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Video Game / The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

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"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 2002's 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 the 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...

The Japanese version also includes a mode called Navi Trackers, that has the Links hunting down stamps held by Tetra's pirates in a maze. Tetra is fully voiced, and would announce various gameplay elements on the TV, and due to the way the Japanese works, she'd actually state the name the players input. (Limited to Two characters and a gender selection). Originally titled Tetra's Tackers it was announced as it's own game before later being moved to be included with Four Swords Adventures under it's final title. While work on an English version was started (With the "names" being limited to a single letter resulting in Mr. A and Ms. B and so on) it was never released. The Japanese version was also released in Korea, unedited aside from packaging.

The game has a manga by Akira Himekawa.

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 is a magical weapon that returns the new incarnation of Ganondorf to the same level of power his old self had as soon as he touches it.
    • Also, the Dark Mirror, which seems to be the remnant of a certain other mirror....
  • 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 acquired in one stage carry over to the next. Not even Heart Containers.
  • Barrier Maiden: Zelda and the maidens.
  • Big, Bulky Bomb:
    • One which instantly kills any player(s) unable to take cover in a cave/hole/room when it goes off. In some levels it can be found in innocent-looking chests. And in many others, are repetitively tossed around in specific rooms by Shadow Link.
    • 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.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Quick dialogue with NPCs such as Malon reveal this happened to the Hyrule guards again, who are your main foes in the game.
  • Buffy Speak: The Yellow Maiden refers to Stone Arrghus as a "giant stone eye-thing" when you rescue her.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Various Link to the Past enemies such as Vultures, Deadrocks, Develants, Geldmen, Pengators, Popos, Ropas, Terrorpins, and note  Zols make their return. Unsurprising, given the game is a Homage.
    • On the other hand, enemies that debuted before and after Link to the Past (Blue Octoroks, Giant Ghinis, Stone Elevators, Sea Urchins, and Real Bombchus) make their return as well.
  • 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.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: The four Links are each colored differently, with Green Link taking first player. Having fewer than 4 players will give the other Links to players 1 and 2, depending on if it's two or three players.
  • 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. Hyrule Historia eventually showed that it takes place some time after Twilight Princess, in a separate branch of the timeline.
  • Continuity Snarl: Seemingly, when it was released. Ganondorf's inclusion causes a lot of problems for what is otherwise an easily-arguable case for the series only having one Ganon. However, Hyrule Historia suggests in its possible Zelda timeline 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.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: The game allows up to four players to play at once, but in doing so require a Game Boy Advance and a special connector that allows it to be used as a GameCube controller.
  • Dark World: Can be entered through special portals, usually by finding a Moon Pearl and carrying it to a hidden spot. Some enemies can only be beaten by entering the Dark World to damage them, some of which can still hurt you in the Light World.
  • Death Mountain: Level 3 takes place here.
  • Decapitated Army: Brainwashed Hylian soldiers literally run around, and explode with the bomb effect when their Chief Soldier general is defeated.
  • Devil's Pitchfork: The Trident of Power is sealed away due to its evil nature, and is eventually wielded by Ganon.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: Phantom Ganon often splits into four, and Shadow Link is able to clone himself.
  • Double Jump: The upgraded Roc's Feather allows the Links to perform a second jump while still in midair.
  • The Dragon: Vaati.
  • Escort Mission: A few missions are this such as protecting Malon from the Hylian Guards.
  • Equipment Upgrade: Great Fairies can upgrade all of Link's weapons save for the sword (which is powered up from collecting Force Gems) and the lantern (which lacks a powered up form altogether). This will give them secondary effects like the shovel being able to detect items hidden underground or the slingshot becoming a Spread Shot.
  • 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. Originally, the game was going to have more in-depth plot involving the Imprisoning War, but Miyamoto suggested using a simpler one.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The Fire Rod.
  • Foreshadowing: There are a couple of subtle hints that Ganon is the true antagonist, not Vaati. The first is the fact that Shadow Link is encountered before Vaati is unleashed; in fact, his appearance is what prompts you to draw the Four Sword in the first place. The second clue is the boss fight at the end of the first level - Phantom Ganon, fought atop Hyrule Castle. Considering how the Dark Mirror was evidently used to create Shadow Link, it can be surmised that it was also used to create Phantom Ganon. This implication is strengthened by the fact that Phantom Ganon returns as the boss of the Temple of Darkness, immediately outside of the chamber where the Dark Mirror was previously kept.
  • 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.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Zelda in the Final Boss fight.
  • 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 as a decoy, wreaking havoc across Hyrule while the true Big Bad bided his time and gathered strength behind the scenes.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: Played to the point that even using the Feather won't let you get over them.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Just like in previous Zelda games, enemies like Octoroks and Soldiers come in various colors to denote their strength.
  • Level in the Clouds: The Realm of the Heavens and the Dark Cloud are set high in Hyrule's skies, and their terrain consists of solid clouds. The enemies, however, are the same kinds found elsewhere in the game.
  • 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.
  • Me's a Crowd: The Four Sword splits Link into four color-coded copies of himself.
  • 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 Power-Ups: 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 separate 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).
  • Not Quite Flight: Upgrading the Pegasus Boots allows the Links to run over large gaps with ease.
  • 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.
  • Power-Up Mount: Epona can be ridden for a short period of time if the player collects a carrot. Notably, this is the only 2D Zelda game where she is playable (and the only one outside of the Oracle games where Link has any sort of mount at all.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Purple Octoroks make their first and only appearance in this game, being stronger than even Blue Octoroks.
  • 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.
  • Slave Mooks: Quick dialogue with NPCs reveal this happened to the Hylian guards just like A Link to the Past.
  • Snowy Sleigh Bells: The ice theme is a remix of the Dark World theme which features sleigh bells to enhance the wintry feel.
  • Socialization Bonus: You can play this alone, but playing with other players allows you to play minigames at Tingle's Tower, and also makes it easier to utilize multiple items.
  • Spread Shot: Much like the Hyper Slingshot in Oracle of Seasons the upgraded version of the slingshot fires three seeds at once.
  • 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 float downward, back and forth like paper before growing back to normal.
  • Stalked by the Bell: Dillydallying on one screen for too long will result an army of Tingle clones robbing you of 300 force gems per player.
  • 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.
  • Stationary Enemy: Sea Urchins serve as living obstacles more than anything else and never budge from their spots.
  • 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 in the first area with searchlights that you'd instinctively smash, causing the searchlights to center on where they heard it. This also teaches the players that 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 before Breath Of The Wild (the CDi games having been expunged from the record). The cancelled English version even had the voice acting finished before it was axed.
  • 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.
  • Zerg Rush: The Keese Swarm makes their debut in this game.

Alternative Title(s): Four Swords Adventures