Twilight Princess is an action-adventure game focusing on exploration and item collection. It uses the basic control scheme introduced in Ocarina of Time, including buttons whose functions change depending on game context, and Z-targeting (L-targeting on the GameCube), a system which allows the player to keep Link’s view focused on an enemy or important object. Link can walk, run, and attack, and will automatically jump when running off of or reaching for a ledge. Link uses a sword and shield in combat complemented with secondary weapons and items, including a bow and arrow, boomerang, bombs, and the Clawshot (similar to a recurring item in the series, the Hookshot). Z-targeting allows Link to lock on to an enemy and automatically defend himself. During Z-Targeting, projectile-based weapons can be fired at a target without the need for manual aiming.
The context-sensitive button mechanic allows one button to serve a variety of functions, such as talking, opening doors, and pushing, pulling, and throwing objects. The on-screen display shows what action, if any, the context-sensitive button will trigger, determined by the situation. For example, if Link is holding a rock, the context-sensitive button will cause Link to throw the rock if he is moving or targeting an object or enemy, or place the rock on the ground if he is standing still.
The Wii and GameCube versions feature several minor differences in their controls. The Wii version of the game makes use of the motion sensors and built-in speaker of the Wii Remote. The speaker emits the sounds of a bowstring when shooting an arrow, Midna’s laugh when she gives advice to Link, and the series’ trademark “chime” when discovering secrets. The player controls Link’s sword by swinging the Wii Remote. Other attacks are triggered using similar gestures with the Nunchuk. Unique to the GameCube version is the ability for the player to control the camera freely, without entering a special “lookaround” mode required by the Wii; however, in the GameCube version, only two of Link’s secondary weapons can be equipped at a time.
The game features nine dungeons—large, contained areas where Link battles enemies, collects items, and solves puzzles. Link navigates these dungeons and fights a boss at the end in order to obtain an item or otherwise advance the plot. The dungeons are connected by a large overworld, across which Link can travel on foot, on his horse Epona, or by teleporting to one of several specified points.
When Link enters the Twilight Realm, the void which corrupts parts of Hyrule, he transforms into a wolf. He is eventually able to transform between his human and wolf forms at will. As a wolf, Link moves more quickly, attacks by biting, and digs holes to create new passages and uncover buried items. He also carries Midna, a small imp-like creature who gives hints, uses an energy field to attack enemies, helps Link jump long distances, and eventually allows Link to “warp” to any of several preset locations throughout the overworld. As a wolf, Link has improved senses and can follow scent trails. Using Link’s wolf senses, players can see wandering spirits and hunt for ghosts named Poes.
The artificial intelligence (AI) of enemies in Twilight Princess is more advanced than that of enemies in The Wind Waker. Enemies react to defeated companions and to arrows or slingshot pellets that pass by. The AI can also detect Link from a longer distance than in previous games.
Platform: Wii, Gamecube
Genre: Action Adventure
ESRB Rating: T