The Missing Link
I want a playable Zelda. Before I say anything else, if you mention this or this… or this, I will
I know there are a lot of you that would definitely take issue with this concept, and I reckon that if I were to install polling software into the ‘Blog (which should happen moments after I upgrade the blogging software one of these days), there would be a camp of people that would strongly agree with me… and a camp that would strongly disagree with me. “TML… how dare you suggest that!? It can’t be anyone other than Link! We’ve always had Link! It must be so!” (See, I don’t really need you guys around for debates, but if I didn’t have you guys around, people would commit me to an asylum for arguing with myself!) But of course, whenever TML comes up with a witty rhetorical question like that, you know that he already has a witty reply already in store, so let’s cut to the chase. Why Zelda, you ask?
This all boils down to a previous question I asked you a good while ago: What makes the previous iterations of The Legend of Zelda the way they are? Why is Zelda… Zelda? Perhaps I’m biased (since I kinda sorta did answer that question in my post… funny that), so I don’t think I could be convinced that having Link (or whatever silly name you decide to call him on the name entry screen—one of my former roommates always called him “Bobman”) as the primary protagonist is the make-or-break factor in this. Zelda, when you come down to it, is about a story of adventure where a hero of some description beats down on monsters and vanquishes evil to achieve some lofty goal; it’s been the plot of every game, a template plot you might say. Each time we see a Zelda game, those placeholders for concepts—the aspiring hero, the ambiguous evil, the lofty goal—get filled in with something. One would be wise to note (providing you’re being good little fans and not mentioning Those-Which-Should-Not-Be-Named) that the hero in question has always been the same guy time in and time out. A wiser person, however, would find that this has been the only constant.
One thing Nintendo has made clear to us over the years is that Zelda is not this static image that should be recycled over and over. (Judging from the direction the Revolution is taking, that’s completely opposite the business plan they’re following.) Nay, they’ve changed the game repeatedly… integrating new concepts into the game in order to experiment with all things Zelda. Whether the hitch in the game is that it’s in RPG format, you’re switching between a light and dark world, you’re exploring a dream, travelling through time, collecting strange and interesting masks, changing seasons, linking an adventure across two games, sailing over a flooded Hyrule, competing with three other Links, or exploring the Minish realm, each game has tweaked Hyrule in some way such that no two adventures are the same. The plot outline may be identical each time, but the specifics are different. The ultimate evil has varied amongst several baddies, and the kinks in the plot are always shifting. Each time, the series is experimenting… and evolving. Sure, some of these ideas were closer to the mark while some were much more distant. Some appealed to some fans while others rejected it outright. It’s really akin to looking at Hyrule through a series of differently-coloured lenses (or glasses of varying strengths); sometimes we like what we see, sometimes we are turned away.
Transfiguring our hero into the princess of Hyrule is, admittedly, just one other possible evolution (revolution?) of the game, and while I wouldn’t expect this to be the norm throughout the rest of time, there are a variety of reasons why I would like to see this. Being that Zelda is libel to be the only other recurring soul on Link’s side, well, she’s the likely candidate for such an alternate protagonist. Kafei from Majora and Medli and Makar from Waker are the only non-Links to ever take over the focus of the third-person camera, yet none of them, I believe, would be able to hold the focus of a Zelda game from start to finish. Why? They were new characters, and… like it or not, they just didn’t have the stage presence as Link did, Makar most especially. Now it is possible they could have their own spinoff game, yet even that is unlikely because of their personalities. Simply put, it wouldn’t work. But Zelda… we’ve already seen many facets of her personality. She’s been the concerned friend, the Sheikah crossdresser, the snarky pirate, and, yes, the damsel in distress. It wouldn’t take a lot of character manipulation before she’d be ready to fight a war.
The reason is deeper than that, however. Many of the fans of the Princess Zelda have a slight gripe about her. We call it the cursed dress, and it rears its ugly head (or would that be ugly neckline?) in both Ocarina and Waker. Allow me to demonstrate. Sheik (who is really Zelda, shhhh, don’t tell anyone!) lurks in the shadows of the Sheikah for seven long years of history, waiting for the hero to come back. “He” has doubtless had adventures that “he” could prattle on about to “his” children for decades to come, all whilst trying to avoid the evil man with the more evil plan. “He” reveals that “he” is she, and in pops in the Cursed Dress of Pinkness™. Bam! Within seconds, Zelda is caught and rendered near useless through the rest of the game. Can Zelda escape Ganondorf’s clutches? No. Can she nullify a simple fire spell? No. Can she for the love of Nayru toss us the Master Sword over the flaming wall of fire? No. The best she can do is entrap Ganondorf in a beam of holy light, whereupon Link and only Link can banish him to the likes of the Evil Realm.
Not convinced? Let’s move onto Waker. Scourge of the seven seas, captain of the fastest ship in all the land, “Arr! Where be me gold duh-bloons!,” “Walk the plank you dirty scoundrels!” Tetra (who by some strange coincidence is also Zelda, but now that I’ve told you that, I have to kill you) is a rootin’, tootin’, up-to-no-good captain of her pirate crew. She manages to sneak Link into the darkest nooks of the seas. (Okay, so she fired him out of a cannon. It worked, didn’t it?) She physically snuck into the castle itself to free Aryll and friends, snuck into Ganondorf’s keep and attacked him from behind. Even after this, when taken down to Hyrule, Tetra remains as sharp-tounged until… you guessed it. The Cursed Dress of Pinkness™! Immediately, she is told to not travel with Link to complete his mission… and she listens and heeds this request! That’s not Tetra talking; no, it’s the dress. And guess what? She gets kidnapped… funny that. Sure, she does fight with us during the final battle, which is a credit to her. Yet if she had been travelling with us in the Temples and throughout the quest for the Triforce of Courage, would she have been caught? Nooooooo… The Cursed Dress strikes again. There’s so much potential in her character, but it is never fully exercised. Every time she’s kidnapped, captured, put to sleep, or turned to stone. If Darth Citrus would allow me to coin the word, she has effectively received Ganonwhopin’ after Ganonwhopin’ after Ganonwhopin’.
But a game has to hold a little more than just a gimmick to hold its own. So humour me for a second so far. (After all, you’ve humoured me so far through reading this!) Imagine this:
Zelda, we know, is a spellcaster. And there are a certain few images floating around on the great Internets that have her holding a sword. Let’s just merge these two notions… and bring in the Revolution. (Why not? Zelda games will never be the same after Twilight anyway, further proof of my tenuous point.) We’ve got this controller that knows where it is at any given point in time as well as how it’s oriented. (Next thing you know, there’ll be GPS in those things… along with those Tom-Tom devices. “At the next intersection, turn left onto Aghanim Avenue to arrive at the boss.”) If we can wave our Remote Controller of Doom™ and wave around our Pointy Stabbing Device of Righteousness™, why not be able to do the same… with spellcasting? I know the audience for Black & White isn’t as wide as The Legend of Zelda, but for those of you who have experienced the wonders of the Mouse Gestures extension to Mozilla Firefox will have a clue. Now that we have 3D gaming, the process of casting spells has become choreographed. I know it’s a cut scene, but those of you who have played Final Fantasy X will remember Yuna’s dance during the Song of Prayer. Now imagine you performing the very same spell. You see where I’m going? We now have the power to throw the hadoken… the beam of light from Zelda’s fingertips… a whole library of spells! You would be able to blast fire into the hearts of enemies by waggling two controllers in the air one way, throw lightning with another movement, generate a shield with another, and then have enough stamina left to collapse in your easy chair. The concept is merely a stone’s throw away from the Remote Control Master Sword… and who better than Zelda to demonstrate this?
I want to have a playable Zelda. Even if it’s not for the entire game, I want to experience the magic. Let’s give the power to the princess.Follow This Entry | Leave a Response | Trackback
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