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Link's Crossbow Training is a video game by Nintendo for the Wii. It is bundled with the Wii Zapper peripheral meant to replicate a real life Crossbow, and was released in North America on November 19, 2007, exactly one year after the Wii's release in that region. It was released in Europe on December 7, 2007, and in Australia on December 13, 2007. It was later released in Japan on May 1, 2008.
The game uses various environments from the GameCube version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess as stages for targets with various background props that can be shot. It sports many characters, friendly and hostile, that play roles as targets or obstacles.
It was first announced that a game would be bundled with the Wii Zapper by Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, on July 11, during Nintendo's E3 2007 media briefing. The game was not revealed as Link's Crossbow Training until the GameStop Expo in September, and was officially announced by Nintendo on September 10, 2007.
Link's Crossbow Training is set in a world in the style of Twilight Princess, and in the game the player assumes control of Link. In order to perfect his crossbow marksmanship, the player must pass a series of tests, starting with stationary bullseye targets, before moving onto moving targets and actual enemies.
Link's Crossbow Training features 27 playable stages, and the goal in each is to achieve the highest score possible within the time limit. These levels are divided into three main gameplay styles:
- Target shooting — In Target Shooting levels, players fire their crossbow at targets, which start stationary, but move as the difficulty increases in later levels. Hitting the centre of the bullseye earns more points, and the points earned multiplies if the player hits multiple targets without missing.
- Defender — In Defender levels, players remain stationary, whilst retaining the ability to shoot and aim in 360°. Here, Link must fight off hordes of enemies, including Stalfos in a desert-themed level, defending a wagon from King Bulblin and Lord Bullbo as well as Bokoblins, and many other levels involving lots of enemies.
- Ranger — In Ranger levels, the player assumes complete control over Link, via using the control stick on the Nunchuk attachment, in levels including a siege on enemy encampments, and fighting through different environments.
The game also supports a multiplayer mode, where players compete for the highest score.
Random objects in the levels, like orange rupees and fairies in pots, can be shot and will give the player more points.
Each level consists of three stages. Levels go from 1-8 and then a Finale level. For each level, players can receive either a bronze medal (20,000+ Points), a silver medal (40,000+ Points), a gold medal (60,000+ Points), or a platinum medal (80,000+ Points). Once a medal is reached for a level, it cannot be downgraded.
- Level 1
- Level 2
- Level 3
- Level 4
- Level 5
- Level 6
- Level 7
- Level 8
- Level F
Four of the target practice levels feature an alternate third area. These levels are Ordon Target Practice, Kakariko Target Practice, Zora River Target Practice, and Underground Target Practice. To access these areas, Link must receive the maximum points for a scarecrow in each of the first two areas of the level. Link accomplishes this by hitting the body of the scarecrow eight times and then shooting the head.
If the alternate area is activated, the camera pans to a new location within the area of the level. The alternate areas feature a large number of the yellow and green bonus targets. In addition to the increase in the number of bonus targets, the alternate areas feature more on screen targets than other areas.
Link's Crossbow Training has a multiplier scoring system. Hitting main targets consecutively will increase the multiplier by one for each hit. Items such as pots do not add to or take advantage of the multiplier. However, they do not reset the multiplier. If a shot fails to hit any point receiving object, the multiplier resets.
While points values depend on the stage, several objects have set values. Normal targets (red and white) are worth 10 points for any hit and 30 points for a bullseye. Bonus targets (yellow and green) are worth 50 points for any hit and 150 points for a bullseye. The Oocca Target Practice stage allows falling targets to be worth 300 points for any hit and 500 points for a bullseye. Bonus targets also increase in value becoming 500 points for any hit and 700 points for a bullseye. Unique point assignments are set for stages that replace the targets with enemies. Enemies can also have a special point values for different conditions.
The scarecrows have a multi-points system. Body shots start at 1 point and increase by 1 point for the next shot. This can be done up to a maximum of 8 points per body shot. Head shots work in a similar fashion, starting at 100 points and increasing by 100 points for each body shot prior. The head shot can reach a maximum of 1000 points. The maximum is indicated by a bell ring after 8 body shots. Each body shot also increases the size of the head making it easier to hit. Additionally, gaining the maximum number of points from a Scarecrow will cause another to appear later in the level. If the second Scarecrow is taken down in the same way, the level will arrive at an alternative final area with more bonus targets.
Other various objects within stages can earn points. Pots are worth 5 points if broken. Barrels take multiple hits to break and earn 1 point when hit and 5 points when they break. Ordon Pumpkins and skulls are worth 5 points. Signs are worth 5 points if shot in half and 20 points if broken at the post.
Orange rupees and fairies can be found by breaking pots. If a fairy is found, the player is rewarded with 1000 points. The orange rupees must be shot after they are revealed. They start at 1000 points and diminish over time.
If a player hits all the main targets or a certain number of enemies in a stage, a piece of the Triforce will show up on the screen, rewarding the player with 5000 points.
Points can also be lost, which also resets the multiplier. Shooting Oocca, Gorons or cuccos results in a loss of 100 points and resets the bonus modifier. If Link is attacked by an enemy or if he shoots a target with a blue X, another 100 point loss occurs. The points obtained in a stage will however never drop below zero.
Nintendo Power gave it a 6.5/10 stating that "In the way that Link's Crossbow Training shows the potential of the zapper, it couldn't be much better." However, they criticized it for being "Just too darn short–you'll probably make it through the entire single-player mode in just over an hour (add another hour to get platinum medals on every stage)."
IGN.com gave the game a 7.0/10, stating that while the game was enjoyable, it was also too short. IGN's review also panned the Wii Zapper as actually "making the game more difficult" to play and generally frustrating to use.
On Metacritic, Link's Crossbow Training has a metascore of 68 based on 20 reviews. On Game Rankings, it has an average ratio of 69% based on 19 reviews.