Following a successful outing in the previous Zelda game, The Wind Waker, Link and his new found pirate friend Tetra are on the high seas when a Ghost Ship appears on the horizon. Rumoured to hold untold riches, the ship is also said to bring ill fortune to those who seek it. Needless to say, Tetra rushes off to claim the ship, only to vanish with the mysterious Ghost Ship in the gloom of thick fog. Link bravely tries to pursue the ship, but only manages to get himself lost at sea and, eventually, finds himself castaway on an island.
And thus begins Phantom Hourglass, an exclusive Zelda game for the Nintendo DS, which should please many a DS owner not only because of the rich narrative but also because it has the high polish and varied gameplay that have been missing from many DS releases of late.
Phantom Hourglass is played entirely with the stylus, which is used with a fantastic degree of creativity to pull off some really cool moves. You not only move Link with the stylus, but also fight off monsters, solve puzzles, navigate maps, move stuff around, sail a ship and hunt for treasure.
Before you can rush off to rescue Tetra, you’ll find it worth your while to listen to the Old Man on the island who will put you on your way. After that, you are pretty much on your own with only your trusty sword and your wits to help you on your quest.
Phantom Hourglass is played using only the stylus
Expect to spend time interacting with some really interesting characters, exploring many dangerous dungeons, solving lots of really challenging, fun puzzles, collecting tonnes of treasures, and finding new weapons and equipment that’s hidden throughout the game.
Like The Wind Waker game, you’ll get to sail from one island to another, provided the island is marked on your maps. But you start off with only one map and have to unlock the other three during the course of the game—a task that’s easier said than done! Keep a sharp lookout, though, for a couple of islands are not marked on the map— you will discover them only if you explore the seas. The sea also plays host to hidden treasures, sea monsters, mysterious tornadoes and ships whose purpose you will discern as you play the game.
The islands, however, are where most of your action will take place. Or, rather, the dungeons deep within, where many more treasures, monsters and mysterious artefacts patiently await your brave visit.
The game is played in fixed 3-D view, similar to The Wind Waker mould. The graphics are clean, colourful, fairly detailed and look very impressive on the DS. Though there is no voice-acting in the game, the rest of the audio is rather well done, with plenty of spot effects and an excellent background score to boot.
With an impressive original story, a long and varied gameplay, a cast of memorable characters and plenty of stuff to see and play around with, Phantom Hourglass should be in the armoury of every Nintendo DS owner simply because games of such high quality are a bit rare on the system. A must buy!
Game: Legend of Zelda: Phantom HourglassPlatform: Nintendo DSPrice: Around Rs1,400Rating: 9.5/10
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