A matter of hours after Nintendo held its mysterious press conference ahead of TGS last week, Patrick and I took a meeting with the company here in San Francisco, the subject of which we knew not what. A clandestine meeting timed so conspicuously with Nintendo's major announcements in Japan couldn't be a coincidence. Surely we were going over there to get our hands on, or at least talk about, that new analog add-on. Right?
Well, no. Nintendo's reps didn't know much more about weird new peripherals than we did. But when we got there, they did have that new DSiWare rerelease of Zelda: Four Swords on hand, so let's talk about that!
I never put any serious time into any flavor of Four Swords back in its day. Did you? Who was ever able to check off the long list of requirements necessary to properly get a game like that going? Four Game Boy Advances, four link cables, four willing players... It seemed like more effort than a weird little multiplayer offshoot using largely recycled artwork was worth.
Thanks to the advent of Wi-Fi and the ubiquity of the DS, it should be a heck of a lot easier to play the new Four Swords Anniversary when it hits DSiWare for the low, low price of free on September 28. Anyone with a DSi, XL, or 3DS can hop online, grab the game, and easily get a game going with up to three others over wireless. This new version was adapted to the DS by Grezzo, the company that handled the excellent Ocarina of Time port on the 3DS. They've added a new single-player mode of some sort that we didn't get to see, considering we went straight to the four-player mayhem.
And mayhem it truly was. I never knew how exactly how much Four Swords caters to a griefing mentality, but man, it couldn't have been more than 30 seconds into that game before we largely cast the puzzle objectives aside and just started trying to sabotage each other's progress. Since your sword connects with other players, and you can also pick them right up and throw them whenever you want, the potential for knocking people into pits or throwing them way off track is boundless. It doesn't help that the game rates everyone on the number of rupees they've collected at the end of an area, so you're constantly fighting with each other to pick up the most money, or knock each other into hazards that make them drop their own cash. Much smack was talked in that little conference room. It was actually kind of fun, even if it was largely fun of our own making. What I saw of the game was pretty simplistic, so infusing your own competitive spirit might be a necessity.
Grezzo has added some other content to this release, but since I didn't play the original game much I'm not really in a position to say a lot about what's new. Here you go: there was one stretching enemy that two players had to stand on both sides of and rip in half. That one was said to be new!
Look for Four Swords Anniversary to hit DSiWare at the end of the month, and since it's a proper port to DS, it should function properly with the 3DS' sleep mode and such (unlike the straight GBA ports that are coming to the system soon). Don't tarry, though; the game is only free until February of next year.
CORRECTION: Clarified the antecedent to this release, which is the original GBA multiplayer mode and not the GameCube release as originally stated. For those asking, the multiplayer in the DSiWare release is local-only.