Around a year ago we provided our readers with a preview for the upcoming Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass, for the DS. At the time, what little was known about the game was mostly around the new storyline, and the fact that the game had been designed purely for the DS platform.
Now the game’s recently come out in Japan, and we’re able to provide you with a little bit more information. While the US isn’t due to get a copy until the end of the year, it’s looking like Europe will be lucky enough to have a release in a couple of months. Let’s cross our fingers we don’t have to wait as long as the States.
While there were a few English speaking reviewers who were lucky enough to receive an advance copy of the Japanese game, there don’t appear to be too many who actually speak Japanese, which may be why most of the talk these days is about how good PH is looking. Most comments compare the DS engine favourably to the GameCube one, and there have been plenty of Animal Crossing references too. The screen shots seem to support these claims: there’s plenty of bobble headed cuteness for all.
The game’s not just a cute AC ripoff however; this is a Link game after all. So far, we’ve heard of eight different dungeons, including the Fire, Ice and Wind Temples. There’s also a sixteen storey master dungeon called the Sea King’s Dungeon that you’ll only be able to conquer in fits and starts, unlocking different areas as you progress through the game.
In addition, all of Link’s favourite weapons and items seem to be back as well, including bombs, bows, shovels, cannon, boomerangs, grappling hooks, and so on. This time around, however, everything’s controlled by the stylus. For example, sword swings are initiated by moving the stylus in a small arc, while a circle initiates Link’s swing attack. Boomerangs act similarly, with the line you trace with the stylus indicating the boomerang’s path.
The multiplayer aspect is still included, with a one-on-one strategy maze game, where one player acts as Link, while the other plays three baddies who try to catch him.
While there’s still a lot about this game that’s a mystery to English speaking players, we should be happy with the fact that Famitsu magazine has given it a 39 out of 40 – an honour only given to fifteen other games ever.