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If you’re a Zelda fan, you know the drill.

Unimportant little Link from a rural village goes to Hyrule. Some sort of curse has fallen on the princess/kingdom/world. Link needs to collect objects, learn his true calling, fight the big baddy and save Princess Zelda.

Hey, the basic plot’s pretty standard, but it’s the puzzles and the action that keep us coming back.

It’s pretty much the same with the latest version — “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.” However, this time, the action’s packed into a game developed for Nintendo’s new Wii console, as well as the older GameCube.

I tested the Wii version, which boasts better graphics and gameplay using innovative motion-sensitive controllers. Both developments make a huge difference and make the game much more enjoyable.

In “Twilight Princess,” our elven hero Link starts off as a teenage farmhand. When he’s sent to deliver a sword to the royal court of Hyrule, he learns that the realm is cursed, setting him off on his adventure.

The first big twist in the plot comes when Link encounters villains who turn him into a dog — well, actually a wolf, but he’s really very doggish. The second twist comes when Link acquires a magical sidekick who looks like a refugee from a “Star Trek” episode about the Borg, those half-human/half-machine creatures who cause all sorts of trouble.

No matter what happens in the storyline, it can’t be denied that the biggest change in the game involves the use of the controllers. Wii’s standard controller — which looks like a simplified TV remote — is used for most actions, including sword attacks and aiming slingshot pellets and arrows. Also, the “Nunchuk” — which is attached to the primary controller by a footlong cable — is used for guiding Link’s movements and locking onto targets.

This control system is very intuitive and works quite well. Aiming at a target by actually pointing something — the primary controller in this case — was much more satisfying than twiddling a miniature joystick. Along the same lines, it was very good to actually “swing a sword” at my digital foes.

Another pleasing development involves the graphics. Earlier Zelda games typically offered simple, blocky graphics that served their purpose but didn’t go much further. However, the rendering and animations in “Twilight Princess” are far richer — even if we’re not talking PlayStation 3’s high definition.

Overall, the game represents a promising start for Nintendo’s new platform.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Platform: Wii, GameCube

Rating: T, for ages 13 and older

On the Web:http://us.wii.com/soft_loz_tp.jsp


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