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Video Game: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
But there is one thing you must know: being Minish-sized is full of dangers! Mere puddles at your normal size are bottomless swamps to the Minish.
Ezlo

The twelfth game in The Legend of Zelda series, and the first completely new one-player Zelda adventure on the Game Boy Advance. Despite the fact that it's one player only, it is a prequel to the Four Swords games, as it goes in depth about the origin of the titular weapon as well as who Vaati is. The game also features a "Kinstone" mechanism, by which Link can collect pieces of medallions and fuse them with NPCs. These Kinstone fusions unlock secrets, ranging from highly important bonus items to simple chests of more kinstones.

The story begins at a festival celebrating the legendary Picori, who can only be seen by children. At a sword fighting tournament at the festival, the winner is Vaati (later to become the main villain of the Four Swords games), who releases monsters all over the land and turns Zelda to stone, hoping to obtain the "Light Force" held by the royal family. Link meets a talking hat named Ezlo who joins him on a quest to reforge the famous Picori Blade and use it to defeat Vaati. Ezlo uses his power to shrink Link to the size of the Picori (actually called the Minish), which assists him greatly in his quest.

According to Hyrule Historia this game is second in the overall timeline of the series, preceded only by The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

This Game Provides Examples Of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The Manga included a lot of things, but mostly explanations or the like. For instance: the sword tournament is changed to a simple fighting tournament, which explained how Vaati got through without implying that he cheated, we get a bit more on Zelda's relationship with Link, we see why Link wasn't in the tournament, and so on.
    • All In The Manual: Of course, the hard-to-track extra chapter showed how horrible Elzo was as a teacher, what with sending Vaati out on quests to nonexistent locations so he wouldn't find his teacher at a party and doing things to distract him from the data on his games being saved over or lost.
  • Adipose Rex: King Daltus.
  • Alertness Blink: When characters wake up, often ! with a sound effect is seen.
  • Always Night: Royal Valley. Made all the more jarring by it being one screen away from (and only accessible via) another overworld area that's in bright daylight.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Vaati's second and third forms each get one.
  • Animal Talk: You can talk to animals while in Minish form, probably thanks to your Jabber Nut.
  • Anonymous Benefactor: Its revealed in this game, the reason why Link always finds helpful items and Rupees under grass and rocks all over the world. The Forest Picori leave them, for humans they love to find.
  • Back That Light Up
  • Baleful Polymorph: Ezlo is revealed to be a Minish sage, whom Vaati cursed to become a talking hat.
  • Big Bad: Vaati.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Royal Valley.
  • Blow You Away: Strangely, Vaati doesn't do a whole lot of this. So... why did the backstories of Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures take such pains to describe him as a wind mage/sorcerer?
    • Hyrule Historia finally explains this as Vaati no longer remembering being a Minish, and so used his new form to become a sorcerer.
    • Link, on the other hand, does quite a bit with the Gust Jar.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Getting all the trophies rewards you with a large number of rupees—but by that point in the game you don't really need them anymore. However, you DO get a piece of heart and the sound test. The other example is the "Tingle Statue" for fusing all the Kinstones. The statue and reward themselves are useless, but you get some form of reward for each Kinstone you fuse.
    • Also the Mirror Shield. The requirements for it is to complete the Goron sidequest (which, by itself, you get a bottle for completing), fusing a Kinstone with one of the Gorons to wake up Biggoron (which can't be done right away), and...beating the game once.
  • Bubbly Clouds: Cloud Tops, several layers of clouds that can be walked on and even dug through with the Mole Mitts in places. The Palace of Winds is a five-story dungeon floating above a tower built on the highest of these cloud decks. And as if that isn't high enough, the boss battle appears to take place a very long distance above the dungeon. Also, Ezlo is afraid of heights.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Castor Wilds.
  • Captain Obvious: Ezlo, though not as much as Navi the Fairy.
  • Call Forward: A musical one. The Mini Boss-battle theme is actually a remix of the Normal Battle-theme of the Japanese Version of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.
  • Cats Are Mean: Unlike the friendlier dogs and birds, cats will actively attack you while in Minish form.
  • Chain Reaction Destruction: That's what bosses are designed to do when they're defeated.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: Ezlo gives Link his Nice Hat in the ending.
  • Color-Coded Elements: The Fire and Water Elements are fairly standard red and blue throughout the Four Swords series. The Wind Element is green in this game and The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, although it was purple in its brief appearance in the intro to The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords. Conversely and rather unusually, the Earth Element is purple in this game and The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures but green in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords. Of course, regardless of which Element has which color, the group must share the red, blue, green, and purple color scheme of the four Links in the multiplayer titles, and purple is not commonly used to represent any of the four classical elements.
  • Dark Reprise: A minor version of Zelda's theme plays in the aftermath of the battle with Vaati, emphasizing the extent of the destruction and the lives lost.
  • Degraded Boss: A tougher version of the first dungeon boss (by virtue of being electrified) appears as a miniboss in the Temple of Droplets. To be fair, both of these are just regular enemies that Link happens to encounter while Minish-sized, the former a Green ChuChu and the latter a Blue ChuChu.
  • Disconnected Side Area: Very common in the overworld. Some of these become accessible in a more direct fashion later in the game (e.g. the part of the Minish Woods near Syrup's hut), while others remain only indirectly accessible (e.g. a piece of land at the bottom of Veil Falls which can only be reached via neighboring regions).
  • Double Meaning Title: The "Minish Cap" in the title may refer to either of two caps: Ezlo, who is a Minish wizard transformed into a hat, or the Mage's Cap, the wish-granting hat invented by Ezlo and stolen by Vaati, who was himself a Minish prior to wishing himself a human body.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When she gets hit by a Deku Shrub on the way to the Picori Festival.
    Zelda: We need something to defend against those nuts of his.
  • Final Exam Boss
  • Flying Seafood Special: In a strange example, Cloud Piranha swim through the clouds in Cloud Tops, even though said clouds are apparently solid enough for Link to stand on. The boss Gyorg Pair is a more traditional example, a pair of giant flying manta-like rays.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: Vaati's ceremony to absorb the Light Force from Princess Zelda's petrified body ends with three bell chimes. The first two happen at scripted rooms in the final dungeon, but the third is a Timed Mission where if the player takes too long, the bell rings a final time and Vaati absorbs all the Light Force from Zelda and becomes a god, with Zelda dying in the process.
  • For Happiness: Its revealed the Picori/Minish adore humans and delight in making them happy, for it gives them energy to help make their lives even more happier. Many have moved from their native home-world to Hyrule to be closer to them, and those from the Minish Village also moved to Hyrule Town to help them in their daily-lives due to their love for humans.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Vaati.
  • Giant Hands of Doom: Mazaal. Also, the Floormasters and Wallmasters.
  • Giant Mook: Not actually giant, but some of the bosses are normal-sized enemies that you fight while small. The boss of the Deepwood Shrine is a Green ChuChu, and the Temple of Droplets has a Blue ChuChu as a miniboss and an Octorok as the main boss.
  • A God Am I: Once Vaati obtains the Light Force he proclaims himself a god. He does it again when he takes on his final form and right before he dies, leading to a This Cannot Be! declaration.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Vaati is all about purple. He has mauve skin and hair and wears purple clothes. (His eyes, on the other hand, are red.) On top of that, he decorates Hyrule Castle mostly in purple, with plenty of green and touches of red as well.
  • Harmless Freezing: You fight the boss of the Temple of Droplets immediately after it is thawed out from being frozen solid. It even partially re-freezes itself as a defensive tactic for part of the battle.
  • High-Altitude Battle: The boss in the Temple Of Winds.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: One of the game's gimmicks.
  • Inevitable Tournament: Averted. It's over at the beginning of the game, and no other tournaments occur during the game's duration.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Occurs if you fail the Timed Mission at the end of the game, in which Vaati will drain all the Light Force from Zelda's petrified body, leaving her as lifeless stone and himself a god.
  • Jump Physics: When using the cape.
  • Legacy Character: Like The Wind Waker, this game shows a hero, who could be a previous Link, in the prologue.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The aptly named Cave of Flames, an abandoned mine that has partially filled with lava.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Killing Vaati's second form causes the castle to collapse.
  • Lost Forever: If you don't save a certain NPC early on, you can never get the Light Arrows.
  • MacGuffin: The Light Force.
  • Macro Zone: Any time you shrink.
  • Magic Music: Playing a song on the Ocarina of Gales summons a bird to take you throughout Hyrule.
  • Marathon Level: The Palace of Winds. Ezlo even lampshades this with his comment of "How much farther do we have to go? This place goes on forever!"
  • Meaningful Name: The cobbler who sleeps a lot is named Rem (as in, REM sleep). The Minish who lives in the library is named, creatively, Librari.
  • Messy Hair: Link is quite the bedhead before the Minish Cap covers it up (presumably now he has even worse hat hair).
  • Mine Cart Madness: Cave of Flames has sections like this.
  • Mini-Dungeon: Royal Crypt. Upon completion, Link receives a gold Kinstone from King Gustaf to open the Source of the Flow, enter the Veil Falls and reach the Cloud Top to access the Palace of Winds.
  • Mook Bouncer: Both the Wallmaster and the Floormaster.
  • Mouse World
  • Mythology Gag: Since this game was developed by Capcom, by the same team that developed the Oracle games, we see the three Oracles from those games as NPCs in town.
    • Development Gag: You can find homes for two of them, but not the third, a reference to a planned third Oracle game that never got made.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: At the end of the game, if Link can't get to Vaati before the three bells ring, Vaati will have taken all of the Light Force from Zelda, killing her and making Vaati invincible. Ezlo states that it's all over and you see the Game Over screen.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: How the hell do you pronounce "pacci"? Pah-ksee? Pah-kee? Chances are that it's a direct Romanization of "pachi", the Japanese onomatopoeia for "snap", and you're supposed to pronounce the double c as a ch, like in Italian or liturgical Latin.
  • Numerological Motif: The number 4.
  • Oddball in the Series: Not to the series as a whole, but rather the Four Swords trilogy, since it's a single-player installment in a trilogy that previously had much of its focus on multiplayer gameplay.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Most of Vaati's music makes use of this.
  • One-Winged Angel: Vaati's "floating eyeball-cloud" form.
  • Origins Episode: The backstory is this for Vaati and the game itself focuses on the origin of the Four Sword, which started out as the Picori Blade.
  • Pińata Enemy: Gold enemies, which are gold palette swaps of relatively weak overworld enemies with tons more hit points and more aggressive AI that drop large amounts of money when killed. They appear as a result of certain Kinstone fusions.
  • Pokémon Speak: The Minish speak exclusively using parts of the word "Picori".
    • It also seems that "Picori" is the Minish word for "Minish".
    • Averted in the original Japanese and the German, French and Italian versions, where they talk backwards instead. This reveals that most of the Minish's unreadable dialogue in the beginning of the game is actually... just telling you that you are human and that they don't understand you.
  • Prequel: To Four Swords, explaining the history of the Four Sword and Vaati.
  • Reforged Blade: The Picori Blade which is broken, fixed, and eventually upgraded to become the Four Sword.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The chest containing all of the monsters in the world, which Vaati frees.
  • Sequential Boss: Taking down Vaati in the end requires you to fight him in three different forms. (Luckily, between two and three, you can duck into a small room in the castle and reload your health.)
  • Shout-Out:
    • The game is positively loaded with nods to nearly every previous game in the series via character cameos and familiar leitmotifs. Some sound effects are also directly lifted from Link's Awakening.
    • The cobbler tells you that his shoes are being finished while he sleeps. By this point, you're aware of the existence of the Minish, and possibly that they like to make humans happy because it gives them energy, but that they do so in secret (you'd have to talk to a random NPC to learn this.) Furthermore, there's a vase that lets you shrink in the shop, and if you climb up onto the cobbler's desk, you can see a Minish there. Obviously, this is a reference to the tale of the cobbler and the elves.
    • Later, in Melari's mines, one of the Minish tells you that "the mine belongs to Melari and us, his seven apprentices", the seven miners being reminiscent of the seven dwarfs.
    • Later still, after you can flip stuff (and therefore shrink in several more places in Hyrule Town,) you can get into the rafters of the bar. The forest Minish are visiting there, and remarking about how city life is so exciting, like the tale of the country mouse and the city mouse.
    • At one point in the game, you meet an Absent-Minded Professor named Dr. Left. As opposed to Dr. (W)right, one presumes judging by his hair.
    • One of the books in the library is titled "Married to the Moblin".
    • You can cause a beanstalk to grow on Mt. Crenel, allowing you to climb up into the clouds, recalling Jack and the Beanstalk. Smaller beanstalks on Mt. Crenel make the same sound that growing a beanstalk in Super Mario Bros. makes.
    • One that would pass over the heads of most child players: In Hyrule town there are two houses next to each-other. The house on the left belongs to a man named 'Romio' living with his dog, and the house on the right belongs to a woman named 'Julietta' who lives with her cat and her mother named 'Verona', This is an obvious Reference to Romeo and Juliet, whom both live in the Italian town of Verona. According to their collectible figurine, they are in love with each-other and will be married once they have their pets' approval.
  • Side Quest: As this game has one of the least amount of dungeons out of all Zelda games, it has an emphasis on sidequests to help balance out the time, similar to The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Temple of Droplets is primarily this, although liquid water is abundant as well.
  • Solid Clouds: In one of the later dungeons, there are clouds you can walk on. Also, there are such clouds you need to explore in order to get to the dungeon in the first place.
  • Sound Test: This is one of the few games in the series to have one. In this one, it's unlocked by getting every figurine and using a phonograph in a house whose entrance is blocked until they're collected.
  • Spell My Name with an S: For some reason, Darknuts are called "Dark Nuts" in this game.
  • Start of Darkness: For Vaati.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: At one point, while Vaati has taken control of or rather, has cast an illusion to look like the king, you have to sneak past the guards in order to reach the Elemental Sanctuary.
  • Sword Beam: Unlike the other games that either give you one or no sword beams, you get two. One at maximum health and one when you have one heart. If you learned how to do it that is.
    • This is in addition to the curse-breaking Spin Attack beam that you use when you unlock the Four Sword.
  • Taken for Granite: Zelda from the first few minutes of the game onward, as well as many of Vaati's other victims later on. In the Non-Standard Game Over, Vaati drains the life from Zelda's petrified form, leaving her as lifeless stone permanently.
  • Take Your Time: The Timed Mission in the final dungeon hinges on three bell chimes before Zelda is beyond saving. Only the first two chimes are scripted, and you can take all the time you like. Unfortunately, the third really is on a timer, which the game does not inform you of, so take too long....
  • Temple of Doom: The Temple of Winds.
  • Tennis Boss: Vaati's final form requires you to hit back four energy balls at a time before you can actually hurt him, but he was nice enough to leave Link some magic panels that let him use his Me's a Crowd powers.
  • This Cannot Be!: To Vaati's horror when you, in his eyes, a mere child, vanquish his second mighty form in the final battle.
  • Timed Mission: The Cucco minigame. Also, when you're trying to rescue Zelda from Vaati's extraction process, there's a bell that, when rung three times, tells you the extraction process is complete, with Zelda dead and Vaati at full power. The first two rings are not really timed—but the third one is. That means if you take too long to defeat the Darknuts on that level...
  • Translator Microbes: The Jabber Nut, which lets Link understand the Minish language.
  • Underground Level: Aside from the Cave of Flames, there are walls scattered throughout Hyrule that can be dug into with the Mole Mitts, leading into tunnel mazes of diggable earth that may serve as shortcuts to other aboveground locations or hide secrets. Many of them are quite extensive.
  • Unique Enemy: There is only one Blue Tektite.
  • Warp Whistle: Much like the Ocarina (originally localized as the more generic Flute) in A Link to the Past, the Ocarina of Wind calls a bird that carries Link to one of eight fixed locations in the overworld.
  • World-Healing Wave: In the ending, Hyrule Castle is utterly destroyed, smashing, and thus killing most of the people inside turned to statues. Elzo tells them not to mourn, and he and Zelda combine their powers to undo all of Vaati's deeds. They restore Hyrule to its former peace and purge the world of the monsters terrorizing it as well.
  • You Are Too Late: In the Non-Standard Game Over, Ezlo exclaims they're too late to save Zelda, who is now lifeless stone after Vaati steals the Light Force from her.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Sword-fighting moves.

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alternative title(s): The Legend Of Zelda Minish Cap; Minish Cap; The Minish Cap; The Legend Of Zelda The Minish Cap; The Legend Of Zelda Minish Cap
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