- "This is but one of the legends of which the people speak..."
- — Prologue
The game is set on a group of islands in a vast sea called the Great Sea — a first for the series. The player controls Link, the protagonist of the Zelda series. He struggles against the returning Ganondorf for control of a sacred relic known as the Triforce. Link spends a significant portion of the game sailing, traveling between islands, and traversing through dungeons and temples to gain the power necessary to defeat Ganondorf, and to rescue his kidnapped younger sister named Aryll.
The Wind Waker follows in the footsteps of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, retaining the basic gameplay and control system from the Nintendo 64 title. A heavy emphasis is placed on using and controlling wind with a baton called the Wind Waker, which aids sailing and floating through air. Critics enjoyed the similarity to Ocarina of Time, but often complained about the tedium that the large amount of time spent on sailing became. Despite this, the game has met commercial and critical success and is the fourth of only eighteen games that have received a perfect score from Famitsu magazine.
On January 23, 2013, Nintendo officially announced a re-release of The Wind Waker for the Wii U as part of a Nintendo Direct presentation. The port includes updated high-definition visuals, integration with Miiverse, and full compatibility with the Wii U GamePad, including Off TV Play.
The game begins with a retelling of an ancient legend among the people of the Great Sea; a vast ocean filled with many small islands and various races. According to the legend, there was once a prosperous kingdom where an omnipotent golden power was hidden. But then, a great evil found and stole this power, using it to spread darkness until a young boy dressed in green sealed the evil with the Blade of Evil's Bane. The boy became known as the Hero of Time and passed into legend. However, the evil that had been sealed began to return, but the hero did not appear; the people could only pray to their gods. The inhabitants of the Great Sea do not know what happened to the kingdom, but it is clear that this legend is the story of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
After this narration, the focus shifts to the present; a small southern island known as Outset Island, where the young boy Link lives, along with his sister Aryll and his grandmother. The elders of Outset Island customarily dress their male youths in green like the Hero of Time when they become the same age as the child Link of Ocarina of Time, hoping to inspire in them the courage the Hero of Time knew. As it is Link's birthday, he receives the familiar green clothes and cap. Aryll's present to Link is permission to use her Telescope for the day. As he looks through the telescope, he sees an enormous bird, the Helmaroc King, carrying a girl in its claws to a nearby forest. The bird is being pursued by a pirate ship launching stones at it. After receiving a sword from the local swordsman, Orca, and learning how to use it, Link sets out to investigate. Link rescues the girl only to have Aryll taken by the Helmaroc King as he returns.
The girl rescued in the forest is Tetra, captain of a pirate ship and crew. At Link's request, and with some pestering from the postman, Quill, she takes Link on her ship to the Forsaken Fortress, where a mysterious figure is holding Aryll and several other kidnapped girls. When Link, Tetra, and her crew arrive at the fortress, Link is placed in a barrel and catapulted to the fortress and loses his sword in the process, forcing him to sneak around the fortress under barrels. Link recovers his sword, but before he can save Aryll he is thrown from the fortress by the Helmaroc King, commanded by a mysterious figure, and left to die. A talking boat called the King of Red Lions finds the unconscious Link and takes him near an island known as Windfall Island. As he awakens, Link is startled to see a talking boat, but the King of Red Lions tells him that he is on Link's side. He explains that the mysterious master of the Forsaken Fortress is Ganondorf, the evil of legend. The King of Red Lions also tells him that in order to stand a chance against Ganondorf, Link must travel to Dragon Roost Island and obtain a mighty treasure there. After purchasing a Sail, Link sets sail for Dragon Roost Island.
Once at the island, the King of Red Lions instructs Link to find a dragon named Valoo and ask him for a jewel called Din's Pearl. He also presents Link with the Wind Waker, a magical baton that allows the user to conduct the voices of the heavens. Link disembarks and ascends the island; eventually, he comes upon the dwelling where the Rito, a race of bird-like creatures, live. The Rito Chieftain tells Link that his son Prince Komali, prince of the Rito, has Din's Pearl, but is unwilling to relinquish it. Prince Komali is of the age that members of the Rito tribe traditionally climb to the top of Dragon Roost to get a scale from Valoo, which allows a Rito to grow wings. However, Valoo has recently grown violent and unpredictable and Prince Komali is fearful to attempt the journey. He agrees to give Link the pearl if Link can remedy what ails Valoo. With the help of Medli, a female Rito in charge of tending to Valoo, Link makes his way to Valoo and defeats Gohma, a insect-like monster that had been torturing Valoo's tail. Valoo returns to his calm self, earning Link Din's Pearl and Komali's respect. From the mountaintop, Valoo's booming voice sounds in ancient Hylian. Before leaving the island, Link finds an ancient stone monument dedicated to one of the wind gods. Using his Wind Waker, Link follows the markings on the stone and conducts unseen voices. One of the wind gods appear and tells Link that with this song, he can control the wind to his own liking.
With the first pearl in hand, the King of Red Lions has Link sail south to the Forest Haven to ask Great Deku Tree for Farore's Pearl. Inside the haven, Link meets the Deku Tree and the Koroks, spirits of the forest. Aware that Ganondorf has returned, the Deku Tree agrees to give Link the pearl after the completion of the annual Korok Ceremony to replenish the forests. Linder, one of the Koroks, enters and informs the Deku Tree that Makar, a young Korok that plays a stringed instrument, similar in appearance to a violin or cello, has fallen into the Forbidden Woods. The Deku Tree, believing that Link's appearance at this time was not a coincidence, asks Link to rescue Makar. Link does so, allowing the ceremony to be completed, and receives Farore's Pearl.
Link then travels to Greatfish Isle to find Jabun, a great water spirit, but when he arrives he finds that the island has been utterly ruined by Ganondorf. Quill appears and informs Link that before the island was destroyed, Jabun managed to escape to an enclosed cave on Outset Island. After a side trip to Windfall Island to obtain Bombs, they sail back to Link's home of Outset Island, where Link blows open the entrance to a cave in which Jabun had been hiding with a mounted cannon. During a conversation between Jabun and the King of Red Lions, Jabun gives Link Nayru's Pearl.
Link takes the three pearls to the three Triangle Islands, inserting one into a statue on each island. The statues then shoot out three beams of light, forming an image of the Triforce on the sea. From the point straight in the middle of this projected Triforce, the Tower of the Gods rises from deep beneath the Great Sea. Link sails to and enters the tower, where he proves his worth to the gods by completing the many trials therein and defeating Gohdan; after which, a ring of light appears on the surface of the water below. Link sails into the ring of light and is taken beneath the waters to Hyrule Castle, filled with enemies, frozen in time, and drained of color. After completing a small puzzle, Link opens a hidden staircase and descends to a great chamber beneath the castle, where he finds the Master Sword, the legendary Blade of Evil's Bane that the Hero of Time had used to seal Ganondorf. Link removes the sword, and time and color flows through Hyrule Castle once more. Link uses the powerful blade to defeat the now-active enemies, and returns to the surface.
Restoring the Master Sword
With the Master Sword in hand, Link returns to the Forsaken Fortress to challenge Ganondorf. Meeting Tetra and the pirates there, Link rescues the captives and defeats the Helmaroc King. At the top of the main tower, he confronts Ganondorf, but is quickly defeated. Ganondorf tells Link that taking the Master Sword has fully lifted the seal, unbinding his full power; furthermore, the Master Sword has lost its power and can no longer repel evil. Ganondorf raises his sword to attack Link, but Tetra intervenes. Ganondorf grabs Tetra, causing the Triforce of Power held within him to resonate. Ganondorf realizes that Tetra is wearing a Triforce fragment on a necklace and refers to her as "Princess Zelda". Prince Komali, having grown wings, flies in with Quill and takes Link and Tetra away. Valoo swoops into view, breathing fire and sending Ganondorf's chamber up in flames, but somehow, Ganondorf survives.
Link and Tetra sail back to the castle at the bottom of the sea. Suddenly, a voice speaks from the stone Tetra gave to Link. It tells them to enter the castle and find its owner. Link leads Tetra down the staircase. There they meet Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, the king of the ancient kingdom in the legends, Hyrule. He admits that he assumed the guise of the King of Red Lions. King Hyrule tells Link and Tetra that the prayers of the people in the legend were indeed answered — the gods sealed Ganondorf and all of Hyrule with him by flooding the kingdom with a torrential downpour, ordering those chosen to rebuild to take refuge on the mountaintops (which would soon form the islands of the Great Sea). King Hyrule gives a Triforce fragment to Tetra. Combining it with the fragment on her necklace, Tetra now holds the completed Triforce of Wisdom and is revealed to be Princess Zelda. Ganondorf is seeking the Triforces of Wisdom and Courage to complete the entire Triforce, which grants its holder's wish. Leaving Zelda, Link returns to the surface.
When the Master Sword fails to defeat Ganondorf, the King of Red Lions assumes that something must have happened to the sages empowering the Master Sword, which in turn had caused the sword to lose its power. Link travels to the ancient temples of Wind and Earth, only to find that Laruto and Fado, sages of Earth and Wind, respectively, have been murdered by Ganondorf's servants. Their spirits appear before Link, asking of him to awaken the descendants of the line of sages, who are said to be found somewhere on the Great Sea, that they may restore the Master Sword. To this end, Link is taught two songs known as the "Earth God's Lyric" and "Wind God's Aria". On Dragon Roost island, Link plays the "Earth God's Lyric" for Medli, awakening in her the knowledge that she is the sage of Earth, able to help restore the power of the Master Sword. Link and Medli travel to the Earth Temple. Together, they brave the many trials of the temple and defeat Jalhalla, King of the Poes. Having purified the chamber of prayers, Medli begins praying to the gods, restoring some power to Link's sword. Link leaves Medli to continue praying and sails to the Forest Haven. Link finds Makar and plays for him the "Wind God's Aria", awakening Makar as the new Sage of Wind. Together they travel to the Wind Temple, defeating Molgera. Makar prays and restores the Master Sword to its full power.
Link must then recover the Triforce of Courage, one-third of the legendary Golden Power that had been split up into pieces, in order to open the gateway between the Great Sea and the sunken land of Hyrule once more. Link finds detailed charts depicting the location of each shard and brings the charts to Tingle, who deciphers them. Link finds and extracts the shards from the bottom of the Great Sea. Upon the completion of the Triforce of Courage, the true power that dwells inside Link awakens, marking him as the true Hero, the Hero of Winds.
Confrontation with Ganondorf
With the restored Master Sword and the Triforce of Courage, Link returns once more to Hyrule Castle, where Zelda disappears before him, having been captured by Ganon and taken to his castle. Link breaks through the barrier beyond Hyrule Castle and enters Ganon's Tower. Inside the tower, Link obtains the Light Arrow, a magical arrow consisting of pure light; Ganondorf's weakness. After further traversing the tower and doing battle with certain enemies from the past once more, Link reaches a grand chamber, where he encounters Puppet Ganon. Puppet Ganon transforms into many forms during the battle, but is eventually defeated. Suddenly, Ganondorf appears before Link, acknowledging that Link must be the Hero of Time reborn. Ganondorf then retreats to the rooftop of the tower; Link follows. On the roof, Ganondorf tells Link why he wants Hyrule and that it must be fate that has allowed him to bring all of the pieces of the Triforce together, just as he had with the Hero of Time. He then stuns Link, causing the three Triforces to be extracted from Ganondorf, Link, and Zelda and to combine together to form the complete Triforce. Ganondorf demands to the gods to expose Hyrule to the sun once more, under his control. Before he can reach the Triforce, however, the King of Hyrule suddenly appears, touching the Triforce. He wishes for a future and hope for Link and Zelda and asks that Hyrule be washed away forever. The Triforce splits apart and water from the ocean above begins to pour down.
With the ocean falling all around the tower, Ganondorf laughs, believing that the King has simply ensured Link's and Zelda's destruction. Ganondorf and Link begin battle; Zelda assists by shooting Light Arrows at Link, who deflects them at Ganondorf with his shield. After a hard-fought battle, Link lands the final blow and plunges the Master Sword into the forehead of Ganondorf, turning him to stone and sealing him. Link and Tetra float to the surface inside bubbles, leaving Ganondorf and the king to be buried under the waves with Hyrule. Searching for a new land to call Hyrule, Link and Zelda sail away together on the now lifeless King of Red Lions and the pirate ship, which eventually leads to the plots of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.
The control scheme of The Wind Waker is largely unchanged from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. Link's basic actions of walking, running, attacking, defending, and automatic jumping at ledges are retained. Link also uses the control system introduced in Ocarina of Time that allows him to "lock-on" to an enemy or other target. An addition to this basic control scheme is the ability to parry. When Link is locked-on to an opponent and not actively attacking, certain attacks by the opponent will trigger a visual cue, a vibration of the controller, and a chime. Attacking at that point causes Link to dodge or parry then counter-attack from the rear or while leaping over the foe's head. This tactic becomes crucial for defeating armored enemies or bosses.
As with all Legend of Zelda games, The Wind Waker features several dungeons — large, enclosed, often subterranean areas, which contain enemies to battle, puzzles to be solved and a boss guarding the objective for Link's excursion into the dungeon. To complete a dungeon, Link primarily uses a sword and shield. Other weapons commonly used by Link include the Hero's Bow, a Boomerang, bombs, and the Grappling Hook. Certain enemy weapons such as a Sharp Machete or a Long Spear can be picked up and used, a feature new to the Legend of Zelda series.
The Wind Waker, like most Legend of Zelda games, includes many side quests, such as the Nintendo Gallery. When Link is in the Forest Haven, he can use a Deku Leaf to glide to a cylindrical island with a hatch containing the sculptor Carlov and his gallery. Once Link obtains a color camera called the Deluxe Picto Box, he can take pictures of non-player characters and enemies, which Carlov uses to sculpt figurines. There are a total of 134 figurines to collect, but Link can only hold three pictures at a time.
After completing the game, the player is given the choice to replay the game, with minor modifications, in a mode known as the Second Quest: Link starts with the Deluxe Picto Box and has understanding of the Hylian Language spoken by several characters; Aryll wears a maroon skull dress she was given by the pirates during the latter stages of the original game for the entirety of the Second Quest; and Link is given the Hero's New Clothes, a set of invisible clothes given to him in the place of the Hero's Clothes, allowing him to retain the original blue pajama attire for the duration of the Second Quest.
Another side-quest present in all Legend of Zelda games, collecting Pieces of Heart, returns. The Wind Waker also includes the addition of hunting for Treasure Charts, which are scattered throughout the Great Sea. The player must find, recover, and hunt for whatever is on the map. Treasures include Rupees, Pieces of Heart, and other various charts such as the "Octo Chart" and the "Island Hearts Chart".
Wind and Travel
The Wind Waker is set on a sea consisting of 49 sections arranged on a seven by seven grid. Each section contains an island, a small group of islands, or a reef. Therefore, a significant portion of the game is spent sailing between islands, allowing the game to mask loading times by accessing data while the player is approaching an island. This is unpopular with some players owing to the repetitive and tedious nature of long sailing times.
To sail between areas quickly, Link uses the Wind Waker, a baton that manipulates wind direction with a series of songs. Additionally, wind is often needed to solve puzzles. For example, the Deku Leaf allows Link to use wind to spin turbines or to glide for short distances. By creating a tailwind, Link can glide farther distances to reach remote areas. An on-screen weather vane displays the current wind direction.
Exclusively for the HD release, Link can obtain a Swift Sail which allows him to sail the sea at a much faster rate without worrying about the wind direction.
An item new to the Zelda series — the Tingle Tuner — allows the player to receive assistance from Tingle. Use of the Tingle Tuner requires a player to attach a Game Boy Advance (GBA) to the GameCube using a Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Advance cable. The GBA, which controls Tingle on a map more detailed than the one provided by the GameCube, can be operated by a second person, or the player can choose to alternate between the GameCube and the GBA. Among other services, Tingle can uncover hidden treasures, give hints, restore Link's health, or sell a few items. These services are provided for a fee, but Link can earn discounts through the completion of side-quests. Use of the Tingle Tuner is optional, but provides the ability to examine a more detailed map and place remote bombs. Players who want to complete every side-quest will find the Tingle Tuner necessary; Tingle Statues hidden throughout dungeons can only be found by using Tingle, and the Nintendo Gallery side-quest cannot be completed without first completing a separate side-quest requiring the Tingle Tuner.
Development and history
Feeling pressure from Sega's Dreamcast and Sony's impending PlayStation 2, Nintendo announced on 3 March 1999 that a new video game system was under development. This system, the GameCube, was revealed on 24 August 2000, the day before Nintendo's SpaceWorld 2000 exposition. Along with the specifications and designs for the console, Nintendo had several software demonstrations on hand to showcase the power of the GameCube, one of which was Legend of Zelda: Space World 2000 Demo which showed a real-time duel between a realistic looking Ganondorf and adult Link. Despite being a hastily assembled technical demonstration, fans and the media speculated that the battle might be from a game under development or at least an indication of the direction the next Legend of Zelda game would take. Staff at IGN referred to the demo as an "unofficial sequel", calling it "absolutely everything we could have hoped for in a Gamecube Zelda title" and stating that "the future looks very bright for Nintendo loyalists".
Nintendo said nothing more about the possibility of a GameCube Legend of Zelda game until one year later at SpaceWorld 2001, where a completely new Legend of Zelda was shown. Replacing the dark, gritty demo of 2000 was a new cel-shaded look, which resembled an interactive cartoon. Shigeru Miyamoto said the new look was designed to "extend Zelda's reach to all ages". The cel-shaded approach was a radical shift and IGN staff wondered if two separate games might be in concurrent development.
While some at the event enjoyed the new look, there was a backlash from disappointed fans who had been expecting a realistic Legend of Zelda game. Many critics referred to the game as "Celda", a portmanteau of "Zelda" and "Cel-shading". Miyamoto was surprised at the reaction to the footage and the media's claim that Nintendo was shifting its focus to a younger audience and he refused to reveal anything further until a playable demonstration became available. It was hoped that once critics played the game, they would focus on the all-important gameplay, rather than simply reacting to the new graphic style.
Miyamoto promised a playable version for E3 2002 and a release later that year. When Nintendo did exhibit a playable demo at E3 2002 it was well-received, and picked up the 2002 Game Critics Awards for Best Console Game at E3. An editor at IGN said the cartoon look "works very nicely" and that "it feels very much like Zelda". The whimsical style was compared to A Link to the Past and promotional artwork from previous Legend of Zelda games. E3 also introduced new features, such as the ability to connect to the Game Boy Advance and receive help from Tingle.
In October 2002, the Japanese subtitle Kaze no Takuto (Baton of Wind) was revealed, to emphasize the role of wind in the game. Nintendo announced the official translation, The Wind Waker, on December 2nd 2002, and a North American release date of March 24th 2003 was set two days later.
On November 22nd 2002, an update to Nintendo's Japanese Kaze no Takuto website revealed that a special bonus disc was being offered to pre-ordering customers. This bonus GameCube disc, given at the time of the pre-order, contained an emulated version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Ura Zelda, an expansion for Ocarina of Time with modified dungeons and other small changes that never saw a North American release due to the failure of the Nintendo 64DD. On December 4th 2002 this offer was extended to North American consumers, with Ura Zelda translated to Ocarina of Time: Master Quest. Some retailers made the mistake of giving the bonus discs away then allowing consumers to cancel their pre-orders without returning the disc. As a result, the European bonus disc was included with The Wind Waker in a two-disc case.
On 17 November 2003, Nintendo released a new GameCube bundle that included The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition, a compilation disc containing versions of The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, a twenty-minute playable demo of The Wind Waker, and two short featurettes. The disc was also given to consumers who registered a GameCube and two games at Nintendo's website or subscribed or renewed a subscription to Nintendo Power.
Wal-Mart customers could buy a special Nintendo GameCube bundle, including The Wind Waker, the Ocarina of Time bonus disc (each in the same case), and a Nintendo GameCube-Game Boy Advance cable for a limited time. In Australia, Collector's Edition was available with the purchase of two GameCube games or a GameCube console; Australians could also purchase a bundle with the console, The Wind Waker and Collector's Edition for a limited time.
In 2005, The Wind Waker was bundled with Metroid Prime.
Port to Wii U
On January 23, 2013, Nintendo formally announced a re-release of The Wind Waker for the Wii U as part of a Nintendo Direct presentation. The re-release, officially titled The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, includes updated high-definition visuals, integration with Miiverse, and full compatibility with the Wii U GamePad, including Off TV Play. The port also includes a new Hero Mode, a higher difficulty option that is available from the start. In Hero Mode, Link will receive twice as much damage from enemies and will not be able to find Hearts in the Overworld, dungeons, or from defeating enemies. Lastly, the HD version of the game includes an item called the Swift Sail, which allows the King of Red Lions to travel faster. Additionally, the Swift Sail will always be full of wind, so Link does not need to change the ship's direction with the Wind Waker.
The port only took six months to develop.
The music in The Wind Waker was composed by Kenta Nagata, Hajime Wakai, Toru Minegishi, and Kōji Kondō. The game's soundtrack, Zelda no Densetsu ~Kaze no Takuto~ Original Sound Tracks, was released on March 19, 2003, and came in a two-disc set featuring one hundred and thirty-three tracks. The music has an Irish influence, and some songs feature uilleann pipes. The theme for Dragon Roost Island is more influenced by Andean music, relying heavily on the pan flute and guitar. One song, the "Legendary Hero" theme, uses instruments normally found in Baroque-period music (two recorders, a violin, a cello, and a harpsichord). Several songs from The Wind Waker are featured in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The Wind Waker marks the first time in the Zelda series that a recorded music format instead of MIDI has been used for some game audio, marking the first step towards fully orchestrated music. Despite this, the recorded cutscene audio is not a recording of a full orchestra-instead it is a recording of MIDIs used with the very same samples used for background tracks.
The Wind Waker is the fourth of nineteen games (as of July 2012) to receive a perfect score from Famitsu magazine, despite claims that it lacks the sense of freshness that accompanied Ocarina of Time, the first 3D Zelda game. Reviewers favorably noted the gameplay similarities to Ocarina of Time and praised the cel-shaded art style that had initially met a cold reception. GamePro called the game "a combination of vivid artistry and timeless gameplay"; IGN advised gamers to "forget that Wind Waker looks totally different from Ocarina of Time" since "these two games are very much alike". The 2004 Game Developers Choice Awards and the Seventh Annual Interactive Achievement Awards gave The Wind Waker awards for Excellence in Visual Arts and Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction, respectively. In 2007, it was named 4th best GameCube game of all time in IGN's feature reflecting on the GameCube's lifespan.
The game's most common criticism is the heavy emphasis on sailing and cel-shading. GameSpot noted that the game "starts out in a very brisk manner", but that in the last third of the game, the "focus on sailing ... is pretty tedious". IGN complained that viewing the animation of using the Wind Waker "hundreds of times" became "a tedious nuisance", and that the lack of an option to skip the animation "is more bothersome still". Some critics also felt that the game was easier than previous Zelda games. GameSpot thought that some players would be "a little put off" by the "easy puzzles and boss battles"; IGN called the boss battles "slightly simplistic" and noted that enemies "inflict little damage onto Link". GamePro, on the other hand, felt that the dungeons tended to be "huger and more challenging with new twists", with treasure hunts that would "tax even the most accomplished Zelda gamer". Nevertheless, of the 3-D console Zelda games, The Wind Waker has had the lowest reviews in sales in U.S. and Europe.
Despite these negative comments, critics consistently gave The Wind Waker high reviews, with Nintendo affiliate Nintendo Power calling the game the fourth best game to ever appear on a Nintendo console. The game also met commercial success, propelling sales of the GameCube console and becoming the most successful pre-order campaign in Nintendo history. As of July 2006 The Wind Waker was the 13th highest selling game of the 21st century, with 2.2 million copies sold in North America alone.
- Sachi Matsumoto: Link
- Hikari Tachibana: Tetra
- Takashi Nagasako: Ganondorf
- Osamu Hosoi: Various
- Asami Imai: Various
- Eiji Maruyama: Various
- Hironori Miyata: Various
- Takeharu Ohnishi: Various
- Chiaki Takahashi: Various
- The Wind Waker Characters
- The Wind Waker Glitches
- The Wind Waker Items
- The Wind Waker Locations
- The Wind Waker Prologue
- The Wind Waker Secrets
- The Wind Waker Walkthrough
- Official Site
- Official Site (HD version)
- Collection of reviews of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker