Zelda: The Minish
Minish Cap marks
Capcom's return to making Zelda games for Nintendo's portable
systems. They were the company behind the Seasons and Time games for
the GB Color a few years back. However, while some fans found those
two games to be great additions to the Zelda world, others found
them sloppy and rather inappropriate for the beloved Nintendo
So, with the
Minish Cap, can Capcom pull off a quality Zelda game that's true to
the original style of the series, or does the latest attempt come
out as another good but lacking attempt by an outside group (like
F-Zero GX was from Sega, the last two portable Zelda titles by
Capcom, and Retro's take on Metroid)?
I, for one, was
expecting the worst from Capcom. I hated the lack of Zelda-style in
Capcom's prior attempts at Zelda.
By the way, this
review is intended for people who've played a Zelda game
before. If you haven't, I suggest you start with a better
Zelda title, like Link to the Past (found on both SNES and GBA).
Anyway, since everyone geek knows Zelda, let's just get the show on
This game, much
like the other Zelda games, revolves around a very simple premise of
a uber-powerful magic user taking down a kingdom. Big surprise. This
time, however, Gannon is nowhere to be seen. Instead, we are
presented a different scenario.
celebration is held in honor of a mysterious race that once save
Hyrule. It just happens that the day we assume the role of Link, the
100th year celebration is going on and it's expected that the
mysterious race will return on this year. So, enter Zelda...who
wants to take part in the celebration with Link as her escort. So,
being a metro-elf-like hero, you take Zelda on a tour of the party
(to which she is more of your escort than the other way around).
Link is also sent to the party in order to deliver a sword, made by
the best smith in the area (who is also your grandfather and
guardian) to be presented to the winner of the annual (and coincidental)
When you arrive at
the castle to deliver the sword, you are asked to stay and watch the
awarding of the finely crafted blade. At this point the winner
arrives. He is an obviously evil looking vampireish appearing dude.
He is invited to touch a sacred blade that sealed away evil once
long ago. In the process, this mysterious figure destroys the blade
and unseals the great evil (basically he sends forth a wave of
monsters). Then he turns Zelda to stone and leaves in search of a
sacred power of light that will make him a god.
So, you take your
grandfather's sword and start out on a quest to save Zelda and stop
both the once sealed ancient evil and this new evil. At least
there's a reason why you, as a child, are sent on this quest. The
ancient race who is due to arrive again in Hyrule will only show
themselves to children, and it is them who you must seek the help
Along the way,
Link learns that this race, the Minish, are actually only a few
centimeters tall. So, Link soon finds a companion in the form of a
magic hat (the Minish Cap...) who will both give advice and allow
Link to shrink to Minish sizes.
It's a pretty cliché
story, and it's been done a thousand times before, but it's Zelda.
We always get the same story, and we've never complained before. The
only real issue to be found is the lack of Gannon and the Triforce.
Still, it's not the plot we play for; it's the puzzles and the game
I'm going to
assume everyone has played, or at the very least watched, a Zelda
game before. It basically consists of a more or less overhead
perspective and a little dude named Link who swings a sword and uses
a variety of items to solve puzzles. The controls are almost always
the same as the original Zelda game from the 1980's. There's a
button for opening your menu and pausing, there's another for using
an alternative item, and there's a sword button (which, in this and
other portable Zelda titles, can be used for a second alternative
item, including a shield). Also, from the 3D Zelda games, there's
the roll button to execute a rolling maneuver to avoid danger and to
get a unique attack opportunity. This is tried and true. So, I can't
say anything bad about the controls...I can't call it innovative,
but if it's not messed up, then why mess with?
Also, like with
every other Zelda game (and all the clones), a majority of the game
play is based around the solving of the puzzles. The puzzles, like
in prior Zelda games, usually revolve around solving what will open
the door to the next room in a dungeon, or how to reach the next
dungeon. This is usually solved with the usage of your newest items
and a little random guessing about what block is movable, etc. It's
what we've all known and (probably) loved about Zelda games since
incarnation, Link is given some rather unique new items. The most important
of which are the Gust Jar (or whatever it's called), and the Rod of
something or other...it flips things upside down (to either reveal
new areas, secret items, or expose the weak points on armored
enemies, like turtles). Both of these are of great importance to the
game's puzzles. We also still have the old favorites of the bombs,
bow, sword, shield, boomerang, lantern, bottles (to carry potions),
ocarina/flute to teleport to old areas, and the roc's cape (from
Four Swords and an upgrade of the Roc Feather from the first GB
Zelda). There is nothing really new here, which is a minor problem.
The Zelda series is starting to stagnate on the item selection, and
thus the games are feeling like repeats of older titles.
On the note of
stagnation...all of the enemies (except the mysterious
swordsman/wizard), dungeons layouts, and puzzles have been seen
before. There is really nothing new here beyond the Gust Jar and the
Rob of flipping-stuff-over. While this may work well for those who
have not played Zelda since the first outing, it is only going to
take away from the replay value for longtime fans. Even the town of
Hyrule has the same people and experiences you've seen a hundred
You also have the
ability to learn new sword techniques from swordsmanship teachers.
However, most of the abilities are ones you've started with in prior
Zelda games. For example, you will learn to spin attack, shoot a
beam when your health is full (and another when you're at 1
heart...which is new), spin for a longer time, down-thrust with a
sword while jumping, blah, blah. None of these are really new, and
to make you earn them as you play is only a cheap attempt to stretch
out some old ideas instead of introducing anything new.
The only really
new concept, as a whole, is the ability to shrink down to Minish
sizes. While this may (or not) sound cool at first inspection, it
really does fall flat. The world itself is a smaller world than most
Zelda games have seen before, and even the dungeons are smaller than
prior Zelda games have had. The only thing that shinking gives us is
a little more area to cover in this little world. However, in the
end, the small and normal sized areas fail to equal the size of
almost any prior Zelda title. Plus, to make things worse, there are
only 5 to 6 real dungeons in this game...as opposed to, say, LttP
for the SNES/GBA which has 4 dungeons in the light world and 8 in
the dark world that are all the same size, or bigger, than any
dungeon in Minish.
So, the game play
will be fun and familiar (too familiar) to long time Zelda fans and
new fans alike. However, the replay value is not present at all when
you've played this same game in any previous Zelda.
It's the same
Zelda we know from LttP. There is nothing new. If anything, the
visuals are a step back from what we were offered in LttP. As a
whole, however, there is nothing noteworthy here. At least they
don't take away from the game play.
Seriously, couldn't Capcom at least have made some new music or
sounds for Link when he does a spin attack or falls down a pit, etc?
I guess not.
Well this was
short and sweet. Ultimately, this is another Zelda game.
However, in the end, even as a die-hard Zelda fan, I can't help but
feel a little disappointed. True, this game does deliver
everything we have come to expect from a Zelda game. We have
the good old visuals and sounds, we have the same exact plot, and
the game plays the same. However, the lack of dungeons and
overworld area just makes the game feel rushed, and you'll feel like
you rushed through the game when you beat in in no time. There
are some bonus side-quests, but these are only fun if you like to
collect a ton of money (of which you are limited to 999...so it's a
waste since there's only so much you'll ever buy in the game).
In the end, this is a great game if you want a new Zelda game with
no questions asked. However, if you're wanting anything new,
beyond two weapons, you are in the wrong place. So, I
have no choice but to give Zelda: The Minish Cap a 8.25/10.
It's a good score by all means, but it just isn't great since the
game isn't anything new.