AlphaBlue-09 over at LegendofZelda.com has put together a lengthy article of what he thinks Link really is, what he really isn’t, and what he ought to be. It really is quite a long article and it encompasses several pressing Zelda topics of debate all in one. If you’ve got some extra time on your hands, you can check out the lengthy article. A quick warning that there is some swearing involved, but nothing too bad. There is a lot to discuss in the article but I’m going to pick out one tiny excerpt that I found interesting.
Sidekicks are integral for heroes, or so they tell me. Friends tell me that sidekicks make excellent foils, that they give voice to the silent types, that they provide both moral and physical compass with which to navigate and traverse one’s environment.
Sidekicks in the Legend of Zelda series have been a rather consistent inclusion ever since the days of the good ole owl from a Link’s Awakening. Granted the owls inclusion was more of a guide from time to time, rather than a full fledged sidekick, but it seemed to really work. In both of the Nintendo 64 titles, we got fairies as our sidekick and that was brought back in Phantom Hourglass. In the Wind Waker we got a talking boat, in Minish Cap a talking hat, and in Twilight Princess an imp known as Midna. In the Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks, it seemed like a bit of a change in direction as our sidekick was none other than Princess Zelda herself, yet her comments and advice seemed all too familiar with many of the previous sidekicks.
What I think the series needs to do, is go back to the formula found within Link’s Awakening and which was later revitalized in the Oracle of Ages. Link is on his own and must navigate the world by himself, but throughout the game there are numerous characters that reappear to help guide his way or provide some constant storyline interaction. In the Oracle of Ages, Link spoke with the Maku Tree very often throughout the game and she even communicated telepathically, giving Link some advice from time to time. Additionally, Link was somewhat working alongside Ralph as they both had a common goal of rescuing Nayru and defeating the evil Veran.
The sidekicks of the Maku Tree and Ralph, along with the seemingly endless number of characters in the Oracle of Ages let there be some constant interaction with the people of Labrynna, yet there was no direct sidekick to hold your hand throughout the quest. It still had that feel that only the classic Zelda titles had in which you really felt like you were on your own as you went through the game. In order to really make the gamer feel like he has some attachment to Link, they need to set Link off on his own, with the helping hand of a sidekick to tell you where to go every time you get stuck. The feeling of being lost is something classic Zelda fans can all relate to, but this has gone in recent times.
So what role do you guys think sidekicks should play in the next Zelda title? Do we want a character to hold our hand throughout the game like Navi or Midna? Do we want occasional interaction like the King of Red Lions? Perhaps we want what the classic games offered, where the hero was completely on his own? Let us know in the comments below.