Title: The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
Developer: Nintendo EAD Group 3
Platform: Nintendo Gamecube
Category: Action, Adventure
Release Date: March 18, 2004
How we got the game: We bought it
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures was one of the first co-op games in the Legend of Zelda franchise. Generally, I play the Legend of Zelda games while Rachel watches, but we were excited that I could bring her along on this adventure as well.
Four Swords Adventures allows 1-4 players to play as “Link” and go on the adventure together to save Hyrule and Princess Zelda. We have fond memories of this game and were excited to be able to play it again.
While GameCube games obviously had the GameCube controller, which was an option if you were doing the adventure as a single-player, Four Swords Adventure had players hook up their GameBoy Advances with special adapters to use as the controllers. While the A and B buttons and the D-pad worked as the GameCube controller — using Link’s sword and special items as well as moving him — the Advances served as individual screens for each player whenever the Links went into a cave, underground, or a house.
It was certainly and interesting concept to utilize both the home console and the handhelds. It was also great to allow each player to feel like they were playing together, but had their own important part in it as well. Sometimes some Links need to go through one cave while other Links need to go through another. It’s co-op at its finest.
Worlds are grouped into three levels, with two regular levels leading up to a third that is usually a dungeon with a trapped maiden at the end of it. Each world tends to have a theme, such as going up Death Mountain to reach a fire temple or a set of worlds encased in ice. There are little to no puzzles that can be solved by just one Link — most of them need at least two, if not all four Links.
If you don’t have four players to play as all four Links, you can press the Select button to switch between the Links you play as. Otherwise, the other Links will just follow you around. You start off in each level with nothing. It doesn’t matter what you got in the previous levels – force gems, items, heart containers – you start from scratch in the next level. Honestly, I like that. It adds more fun to it and you’ll find the items you need along the way as you go through the level. Sometimes there’s more than one item and you have to choose which one you might need first. There is some backtracking involved, but it’s not tedious at all.
Aside from solving puzzles and defeating enemies as you make your way to the end of the level, you need to collect Force Gems. These special gems help to power up your sword. Collect at least 2000 between the four Links and your swords will be powered up enough to smash through the barriers of darkness that are located at the end of each level. We’ve never had a problem collecting enough Force Gems while navigating through the levels.
Four Swords Adventures has a similar-looking Link to the Wind Waker. Not quite cel-shaded like the Wind Waker game, Four Swords Adventures is in a top-down, 2D perspective. The graphics are nice and clear, detailing the worlds wonderfully. They give homage to the classic Link to the Past game on the SNES while brilliantly updating the graphics for the GameCube.
Each Link has his own color though – other than different colors and physical bodies – they’re all the same. They look cool together though and can even go in formation with each other. The graphics of the world map and each level are refreshing.
The music is wonderful as well, as is most of the Legend of Zelda franchise’s music. The tunes were familiar and nostalgic, but updated enough to keep them fresh for this game. The sound effects, especially for special items and the Links’ voices, are on point!
Hearing the Links’ collectively go, “YAH!” is the best ever. Collecting force gems and using certain items are especially satisfying thanks to the sound effects.
The prison of Wind Sorcerer Vaati is growing weak. Princess Zelda and the six maidens work to strengthen the prison, but instead are captured by Vaati’s minions. In order to rescue them, Link takes up the Four Sword, splitting himself into four in order to travel throughout the land of Hyrule to vanquish the darkness while rescuing the maidens and, ultimately, Princess Zelda.
The Links work together and travel across the lands battling various enemies, collecting force gems to power up their swords, and put Vaati back where he belongs.
We usually have a great time with this game, playing with one another both in co-op mode and in battle mode if we feel like just beating each other up. Even solo mode is a worthwhile experience. While it’s not the most challenging Zelda game out there, Four Swords Adventures is still charming and holds up well today, as long as one has the proper equipment to play it.
Now that we have our Gamecube hooked up again and realize we still have the cables to play the game, I’m sure we’ll go back to this game again. As long as our Gameboy Advance and Gameboy Advance SP don’t die on us…
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures gets…
4 out of 5 lives.