Link's Crossbow Training
The similarities between Link's Crossbow Training and the 8-bit classic Duck Hunt are hardly coincidental. The old-school shooting-gallery game came with a sleek light-gun peripheral called the Zapper. The new offering comes bundled with the creatively named Wii Zapper—a plastic shell that transforms the Wii remote and nunchuk into a cross between an iPod and a tommy-gun. If Apple made a Taser, it would look a lot like this. Both games work the same; players aim their faux firearm at their TVs and pull the trigger like Elvis on an off day. The simple formula worked in '87, and it continues to hit the mark in 2007. Only now, the targets are more varied.
Link's Crossbow Training repurposes villages, dungeons, and creature-infested fortresses from The Legend Of Zelda: The Twilight Princess, transforming them into firing ranges. Several variants give players more control over Link, with mixed results. "Defender" missions see the hero surrounded by skeletons or ghostly white wolves that attack from all directions. Players must spin around to tag enemies trying to sneak up from behind. "Ranger" levels give players even more control—they use the nunchuk's thumbstick to stalk through hallways, picking off lizard-men that come leaping from around corners. The more the game requires Link to change views or move through the environment, the more potential for frustration—especially for those casual gamers looking for the next Wii Sports or Wii Play. Those games also offered more variety. Link's Crossbow Training, again, feels a lot like Duck Hunt—you get the birds, the grass, the dog, and that's about it.
Beyond the game: Midway has been flogging its Area 51 property with a couple of next-generation remakes. What the world really needs is a light-gun re-release of the 1995 arcade game.
Worth playing for: There are tons of secrets and bonuses hidden in every level. Learning how to wring the maximum number of points from each run can be manna to the obsessive.
Frustration sets in when: If high scores aren't much of a motivator, the game gets old fast. It's a snap to unlock the entire game in one sitting.
Final judgment: A fine way to spend winter break, but the disc will probably gather dust come January.