The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Developer(s) Nintendo
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Platform(s) Nintendo Gamecube
Release date(s) JP: December 13, 2002

NA: March 24, 2003 EU: May 2, 2003 AU: May 7, 2003

Genre(s) Action-adventure
Players 1 player
Rating(s) ESRB:E
Media 8cm Gamecube Media Disc
Input Gamecube Controller, Wavebird Controller
Predecessor The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords
Successor The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, released in Japan as ゼルダの伝説 風のタクト (Zeruda no Densetsu: Kaze no Takuto lit. "The Legend of Zelda: Baton of Wind"), is an action-adventure game and is the tenth game in The Legend of Zelda series of video games. It was released for the Nintendo GameCube in Japan on 13 December 2002, in Canada and the United States on 24 March 2003, in Europe on 3 May 2003 and in Australia on 7 May 2003. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for the Nintendo DS is the direct sequel to The Wind Waker.

The game is set on a group of islands in a vast sea—a first for the series. The player controls Link, the protagonist of the Zelda series. He struggles against Ganondorf , called Ganon in this game (Ganondorf is the more humaniod form, while Ganon is the beast form) for control of a sacred relic known as the Triforce. Link spends a significant portion of the game sailing, traveling between islands, and traversing through dungeons and temples to gain the power necessary to defeat Ganondorf. He also spends time trying to find his little sister.

The Wind Waker follows in the footsteps of Ocarina of Time, retaining the basic gameplay and control system from the Nintendo 64 title. A heavy emphasis is placed on using and controlling wind with a baton called the Wind Waker, which aids sailing and floating in air. Critics enjoyed the similarity to Ocarina of Time, but often complained that the large amount of sailing became tedious. Despite this, the game has met commercial and critical success, with generally favorable reviews.


Set hundreds of years after the events of Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker places the hero Link in a sea scattered with several islands, which necessitates frequent sailing and naval combat. Link lives with his grandmother and younger sister Aryll on Outset Island, one of the few inhabited islands of the Great Sea. The people of the Great Sea pass down a legend of a prosperous kingdom with a hidden golden power. Ganon found and stole this power, using it to spread darkness until a boy dressed in green sealed the evil with the Blade of Evil's Bane. The boy became known as the Hero of Time, and passed into legend. One day, the sealed evil began to return, but the Hero of Time did not reappear. The inhabitants of the Great Sea are unsure of the kingdom's fate, but it is clear that this legend is the story of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

When boys of Outset Island come of age, they are customarily dressed in green like the Hero of Time. The elders hope to instill the courage of the Hero in the children. It is Link's 12th birthday as the game opens, and he receives the familiar green clothes and cap. Aryll's present to Link is permission to use her telescope; as he looks through it, he spots a large bird carrying a girl to a nearby forest. After retrieving a sword, Link sets out to investigate. Link rescues the girl, only to have Aryll kidnapped by the same bird as it returns. The girl rescued in the forest is Tetra, captain of a pirate ship. At Link's request, they sail to the Forsaken Fortress, where a mysterious figure is holding Aryll and several other girls. Following an unsuccessful raid, Link is thrown from the fortress. A talking boat called the King of Red Lions rescues Link, and tells him that the master of the Forsaken Fortress is Ganon, the evil of legend.

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The King of Red Lions gives Link the Wind Waker, a baton able to to control the wind, and instructs Link to sail the Great Sea in search of the three Goddesses' pearls. Link retrieves the pearls and takes them to the three Triangle Islands, causing the Tower of the Gods to rise from the sea. After battling Gohdan in the tower to prove his worth, Link sails into a ring of light and is taken beneath the waters to Hyrule Castle, overrun with enemies and frozen in time. Link descends a hidden staircase and finds the Master Sword, the evil-repelling blade used by the Hero of Time to seal Ganondorf. By removing the sword, Link awakens the castle and all enemies inside. He destroys the enemies and returns to the surface.

With the Master Sword in hand, Link returns to the Forsaken Fortress and joins Tetra and the pirates. He frees the captives and kills the Helmaroc King, but is easily defeated by Ganondorf. Ganondorf tells Link that taking the Master Sword has fully lifted the seal, unbinding his full power; furthermore, the Master Sword has lost its power to repel evil. Ganondorf lifts Tetra by the neck, and notices that she is wearing a fragment of the Triforce of Wisdom as a necklace. As he calls her Princess Zelda, two Rito Link helped while finding the Goddesses' Pearls rescue Link and Tetra. The dragon Valoo then engulfs the fortress in flame.

Link and Tetra sail back to the castle at the bottom of the sea and descend the staircase, where they meet Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, the king of Hyrule and the voice of the King of Red Lions. He tells Link and Tetra that the prayers of the people in the legend were answered—the gods sealed Ganondorf and all of Hyrule with him by flooding the kingdom with a torrential rainstorm, ordering those chosen to take refuge on the mountaintops. The King combines a piece of the Triforce of Wisdom with the fragment in Tetra's necklace, causing her to transform into the traditional appearance of Princess Zelda. Link plays the Earth God's Lyric to Medli and the Wind God's Aria to Makar, awakening in them the knowledge that they are Sages of Earth and Wind. Their prayers restore the full power of the Master Sword.

Link goes on a variety of quests to find and decode eight nautical charts that mark the locations of the pieces of the Triforce of Courage. Link raises the pieces from the sea and restores the Triforce of Courage, which dwells inside Link, marking him as the Hero of Winds.


With the restored Master Sword and the Triforce of Courage, Link returns once more to Hyrule Castle, where Zelda disappears before him. Link breaks through the barrier beyond Hyrule Castle and enters Ganon's Tower. Ganondorf reveals himself to Link, claiming that Link is the reborn Hero of Time and that fate has allowed him to bring the Triforce together again, just as he had with the Hero of Time. The three Triforces are extracted from Ganondorf, Link, and Zelda and combine to form the complete Triforce. As who ever touches the complete Triforce gets Their wish granted, Ganondorf demands that the gods to expose Hyrule to the sun once more, under his control. Before he can reach the Triforce, however, King Daphnes suddenly appears and touches the Triforce. He asks the gods of the Triforce to give Link and Zelda a future and to wash away Hyrule and Ganondorf. The Triforce splits apart and the ocean above begins to pour down all around the tower.

Believing that the King has just ensured Link's and Zelda's destruction, Ganondorf laughs and begins battling Link. Zelda assists by using Link's bow and shooting Ganondorf with Light Arrows. Once Ganondorf is stunned, Link plunges the Master Sword into Ganondorf's head, turning him to stone. Link and Zelda float to the surface in a bubble, leaving Ganondorf and the king to be buried underwater with Hyrule. Link and Zelda sail away in search of a new land with the wind as their guide. This scene is the beginning of the Nintendo DS game The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.


File:Zelda Wind Waker Deku Leaf float.jpg

The control scheme of The Wind Waker is largely unchanged from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. Link's basic actions of walking, running, attacking, defending, and automatic jumping at ledges are retained. Link also uses the control system introduced in Ocarina of Time that allows him to "lock-on" to an enemy or other target. An addition to this basic control scheme is the ability to parry. When Link is locked-on to an opponent and not actively defending, certain attacks by the opponent will trigger a visual cue, a vibration of the controller, and a chime. Attacking at that point causes Link to dodge or parry then counter-attack from the rear or while leaping over the foe's head. This tactic becomes crucial for defeating armored enemies or bosses.

The new art style used in The Wind Waker gives Link eyes that are much larger and more expressive than in previous games. This allows Link to focus his gaze on approaching enemies or important items. For example, if Link needs to solve a puzzle by lighting a torch to set a distant object on fire, his eyes might turn to look at a nearby stick, giving a hint to an observant player on how to proceed.

As with all Zelda games, The Wind Waker features several dungeons—large, enclosed, and often underground areas. Link battles enemies, collects items, and solves puzzles to progress through a dungeon, fighting a boss at the end. To complete a dungeon, Link primarily uses a sword and shield. Other weapons commonly used by Link include a bow and arrow, a boomerang, bombs, and a grappling hook. Certain enemy weapons can be picked up and used, a feature new to the Zelda series.

The Wind Waker, like most Zelda games, includes many sidequests, such as the Nintendo Gallery. When Link is in the Forest Haven, he can use a Deku Leaf to glide to a cylindrical island with a hatch containing the sculptor Carlov and his gallery. Once Link obtains a color camera called the Deluxe Picto Box, he can take pictures of non-player characters and enemies, which Carlov uses to sculpt figurines. There are a total of 134 figurines to collect, but Link can only hold three pictures at a time.

After completing the game, the player can replay it with minor modifications: Link starts with the Deluxe Picto Box, making the Nintendo Gallery side-quest possible to complete; Aryll wears a skull dress given to her by pirates; Link can understand the Hylian language; and Link wears his blue crayfish pajamas, worn in the beginning, throughout the game, instead of the traditional green tunic and cap.

Another side-quest present in all Zelda games, collecting Pieces of Heart, returns. The Wind Waker also includes the addition of hunting for Treasure Charts, which are scattered throughout the Great Sea. The player must find, recover, and hunt for whatever is on the map. Treasures include Rupees, Pieces of Heart, and other various charts such as the "Big Octo Chart" and the "Island Hearts Chart".

Wind and travelEdit

File:Zelda Wind Waker using Wind Waker.jpg

The Wind Waker is set on a sea consisting of 49 sections arranged on a seven by seven grid. Each section contains an island or small group of islands. Therefore, a significant portion of the game is spent sailing between islands, allowing the game to mask loading times by accessing data while the player is approaching an island.

To sail between areas quickly, Link uses the Wind Waker, a baton that manipulates wind direction with a series of songs. Additionally, wind is often needed to solve puzzles. The Deku Leaf allows Link to use wind to spin turbines or to glide for short distances. By creating a tailwind, Link can glide farther distances to reach remote areas. An on-screen weather vane displays the current wind direction.

Tingle TunerEdit

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A new item to the Zelda series—the Tingle Tuner—allows the player to receive assistance from Tingle. Use of the Tingle Tuner requires a player to attach a Game Boy Advance (GBA) to the GameCube using a Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Advance cable. The GBA, which controls Tingle on a map more detailed than the one provided by the GameCube, can be operated by a second person, or the player can choose to alternate between the GameCube and the GBA. Among other services, Tingle can uncover hidden treasures, give hints, restore Link's health, or sell a few items. These services are provided for a fee, but Link can earn discounts through the completion of side-quests. Use of the Tingle Tuner is optional, but provides the ability to examine a more detailed map and place remote bombs. Players who want to complete every side-quest will find the Tingle Tuner necessary; Tingle statues hidden throughout dungeons can only be found by using Tingle, and the Nintendo Gallery side-quest cannot be completed without first completing a separate side-quest requiring the Tingle Tuner.


Feeling pressure from Sega's Dreamcast and Sony's impending PlayStation 2, Nintendo announced on 3 March 1999 that a new video game system was under development. This system, the GameCube, was revealed on 24 August 2000, the day before Nintendo's SpaceWorld 2000 exposition.[1] Along with the specifications and designs for the console, Nintendo had several software demonstrations on hand to showcase the power of the GameCube, one of which was a realistically-styled real-time duel between Ganon and Link. Despite being a hastily assembled technical demonstration, fans and the media speculated that the battle might be from a game under development or at least an indication of the direction the next Zelda game would take.[2] Staff at IGN referred to the demo as an "unofficial sequel", calling it "absolutely everything we could have hoped for in a Gamecube Zelda title" and stating that "the future looks very bright for Nintendo loyalists".[2]

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Nintendo said nothing more about the possibility of a GameCube Zelda game until one year later at SpaceWorld 2001, where a completely new Zelda was shown. Replacing the dark, gritty demo of 2000 was a new cel-shaded look, which resembled an interactive cartoon. Shigeru Miyamoto said the new look was designed to "extend Zelda's reach to all ages".[3] The cel-shaded approach was a radical shift and IGN staff wondered if two separate games might be in concurrent development.[4]

While some at the event enjoyed the new look, there was a backlash from disappointed fans who had been expecting a realistic Zelda game. Many critics referred to the game as "Celda", a portmanteau of "Zelda" and "Cel-shading". Miyamoto was surprised at the reaction to the footage and the media's claim that Nintendo was shifting its focus to a younger audience[5] and he refused to reveal anything further until a playable demonstration became available. It was hoped that once critics played the game, they would focus on the all-important gameplay, rather than simply reacting to the new graphic style.

Miyamoto promised a playable version for E3 2002 and a release later that year.[6] When Nintendo did exhibit a playable demo at E3 2002 it was well-received, and picked up the 2002 Game Critics Awards for Best Console Game at E3. An editor at IGN said the cartoon look "works very nicely" and that "it feels very much like Zelda". The whimsical style was compared to A Link to the Past and promotional artwork from previous Zelda games. E3 also introduced new features, such as the ability to connect to the Game Boy Advance and receive help from Tingle.

On 15 October 2002, the Japanese subtitle Kaze no Takuto (Baton of Wind) was revealed, to emphasize the role of wind in the game. Nintendo announced the official translation, The Wind Waker, on 2 December 2002, and a North American release date of 24 March 2003 was set two days later.


On 22 November 2002, an update to Nintendo's Japanese Kaze no Takuto website revealed that a special bonus disc was being offered to pre-ordering customers. This bonus GameCube disc, given at the time of the pre-order, contained an emulated version of Ocarina of Time and Ura Zelda, an expansion for Ocarina of Time with modified dungeons and other small changes that had never been previously released due to the failure of the Nintendo 64DD. On 4 December 2002 this offer was extended to North American consumers, with Ura Zelda translated to Ocarina of Time: Master Quest. Some retailers made the mistake of giving the bonus discs away then allowing consumers to cancel their pre-orders without returning the disc. As a result, the European bonus disc was included with The Wind Waker in a two-disc case.

On 17 November 2003, Nintendo released a new GameCube bundle that included The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition, a compilation disc containing versions of The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, a twenty-minute playable demo of The Wind Waker, and two short featurettes. The disc was also given to consumers who registered a GameCube and two games at Nintendo's website or subscribed or renewed a subscription to Nintendo Power.

Wal-Mart customers could buy a special Nintendo GameCube bundle, including The Wind Waker, the Ocarina of Time bonus disc (each in the same case), and a Nintendo GameCube-Game Boy Advance cable for a limited time. In Australia, Collector's Edition was available with the purchase of two GameCube games or a GameCube console; Australians could also purchase a bundle with the console, The Wind Waker and Collector's Edition for a limited time.


See also: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

In Nintendo's 2013 Pre-E3 Nintendo Direct webcast on January 23, 2013, Nintendo announced The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. 'Further information on the game was revealed at E3 2013 and in subsequent Nintendo Directs. The Wind Waker HD first became available on September 20, 2013 as a digital download from the North American Nintendo eShop. The packaged version was released on September 26 in Japan, on October 4 in North America and Europe, and on October 5 in Australia. Two limited edition bundles of the game—one a special edition Wii U Deluxe Set, the other including an exclusive figurine of Ganondorf—were also released in North America and Europe. The remake boasts more sophisticated graphics than the original. Some changes to gameplay were also made, the most significant of which include new items—namely the Swift Sail, the Tingle Bottle, to replace the Tingle Tuner and, an improved Picto Box—as well as the addition of a Hero Mode.


Reviews and awards
Publication Score Comment
EGM 9.83 of 10 Gold Award
Famitsu 40 of 40
Game Informer 10 of 10 Game of the Month, April 2003
GameSpot 9.3 of 10 Game of the Year, 2003[7]
IGN 9.6 of 10 Editor's Choice
NGC Magazine 97% NGC Star Game Award
Nintendo Official Magazine 96% Gold Award
Nintendo Power 5 Stars from all reviewers Game of the Year
Compilations of multiple reviews
Game Rankings 95 of 100 (based on 100 reviews)[8]
Metacritic 96 of 100 (based on 80 reviews)[9]
2004 Game Developers
Choice Awards
Excellence in Visual Arts
7th Annual Interactive
Achievement Awards
Outstanding Achievement
in Art Direction

The Wind Waker is the fourth of eight games to receive a perfect score from Famitsu magazine, despite claims that it lacks the sense of newness that accompanied Ocarina of Time, the first 3D Zelda game.[10] Reviewers favorably noted the gameplay similarities to Ocarina of Time and praised the cel-shaded art style that had initially met a cold reception. GamePro called the game "a combination of vivid artistry and timeless gameplay";[11] IGN advised gamers to "forget that Wind Waker looks totally different from Ocarina of Time" since "these two games are very much alike".[12] The 2004 Game Developers Choice Awards and the Seventh Annual Interactive Achievement Awards gave The Wind Waker awards for Excellence in Visual Arts[13] and Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction,[14] respectively. In 2007, it was named 4th best GameCube game of all time in IGN's feature reflecting on the GameCube's lifespan.[15]

The game's most common criticism is the heavy emphasis on sailing. GameSpot noted that the game "starts out in a very brisk manner", but that in the last third of the game, the "focus on sailing … is pretty tedious".[16] IGN complained that viewing the animation of using the Wind Waker "hundreds of times" became "a tedious nuisance", and that the lack of an option to skip the animation "is more bothersome still".[12] Some critics also felt that the game was easier than previous Zelda games. GameSpot thought that some players would be "a little put off" by the "easy puzzles and boss battles"; IGN called the boss battles "slightly simplistic" and noted that enemies "inflict little damage onto Link". GamePro, on the other hand, felt that the dungeons tended to be "huger and more challenging with new twists", with treasure hunts that would "tax even the most accomplished Zelda gamer".[11]

Despite these negative comments, critics consistently gave The Wind Waker high reviews, with Nintendo Power calling the game the fourth best game to ever appear on a Nintendo console.[17] The game also met commercial success, propelling sales of the GameCube console[18] and becoming the most successful pre-order campaign in Nintendo history.[19] As of July 2006 The Wind Waker was the 13th highest selling game of the 21st century, with 2.2 million copies sold in North America alone.[20]


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