Links Crossbow Training

Link's Crossbow Training

Link's Crossbow Training is a shooting video game published and developed by Nintendo for the Wii video game console. It is bundled with the Wii Zapper peripheral, and is the first title to use it. It was first released in North America, and was later released in Europe and Japan. It uses several environments, enemies, and other assets from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess as stages for targets with various shootable background objects.


Link's Crossbow Training is set in a world in the style of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and in the game the player assumes the role of the protagonist of The Legend of Zelda series, Link. To perfect Link's crossbow marksmanship, the player must pass a series of tests, starting with stationary bullseye targets, before moving onto moving targets and actual enemies. After every level, the player gets a medal depending upon their score. Medals are ranged from bronze to platinum.

Game modes

Link's Crossbow Training features 9 playable levels, and the goal in each is to achieve the highest score possible within the time limit. These levels are divided into three main gameplay styles:

  • Target shooting — In Target Shooting levels, players fire their crossbow at targets, which start stationary, but move as the difficulty increases in later levels. Hitting the center of the bullseye earns more points, and the points earned multiplies if the player hits subsequent targets without missing.
  • Defender — In Defender levels, players remain stationary, whilst retaining the ability to shoot and aim through 360°. Here, Link must fight off hordes of enemies, including Stalfos in a desert-themed level, and defending a wagon from boar-riding Bokoblins.
  • Ranger — In Ranger levels, the player assumes complete control over Link (via the control stick on the Nunchuk), in levels including a siege on an enemy encampment, and fighting through a forest.
  • Boss — In some levels, Link battles various bosses, most of them with weak spots that the player must hit.

Link's Crossbow Training has a multiplayer mode, where players compete for the highest score.


Link's Crossbow Training was produced by Shigeru Miyamoto, Eiji Aonuma, and Takashi Tezuka. The idea of a first person The Legend of Zelda title started with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which Miyamoto wanted to develop in the first person, although the inclusion of a child Link got in the way of this. Miyamoto also created the game to show Japanese gamers how fun the genre can be by bridging the gap between simple scrolling shooters and advanced shooters. It was also made with the intent of being a side-story to The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and make use of its vast overworld.

The development staff began work on the game's story, which Miyamoto intended to be an extra story based around Twilight Princess. However, the staff had been coming up with what could be better described as "epic tales" rather than "side stories". When Miyamoto revealed that he would not make the game with an "epic tale", much of the staff was shocked, saying it was like killing all of the ideas they had been working with until then. Some argued that they should not even do it, as it would be simply reusing existing software and selling it to the consumers. Miyamoto proposed that they make a working prototype and have test players give impressions of the game. If they did not like it, Miyamoto would stop development right there. Nintendo of America gathered together several die-hard The Legend of Zelda fans, who all reacted positively to the game. Reports from these test players were given to the development team daily, allowing them to tweak the game as they went along.

Miyamoto created a list of "don't"s for the development team, including not incorporating anything unnecessary, not "making a movie", and making sure a player could be able to complete a stage within three minutes, so as to not discourage the player from trying to beat the level again if he or she fails. Miyamoto also told the developers to not get caught up in the rewards, letting the players focus on the "journey" first, and to not include any boss battles so the developers could focus on making the whole game entertaining rather than focusing on making fabulous bosses. Miyamoto eventually gave in after the developers persisted on there being three bosses in the game, although he reduced that to one to make them focus on making one fabulous boss battle instead of attempting to make three fabulous boss battles.

Choosing which game to use the Wii Zapper with proved to be difficult. Because the project was due to the ideas of The Legend of Zelda staff, Miyamoto wanted to be in the The Legend of Zelda universe, although some staff argued that giving Link a gun would be too strange. Miyamoto proposed a Terminator-style plot about a time warp to the future, but the idea was vetoed immediately. Miyamoto enjoyed the Hidden Village from Twilight Princess's spaghetti western theme, and recreated it so people could enjoy it in an FPS setting. He also thought using the Wii Zapper in a spaghetti western theme would make it even more fun. The development team eventually settled for giving Link a crossbow. Despite crossbows being unable to do a rapid-fire effect, Miyamoto felt that because it is just for fun, they did it anyway.

The game was originally titled Introduction to Wii Zapper. However, the development team opted to change this, to avoid confusion with Introduction to Wii, the Japanese title of Wii Play. The team also did not want to call it something like The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Crossbow, as it would appear to be a grand-scaled sequel in The Legend of Zelda series, and they did not want it to be interpreted as such. They settled for Link's Crossbow Training in the end.

Link's Crossbow Training was announced by Nintendo to be bundled with the Wii Zapper accessory on July 11, 2007 during Nintendo's E3 2007 media briefing, although it was not directly announced until the GameStop Expo in September of 2007, and was announced by Nintendo on September 10, 2007.


As of March 31 2008, Link's Crossbow Training has sold 1.71 million copies worldwide. As of July 9, 2008, the game has sold 194,849 copies in Japan, according to Famitsu.

Nintendo Power stated "In the way that Link's Crossbow Training shows the potential of the zapper, it couldn't be much better." However, they criticized it for being "Just too darn short–you'll probably make it through the entire single-player mode in just over an hour (add another hour to get platinum medals on every stage)." IGN stated that while the game was enjoyable, it was also too short. IGN's review also panned the Wii Zapper as actually "making the game more difficult" to play and generally frustrating to use.


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