Zelda Still Nothing More Than A Phantom

The more I thought about this new bit of news, the more excited I got. After 20+ years of waiting to be saved by Link, Zelda is coming to the forefront to assert herself as a dominant character in the series. With major female protagonists in triple-A titles countable on one hand, I was encouraged to see this step up for such a beloved character. Perhaps Zelda could do a little adventuring on her own without being Sheik or Tetra.

As I began collecting my resources for this article, setting up the trailer and downloading screenshots and character art, I was a little disappointed in what I found. In this piece of character art, Link is brandishing a sword "protecting" Zelda and then in this screenshot, Zelda is depicted showing hesitation to go on the [read: scary] adventure. Then the icing on the cake: we've known since E3 that you can control a phantom (large hulking monster made of armor) to help you solve puzzles, but to see this screenshot of Zelda telling Link that she is the phantom was a severe letdown.

I read through the press release (below) more thoroughly and watched the trailer (also below). It isn't Zelda that goes along on the journey with Link; it's her spirit that follows Link around in either spirit form, fairy form or in the form of a phantom. I now have no idea why I was excited. I completely understand that Nintendo needed a new game mechanic to sell Spirit Tracks as something more than Phantom Hourglass version 1.1. What I do not understand is why Nintendo felt it necessary to treat Zelda's foray into a major character as nothing more than a gimmick. What this says to me, Nintendo, is that Zelda is incapable of being a true heroine and must either be relegated to a non-corporeal form or shoved into the armor of a strong, manly being. Neither of which is necessary.

I expect more out of Nintendo in terms of female empowerment in their games -- not that Super Princess Peach was a great bastion of feminism by any means. Simply put: for a company that prides itself on breaking stereotypes and boundaries with their audiences, they really dropped the ball on what could have been a powerful message to its fans and the industry as a whole. I'm just saying that maybe it's time for Zelda to save Link.


Newest Entry in Renowned Video Game Series Features Historic Team-Up for Timeless Duo

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 6, 2009 - It was among the most heinous incidents in video game history: In 1986, Princess Zelda™ was kidnapped from the land of Hyrule, setting off an intrepid rescue adventure for young hero Link™. Unfortunately for Zelda, this offense has been repeated more than a dozen times since, leaving her largely out of sight while Link traversed dark dungeons and confronted monstrous enemies alone in order to save her.

This time, in the new Nintendo DS™ and Nintendo DSi™ adventure The Legend of Zelda™: Spirit Tracks, that all changes.

For the first time in the 23-year history of The Legend of Zelda series, Princess Zelda is leaving the villainous clutches of the underworld behind and joining the adventure with Link. In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, the spirit of Zelda accompanies Link on his quest to save Hyrule. Directly impacting game play like never before, Zelda's spirit can take control of hulking suits of armor known as Phantoms, allowing the player to direct both Link and these new allies as they battle enemies, solve puzzles and uncover secrets. Zelda also rides alongside Link on his customizable train, offering wisdom that will help players find new areas, storylines and items. The team of Link and Zelda presents countless new storyline details for fans to enjoy, including a closer look at Princess Zelda herself, one of the most iconic video game characters of all-time.

"More than two decades into its rich history, The Legend of Zelda has introduced another historic first for players as Link and Zelda unite to save Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks," said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of Sales&Marketing. "Combining these unprecedented new story and game-play elements with the series' innovative touch-screen interface on Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi, the game is sure to surprise and delight new and longtime fans."

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks launches in North America on Dec. 7. For more information, visit www.zelda.com/spirittracks.