The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker marks the debut entry of the The Legend of Zelda franchise on the Nintendo GameCube, and the first 3D Zelda game since Majora’s Mask. As Link, the player must travel a vast ocean to find his sister.
A full HD remastering of the game (The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD) with some alterations and improvements made to the gameplay for the Wii U was released in October 2013.
The Wind Waker begins in a small island on the corner of a vast ocean, where all boys of Outset Island wear the familiar green tunic when they come of age.
The Wind Waker is set on The Great Sea, a vast ocean with many small landmasses scattered throughout, but with no large continents.
The game takes place several centuries after the events of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
The game begins with the retelling of an ancient tale told among the people of the Great Sea. According to the legend there once was a fruitful and prosperous kingdom where an omnipotent golden power was hidden until suddenly one day a great evil found and stole this power and used it to spread darkness across the land. That was until a young boy dressed in green sealed the evil within the Master Sword and the boy became known as the Hero of Time and passed into legend. One day though the evil began to slowly return but the Hero of Time did not reappear and so the inhabitants of the kingdom where left only with their prays to their Gods. The fate of the kingdom and its inhabitants are but a mystery to the inhabitants of the Great Sea but the story continues to be passed from one generation to the next.
The game then cuts to present day on Outset Island, Link’s home. Whilst looking through the telescope given to him by his younger sister, Aryll, he spots a pirate ship approaching the island.
The ship is following a huge black bird with a girl in its claws. The bird drops the girl into a thick forest atop Outset Island. Link finds a sword and enters the forest in search for the girl. After rescuing her, the pirates from the ship come to find her.
It turns out her name is Tetra, the captain of the pirate ship. As they exit the woods, Link’s sister is outside looking for him. After a moment of waving and smiling, the bird returns, but this time attacks Aryll. The bird flies away with her and Link sets off on the pirate ship to rescue her.
They hear rumors that the bird nests in a place called ‘The Forsaken Fortress’ in the North. They head there and send Link to find Aryll. However, Link is so excited when he is re-united with his sister that the bird notices him. The bird takes him to its master, a mysterious dark-caped figure with orange flame-like hair. The bird throws Link into The Great Sea and Link wakes up on Windfall island. He finds a talking red boat called The King of Red Lions.
He asks Link to locate him a sail so that they can travel across the sea in search for Aryll. After a sail has been acquired, the pair head for Dragon Roost Island to locate Din’s Pearl, a magical orb containing the powers of the goddess, Din. They are told by the native tribe, the Ritos that they may have whatever they wish if they find out what is troubling the giant dragon, Valoo, who resides atop their island. After link travels through the following dungeon and defeats the creature that is causing Valoo to attack anyone who approaches him. As thanks, they present Link with the pearl.
Behind the island, there is a pair of monuments to the wind gods. The King of Red Lions gives Link the fabled Wind Waker, a magical conductor’s baton with the power to control the wind. One of the wind gods teaches Link how to use the baton to change the direction of the wind, allowing Link to travel to new islands. The god also mentions how his brother is angry and is creating huge cyclones on the Great Sea.
Link heads to the Forest Haven where the second pearl, Farore’s pearl, is located. Link requests the pearl from the Deku Tree. The tree is about to bestow it upon him when the Koroks, a race of tree-like creatures appear. They are unsettled and say that their fellow Korok, Makar, is missing. He entered the Forbidden Woods next to the Forest Haven and did not return. Link goes to find him and after this second dungeon, the Tree rewards Link with the pearl.
Link heads towards Greatfish Isle, where the third and final pearl, Nayru’s pearl, is said to be located. When they arrive the island has been torn apart and the Great Fish spirit, Jabun is nowhere to be seen. The Rito tribe postman arrives and tells Link that Ganondorf, the dark figure from the Forsaken Fortress, attacked the island in search for the pearl. Link returns to Windfall Island and discovers that the pirate’s ship is docked behind a cliff. Link searches around for the Pirates and finally finds them in the bomb shop.
He enters stealthily from the back entrance and overhears that they are stealing the bombs from the shop to use them to break into a cave at the rear of Outset Island, as this is where a ‘great treasure’ is located. This treasure is in reality the final pearl. Tetra notices Link and tells the Pirates that they will delay the journey until morning because she realizes that Link wants to find the treasure, for some reason. Link reaches the cave and Jabun presents him with the pearl.
Link places the pearls in their monuments and they connect with each other with beams of light, that when viewed from above, resembles the legendary Triforce. In the center of the monuments, a huge tower emerges in the middle of the sea. The King of Red Lions tells Link that this is called the Tower of the Gods and that he must complete the trials within to earn the trust of the Gods.
After he defeats the creature created by the Gods, they open up a portal to the legendary kingdom of Hyrule. They arrive outside Hyrule Castle and Link enters, only to find the interior filled with evil creatures, frozen in time. Link enters an area beneath the castle and finds a mysterious sword in a pedestal. He removes the blade and all of the creatures return to life. After Link uses the sword to defeat the creatures, he heads out of the Castle. He finds that there is a magical barrier preventing his access to the rest of Hyrule.
Link returns to The King of Red Lions and the pair return to the surface above, as Hyrule has been sealed below the sea. The King of Red Lions informs Link that the sword is the famed ‘Master Sword’ and it has to power to defeat Ganondorf. They return to the Forsaken Fortress with the ‘blade of evil’s bane’ and attempt to rescue Aryll again. The Pirates arrive as Link finds his sister and they take Aryll with them so that Link can continue towards Ganondorf. The huge bird returns, but this time, Link fights it and manages to defeat it. Link meets face to face with Ganondorf, who informs Link that the sword has lost its old powers.
Tetra shows up to assist Link and Ganondorf, and the sorcerer says that the three have assembled at last. Before they can question him, Valoo and Prince Komali show up and attack Ganondorf. Link, The King of Red Lions and Tetra return to Hyrule to hide Tetra from Ganon. Before Tetra can ask why, they find a man where the Master Sword was. He tells them that he is the King of Hyrule, and that it is he who was speaking through The King of Red Lions. He tells Tetra to get out her golden necklace and he inserts a piece into it. It turns out that it is the Triforce of Wisdom and that she is, in fact the ancestor to Princess Zelda.
She uncharacteristically submissively assumes her new identity of Princess Zelda as she is infused with the Triforce. She remains in the Castle to protect herself from Ganon’s clutches. The King tells Link that they must find the two ancient sages to restore the powers to destroy evil to the Master Sword.
The sages of the Wind and Earth Temples have been killed by Ganondorf to prevent the sword being revived. The spirits of the Sages tell Link that they must find their ancestors and return to the Temples to restore power to the sword. The Sages turn out to be the Korok, Makar and the Rito apprentice, Medli. After they restore the power to the Master Sword by clearing the evil creatures from the Temples, Link must assemble the eight pieces of the Hero’s Triforce piece of Courage.
The Triforce of Courage was split into eight pieces when the Hero of Time left Hyrule. Link eventually constructs the Triforce and travels to Hyrule again. Link approaches the barrier that was around the Castle and shatters it with the newly restored Master Sword. He enters Ganondorf’s Castle and works his way to find Ganondorf.
Ganondorf has found Zelda and has stolen her Triforce of Wisdom, adding it to his Triforce of Power. Ganondorf summons Puppet Ganon, which attacks Link. Although Link defeats it, Ganondorf escapes with Zelda and Link follows them. Ganondorf reveals to Link that it was not he who destroyed Hyrule but the Gods, who flooded the kingdom when it appeared that Ganondorf was going to win, creating the Great Sea. A few Hylians were taken from their families and sent to the mountaintops; these formed the islands that the people of the Sea live on now. Ganondorf attacks Link in an attempt to take the final Triforce piece by force so that he can form the Triforce and restore Hyrule to its former glory, finally granting his wish for ultimate power in the process.
Ganondorf attacks Link and takes the Triforce piece. Just before he touches the Triforce, though the King of Hyrule appears and touches it first. Not caring about the cost to the kingdom he swore to protect, he selfishly wishes that Hyrule is sealed away forever. The walls of water around them begin to crash in and Ganondorf attacks Link and Zelda, intending to kill them before he is returned to his prison. They engage in a short, but epic battle, and eventually Link stabs Ganondorf through the head with the Master sword. Ganondorf is encased in stone and the walls of water begin to crash down faster. The King of Hyrule tells Link and Zelda that he will not return to their world with them, he will stay behind and die with his Kingdom.
The walls cave in and Hyrule is completely submerged at last.
Link and Zelda wake floating on the sea. The pirate’s ship and many other friends from the adventure are there to greet them. Link returns to Outset Island with Aryll and everything is back to normal. The Pirates and Link in his now un-talking boat set off to find new adventures.
Link and Zelda would eventually find a new land to call Hyrule which is seen in Spirit Tracks.
Controlling Link is very much similar to the previous 3D entries in the Zelda series. He runs in the direction the analog stick is held, jumps automatically from ledges, and even the Z-targeting feature is retained – now mapped to the left shoulder button. However, he has a few new moves in his repertoire, such as the ability to crawl freely, parry, and counter-attack foes, but he can also learn additional sword tricks throughout his adventure. Wind Waker also featured music within combat which strung in tune with the various attacks.
Controls are tight and it is not at all different in any major way to the previous titles on the Nintendo 64, so all those fans would feel right at home with the control scheme. The B button is used to attack, and used to roll and climb up objects, C buttons are to change the camera angles and to enable free look and the other buttons are for equipping items for use for example the Wind Waker and boomerang.
With Hyrule flooded, getting around isn’t quite so easy for Link. Early on in the game he’ll encounter the King of Red Lions – a charismatic boat, and once Link finds a sail he’ll be ready to sail the seas. The Wind Waker baton can be used to set the direction of the wind to help guide his sails smoothly.
The first dungeon in the The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, which is located within Dragon Roost Mountain. This is home to the sky spirit Valoo and a race of the bird like people Rito. Valoo is upset and will not allow the Rito to collect his scales, which they need to fly. With Link’s help the Rito people may fly again . The dungeon is a fire based level, which Link needs a water pot to safely navigate through it’s many lava pools. The dungeon boss is Gohma.
The second dungeon in the The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, which is located on the island of Forest Haven in the Great Sea. In search of the Farore’s Pearl, Link meets the Great Deku Tree, who protects the Koroks who live on the island. The Great Deku Tree promises Link the pearl, once the annual Korok Ceremony has taken place. Unfortunately a Korok named Makar, fell into the woods, when flying over it, postponing the ceremony. The Great Deku Tree sees Link’s arrival as fate, and sends Link to the Forbidden woods to save Makar.
The Great Deku Tree gives Link a Deku Leaf, which allows Link to fly to the entrance of the Forbidden Woods. Inside the dungeon, Link defeats Mothula and retrieves the Boomerang. He also saves Makar from the final boss, Kalle Demos.
Tower of the Gods
The third dungeon in the The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, which is discovered once Link collects the three Pearls of the Goddesses and places them in the hands of three Goddess Statues located on each of the Triangle Islands (Eastern, Southern, and Northern).
A portal exists in the tower that allows link to travel to Hyrule. An important location, as link finds himself returning to the island on three separate occasions in the game.
The dungeon boss, Gohdan, is a giant stone statue placed by the Gods to defend the Master Sword. The Hero’s Bow, a main dungeon item, is a treasure located within the dungeon.
- Wind Waker: Lets Link do a variety of things including controlling the wind, changing day to night, and taking control of statues.
- Telescope: Lets Link zoom in on faraway things in a first person mode.
- Spoils Bag: Stores objects that Link’s enemies drop.
- Sail: The must item for sailing. It uses wind to propel or stop Link in the water.
- Picto Box – A camera of sorts that lets Link take pictures when he wants. It can be upgraded to take color photos.
- Bottle (x4): Lets Link carry a variety of things including fairies, water, and potions.
- Grapple Hook: Lets Link hook onto specific bars and use them to swing from side to side. The hook acts as a crane while on the boat.
- Deku Leaf: Link can swing it while on the ground to blow enemies. While in the air, it acts as a parachute, allowing Link to glide slowly down.
- Boomerang: Allows Link to target up to 5 objects at once and then tries to hit all of the selected objects in one trip.
- Bomb: A powerful object that can destroy rocks and strong materials. Link can eventually carry up to 99 of them. On the boat, it acts as a cannon.
- Hero’s Bow: As always, the bow shoots arrows that prove very effective at long range. Link can eventually carry up to 99 arrows.
- Skull Hammer: Link can smash large posts and switches into the ground with this hammer. When attacking enemies, the hammer creates shock waves that may cause some enemies to fall to the ground. This is essentially the same as the Megaton Hammer from Ocarina of Time.
- Fire/Ice Arrows: Arrows that are tipped with ice or fire. They can set enemies on fire or freeze enemies. They use magic, so use them wisely.
- Iron Boots: Heavy boots that keep Link on the ground and stop him from blowing away. They also allow Link to trigger switches that are controlled by heavy weight.
- Hookshot: The iconic hookshot is as trusty as ever; it will shoot a chain at various compatible objects and pulls Link to it. In this game, the hookshot’s aiming cursor will change when the surface is capable of being hooked on.
- Light Arrow: This type of arrow is used against the final boss, and it will also instantly vaporize most normal enemies.
- Magic Armor: Makes Link invincible while draining magic power. Similar to Nayru’s Love from Ocarina of Time.
Dropped Items (can be swung or thrown)
- Boko Stick
- Darknut Sword
- Phantom Ganon Sword
After finishing the game for the first time, a Second Quest (New Game Plus) option becomes available.
Link now wears his island-clothes throughout the whole game and characters occasionally refer to it as him wearing pajamas. Aryll is also wearing her late-game pirate outfit throughout the whole game.
In terms of new abilities, Link is in possession of Deluxe Picto Box from the very start of the game, enabling the player to complete the snapshot collection if all the enemies and characters in the game. Also, all Hylian text now appears in the player-determined game language.
Gameplay-wise, the location of sunken treasure found via treasure maps are changed to be farther away from the islands, making figuring out where they are based on the shape of the islands more difficult.
At Nintendo’s Space World event in 2000, Nintendo revealed the Gamecube along with a technical demo showcasing a duel between a realistic looking Link and Ganon. A year later at Space World 2001, Nintendo unveiled The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. This new title employed a cel-shaded art style – a departure from the more realistic look of previous Zelda entries and the demo shown the previous year – and gave the game a distinct look that can be likened to cartoons and anime. This caused much controversy among many, splitting the fanbase, some viewing it as childish, whilst others appreciated it as a fresh take on the series.
The fan reaction after the debut trailer confused series creator Shigeru Miyamoto. While the game was bashed for its style, it set records with its high rate of pre-orders. The game also became a highly acclaimed title, getting an average of 95% on Gamerankings.com. It’s graphics went on to be one of its most praised aspects.
- 1 Player
- Memory blocks needed: 12
- Game Boy Advance Compatible
- Progressive Scan compatible (480p) (NTSC-only)
- Dolby Surround Pro Logic II
A double disc soundtrack CD was released on March 13th in Japan only. Entitled ‘Zelda no Densetsu ~Kaze no Takuto~ Original Sound Tracks’ , it features all the music found in the game, totaling up to one hundred and thirty-three songs.
Wind Waker received universally high reviews, and was nominated for and won many Game of the Year awards. Critics praised the cel-shaded graphics and dungeon design. Critics’ main problems with the game included its easy difficulty, the now infamous Triforce hunt and the heavy emphasis on exploration.
Wii U HD Remaster
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker on the Wii U is a HD remaster of the GameCube game of the same name. The game does however include several improvements such as upgraded graphics in HD with completely new lighting tech, altered aspects of the gameplay and pacing of the game, Off-TV Play and Miiverse support.
The game first released on September 20, 2013 in North America as an eShop-only download and as part of a special Wii U console bundle that also includes a digital version of Hyrule Historia, a book chronicling the development history of the Zelda series up through Skyward Sword. The game was subsequently released in Japan on September 26, 2013 and in Europe on October 4, 2013. The North American retail version launched on October 4, 2013.
The most obvious change comes from the HD upgrade in the visual departments. The game runs at a native 1080p resolution while maintaining the original game’s 30 frames per second. Wind Waker HD also enhances the originals toon-shaded art style with some modern shader technology that introduce bloom lighting, soft real-time shadows and a generally more vibrant feel to it. The black and white section in of the original game is now presented in sepia tone. Textures were upgraded for the higher resolutions as well.
All the effects and music have been reworked and mixed with higher quality samples and a much crisper sound while still keeping the feel of the original game’s audio intact.
User Interface & GamePad Support
The game makes use of the Wii U GamePad. The GamePad screen allows for instant access to Link’s inventory which the player can manipulate via touch-controlled drag-and-drop. During sea travel, the screen displays the sea chart, letting players plan their course without interrupting the gameplay.
Similar to the updated Ocarina of Time 3D, the UI now as a dedicated button for the Wind Waker baton, treasure-hook and boat-cannon removing the need for players to equip the associated items in an item slot manually. Also, players no longer have to equip a sail in an item slot as the UI now automatically activates it and associates the A and B-buttons with the sail functions as contextually appropriate. Players also can use the GamePad screen to control the wind waker, swiping in the corresponding desired direction. All of these improvements result in a more streamlined UI that removes a lot of manual back-and-forth between the game and the inventory screen from the original.
On top of that, the button bindings section of the HUD can be completely disabled to leave only the hearts and rupee/key counter on screen. Additionally, like in Pikmin 3, hitting the minus button will instantly switch to Off-TV Play mode, letting players play the game entirely on the GamePad. It is also possible to skip certain cut-scenes like the opening.
Link is now able to acquire the Swift Sail in the auction house after beating the first dungeon. The Swift Sail speeds up sea travel and lets players directly control the ships movement, removing the need to manually use the Wind Waker to change the direction of the wind.
This particular feature was initially planned to be incorporated into the original release but was omitted due to the technical limitations of the GameCube console as it was only capable of loading a single block of ocean at a time and the slower sailing speed was required to mask loading times.
Improved Triforce Quest
Steps are also being taken to improve the general pacing of the game, particularly in regards to the Triforce hunt prior to the final dungeon. Players now have to go out and decipher only three sea charts to find Triforce pieces and the remaining five can be acquired instantly. Additionally, it is no longer possible to accidentally skip Tingle Island as a new introductory sequence has been added to the main quest of the game.
Further pacing improvements come via shorter animations and faster text-scroll speed.
Messages in a Bottle
The Tingle Tuner from the original game, which was used to interface with the GameBoy Advance to allow for unique asymmetric gameplay mechanics, is being replaced by Miiverse Integration. Aonuma stated this was decided because the Tingle Tuner was meant to be a “helper tool” to aid the player in tricky situations. Miiverse Integration now comes in the form of messages in a bottle that will wash up on shores containing messages from players left on Miiverse, in a Demon’s Souls-like fashion.
Another feature tying into Miiverse is the Picto Box, the in-game camera. Link can now even take photos of himself with a selection of preset facial expressions. The capacity of the Picto Box has also been upped to hold 12 pictures at the same time. All the images taken with the Picto Box can be shared directly via Miiverse.
First Person Mode
Ever since Ocarina of Time, players had the opportunity to view the world in first-person, but it wasn’t until Skyward Sword that Link was allowed to move around freely in first-person and be able to use ranged items. This ability has now been added to The Wind Waker HD. However, players are still restricted from using melee equipment such as swords while in the first-person view.
Taking a page from skyward Sword, a harder difficulty setting called Hero Mode is now included. Like in Skyward Sword, enemies will deal twice the amount of damage and Link can no longer obtain hearts from actions such as slashing bushes. The only way to regain health is using a fairy or consuming a potion. However, unlike in Skyward Sword, this mode is now available from the start instead of having to be unlocked by finishing the game once. Hero Mode can be toggled on or off at any time.
The maximum rupee limit at the start of the game has been increased from 200 to 500 rupees.
Sidequests / Treasure Charts
The HD version features more treasure charts to hunt down and an item originally obtained via sidequest is now found through such a treasure chart.
Some of the other miscellaneous alterations which were made to the game are as follows:
- Link no longer gets knocked off the King of Red Lions into the sea if he takes damage whilst sailing the ship aside from some minor exceptions such as colliding with explosive barrels.
- Enemies have a shorter invincibility period after being damaged thus making it possible for some sword swings to hit twice.
- When using the ship’s cannon, the bomb’s trajectory is displayed on screen making aim shots much easier.
- Conducting the Wind Waker no longer begins until a direction is input.
- Items dropped at sea are automatically drawn towards Link.
- Forest Water now lasts for 30 minutes rather than 20.
- The game no longer freezes if players jump attack on top of the chest in the Ghost Ship.
No Extra Dungeons
During development of the remaster, Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma has specifically stated that a trio of dungeons that were cut from the GameCube game prior to release would not be implemented. Part of the reason for this is that some of that cut content was already used in Zelda titles that followed Wind Waker’s original release.
Limited Edition Ganondorf Figurine Bundle
In North America and Europe, Nintendo sold a Limited Edition Ganondorf figurine along with the game. In North America, it was available as a GameStop-exclusive bonus. In Europe, there was a dedicated Limited Edition bundle that came with the game and the Ganondorf figurine. The European The Wind Waker HD box from the Limited Edition comes with a reversible cover featuring entirely different artwork than the main box art.
Eiji Aonuma, who announced the game during the Nintendo Direct in January 2013, said this remaster was born after creating the Zelda HD Experience Wii U tech demo for E3 2011. In preparing for the development of the first original HD Zelda title, Aonuma’s team experimented with porting past entries into HD, and in the process felt that Wind Waker’s art style gained new life on the new console tech. The decision was then made to release an updated version of Wind Waker for the Wii U to tide fans over while work continued on the new Wii U Zelda title.
Latest On The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
All game data on this page is sourced via Giant Bomb.