The 'Shroom:Issue LXIX/Retro Feature
|First article:||Non-Mario Reviews, Issue XXIV|
|Last article:||Non-Marioverse Reviews, Issue XLIV|
|Sections Written:||Main: 18|
HI, magnificent readers! I'm your holiday-spirited Statistics Manager, Tucayo, and welcome to another trip into our newsletter's history! So far all the contributors I have covered are what you can consider "big names" in the Super Mario Wiki community, but The 'Shroom has had its fair share of unsung heroes. One of those unsung heroes is Leirin (talk), the first user featured on this section not to have been part of the Core Staff.
Most of you have probably not heard about him, so I'll tell you a bit of his history in the wiki. Leirin joined the Super Mario Wiki July 22nd, 2008. On the wiki he was not exactly what you could call active, only editing a couple of times a month and occasionally partaking in proposals discussion. But, if there was one part of the community he was dedicated to, that was The 'Shroom. In February 2009, a couple of days after the first issue of Stooben’s first term was released, Leirin signed up to write the Reviews section, but was kindly turned down by me, since that section was already taken and back then we didn’t allow for a section to have multiple writers.
But that’s by no means the end of the story. During the past couple of years, the Non-Marioverse Reviews have been an important part of the newsletter, now even having their own sub-team, but this section didn't exist back in 2008. In the 2008 Director Election, I suggested Stoob to add a Non-Mario Review to the ‘Shroom, so we could appeal to a larger audience. Since Leirin originally wanted to do the Mario Reviews, I suggested him to take the Non-Mario Reviews, which he happily took. And so Leirin began what would be a long run as our Non-Mario Reviewer in turn.
Leirin wasn't able to use the forum, which eventually led to him being the only exception I can think of to the "you must have a forum account" rule; he would e-mail me his section and then I would pass it on to whoever had to be the final receiver. Despite what you may think, Leirin was always on time. Back in a time in which most sections were sent late or never sent at all, he was the one writer I was certain would send his section in time.
He wrote for us during most of 2009 and 2010, but, starting 2011, he simply disappeared. In his last edit on January 4th, 2011, he describes himself as the "writer of those Non-Mario review articles for The Shroom". But he wouldn’t send another section after posting that to his user page. Did he forget his password? Is he living in a secret island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean along with Son of Suns (talk)? Was it my breath that scared him away? We might never know. All we know for sure is that every month he wrote a great review for us to read. While his reviews were often centered in the good points of the games, they were certainly a good read. Without more, here is Leirin's first review, where he covers The Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker. Enjoy.
While series like The Legend of Zelda are generally smiled upon by all, there are always entries in a series that not absolutely everyone will love. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But does it mean the actual game in itself is bad? Well, let’s take a deeper look into it.
Now here’s something different. The story of Wind Waker, at first, seems almost more like a Mario story: heroine gets kidnapped (although in this case, it’s Link’s sister, not the princess Zelda), gotta go save her. Some thought Wind Waker even had the laziest story to date! But again, they’re wrong, because it expands into something much bigger.
Link discovers he’s actually connected to the Triforce. To Zelda, and to Ganon. He finds out his true destiny is to save the sunken land of Hyrule, which is now buried beneath the waves of the Great Sea as a result of the Flood. While saving his sister started out as the main objective, you have to save the entire country of Hyrule as well. The game actually connects itself with previous Zelda’s, and particularly, Ocarina of Time--there are many homages and references to it.
And plus, there are many heartfelt moments in this game, such as the reunition scene with Aryll, among other things.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Yes, this game, although stirred up lots of controversy, is quite a gem. It is often considered the true sequel to Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64. Really the only part of Wind Waker that was controversial, was the cel-shaded graphics. Fans were just outright appalled that Nintendo would try making a more realistic Mario but a more cartoony Zelda. It just didn’t seem like Zelda’s style. So it must have sucked. Did it really? Contrary to the belief of some gamers, it really didn’t! The graphics: pure beauty! The cel-shaded effects and cartoony look of the game give it quite a charm of its own, unique to all who look at it.
The cut-scenes all have characters making all sorts of different expressions, some of which can be outright hillarious (Link’s "startled" face still makes me laugh every time I see it). Everything in this game just looks crisp and smooth and the colors all fit in perfectly and look vibrant. Furthermore, it was quite a refreshing take on a Zelda game. People figured that, if it were on the GameCube, it would push the system to its limits and look as realistic as it could be. Though they were wrong, I think it’s better that they were.
And the look of the game is really something quite different. It makes it feel like less of a graphical style and more like a piece of art. A Zelda fan would probably have to approach it with an open-mind, but once they get used to it, no doubt they should like it, or at least accept it.
Zelda games are well-known for their remarkably deep puzzle solving and fighting aspects, Wind Waker is no different. While the puzzles and dungeons are definitely not as hard as Ocarina of Time’s, they are still quite challenging. And, you have to keep in mind that Miyamoto (the beloved creator of the Mario franchise) wanted this game to be slightly more kid-oriented, but it’s still for everyone. Wind Waker adds all sorts of side-quests and fun things to do, some of which are amazingly distracting. It’s like you have your whole little world out there to explore; the sea is enormous and the tiny islands on it are aplenty.
Swordfights have been greatly improved with the addition of the all-new and awesome parry attacks, which create a new level of tension and drama to the battles. There are many sword techniques to learn, and the Link in Wind Waker is even faster than that of Ocarina of Time/Majora’s Mask, so battles are quick, but not completely "easy", either!
In a way, Wind Waker also has some more platform game-like elements, such as being able to fly on Link’s Deku Leaf. It gives one a sense of freedom, a freedom like no other Zelda.
Another recurring theme in a Zelda game, is the importance of music. In the 3-D Zelda’s, it has become almost like a tradition to give the hero some sort of instrument. While there are nods to classics in Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker’s music isn’t quite as vibrant or memorable, but it is extremely far from being bad. The tunes all had some thought put into them; Forest Haven’s music makes you think of a friendly forest, Outset Island’s music makes you think of a happy town, etc., so they all portray what they mean to portray quite accurately. Some music really creates the feeling of a mysterious area, or dangerous enemies lurking nearby.
No doubt Wind Waker made a lot of fans worry that it wouldn’t be like Zelda, and that it would stray too far from the series’ roots. It tried lots of things out; most of them were successful, but I can clearly see why a fan would not like the game because of this. But it also expanded the core audience for Zelda, in a way, for the younger players. It added either more or less to the Zelda franchise. But no matter what they say, it’s my personal favorite in the series.
Pros and Cons
The good: More gameplay variety, plenty of new characters, totally new setting and scenery, homages to Ocarina of Time, good music
The Wind Waker is a truly unique game that changed a lot for Zelda. It replaced a lot of the dungeons with seafaring and treasure-hunting. While it received occasional mixed opinions or even sometimes outright-negative ones from fans, it if far from being bad, and will remain in the hearts of gamers everywhere.
That’s it for this month's trip to the past. I’ll see you next month. Happy Holidays, please remember to vote, to brush your teeth and to not embarrass yourself in front of your family after you've had too much to drink. BYE!