GameCube owners are treated to a holiday gift this year with a bonus disc that contains four classic Zelda games. For a limited time only, if you purchase a new GameCube system, this Zelda disc will be bundled inside with no extra cost. If you ever needed another reason to buy a GC, this is it.
The Zelda series has spread over many different systems throughout its history, but the games that appeared on NES and N64 can now be played on the GC. The Legend of Zelda (NES) and The Adventure of Link (NES) are fully playable along with The Ocarina of Time (N64) and Majora’s Mask (N64). All the games have been ported over to specifically work on the GC’s hardware. As an added bonus, a 20-minute playable demo of the newest Zelda adventure, the Wind Waker, is also a choice. To relive the history of the Zelda series, a pleasant movie flashes scenes of every Zelda that was ever created. This short movie is a great way to relive the past and appreciate the series as a whole.
As the game boots up, a nice splash page is quickly displayed. A cursor controls which Zelda to select. Before the game is played, the player can press the “Z” button to read a quick paragraph about the game. Each paragraph is a short summary about the game and when it was released. Once the game has been selected, a picture of the GC controller is displayed with each button showing what it is used for in that particular game. This is a great way to avoid confusion and continuous referencing to the instruction booklet.
The instruction booklet and the game itself tell the player that the sound may not be the same as it once was. Some sound effects may not be the same because it is difficult to port over the proper code from NES and N64 to the GC. I did notice some unclear sound effects such as when the player is inputting his or her name for the save slot in Zelda I and Adventure of Link. The Blink effect that the cursor makes when it moves from one letter to the next isn’t the same as it was on NES. These are only small instances but the average player will not even notice them. Only the Zelda fans that played each game through many times will notice a small variation in some sound effects.
The GC controller works well with each Zelda game on this disc. The analog stick or the D-pad are compatible with both NES Zeldas but since Link can only move Up, Down, Left, and Right, the D-pad works better. The NES only had two buttons to work with so Zelda I and Adventure of Link have some buttons to spare. “A”, “B” and Start all have the same role as they did on the NES controller but Select has been assigned to the “Y” button. “X” is used to save the game at any time, which is a handy feature instead of intentionally dying. The “Z” button is used as a quick menu option for the player. After “Z” is tapped, the user has the option to reset the game or to go back to the main menu screen. This is a nice convenience. However, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask do not have this option. If you want to play another game after starting either of the two N64 games, the player will have to reset the system.
The control layout is slightly different from the N64 games due to the fact that there is a C-Stick instead of four C-Buttons. However, each direction on the C-Stick works as if hitting the corresponding C-Button. And instead of using “Z” targeting that was on N64, the GC uses the “L” button. “Y”, “X”, and “Z” on the Cube’s controller also function as C-Buttons in case the player doesn’t want to use the C-Stick.
Besides from an occasional different sound effect, the Zelda games also must be saved to the memory card. Saving seems to take longer than it should even though it only takes several seconds. Also, saving all the Zelda games can take up a hefty 36 memory card blocks. This is more than half of a memory card 59. This used up memory card space is well worth it however. Gamers will also be pleased to know that each game can run in progressive scan if the hardware is available. Zelda Majora’s Mask also required the N64 expansion pak to play but it is nice too see that each Zelda game looks exactly like it did, if not better on the GC.
Through the use of this Collector’s Edition disc, the other Zelda bonus disc that was released when you pre-ordered the Wind Waker, and the GameBoy Player, every Zelda ever released (not counting the CD-I system titles) can now be played on one system, the GameCube. The GameBoy adventures of a Link to the Past, Oracle of Season and Ages, and Link’s Awakening can be played on the big screen through the GameBoy Player while all the other Zelda’s are on the extra bonus discs. The Zelda series has been heralded one of the best video game series of all time and the GC is the only system that can harness them all.
Besides from buying a new GC, there are few other ways to obtain this disc. First, if you renew your subscription to Nintendo’s monthly magazine, Nintendo Power, you have the option to receive this disc as a free bonus. See Nintendo’s website for more details. Nintendo has released some brand new games for this holiday season. These games come packaged with a special registration code and you submit two of them on Nintendo’s website, you will receive the disc for free. The games that have these special codes are packaged only with Mario Party 5 (GC), Mario Kart Double Dash (GC), 1080 Avalanche (GC), or Mario and Luigi SuperStar Saga (GBA). These deals are only available for a limited time only so hurry up and pick up your GC and games today.