|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nintendo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 19, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
Some of you might not have heard about this game before unless you paid close attention to Nintendo's announcements at this year's E3. For months I've been anticipating this title and its cool new controller, the Wii Zapper. This is one of those special cases where you buy an accessory and get a game with it, much in the style of Wii-Play, where you are basically buying a Wii-mote along with a $10 game. Even the Wii hardware itself comes packed with Wii-Sports, which is not a fully developed game and is considered more of a test. You can't expect a whole lot from these titles, but at the moment of truth, they've proved to be the most popular and fun to play, especially when it comes to social entertainment.
Link's Crossbow Training is a simple shooting game, full of shooting galleries that borrow the environments and characters from the latest Legend of Zelda console game, Twilight Princess. You'll be aiming and shooting at targets, bulblins, kargaroks, keeses, chilfos, skeletons, and more to earn points; you can even up your score by shooting at rupees that come out of some broken ceramic pots. When you shoot more than one target in a row, you'll obtain a multiplier that will increase your score as you continue to hit targets; when you fail a shoot, the multiplier will reset to zero. The game has eight main levels with three stages each, plus the final level. Each of those three stages has the same goal throughout the different levels. In the first one you'll simply shoot at targets that show up, in the second one you'll shoot at moving enemies that come towards you (which you can track on the radar), and in the third one you'll move Link and look around for enemies to shoot at, as if it were a first person shooter. The difficulty level increases gradually as you advance through the levels, but it never gets truly difficult or impossible, which is nice. In some stages the targets will show up randomly; in others, the weird-looking Ooccas will fly through the skies while holding targets with their claws or the Gorons will put targets in front of their belly, etc.
There are three game modes: Score Attack, Multiplayer, and Practice. In Score Attack you should try to get as many points as possible in each stage. At the end of the level, the points will be added. If you did well enough, you'll obtain a medal. Bronze medals are easy to get, as the requirement is a mere 20,000 points. However, silver requires 40,000 points and you'll need 60,000 to reach the gold. To make it more challenging, one could even get a platinum medal by obtaining 80,000 points or more! I have to admit I only got one of those, but it felt really good when I did. The game saves the high scores and puts your Mii face next to them so you can feel proud and happy. There's no online competition, but it would have been nice!
The game controls very well, with or without the Wii Zapper. However, using the new accessory really adds to the experience. I recommend using it, especially if you want to maximize your Wii's potential. Link's Crossbow Training will make you sharpen your shooting abilities and accuracy so you can be that much better at other shooters like the new Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, Medal of Honor: Heroes 2, or the upcoming Ghost Squad. The Wii Zapper is a hard plastic shell that holds the Wii-mote and the Nunchuk in place in the shape of a shotgun. It doesn't look like a real gun but instead like a cool piece of hardware that belongs to the Wii family with its soft white finish. Both controllers are firmly attached to the casing, and a button and two plastic covers will allow you to easily release the controllers once you're done playing. Controller skins and wrist straps are not compatible with the Zapper, so you'll have to remove those before installing the controllers on your Wii Zapper. If you don't mind the investment, it might be a good idea to have a Nunchuk and Wii-mote permanently built into your Wii-Zapper so you don't have to deal with the installation every time you want to play. Overall, the Zapper is a fine plastic piece that makes shooting games more realistic and entertaining. It's not for everyone, but at the low price of $24.99 and including a game, you can't really go wrong.