The Legend of Zelda: Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (JP) is a video game released for the Nintendo DS in 2007, and is the first Zelda game to appear on the console. It is a direct sequel to the 2002/2003 GameCube classic The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and is controlled by only using the touch screen. It was followed by a sequel The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks in 2009.
The gameplay is completely different from any other Zelda game preceding it, as it is controlled via the touch screen. There are no other options to use the face buttons, and thus long-time fans will have to get used to this new formula. To move the protagonist Link around the world, you'll have to touch where you want him to go. To attack enemies, simply touch the enemy or make a swiping move with the stylus. Using items is also new - for example, to control the direction of the boomerang, just draw the path, for the bow and arrow, point to where you want to shoot.
The game also makes use of the DS's microphone. Some examples of this are when enemies with large ears appear, where you'll have to make a loud noise in the microphone to scare it, where you can then go in and attack it. Also, you'll sometimes have to yell to someone to get their attention.
Similar to The Wind Waker, the world is separated by a large ocean that you'll have to travel in order to traverse new islands. To get around, you'll ride on a steam boat across the ocean fighting enemies with your bombs and finding sunken treasure with your ship's grapple.
While there are multiple temples in the game, the main one is featured on the first island that you travel to. This dungeon requires the use of the Phantom Hourglass, which helps keep you alive. You'll have to get to a certain point of the temple in a certain amount of time, or you'll ultimately die. You'll go through this temple on multiple occasions, often times having to solve the same puzzles over and over, making it tedious to some. Thankfully, there is a half-way mark where you can return to the beginning, though once you return, it'll take the amount of time that it took to get there off of the hourglass.
By the time of The Wind Waker in Hyrule's chronology, Hyrule has been sealed beneath the ocean, and only a collection of mountaintops are visible above the water. These mountaintops form the islands and archipelagos of the Great Sea. Unlike the islands in the Wind Waker, the islands in Phantom Hourglass are not arranged in a grid, there can be several islands in one section. Also unlike the 49 separate charts that are not required to be found or needed enter that section, Phantom Hourglass has only four charts that are required to proceed through the game, also the charts for an area is needed to enter that area. Due to the ending of the game, it is unclear whether or not Hyrule is beneath the sea in Phantom Hourglass.
The game also includes a multiplayer mode, which is rare for a Zelda game. Not only can you play with a friend near by, but you're also allowed to play with people via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The objective of the game is to control Link and get all of the Triforce shards from one place to another. Meanwhile, the other team will control Phantoms, who'll go around trying to attack Link, thus ending the turn, and changing sides. Whoever has transferred the most Triforce shards over to their respective area wins the game.
The graphics of Phantom Hourglass have been a subject of debate among gamers, some who argue that it's not truly 3-D as The Wind Waker is. Nevertheless, the game's graphics has been deemed by many critics as the best that the DS currently has to offer, with IGN's Mark Bozon giving the game's graphics a perfect score. Its graphics go in the same direction that The Wind Waker's did, though also has the same fashion of some classic Zelda games as well with a bird's eye view look at it all.
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass has been a very successful title. In the first 3 weeks, it was the 3rd best-selling title in the series, just behind The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask respectively. The game reached 4.76 million by the end of platform's life. This makes it the sixth best selling Zelda title behind Twilight Princess, Ocarina of Time, Breath of the Wild, the original The Legend of Zelda, and Ocarina of Time. In Japan alone, the game sold over 900,000 copies.
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- Ciela, who is similar to fairies like Navi and Tatl, provides tips throughout the adventure. A fairy of this type hasn't been seen since The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures.
- Unlike The Wind Waker, saving will not return Link to the exact place where the game was saved.
- Official site
- The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass at Nintendo.com
- Title at Moby Games
- Title at Gamefaqs