If you liked Chrystal Chronicles then you'll absolutely adore Four Swords on the Game Cube. If you didn't like Chrystal Chronicles then you'll absolutely adore Four Swords on the Game Cube. It's that good.
There are 2 game modes, the main Hyrulean Adventure and the strictly multiplayer Shadow Battles. The main adventure sees Link retrieving the Four Sword in order to save it's seven protectors, including Zelda. In doing so he is split into 4 Links with 4 swords but, this releases the evil Vaati. The 4 Links must release the 7 protectors from their bondage before he can be defeated, however the agent provocateur (no, not the underwear) who captured them is a mysterious Shadow Link and causes no end of trouble.
Play is simple but very different for multiple players. In multiplayer, each player has to use a GBA connected to the console, they can then directly control their Link onscreen. Should they enter a house or dungeon, the screen still displays the outside world, the player continues using the GBA screen. This allows the players to split up, should they move farther apart, the visible part of Hyrule will scale up and down accordingly. This also means the rooms are not frozen in time or reset, drop a bomb then leave the room, it'll still detonate even if noone is there to see it.
If there are only 2 or 3 players then both or one of the players will be assigned 2 Links respectively. Players controlling 2 or 4 (Single Player) Links can either have their Links moving in a follow the leader fashion with only the head Link interacting with the environment or they can assign one of 4 formations. In this mode all Links will perform their actions simultaneously. This includes the usage of the special items that can be picked up.
A player can only carry one at a time, but all Links in his party will have one. Different players can each carry a different one though. This will probably result in a mad scramble for the best items, however, sometimes it's the most mundane item that is required to progress so there is a payoff, not as bad as being a bucket-boy. In the single player game, the player can use either a GBA or a normal console pad. When using a pad, a GBA window will appear on the screen when dungeons are entered.
The game is structured into levels, at the end of each level there is a magical barrier left by Vaati, to breech it the 4 Links must have amassed a collective target of Force Gems to power the Four Sword. Force Gems are found and collected in the same way Rupees in previous games are. Cutting or burning grass and hedges, lifting rocks and dispatching enemies. Reach the end of a level without enough gems and you will have the option to be sent back to beginning to collect more gems, when you hit the limit you will be transported back to the end of the level. The enemies yield the most gems as at certain points you will be trapped in an area with about a hundred (Yes that's 100) baddies to despatch. The results in a frantic slash fest to be rid of them. More gems will appear if a player can amass a combo, this is done by killing numerous enemies without losing any health. When this mass stamped of baddies is finished off hundreds of gems will fall from the sky and, since each player is ranked by their personal tally this becomes a mad dash to collect as much as possible.
Not only are the players awarded for their kleptomania but they are also judged by their partners. At the end of a level players will vote for the most helpful and least helpful player. They will be awarded and penalised respectively.
The Shadow Battles is best likened to Power Stone. It's a last man standing contest set in a largish area with houses and caves to enter. Players have all the special items at their disposal plus a few more tricks that can be pulled. For instance, enter a house and attack the chicken within. This will trigger a swarm of feathered fowl to descend upon anyoune still outside.
Don't forget to bring your GBAs and link cables to PeejLAN, this is one experience you don't want to miss.
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