The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Japanese: ゼルダの伝説 トワイライトプリンセス Zeruda no Densetsu Towairaito Purinsesu) is the thirteenth title in the series. It released worldwide in November 2006 on Wii, and again the following month for the Nintendo GameCube for all regions.
It is the first in the series to debut alongside a console (Wii), to release outside of Japan first, to have the same game on two different consoles simultaneously (GameCube and Wii), to receive a T rating by the ESRB, and to feature Link as a righty (in the Wii version for control scheme reasons). It is the first game to have a fully voice-acted character (with Midna, although all her lines are in indecipherable words). Twilight Princess was also the last Nintendo-published game for the GameCube before switching all resources to Wii.
Twilight Princess was considered a return to form in terms of graphics by those who disliked The Wind Waker and the following handheld titles’ use of cel-shaded graphics by using a more realistic art style of Ocarina of Time. Critics universally hailed the title as the best game of 2006 and possibly the best in the series and noted its graphics and art style, though technically lacking for its generation due to originally designed for the GameCube. The Wii version’s motion controls were called the best of any game upon the system’s release. The score, while praised for its reminiscent value to the rest of the series, was criticized for being repetitive, the lack of fully orchestrated music (only tracks during key scenes were live), and true voice acting.
The game was also very commercially successful, selling 5.85 million copies worldwide (4.5 million on Wii and 1.3 million on GameCube), making it the third best selling game in the series.
Deep in the southernmost region of the kingdom of Hyrule lies a village by the name of Ordon. Cradled in the scenic beauty of pristine farmland, the villagers of Ordon make a living by raising livestock. Among the villagers is a boy known as the most skillful rider in all the land. A boy who, it is expected, will one day take over the responsibility of leading Ordon as the village chief. His name is Link…
Trusted and liked by all the villagers, Link is especially loved by the other children of Ordon, among whom he holds the unofficial status as the leader of the pack. Link spends his days as a ranch hand and learns the ways of the sword from the village’s lone swordsman, Rusl, in his spare time. He often displays his newly honed skills to the village youth, which makes him even more popular.
One day Link is showing off his swordsmanship as usual, when a monkey appears. “Hey! That’s the monkey that’s been causing trouble all over the village! Let’s get him,” cry the children. They run after the monkey into the forest. Link rushes into the heart of the woods after them and is shocked to find that the dark thickets are teeming with countless monsters. After fighting his way through their ranks, Link rescues the child and the monkey from the cage where they are held captive.
Until now, the forest had always been a safe place…
The next day, after much encouragement by Rusl, Link prepares to set out and deliver the village’s tribute to Hyrule Castle. Having never visited the castle before, Link is in high spirits as he prepares for his journey. But when his childhood friend Ilia notices a wound on Epona’s hauch, she gives Link an earful for being so careless with his horse. In a huff, Ilia leads Epona away.
Link tracks down Epona and Ilia at the mystical spring nearby and attempts to apologize for injuring Epona. But no matter how many times he says he’s sorry, Ilia simply refuses to forgive Link. Then Colin, a young boy from the village who idolizes Link, steps forward to mediate the situation. Thanks to Colin’s explanation, Link is finally able to get Ilia to drop her guard and talk with him. Having warmed back up, Ilia tells Link, “Come back safely, and don’t do anything reckless!”
A monster astride a huge boar comes crashing out of the forest. The fearsome monster and its mount break through the gate to the spring and attack the youths.
Caught off guard by the sudden assault, Link is helpless to stop the monster from delivering a blow that renders him unconscious. Through the fog of his half-conscious mind, Link watches Colin and Ilia get swept off by the monster…