On top of all this, the game has two main characters to play as that offer different dialog, weapons, and changes in the narrative. Unlike Heavy Rain and Mass Effect, by the end, I felt like I played the game the only way it could have been played rather than carving out my own version of it. Instead of wondering if I played the "best version," I was left wondering if there was even another version at all. Death means something As anyone who has played Spelunky can attest, taking away the ability to save can render even an approachable, cute platformer into a game of tense, horrific moments. And as anyone who has played the recent batch of horror games can attest, being given numerous checkpoints takes the fear out of the genre. The greatest fear for a Resident Evil player isn't zombies, but running out of ink ribbons. These ribbons are hidden throughout the game and are the only way to save progress. Since there are only 30 or so throughout the 11-hour game, and since you'll often be lucky to have more than one in your inventory, it's a constant source of tension that makes every unopened door and uncleared hallway into an unbearable threat. There is a compromise the player and developer make with such a restricted save system. Yes, it inconveniences the player, but it also heightens the fear and pleasure of the game. There is no moment more tense than going an hour without saving and being stuck with low health. But, there is no moment more satisfying than finding a save room, right when you thought you'd have to restart the entire game. For the brave and willing, the ink ribbon system will give you some of the most memorable gaming moments ever. Resident Evil was a landmark title in 1996 that ushered in mature console horror gaming. By 2002, its impact had been weakened, but Capcom addressed this with this nearly flawless remake. The lightning, detailed CG backgrounds, and high-polygon models still look fantastic and keep the game from feeling goofy in the way the original PlayStation games are now. For those who think they can handle the challenge and scares of this classic, you'll need to readjust how you approach games. Resident Evil was never the norm. Its pacing and unforgiving design limit its audience, but all of its misperceived flaws are essential to the experience. The controls aren't sluggish but intentionally slow, making intense moments more intense. The ink ribbon system and limited inventory ask players to make constant sacrifices that add weight to their actions. It's clear that Resident Evil is an abnormal, obtuse game, but everything about it adds up to one of the most unique, memorable horror games of all time. Resident Evil (1996) may have spawned the genre, RE2 may have broadened its scope, but this remake is the crown jewel of the genre. [And yes, I love RE4, but it's not survival horror.]
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Something happened between 2002 and 2003. Gamers and critics suddenly stopped praising Resident Evil as one of gaming's best series and started calling it dated, clunky, and boring. Take Resident Evil Code: Veronica. Upon ...

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Reggie teases possible GameCube games on the Wii U


Sep 21
// Chris Carter
We have a decent amount of information about the Wii U so far, but there's nearly nothing in regards to online specifics. That goes for detailed information on the Miiverse, online infrastructure, Virtual Console options...
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Grasshopper says it's Killer7's seven-year anniversary!


Jul 09
// Jim Sterling
Today has been officially recognized as the seven-year anniversary of Killer7, one of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful videogames ever created. Seven years ago today, the game launched in Japan. It actually came to North ...
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Animal Crossing is now the soundtrack for everything


May 06
// Jonathan Holmes
[Art by Ashley Davis] [Update: You can now toggle between the original and City Folk/Wild World soundtracks. Also, the background colors on the site now reflect the time of day. God just got a little more handsome.] A man nam...
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About damn time! Pikmin 2 Wii-make finally coming to NA


Apr 25
// Tony Ponce
[Manly Guys Doing Manly Things by Kelly Turnbull] Aside from Chibi-Robo!, every game in the New Play Control! line of GameCube-to-Wii remakes has been brought over to North America... with the exception of Pikmin 2. For some ...
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GameStop no longer wants your GameCube trade-ins


Mar 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Looks like your friendly neighborhood GameStop will no longer be accepting your last-gen Nintendo merchandise. Following a similar move in 2009 for the original Xbox, the retailer will be suspending their trade-in p...
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This portable GameCube is hot, gets its own music video


Dec 27
// Tony Ponce
Console modder Tchay has given us the gift of a sick-ass portable GameCube this Christmas season. Now, we've seen plenty of hardware mods in the past, but not many are presented as a glamor reel / music video! Tchay did a ba...
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A few days ago, we told you that an official Zelda art book containing the definitive timeline for the series would be released. Well, with the book out in Japan, that timeline has been officially revealed. All the historic e...

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Should all GameCube owners go to Hell?


Nov 11
// Jim Sterling
This is a question that has been on my mind lately, and I feel I should bring it up with the readers in order to see if I'm off-base here. Basically, should people who like the GameCube go to Hell? Now bear in mind, this is n...
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Sonic CD is too big to come to WiiWare


Aug 27
// Jonathan Holmes
Sonic CD was recently announced for digital rerelease on just about every possible gaming platform, with the exceptions being the Wii and the 3DS. No word yet on why the game is skipping a 3DS rerelease, though it's a safe be...
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Iwata: 3DS price cut due to lessons learned from Gamecube


Aug 01
// Jim Sterling
With the 3DS' rough start and Nintendo's financial faltering, some have already suggested that the dark days of the Gamecube have returned. However, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata believes that the 3DS won't repeat past mistakes, ...
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Nintendo won't confirm download GameCube games for Wii U


Jul 20
// Nick Chester
Speaking with website NintendoGal at E3 earlier this year, Nintendo of America's Director of Entertainment & Trend Marketing Amber McCollom dropped an interesting nugget of info on the Wii U. "Actually the GameCube discs ...
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For those of you who continue to ask Det. David Mills-style questions like "what's in the box?!" about the Wii U, a few more details have trickled out since yesterday's unveiling at Nintendo's E3 press conference. In add...

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The Question: Does The Legend of Zelda need an overhaul?


May 27
// Jim Sterling
[Every Friday, Destructoid will pose topical a question to the community. Answer it if you want!] I love the Legend of Zelda series. To me, I've never had a problem that, structurally, it's the almost the same game over ...
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F.E.A.R. 3 'Soul King' multiplayer explained


May 23
// Conrad Zimmerman
This is a video describing "Soul King," one of the new multiplayer offerings in F.E.A.R. 3. Later this year, you'll move about as a spirit, possessing the bodies of people and using their weapons to kill other people. The vi...

The story of Metal Arms: Glitch in the System

May 04 // Jim Sterling
There's a decent chance that you actually don't know what I'm talking about, and that's understandable. Metal Arms, unfortunately, was not a major success. The game released with very little fanfare, sold poorly, and was never seen again. This ran contrary to the plans of its creators, of course, who had poured their love into the game, only to have the work wasted, snatched away, and locked up for good. The story of Metal Arms is a melancholy one, but it's a story that deserves to be told. Boba Fett versus Planet Robot Metal Arms was devised by Swingin' Ape Studios, a company that formed in 2000 under the leadership of Scott Goffman, Mike Starich and Steve Ranck. While doing contract work for other developers, Swingin' Ape was working on its own game, a title that was never be finished but eventually went on to inspire the concept of Metal Arms. "The game put the player in control of a Boba Fett-like intergalactic bounty hunter where each level took place on a different planet," explained Ranck. "One of the planets was called Iron Star and was occupied by a variety of sentient and deadly robots. It was by far our favorite planet in the game. When our contracting job unexpectedly ended, we decided to put our full efforts into the bounty hunter game. "But within a few weeks, another intergalactic bounty hunter game was announced and we decided it would be difficult finding a publisher interested in funding our game."  A Glitch in Time With no income and only a few months of survival cash in the bank, the founders met with the team to discuss the grim possibility that after less than a year, Swingin' Ape might be out of business shortly. Faced with premature death, the team had a meeting to figure out what it should do with whatever time it had remaining. In that meeting, the concept for Metal Arms was born. Taking Iron Star and its robotic inhabitants as a starting point, Swingin' Ape decided it could make a shooter with an extreme level of violence that would retain its all-important "Teen" rating, due to the fact that the characters were not made of flesh and juicy, censor-baiting blood.  "With just a few weeks until 2001 E3, we worked hard on developing a concept movie that demonstrated the look and feel of the game," recalled Ranck. "We ended up including this movie in the final game -- it can be viewed once all 42 levels in the campaign have been completed. "When E3 arrived, Scott, Mike, and I were equipped with a laptop with the movie, a stack of colorful presentations, and a fairly polished pitch. For two days, we literally ran from meeting to meeting and pitched Metal Arms to over 15 publishers. Some were interested and at least appeared to be enthusiastic. Others yawned through the presentation and glanced at their watches. Nice. When we returned from E3, we really didn't feel any closer. Everything was still up in the air, and Swingin' Ape was almost out of time." At the very last minute, however, the studio got a call from Mike Ryder, then-president of Sierra. While no commitments were made, Ryder was shown the full concept for Metal Arms and expressed a hopeful amount of enthusiasm. Nothing was set in stone, but Sierra was now Swingin' Ape's best chance at succcess.  Seducing Sierra The seven-person studio set itself the daunting task of creating a fully playable demo level within six weeks, armed only with an unfinished proprietary engine and limited design ideas. Amazingly -- and thanks to the sacrifice of all free time and sleep -- Swingin' Ape built its demo. In Ranck's own words, the end result was, "Fun. Very fun." Sierra loved the demo, and Ryder was personally championing the game. Yet despite the excitement, the project was never officially greenlit and the studio was still facing closure. As luck would have it, Ranck was able to license out the technology used in the creation of Metal Arms' demo, which allowed Swingin' Ape to survive just long enough to sign a contract with Sierra in December 2001. Against all probability, Metal Arms was now officially a game, and development could begin.  "Developing Metal Arms was incredibly fun, though the game itself wasn't. Not in the beginning. The demo was just that -- a slice of fun that demonstrated the game. When you focus on a slice of gameplay, it's much easier to find the right formula to make it fun. But developing general, full-featured levels is another thing altogether," Ranck told me.  "It's not that we didn't know how to make the game fun, but that we had a huge amount of foundation code to write initially. I very much respect the people running Sierra at the time, because they fundamentally understood that for Metal Arms to be a good game, we needed the time to invest in our technology foundation. Once we had the core foundation done, we were then able to focus on the game's physics & destruction system, arguably the key component to the gratifying gameplay feel. Once the destruction system was complete, the fun level skyrocketed, and Metal Arms began to feel like a game. We were definitely hopeful for its chances of success." Sierra was compliant and development was going smoothly, but an ominous figure loomed over the horizon, threatening to strike Metal Arms down with an unjust fury. That shadowy malevolence was Vivendi, Sierra's parent company. Unlike Sierra, Vivendi had no clue what was so appealing about Metal Arms. It could not understand why the publisher had greenlit the project, and as such, often pretended the game didn't exist and would regularly omit it from project reviews.  "Then, the week before 2003 E3, Vivendi held their pre-E3 press event, where they showed off their games lineup to the press," revealed Ranck. "At the end of the event, the members of the press were invited to fill out a card where they ranked the games Vivendi showed to them.  "Metal Arms ranked #1, which caught Vivendi off-guard. To be honest, it caught all of us off-guard. Unfortunately, Vivendi had disappointingly dedicated only a single kiosk of their massive E3 booth to Metal Arms, which is a good indicator of how they considered the game, but after the press event, they scrambled to find more space and ultimately got the game on a 2nd kiosk as well as into Microsoft's Xbox booth. The E3 press on the game was strong, and it won several awards." Life's a Glitch, and then you die From then on, Vivendi bucked its ideas up and decided to lend some marketing weight to the game. A TV spot was aired and web banners were published on top-ranking sites. However, Ranck believes it was a case of too little, too late. Vivendi's marketing only came just prior to release, and most sales were generated through pure word of mouth -- at least as far as Swingin' Ape's anecdotal knowledge is concerned.  The gaming press was generally supportive of the title, although Ranck noticed several reviews from authors that "clearly have played only the first level or two, and yet feel they've played enough to form an opinion of the game and then publish a score." Armed with press coverage and late-but-welcome publisher backing, Swingin' Ape had high hopes for Metal Arms' retail performance. Due to grassroots hype and critical acclaim, Vivendi was confident enough to commission a sequel, which the studio began to work on. Three months after development began, though, the game was axed. Things had not gone according to plan.  "It was cancelled because despite Metal Arms' success in the press, it wasn't selling well. In general, the people who played Metal Arms really liked the game. But there just weren't enough people who were aware that the game existed." Just like that, Metal Arms: Glitch in the System was done. The game eventually made its way to Xbox Live as an Xbox Classic, but Ranck has no idea how well it performed. He's not even entirely sure where the IP currently rests, although www.metalarms.com now redirects to Activision's site, which would make sense, since Activision swallowed Vivendi in 2007. That Metal Arms would eventually drown in Activision's sea of lost souls, however, is through no lack of Ranck's attempts to rescue it. "I did try to acquire the IP but Vivendi wouldn't part with it," confessed Ranck. "Metal Arms was originally written as a trilogy which is why the game's story has a few unanswered questions. I'll take this opportunity to, for the first time ever, share some with your readers. I suppose you could consider this a SPOILER ALERT in a way, but since MA2 seems highly unlikely, maybe it's a risk worth taking for some." Metal Arms 2 The following section details what would have become of Metal Arms' story had the two sequels been made. As Ranck pointed out, they are spoilers, but for games that will likely never be made -- so feel free to read and imagine what could have been.  "Okay, so although we never came out and said it, Glitch was indeed created by the Morbots. That symbol on Glitch's head matches the glyphs in the Morbot region. The Morbots then intentionally planted Glitch for the Droids to find. The big reveal in Metal Arms 2 was that General Corrosive (the main villain of Metal Arms) was also created by the Morbots. He's Glitch's brother. Exavolt thinks that he created Corrosive, but he was just a tool in the Morbot's [sic] master plan. I won't go into detail as to what the Morbots were doing here, but will say that the whole thing was a grand experiment. "You never see a Morbot in Metal Arms. We know they live under the planet's surface. In fact, the name 'Morbot' spawned from the 'Morlocks' from H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. The Morbots generate and control the massive power consumed by the bots on the surface. Exavolt wants that power at his fingertips so he can win the war and rule the planet, but there are only a few gateways that lead down to the Morbot region, and the gateways appear to have no doors. You can see one of these Morbot gateways in the game when Glitch takes the massive lift up and out of the Morbot region. The next level is the first of the Mil City levels. When that level starts, the structure behind Glitch is a Morbot gateway. The markings match that on Glitch's head. "Exavolt never could figure out how to open the gateway. So, he came up with the plan of drilling through the planet's surface to gain access to the Morbot region. If you remember the giant drill level in the R&D facility, that's what that was all about. It's the Mil way of doing things -- sloppy, brute force. The Mils flooded into the Morbot region and occupied it, but the Morbots were nowhere to be found. They would reemerge in MA2. When Glitch discovers he was a pawn and killed his brother, he is motivated to settle the score with the powerful Morbots." That is where Metal Arms 2 would have taken us, but alas, it was not to be. Perhaps one day, Activision will remember that it's sitting on a critically acclaimed property that could have been a surprise hit if only it had been supported, and will greenlight another Metal Arms. Given Activision's tendency to not do such things, perhaps that's an incredible level of wishful thinking.  There are those of us that do remember Metal Arms, however, and are glad we got to play at least one game in what was a promising, original, heartfelt series. Metal Arms: Glitch in the System is available on Xbox Live Classics, and you can find the PlayStation 2, Xbox or GameCube versions for peanuts. Should you ever feel the need to play a violent, funny, brutally tough shooter, don't forget Metal Arms. That's the very least it deserves.
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My first encounter with Metal Arms: Glitch in the System came via a banner ad on IGN. Being an impulsive chap who will often be drawn to things simply because they look cool, I was immediately intrigued by the game, whic...

The Memory Card .84: A royal assist

Mar 31 // Chad Concelmo
The Set-Up The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for the GameCube has been featured on The Memory Card a couple times before. And for good reason: I LOVE THE GAME SO MUCH! If you want to read more details about the game’s epic story, you can click here and here to read the previous two features. For this entry, I am going to focus on the specific moments leading up to this week’s Memory Card. In the game, you play as Link, the green tunic-wearing hero of all the Zelda games. After his sister is kidnapped at the start of the game (already a twist on the classic damsel in distress storyline), Link sets off on an ocean-spanning quest to find her. Along the way, his adventure transforms from a simple rescue mission to that of a quest to save the world from all evil! During his quest, he meets a sassy pirate named Tetra. Upon finding the legendary Master Sword from the castle of Hyrule (now trapped in time under the sea), it is revealed that Tetra is actually Princess Zelda. After discovering the true identity of Tetra, Link sets off alone on a journey to restore the Master Sword to all its glory. To do this, he must awaken the Sages of Earth and Wind and find the hidden Triforce of Courage. Awakening the sages is not easy, but after completing two lengthy, satisfying dungeons, Link accomplishes his task. Finding the triforce on the other hand, is a whole different story. After locating eight treasure maps, Link finds all the pieces of the Triforce, while simultaneously discovering that the true Triforce of Courage is inside Link himself. He is the hero of legend that is destined to destroy the root of all evil. With his tasks complete, Link hurries back to Hyrule Castle. As Link enters the castle he witnesses a shocking sight. Right before his eyes, Princess Zelda disappears, captured by Ganondorf, the source of all evil. With a powered-up Master Sword in hand, Link breaks through a magical barrier surrounding Hyrule Castle and enters Ganon’s Tower. It is here in the tall, foreboding tower when this week’s Memory Card moment occurs: A royal assist. The Moment Ganon’s Tower is a treacherous dungeon full of enormous enemies and puzzling traps. After a long journey through the interior of the ominous structure, Link makes his way to the top room of the tower. Standing before him is a massive door. Slowly moving forward, Link pushes the door open and steps inside. As he steps inside the giant, water-filled room, Link sees an ornate bed in front of him. The bed is covered in a clear white curtain; two silhouettes projected by candlelight dance on its sheer surface. Link closes in on the bed and learns that the two shadowy shapes belong to Princess Zelda and Ganondorf. Princess Zelda lies asleep on the bed as Ganondorf towers over her. After a dramatic soliloquy on the fate of the world, Ganondorf screams and transforms into a massive three-formed beast. All three forms (Puppet, Spider, and Snake) are increasingly challenging, but Link manages to defeat them with the help of his handy light arrows. Ganondorf’s final form explodes in a puff of purple smoke. Link takes a deep breath. But, suddenly, from the ceiling, Ganondorf returns, holding an unconscious Princess Zelda. He beckons Link to the roof of the tower. Determined to get Zelda back, Link follows. As Link emerges from the darkness of the tower, he steps into a huge stone circle at the bottom of the sea. The only thing holding back the water is an energy barrier created by the power of the Triforce. Before Link even has a chance to ready himself, Ganondorf swoops forward and knocks Link back, the Master Sword flying out of his hands and landing only inches away from Princess Zelda’s still body. Ganondorf lifts Link in the air and extracts the power of the Triforce from him. But in a twist of fate, the King of Hyrule appears and stops Ganondorf from using the power of the Triforce. He splits apart the Triforce, causing the barrier to break, unleashing walls of water all around the tower. Ganondorf laughs. As Link stands up, Zelda unexpectedly joins his side, Master Sword in hand. She hands Link the Master Sword and tells him that they have to defeat Ganondorf and return to the world above the sea before the water washes them all away. With this, the final battle begins. Instead of Zelda standing by and being the object on the sidelines Link has to fight for, Zelda becomes a major contributor to the action. She equips herself with the light arrows and jumps into battle. While Link distracts Ganondorf, Zelda sneaks up behind him, charges her aim, and shoots a light arrow right into Ganondorf’s back. The impact stuns him, allowing Link to move forward and slash him with his sword. This process continues -- Link and Zelda, working together to defeat a common foe. After Ganondorf is injured, Zelda recommends a new technique, one sure to damage their enemy even more. Link equips his mirror shield and holds it up, all the while avoiding the constant onslaught of Ganondorf. When his shield is in the correct position, Zelda fires a light arrow directly at Link. Rebounding off his shield at the perfect angle, the beam from the light arrow strikes Ganon and stuns him one final time. With a golden opportunity in front of him, Link leaps into the air. He raises the Master Sword and plunges it directly into Ganondorf’s forehead. For a moment, everything stops. The screen goes white. When the action fades back in, the Master Sword is shown stabbed in the head of Ganondorf. The only sound that can be heard is the roar of the surrounding waterfalls. Ganondorf slowly turns to stone. He is dead. Shocked, but happy it is over, Zelda holds up Link, exhausted from the battle. The King of Hyrule steps forward, thanking the two for their heroic deeds. With no warning, the barrier surrounding the tower disappears completely. An entire sea pours in, surrounding Link and Zelda. Luckily, through the power of the King, Link and Zelda are placed inside magical bubbles, safe from the incoming water. As they float to the surface they say their final goodbyes to the King, watching him as he disappears into the dark waters below. Link and Zelda are safe. They reach the surface and look to the horizon; a new land and a new future await them. You can watch the incredible moment when Zelda assists Link right here: The Impact The final battle in Wind Waker is absolutely breathtaking. Before we get to the twist -- and the focus of this Memory Card -- let’s just talk about how gorgeous it is. The cell-shaded style of the graphics alone is stunning, but surrounding everything with beautifully animated waterfalls just takes everything over the edge. The final battle just looks incredible. It may be the best-looking final boss battle in the history of the Zelda series. And as soon as the battle starts it takes a major twist. Instead of fighting alone as Link -- as you had done in every single Zelda game up to that point -- Zelda fights along with you. Princess Zelda. A character that had been nothing but a damsel in distress was now fighting right next to you -- a vital part of the final battle. Tetra/Zelda was already such an interesting, well-rounded character throughout the entire game, that ending Wind Waker with a traditional Link vs. Ganondorf battle would have been fine -- Zelda would have still been viewed as the best and most complete iteration of the classic princess yet! But, no, the game doesn’t take that easy way out. And, honestly, it really couldn’t have. Throughout the entirety of Wind Waker, Tetra/Zelda is a major part of the story. She helps Link in so many situations, easily becoming the game’s second main character (outside of the King of Red Lions, of course). When Zelda is Tetra, she is a tough, strong girl, one that would never back down from a fight in order to help Link and save the ones around her. So why would this brave, courageous young woman not help Link just because she becomes a princess? She wouldn’t ... and the game respects this. At first, Wind Waker has Tetra stay behind once she finds out she is actually Princess Zelda. And, then, when Link returns to her, she is immediately kidnapped and knocked unconscious by Ganondorf. These moments are a slap in the face to the way Tetra/Zelda was developed up to that point. But, in a way, maybe the game’s designers did this on purpose? Once Zelda is kidnapped just like in every other Zelda game, it is easy to believe the rest of the game will play out just like the others. So when Zelda appears by your side during the final battle -- Master Sword in hand, mind you! -- it comes as a true surprise. As soon as Zelda wakes up, she is not going to stand on the sidelines like the end of Ocarina of Time. She is there to fight. She is there to do whatever it takes to put an end to Ganondorf. Just like Tetra. In this last moment, Princess Zelda proves that she and Tetra are one and the same. Watching Princess Zelda assist in the battle with Ganondorf is awesome and one of my favorite moments in the Zelda series. (One that worked so well it was duplicated in Twilight Princess.) The moment is surprising, clever, and a true breath of fresh air. It is a moment that changed the Zelda series (and how everyone viewed the iconic princess) forever.   The Memory Card Save Files Season 1.01: The return of Baby Metroid (Super Metroid).02: Palom and Porom's noble sacrifice (Final Fantasy IV).03: The encounter with Psycho Mantis (Metal Gear Solid).04: The heir of Daventry (King's Quest III: To Heir is Human).05: Pey'j is captured (Beyond Good & Evil) .06: The Opera House (Final Fantasy VI).07: Attack of the zombie dog! (Resident Evil).08: A twist on a classic (Metroid: Zero Mission).09: A Christmas gift (Elite Beat Agents).10: To the moon, Mario! (Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island).11: The Solitary Island (Final Fantasy VI).12: Wander's brave friend (Shadow of the Colossus).13: The submerged letter (StarTropics).14: The legend of Tetra (The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker).15: Snake pulls the trigger (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater).16: Riding under the missiles (Contra III: The Alien Wars).17: Hover bike madness! (Battletoads).18: Syldra's final cry (Final Fantasy V).19: Death by ...grappling beam? (Super Metroid).20: The message in the glass (BioShock) Season 2.21: Crono's final act (Chrono Trigger).22: Ganon's tower (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time).23: It was all a dream? (Super Mario Bros. 2).24: The assimilation of Kerrigan (StarCraft).25: A McCloud family reunion (Star Fox 64).26: The return of Rydia (Final Fantasy IV) .27: The battle with the Hydra (God of War).28: Fight for Marian's love! (Double Dragon).29: The Hunter attacks (Half-Life 2: Episode 2).30: The Phantom Train (Final Fantasy VI).31: The end of The End (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater).32: In Tentacle We Trust (Day of the Tentacle).33: Peach dances with TEC (Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door).34: Learning to wall jump (Super Metroid).35: A leap of faith (Ico).36: The Master Sword (The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past).37: Thinking outside the DS (Hotel Dusk: Room 215).38: Running outside the castle (Super Mario 64).39: Del Lago! (Resident Evil 4).40: In memoriam (Lost Odyssey) Season 3.41: The tadpole prince (Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars) .42: Pyramid Head! (Silent Hill 2).43: Waiting for Shadow (Final Fantasy VI).44: Solid vs. Liquid (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots).45: The birth of the cutscene (Ninja Gaiden).46: Insult swordfighting (The Secret of Monkey Island).47: A castle stuck in time (The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker) .48: 'That's the magic flute!' (The Wizard).49: Saving Santa (Secret of Mana).50: A shocking loss (Half-Life 2: Episode Two).51: The flying cow (Earthworm Jim).52: Blind the Thief (The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past) .53: The nuclear blast (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare) .54: Microwaving the hamster (Maniac Mansion).55: The fate of Lucca's mother (Chrono Trigger).56: A fiery demise? (Portal) .57: Jade's moment of silence (Beyond Good & Evil) .58: The Great Mighty Poo (Conker's Bad Fur Day).59: With knowledge comes nudity (Leisure Suit Larry III).60: Flint's rage (Mother 3) Season 4.61: The dream of the Wind Fish (The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening).62: Leaving Midgar (Final Fantasy VII).63: Auf Wiedersehen! (Bionic Commando) .64: Death and The Sorrow (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater).65: A glimpse into the future (Space Quest: The Sarien Encounter).66: Taloon the merchant (Dragon Quest IV).67: Scaling the waterfall (Contra) .68: Anton's love story (Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box).69: TKO! BJ! LOL! (Ring King).70: Giant robot fish! (Mega Man 2).71: The rotating room (Super Castlevania IV).72: The collapsing building (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves).73: Death by funnel (Phantasmagoria).74: Crono's trial (Chrono Trigger).75: The blind fighting the blind (God of War II).76: Brotherly love (Mother 3).77: Prince Froggy (Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island).78: The statue of a hero (Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride).79: Inside the worm (Gears of War 2).80: The return to Shadow Moses (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots) Season 5.81: A prayer for Ness (EarthBound).82: Yuna's empty embrace (Final Fantasy X).83: Blast Processing! (Sonic the Hedgehog)
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A damsel in distress. Those four words perfectly describe the basic plots of numerous videogames over the years. From the popular Mario series to even things like Ghosts 'n Goblins and Wizards & Warriors, a large majority...

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Concept art from the canceled Nightmare Creatures III


Mar 11
// Jim Sterling
Survival Horror buffs may recall Activision's attempt to jump on the Resident Evil/Silent Hill bandwagon, Nightmare Creatures. The game, set in 19th Century London, did enough to scare the kids, but it never quite became the ...
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Iwata: GameCube could do 3D gaming


Jan 07
// Jim Sterling
While Sony and various publishers talk up 3D gaming and declare it to be the future, Nintendo overlord Satoru Iwata claims that Nintendo was tinkering with it years ago, as far back as the GameCube. He says his company was wo...
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Shadow the Hedgehog was designed to appeal to the West


Dec 17
// Jim Sterling
"Appealing to the West" has become a buzz-phrase among Japanese developers for the past year or so, as their own country's market struggles with decline. SEGA had them all pipped to the post five years back, however, as Sonic...
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Lost Wave Race Easter Egg makes game talk s**t


Sep 02
// Nick Chester
In what may be the greatest discovery in modern gaming, a deeply hidden Easter egg has been found within the GameCube version of Wave Race: Blue Storm. Yes, the game that was released in 2001. The code (which you can find af...
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Off-Brand Games: Tube Slider


Aug 22
// Tony Ponce
[Many video games build upon the concepts and mechanics of their forerunners. Off-Brand Games examines those that draw just a little too much... inspiration.] Know what sucks about the Wii? Shut your whore mouths befor...
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Yup, Sonic Adventure coming to Xbox LIVE Arcade


Feb 27
// Nick Chester
As if the leaked screenshots hadn't already confirmed it, it does indeed appear that the still-unannounced Xbox LIVE Arcade port of Sega's Sonic Adventure is headed our way. Destructoid reader Damon sent along word that the X...
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Game Debate to the Death! Super Mario series Part 2


Nov 24
// Tom Fronczak
Many castles were pillaged and passed as we went from one Mario platformer game to another last week. Which game's flags gave us the most victory slides? Here are the top results: Super Mario World (33 votes) -- Winner! Supe...
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Game SERIES Debate to the Death! The Legend of Zelda


Nov 11
// Tom Fronczak
Good gaming gods, last week's debate was epic, and I do not use that word lightly. I had to go through all 235 comments twice, just to make sure no tallying mistakes were made. The outcome broke almost every debate record ima...
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Another portable GameCube mod because why not


Nov 10
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Modder Hailrazer took a GameCube and some other electronics, stripped them down and created the portable GameCube you see above. The case was from a Datamax Kid's Delight, the screen was originally used for the PSone system ...
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Game SERIES Debate to the Death!Smash Bros VS Mario Party


Sep 22
// Tom Fronczak
Last week's debate made me pretty nervous. On paper, comparing a cartoony and speedy shooter to a realistic and slow stealth shooting game made perfect sense. But this was Metal Gear -- could any series compare with it in a d...
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Games Time Forgot: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


Jul 15
// Chad Concelmo
Every Wednesday, we highlight rarely-remembered but interesting games for our "Games Time Forgot" series.If you are as big a Harry Potter fan as I am (impossible!), you already know by now that this week’s Gam...
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The case for cute: Why Wind Waker is the best Zelda ever


Jul 06
// Topher Cantler
Yes, I did indeed just say that. If I know my gaming public, and I quite unfortunately do, chances are that many of you are huffing and puffing on the verge of a hissyfit before you've even made it past this article's headlin...
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Why Pikmin is the greatest videogame series ever


May 20
// Chad Concelmo
A few weeks ago Jim Sterling wrote an article about why Dynasty Warriors is the greatest videogame series ever. It was an interesting feature, but I had to chuckle at the glaring typo in the headline: Obviously Mr. Sterling m...

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