E3 Impression

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks


Mikel Tidwell

Train keep a rollin'

One of the most popular games at Nintendo's booth was by far The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. While they would not give an exact estimate for the wait times, there were eight stations each playing a ten minute demo, and there had to be at least a hundred people in line waiting to play.

Once I reached the demo, I was given three options to play: Dungeon, Boss, and Train. I selected Dungeon, thinking it would get the most gameplay aspects, but in hindsight, I should have tried Train, instead. I'm not comfortable with the train concept just yet, so that would have given me a better look at it.

Regardless, the dungeon demo starts with Link talking to a Phantom Guardian from the previous DS title, Phantom Hourglass. The Guardian explains how the control him with the stylus, and Link and the Guardian have to solve various puzzles to progress through the dungeon. The Guardian attacks anything that gets in the path, so it's very helpful for clearing out multiple enemies, especially the jellies with shock protection that do not phase the Guardian at all. The Guardian is also fire and lava proof, so Link uses it like a shield to block pillars of fire or as a moving platform to walk over pools of lava.

Dual Screen Celda Action!

Midway through the dungeon, Link gained a whirlwind ability allowing him to trigger the poles with three blades to activate doors and bridges. This works as expected except when riding the Guardian. Link faces the same direction while riding, instead of turning with the Guardian. It is possible to change Link's direction, but it wasn't as responsive as I wanted.

Finally, the last puzzle I had time for required four switches to be struck. There had already been multiple duos of switches where the Guardian and Link had to strike them at the same time, so this was no problem. After hitting all four and nothing happening, I saw the small stone with the order in which they had to be struck to solve the puzzle (presumably for the key I was missing). Just as I was laying out the pattern to try and pull this off, the demo thanked me for playing.

The dungeon demo feels like previous Zelda demos where they display the whole gimmick for this iteration of the series. While the system was not tedious, I think an entire game mechanics were you use the touch screen to control Link and the Guardian might just be slower gameplay than most Zelda fans hope for. We'll just have to wait and see how much this is used in the real game when it's released.

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·Fall 2009



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