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This review is particularly long. If you want, you can look down at the bottom where I've listed the pros and cons.
When you pick up a guide and its 432 pages the first thing that instantly comes to mind is that this is a huge guide therefore it must have all the information. The thing that usually escapes our mind is where all the information is. This is a really good guide, and there's a ton of information there, but like many incredibly thick guides, the information is all over the place. However, with this guide, the information isn't all over the place in a highly disorganized fashion.
The guide begins with several of the game basics. If there's anything about the gameplay you don't understand this guide can help. After that we get into all the weapons and equipment you'll be using, the characters you'll meet and the enemies you'll encounter. For the enemies they've got what's called a "threat meter" to tell you just how hard the enemy is, and they've also got tactics on taking them down. Very useful stuff.
Afterwards we get into the walkthrough, and this is where the guide hits a high point as well as a low point. The walkthrough is huge. Over 300 pages of this guide are from the walkthrough alone. Is it good? You better believe its good. There's a ton of detail here. Each chapter begins with an overview of the area you're in and displays a map that looks like it was taken straight from the game. It also list the items to obtain, as well as showing you what your character should have when you get to a certain point. Along the bottom the guide details the tasks you should be doing, similar to some of BradyGames RPG guide books, only this one seems to be done a little better.
How the task objectives work in this guide is simple. At the beginning of each section if you look at the bottom of the page you'll see a set of eight tasks. Usually no more and no less. For task one it might say, "Enter Ordan Villiage." Now in the main text of the walkthrough itself you'll want to find the section that says, "Enter Ordan Village." That explains the task in better detail. It's easy to use. The walkthrough also has character bios for new characters as you meet them.
There's more to the walkthrough. Each section of the walkthrough has what's called "missing links" which detail optional things you can do in an area.
The guide also calls out new enemies as you encounter them and there's a threat meter displayed for you as well. Also, each time you come across an item, be it for the first time or tenth, they have a description of it. Every time you get your first small key in a dungeon, the guide gives you the same explanation the game does. In addition there are call outs to new weapons, abilities, etc. It's all here.
The maps look as though they're pulled straight from the game, and are only displayed at the beginning of each chapter. This is one of the guides few low points. When reading in sections it might tell you to go back to chamber five or something like that. Well, if you're a little lost, you'll have to flip all the way back to the map at the beginning of each section in order to figure out just what they're talking about when it comes to Chamber 5. This wouldn't be so bad if some of the sections for each dungeon weren't 40-50 pages. However, the good news is, the maps do indeed have a legend each and every time you come across it. The legend tells you all the rooms, all the items in the dungeon and where you'll encounter the characters.
Boss strategies are pretty helpful. They tell you how to down your foes, but they also give you some handy tips for dodging some of their attacks.
The walkthrough also points out the location of heart pieces as you go through the game. Up in the corner of each page is a heart meter that shows you how many hearts you're suppoed to have by the time you get to a certain point in the game. So you'll know if you missed any pieces of heart. By the time you get to the Goron Mines, for example you should have five hearts. If you don't, you know you obviously missed something.
The location of the golden bugs is also revealed, as well as the Poe Souls. They each have their own specific call outs.
Is there more to the walkthrough? Well, there are indeed, spoilers. If spoilers bother you, this guide has a few. Also, throughout the walkthrough there are author notes that don't really serve any purpose other than to describe the turmoil the authors went through on some of the puzzles. Some are funny, but many of them are a complete and utter waste of time. The walkthrough is definitely one you need to use as you play through the game. If you put it down for a while and go about the tasks on your own and then suddenly need it, it's a hassle to find just where you are. Especially if you do some of the tasks out of the order described. Again, these sections are LONG, so you'll be doing a bit more reading than playing. This is the huge downside to the guide. There's so much of it that it's sometimes overwhelming. If you miss something (say a heart piece or golden bug) then you'll spend of a lot of time flipping and reading through the walkthrough to find it.
The walkthrough may be well done, but it's extremely exhaustive, slow going and long. A lot of the information doesn't have to be there. It probably would've been better had they organized it the way Nintendo Power organized their guide. The Nintendo Power guide is much more user friendly... but Nintendo Power is designed for the Wii version, not the Gamecube. All the information is there, but like many guides that are incredibly thick, it's all over the place. The difference here is that Prima did a much better job organizing it. It doesn't separate from the fact that there's a lot of page flipping, however. I'm not one to be bothered by page flipping, but in this guide it actually did become annoying.
The legendary checklist at the back didn't detail the location of Poe Souls or Golden Bugs, which could've helped in many cases. The heart checlist is pretty good, though, telling you where to find them. The checklist also details on finding equipment and items. So it's not so bad.
This is a very well done guide for Twilight Princess, it's just very big with a lot of infomration to swallow, and a lot of page flipping. It's a good guide, and helpful to anyone, but there's so much to swallow, and you'll spend of lot of time doing it.
+Incredibly detailed walkthrough! Tons of information to be found within these pages. Heart pieces, golden bugs, poe souls, items, puzzles solutions... it's all here!
+Helpful boss strategies
+Great strategies for taking down enemies
-While all the infomration is in the walkthrough its all over the place. Organized, but it still calls for a lot of page flipping to find everything. You'll more than likely be spending far more time reading the walkthrough than playing the game. There are also some spoilers found within the guide