Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Nintendo GameCube, 2003)
Nintendo's acclaimed action role-playing series receives a face-lift with the release of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker for GameCube. Moving away from the traditional 3D polygon models found in the two previous Nintendo 64 titles, creator Shigeru Miyamoto and the design team decided on using a cel-shaded look for a more whimsical effect. Enemies and principal characters emote, stomp, and attack with more fluid animation than in previous efforts, although the basic control and interface remain the same.<br><br>Taking place long after the events in Ocarina of Time, the game finds a young Link with expressive, almond-shaped eyes who is suddenly pressed into action when a giant bird swoops down and abducts his sister. Thus begins a epic quest taking place on a series of different islands, each of which can be reached by a sailboat players guide amidst swirling winds. Once on land, Link must fight his way past new and familiar monsters across a variety of outdoor vistas and underground dungeons to find his sister. <br><br>To fight his enemies, Link can swing a sword in multiple directions, block with a shield, and perform a variety of acrobatic maneuvers to close in for the attack or to escape harm's way. Link can also acquire and use bombs to open up new areas, as well as acquire fallen items from defeated enemies. New items include a telescope, which can be used to spot important items from afar, and a baton that helps redirect the wind to propel the sailboat to its intended destination (similar to how Link's ocarina manipulated time in his first N64 adventure).<br><br>The lock-on targeting system implemented in the N64 games is featured in the GameCube version as well. When players are confronted with multiple targets, they can isolate their attacks on a specific creature or divvy up damage by quickly switching between enemies while swinging the sword or firing the hookshot. New forms of attacks tie-in to the comic theme associated with the graphic engine, such as targeting an exposed foot or somersaulting between a creature's legs before swiping it from behind. Wind Waker also supports connectivity with the Game Boy Advance for two-player cooperative adventuring as well as a number of additional features.