So, here it is. Our review of perhaps the most eagerly awaited game in the history of gaming. But what could we possibly tell you that you don't already know? Over the past year we must have given Twilight Princess enough coverage to warrant a magazine of its own, so why would you need a ten-page review to regurgitate the same information all over again?
Well, what if we told you that what you think you know only covers a fraction of what Link's new adventure has to offer? What if we told you that we've clocked up nearly 40 hours of gameplay and are still nowhere near seeing everything? What if we told you that this game is up there in the giddying heights of interactive entertainment stardom mingling with titles like Resident Evil 4 and Ocarina Of Time, and in fact could well surpass them? You'd want to read on, wouldn't you?
The truth is that you should forget anything you think you knew about Nintendo's epic adventure game. You know nothing. Clear your mind, take a deep breath and we'll start again.
A Legend Is Born
Once upon a time, there was a game called The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time. It was a sprawling, immersive adventure that told the story of an unlikely young hero and stole the hearts of millions of gamer. Never before had a game offered such atmospheric worlds. Dungeons oozing with evil and enemies that dwarfed our young hero all bowed down to a continent's worth of exploration.
A few years later, Peter Jackson resurrected the Lord Of The Rings stories in cinemas and the similarities with Ocarina were clear. After seeing a teaser of a realistic-looking Zelda game, fans dreamed of a GameCube Zelda title that could mimic Jackson's films' majesty... yet it never came. But now, six years after that demo, the wait is over. The spiritual successor to Ocarina Of Time is here and it delivers on all of your wildest dreams.
Before we (finally) start this review we have to make one thing clear. Part of what makes this game so utterly absorbing is not knowing what's going to happen next. We wouldn't normally say this but to experience this game in its purest form we must advise you to stop reading. Turn to the last page, read the summary and look at the score. That's really all you need to know to make your decision. For those of you who are going to brave it, we accept no responsibility for any disappointment caused by finding out any of the game's secrets, but we have tried to protect you against any big spoilers by slapping a spoiler warning on the relevant sections. You have been warned.
The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess places you in the body of young ranch-hand Link and sets you down in a peaceful village in Hyrule where life trickles by at a snail's pace. Children run around carefree and you can just sit in the sun and dream all day, because nothing else matters. You'll most likely spend hours (and we do mean hours) wandering around chatting to people, picking things up, shooting things with your slingshot and rounding up goats. It's a taste of the simple life but, as you may have guessed, such innocence can't last.
On his way to Hyrule Castle to deliver a gift for Princess Zelda, Link finds his path blocked by a dark, mysterious wall of energy that picks him up and drags him inside. The next thing he knows is that he's imprisoned in a dungeon and has been transformed into a wolf. He's barely spent two minutes in beast form before a rather disturbing creature by the name of Midna appears and offers to help him escape - for a price, of course. You will now be Midna's slave...