Previews

Zelda: Twilight Princess

Nintendo slaps Zelda onto Wii as a launch title, but there's something amiss with its controller support

This week, Nintendo finally managed to put everyone's fears at rest by confirming that the long awaited Zelda: The Twilight Princess is still bound for GameCube. Of course, far more excitingly, it's also set to be the first Zelda game ever to be a launch title for a new Nintendo console, what with the company having been beavering away on a beefed up version claimed to take full advantage of the Wii's unique controller.

In the spirit of discovery, we skipped the queues at Nintendo's E3 stand (peeving a large contingent of our US bretheren no end - but there's always an A-List) and put the Wii-controlled Zelda to the test. Of all the things the company had on display, this was the biggy for us - after all, there's been a lot of concern that the Wii remote, while fine for specially designed games like Wii Tennis, just wouldn't be cut out for more traditional games types. So how does it fair in the heady world of third-person actioners? Well - brace yourselves - so far, we're not convinced.

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As with many Wii games on display, Twilight Princess uses the nunchuck analogue stick for movement while, in this instance, holding the nearby Z button performs your standard Zelda lock-on action, as well as centring the camera behind you. Meanwhile, over on the remote, B (that's the trigger underneath the wand) looks after actions like talking, lifting and - when engaged in battle - sword slashing. Your primary inventory items can be accessed using the d-pad and, for the purposes of the demo, included a crossbow, boomerang and iron boots.

Link starts off the show on a winding wooden walkway stretching across a vast expanse of water. Given that the demo was clearly designed to introduce the basic controller mechanics to the masses, it's reasonable to assume that it's either a heavily altered version of a level from the main game, or something put together especially for E3. After a bit of traipsing, we encountered our first enemy, and thus got chance to test out the fighting system Nintendo's got in place on the Wii. As it happens, it's not far removed from previous 3D Zelda games - simply lock on and hack away. The one twist we saw was that quickly moving the nunchuck in a circle causes Link to perform his trusty spin attack. At this point, we're not sure if the remote can also be used more creatively in swordfights as our booth assistant wasn't overly elaborate - we've already heard that actions like throwing have more intuitive equivalents using the controller's unique abilities, so it wouldn't completely surprise us.

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Far more interesting however is the precise aiming used for firing your bow and flicking your boomerang. Both work in pretty much the same way and the next part of the demo introduced us to each in turn. By selecting your crossbow from the inventory, pulling the remote trigger switches to first person mode. A central circle appears on screen, as does a firing reticule controlled by the remote's pointer. Keeping the crosshair inside the circle ensures your view remains stationary while moving it out shifts it in the direction of your choice. Once you've got your target in sight - in this case a bunch of angry trolls bombarding us with projectiles on a nearby outcrop - it's simply a matter of hitting down on the d-pad to launch your arrow.

With our assailants eliminated, it was time to get to grips with the boomerang. The puzzle in place for the E3 demo involved individually targeting four small wind turbines by holding down left on the d-pad to enter boomerang mode, selecting each turbine in turn by pointing and locking on, then releasing to unleash a small cyclone that sets them in motion. There were a number of formations required to open the door behind us - each one sequentially then in a Z shape - but it all worked the same way. Once completed, it was time to head through the door and up onto a high ledge where a gigantic magnet waited to be activated. Once operational, it was time to test out Link's trusty iron boots.

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