The Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tubeman

Everyone that’s touched a Wii Remote has experienced the “raving monkey” syndrome. For me, it finally happened today while I was in a Twilight Princess dungeon. After being surrounded by a swarm of beetles and stalfos, I did what any seasoned Zelda player would do: go for the spin attack. After flicking my left wrist to unleash the attack, I realized that Link had his sword sheathed. No problem — Link’ll just grab the sword before the attack. He grabs the sword, and suddenly I’m being hitstunned by things. Another quick flick of the wrist — nothing’s happening. Okay, let’s just do normal slashes with the Wiimote … one slash, then a zombie-creature shrieks at me, causing me to lose control of my character. What’s the normal response to being stunned? Mash buttons and wave the joystick — which I did, eventually breaking out of the stun. By now I’m frantically waving my arms back and forth yelling at the on-screen Link to just ‘do the spin attack.’ He never did.

I love Twilight Princess on the Wii. The bow/hookshot/everything aiming is fantastic and effortless, but it’s times like this where I would gladly trade in convenient adaptions of complicated movements (First-person aiming, quick on-the-fly switching between 5 items) for something basic: I press a button and my character swings the sword. On the Wii version, you swing the Wiimote to attack, both in wolf and human forms. The difference is that when in wolf form, you can substitute the swinging action for a simple button press (A). As a human, if you want a basic swing, you must swing the Wiimote. Pressing the A button gives you a roll or a jumping slash, depending on whether you’re locked on to a target. So oftentimes, I favor combat as a wolf, just because I can lock-on and spam A as I see fit instead of waving the Wiimote around like a lunatic.

The overall Wiimote integration is excellent, but honestly, quick slashing wrist gestures are a bit irritating for basic movements. Imagine if you had to wave the Wiimote left and right to coincide with your characters footsteps to move — I’d break my wrist within the first hour of play (coincidentally, this kind of movement does occur for a limited number of action sequences in the Wii version if Resident Evil 4).

Compared to Windwaker, Twilight Princess is turning out to be better than I expected. Other than Midna, though, the character cast is pretty unremarkable. The visuals are nice, but I think that the ‘realistic’ look is ruined by the hardware limitations of the Gamecube/Wii. Seeing some of the textures on the terrain reminds me painfully of Ocarina of Time and other Nintendo 64 titles, and I think Windwaker’s simplicity was a better direction for the series. Where Twilight Princess really shines is its dungeons; they more cleverly designed than Windwaker’s, and the boss battles are similarly more epic. In Windwaker, there seemed to be a lot of ‘hit or miss’ puzzles — either it was extremely easy or notoriously archaic. Twilight Princess offers a fine medium that I’ve enjoyed so far.

I am a little confused about the scope of Twilight Princess, however. Most fans seem to adore it for its cinematic feel, but honestly grabbing the Master Sword in this title was the most anticlimactic gaming event in recent memory. I fully expected to solve the outside puzzle and be introduced to a full dungeon before claiming it, but that was definitely not the case. The levels are brilliant, but the pacing seems jilted to me.

Still, there’s much more content to explore.

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