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A Pack-in That is Short but Definitely Sweet
When you look at it, the Wii Zapper is nothing more than a gun-shaped shell that holds the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Granted it has a pretty cool design, but that’s all it really is. Considering it comes bundled with Link’s Crossbow Training, though, it’s safe to say that this gun-shaped shell is worth the cost. Link’s Crossbow Training isn’t very long-lasting, but it makes the purchase of the Wii Zapper a very enticing deal.
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Gameplay and Controls
Link’s Crossbow Training features three modes of play and a multiplayer component. Target Shooting is the most basic gameplay mode. You simply aim your crossbow and shoot the targets as they appear. Things such as bull’s eye hits and combo chains help accrue more points, and targets marked with a blue X will lower your score and end your combo. It’s a simple mode of play, but a fun one nonetheless, and a great way to get the hang of the aiming controls.
Defender is the second mode of play, and it is similar to Target Shooting. The main difference is that instead of targets you’ll be taking out enemies. You can earn combo bonuses here too, and enemies will throw things, shoot arrows, and attack you in an attempt to lower your score. Unlike in Target Shooting, Defender allows you to turn in different directions by aiming the Wii Zapper off the screen. Doing this, Link will turn his head to other dangers, and you can continue taking out hordes of enemies.
Ranger is the final gameplay mode, and it takes a little getting used to. Here you take control of Link in a third-person perspective, and you roam around different locales as you take out enemies before time runs out. You control link using the Nunchuk’s analog stick, you aim with the Wii Zapper, and you change directions by aiming off-screen. There’s a bit of a learning curve at first, but controlling Link with the analog stick and aiming with the Wii Zapper quickly become second nature.
The game’s multiplayer mode supports up to four players, and it’s no different than the single-player component save for the fact that you alternate with other players as you try to earn the highest score. There’s some fun to be had with this mode as playing with others is always entertaining, but as previously mentioned, it’s not really different than the single-player mode. A 4-player death match mode designed similarly to Ranger would have been a cool addition, but alas all that’s included is an alternating mode.
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Graphics and Sound
Link’s Crossbow Training features graphics straight out of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. That’s not a bad thing at all, though, because that game’s graphics were good. And considering Link’s Crossbow Training can essentially be seen as an expanded tech demo to show off what the Wii Zapper is capable of, the graphics manage to exceed expectations.
The sound design in the game is right up there as well. If you played Twilight Princess, you’ll recall most of the themes that are included in this game. Aside from the enjoyable soundtrack, the game’s sound effects, while nothing spectacular, get the job done. You’ll hear jars breaking, targets getting blasted, and enemy groans. Additionally, you’ll hear your crossbow’s firing sounds through the Wii Remote’s speaker, which is pretty cool.
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It would be hard to expect a pack-in such as Link’s Crossbow Training to last very long, but the game still leaves a bit of value to be desired. If you enjoy playing with friends, then you’re likely to find some longevity to this title, but it’s nothing that will make this the next great party game. Additionally, if you aim for the highest scores and try to collect a platinum medal in every stage, you’ll definitely get some extra mileage out of Link’s Crossbow Training. And while there are only just over 25 stages in the game, you’ll constantly find yourself trying to improve your score and playing each level “just one more time.”
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Link’s Crossbow Training is a very fun game. Having said that, Link’s Crossbow Training is also a very short game. Perhaps if Nintendo would have doubled the number of stages and included a four-player simultaneous multiplayer mode, then the game would have felt more complete. But for what is basically a pack-in included to help get the feel for the Wii Zapper peripheral, Link’s Crossbow Training really delivers, and it will leave you wanting more. Not because there’s much to be desired in the game’s design, but because it’s so much fun that you’ll wish there was more to do in the game.