Game Name: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
Platform(s): GameBoy Advanced/Wii U/3DS
Release Date(s): November 4, 2004 (Japan)/January 10, 2005 (US)
ESRB Rating: E
A young boy named Link finds himself thrust into the role of hero when a sorcerer named Vaati turns Princess Zelda into stone. Teamed with a talking bird named Ezlo, Link must travel Hyrule and enlist the aid of the miniature creatures called the Picori to help free Zelda and stop the danger of Vaati once and for all!
Developed by Capcom and Flagship and published by Nintendo, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (ゼルダの伝説 ふしぎのぼうし or Zeruda no Densetsu: Fushigi no Bōshi aka The Legend of Zelda: The Mysterious Cap) was originally released for Nintendo’s GameBoy Advance in 2004 in Japan with a U.S. release early in 2005. The game followed Nintendo’s 2004 GameCube Zelda entry The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure and has since been made available on the 3DS and Wii U through their virtual consoles. The game was released to positive reviews and made many “Best Of” lists for 2005.
Zelda is a Nintendo classic. The original game for the NES really changed how games were played and saved. Though advances in gaming allowed for more 3D environments for The Legend of Zelda like in 2002’s The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and the classic 1998 game The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is a throwback to games like the original Zelda.
Having not played it on the GameBoy Advanced and only playing it on the Wii U virtual console, the game feels big and long enough that it could have been a Super NES game or something bigger than a handheld entry. The story takes a decent amount of time to complete and like many Zelda games, it provides you with a lot of varied weapons and tools to get the job done throughout the story…which of course boils down to rescuing Princess Zelda (though this time there is no Ganondorf).
The gameplay also is quite smooth and takes its style from games like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It is far advance past the original Zelda which plays like an 8-Bit game, but this game feels richer and layered through the smooth controls. The actual shrinking cap and the Picori are a bit tedious at times but are worked into the storyline. Unlocking new areas and weapons allows you to want to keep playing and like many Zelda games, one hour can quickly turn into six.
The graphics for the game are those of a GameBoy Advanced with some up-converting for things like the Wii U. When you play the game, you recognize that you are playing a retro game and that graphics could be better. Having grown up with video games and graphics like that of Atari, it doesn’t bother me, but those that want and expect a more textured environment could be disappointed.
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is a fun entry into the Zelda series, and I’m really happy that Nintendo has made the effort to convert and upgrade some of these retro games since not only owning every system isn’t possible, but getting your hands on a copy of The Minish Cap can be pricey. If you are a fan of classic NES or Zelda, I recommend The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap…for all of its highs and lows. Nintendo followed The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap with The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess in 2006 (on the GameCube and Wii and later adapted for the Wii U).