Four Swords Adventures

Introduction

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures is the eleventh game to be released in the Legend of Zelda series, and marks the end of the Twilight Realm and The Legacy of the Hero timeline branch, also known as the Child Timeline. Released in Japan on March 18, 2004, it was the second Zelda game to come to the GameCube, and was the first to feature a multiplayer option in the main storyline, accomplished by linking Game Boy Advances to the GameCube via Game Boy Advance Link Cables. Alongside the game’s innovations, Four Swords Adventures drew from A Link to the Past and The Wind Waker for its gameplay elements and graphical style. However it sold far worse at less than 380,000 copies worldwide, making it the least-successful Zelda game to date.

Development and Release

<img class=”alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-1097” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/ZeldaFourSwordsLink-250x321.jpg” alt=”Four Swords Adventure Linkup” />Four Swords Adventures was originally titled Four Swords for Nintendo GameCube. It premiered at E3 2002 alongside Navi Trackers, called Tetra Trackers at the time. Both games were to make use of Game Boy Advances linked to the system. A third game, titled Shadow Battle, was announced in December of that same year along with the intention to sell all three games together on one disc. However, Navi Trackers never made it out of Japan save for in South Korea.

The game went through a few changes before the final release. Force Gems were once rupees, and the sprites and graphics were once closer to A Link to the Past. The story, too, changed when Shigeru Miyamoto, the series’ producer, decided to focus on strong gameplay. As a result, the story was simplified.

Four Swords Adventures released to generally positive reception. Media praised the multiplayer aspect and the unique way it was achieved. However this was also a fault according to some, with complaints centered on the required use of Link Cables for multiplayer. The meshed graphical style of A Link to the Past and The Wind Waker was also a sore point, with reviewers claiming the game felt inconsistent in presentation.

Gameplay

From Four Swords Adventures’s main menu, players could choose between tackling the story mode in either single-player or multiplayer, or play the multiplayer battle mode Shadow Battle. In either single-player or multiplayer the game’s story progresses through a series of stages in various locations; from the familiar Lake Hylia near Hyrule Castle to the very top of the world in the Palace of Winds. Stages can be revisited countless times, but each stage must be completed the first time by collecting enough Force Gems throughout the level. Force Gems are found in chests and across the over-world, and are also dropped by defeated enemies. Progressively slaying enemies without taking damage increases the amount of Force Gems dropped.

<img class=”alignleft size-wcsmall wp-image-1096” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Four-Swords-Adventures-gameplay-2-488x360-250x184.png” alt=”Four Swords Adventure” />When playing alone, the player can manipulate all four Links at once through a series of four formations: a horizontal or vertical line, a square, and a diamond. When not in formation, the green Link is manipulated by the player with the other three following. Each Link can also be manipulated individually with the remaining three sitting still as the fourth is manoeuvred. This allows environmental puzzles to be completed by either moving each Link into position, or picking up the other Links one at a time and tossing them across gaps. The game’s Dark World also plays into the puzzles, with one Link in the Dark World occasionally picking up a Link in the Light World and carrying him across gaps or to locations.

In multiplayer mode, each player controls an individual Link, with any leftover Links carried by any player. Competition is encouraged, as each player is ranked at the end of the stage by the amount of Force Gems they collect. Deaths during the stage subtract from the total, making both Force Gems and each heart piece found in-stage valuable finds; the Force Gem total and heart meter is then reset at the start of a new stage. Players can damage each other with the offered items, which are pre-set and found at various points of each stage. Only one item can be carried by each Link at a time, making strategy an additional part of the experience.

Interior sections such as caves are displayed on the Game Boy Advances, allowing each player to explore at whim without interrupting the main screen. This mechanic has a role in some battles when the Links must take shelter to avoid attacks while keeping an eye on the enemy, and when they must go into a separate area to continue the battle.

<img class=”alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-1098” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Tetra_t_bild02-250x176.jpg” alt=”Tetra’s Trackers” />In Shadow Battle, death matches play out in various fields that are unlocked by completing the story mode. Items and environmental dangers come and go, and can be picked up by any player. The last player left standing with any health is declared the winner.

The object of Navi Trackers is to navigate various mazes to collect stamps from Tetra’s pirate crew within a limited amount of time. The television screen displays the map while linked Game Boy Advances are used to play the game. There is also a single-player mode with the player racing against Tingle. Unlike the other two game modes, Navi Trackers is graphically identical to The Wind Waker.

Trivia and Facts

Four Swords Adventures is only the second console Zelda game to feature the Gerudo Tribe as their true selves, and the only 2D Zelda game to feature them.

In Navi Trackers, Tetra has full voice-over and says the two-character name of each player in Japanese, or the player’s chosen letter in the unreleased English version.

Majora’s Mask audio is used for many of the NPC’s (non-playable characters) in the game, while Link, Princess Zelda, and Ganon feature The Wind Waker voices.

Timeline Information

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures is the last game in the Child Timeline, taking place during a time called the Shadow era, and it concludes the Four Sword Trilogy. Despite previous assumptions, the Hyrule Historia shows that Four Swords Adventures is not a direct sequel to Four Swords, but rather takes place hundreds of years later. Nonetheless, the games share a common lore along with The Minish Cap; following the main antagonist Vaati’s attempts to conquer the world, and the heroes who rise up against him.

Four Sword Adventures Backstory

In The Minish Cap, the story of Vaati’s rise as a powerful sorcerer is told. With his defeat, some peace returns to Hyrule in a time known as the Force Era before Vaati once more rises to power. At this point, a hero appears who splits into four with the power of the legendary Four Sword. The four heroes defeat Vaati and seal him away once more, using the Four Sword as the lock.

Hundreds of years pass between the events of Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures. A civil war breaks out in Hyrule before the kingdom is united, but a man from the desert known as Ganondorf attempts to throw Hyrule into darkness once more. At his defeat, Hyrule enters into the Twilight Era wherein an ancient tribe attempts to rise up, but is ultimately defeated and sealed away. Ganondorf attempts once again to gain control over Hyrule long after this invasion, but is defeated once more. Peace returns to Hyrule until Vaati rises for a third time in Four Swords Adventures.

Four Sword Adventures Events

<img class=”alignright size-full wp-image-1100” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Vaatis_Wrath.gif” alt=”Vaati’s Wrath” />When dark clouds and fear cover Hyrule, Princess Zelda enlists the help of her childhood friend, Link, to check on the legendary Four Sword. The blade is secured in a sanctuary that can be opened only by the six Maidens. Princess Zelda and Link move to enter the portal the Maidens have opened, but are stopped when a shadowy figure that resembles Link emerges. He seals the six Maidens and Princess Zelda before retreating back into the portal. Link follows and comes to the Four Sword Sanctuary. He is taunted by his doppelgänger until he pulls the Four Sword. The blade splits Link into four copies while simultaneously releasing the seal on the imprisoned wind sorcerer, Vaati. The four Links are tossed away by Vaati’s power.

An owl named Kaepora Gaebora greets the Links when they rise out of unconsciousness. He tells them of how the Shadow Links are pouring out of the Dark World and are wreaking havoc on Hyrule. He urges them to find and free the six Maidens by powering up the Four Sword with Force Gems and using the strengthened blade to strike down Vaati’s barriers in each area.

Vaati himself is holed up in the Wind Palace, located in the Realm of the Heavens. To reach it, the four Links must gather the four Royal Jewels, held by the now-cursed Knights of Hyrule. The heroes rescue more of the Maidens while freeing the Knights of their curse and obtaining the Jewels in return. Along the way they learn another power may be controlling Vaati; a King of Darkness by the name of Ganon. Rumors of a Dark Mirror being the source of the Shadow Links also reaches the four Links’ ears. Once all of the Maidens are freed and the four Jewels are obtained, the four Links press forward to the Tower of Winds that takes them to the Realm of the Heavens.

<img class=”alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-1095” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/250px-Maidens-250x148.png” alt=”The Six Maidens” />A final clash with the Shadow Links secures the Dark Mirror, and Princess Zelda is saved shortly after. She guides the four Links to the Palace of Winds via a rainbow bridge. Inside, Vaati is challenged and vanquished, but both the Palace and Tower of Winds begins to collapse in the wake of his lost power. Princess Zelda and the four Links climb down the Tower of Winds only to be swallowed up by a collapsed floor. They come to a dark room where Ganon is emerging. Princess Zelda attempts to seal him, but fails and is captured. The full pig-like form of Ganon then emerges, and the four Links meet him in battle. Princess Zelda breaks free during the battle, and with her help Ganon is defeated and sealed in the Four Sword.

With Hyrule at peace, the Four Sword is placed in its plinth within the Four Sword Sanctuary. The four Links combine into one again, and the six Maidens place a barrier over the Four Sword to prevent the seal from breaking again.

Four Sword Adventures Legacy

Four Swords Adventures concludes the Four Sword Trilogy as well as the Child Timeline. With Vaati finally defeated, and Ganon sealed away in the Four Sword, Hyrule is once more able to prosper. Whether that prosperity continues is another question, as it is currently unknown if Hyrule ever moves out of the Shadow Era.

This page was written by Alex Aul. Find them on Twitter and on deviantART.