The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords is the eleventh installment in the Zelda series. It has a graphical style that combines Four Swords and A Link to the Past. It is the only console Zelda title to date that incorporates multiplayer into its main campaign. Because of its single player elements, the game allows for controlling more than one Link at once; it also utilizes various methods to allow the player to make use of the four Links, like different formations. It is also the only Zelda title to break up temples into distinct stages and levels that can be replayed after clearing. The game is heavily inspired by the music, graphics, and locations of A Link to the Past.
One night, an ominous cloud covers Hyrule, instilling fear into its people. Princess Zelda calls upon her most trusted childhood friend, Link. She wants to check up on the Four Sword, fearing that the seal that held the evil wind sorcerer Vaati at the end of Four Swords may have weakened. Inside the castle, Link and Zelda meet with the six Maidens, whose purpose is to protect Hyrule as well as the Four Sword Sanctuary. With the help of the maidens, Zelda summons a portal that leads to the sanctuary.
Before they get a chance to enter, a dark figure that looks like Link appears. The Shadow Link seals away the six maidens and Zelda in a dark crystal before retreating into the portal leading to the sanctuary. Link follows and within the sanctuary, is taunted by Shadow Link into pulling the Four Sword, breaking the seal on Vaati and splitting himself into four copies. The four Links do not get a chance to pursue Shadow Link before being thrown away from the scene by Vaati’s magic.
The four Links are awoken by Kaepora Gaebora, who informs them of the situation and what must be done; their first task is to rescue the six maidens. Shadow Link has been busy at work scorching villages and throwing them into the dark world. Traveling across Hyrule, they witness the chaos brought about by Vaati and Shadow Link; in order to release the dark seals place by Vaati, the four Links must collect force gems to power up the Four Sword and give it the ability to repel evil.
After rescuing the Green maiden, she tells the group about the four Royal Jewels which are needed to reach the Realm of the Heavens, where Zelda is being held. They were divided among four Knights of Hyrule, known to have valiantly defended the land, but they have mysteriously disappeared. They are eventually found by the four Links, who reveal that they were cursed and thrown into the dark world.
It is revealed as they go that the one who is ultimately behind everything is a mighty foe, one who is using Vaati. Once the four Links reach the part of Hyrule that has been transformed into the Dark World, they discover that the White maiden that was there was once a Dark Mirror in which an ancient tribe was sealed. The mirror is believed to be the source of the Shadow Links; they also hear rumors of a King of Darkness called Ganon.
Upon reaching the temple where the mirror is being held, their suspicion is confirmed, as the mirror has been stolen. The Red maiden who is rescued there reveals knowledge of a man named Ganondorf of the Gerudo tribe, but finds it unlikely that he is the culprit or cause of the recent events. Traveling to the desert, they come to find from the peaceful Gerudo that Ganondorf recently left for the sacred pyramids. Following him, it’s revealed that Ganondorf obtained an ancient and powerful weapon that made him a King of Darkness.
After all six maidens are rescued, Link heads towards Frozen Hyrule. The final knight is liberated, who tells them to rescue Zelda and save Hyrule after giving them the last of the Royal Jewels. The Tower of Winds is called forth using the power of the jewels, giving the group entry to the Realm of the Heavens. Atop the tower, Princess Zelda is rescued. The four Links commence their final battle against Shadow Link as they secure the Dark Mirror. Princess Zelda uses her power to create a rainbow bridge, gaining access to the Palace of Winds.
Inside, they encounter Vaati and defeat him after a great battle. With Vaati gone, the Palace of Winds begins to collapse, as it relied on Vaati’s power to remain afloat. The group flees back to the Tower of Winds, where they hear the voice of Ganondorf mocking Vaati’s attempt to stop them. They try to escape from the Tower of Winds, which is quickly beginning to collapse as well; just before reaching the exit, the floor beneath them collapses and they end up in a dark room. Ganondorf appears as a patch of darkness; Zelda tries to seal him away with her magic but fails and is once again taken captive. The battle against Ganondorf begins, with the villain having assumed the shape of a pig. Midway through the battle, Zelda is freed, and assists in defeating Ganon. With the combined power of the six maidens, Ganon is ultimately sealed in the Four Sword.
In the aftermath, the Four Sword is laid to rest again in the sanctuary, and the four Links rejoin to become just one again. The six maidens and Zelda form a pyramid-like barrier around the sword so that no one might touch it again. Outside the castle, a celebration is beginning, signaling peace, and Link is greeted by the crowd as a hero.
This title is unique in having two different styles of gameplay, those being single player and multiplayer. Even as a single player game, there will be four Links to control. The game mechanics ease this feat by having four set Battle Formations for the Links to battle with. When not in formation, the player can choose to have the remaining Links follow him or stay seated until switching between them. As a multiplayer with four players, each one will control their own Link. A competitive atmosphere is given as well via stage rankings and rewarding everyone upon completion, as well as the ability to attack one another. With fewer than four players, one can pick up the extra Links to control.
The GameCube controller can only be used in single player mode. With multiplayer, the use of GameBoy Advances is required. While off the main screen, the player will be able to see game action on the GameBoy screen. Shadow Battle is a multiplayer battle mode; the Links battle one another in death matches, as opposed to working cooperatively. The Japanese and Korean versions featured a mode that follows the story of the Wind Waker, called Navi Trackers; however, these featured only Japanese voice acting for Tetra and her crew.
Four Swords Adventures is the least successful game in the series, selling a mere 250,000 copies in North America.
1. Four Swords Adventures, similar to Four Swords, doesn’t give the option of naming Link.
2. This is the first two-dimensional console game since A Link to the Past.
3. Unlike traditional Zelda games, acquired items cannot be kept. The four Links can only have one secondary item at a time, and must drop one to acquire another (i.e dropping the Boomerang to pick up the Slingshot.)
4. Initial release of Four Swords Adventures included a preview of The Wind Waker.
5. Hidden in the game’s files is a streaming audio file named ‘smw.ast’ that when played with the appropriate plugins (vgmstream) will reveal that the file is from Super Mario Bros.; more specifically, it is the secret theme found in Super Mario World.