Nipples. HD nipples and Colin. No, not the name of a lewd cabaret double act but rather the overriding memories I’ll take away from playing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD.
That’s probably already piqued the interest of the pervos among you, but I’ll come back to them in a sec.
In the meantime, observe: Twilight Princess is a Wii U remake of the 13th Zelda jaunt, which was coughed out in two forms simultaneously in 2006 as both Ninty’s GameCube swansong and an early Wii title. Technically, this new polished up effort is a remaster of the GameCube version as it features Link in his usual left-handed incarnation.
The Wii version was a complete mirror image to accommodate better swordplay with the Wii remote, what with most people being rightys (fact nerds may be interested to know Link has only been right-handed in 2 games: this, and Skyward Sword).
So 10 years on, what’s changed? Well not a huge amount actually, but what has is all to the good. The game certainly looks much, much nicer as you’d expect, with new, more detailed and richly hued textures used everywhere.
Everything looks suitably lovely in proper HD, though there’s still no denying this is an old game that’s just slapped on the Grecian 2000 and bought some ill-advised skintight jeans from Top Man.
The polygon count whiffs of mustiness in places, and would probably be outclassed by most modern iPad 3D titles. Indeed, the ‘proper’ style of the graphics tends to make this more obvious so in some ways it looks more dated than 2013’s cell-shaded Wind Waker tart-up even though both source material and update are newer.
With that in mind it’s just as well the soundtrack was already a corker (people who buy the deluxe version get a CD of it thrown in, as well as an Amiibo that unlocks an all-new challenge dungeon) and the gameplay holds up remarkably well.
It’s a Zelda title, so you probably know the drill: it’s the usual explore dungeon A to get a new item B to allow you to beat boss C, but suffice to say there’s a few unique mechanics in there to prevent staleness (Link’s howling, scent-sniffing wolf form being the most obvious).
Some major annoyances have also been ironed out, such as streamlining the way you change to wolf form to a single button press, and having motion controls for weapons and a map/item screen on the Wii U controller are fabulously convenient. Sadly, despite all the other changes no option to allow wolf Link to wee up lamp-posts has been added.
All this translates to a more enjoyable experience and the definitive version of what was already a solid game. Though this comes with the caveat that if you’re a game-starved Wii U owner you’d probably have bought this regardless, even if the remake had rendered everything in shades of puce and the soaring orchestral themes had been mystifyingly replaced by a Chas ‘n’ Dave compilation album.
On a personal note it’s certainly drawn me in more than the original did, as back in the day I abandoned playing through the Wii version after simply losing interest. At the time I suspect this was because this game followed the sublime Wind Waker, and with its more doom-laden and straight-faced, grown up approach (this is the oldest age-rated Zelda of them all) it just didn’t feel as much fun.
Of course now I’m older it arguably fits my jaded mindset much more, but that said I’m playing through it with my daughter and she’s enjoying it as much as she did the far more frothy Ocarina of Time.
The other thing of note is that the titular Zelda is much more of a background character in this one.
Which is odd, as she’d been more front and centre in both it’s predecessor and follow-up so it’s a bit of a step back (or arguably sideways, to let the mildly annoying Midna take her place).
In fact the supporting cast are a bit more anonymous altogether. Village kid Colin, who I mentioned earlier, is a standout simply because everyone else has suitably elfish fantasy names and he’s inexplicably called Colin.
And of course there’s Ooccoo, the hands-down strangest thing in any Zelda game, ever. Functionally Ooccoo is great – a little chum who lets you warp out of any dungeon and save, then warp back in again to where you left off.
Visually she’s a bloody nightmare: a pallid hen-like creature with what appears to be droopy human breasts with sagging blue nipples, topped by a human-ish face with pinky, pupil-free eyes and half an Easter egg for the back of her head. If there’s one thing that didn’t need bringing into the high-def era, it’s that monstrosity. Bring back Tingle, Nintendo, that’s all I can say (note to Nintendo: please don’t bring back Tingle either).
Twilight Princess isn’t likely to ever be the most popular pick for best Zelda game ever – on an admittedly rubbish straw poll of me and about 3 other people I know who have played most of them, we all chose others.
However, not being the best Zelda game ever doesn’t in any way mean it’s bad: like being able to ‘only’ eat 150 cream crackers in 5 minutes as opposed to 200, it’s still a quality effort not to be sniffed at. If you own a Wii U and missed it first time round you’d be daft to miss it again.
Though much like the aforementioned mass consumption of savoury biscuits, having to look at Ooccoo will doubtless leave you dry-mouthed and bulging with regret.
SUMMARY: Not the best Zelda game ever - but it's still a Zelda game. Ie; good.
SCORE: 7.6 mutant chicken eggs out of 9.
Mr Biffo is unwell.