The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (JP) is a Nintendo DS video game developed and published by Nintendo and is the second Legend of Zelda game to be released for the console. Released in December of 2009, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is the successor to the 2007's The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks takes place 100 years after Phantom Hourglass. The characters that appear in this game are unique, not having appeared in Phantom Hourglass before it.
In between the two games, a long-lasting war cast the citizens of Hyrule into turmoil as they waged battle against an evil entity known as the Demon King.
A group of spirits managed to overcome this evil and chained him underground. Overtime the citizens of Hyrule used these chains as train tracks as a form of transportation (thus explaining their presence in the game).
Link, a young boy, is a train conductor who goes to Hyrule Castle in order to be deemed the Royal Engineer by Princess Zelda. While this is being done, she warns Link of Chancellor Cole, whom she has grown suspicious of.
She subsequently requests that Link assists her in escaping the castle without being caught by one of the guards, which Link does (in order to do this easier, Link dons a tunic that resemble the guards' clothes).
Once outside Alfonzo, the master engineer, meets up with the two. Once on their way via a train, the tracks suddenly disappear and the train topples over. Chancellor Cole appears and attacks the three, which results in the unfortunate separation of Princess Zelda's spirit and body.
The game skips ahead and Link, who was knocked out, wakes up to find Zelda's spirit. It appears that Link is the only one who can see Zelda in this form. Together, they plot to take down Cole, who plans to use Zelda's body to revive the Demon King.
Link: Link is the protagonist of the game. He is an engineer who goes off on his adventure to stop Chancellor Cole from reviving the Demon King.
- Princess Zelda: Early on in the game, Princess Zelda's spirit is removed from her body. Cole plans on using her body to revive the Demon King, which she, in her spirit form, hopes to stop from happening.
- Demon Train: The Demon King (a giant train like enemy) bares similar facial features to that of Ganondorf.
- Anjean: The Lokomo of the Tower of Spirits. Later in the game, gives Link the Lokomo
Sword. At the end of the game she and Byrne ascend to the Heavens of Hyrule.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks plays similarly to Phantom Hourglass. The player can navigate Link by using the touch screen. Wherever you point the the stylus on the touch screen, Link will move in that direction. The farther away the stylus is from Link, the faster he will move.
When the player taps the screen twice in quick succession, Link will roll to the location the player tapped. Interacting with objects, enemies, and NPCs are all done by tapping them. Tapping some items will lead Link to them and subsequently cause him to pick the item up.
Like walking, combat is also all done via the touch screen. By tapping an enemy, Link will approach it and deliver a single blow. When Link is farther away from the enemy, he'll perform a jumping slash, a more potent attack. By sliding the stylus across the screen where the enemy is, Link will execute a stab. Finally, by tracing a circle around the character, he'll enact a spin attack. Some attacks can be blocked with the shield, which can be used when Link is facing an enemy.
Controlling Princess Zelda is a bit different. The player can control Zelda in the Tower of Spirits, an oversized dungeon that contains over 20 levels. In this dungeon, Zelda will possess a Phantom. Together, Link and the Phantom manage to complete the dungeon.
After collecting tears of light, Link can stun a Phantom. After this is done, Zelda will then enter the Phantom and take control of it. A pink icon floats above the Phantom at all times when Zelda is possessing it. Touching it will allow the player to trace a route for Zelda. Pressing the "Call" icon will also make Zelda follow Link automatically, though some critics have complained that this doesn't work as appropriately as it should. There are various different types of Phantoms in the Tower of Spirits, and each one has special abilities.
In Phantom Hourglass, Link got around the world by boat. Hyrule was submerged in water, and the tops of mountains acted as islands. In Spirit Tracks, the waters have receded and the citizens of Hyrule, Link included, travel by train. The train in the game is, like the boat from Phantom Hourglass, completely controlled with the stylus. Before you set off, the player creates a route on the map.
With the stylus, the player can adjust various aspects of the train, including its speed. The rope that dangles down can be pulled, which will cause the train to toot its horn. This will cause some animals in the way to escape. Enemies scatter the land, and they can be defeated by shooting cannons at them. If the train's health is depleted, it will result in a game over.
Spirit Tracks makes many changes from Phantom Hourglass:
- The use of railways instead of sea travel, with Link's train receiving the same upgrades as his boat in Phantom Hourglass.
- The railways have more direct routes instead of the random courses on the sea.
- Zelda accompanies Link as a spirit, and is able to posess Phantoms.
- Zelda also replaces Navi as Link's guide, and acts more like Midna
- The Spirit Tower has no toxic gas, and thus lacks the time limit of the Temple of the Ocean King.
- Also, Link no longer has to navigate previously solved levels in order to get to the next level. Instead, he simply climbs a tall spiral staircase. In the original game, having to backtrack through the already solved levels was a major criticism players had.
- Track maps replace sea maps.
- The addition of the Spirit Flute, which works akin to the Ocarina of Time.
List of locations
|Cities and towns|
|Aboda Village||Aboda is the first location in the game. Niko, who first appeared in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, lives here but is now an elderly man. He vaguely remembers the Link from that game and insists that he looked like the Link from this game.|
|Anouki Village||The Anouki from the first game moved to this snowy village. The chief asks Link to find a pair for each of the villagers, which is done by going around, asking each one their preferences.|
|Castle Town||Directly below Hyrule Castle, Castle Town features a shop and various houses.|
|Forest Sanctuary||The area where the first Lokomo resides, it is also where Link first learns about the Song of Restoration.|
|Hyrule Castle||The home of Princess Zelda, the Engineer's Ceremony took place here.|
|Lost Woods||Located in the Forest Realm (Forest Land in PAL regions), these woods are the last obstacle before the first dungeon.|
|Whittleton||Named Mayscore in PAL regions, this is the location where Link finds clues on how to get through the Lost Woods|
|Tower of Spirits|
During E3 2008, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata confirmed that the Mario and Zelda teams were hard at work, but didn't reveal anything else. Fans would have to wait until over half a year until the next entry in the series would be revealed during Iwata's keynote address at GDC. Before the keynote started, many speculated as to whether the game would be revealed or not, and many thought it would be for Wii.
Though at the end of the conference, after announcing Virtual Console Arcade, a trailer showed off the game, which was welcomed to a great amount of applause. He then confirmed that the game would be released later in 2009.
Development on the game started after The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. Director Daiki Iwamoto, who also directed Phantom Hourglass, stated that they felt they had accomplished a great deal in the previous game though also felt that he could do another title on the Nintendo DS.
Eiji Aonuma, the general manager of Nintendo EAD3 and the producer of the game, stated that the reaction of the team was similar to the one when Shigeru Miyamoto asked the team to work on The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask after The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was completed.
Aonuma stated that early on in development he asked the team to not implement the boat that was prominently featured in The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass, wanting a different mode of transportation. "Right. No boats allowed (laughs). I think it's fun to have a new land becoming clearer and clearer right before your eyes, and have all sorts of different developments open up. It piques your sense of adventure, too."
With the decision to get rid of boats, Aonuma recalled a picture book that his son liked when he was around five years old called The Tracks Go On, which was released in 2003 by Kin-no-hoshi sha Co., Ltd. In the book, the children would continue to create railroad tracks so that the train could progress. Eiji Aonuma explained that this was one of the major inspirations behind making a train the primary mode of transportation. According to the developers, none of the employees who worked on the game were train fans at first, though after doing research on them began to appreciate them a bit more.
The ability to control Zelda traces back to Phantom Hourglass when the player was required to control both Link and a young Goron in a dungeon. Because the segment was well received, the developers decided to implement a similar feature in the new game. Controlling the Phantom (possessed by Zelda) is done within the large, 20+ level dungeon in the game. When asked why Tetra didn't make an appearance in this game, Aonuma, who was fond of the character, stated that the director explained to him that "[he didn't] like Tetra all that much".
|Main article: The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks/gallery|
Spirit Tracks has received very favorable reviews. Official Nintendo Magazine gave the game 91%, saying that while it improves on Phantom Hourglass and overall is a much better game, there are just hints of familiarity (to compare, ONM gave Phantom Hourglass a 95%).
Computer & Video Games UK also gave the game a similar 91%, while GameTrailers claimed it deserved a 9.0. European gaming magazine Edge was a bit more critical, and gave the game an 8/10. In the 2009 Nintendo Power Awards, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks won two awards including Nintendo DS Game of the Year and Best Adventure Game. The readers of the magazine rewarded it with Best Original Score.
- Official site
- The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks at Nintendo.com
- Iwata Asks interview
- Iwata Asks interview (Japanese)
- Title at Moby Games
- Title at Gamefaqs