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The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

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The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
The Legend of Zelda Four Swords Adventures Game Cover.jpg
North American box art
Developer(s)Nintendo EAD
Director(s)Toshiaki Suzuki
Programmer(s)Yasunari Soejima
Artist(s)Masanao Arimoto
SeriesThe Legend of Zelda
  • JP: March 18, 2004
  • NA: June 7, 2004
  • EU: January 7, 2005
  • AU: April 7, 2005
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures[a] is the eleventh installment in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series. It was released for the GameCube home video game console in Japan on March 18, 2004; in North America on June 7, 2004; in Europe on January 7, 2005; and in Australia on April 7, 2005. The Game Boy Advance handheld game console can be used as a controller when using the GameCube – Game Boy Advance link cable bundled with the game in North America and Europe.

The game takes Link and his three clones created by the magic “Four Sword” on an adventure to restore peace to Hyrule after learning that an evil counterpart of himself, Shadow Link, has been created. Four Swords Adventures was considered the 48th-best game made for a Nintendo system by Nintendo Power, and received an aggregated 86 out of 100 from Metacritic. It was the third best-selling game of June 2004 in North America, with 155,000 units, and has since sold 250,000 copies; it has sold 127,000 units in Japan.


The main mode of Four Swords Adventures is "Hyrulean Adventure", an episodic cooperative multiplayer adaptation of conventional The Legend of Zelda gameplay. "Shadow Battle" is a competitive multiplayer battle mode. "Navi Trackers", present only in the Japanese version of the game, is a multiplayer stamp rally race.[2]

Screenshot depicting the diamond formation during single-player play

Hyrulean Adventure[edit]

Hyrulean Adventure is the main campaign of Four Swords Adventures, and can be played by one to four players. It consists of eight worlds, each with three stages and a boss battle. The graphics are similar to that of the previously released Four Swords for the Game Boy Advance (GBA), but the maps are static rather than randomly generated, the top-down view is taken from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and gameplay includes effects from The Wind Waker. The graphics include enhanced atmospheric effects such as cloud shadows that slowly move across the ground, heat shimmer, dust storms, and fog. Music is based on that of A Link to the Past, but is rearranged in places.[2]

In Hyrulean Adventure, most of the same mechanics as Four Swords are used. The multiplayer version requires each player to have a GBA, which is used as a controller and to which the action transfers when that player's character goes off the main screen, but the single-player game may be played with either a GameCube controller or a GBA. There are always four Link characters (differentiated by colors: green, red, blue and purple) in play, regardless of the number of people playing; "extra" Links are attached to those directly controlled and positioned around the controlling character. Normally, the extra Links follow the player, but players can separate an individual Link and control him independently, or put the four Links into formations. These techniques are required to solve puzzles and defeat enemies. Players are encouraged to work together to gather enough Force Gems to empower the Four Sword, and failing to do so by the time the boss is defeated or the dark barrier is reached results in having to go back to the beginning of the stage to collect more. However, once the requisite gems are collected, players are automatically transported to the dark barrier and therefore do not have to repeat the entire stage.[2]

Players can play minigames in multiplayer mode at Tingle's Tower, which appears in every world, to gain extra multiplayer lives. These eight games are earned by playing though certain stages in multiplayer mode. The minigames include horse racing, hammer tag, monster hunting and five others.[2]

Shadow Battle[edit]

Screenshot depicting the GBA-link feature

In Shadow Battle, two or more players battle each other until only one is left standing. Each player uses a different-colored Link character and wields various tools to attack the other Links. Initially, there are five stages which players can choose as the battle's arena. Five bonus maps are unlocked upon completion of Hyrulean Adventure (these "dark stages" are almost the same as the first five maps, but portals to the dark world appear and the player has limited vision). In each stage, items randomly appear, and are usually similar to the items in Hyrulean Adventure. There are many special objects in each stage, which can be used to the player's advantage. There is a time limit; when it reaches zero, the game is tied.[2]

Navi Trackers[edit]

Navi Trackers (formerly planned as a stand-alone game titled Tetra's Trackers) is a game only present in the Japanese version of Four Swords Adventures (Four Swords +). Multiple players use a combination of the television screen and Game Boy Advances to search for members of Tetra's pirate crew to gain as many stamps as possible within a given time limit. Action takes place on the Game Boy Advance used by each player, with the television screen showing a basic map and Tetra narrating the action. A single-player mode is available, which allows players to either collect alone or compete against Tingle.



The game takes place centuries after Majora's Mask and Twilight Princess, within the events of the "Child Timeline", and is the final game in this timeline, chronologically. The game features a separate incarnation of the Dark Lord Ganondorf/The Dark Beast Ganon to the one whose backstory is shown in Ocarina of Time, something which is unique to Four Swords Adventures.[3]


The game begins with the land of Hyrule in a state of fear because of strange happenings that have occurred recently. On a stormy night, Princess Zelda and the shrine maidens fear that the reason for these events is that Vaati's seal is weakening. She summons Link and brings him to the castle so he can protect her and the other maidens while they open the portal to the Four Sword Sanctuary. When they do, however, Shadow Link appears, who kidnaps the maidens of the Shrines and seals them inside their crystals. Link pulls the Four Sword out of its Pedestal, splitting into three clones of himself to destroy his doppelgänger. However, the seal that imprisoned Vaati breaks and releases him from his prison once again, wreaking havoc on the once peaceful kingdom of Hyrule.[4]

As Link and his clones wander the overworld of Hyrule Field on their quest to restore peace to Hyrule, they learn that the creation of Link's evil counterpart and the release of Vaati is only a small part in a larger plot to conquer the kingdom of Hyrule. Things complicate as the dimension of the Dark World appears and people are being abducted throughout Hyrule. The four Links learn that the knights of Hyrule have mysteriously disappeared and evil versions of them have been creating havoc, allowing Hyrule castle to be taken over and monsters to appear throughout the land. The four Links agree that they will defeat Vaati, and rescue Zelda to restore peace to Hyrule.[4]

It is revealed that the true villain is Ganon, who obtained his powers after stealing a powerful trident containing dark energy that was previously hidden away within a pyramid, and used it to seize control over substantial portions of Hyrule. In order to further his plans and distract Link from interfering in his bid for further power, Ganon stole the dark mirror and used it to create Shadow Link, who was eventually sent to kidnap the shrine maidens and trick Link into releasing Vaati. Furthermore, he uses the Dark Mirror to abduct people and turn them into his minions.

The four Links save the shrine maidens, retrieve the Dark Mirror and stop Shadow Link from respawning once and for all. The four heroes head forth to the Palace of Winds and defeat Vaati, leading them into their final battle with Ganon. Trying to stop him from plunging the world into chaos, the four Links use the Power of the Shrine Maidens, including Zelda, to defeat Ganon, striking through him. After defeating Ganon, the four Links firmly seal him inside the Four Sword. Peace returns to Hyrule and the people celebrate as all traces of evil that plagued Hyrule are vanquished.[4] With Ganon defeated and sealed inside, Link returns the Four Sword back to its resting pedestal and the four Links become one again, while the Maidens of the Shrine use their powers and create a barrier around the Four Sword.


The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures can be played on a Game Boy Advance.

At E3 2003, Nintendo showcased two Zelda games which would make use of the Game Boy Advance connectivity, Four Swords and Tetra's Trackers.[5][6] In December of the same year, it was announced that both games would be together in a single disc, Four Swords +, along with a third, Shadow Battle.[7] Four Swords Adventures was released in Japan with Hyrule Adventure, Shadow Battle, and Navi's Trackers as three individual games bundled together. It was later announced on June 7, 2004, however, that Hyrule Adventures and Navi's Trackers would be sold as two separate titles in the United States, while the retail status of Shadow Battle was still unknown.[8] This decision was later changed to bundle Hyrule Adventure with Shadow Battle, and to not release Navi's Trackers in the United States.

Despite the fact that translations for the PAL version were finished in October, the game was not released in Europe until early January 2005. A possible reason for this is so that the game did not compete with The Minish Cap for sales, which in turn was released pre-Christmas in Europe because, unlike North America, it would not cannibalize Nintendo DS sales.[9]

Early on the development of Navi Trackers, it was decided that it would include a speech navigation system that talks and advises the player during mini-games. Players type in their name and the system calls players by their name during the game in order to notify them of their turn.[7]


In 2006, Nintendo Power rated Four Swords Adventures the 48th best game made on a Nintendo system.[21] It received a score of 86 out of 100 based on 55 aggregated reviews from Metacritic,[18] and an average score of 85% based on 67 reviews from GameRankings.[19]

GameSpot praised the game's connectivity feature with the Game Boy Advance, claiming that this is "a truly compelling reason to invest in a GameCube-to-GBA link cable" and that "using the Game Boy Advance as a controller has an appreciable impact on the experience".[14] They praised the story and said, "One of the differences between the original Four Swords and Adventures is a more persistent narrative."[14] The game was applauded, with a critic quoted as remarking, "Adventures does improve on the original Four Swords' visuals, making the Wind Waker-derived visual style even more reminiscent of the cel-shaded adventure of Link."[14] The audio was noted, with a review remarking, "The sound design for Four Swords Adventures will be even more familiar to anyone who has played any [The Legend of Zelda ] game, and especially to those who have played The Wind Waker."[14] GameSpot later named it the best GameCube game of June 2004.[22]

Four Swords Adventures also received criticism. Game Revolution said about the game, "Graphically, Four Swords Adventures is an odd mix of cheap 2D SNES sprites and nice GameCube particle effects. It looks a lot like the GBA game, but now wears fancier pants and shows off upgraded visual flourishes, like [The Wind Waker] style curly-Q air poofs. Still, much of the technology has clearly been ported over from the GBA, creating an inconsistent feel." They also criticized the requirement of the link cable, saying that "the required use of the GBA for multiplayer does limit the play potential."[23]

Four Swords Adventures was the third best-selling game of June 2004 in North America with 155,000 units,[24] and has since sold 250,000 copies, becoming a part of the Player's Choice line.[25] The game also sold 127,000 units in Japan.[26] Producer Eiji Aonuma felt the game's sales were disappointing due to each player needing a Game Boy Advance and a Link Cable, which made it difficult to convince consumers that they needed to play the game.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Released as The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords+[1] (Japanese: ゼルダの伝説 4つの剣+, Hepburn: Zeruda no Densetsu: Yottsu no Tsurugi+) in Japan.


  1. ^ "The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords+ box art". Nintendo Co., Ltd. (via WebCite). 18 March 2004. Archived from the original on August 17, 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e Nintendo. The Legend of Zelda: Four Sword Adventures manual (PDF). Nintendo.
  3. ^ The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia. Dark Horse. 2018. pp. 10, 11, 20.
  4. ^ a b c Nintendo (2004-06-07). The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (GameCube). Nintendo.
  5. ^ Bryn Williams (2003-05-14). "The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 2011-08-04. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
  6. ^ Bryn Williams (2003-05-14). "The Legend of Zelda: Tetra's Trackers". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 2011-08-04. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
  7. ^ a b "Nintendo bundles Zelda: Four Swords up". GameSpot. 2003-12-08. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
  8. ^ Bryn Williams (2004-06-07). "The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords + (GCN)". GameSpy. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
  9. ^ Chris Kohler (2004-09-03). "Zelda: Minish Cap to hit Europe before US". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2012-07-19. Retrieved 2007-06-19.
  10. ^ "The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures review". Electronic Gaming Monthly (July 2004): 104.
  11. ^ "The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures". Eurogamer. 2005-01-25. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  12. ^ "ゼルダの伝説 4つの剣+". Weekly Famitsu #797. Enterbrain Inc. March 26, 2004.
  13. ^ "Review: The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures". GamePro. 2004-06-04. Archived from the original on 2008-06-13. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  14. ^ a b c d e Ryan Davis (2004-06-07). "The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
  15. ^ Ryan O'Donnell (2004-06-03). "The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures review". GameSpy. Retrieved 2008-04-16.
  16. ^ Peer Schneider (2004-06-02). "The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-04-16.
  17. ^ "The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures". Nintendo Power (July 2004): 118.
  18. ^ a b "The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
  19. ^ a b "Zelda: Four Swords — GC". GameRankings. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
  20. ^ "The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures Game Informer Review".
  21. ^ "NP Top 200". Nintendo Power (199): 43. January 2006.
  22. ^ Staff (July 6, 2004). "GameSpot's Month in Review for June 2004". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 6, 2004.
  23. ^ "Zelda: Four Swords Adventures". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on 2006-08-22. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
  24. ^ Glen Bayer (2004-07-21). "News". N-Sider. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
  25. ^ "Four Nintendo GameCube Best Sellers Sport a New Price!". Nintendo. 2006-04-24. Archived from the original on 2007-01-17. Retrieved 2008-02-18.
  26. ^ "Japan GameCube charts". Japan Game Charts. Retrieved 2008-02-18.
  27. ^ Aonuma, Eiji (March 2007). Reflections of Zelda (Speech). Game Developers Conference. Moscone Center.

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