The series so far: The Definitive 50 GameCube Games.
Three truly original Zelda games ultimately came to the GameCube. We’ll get to the controversial Wind Waker and the long delayed Twilight Princess, but today, we’re talking about the frantic, chaotic, and gleeful multiplayer action of Four Swords Adventures.
Four Swords stands alongside Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles as one of the two big games designed to promote GameCube-GBA connectivity by requiring it for multiplayer.
Although Four Swords supports single-player through a standard GameCube controller, the game only truly shines when players hop through the awkward link cable hoops and gather as a group to battle their ways through Hyrule.
Adventures‘ gameplay is based on, but vastly expands, the Four Swords mode of the GBA port of Link to the Past.
Each player takes command of one of four Links, on a quest to take down the evil sorcerer Vaati and the nefarious Shadow Link, as well as rescue the six shrine maidens and Princess Zelda.
The game plays something like a multiplayer Link to the Past, with players being put through overworld adventuring, dungeon puzzle-solving, and boss battling. Players are generally expected to stick together to progress, but can explore small areas and rooms on their own, on the GBA screen.
Cooperation is demanded to get anywhere in the game, but inevitably, collisions will happen, and players will turn on one another. This is where things get really awesome. Four Swords enables players to pick-on, hassle, knock-down, and generally be belligerent to one another, resulting in continuous hilarity.
In addition to the main mode of Four Swords, a chaotic battle mode known as Shadow Battle is also available.
The Japanese release of Four Swords Adventures includes a third mode known as Navi Trackers, in which the players are tasked with finding member’s of Tetra’s piratical crew from Wind Waker. The mode includes voice acting, yes, in a Zelda game, which probably explains why it didn’t make it to the west.
Sure, Four Swords Adventures doesn’t live up to the grandeur of its single player brothers, but it still contains some of the biggest fun to be found on the GameCube.
Believe it or not, every major Zelda game released up to the end of the GameCube’s life is playable on the system in some form. In addition to its own three entries in the series, the GameCube can also play all GameBoy, GameBoy Color, and GameBoy Advance Zeldas through the GameBoy Player, including the GBA port of Link to the Past.
Thanks to the Wind Waker pre-order bonus disc, Ocarina of Time, and the long sought-after Master Quest, are available. Finally, the Zelda Promotional Disc, which came bundled with GameCubes for a time, and could also be acquired through other promotions, includes Ocarina again, Majora’s Mask, and the NES Zeldas.