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Submitted by Chris Leyton on October 19 2007 - 16:46

Link returns to the Nintendo DS in an entertaining adventure on the high seas...

A direct sequel to 2003's unforgettable Wind Waker, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass picks up where the GameCube title left off. Porting the distinctive visual style to the DS with considerable success, Phantom Hourglass commences with Link, Tetra and her crew searching for a mysterious Ghost Ship believed to hide a wealth of hidden treasure. Of course, it's not long before Tetra is kidnapped and Link has to save the day. Teaming up with Lineback (who bears more than a striking resemblance to Captain Jack Sparrow), The Phantom Hourglass feels closer to a buddy-story than any previous Zelda title with a strong comedic element throughout the entire game.

With a style and level of substance belying its handheld constraints, Phantom Hourglass maintains the qualities we've come to expect from the series, whilst introducing a handful of DS touches that elevate the experience even further.

Despite the game's magnitude and the way in which it captures the majesty associated with Zelda titles, Aonuma-san and his team have streamlined many aspects to ensure it's a Zelda game that suits the handheld experience. Nowhere is this more evident than the removal of Rupee limits that have become a characteristic of past Zelda titles, as a result its played at a faster pace more befitting a handheld title.

Throughout the entire game it's evident that tapping into the DS unique abilities was the overall goal. Using the stylus exclusively to move and unleash Link's repertoire of sword slashes, the controls have generally been adapted to the DS with convincingly familiar results, although getting Link to roll around the screen seems a little hit-and-miss at times.

Trademark Zelda puzzles and exploration are on display throughout the game's seven temples, nine bosses, hidden treasures, and mini-games galore. Armed with an array of heroic weapons and cunning wit, the DS touchscreen is put to good use whether it's jotting down hints and locations, or solving some of the game's more creative challenges. One word of caution, if you're the type of DS owner who frowns upon blowing into the handheld, then you might have a few problems with some of the challenges.

Sailing the oceans has undergone a significant change since Wind Waker, but is still a questionable experience. Plotting routes on the touchscreen map instead of taking direct control over the boat, you'll nevertheless have to keep an eye out for enemies to shoot at, barriers to jump, fish to catch, and hidden treasure to find. Ultimately the pedestrian nature of watching your boat sail automatically to the next waypoint may be a little too relaxed for some gamers, though thankfully the option to warp to different areas becomes available as the game progresses. Throughout the game Link discovers various new parts for the ship, and by combining these into the correct sets you'll earn additional health for the ship. It's a shame that these have no affect on other aspects of the ship's performance, as the plodding nature of the sailing sections leaves you desperate for a more powerful engine.

Sandwiched between the sea-faring and dungeons, Link must occasionally use the Phantom Hourglass in a novel test of timing and patience. Pitted against a time limit to work towards the exit of each floor, the Temple of the Ocean King challenge takes on a stealth approach with patrolling guards, safe areas, and puzzles to solve. The tight time limit and safe areas lend these sections a puzzle-like mentality, but the impact of these enjoyably different challenges is ultimately hampered by the sheer repetition that's involved. Link makes a frequent visit to the Ocean King's Temple and each time you'll have to run through the same levels just to progress further; admittedly it's a small gripe, it's not the first time a Zelda game has occasionally felt padded, but it does begin to grate until midway checkpoints become available.

Continuing the recent multiplayer obsession, Phantom Hourglass features a satisfying multiplayer mode that belies its diminutive prominence. Featuring support for Multi-Card, DS Download, and Nintendo WFC, Zelda's solitary multiplayer mode is a surprisingly deep interpretation of the slightly aggravating Phantom Hourglass stages from the main adventure mode. Taking place across three rounds, each player takes it in turn to play as Link or take control of three phantoms. Link's challenge involves getting triangle pieces to the colour-associated base, whilst the phantoms try to stop him. What starts out as a deceptively simplistic mode, turns into something considerably deeper with the various power-up's, shortcuts, and techniques you'll have to devise.

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  • Graphics: 94%
     
  • Sound: 91%
     
  • Gameplay: 92%
     
  • Originality: 87%
     
  • Longevity: 94%
     
Overall Score: 9/10
Bringing the classic Zelda experience to the DS with a range of creative touches, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is an overwhelming success for the format. It may not have the sheer weight of the likes of Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess, but it is nonetheless geared suitably for a stylish and entertaining handheld experience.

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By: Anonymous

Added:Fri 12th Jun 2009 02:10, Post No: 31

for the levers on the ghost ship.....

forgive me I dont remember the numbers they give you, I think its 25134 maybe? anyway all you do is hit the first lever SECOND, the second lever FIFTH, as so on and so forth. maybe thats not the sequence the boingy rock face thing gives you, but you should grasp the concept anyway.


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By: Anonymous

Added:Thu 11th Jun 2009 08:13, Post No: 30

I just ordered it on amazon and can't wait to get it!!! It is my first Zelda game owned, but not played. I have played and beaten Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Wind Waker. So, does anyone who own the game think its great? No spoilers please!


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By: Anonymous

Added:Sun 10th May 2009 13:32, Post No: 29

temple of the ocean king is anoying not the first time the second time you have to go there after beating the ghost ship


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By: Anonymous

Added:Sat 02nd May 2009 19:58, Post No: 28

i can not figure out how to pull the levers on the ghost ship help!


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By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 29th Dec 2008 16:09, Post No: 27

post 22 the n64 diddnt come out till 1997 but zelda has been out since the nes and the snes even on the old gameboy (the black and green screen) i think it may date back to when nintendo made the old lcd games (game & watch)


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By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 29th Dec 2008 02:32, Post No: 26

I bought and played this game as my second Legend of Zelda game. My first one being Oracle of Ages on the Gameboy Color. By the 4th time I had to go through the Temple of the Ocean King, I knew this game was not going to be as glorious as OoA. From time to time I like to pick up this game and attempt to use the D-pad only to discover that it does barely anything. I played the multiplayer about once and will never play it again. It is based on the worst part of the game (the Temple of the Ocean King), and it is not very fun at all. It is annoying actually. Also, there are way too many locations and the transportation can't provide. In OoA, every area that you had to access had a tricky puzzle like entrance that kept you busy outside of the temples. Here, you shoot the cannon at some rocks while on a pre-planned route on an underpowered and wimpy looking ship, whos captain happens to be a jerk. I did put aside my frustrations over the Temple of the Ocean King and beat the game, or what seemed like beating it. It went through all of the cutscenes of me rescuing Tetra and all of the sudded the ghost ship is back and I have to do the same battle again. I do, thinking that something happened with the save file but after a second beating of the final boss, the ghost ship still is there. At least in other games when you beat the game you beat the game for good. This seems maybe like a cheap way out for Nintendo and Capcom to add post-game playability. The graphics are as expected on a handheld system, but they look cartoonish and slightly cheap. It's as if I was put in control of the characters of South Park. I admit that the use of the dual screens during boss battles was excellent and the map feature where you could draw to make notes was a big help. I guess I expected too much out of this game and, if I were to rate it, I would give it a 6 out of 10. 


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By: Anonymous

Added:Sun 28th Dec 2008 20:25, Post No: 25

i do

 


By: Chunky Kid

Added:Sat 19th Apr 2008 15:15, Post No: 24

Anybody think i should get this game?????????????:)


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By: Anonymous

Added:Thu 20th Mar 2008 20:28, Post No: 23

it is completely awesome. but i have been stuck on the ghost ship for ages if someone can help


By: PoKeMoNgAmEr3000

Added:Sat 23rd Feb 2008 20:12, Post No: 22

Yeh Zelda is well good it's well fun 2 play and it's lasted for soooooooo many years i meen theres a Zelda game for the N64(console made in like 1990)


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