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The Battle Formations are used in Four Swords Adventures to unite the Links into set positions as they take on hoards of enemies and solve puzzles. None of the formations can be used during four player games, nor in side-scrolling areas such as the Tower of Winds. Each of the Battle Formations has its own strengths and weaknesses in certain situations. Link will learn each of them in the first area of Whereabouts of the Wind, Lake Hylia.
The four Links face at 90 degree angles back-to-back and a space between, which enables them to defend one another from all 4 directions. Most useful while surrounded entirely, but this formation also enables a powerful Spin Attack.
All four Links file into a horizontal line side-by-side. This formation is most useful when the on-screen enemies are concentrated to the upper or lower portions of the area. Anything attacking from the sides will only be fended off by a single Link. Other beneficial uses of this formation is to clear wide swaths of growth, pull levers, and move large blocks from the northern or southern faces.
Much like the Wide formation, except that the single file line is a vertical one. The pros and cons of this formation are only different by the focal point of the action required.
The Box formation is the most compact of the formations. This formation offers versatility for the Links to attack oncoming enemies 2 x 2 from any direction, but gets most of its use in tight spaces.
The default formation in which one Link leads the rest in a loose line. The leader can be chosen among the available Links, which decreases as the number of players increases. The Link in the green tunic is defaulted to the leader in Single Player games. Normally only the leading Link can carry an item (such as Keys or a Moon Pearl), but picking the item up and switching the leader will eliminate the vulnerability factor.
A single Link will break away from the others as they literally take a seat. This is useful to grab a comrade and toss him as needed, as well as to set the Links on distant switches.
- "Formations are not available in four player games. You cannot use formations in side-scrolling areas." (Four Swords Adventure manual, pg. 17)
- "All four Links stand back-to-back, ready to attack in all four directions." (Four Swords Adventure manual, pg. 17)
- "This formation is very useful when you're surrounded by enemies. You can do a super spinning attack in this formation." (Four Swords Adventure manual, pg. 17)
- "Links form up in a single horizontal line. It's useful for moving large blocks or gutting wide patches of grass." (Four Swords Adventure manual, pg. 17)
- "Links line up in a single vertical row. As with the Wide formation, it's good for moving blocks." (Four Swords Adventure manual, pg. 17)
- "Two Links wide, two Links dee! This compact formation helps you avoid attacks better than the other formations do. It's useful in attacking in tight spaces, too." (Four Swords Adventure manual, pg. 17)
- "Other Links simply follow behind the leader. Switch leaders using SELECT or the X Button." (Four Swords Adventure manual, pg. 17)
- "If you want to break away from the group and control just the head Link, press SELECT or the X Button." (Four Swords Adventure manual, pg. 17)