Twilight Princess

Introduction

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is the 13th game to be released in the Legend of Zelda series, and the second title in the Child Timeline, set 100 years after the events of Majora’s Mask. The game takes places in an alternative Hyrule compared to the Hyrule seen in A Link To The Past and The Wind Waker.

Twilight Princess was released to critical acclaim and great commercial success. Receiving perfect scores from many publications, many reviewers claimed Twilight Princess was greatest Zelda game ever made, with only remarks against the lack of voice-acting and MIDI-based soundtrack attracting criticism. Twilight Princess also received multiple awards, including awards for “Best Design”, “Best Use of Sound”, and multiple “Game of the Year” awards from publications. Selling 5.82 million copies on the Wii, with GameCube sales totalling 1.32 million, Twilight Princess is one of the most commercially successful Zelda games, selling a combined 7.14 million copies as of 2011.

Development and Release

In 2003, a new game in the Legend of Zelda franchise was confirmed, under the working title of Wind Waker 2, which would have the same cel-shaded graphics as its predecessor. Due to lower than expected sales in the North American market — with the graphics to blame — series producer, Eiji Aonuma suggested to long-time series director Shigeru Miyamoto that realistic graphics would appeal more to the North American market, though Miyamoto was reluctant at first, suggesting that they first focus on innovation as opposed to graphics. To present the idea, Aonuma and his team presented realistic horseback combat, something which Ocarina of Time was missing. Teased at E3 2004 to a small group of game journalists, Twilight Princess received a rapturous applause and when the larger gaming public found out about the game’s new mature setting and level of graphics, excitement level reached fever pitch. Twilight Princess was no longer a sequel game to The Wind Waker, however, the game runs on a modified engine of the latter.

<img class=”alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-1090” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Link_and_Midna_beta-250x184.png” alt=”Link and Midna” />Showing a trailer at the Game Developer Conference 2005, many fans were greatly pleased with the new mature direction, especially after The Wind Waker and its cel-shaded graphics. At the following E3 conference in 2006, Nintendo revealed that the much-delayed game would release on both the GameCube platform as a final hurrah for the system, and as a launch title for the Wii console after Shigeru Miyamoto suggested that the pointing device would be perfect for firing arrows in Zelda.

<img class=”alignleft size-wcsmall wp-image-1089” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/head-to-head-twilight-princess-20061219034444137-000-250x282.jpg” alt=”Twilight Princess Wii vs GameCube” />Development for the Wii version of Twilight Princess was easier than expected, as the Wii platform was built to also play GameCube software, with only controller modification being the largest part of the shift. Demo users initially complained of the new motion-control scheme being difficult to use, as Aonuma had implemented them into the game as a forced way of control instead of intuitive. After consulting with Miyamoto and receiving feedback from E3 attendees, a new scheme was developed where sword controls were controlled by gestures, leaving the buttons for menu and item usage. Because of this new system, there was difficulty in having right-handed players control a left-handed character model, so the entire game was mirrored to reflect the majority of players’ hand preference. The GameCube version remained unchanged in terms of direction and layout.

Still using MIDI-formatted music, the Twilight Princess sound was overseen by Koji Kondo, with Toru Minegishi and Asuka Ohta composing main score. Kondo did consider using a live orchestra for the game’s music, even envisioning a 50-piece orchestra for action sequences and a string quartet for “quieter” moments, but blamed a “lack of interactivity” for not going with a live score.

Although voice-acting was still not present in the game, there still vocal moments of laughing, screaming and other vocal noises and, as always, Link is the silent protagonist. However, the main side-character in the game, Midna, has a vocal suite but speaks in an unintelligible language.

To displace the effect a simultaneous release for both GameCube and Wii versions would have, with Nintendo pushing to sell more Wii units and games at its release, the GameCube version was delayed until a month after the Wii release, until December 2006. As a result, GameCube versions were harder to come by and have come to generate high asking prices for new and sealed copies.

Selling 5.82 million copies on the Wii, Twilight Princess is the third-highest selling Zelda game to date for a single platform, and second-highest selling when the GameCube and Wii sales are combined.

Gameplay

Following the core template set by Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess’s controls are familiar to those who have played the previous 3D titles. Context-sensitive actions and a targeting system are ever-present, with Link once again jumping automatically. Items are mapped to the X and Y buttons on the GameCube controller, while the Wii version uses a “point and click” system for selecting weapons from a menu, and designating them to the D-Pad of the Wiimote, then quick-assigning the selected item to the B button. The Wii version also allows for the Wiimote to used a pointing device to control the Hero’s Bow, Clawshot and the Fishing Rod. The Wiimote allows uses the built-in speaker to chime when discovering secrets, for Midna’s laugh and the bowstring sound when firing an arrow.

<img class=”alignleft size-wcsmall wp-image-1088” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/tp-hiddenskills-250x158.jpg” alt=”Hidden Skills” />Swordplay in Twilight Princess is the most comprehensive seen in a Zelda title. On his journey, Link can learn several Hidden Skills, taught by a character named the Hero’s Shade. These vary from the Ending Blow, allowing Link to plunge his sword into an enemy, similar to the Down+A move from Super Smash Bros., to the Mortal Draw, a move which requires Link to lower his defences seemingly presenting an easy target, before unleashing a fatal spin attack on the unwitting enemy.

Returning items or similar items are present in Twilight Princess from previous titles, including the Hero’s Bow, Iron Boots and Slingshot along with new items such as the Clawshot (a variation of the Hookshot) which can be doubled up; Water Bombs, a variation of the standard bomb; and the Spinner, a rotating platform Link stands on to sttack enemies or use the special tracks dotted around the game. There is also varying armour that can be carried, similar to the tunics present in Ocarina of Time, that allow Link to breathe underwater and receive less damage.

<img class=”alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-1087” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Wolf_Link_and_Midna_Artwork-250x263.png” alt=”Wolf Link and Midna” />The biggest change Twilight Princess achieves from previous games is the transformation of Link into a wolf. In his wolf form, Link is unable to use items that his human version can but instead has other abilities like dashing, digging, biting and howling. Link can also call on the aid of Midna, the game’s sidekick, to defeat multiple enemies at the same time and transport across small gaps that would otherwise be out of his reach.

As a wolf, Link’s sense of smell is greatly increased allowing him to detect scents left behind by other characters and also detect spectres and elements that are invisible to human eyes. Once the ability has been unlocked by obtaining the Shadow Crystal and the Master Sword, Link is able to transform at will into his wolf form to find new areas and solve puzzles within the game.

Simialr to previous titles, Twilight Princess centers around a large over-world with connected areas branching off, including new versions of Hyrule Castle and Market, Kakariko Village, Death Mountain and Lake Hylia. Once again, dungeons are present in the title – 9 in all – varying from fire and water, to a cloud-based city and a unique dungeon set in a house at the top of a mountain.

Following Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask a horse is once again rideable in Twilight Princess. When starting the game, the player is given the choice to name their character and the horse, with the default options being “Link” and “Epona”. Naming the horse was a first for the series.

<img class=”alignleft size-wcsmall wp-image-1086” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/ss-094-250x184.jpg” alt=”Twilight Realm” />Similar to A Link To The Past, Twilight Princess makes use of an alternative world, called the Twilight Realm. In this zone, Link is at first forced to adopt his wolf form to explore the realm, before being able to transform into his human form and cleanse the area back to normal after collecting Tears of Light to restore the local Light Spirit.

Like previous and future titles, there is little voice acting in the game. Link remains the silent protaganist, but with grunts and gasps but, like The Wknd Waker, has a good focus on his facial expressions and body language. Other characters are similarly portrayed, with laughters and exclaimations for conversation. Midna, Link’s sidekick in Twilight Princess, benefits from the biggest library of voice acting with speech ranging from laughter and giggles to samples of psuedo-speech made up of phonemes of English phrases.

Trivia and Facts

Normally a staple of all Zelda titles, Twilight Princess does not feature the Octorok enemy.

Unlike previous and future titles, Twlight Princess requires the player to fill up a Heart Container with 5 Pieces of Heart. Previous and future titles only require 4, which means there are more Pieces of Heart present in Twilight Princess than any other title, with the exception of Majora’s Mask.

The Hero’s Shade, a mysterious figure that teaches the Hero new sword moves and finishes, was confirmed to have been the Hero of Time from Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask in the Hyrule Historia. The character is filled with regrets from being unable to pass on the “lessons of his life to those who came after him” after he was sent back in time to his childhood and laments the fact he was not remembered as a hero.

Timeline Information

Twilight Princess is the thirteenth instalment of the Legend of Zelda franchise, and takes place in the Child Timeline, in the Twilight Era. It picks up hundreds of years after the events of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, where Ganondorf had been stopped of plan to raid the Sacred Realm and executed.

Twilight Princess Backstory

After the events of Ocarina of Time, the Hero of Time was sent back to his childhood by Princess Zelda with the Ocarina of Time to let him live his otherwise sacrificed childhood. His knowledge of the alternate future led to Ganondorf’s capture, and years after the events of Majora’s Mask the Prince of Theives was sent to the Arbiter’s Grounds to be executed.

Twilight Princess Events

<img class=”alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-1085” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Zant_and_Assassins-250x131.png” alt=”Zant Storms Hyrule Castle” />After Ganondorf’s failed execution, the Demon King took the form of a dark God in the Twilight Realm, and convinced Zant, the Usurper King, to overthrow the Royal Family of the Twilight Realm, with promises of untold power in return for the merging of the Twilight and Light worlds. He turned the former queen, Midna, into an imp and the rest of the Twili race into Shadow Beasts, whilst proclaiming the title of Twilight King. Zant then proceeded to invade the kingdom of Hyrule, overthrowing the castle and forcing Princess Zelda to choose between her surrender or the annihilation of Hyrule. Zelda surrendered and was imprisoned in the castle’s tower, while Zant engulfed Hyrule in Twilight, stealing the power of the Light Spirits to do so.

Meanwhile, in the village of Ordon, Link is living a sedentary life as a ranch hand with his horse Epona. The village elder, Rusl, asks Link to deliver the Ordon Sword and Shield to Hyrule as a gift to the Royal Family for the Hyrule Festival. Upon the day of delivery, monsters attack the Ordon Spring, kidnapping the village’s children and Epona. Link is knocked out in the struggle, and the area is surrounded in Twilight like the rest of Hyrule.

Upon awakening, Link rushes to the village exit, but is met with a dark wall through which a Shadow Beast’s arm reaches through and pulls Link into the Twilight. Instead of being transformed into a beast like other Hyrule residents, the power of the Triforce turns Link into a wolf, and the transformation again renders Link unconscious. He awakens in his wolf form in the dungeons of Hyrule Castle.

<img class=”alignleft size-wcsmall wp-image-1084” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/zeldatpsorrowindow-250x153.jpg” alt=”Princess Zelda” />Inside the dungeon, Link meets a stranger named Midna, who helps him escape the dungeon and together they explore the rest of the castle with the aid of her powers. In the tower, they meet Princess Zelda, where she explains the events that led to Hyrule being covered in Twilight.

After their conversation, Link and Midna are transported back to the Ordona province where they steal the sword and shield meant for the Royal Family when they are spoken to by a strange voice. This voice beckons them to Ordon Spring where the Light Spirit confirms Zant’s plans and tells Link that to lift the curse of Twilight, he must restore all the Light Spirits with Tears of Light. Midna also tells Link that to defeat Zant, they must also find the Fused Shadows, an ancient artefact of great power. After restoring the Light Spirit, Link receives attire that is said were worn by the Hero of Time himself.

Upon their quest to restore the Light Spirits and collect the Fused Shadows, Link and Midna also help rescue the abducted children from Kakariko Village, however, Ilia is not part of the group. During the rescue, Link’s horse, Epona, dashes through the village surrounded by Bulbins where she throws them off and after calming the horse, Link is reunited with Epona once again.

<img class=”alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-1083” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Ordona-250x136.png” alt=”Ordona Light Spirit” />After successfully restoring all of Hyrule’s Light Spirits and claiming the Fused Shadows, Link and Midna are confronted by Zant who gravely injures Midna and transforms Link, once again, into his wolf form. They travel together to Hyrule Castle where Princess Zelda sacrifices her own power and life to save Midna, bestowing her spirit upon the dying Twili. Link and Midna then travel to the Sacred Grove, deep within Faron Woods, to retrieve the legendary Master Sword, which instantly transforms Links into his human form on contact. The stone that Zant implanted in Link to keep him in his wolf form exits Link’s body, and Midna keeps the stone so he can transform at will.

After Link is restored and Midna is now back to health, she explains that to defeat Zant they need to find the Mirror of Twilight. However, on travelling to the Arbiter’s Grounds – the scene of Ganondorf’s failed execution – they find the Mirror broken, with Zant responsible. The Mirror of Twilight is now in 4 pieces, scattered around Hyrule.

<img class=”alignleft size-wcsmall wp-image-1092” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/TPsages-250x138.jpg” alt=”Ancient Sages” />Whilst there, the Ancient Sages appear before Link and describe to him the events surrounding Ganondorf’s failed execution. After being put on trial and found guilty of treason and planning the events which eventually led to the demise of Hyrule in the future, he was sentenced to be executed. However, due to a “divine” fluke, the gods chose not to let him die when the sword was impaled through his chest. Rising to his feet, he killed the Water Sage. The other Sages had no choice but to imprison him in the Twilight Realm.

The Sages then explain that despite Zant’s best efforts, he could not completely destroy the Mirror of Twilight as he wasn’t the true ruler of the Twili.

On their journey to restore the Mirror of Twilight, Link also helps Ilia restore her memory after finding her in Hyrule Castle Town being looked after by Telma, the barmaid. They travel to an abandoned village overrun by Bulbins, and once they are all defeated, find a woman named Impaz, who reveals she is the last of the ancient Sheikah tribe. With her help, Link finds a way in to the City In The Sky, where the final Mirror Shard lies.

After retrieving the last Shard, Link and Midna once again travel to the Arbiter’s Grounds to restore the Mirror of Twilight. Once restored, they travel into the Twilight Realm where they infuse the Master Sword with the power of Sol, the Twilight Realm’s equivalent of the Sun. Armed with this new power, they travel to meet Zant and invade the Palace of Twilight.

Revealing that Midna is indeed the true Twilight Princess, ruler of the Twili, she admits to Link that she was originally using him to restore her Kingdom but grew attached to him the more their journey went on. Together, they go to fight Zant where he reveals that in being passed over for the throne, he went into a crazed rage and met with Ganondorf, who promised him the Twilight Throne in a trade for merging the two worlds. Zant agreed, not realising it was a ploy by Ganondorf to satisfy his own needs.

A grand fight between Link and Zant took place, with Link defeating the Usurper King, before revealing that as long as Ganondorf lives, Zant could not die. In a rage, Midna uses her own power to destroy Zant completely.

<img class=”alignleft size-wcsmall wp-image-1082” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Hyrule-Castle-250x141.jpg” alt=”Hyrule Castle” />After Zant’s defeat, Link and Midna travel to Hyrule Castle, where Midna uses the Fused Shadow to destroy the barrier around the castle. Fighting their way to the top of the tower, where they encounter the lifeless body of Princess Zelda floating above them. In his confidence, Ganondorf possesses her body and attacks Link.

<img class=”alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-1081” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/maxresdefault-3-250x141.jpg” alt=”Puppet Zelda” />Eventually defeating the possessed Zelda, Midna again uses the Fused Shadow to remove control Ganondorf has over the Princess, and in a rage, The Demon King Ganondorf transforms into his beast self, Ganon. Link once again defeats Ganon, and he transforms into a large ball of magic, where Midna confronts him alone. She transports Zelda and Link away from the castle grounds, where they witness an enormous explosion and the destruction of Hyrule Castle.

Suddenly, Ganondorf appears from nowhere, mounted on his horse, carrying Midna’s helmet. With a cruel smile, he destroys the helmet believing the powers of the Fused Shadow to be undone, and charges Link and Zelda. Together, they fight on horseback with Link using the Master Sword to strike blows to Ganondorf after Zelda has pierced him with the Light Arrows bestowed upon her by the Light Spirits. Link eventually defeats Ganondorf, causing him to fall from his horse, where they duel in a circle, with only their swords as weapons.

<img class=”alignleft size-wcsmall wp-image-1080” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Midnao-250x134.jpg” alt=”Midna” />Link defeats Ganondorf, piercing his chest with the Ending Blow. Ganondorf once again rises to his feet, the Master Swrd still impaled in his chest, and says, “the history of light and shadow will be written in blood.” With this spoken, he sees a vision of Zant and his neck breaking, indicating that along with his death, Zant dies too.

With Zant’s death, his curse on Midna is broken and she transforms into her true self – a stunning Princess, the true ruler of the Twili. They travel to the Arbiter’s Grounds once more, for Midna to return to the Twilight Realm, promising they will meet again. However, with a single tear, she shatters the Mirror of Twilight to prevent such events from happening again. By doing this, Midna seals off the only known path between the two worlds.

Twilight Princess Legacy

With its job done, Link returns the Master Sword to the Pedestal of Time in the Sacred Grove, and he returns to Ordon Village, before again leaving on horseback, with Ilia witnessing him leaving.

In the closing scenes, the throne room of Hyrule Castle is seen, revealing the castle has been rebuilt.

With the two worlds now separated but forever linked, peace returned once again to the land of Hyrule, even leading to the people of Hyrule reconciling with the Gerudo tribe now that their Prince, Ganondorf, was dead.