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File:The Legend of Zelda The Minish Cap Game Cover.JPG
But there is one thing you must know: being Minish-sized is full of dangers! Mere puddles at your normal size are bottomless swamps to the Minish.

The twelfth game in The Legend of Zelda series, and the first completely new one-player Zelda adventure on the Game Boy Advance. Despite the fact that it's one player only, it is a prequel to the Four Swords games, as it goes in depth about the origin of the titular weapon as well as who Vaati is. The game also features a "Kinstone" mechanism, by which Link can collect pieces of medallions and fuse them with NPCs. These Kinstone fusions unlock secrets, ranging from highly important bonus items to simple chests of more kinstones.

The story begins at a festival celebrating the legendary Picori, who can only be seen by children. At a sword fighting tournament at the festival, the winner is Vaati (later to become the main villain of the Four Swords games), who releases monsters all over the land and turns Zelda to stone, hoping to obtain the "Light Force" held by the royal family. Link meets a talking hat named Ezlo who joins him on a quest to reforge the famous Picori Blade and use it to defeat Vaati. Ezlo uses his power to shrink Link to the size of the Picori (actually called the Minish), which assists him greatly in his quest.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is one of the ten Game Boy Advance games available to participants in the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program, given a limited rerelease to early adopters of the Nintendo 3DS for free on its eShop in December 2011. Incidentally, this made it the fourth The Legend of Zelda game made available for free on the console in some capacity or another.

According to Hyrule Historia this game is second in the overall timeline of the series, preceded only by Skyward Sword

Tropes used in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap include:
  • Adaptation Expansion: The Manga included a lot of things, but mostly explanations or the like. For instance: the sword tournement is changed to a simple fighting tournament, which explained how Vaati got through without implying that he cheated, we get a bit more on Zelda's relationship with Link, we see why Link wasn't in the tournament, and so on.
    • All in The Manual: Of course, the hard-to-track extra chapter showed how horrible Elzo was as a teacher, what with sending Vaati out on quests to nonexistant locations so he wouldn't find his teacher at a party and doing things to distract him from the data on his games being saved over or lost.
  • Adipose Rex: King Daltus.
  • Alertness Blink: When characters wake up, often ! with a sound effect is seen.
  • Always Night: Royal Valley. Made all the more jarring by it being one screen away from (and only accessible via) another overworld area that's in bright daylight.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Vaati's second and third forms each get one.
  • Back That Light Up
  • Baleful Polymorph: Ezlo is revealed to be a Minish sage, whom Vaati cursed to become a talking hat.
  • Big Bad: Vaati,
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Royal Valley.
  • Blow You Away: Strangely, Vaati doesn't do a whole lot of this. So... why did the backstories of Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures take such pains to describe him as a wind mage/sorcerer?
    • Link, on the other hand, does quite a bit with the Gust Jar.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Two subversions. Getting all the trophies rewards you with a large number of rupees--but by that point in the game you don't really need them anymore. However, you DO get a piece of heart and the sound test. The other example is the "Tingle Statue" for fusing all the Kinstones. The statue and reward themselves are useless, but you get some form of reward for each Kinstone you fuse.
    • Played straight, however, by the Mirror Shield. The requirements for it is to complete the Goron sidequest (which, by itself, you get a bottle for completing), fusing a Kinstone with one of the Gorons to wake up Biggoron (which can't be done right away), and...beating the game once.
  • Bubbly Clouds: Cloud Tops, several layers of clouds that can be walked on and even dug through with the Mole Mitts in places. The Palace of Winds is a five-story dungeon floating above a tower built on the highest of these cloud decks. And as if that isn't high enough, the boss battle appears to take place a very long distance above the dungeon. Also, Ezlo is afraid of heights.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Castor Wilds.
  • Captain Obvious: Ezlo, though not as much as Navi the Fairy.
  • Chain-Reaction Destruction: That's what bosses are designed to do when they're defeated.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: Ezlo gives Link his Nice Hat in the ending.
  • Color-Coded Elements: The Fire and Water Elements are fairly standard red and blue throughout the Four Swords series. The Wind Element is green in this game and The Legend of Zelda Four Swords Adventures, although it was purple in its brief appearance in the intro to The Legend of Zelda Four Swords. Conversely and rather unusually, the Earth Element is purple in The Minish Cap and The Legend of Zelda Four Swords Adventures but green in The Legend of Zelda Four Swords. Of course, regardless of which Element has which color, the group must share the red, blue, green, and purple color scheme of the four Links in the multiplayer titles, and purple is not commonly used to represent any of the four classical elements.
  • Degraded Boss: A tougher version of the first dungeon boss (by virtue of being electrified) appears as a miniboss in the Temple of Droplets. To be fair, both of these are just regular enemies that Link happens to encounter while Minish-sized, the former a Green ChuChu and the latter a Blue ChuChu.
  • Disconnected Side Area: Very common in the overworld. Some of these become accessible in a more direct fashion later in the game (e.g. the part of the Minish Woods near Syrup's hut), while others remain only indirectly accessible (e.g. a piece of land at the bottom of Veil Falls which can only be reached via neighboring regions).
  • Double Meaning Title: The "Minish Cap" in the title may refer to either of two caps: Ezlo, who is a Minish wizard transformed into a hat, or the Mage's Cap, the wish-granting hat invented by Ezlo and stolen by Vaati, who was himself a Minish prior to wishing himself a human body.
  • Final Exam Boss
  • Flying Seafood Special: In a strange example, Cloud Piranha swim through the clouds in Cloud Tops, even though said clouds are apparently solid enough for Link to stand on. The boss Gyorg Pair is a more traditional example, a pair of giant flying manta-like rays.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: The ringing of three bells signals the end of the extraction ritual Vaati performs to steal the Light Force from Zelda, ending her life in the process.
  • Giant Hands of Doom: Mazaal.
  • Giant Mook: Not actually giant, but some of the bosses are normal-sized enemies that you fight while small. The boss of the Deepwood Shrine is a Green ChuChu, and the Temple of Droplets has a Blue ChuChu as a miniboss and an Octorok as the main boss.
  • A God Am I: Once Vaati obtains the Light Force he proclaims himself a god. He does it again when he takes on his final form and right before he dies, leading to a This Cannot Be! declaration.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Vaati is all about purple. He has mauve skin and hair and wears purple clothes. (His eyes, on the other hand, are red.) On top of that, he decorates Hyrule Castle mostly in purple, with plenty of green and touches of red as well.
  • Harmless Freezing: You fight the boss of the Temple of Droplets immediately after it is thawed out from being frozen solid. It even partially re-freezes itself as a defensive tactic for part of the battle.
  • High Altitude Battle: The boss in the Temple Of Winds.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Subverted. This stands out, because despite Ganon appearing in the other two Four Swords games, he isn't here at all. No passing mention, no reference, and only a vague image of him at the start.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: One of the game's gimmicks.
  • Inevitable Tournament: Averted. It's over at the beginning of the game, and no other tournaments occur during the game's duration.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: At the end of the game, , if the player fails to make it to Vaati in time, he will complete his ritual to drain the Light Force from Zelda's petrified form, leaving her dead and himself a god.
  • Jump Physics: When using the cape.
  • Legacy Character: Like The Wind Waker, this game shows a hero, who could be a previous Link, in the prologue.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The aptly named Cave of Flames, an abandoned mine that has partially filled with lava.
  • Life Energy: As revealed at the end of the game, the Light Force that resides in Princess Zelda is tied directly to her life energy. When Vaati successfully drains the Light Force from Zelda's petrified form (which occurs if you take too long in the final dungeon), he takes her life with it, leaving nothing left of Zelda but cold, inanimate stone.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Killing Vaati's second form causes the castle to collapse.
  • Lost Forever: If you don't save a certain NPC early on, you can never get the Light Arrows.
  • MacGuffin: The Light Force.
  • Macro Zone: Any time you shrink.
  • Magic Music: Playing a song on the Ocarina of Gales summons a bird to take you throughout Hyrule.
  • Marathon Level: The Palace of Winds. Ezlo even lampshades this with his comment of "How much farther do we have to go? This place goes on forever!"
  • Minecart Madness: Cave of Flames has sections like this.
  • Mouse World
  • Mythology Gag: Since this game was developed by Capcom, by the same team that developed the Oracle games, we see the three Oracles from those games as NPCs in town.
    • Development Gag: You can find homes for two of them, but not the third, a reference to a planned third Oracle game that never got made.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: At the end of the game, if Link can't get to Vaati before the three bells ring, Vaati will have taken all of the Light Force from Zelda, killing her and making Vaati invincible. Ezlo states that it's all over and you see the Game Over screen.
  • Oddball in the Series: Not to the series as a whole, but rather the Four Swords trilogy, since it's a single-player installment in a trilogy that previously had much of its focus on multiplayer gameplay.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Most of Vaati's music makes use of this.
  • One-Winged Angel: Vaati's "floating eyeball-cloud" form.
  • Origins Episode: The backstory is this for Vaati and the game itself focuses on the origin of the Four Sword, which started out as the Picori Blade.
  • Pinata Enemy: Gold enemies, which are gold palette swaps of relatively weak overworld enemies with tons more hit points and more aggressive AI that drop large amounts of money when killed. They appear as a result of certain Kinstone fusions.
  • Pokémon-Speak: The Minish speak exclusively using parts of the word "Picori".
    • It also seems that "Picori" is the Minish word for "Minish"
    • Averted in the original Japanese and the German version, where they talk backwards instead. This reveals that most of the Minish's unreadable dialogue in the beginning of the game is actually... just telling you that you are human and that they don't understand you.
  • Prequel: To Four Swords, explaining the history of the Four Sword and Vaati.
  • Reforged Blade: The Picori Blade which is broken, fixed, and eventually upgraded to become the Four Sword.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The chest containing all of the monsters in the world, which Vaati frees.
  • Sequential Boss: Taking down Vaati in the end requires you to fight him in three different forms. (Luckily, between two and three, you can duck into a small room in the castle and reload your health.)
  • Shout-Out:
    • The game is positively loaded with nods to nearly every previous game in the series via character cameos and familiar leitmotifs. Some sound effects are also directly lifted from Link's Awakening.
    • The cobbler tells you that his shoes are being finished while he sleeps. By this point, you're aware of the existence of the Minish, and possibly that they like to make humans happy because it gives them energy, but that they do so in secret (you'd have to talk to a random NPC to learn this.) Furthermore, there's a vase that lets you shrink in the shop, and if you climb up onto the cobbler's desk, you can see a Minish there. Obviously, this is a reference to the tale of the cobbler and the elves.
    • Later, in Melari's mines, one of the Minish tells you that "the mine belongs to Melari and us, his seven apprentices", the seven miners being reminiscent of the seven dwarfs.
    • Later still, after you can flip stuff (and therefore shrink in several more places in Hyrule Town,) you can get into the rafters of the bar. The forest Minish are visiting there, and remarking about how city life is so exciting, like the tale of the country mouse and the city mouse.
    • At one point in the game, you meet an Absent-Minded Professor named Dr. Left. As opposed to Dr. (W)right, one presumes judging by his hair.
    • One of the books in the library is titled "Married to the Moblin".
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Temple of Droplets is primarily this, although liquid water is abundant as well.
  • Sound Test: This is one of the few games in the series to have one. In this one, it's unlocked by getting every figurine and using a phonograph in a house whose entrance is blocked until they're collected.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": For some reason, Darknuts are called "Dark Nuts" in this game.
  • Start of Darkness: For Vaati.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: At one point, while Vaati has taken control of or rather, has cast an illusion to look like the king, you have to sneak past the guards in order to reach the Elemental Sanctuary.
  • Stop Helping Me!: Ezlo's tendency to remind you of absolutely everything including the fact that closed doors are shut.
  • Taken for Granite: Zelda from the first few minutes of the game onward, as well as many of Vaati's other victims later on.
  • Take Your Time: The first two bell chimes in the final dungeon are scripted, you can take as long as you like. Unfortunately, the game does not tell you the third one is not. Take too long, and Vaati will successfully drain the Light Force from Zelda, leaving her as lifeless stone forever
  • Temple of Doom: The Temple of Winds.
  • Timed Mission: The Cucco minigame. Also, when you're trying to rescue Zelda from Vaati's extraction process, there's a bell that, when rung three times, tells you the extraction process is complete, with Zelda dead and Vaati at full power. The first two rings are not really timed--but the third one is. That means if you take too long to defeat the Darknuts on that level...
  • Underground Level: Aside from the Cave of Flames, there are walls scattered throughout Hyrule that can be dug into with the Mole Mitts, leading into tunnel mazes of diggable earth that may serve as shortcuts to other aboveground locations or hide secrets. Many of them are quite extensive.
  • Unique Enemy: There is only one Blue Tektite.
  • Warp Whistle: Much like the Ocarina (originally localized as the more generic Flute) in A Link to the Past, the Ocarina of Wind calls a bird that carries Link to one of eight fixed locations in the overworld.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Sword-fighting moves.