The Wind Waker introduced a different sort of Zelda overworld, one that we had never experienced before. The concept behind its open-seas transportation was taken further on the DS with the release of Phantom Hourglass. In an attempt to implement the DS’s touch screen, the sailing was replaced this time with steamboat navigation. All Link had to do was draw a line on the map to his destination and the ship would sail there.
With that, the DS games created their very own little sub-type of Transportation overworlds: Fixed Tracks, in which Link has minimal exploration potential and need simply point out where to go. Though different from the other transportation games in gameplay, these overworlds still remained quite similar in their music. Jump in to see!
Title: The Great Sea
Game: Phantom Hourglass (DS)
We are treading some very familiar ground here. While this is not an exact copy of The Wind Waker‘s “Great Sea,” this same-named iteration is still extremely similar. It is so close that its few differences could easily be blamed on nothing more than the DS’s software limitations.
With that in mind, though, I would say that this song is still pretty good. I vastly prefer Wind Waker‘s version since it is such higher quality, but nonetheless the tune works just fine on DS anyway.
There is a slightly different application for this tune here as well. As I mentioned above, instead of an open overworld with endless exploration potential, you are now in a more fixed motion since Link’s ship literally follows a line to his destination. Even with the point-and-tap cannon shots and occasional jumps, the travelling segments in this game lack the same epic feel as Wind Waker‘s in my opinion. In that case, I suppose it is more fitting that the tune’s hardware is a bit more restrained.
Title: Overworld Adventure
Game: Spirit Tracks (DS)
Ah, here we are; the highlight of DS Zelda soundtracks, and one of my favorite overworlds in the entire series. I have actually written an article about this track before, but I have no problem talking about it again. Still, I will keep it brief; for more about the track you can check out its original post.
A lot of Zelda games managed to take their overworlds unique traits into consideration when the music was composed. Still, among all the excellent musical pieces, Spirit Tracks still stands out fairly well. One of my favorite parts of this song is the undercurrent of banjos and tambourines. The pair make up a steady rhythm that match perfectly with the train’s chugging noises. I find this to be an excellent use of an overworld’s theme for its tune, and it is one of the standout parts of Spirit Tracks for me.
That concludes the DS games, which marks the end of the transportation overworld section of this Overworld series. So, as a recap of the past month or so:
Week 1, I summarized what makes an overworld theme and specified the different categories.
In Week 2 I covered the first batch of exploration overworlds with The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, A Link to the Past, and The Minish Cap.
With Week 3, I chose to focus entirely on Twilight Princess and the way the game used its overworld tune as a recurring theme.
For Week 4 we came to the GameBoy games, including both Oracle games and Link’s Awakening, which all shared a common tune.
Finally, Week 5 covered Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, bringing the Exploration overworld titles to a close.
Last week I covered the first half of the Transport overworlds with The Wind Waker and Skyward Sword, and this week of course ended that section with the DS titles.
This leaves just two more Zelda games: Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures, which are the unique Stage Select games that don’t have an interconnected overworld but rather segmented gameplay sections connected by menus. Check back next week to see their inclusion!