***The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords* is the ninth game to be released in the *The Legend of Zelda* series, released jointly with the re-release of *A Link to the Past* for the Game Boy Advance. Although contained in the same game, Four Swords lies in a completely different branch of the Timeline to its sister title, taking place in the Original Timeline after the events of *Skyward Sword* and *The Minish Cap*.**
*Four Swords* was released in December 2002 in North America, and in spring the following year in Japan and Europe. The game was the first multiplayer Zelda game in the series, and introduced a new villain into Zelda lore. An Anniversary Edition of the game was released in time for the 25th Anniversary celebrations for the series, as a remake and port, for the Nintendo DSi and Nintendo 3DS as a limited-time free download.
### Development and Release
The game was first revealed at E3 2002 by series developer Shigeru Miyamoto, who demonstrated the multi-player mode along with Capcom’s Yoshiki Okamoto, Namco Bandai’s Kaneto Shiozawa, and Toshihiro Nagoshi. It was tentatively titled *The Legend of Zelda GBA*. In January 2003, the game was displayed at the Osaka World Hobby Convention as *The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past & Four Swords*.
Developed in conjunction with Capcom, and supervised by many Nintendo staff, Capcom stopped working temporarily on *The Minish Cap* to help with the multiplayer component of the *A Link to The Past & Four Swords*.
*<img class="alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-1202" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/zelda-four-swords-gba-title-screen-small-250x168.jpg" alt="System Link" />Four Swords* was designed so that the multi-player portion to forced co-operation between players in order to progress. The developers designed the levels to adjust the puzzles to the number of players participating; if two or four players are connected, then a puzzle will require two and four characters, respectively, to complete it.
*<img class="alignleft size-wcsmall wp-image-1201" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/6a00d83452033569e2015435e41a97970c-800wi-250x186.png" alt="Four Swords" />Four Swords* differs graphically from the other portion and features a style similar to *The Wind Waker,* which was released around the same time. Though *Four Swords* was not initially planned as the first title in a sub-series, the story, intended to be the earliest in the series’ chronology at the time of its release, was already considered to influence future games.
Many media sites and games magazines praised the new look and feel of *Four Swords* comparing the game to other classics like *Diablo* and *Gauntlet* and calling the multiplayer component a “brilliant addition” and “well worth the price of four Legend of Zelda cartridges.”
<img class="alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-1200" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/The_Legend_of_Zelda_-_Four_Swords_Anniversary_Edition_logo-250x171.png" alt="Four Swords Anniversary Edition Logo" />Upon release, *A Link to the Past & Four Swords* was met with a highly positive reception, earning high scores across many sites and still holding very respectable Meta scores across sites today.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of *The Legend of Zelda* series, Nintendo released *The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition* on DSiWare as a free limited-time only download for the Nintendo DSi and 3DS users between September 2011, and February 2012. The game was later also briefly available for download in North America for the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS in early 2014.
<img class="alignright wp-image-1199 size-wcsmall" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/robin-williams-zelda-again-250x136.jpg" alt="Zelda and Robin Williams" width="250" height="136" />Developed by Grezzo, this enhanced port of the once multiplayer-only game includes a new single-player mode where players have the ability to control two Links and switch between them to progress through the levels. There are also two new areas that can be unlocked: the “Realm of Memories”, which features levels resembling those in *The Legend of Zelda, A Link to the Past*, and *Link’s Awakening*, and the Hero’s Trial, which features harder difficulty.
As previously with *The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D,* to promote the game, commercials were made featuring the late actor and comedian Robin Williams with his daughter Zelda Williams, who was named after Princess Zelda.
*Four Swords* has many features not seen in other Zelda games. It requires at least two people to play and uses randomly generated dungeons.Floors of stages are made of two parts. These two parts are randomly interchanged to produce random floors. To move onto the next floor of a stage, all the Links must reach the warp zone. The faster they reach the Warp Zone the bigger the Rupee bonus.
After clearing two floors, or nine floors if clearing Vaati’s Palace with the Hero Keys, the Links will be warped to a boss room. After defeating a boss, with the exception of Vaati, a Great Fairy will appear. Depending on the number of Rupees collected, they will give the Links either a silver key, a gold key, a hero key, or in some cases no key at all.
<img class="alignright size-full wp-image-1198" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Get_Medal_of_Courage.png" alt="Medal of Courage" />The Link who did the best in a stage will receive a Medal of Courage. These medals are needed to acquire certain items and a technique in A Link to the Past. The number of players playing the game, as well as which epic they are playing through, affects the type of random areas and items that will appear during a play through.
When a Link loses all his hearts, he will be downed. A downed Link is incapable of moving, until he pays a penalty of Rupees to be revived. The more times a Link is downed the greater the penalties become. If a Link does not have enough Rupees to be revived the game ends. If all Links have filled all their heart containers, any Rupees a Link finds will be worth twice its normal value.
The first time through Four Swords, the team of players will struggle through the first three levels for silver keys in order to complete the game. However, after completing the game, there is an option of going back through it two more times. Each epic has a different ending, and to fully complete the game, all three epics must be played.
<img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-1197" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Palace_of_the_Four_Sword.png" alt="Palace of the Four Sword" />Each save game records progress in both *Four Swords* and *A Link to the Past*. The two games are linked to one another in several ways; for instance, when Link learns the Sword Beam technique after obtaining the Master Sword in *A Link to the Past*, it is unlocked for use in *Four Swords* as well. When both games have been completed, the Palace of the Four Sword, a bonus dungeon exclusive to the Game Boy Advance version of *A Link to the Past*, is unlocked.
### Trivia and Facts
In *Four Swords*, the player does not get the option of choosing a name for Link, akin to *Four Swords Adventures*. This was changed in the Anniversary Edition.
## Timeline Information
Although released on the same cartridge as *A Link To The Past*, *Four Swords* takes in place in an entirely different timeline. Where the former takes place in the Downfall Timeline after the events of *Ocarina of Time*, *Four Swords* takes place after the events of *The Minish Cap* and before *Ocarina of Time*.
The game was originally the origin story of the Four Sword Trilogy until *The Minish Cap* was released, and is followed by the sequel, *Four Swords Adventures*, which is set in the Adult Timeline.
## Four Swords Backstory
<img class="alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-1195" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Vaati_Wind_Mage-250x226.png" alt="Vaati" />Long ago, in the kingdom of Hyrule, there appeared a Wind Sorcerer named Vaati. Vaati could bend the wind to his will and used this awful power to terrorise many villages of Hyrule. In his assaults on the villages, Vaati would kidnap any beautiful girls who caught his fancy.Many knights from the castle and other brave men set out to subdue the sorcerer and rescue the girls, but each one fell in turn to Vaati’s awesome power. Just as the people had begun to lose hope, a lone young boy traveling with little but a sword at his side appeared.
When this boy heard what was happening, he said only, “I will defeat this sorcerer.” He boldly entered Vaati’s palace, mystically trapped the evil sorcerer inside the blade of his sword, and returned the young girls to their villages. The boy then went deep into the forest and disappeared.
The villagers asked the girls how a boy so young could have saved them all and defeated the sorcerer when no one else could. The young girls told a story of how with just a wave of his sword, the boy’s body shattered into four pieces, each of which then formed a complete copy of the boy. These four young boys then worked together to defeat the sorcerer. The people did not believe the story, but they called it the Four Sword nonetheless. As rumours of the blade’s power to divide a person into four entities spread, the people built a shrine to protect it.
Princess Zelda of the land of Hyrule was a beautiful young girl born with mysterious power to sense approaching forces of evil. For this reason, she was assigned with the sacred duty of protecting the shrine of the Four Sword and the blade itself. One day, Zelda was in Hyrule Castle when she sensed that something unusual was occurring at the Four Sword Shrine. She asked a boy named Link, whom she trusted above anyone else, to accompany her to investigate the happenings at the shrine.
### Four Swords Events
<img class="alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-1196" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Princess_Zelda_Four_Swords-250x412.png" alt="Princess Zelda" />As Zelda approaches the Four Sword with Link beside her, it leans out of its pedestal, and the room is enveloped in darkness. Vaati, whose seal had in fact been broken shortly before their arrival, then reveals himself and promptly absconds with the Princess to his palace, planning to make her his bride. Before departing, Vaati renders Link unconscious. When Link regains consciousness, three fairies appear before him. They instruct him to draw the blade out from its pedestal; upon doing so, Link is split into four copies of himself, indistinguishable from one another aside from the colour of their clothing.In order to gain access to Vaati’s Palace, the four Links must seek out three Great Fairies; by proving their courage to the Great Fairies by gathering Rupees scattered across Hyrule, they will be granted the three Silver Keys needed to enter Vaati’s Palace.
Having obtained the Silver Keys, the four Links enter Vaati’s Palace, where they confront Vaati and engage him in battle. Eventually, Vaati is weakened to the point where he is sealed up inside the Four Sword, the same seal which failed to stop him last time, once more. With the Princess freed from captivity, the four Links return the Four Sword to its pedestal, unifying the four Links and restoring Link to his former state.
### Four Swords Legacy
With Vaati trapped inside the Four Sword once again, Hyrule remains at peace from evil sorcerers. However, the peace will always be tested when there is evil abound and the sword is only a pull away from releasing the evil within.