System: Nintendo Wii
Release Date: November 19, 2007
Nintendo has been well-known as of late for bundling games with particular products. Wii Play, for instance, is currently being sold with a Wii controller, and Mario Kart will be packaged with the Wii Wheel in the near future. The most recent bundle is Link’s Crossbow Training, which has been released in conjunction with the Wii Zapper. Oddly enough, Nintendo decided to use Link, of all characters, and threw him into his own spin-off game. Although the price point is appealing, the combination of Link’s Crossbow shallowness and the comfortless Wii Zapper will not warrant a purchase in most cases.
Link’s Crossbow Training is an offshoot of Twilight Princess, and utilizes the same game engine. A majority of the music and sound effects have been rehashed, and the graphics appear nearly identical. Nonetheless, the graphics still impress, and look great when compared to some third party efforts. However, the graphics do not come close to Super Mario Galaxy’s visual style.
The main issue that plagues LTC is the fact that it is somewhat shallow. Basically, there are ten levels for you to play through from familiar Twilight Princess locations. Depending on your score at the end of each level, you can earn different medals and unlock new levels. Every level requires you to venture through three stages, which consists of target shooting, defender, and ranger.
Target shooting places you in on-rails shooting areas, where it is a necessity to nail each target. You can build on your score by hitting targets in succession or objects in the background with your crossbow. The defender stage, on the other hand, allows you to move Link 360 degrees. Hoards of enemies approach and the enemies must be taken out. Ranger is the most in-depth, as you can control Link completely. As usual, enemies must be killed off in order to complete the stage. This may seem slightly monotonic; however, there is some variation that breaks up the repetitiveness. While progressing through each stage, static objects can be shot for additional points. Additionally, there are a few weapons to aid you on your mission. In each stage, you must be on your feet, as a time limit may end the stage before you have completed all the level has to offer. However, if you manage to finish the task of the stage, you will be rewarded with a bonus to your score.
The game features two other modes, but they are meaningless, for the most part. A multiplayer option allows two people to compete competitively, but without simultaneous play. Because that type of engagement is absent, you might as well participate in the Practice mode, which allows you to select any stage you have unlocked and, as the name indicates, brush up on your scores.
As far as the Wii Zapper goes, it feels uncomfortable and pointless. It fits awkwardly into your hands, and it is difficult to use some of buttons based on the set up. Since the Zapper is just a shell, what is the point in creating it anyway? The Wii controller works fine by itself, and in fact, feels more accurate than using the Zapper.
Link’s Crossbow Training is the better pick when considering it or another pack-in game such as Wii Play, yet there is a feeling of slight disappointment since much more could have been done. Those who are experienced gamers could finish the main game in a half hour, or one hour tops. The motivation for returning to the game is to compete with yourself, or others, to achieve a new high score. Online leader boards are sorely missed, and some use of WiiConnect24 would have been appreciated. If you want to buy this package because of the Wii Zapper, I would advise you not to. However, if obtaining high scores is your type of thing, or even if you’re a Zelda fan, Link’s Crossbow Training may appeal to you, especially when considering the rather affordable price point.
Overall Score: 7/10