Nintendo decided to play hardball in December 2003 by making an offer that nostalgic gamers couldn't refuse. They created a limited editon Nintendo GameCube disc that contained four of the best games in the classic The Legend of Zelda series: the original The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link from the Nintendo Entertainment System, & The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask from the Nintendo 64. Added to the package was a time-limited demo of the GameCube's The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, a brief history of the games in the Zelda series, and some previews for other upcoming games. The disc was only available in the USA by buying a new Nintendo GameCube, registering two of Nintendo's holiday releases (Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Mario Party 5, 1080 Avalanche, and Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga) at Nintendo's website, or buying a subscription to Nintendo's gaming magazine, Nintendo Power. After January 5, 2004 the offer ended and the game became unavailable through official channels (although there is still a thriving market for it on places such as eBay). Japanese and European gamers could send away for the game by including receipts for chosen games in an envelope to Nintendo.

The classic adventures of Link on the disc are basically unchanged from their original incarnations aside from the addition of progressive scan mode (provided that your television supports it). The NES games retain and look and sound of 8-bit glory and have even had a few typos corrected (i.e. Ganon's name was misspelled as "Gannon" in the first game in the series). The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has been updated yet again from its last appearance bundled with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Master Quest with smoother textures and a higher framerate. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is the only game on the disc that required the expansion pak in its Nintendo 64 days and, as such, the emulator that's running the show can't quite get the sound to work 100%. Occassional skips and sound glitches are to be expected (and are even warned about in the opening load screen), but the game itself plays just fine. All four games save to your memory card, with the NES games requiring only 3 blocks of space each and the Nintendo 64 games requiring as much as 21 blocks each. The twenty minute demo for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker cannot save your progress.

One of the common gripes expressed about this disc (aside from its limited availability) is that Nintendo did not include The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System days on the disc. It's easy to understand why it was omitted: Nintendo released a port of that game for the Game Boy Advance last year and they'd much rather you buy that game rather than get it as a part of this bundle. The same can be said for the various Game Boy editions in the Zelda saga, as they are all still available for sale without much trouble. Combined with the Game Boy Player, all of the official games in the series can be played on the GameCube.

Nintendo has finally begun to listen to gamers' pleas to re-release some of their classic titles on to modern hardware. The Super Mario Advance series kicked things off, then comes The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition, and in 2004 the company celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the Famicom with the Famicom Mini collection. Nintendo's gone back to its roots and we can all enjoy the celebration with fine collections such as this. Now, if only they'd made it available for sale off the shelf.

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