previews\ May 9, 2006 at 8:00 pm

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass - NDS - Preview

E3 2006 Hands On Preview

The Legend of Zelda has been one of the most identifiable series in video games since the heyday of the original Nintendo. At least one entry from the franchise has hit every major Nintendo system (sorry kids, the Virtual Boy doesn’t count). Now the series is finally making its debut on Nintendo’s latest handheld in style, and taking full advantage of what the system is capable of. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass utilizes the advantages of the DS, from the dual screens to the touch screen.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass screenshots

The first thing that players will notice is that The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is the Wind Waker-style aesthetic. The game looks extremely impressive, mirroring its predecessor’s unique style and rich cartoon-style graphics, albeit from a top down perspective similar to the GBA Zelda games. The characters all have a distinct style which works very well on the handheld. While there are haters out there who couldn’t stand the Wind Waker look and clamored for a more “mature” Link (which they will get later this year on the Gamecube with Twilight Princess), the highly stylized look in Phantom Hourglass is perfectly suited for the DS.

The control scheme is the next thing that most gamers will notice. Phantom Hourglass uses the touch screen exclusively, meaning that you don’t even touch the face buttons. You can guide Link across the game field by tapping the stylus where you want him to go, or by gliding it across the touch screen. You can also slash the screen to make Link swing his sword, double tap to make him roll, or just tap on enemies repeatedly to perform combo attacks. The top screen shows a constant map that prevents you from having to access a menu to figure out where you are.

The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass is a unique title that uses the DS to its fullest potential, with rich graphics and innovative controls.


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