Hello all! I have played a LOT of games in my life. Like, a LOT. And there are so many that were incredible experiences that I find myself remembering years after having played them. I hope I can accurately portray my love for these older titles to you, our 1-3 readers.
For my first look back, I want to talk about a game that is near and dear to my heart,
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
Four Swords Adventures was released for the GameCube by Nintendo in June of 2004. Nintendo was in an interesting place back then, wanting to highlight the connectivity of the Gamecube and the Gameboy Advance systems. There were a few games that took advantage of this connection, including Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, Pacman Vs, and of course Four Swords Adventures. In my opinion, FSA was by far the best of these titles.
There was a huge catch to enjoying the game though. In order to play it the way it was meant to be played (with four players), you would need to own all of the following:
- A Nintendo Gamecube
- The game itself
- 4x Gameboy Advances
- 4x GBA – GC connection cables
At a minimum, this would have cost you at least $640 at the time, which is a staggering sum of money just to play this game. Because of these financial hurdles the title did not perform very well, which is a shame because the game was so much fun!
There is a great YouTube video of four people playing the game together located HERE (Skip to 9:10 to see the first level in action)
I was fortunate enough to have two GBA’s in my household, and I had the GameCube and Four Swords Adventures. I got my group of friends together and had two of them bring their GBA’s over so we would have all of the necessary components to play FSA.
We played Four Swords Adventures over the course of several days, going through every level and completing the game. What made it a great experience was how the game forced us to both work together, and screw each other over as often as possible. See, the game functioned differently than most Zelda titles. Yes, there was an objective and an end goal that you had to reach with your friends, but the REAL goal, or at least the goal that my friends and I decided was the real goal, was to collect Force Gems.
Force Gems were little colored triforce gems that increased your score for that level as you played, and whoever has the most at the end of the level was the ‘winner’. The Force Gems could be found in bushes, buried in the ground, under rocks, on enemies, or secret passages. Whoever got to the gem first, would get the gem. This started a game within a game, where we would intentionally use items to try and get to gems faster than everyone else. As time progressed and we got better at the game in general, we found new ways to slow down the other players, including trying to punch their crotch as they sat next to us playing the game. Additionally, we discovered that if you picked up and threw the player down a pit, it would cause them to lose some Gems that we could pick up. This started an all-out war where we would all be attempting to murder the other Links so we could steal their Force Gems.
This competitive free for all was juxtaposed by the game needing us to work together to accomplish certain tasks. Maybe we needed to pick up a heavy block, or push something, or activate levers in a certain order within a certain time period. Whenever we would approach one of these puzzles, we would have to call a truce to all of the backstabbing so we could overcome the next obstacle and complete the level. The end of each stage would display which Link collected the most Force Gems and was, therefore, the winner of the level. All of the name-calling, gloating, sucker punches, and yelling became just as big a part of the game as the level design and gameplay.
I have never had a gaming experience like the one I had while playing Four Swords Adventures. We only played through the game one time, but it would be incredible to dust off all of the components and get everyone back together to run through the title again. If you can find the game and equipment to play it with friends, I highly recommend it! It’s one of those experiences that gets to the essence of playing video games for me. Having pure fun together with friends. That’s something that Nintendo has always been pretty good at, and I hope they continue to create those experiences in the future.
You may read this and make some mental comparisons to another Nintendo produced title that came out relatively recently, The Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes. I cannot describe how excited I was for that game to come out! It’s just not the same though. I think if you can get three 3DS systems, and two friends, and three copies of the game together in one room, it would be a pretty good time, but it will never reach the absolute craziness that ensued from playing Four Swords Adventures. My biggest complaint about Tri-Force Heroes is that the levels are overly simplistic and don’t force you to problem solve nearly as much as FSA does. I understand it being designed that way, since most people probably play Tri-Force Heroes online and have no way of communicating with the people they are playing with. Some of the levels in FSA were insanely complex. I remember one level taking place in an eerie town, where you had to run to different buildings and talk to different people to unlock certain specific items that would open up progression in another part of the town. If I remember correctly, that level took the four of us over an hour to solve and it really caused me to take a step back and realize what an amazingly diverse game Four Swords Adventure is.