The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is an action-adventure game developed by Nintendo EAD. The game, a direct sequel to the Nintendo GameCube title The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, originally came into existence as another GameCube game, referred to with the working title “Wind Waker 2”. However, despite the generally positive reception of The Wind Waker, Nintendo reacted to the complaints that it was too different from its predecessors by creating an all-new game instead, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which very deliberately played like the classic title The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, as the GameCube’s last big title. Eventually, the storyline for Wind Waker 2 was used to create Phantom Hourglass.
It was published by Nintendo exclusively for the Nintendo DS, and is fourteenth game in the series. It was released in Japan on June 23, 2007, and was released in the US on October 1, 2007. It has sold about four million units. It is the first Zelda game to be released on the DS.
Soon after the events of Wind Waker, Link, Tetra and her crew are sailing along the great sea when they encounter a ghost ship that has been kidnapping people from the surrounding islands. Tetra boards the ship to investigate, but as she does, she disappears. Link tries to go after her but is left drifting out at sea. He wakes up some time later on a mysterious island, with a fairy named Ciela and an old man named Oshus. With their assistance he enlists the help of Captain Linebeck and his ship to save her, and off they go to find the location of the ghost ship and to rescue Tetra.
The entirety of the game is controlled by the stylus, with the buttons acting as optional substitutes for certain functions. Movement is performed by pressing the stylus, combat by slashing the stylus, the use of items by drawing/tapping with the stylus, etc.. The position of the stylus is represented by a fairy. The game takes place in the same overworld as The Wind Waker, but it is much smaller. Players once again receive a ship, and navigation is achieved by drawing a path on the Sea Chart. One notable area within the game is the Ocean Temple. Within this temple, Link continuously loses health unless he has obtained the Phantom Hourglass, which delays this effect. The hallways of the Ocean Temple are filled with invincible Phantoms, whom Link must sneak past without being seen.
The DS touch screen allows for unique puzzles and controls never before seen in a Zelda game. Some examples including drawing and tracing puzzles, as well as the new boomerang. The boomerang is used by tracing a path with the stylus, which the boomerang will follow. Two screens allow for bigger, more intimidating boss fights. The touch screen is used for marking areas on the map. Players can mark up their map with notes about certain areas, and the quickest and safest routes for travel.
Being the sequel to Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass required much travel by boat. Taking to heart the many complaints about the sailing in Wind Waker, the developers changed up the travel for Phantom Hourglass. Rather then a sail boat, Link know traveled with an engine, rather than wind. Link is now able to fire his cannon without stopping. To fire, the player simply had to tap on the touch screen wherever they wish to shoot. Many enemies appear as Link travels across open water, and if killed, can drop a rupee or heart. Sometimes tougher enemies, such as pirates, will appear. If Link is victorious in battle against these pirates, the rewards are greater.
Throughout his journey, Link can gather a plethora of custom ship parts and, as is tradition for a Zelda title, plenty of other goodies. The ship parts come in a variety of themes that can be mixed and match to make the ship one-of -a-kind, or can be assembled with pieces of the same set for bonuses. If you match pieces, you often get a more powerful ship. Heart pieces are hidden across the land, which can increase Link’s total health. The game has three fairies which Link can power up to increase his attack, defense, and strength.
The Phantom Hourglass is one of the few Zelda games to feature a multiplayer mode, and the only one with a multiplayer mode that is not the Four Swords. This battle mode can be played locally, or over Nintendo WiFi. The multiplayer battles are a one-on-one game titled Hide and Seek. In Hide and Seek, one player controls Link, and the other player controls a trio of Phantom Guardians. Link’s goal in the game is to collect force gems scattered around each arena, and take them back to his own base. The Phantom Guardians are tasked with stopping Link from getting any points. When the time runs out or when Link is caught, the players switch sides. Each game consists of three rounds with each player playing on both sides once in each turn. The maximum running time for a game is 12 minutes assuming that Link is not caught even once, and neither player obtains a time bonus.
Players can also obtain certain power ups to give them an edge in battle. These power ups include the speed-increasing Pegasus Boots, the power glove, the decoy, wind walls, and bonus time.
The battle mode also allows players to unlock special gifts in the story. By performing various big plays, certain items can be unlocked in the single player mode.
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