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The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures is the eleventh main installment of The Legend of Zelda series. It incorporates a graphical style that combines Four Swords and A Link to the Past. It is the only console Zelda title to date to incorporate multiplayer elements into its main campaign. Because of its single-player elements, Four Swords Adventures is also the first game in the series to allow a single player to control more than one Link at once, and it utilizes various methods to allow the player to make use of the four Links, such as formations. Also, it is the only title to break locations and temples up into succinct, separate stages and levels which can be replayed even after beating them once. The game itself, though an innovation in Zelda gameplay, is heavily inspired by the music, graphics, and locations of A Link to the Past.




The Maidens opening a portal to the Four Sword Sanctuary

One night, an ominous cloud covers Hyrule, throwing fear into the people.[4] Princess Zelda calls upon her most trusted childhood friend, Link. She wants to check up on the Four Sword, fearing that the seal that imprisoned the evil wind sorcerer Vaati inside of it at the end of Four Swords might have weakened. Inside the castle they meet up with the gathered six Maidens, whose purpose is to protect Hyrule as well as the Four Sword Sanctuary.[5] With the help of the maidens Zelda summons a portal to the sanctuary.

However, before they get a chance to enter, a dark figure that looks like Link appears. The Dark Link seals away the six maidens and Zelda in a dark crystal, before he retreats into the portal leading to the sanctuary. Link is left with no choice but to follow. Arriving at the sanctuary, the dark Link taunts Link into pulling the Four Sword, resulting in Link splitting into four copies of himself. Likewise, the seal on Vaati is broken, and he slowly creeps forward with a maniacal laugh. The four Links do not get a chance to follow the Dark Link before being thrown away from the scene by Vaati’s magic.

Hyrulean Adventure[]

The four Links are awoken by Kaepora Gaebora, who calmly informs them of the situation and what they must do, which is to first rescue the six maidens. Shadow Link, as he calls him, has spread chaos in Hyrule, scorching villages and throwing them into the dark world. Traveling across Hyrule they witness the chaos brought about by Vaati and Shadow Link, and in order to release the dark seals placed by Vaati, the four Links must collect force gems in order to properly power up the Four Swords and grant it the power to repel evil.[6]

After rescuing the Green Maiden, she tells the four Links about the four Royal Jewels which are needed to reach the Realm of the Heavens, where Zelda is being held. They were divided among four Knights of Hyrule, known to have valiantly defended Hyrule, but they have mysteriously disappeared.[7] The four Links eventually find them, who reveal they have been cursed and thrown in the Dark World.

Fsa map

Hyrule as seen from the stage selection

It is revealed that the one who is ultimately behind everything is a mighty foe who is not Vaati, but rather, someone using him.[8] Once the four Links reach the part of Hyrule which has been transformed into the Dark World, they discover from the White Maiden that there was once a Dark Mirror in which an ancient tribe was sealed. The mirror was being kept away from the world in a "forest temple".[9] They believe the mirror to be the source of the Shadow Links. Rumors also reach them of the King of Darkness named Ganon.

Upon reaching the temple where the mirror is being held, their suspicion is confirmed, as the Mirror has indeed been stolen. The Red maiden who is rescued there, reveals that she knows of a man named Ganondorf of the Gerudo tribe, but finds it unlikely that he is the cause of the recent events.[10]Traveling to the desert, they find out from the peaceful Gerudo tribe that Ganondorf recently flouted their laws and left for the sacred pyramids.[11] Following his footsteps, it is revealed that Ganondorf had obtained a powerful ancient weapon which would make him the King of Darkness.[12]

After rescuing all six maidens, Link heads towards the Tower's location which has been cursed by the power of darkness, making it Frozen Hyrule.[13] Pushing through the snow storm, they liberate the final Knight, who tells them to rescue Zelda and save Hyrule from the darkness,[14] after giving them the last of the Royal Jewels. The Tower of Winds is called forth using the power of the jewels, giving the party entry to the Realm of the Heavens.[15] Once the party has climbed the Tower, Princess Zelda is finally rescued. In the Realms of the Heavens, the four Links makes their final battle with their dark doppelganger Shadow Link as they secure the Dark Mirror. Princess Zelda uses her power to create a rainbow bridge, allowing them to enter the Palace of Winds.

Inside, they encounter Vaati, and after a great battle, they defeat him. With Vaati gone, the Palace of Winds starts to collapse, as it relied on his magic to keep itself in the sky. The party retreats back to the Tower of Winds. Once there, they hear the voice of the culprit behind everything, Ganondorf, who mocks Vaati attempting to stop them. The party escapes the palace and down through the Tower of Winds, which at this point has also started to collapse. Just before reaching the exit, the floor beneath them collapses, and they fall into a dark room. Ganondorf then appears as a patch of darkness. Zelda tries to seal him away but fails, and once again Zelda is taken captive. Assuming the shape of a pig and the final battle between the four Links and Ganon commences. Midway through the battle, Zelda is freed, and together they defeat Ganon. With the combined power of the six maidens, Ganon is ultimately sealed away in the Four Sword.

In the aftermath of the journey, the Four Sword is laid to rest again in the Four Sword Sanctuary, and the four Links join back into one single Link. The six maidens and Zelda form a pyramid-like barrier around the Sword so that no one might touch it again. Outside the castle, celebration is at hand, signaling peace, and Link seems to be greeted by the crowd as a true hero.

Timeline Placement[]

Four Swords Adventures is the second of the three games (and the third chronologically) in the so-called "Four Swords Trilogy".[16] It was long assumed to be a direct sequel to Four Swords, one reason being that the Four Swords Adventures intro does not refer to the hero of the Four Swords backstory by name, whereas the heroes of Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures are both referred to as Link, giving the impression that the games feature the same hero. However, the official timeline revealed in Hyrule Historia shows that Four Swords Adventures takes place much later, hundreds of years after Twilight Princess in the "Child Timeline."[17]

Hyrule Historia describes the Ganondorf of this game to be a different Ganondorf from the one appearing in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, having been reincarnated after being defeated by the Hero Chosen by the Gods,[17] similar to how multiple incarnations of Link and Zelda have appeared throughout The Legend of Zelda series. It also specifies that Dark Link was created in part as a manifestation of the original Ganondorf's hatred.


This title is unique in having two main styles of gameplay: Single Player (Single-Player Game) and Multiplayer (Two-Player Game, Three-Player Game, and Four-Player Game). Regardless of the number of players, there will be four Links to control. The game mechanics ease this feat by having four set Battle Formations for the Links to battle with. When not in formation, one can choose to have the remaining Links follow him or stay seated until switching between them. As a multiplayer with four players, each player will control their own Link. A competitive atmosphere is achieved by the stages ranking and rewarding everyone upon completion, as well as the ability to attack one another. With fewer than four players, one may pick up an extra Link to control.

The GameCube controller can be used only in Single Player. Multiplayer requires the use of Game Boy Advances. While off of the main screen, the player will be able to see game action on the Game Boy Advance screen.

Shadow Battle is the multiplayer battle mode, an alternative to the multiplayer co-op gameplay. The Links battle one another in death matches.

The Japanese and Korean versions feature a mode that follows the story of The Wind Waker called Navi Trackers; however, in both releases, only Japanese voice acting for Tetra and her crew was included.

Game Information[]


The game, originally titled Four Swords for Nintendo GameCube,[18] was first shown at E3 2003 alongside Tetra's Trackers (later renamed Navi Trackers) as separate games.[19] It was announced later that year that both games, plus a new one called Shadow Battle, would be included in the same disc. However, only the Hyrulean Adventure and Shadow Battle modes were included in non-Japanese versions of the game.

The game was designed in 2D using the graphic style of Four Swords in order to add continuity to its Game Boy Advance prequel. A top-down view was also used to make the four player action easier to understand.[20] Four Swords Adventures originally featured graphics and sprites based on A Link to the Past. The game also featured a Magic Meter,[21] no item slots, and no numbers indicating in which ranking each Link is. Instead of collecting Force Gems, the Links originally collected Rupees.[18][22]


FSA Tower of Flames

The graphics portray a cross between A Link to the Past and The Wind Waker

Graphically, the title incorporates a mixture between A Link to the Past and The Wind Waker: cel-shading and realistic elements from the SNES game that are more advanced in Four Swords Adventures, such as the area's textures and colors. Four Swords Adventures features the sprites of Link from Four Swords, although the animations were modified to mimic those of Link's sprite in A Link to the Past.

Most bosses (such as Phantom Ganon, Helmaroc King, and Big Poe) and effects are cel-shaded in a fashion similar to The Wind Waker.


In the game, almost all characters and enemies are given voices, most of which were first used in Majora's Mask. The voice actors from Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker reprise their roles as Link, Princess Zelda, and Ganon.

Speedrun Records[]

Main article: Speedrun Records
Category Runner Time Date
Any% NaviLyn 2h 1m 48s June 29, 2022











The game received generally positive reviews from critics. GameSpot applauded the game's story and integration of the GameBoy Advance connectivity feature [23]. Game Revolution was more critical of the game, citing the mix of sprites and particle effects as feeling inconsistent and the requirement of the GBA and the link cable for multiplayer.[24] The game currently holds a Metascore of 86 and a User Score of 7.4 on Metacritic.[25] However, Four Swords Adventures is the least successful game in the series, only selling around 937,000 copies in its lifetime.[26]


  • Four Swords Adventures, like the original Four Swords, has no option of choosing a name for Link.
  • This is the only two-dimensional Zelda game to feature members of the Gerudo tribe besides Twinrova and Ganondorf.
  • This is the first two-dimensional console Zelda title since A Link to the Past.
  • Unlike traditional Zelda games, acquired Items cannot be kept.
  • Hidden in the game's files is a streaming audio file named "smw.ast". Playing it with the appropriate Winamp plugins (vgmstream) will reveal that the file is actually the Super Mario Bros. theme, specifically the secret theme found in Super Mario World.[27]
  • Contrary to popular belief, the Navi Trackers mode was, in fact, released outside of Japan, but only in South Korea. This is because the Korean version was a repackaging of the Japanese version, with only the region coding changed and the outer boxart and a card explaining controls translated.


TMC Forest Minish Artwork Names in Other Regions TMC Jabber Nut Sprite
Language Name Meaning
Japan Japanese ゼルダの伝説 4つの剣+ The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Plus
People's Republic of China ChineseSI 塞尔达传说 四支剑+
ERROR: You must enter a country code. ChineseTR 薩爾達傳說 四人之劍+
Federal Republic of Germany German The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
ERROR: You must enter a country code. Korean 젤다의 전설 4개의 검+


External links[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 7
  2. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures | Nintendo GameCube | Games | Nintendo, Nintendo, retrieved July 12, 2013.
  3. Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 10
  4. "…dark clouds covered all of Hyrule. Ominous clouds that filled all those who saw them with fear... A sense of dread swept across the land." — N/A (Four Swords Adventures)
  5. "The six maidens who guard Hyrule are gathered here in the castle… I'm worried about the seal that binds the wind sorcerer Vaati." — Princess Zelda (Four Swords Adventures)
  6. "Find the six shrine maidens and Princess Zelda, and you will also find Vaati. As for that dark shadow... Let's call him Shadow Link. That one is up to no good. Your sword is weak, but you can restore its power by infusing it with Force Gems." — Kaepora Gaebora (Four Swords Adventures)
  7. "In Hyrule, four sacred jewels can open the path to the Realm of the Heavens. The safety of these jewels has for ages been entrusted to the Knights of Hyrule. And yet, in these dark times, the knights are nowhere to be seen..." — Green Maiden (Four Swords Adventures)
  8. "Yet the one who enshrouded me in darkness was not Vaati! It was... Ah! If the one who enchanted me and turned the jewel into a dark portal wanted Vaati restored... His goal must be to use Vaati to remake Hyrule into a land of darkness." — Green Knight (Four Swords Adventures)
  9. "Long ago, a dark tribe invaded Hyrule. They were defeated and imprisoned within the mirror. The tribe's mirror prison was then secreted away and hidden in the forest temple to sever its connection to this world." — White Maiden (Four Swords Adventures)
  10. "Ganon... I've heard that name before. No wait... It was Ganondorf... But, no... That man was of the Gerudo tribe. I can't imagine these creatures worshipping some desert nomad. There's a Gerudo village in the desert. I doubt there is any connection, but it cannot hurt to check the village." — Red Maiden (Four Swords Adventures)
  11. " Curse that Ganondorf! He broke our laws and left for the pyramid..." — Gerudo (Four Swords Adventures)
  12. "Do you think the person who took this trident was... Ganondorf?!? The King of Darkness is not Vaati?" — Red Maiden (Four Swords Adventures)
  13. "The power of darkness has halted the flow of time here, and winter lingers on." — Maiden (Four Swords Adventures)
  14. "Yet if you do not dispel that darkness, true peace will never return to Hyrule. The fate of Princess Zelda-- and all of Hyrule--rests in your hands!" — Purple Knight (Four Swords Adventures)
  15. "Now, give us the four royal jewels... Hear me, heavens... Hear me, earth... Heed the light of the royal jewels enshrined here, and restore to us... the Tower of Winds!!" — Maiden (Four Swords Adventures)
  16. "Long ago, in the kingdom of Hyrule, a wind sorcerer named Vaati appeared. Vaati terrorized the people of Hyrule and kidnapped many beautiful girls from their homes. When all hope seemed lost, a young boy carrying little more than a sword appeared. According to the legends, when the boy drew his sword, he split into four, the four-who-are-one worked together to vanquish Vaati. The hero used his sword to bind Vaati in a remote area of Hyrule. The people christened the blade the Four Sword and built a shrine around it. There it remained undisturbed for many years. Ages flowed by... The wind sorcerer Vaati broke free of his prison and kidnapped Zelda, the princess of Hyrule. Princess Zelda's childhood friend Link used the power of the Four Sword to defeat Vaati and seal him away once again. And, for a time, the people of Hyrule believed that their land was safe. Until..." — N/A (Four Swords Adventures)
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Several hundred years after Ganondorf's defeat, relations between Gerudo Village and Hyrule had become friendly once more, and peace had been restored to the land. However, one day a new Ganondorf was born into the world. He violated the laws of the town, trespassing into an ancient pyramid and taking possession of the Trident. He also stole the Dark Mirror from the Temple of Darkness in the forest in order to turn Hyrule into a place of darkness." (Hyrule Historia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 119)
  18. 18.0 18.1 NinEverything, Nintendo at E3 - a look back - E3 2003, YouTube, published June 2, 2013, retrieved July 16, 2015.
  19. "Nintendo had Zelda Four Swords, and that went over well"E3 2003, IGN, retrieved July 16, 2015.
  20. "There were two main reasons that we went with the 2D graphics for the GameCube Four Swords. One was that it was a sequel to the Game Boy Advance Four Swords game and so for continuity we chose to retain the same graphic style. The second reason was that as a connectivity game with four players, we found that it would be a lot easier to understand what's going on with all four players on one screen and being able to look at it from a top-down point of view. That obviously had a big impact in choosing that direction as well." —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda producer talks about the game, the franchise, the past and the future.)
  21. "You don't have enough magic power to use this item!"Unused Text From French Translation, The Cutting Room Floor, retrieved July 16, 2015.
  22. "If you've played through Four Swords on Game Boy Advance, you'll see that in that game you do collect rupees, and it's a multiplayer game and so it makes sense for people to be basically scrapping for money, and trying to collect the most money. This time around, in thinking that we really wanted to make a game that has both a very strong multiplayer and single player mode, we realized that in single player mode, it didn't seem right than in the single player mode the objective is to collect money. That felt very un-Zelda-esque. In thinking about how we deal with that issue, there was this idea that well if we change it so, essentially if you are building up or storing up a sort of power in your sword, so you can defeat enemies, although it's the same collection, and you're collecting these gems, your motivation for that is completely different. As you play Four Swords Adventures, and you collect the gems, you'll notice the more you collect the more power gets built up in your sword, it allows you to defeat some of the enemies. Instead of collecting money, you're collecting the essence of power and putting it into your sword. That is another example of Mr. Miyamoto upending the tea table. (laughs)" —Eiji Aonuma (A Legend Of Zelda: The Eiji Aonuma Interview)
  23. https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/the-legend-of-zelda-four-swords-adventures-review/1900-6100049/
  24. https://web.archive.org/web/20060822031549/http://www.gamerevolution.com/oldsite/games/gamecube/rpg/legend_of_zelda_four_swords.htm
  25. http://www.metacritic.com/game/gamecube/the-legend-of-zelda-four-swords-adventures
  26. https://www.vgchartz.com/game/2397/the-legend-of-zelda-four-swords-adventures/?region=All
  27. Secret Music in Zelda: Four Swords Adventures Disc, Youtube.

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