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The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
- This article is about the game. For the rails, see Spirit Tracks (Object). For other uses, see Spirit Tracks (Disambiguation).
- 1 Story
- 2 Development
- 3 Gameplay
- 4 Game Information
- 5 Listings
- 6 Reception
- 7 Legacy
- 8 Nomenclature
- 9 Gallery
- 10 External links
- 11 References
Chancellor Cole's plans
|This is a tale from long ago. It's the tale of the first settlers of this land.|
|— Spirit Tracks prologue|
Following the events of Phantom Hourglass, Link, Tetra, and the other pirates come across a new land that is ruled over by the Spirits of Good, who were responsible for sealing the land's tyrant, Malladus, into the earth after the concourse of the War that happened between Malladus and the Spirits of Good with the railroad tracks called Spirit Tracks that spiral and work their way all over the vibrant landscape. In this new land, Tetra founded the new kingdom of Hyrule. A hundred years later, in Hyrule Castle, Princess Zelda is seen handing Link a diploma, honoring him as an official Royal Engineer. At the same time, however, Zelda also slips Link a personal message stating that she has been suspicious of Chancellor Cole, Princess Zelda's right-hand adviser. After learning such information, Link sneaks Zelda out of the castle and meets up with Alfonzo, his master who trained him into being a Royal Engineer. He helps Link and Zelda escape the castle and get on a train, when suddenly, the tracks disappear, causing the train to crash. Chancellor Cole and his assistant, Byrne, then confronts the three: taking down Alfonzo, Link, and even Zelda, giving the Demon Train enough time to disrupt the natural order and structure of the generation point of the Spirit Tracks, the Tower of Spirits. Chancellor Cole takes away Zelda's body, yet her spirit appears after Link reawakens in Hyrule Castle, where only Link can see her. When Link meets Zelda as a spirit for the first time, Zelda gives him the Spirit Flute, a magical flute that has strange powers. Zelda then asks Link to take her to the Tower of Spirits to find out why the tracks disappeared, until she realizes that the tracks are gone, and the only way to get to the tower now is by an old tunnel in the back of the castle.
The Spirit Tracks
When Link and Zelda reach the Tower of Spirits, they meet a strange old woman named Anjean, who calls herself a Lokomo. Anjean speaks to Link and Zelda about Malladus and as to why the tracks disappeared, then explains that the only way to restore the Spirit Tracks is to obtain Rail Maps from the Tower, which will reveal Spirit Tracks to four of the five temples across the land, all of which require a restored power base to provide adequate protection and added strength to the Spirit Tracks in their realms. It is up in the tower that Zelda realizes that she can possess Phantoms, which are the guardians of the tower. Lastly, Anjean tells Link that if he goes to Gage, a Lokomo like Anjean, and by playing the Spirit Flute, Link and the Lokomo of the first four respective realms can restore the power to the rail map, thus revealing the path to the temples. Anjean then grants Link the Spirit Train, the sacred locomotive docked at the bottom level of the Tower, which Link uses throughout the rest of the game.
The temples visited are the Forest Temple (in the Forest Realm), the Snow Temple (in the Snow Realm), the Ocean Temple (in the Ocean Realm), and the Fire Temple (in the Fire Realm). Once Link and Zelda restore the last of the Spirit Tracks, the last thing that they need to do to prevent Malladus from resurrecting is to lock him back under the altar at the top of the tower. Link and Zelda climb the tower, only to meet, fight, and defeat Byrne again. He escapes back to Cole at the top of the altar, however, so Link and Zelda follow him. Just as they reach the top of the tower, Malladus' resurrection is complete, and Zelda cannot return to her body because Malladus is occupying it. Byrne asks Malladus for powers that he always dreamed of, but because he once served the Spirits, Malladus will not give him the power. Instead, using his magic, he knocks him unconscious. Hastily, Cole and Malladus escape on Malladus' train, the Demon Train, and go back to the Dark Realm, where the Demon Train came from. Anjean then comes up to the top of the tower, and shows Link and Zelda that she was not killed by Byrne.
The Bow and Compass of Light
Link takes Byrne to his train, and Anjean tells Link and Zelda the final possibility to destroy Malladus. Link must go to the fifth (and at the time unexplored) temple, the Sand Temple from the desert, and obtain the Bow of Light, a weapon the Spirits used in the War that happened between Malladus and the Spirits of Good. The Bow of Light has the power to split the soul of one from their body. Anjean then gives Link a Force Gem, a particular one that reveals previously unknown tracks far into the desert between the Fire and Ocean Realms.
Link obtains the Bow of Light from the Sand Temple, only to find that Anjean can't find a way into the Dark Realm, halting the adventure further. Byrne then tells them about a Compass of Light that is below the altar. That compass reveals all places in the world linked to the Dark Realm. Link and Zelda proceed to go to the Tower of Spirits for the final time to obtain the Compass of Light. Anjean then gives Link the Lokomo Sword, which was also a weapon the Spirits fought with, but Anjean thinks Link is the one who is meant to use it. The sword is said to be full of energy.
Link and Zelda obtain the Compass of Light, revealing that a place linked to the Dark Realm had been west of Links home village all along. Link travels on the Spirit Train to that exact place to find a portal that leads into the darkness, and attempts to destroy Malladus once and for all.
Link and Zelda find the Demon Train in the Dark Realm, and a battle across a track road begins. Link fights using the train on his own, and eventually, makes the Demon Train come to a halt, giving him a chance to go on board. Anjean gives Zelda a Phantom armor which she possesses and can use to help Link in the next battle. They both climb on top of the train to find Cole and Malladus. Cole then starts up the train and begins to attack them, while Malladus is on the end of the train firing lasers. Zelda and Link eventually reach the front of the train and Zelda grabs Malladus, giving Link the key opportunity to shoot him with the Bow of Light. Malladus is being split from Zelda's body, until the Demon Train crashes, leaving everyone in the land of Hyrule again.
Malladus' spirit leaves from Zelda's body, giving her a chance to retrieve it. At first, she is unable to due to the fact that she has been separated from her body for so long. Malladus is about to come back and possess Zelda's body until Byrne shows up and stops him. Byrne tells Zelda that she has to focus her power in order to return to it. She finally gets her body back, but Byrne (because of his interference) loses his life after Malladus uses his magic to kill him. Malladus then decides he must stop Link and Zelda, and takes Cole's body. He then transforms into a giant beast and attempts to destroy them. However, Link and Zelda team up and fight against him. Link then deals the final blow in his forehead with the Lokomo Sword. Malladus dissolves into light, returning the world back to normal. Anjean comes to the battlefield, and uses magic to give life back to Byrne (not for an immediate revival, but for him to return several years later). Anjean then explains what she wanted Zelda and Link to do. Lokomos were placed on the Earth not only to watch over the Spirit Tracks, but mankind as well. Anjean believes that man doesn't need guidance anymore, so she and the other five Lokomos return to the heavens with Byrne. Anjean entrusts the land to Zelda, and tells Link he must help her watch over it.
Right before Link and Princess Zelda hop on the Demon Train, the latter asks the young hero about his future. Depending on the option chosen, there will be a slight difference on the post-credits scene. In all three possible cases, this scene begins with Zelda writing a book, with the Teacher accompanying her. If Link tells her that he'll continue being a train engineer, the final scene shows the princess hearing the Spirit Train whistling; she approaches the window and greets her savior as he navigates through the Forest Realm. If Link tells her that he'll remain as a swordsman instead, the final scene shows Zelda approaching the window to see Link practicing his combat abilities, although he is accidentally injured in the process. Finally, if Link tells her that he's still unsure regarding either career or skips the scene, the final scene simply shows Zelda continuing with her work.
In any case, when the epilogue concludes, the game screen aims at the sky to indicate that the story is finally over.
Despite early speculation, the game is compatible on all installments of the Nintendo DS, and does not feature enhancements when played with the Nintendo DSi.
The game is notable for its changes from Phantom Hourglass. For example, rolling simply requires double-tapping the touch screen, instead of circling at an extreme with the stylus.
The signature central dungeon, Tower of Spirits, no longer includes a curse that weakens Link and kills him when the time limit runs out. Due to this change, the time limit itself has also been omitted. This renders the "Safe Zones" only useful for hiding from enemies. In addition, the floors of the Tower only have to be explored once each, as there's a central staircase that allows direct access to newer areas. Princess Zelda, who replaces Ciela from Phantom Hourglass as Link's partner, serves a more helpful purpose through her ability to possess Phantoms that inhabit the tower.
Obtainment of Train Cars is easier than the search of Ship Parts in Phantom Hourglass, whose locations are entirely random. In this game, they can be purchased with treasures, which are still random but also present in a wider variety of forms and objects; thanks to this, search for the golden parts can be made more directly. Another aspect that simplifies the Train Car collection is that the Spirit Train itself will have up to four different cars only, as opposed to the SS Linebeck's eight ship pieces.
Whereas in Phantom Hourglass players traveled the overworld by steamboat, Spirit Tracks features the Spirit Train as the mode of transportation. Because of the presence of rails, the train has a finite amount of degrees of freedom, only able to change directions when approaching a bifurcation, and having its possible destinations well-defined. On the other hand, the train is capable of carrying passengers from one place to another and, eventually, transporting and delivering heavy items as well.
As the Tower of Spirits is progressively conquered to collect Rail Maps, the temples are beaten to restore their Force Gems, Lokomo Duets are successfully performed, and train-based sidequests are completed to receive extra Force Gems, new tracks become available in order to ease the travel and give more freedom, as well as to unlock secret stations (thus new places, including temples), capture new rabbits, and even discover gates that allow the young hero to warp from one part of Hyrule to another instantly.
Link must be aware of enemies that try to destroy the train, and even take passengers with them. Evil machines like the Dark and Armored Trains will patrol the tracks as well, and they're able to immediately destroy the Spirit Train and kill Link instantly.
Graphics and Audio
Spirit Tracks makes use of cel-shading graphics, which is consistent with its predecessors. Being a 3D game, the game uses 2D-style perspective while Link is on foot in a town, temple, sanctuary, or any other regular destination. 3D is resumed during train travels, boss battles, certain minigames, and while Link plays the Spirit Flute.
Some of the characters' models are directly based on those of Phantom Hourglass characters, a trend that was seen first with Majora's Mask in comparison to Ocarina of Time, as well as with Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons compared to Link's Awakening. Also, several places have a more detailed decoration than those of Phantom Hourglass.
In regards to the audio, the game has a more diverse soundtrack than its predecessor, although the sound effects are similar.
The game takes place on a new incarnation of Hyrule (which, due to the original kingdom being extinct after the Great Flood, is nicknamed New Hyrule). There are five Realms: The Forest Realm (southwest), the Snow Realm (northwest), the Ocean Realm (southeast), the Fire Realm (northeast), and the Sand Realm (east). The Tower of Spirits lies at the center of the land, and serves as the core of the Spirit Tracks' power. The dimensions of this land's geography are at least twice as big as those of the World of the Ocean King, but still smaller than those of the Great Sea.
Several races, such as the Hylians and the Gorons, inhabit their corresponding Realms, and live in places that can only be accessed through the stations where the trains can stop. There are several islands as well, but those beyond the reach of the Ocean Realm are inaccessible.
Spirit Tracks' place in the Zelda Timeline is well defined by numerous direct references to its two prequels: The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass. It is, after the aforementioned titles, the third entry in the Adult Timeline which, like the parallel Child and Downfall timelines, has heavy its roots in the events of Ocarina of Time. Link does not appear to be a direct descendant of the hero from the earlier games in this story arc, even though Spirit Tracks clearly follows the same storyline, occurring roughly a century after the events of Phantom Hourglass.
In this game, an incarnation of Zelda is once again portrayed as the sole ruler of the Kingdom of Hyrule. She is the great-great-granddaughter of Tetra from The Wind Waker and Princess Zelda V of the new kingdom. A brief cutscene shows a stained glass portrait of Tetra above Zelda's throne, and as Zelda herself tells to Anjean in the Tower of Spirits, the people living in the newly established kingdom are aware of their heritage and the connection to the old Hyrule. The soldiers protecting the kingdom wear green clothes, a reference to the signature clothes of the Hero of Winds, also from The Wind Waker.
The only recurring character from the two preceding games is Niko, a former crewman of Tetra's pirate ship. Niko has reached his elderly years and resides in Aboda Village, sharing a house with Link. When he sees Link dressed in his green garb, Niko mentions that it reminds him of an old friend. Link also meets Linebeck III, who is a direct descendant of Linebeck whom Link traveled with in Phantom Hourglass. The Anouki tribe living in Anouki Village, as revealed by one of its inhabitants, descends from the people that had migrated from the Isle of Frost, a place found in the World of the Ocean King in Phantom Hourglass.
A limited edition bundle was also released only in Europe. It included a copy of the game and two figurines, one of Link and one of a Phantom, all inside of a tin case.
- Main article: Speedrun Records
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The game was commercially successful, selling 2.61 million copies worldwide, despite not selling as well as its predecessor, Phantom Hourglass.
Reviews and Awards
Prior to its release, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks received the "Best Handheld Game" award at Gamescom 2009. The game was also selected by IGN as their "Best of Gamescom 2009" winner for the Nintendo DS.
Spirit Tracks has received generally favorable reviews, which have mostly commented on how it managed to improve on its predecessor, Phantom Hourglass. For instance, IGN praised the design of the central Spirit Tower of the game, calling it "far more diverse than its predecessor," the Temple of the Ocean King from Phantom Hourglass. GameSpot praised the design of the dungeons, the participation of Princess Zelda in this adventure, and the diversity of sidequests, but argued that the game wasn't too challenging. Metacritic gives the game a score of 87/100, based on 44 critic reviews.
In a review of the game, G4 commented that Spirit Tracks improved upon Phantom Hourglass. Improvements cited included the removal of the time limit, and not having to go through the entire dungeon again and again. As a celebration of the game's launch, Nintendo Power wrote an article in December 2009 to rank the then-available The Legend of Zelda games from worst to best, as well as to choose their favorite item, dungeon, boss, etc.
|Names in Other Regions|
|Japanese||ゼルダの伝説 大地の汽笛 (Zeruda no Densetsu Daichi no Kiteki)||The Legend of Zelda: Steam Whistle of the Earth|
|German||The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks|
|Korean||젤다의 전설 대지의 기적|
- The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks Preview, IGN.
- "Incidentally, you may remember that just before fighting the final boss, Zelda asks Link what he would like to become. The ending actually changes slightly depending on which answer you choose!" (Nintendo Sound Selection: Endings & Credits (Nintendo Co., Ltd.) pg. 16)
- Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 291
- "Yes, it is actually a sequel and it is taking place about 100 years after the world of the game Phantom Hourglass." —Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks Eiji Aonuma Interview)
- Kit Ellis interview, G4TV.com.
- The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks - Any%, Speedrun.
- The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks - 100%, Speedrun.
- Supplementary Information about Earnings Release, May 2010, Nintendo.
- Weekly video game releases: 'The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks,' 'Resident Evil: Zero,' 'Blue Toad Murder Files', The Independent, retrieved July 19, 2020.
- GC 2009: Best of Gamescom 2009 Winners, IGN, published August 28, 2009, retrieved July 19, 2020.
- The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks - Nintendo DS Review at IGN
- The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks Review for DS - GameSpot