previews\ Oct 18, 2007 at 8:00 pm

Link's Crossbow Training / Wii Zapper - WII - Preview

E for All 2007 Preview

Console bundles have received mixed results from the gaming public. Some are willing to pay extra for games and peripherals they may not want to ensure they get a system as soon as possible. Others would rather forego pre-orders and wait in line at a store that doesn’t have bundles or pass until shipments are more plentiful.

Gamers do, however, love it when publishers give them free games to go with their new consoles. Nintendo is taking it one step further with the Wii Zapper, a $20 peripheral that can be used with upcoming games like Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, Ghost Squad, and Medal of Honor Heroes 2. Like the Wii console itself, the Wii Zapper will include an exclusive new game: Link’s Crossbow Training.

The screenshots don’t look like much of anything. You see targets and a third-person view of Link, with graphics that resemble the engine used in Twilight Princess.

Despite its lack of all things eye-catching, the game is actually a lot of fun. The E for All build was separated by three stages: on-rails target shooting, on-rails enemy shooting, and free-roaming third-person combat.

Link's Crossbow Training Wii screenshots

The first two are slightly different from what you’ve experienced with lightgun shooters like Time Crisis and The House of the Dead. This stage has several different areas (based in one of the towns from Twilight Princess, it seems). Rather than roll through them as a typical lightgun shooter would, Link’s Crossbow Training holds steady for a brief time. Your goal is to knock out as many targets as possible. Hit several of them in a row to start a combo and multiply your point totals.

Of course, the targets don’t stay up forever. Take too long to knock them out and the opportunity to score those points will be lost forever.

It’s interesting to note that, while the general feel of this portion of the game is not at all unfamiliar, players can zoom in on their targets by holding one of the Wii Zapper buttons.

Link's Crossbow Training Wii screenshots

The next stage takes you to a Stalfo (skeleton) covered land where enemies swarm from all sides. Move the Zapper toward the left or right edge of the screen to spin in either direction. Shoot the larger, green smoke Stalfos to snatch an automatic crossbow. Now you’ll be able to hold the trigger to attack with steady streams of arrows.

Link’s Crossbow Training’s final stage is a third-person mission where you must manually guide Link into enemy battlegrounds and eliminate the threat. This is cool but a tad cumbersome – the game is trying to reinvent the wheel as far as third-person shooters are concerned. Using a combination of motion (move the Zapper to adjust Link’s crosshairs) and traditional thumbstick character movement, the game is not easy to control. You’ll have a hard time getting the camera exactly where you want it.

Though the game may not be easy – or even perfect, considering that this build is probably close to final – Link’s Crossbow Training is still a fun and worthwhile freebie. Chances are most gamers were planning on getting the Wii Zapper anyway. This addition is a nice thank-you to those willing to jump on board.

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