Review by Tara
The comparisons of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess between the Gamecube and Wii console versions have been a widely spoken about and debated topic for a number of years since the game’s release in 2006. Initially announced to be released in November, 2005, Twilight Princess marks the thirteenth game of Legend of Zelda series and was subsequently the last game ever published for the Gamecube system. Unfortunately, this wound up leading to the developmental split of the game for both its original console and port onto the Wii system, which in hindsight may have not been a good direction for the game itself in some ways.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is, like most of its Zelda predecessors, an action-adventure game which focuses on the protagonist Link, who once again must rescue Hyrule from the impending forces of evil. However, in this tale, Link is dragged into a parallel universe known as the Twilight Realm where he is transformed into a wolf and must seek help from an imp named Midna on his adventure. The game itself, though fairly aged by now (though still appealing to look at compared to some other games released around the same time), retains the intricate storyline and game elements in both the Gamecube and Wii versions, but also sports some key differences between the two.
Firstly, the Wii version of the game is mirrored to accommodate for the right-hand-dominant population of the world. While not a major issue with trying to play the game itself, it can be confusing to some players who have either come off of playing Twilight Princess for the Gamecube, or had the map of Hyrule memorized from previous games since everything essentially had become backwards. Not only that, the mirroring tarnishes how the original vision of the game was supposed to look artistically in terms of character designs and layout, and even resulted in image resolution issues in some cases.
What’s more, because of Nintendo’s marketing strategy with pushing Twilight Princess for the Wii, the mirrored version eventually became known as the first Zelda game with a right-handed Link, even stating as such in the series’ canon handbook, Hyrule Historia. However, some fans continue to argue that Link wasn’t officially right-handed in Twilight Princess due to the fact that the game art still showcased a left-handed hero in all of his sword-wielding glory despite its mirrored counterpart.
Likewise, the control system for the Wii version of the game inevitably fell short in comparison with the Gamecube console. Since the Wii was designed to utilize motion controls, the ported version of Twilight Princess had been given certain elements which played to the new control system, including how a player uses his sword, spin attack, and even aiming with certain items. Unfortunately, despite the efforts to make Twilight Princess Wii-friendly in this regard, the actual motion controls wound up being rather disjointed compared to other Wii titles, which may have prompted the reason as to why there is an option for the player to shut it off.
The rest of the control functions for the Wii remained a little awkward as well. The Gamecube controller, though while having a wide array of buttons, was designed for ease and comfort when reaching for a corresponding command. This, however, did not translate too well into the Wii-mote format, which is a bit more uncomfortable to utilize and can become a trial and error ordeal at times. An example of this is the usage of the Wii’s nunchuck to be thrust forward for a shield bash in the game, which became a much more frustrating feat than just simply pressing a button. As a result, there were certain items and swords techniques which were difficult to utilize in game. That said, the issues with the Wii controller regarding Twilight Princess likely gave Nintendo proper insight as to what to do differently the next time, leading them to improve the remote system with Wii Motion Plus roughly six years later with the release of Skyward Sword, which featured a much better use of the motion control features for a Legend of Zelda game.
This isn’t to say that the Wii version of Twilight Princess was completely horrible. As stated earlier, it is the same game despite superficial and controller differences, and regardless of its obvious problems, is still playable if one can manage to get used to the awkwardness of the Wii-mote. However, by comparison, the Gamecube version is still the superior option having been what the game was initially released for and functions as such.
In terms of the Twilight Princess game itself, it is by far one of the more simple Legend of Zelda games available, following the popular release of Ocarina of Time and was likely made easier to allow access to newer fans who were not yet accustomed to the Zelda series and its mechanics. However, the game isn’t without its challenges and is still enjoyable to play even for the seasoned Zelda fan, especially if they are looking for a Zelda game which features a darker atmosphere than what would normally be expected.