Video Game / The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
In order to successfully slay the Legions of Hell, always have some clones in stock.

"Our journey is fraught with danger, but together we four might overcome the mages' dark magic... ONLY THEN will all the maidens be released and our princess, once again, be rescued."

The eleventh game in The Legend of Zelda series was a sequel to the earlier Four Swords and was released in 2004. Like its predecessor, it focused on multiplayer gaming for up to four players, and was much more linear in design than the average Zelda title (though the areas themselves had room to explore). A key component of the gameplay was the use of the GCN-GBA link cable which was required for multiplayer (though single player mode did not require it, instead putting an emulated GBA screen on the TV itself). The action of the game was split between the TV screen for the main areas, where all players could see what was going on, and the GBA screens, which represented indoor areas as well as the Dark World, where each player could only see their immediate surroundings. Unlike the previous game, all four Links were always present no matter how many actual players there were - the excess Links would follow the players and could be placed into formations.

The story is a sequel to Four Swords and features the return of Vaati. According to Hyrule Historia, this is currently the chronologically last game in the "child" timeline, following The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. While Zelda is attempting to strengthen the seal on Vaati, Shadow Link kidnaps Zelda and the six shrine maidens, forcing Link to pull the Four Sword from its pedestal and release Vaati once more. Over the course of the game, it's revealed that Shadow Link was actually a minion of Ganon, who is attempting to cover the land in darkness with Vaati's help.

In addition to the cooperative multiplayer mode (known as "Hyrulean Adventure"), there is also a competitive battle mode, "Shadow Battle", in which the Links fight against each other. Of course, it's not like they weren't fighting already...

This Game Provides Examples Of:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: If you don't have enough Force Gems to power up the Four Sword and break the seals at the end of the level, you have the option of travelling back in time to the beginning of the level. Once you power up the Four Sword, you're automatically sent back to the end of the level, now able to complete it.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Trident of Power.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Diamond Formation, only available in single player, puts all Four Links back-to-back-to-back-to-back.
  • Bag of Spilling: NONE of the items carry over to the next section of the game.
  • Barrier Maiden: Zelda and the maidens.
  • Big Bulky Bomb: Instantly kills any player(s) stupid enough to not take cover in a cave/hole/room when it goes off (the game freaking TELLS you to GTFO or die)? In some levels can be found in innocent looking chests? And in many others, are repetitively tossed around in specific rooms by Shadow Link? 'Kay... That's just not fair...
    • Bombs powered up by the Great Fairy become significantly bigger though expect yourself to be voted the Hero of Darkness if you don't use them responsibly.
  • Blow You Away: Vaati, yet again. Duh.
  • Bubbly Clouds: Realm of the Heavens.
  • But Thou Must!: Zelda goes from genuinely helpful to grabbing Idiot Balls. During the escape from the Collapsing Lair in the last stage of the game, Zelda repeatedly stops moving to... talk to you, and will not budge from that spot unless you go up to her so she can speak. She does it no less than three times at the end, the last of which is her saying "There's the exit!" just in time for the floor to collapse under everyone. It's obvious that the dev team couldn't come up with a better way to throw you into the Final Boss fight.
  • Combination Attack: Once in formation, all the Links will attack and use items in sync with each other. In diamond formation, the four Links can perform one huge spin attack together.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: The manga, written by Akira Himekawa, which expanded on the narrow story and gave every Link a different personality, explaining that the sword's elements split up Link's personality as well, not just his body. Becomes Fridge Logic when you realize that is more of an Alternate Character Interpretation, since Green Link retains the original Link's personality without change and the character traits displayed by Violet Link are not present in the original Link at all.
  • Continuity Porn: Averted. Deleted text found on the game disc indicates that this game was supposed to retell the Back Story of A Link to the Past, as items like the Master Sword would have shown up, but you wouldn't be able to use them. Shigeru Miyamoto nixed this idea late in development because it would have distracted from the straightforwardness of the gameplay. Continuity Nods still abound, though. For example, the existence of the Dark World and the Trident of Power still manage to make this a very likely Back Story for A Link To The Past.
    • Hyrule Historia has apparently Jossed this interpretation; the games don't even take place in the same branch of the timeline. Unless there's some temporal shenanigans going on, this game's events have nothing to do with A Link to the Past's.
      • Although there's nothing to say that the items didn't exist in that timeline, they were just never used by the Big Bad so far as is known.
      • The director actually did verify that the intent was for this game to in fact be the Imprisoning War as mentioned by A Link to the Past, but it was overruled in the end by Miyamoto. Similar to how Minish Cap was originally intended as the origin of the Master Sword, but Miyamoto also nixed that one and forced a change to the game being the origin of the Four Sword.
  • Continuity Snarl: Ganondorf's inclusion causes a lot of problems for what is otherwise an easily-arguable case for the series only having one Ganon.
    • Fixed; it's been confirmed in Hyrule Historia that this is the reincarnated Ganondorf, coming back after his death in Twilight Princess and regaining his dark powers via the Trident. So in a way, he's the same Ganon yet isn't at the same time.
  • Doppleganger Attack: Phantom Ganon often splits into four, and Shadow Link is able to clone himself.
    • The entirety of both the first FS and this one are basically one overly long Doppleganger Attack by Link himself.
  • The Dragon: Vaati.
  • Dummied Out: Large plot-relevant parts of the script, as Miyamoto deemed it would distract too much from the gameplay.
    • Within the game disk, there are 90%-complete fourth acts for each world, in the final game there are three per world.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Tower of Winds.
  • Evil Twin: Shadow Link
  • Excuse Plot: In the first game, collecting the Rupees had no real relevance to the plot, so Four Swords Adventures replaces Rupees with "Force Gems", which the player is required to (collectively) acquire enough to empower the Four Sword; otherwise, they cannot break the barrier at the end of every level, and will have to go back to get some more.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The Fire Rod.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Zelda in the Final Boss fight.
  • Grand Theft Me: In the ending, one of the other Links can do this if they kill Ganon in multiplayer. Shown hilariously in the Let's Play.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Players can bludgeon enemies with items that they are carrying so they do not have to drop them in order to fight back. This works even if the thing the player is carrying is another player.
  • Heart Container: Only work for one level, and are found in specific chests.
  • Homage: With the exception of the character sprites and special effects, which draw from the toon-style, nearly all the sprites draw heavily from Link to the Past, complete with music. Parts of this game are bound to drop a nostalgia bomb on fans of ALttP.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Vaati was being used by Ganon to wreak havoc.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: Played ridiculously straight, to the point that even using the Feather won't let you get over them.
  • Let's Play: There's a couple made by shadowMarioXLI and pokecapn, both of which are 4-Player Let's Plays.
    • As well as one by Super Jeenius, P Cull 44444, NintendoCapriSun, and JoshJepson.
    • The let's play by The Runaway Guys probably is the first to actually show GBA footage for all four players but the recording setup involves using four Gamecubes with GBA players on them connected to a Wii with their Gamecube feeds connected to a separate screen.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Vaati pulls a Ganondorf and decides to go and cause his tower to crumble when you kill him.
  • Meaningless Lives: Since they really only kick in when the player-controlled Link(s) are all down simultaneously, the fairies, which you can get several of at the end of every level, can really pile up.
    • Lives are even more trivial in muiltiplayer mode, since a dead player will automatically revive after 10 seconds with full health.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: The game loves to show off just how many sprites it can put on screen at once (if the image above wasn't any indication). Pretty much once a level, there will be an area that closes itself off and proceeds to throw dozens of enemies at you at once.
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups: Each player can only carry one item at a time (besides their sword, shield, bracelets, and hearts), though all Links following that player can also use the item.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Although it exists in a seperate timeline, there is no reason to assume it does not occur in the same location and year of Hyrule as A Link To The Past did (or well near it).
    • The level design of Stage 2-1 ("The Coast") is reminiscent of Toronbo Shores from The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. Both areas have coconuts dotting their beaches and have common fauna (e.g. Sea Urchins, Sand Crabs, and Octoroks).
  • NPC Roadblock: Some of which require multiple Links to push out of the way.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: Palace of Winds.
  • Patchwork Map: The area of the map frozen in perpetual winter is right next to the desert. This is given a Hand Wave by saying that the freeze was caused by magic (and we do see the ice melt in the ending), but the map still looks like a bunch of different biomes sandwiched together.
  • Playing Tennis with the Boss: Variation. Some energy balls can only be deflected by the player whose color they match.
  • Prongs of Poseidon: Evil variation with the Trident of Power.
  • Rump Roast: Torching another player with a fire rod sets their butt on fire, forcing them to run around constantly until it burns out.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Vaati, and Ganon gets sealed in the ending.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Desert of Doubt.
  • Socialization Bonus: You can play this alone, but you get bonuses for playing with other people, not to mention exclusive minigames.
  • Squashed Flat: Players can flatten another player using the hammer or while riding a horse. The flattened player can't do anything until they grow back to normal size. A more amusing variant occurs if a player uses a cannon in one of the side-scrolling areas but crash into a ceiling, they flatten almost completely and slowly fall back and forth like paper before growing back to normal.
  • Start of Darkness:
    • Another origin story for Ganon, separate from the one already in Ocarina of Time. This is because this Ganondorf is the original one's reincarnation, and he's lost all his former dark powers until he obtains the Trident of Power.
    • In original planning, this was supposed to be the backstory to A Link to the Past, entailing how Ganondorf there became Ganon, and took over the Sacred Land, following the events of the Child Timeline in OoT. Miyamoto nixed that one at what looks like halfway through production, since you can see a lot of the continuity nods and story ideas there for this being the Imprisoning War.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: The Infiltration of Hyrule Castle. Like in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, it's beneficial to get captured the first time (and a second time later in the level) to get important items. The game even tricks you into being caught by placing a pot that you'd instinctively smash, causing the searchlights to center on where they heard it. This also teaches the player they can throw pots as a diversion.
  • Suddenly Voiced: In the Japan and Korea-only "Navi Trackers" mini-game, Tetra and her pirates are featured with full Japanese voice-acting. This is the only example of full voice-acting in the entire history of the series (no, the CDi games don't count). The cancelled English version even had the voice acting finished before it was axed.
  • The Trickster: Shadow Link.
  • Time Bomb: Incredibly massive bombs that deal instant death to anyone who doesn't take shelter inside their GBA.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The Links can't directly hurt each other with their swords, but once you get Bombs, Fire Rods, and bottomless pits thrown into the mix, you can start causing damage to the other Links. In the case of Bombs and Fire Rods, it also makes them drop a few force gems for you to steal. Never mind that picking up someone's trailing Link will recruit it to your team. Maybe you can agree to have one each in two player, but in three player, everyone's going to be fighting for Purple Link.