Paper Zelda: The Thousand-Year Sword?
Of Nintendo’s many development studios, Intelligent Systems just might be the most underappreciated. The makers of Fire Emblem and the people responsible for giving the WarioWare franchise its unique flare, Intelligent Systems is best known for their creative re-imagining of the world of Mario in the Paper Mario series, a wonderful RPG franchise that has won critical acclaim among members of the gaming community. It’s a series full of creative twists and turns, full of style and personality, full of jokes and laughter. It’s also full of potential, the potential to expand the Paper franchise.
Yep, you see where I’m headed now. I’m talking about throwing out Mario and throwing in something new. Something fresh. Something Hylian.
A Silent Hero
Everything seems to fit in perfectly. Look at Mario. Then look at Link. See something similar? Probably not. Hear something similar? Probably not. You know why? Because they’re both silent. Like Mario’s failure to yield anything even resembling a complete sentence, Link is a man without many words, only to spit out one or two grunts in the course of a few minutes.
How does Paper Mario establish its strong personality and style with a protagonist without a voice, you ask? It all comes down to character animations. From facial expressions to hand motions, both Mario and Link have proved in the past that you don’t need a voice to express yourself.
Weapon of Choice
Mario has a hammer and a boot. I know that may seem trivial, but anyone who has played either the N64 or the GameCube Paper Mario games would know that the two are very distinct in the way they function; the boot is useful when attacking flying enemies (using a hammer will result in a miss) and the hammer is useful when attacking spiked enemies (jumping on them would cause Mario to take damage).
Now Link also has two items at his arsenal. Of course, he has his trusty sword, capable of damaging all (okay, almost all) the enemies of Hyrule. And in many ways, Link’s sword is quite similar to Mario’s hammer; a perfect fit! What else does Link have though that would serve the same purpose as Mario’s boot? Perhaps a bow and arrow? Or a boomerang? Who knows?
A Plethora of Tools
Link isn’t all about swords and shields, though. Like Mario, Link’s world is full of a wide variety of objects. Want to restore some HP? Lon Lon Milk! Want to blow up some bombs? Deku Nuts! Want to buy random crap? RUPEES! The land of Hyrule is a magical place, and it’s a perfect place for a wonderful RPG.
Every Paper Mario game has its uniquely wonderful array of partners. Remember Goombella? Koops? The Pixls? Each character had their own attacks, their own special moves, their own abilities… it’s easy to say that partners are a major component in the Paper Mario series.
And what of Zelda? I know we’ve grown tired of our “hey’s” and “listen’s”, and most of us want to suffocate the next person to yell at you and your low-battery Wiimote, but this all means one thing: there are more than enough partners to fill up a Paper Zelda game. Sure, we may not want another Navi or another Fi, but again, the world of Zelda is vast, so there must be more to explore.
World of NPC’s
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is one of my favorite games of all time. You know why? Because the world felt alive. I know, despite the fact that Paper Mario’s world is full of dead trees (haha… okay nevermind), each and every NPC had a personality, a distinct character, a trait that made each and every person unique, even without voice-acting. And in many ways, Zelda is the same.
Who doesn’t want to talk to Tingle? Who doesn’t want to listen to the scallywag tales of Tetra? The world of Hyrule is alive, much like the Mushroom Kingdom. Random Gorons, random Zoras… there’s more than enough here to fill up a Zelda RPG.
The Princess and the Dragon
And here we near the end our journey through Paper Zelda. Every RPG needs a great plot, and we all know what a great plot curtails. Yep, Mario’s been doing it for years, so why not Zelda? Zelda gets kidnapped by Ganon, Link needs to collect a load of crap to reach Ganon, and it all goes down in the final battle! It’s an RPG just waiting to be made! So get with it, Intelligent Systems and Ninendo! THIS. WILL. SELL. Let’s make this game!
So my fellow MyIGNers, would you buy a Paper Zelda? Any other franchises you want to see “paperized”? Sound off in the comments below!