Link's Crossbow Training

Link's Crossbow Training
Link's Crossbow Training Cover
Platforms Wii
Genre The Legend of Zelda: Crossbow of Shooting
MtAMinutes to Action 0
Keep Playing? Nothing left to play...
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Remember when Nintendo gave Link a gun? I did when I found this baby at the media exchange shop. I wish I could say I just scored a Zelda game for a dollar, but there’s actually no “Legend of Zelda” in Link's Crossbow Training, so that would be incorrect. Also, it was two dollars.

It seems blasphemous to send Link on an adventure without his trusty sword and shield, but is it outrageous that I’m kind of excited about the idea? Zooming the Wii remote’s infrared pointer around is my favorite aspect of playing Wii games, and my best memories of Twilight Princess involved loosing arrows at goblins from horseback. Seriously, if this game lets me shoot Ganon in the face with some crossbow bolts, I may have to give it a perfect score.

I guess that seems unlikely, as any confrontation with the ultimate evil is unlikely to happen during crossbow “training.” I’ll probably just shoot targets and maybe a goblin or two. But maybe someday I’ll get my sequel, my Link’s Crossbow Conquest...

- I wasn’t expecting much production value from a pack-in game for a $20 plastic peripheral, and LCT still disappoints. Perhaps it was dumb to hope for even a nugget of context for Link’s newfound love of projectile weaponry, but the sterile menu clashes poorly with the Zelda-themed action and is lazy by Nintendo standards. At least load times are short, and the Twilight Princess look and sound are still serviceable even five years later. (A note: any strange audio distortions in the embedded videos are a strange side effect of my video capture device, and not the game itself. Sorry about that.)

- The game’s 27 mini-scenarios fall into three styles of gameplay: on-rails target shooting, stationary 360-degree “Defender” stands, and third-person “Ranger” shooting levels in which you move with the control stick. In all modes, the IR pointer aims, the B trigger fires, and the Z trigger zooms-in. You can also hold the B trigger to charge up Bomb Arrows, useful for taking out large groups and tougher foes, but detrimental to more sensitive targeting situations. Though it’s annoying to turn by pointing the controller off-screen, the controls as a whole feel responsive and efficient, like any target shooter should.

- The cursor seems kind of jerky to me. I guess it’s running at around 30 FPS, and I had to turn the sensitivity all the way down to feel comfortable with it. Considering the accuracy required, I miss the laser-pointer quickness of Red Steel 2. Still, at least there is a sensitivity slider, a luxury few early Wii games had.

- For a one-button shooter, Training has ample variety in its scenarios. Target shooting often involves moving targets, a sliding vantage point, and penalty targets. Enemies in the Defender and Ranger stages have unique quirks and movements, making the strategy in each stage a bit different. There are even a couple boss encounters, which provide the requisite glowing weak spot exploitation. The game doesn’t last long, but it stays fresh through its short run time.

- It may be tempting to try and nail every single target (as well as the extra objects like pots and skulls and pumpkins), but the key to high scores is frugality. Each consecutive hit adds to the point multiplier, which grows well over the 40x mark in some stages. A single wasted shot resets that exponential boost back to zero, killing what could be considerable momentum. Heck, I earned 100,000 points in a single 60-second stage because I never missed a shot. That’s 20,000 points more than the platinum requirement for the whole three-stage level.

- The game also has a multiplayer suite, though GameFAQs tells me it’s just taking turns in singleplayer stages to compete for high scores. No shooting each other up with crossbows in splitscreen, unfortunately.

Minutes to Action: 0

Would I Keep Playing? Yes...if there was anything left to play. I finished all of the singleplayer stages at about the 40-minute mark, and I earned all the platinum medals right as the first hour ended. With just nine Levels, each lasting under five minutes, Link’s Crossbow Training is definitely not worth the $20 that Nintendo originally charged, though it’s a decent evening distraction if you’re in the mood for shooting up the ne’erdowells of Hyrule and have a few bucks to throw in the bargain bin.

Links Crossbow Training Platinums