Sega's mascot zips through The Legend of Zelda Zone in this free DLC.
Playground arguments over the quality of Nintendo versus Sega games happened all the time in the late ‘80s and ‘90s. But did hardcore fans ever expect to drop the old rivalry and watch these two Japanese game companies create games together? Probably not, but it eventually happened. Friendly faire like Mario & Sonic at the Olympics poke fun at that relationship, but Sega has taken the next step and inserted another important Nintendo franchise into its latest update for Sonic Lost World. In it, players can take the blue hero for a spin through The Legend of Zelda Zone -- a free stage that will be available for download through the Wii U eShop on March 27, 2014.
Sonic: Lost World - The Legend of Zelda Zone Developer Commentary Video
We’ve seen Sega weave Nintendo characters into Lost World before with Yoshi’s Island, but The Legend of Zelda Zone expands the idea a little further. Where Yoshi’s Island Zone adopted a side-scrolling perspective and added collecting eggs to the mix, this Zelda-inspired level opens up into a mini-adventure. It’s a departure from the fast pace of Sonic Lost World, and even Sonic himself is dressed for the occasion – he’s decked out in Link’s signature green tunic.
The Legend of Zelda Zone pulls artistic inspiration from a variety of Link’s adventures. The looming Hyrule Castle in the background comes from Twilight Princess. The enemy Stalfos that creep out of the ground originate from Ocarina of Time. At key moments Link rides by on a Loftwing from Skyward Sword. There’s even a miniature dungeon Sonic can explore, heart containers, and other surprises.
Hyrule field is an open area, but the dungeon we explored takes a more straightforward approach. The tube-like design resembles the speedy stages we’ve played in Sonic Lost World. It all funnels into a few large rooms, and it’s lined with rows of rupees to collect and rolling Gorons to avoid. Once you've completed the stage, rupees convert into freed animals -- a sort of currency used to unlock gadgets and stages in the main campaign.
Sonic: Lost World - The Legend of Zelda Zone Trailer
For some Nintendo fans the idea of a Sonic and Link mashup might seem like heresy, but it’s hard to ignore the fan service in this update or how well it adapts a free-roaming mentality. The Legend of Zelda Zone has zero time limitations. You can run around, explore, and complete small challenges in any order. Rings are noticeably absent and replaced by a heart meter. But, of course, even fan service has limitations: You won’t see Sonic wield a Master Sword or use a Hylian Shield here. Instead, he uses the same kick, homing attacks, and powered up abilities from Lost World.
This new DLC might come as a surprise, but Nintendo President Satoru Iwata teased it during a video presentation last December. Combined with the previous Yoshi’s Island Zone, Sega has provided an alternative to avoid repetitive grinding and acquire additional lives in Sonic Lost World. The Legend of Zelda Zone is only available for Wii U. Lost World owners on 3DS won’t have access to it or the Yoshi-themed DLC. If you want to take a deeper look at this free stage, check out the embedded videos above to get a first look at Sonic and Zelda's crossover act.