Monday, December 7, 2009

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: Dec. 8, 2009
System: Nintendo DS
ESRB Rating: E10+
Official Web site

In a nutshell: I'm going off the rails on this (decidedly un-) Crazy Train.

0:00 I actually came away from my 15-minute demo of this game at E3 incredibly bored with the entire concept. Am I finally outgrowing the concept of Zelda games? Man, I hope not...

0:01 Across both screens, a blocky 3-D locomotive blasts out of a dark tunnel into the bright light of a green field. Leaning out the window is a cartoony, Wind Waker-ish Link in a black engineer's outfit, with a huge grin on his face . A ghostly version of Zelda (!) jumps off the roof and flies alongside the train. Gentle flute music in the background as the camera rotates around, showing a large tower in the distance. Birds fly along the train tracks, keeping pace with the locomotive. As the title appears we continue to chug towards the tower. A train whistle goes off as I tap the screen to start.

0:02 The familiar file-select music brings me back to the '80s almost immediately. The game asks me to twice confirm that I'm right-handed. In case I mis-clicked the first time I guess?

0:03 Adventure, Battle and Tag modes are available. The others sound interesting, but let's dive into Adventure, why not? "This is a tale from long ago. It's a tale of the first settlers of this land." It was peaceful, but not for long. "The evil Demon King rose to power." And who exactly voted for him? Anyway, the "spirits of good" faced him, leading to a long war, with lots of bloodshed. The good spirits subdued him but couldn't destroy him. With the last of their strength, they shackled him. "The shackles cover the land to this day." Hmmm ... train tracks look like shackles. Anyway, without demons and spirits, "the land was entrusted to us," which seems like a good deal to me.

0:05 Zoom out from the illustrative tapestry on the bottom screen to show a bald man speaking from behind it. "Well? Do I know how to tell a story or what? ... It's a blasted masterpiece... a blasterpiece." I'm going to have to weave that word into casual conversation.

0:06 Pan to Link, who fell asleep on the floor during the story. They're roommates, though the bald guy seems a lot older than Link. Amazingly, he takes the hint and apologizes for boring me.



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