Hey Listen! This article examines the storyline of the Zelda series, so it contains spoilers for the games in question. It is part of an ongoing series, so be sure to check out the series introduction here and the previous games:
In Four Swords, our story begins with Princess Zelda and Link checking on the legendary Four Sword.
We can assume that these are not the same Zelda and Link from Minish Cap, as Zelda says to Link, “This is the sacred blade that I spoke of,” and it is unlikely that Zelda would need to explain anything to Link about the sword that he just went through the trouble of infusing with magic. These events likely take place a few generations after the events of The Minish Cap.
Once again, we are treated to a story of what our previous incarnation achieved. Zelda explains that “when the mighty Vaati attacked, a hero arose and saved the people from destruction. They go on to say that by using this sword, the one was as four, and the four combined their strength!” This legend clearly references the events of Minish Cap.
The opening differs from the way our last story ended. Here, we begin in the Elemental Sanctuary (which looks nothing like the previous version, but perhaps the moss and plant life that now cover it merely grew over hundreds of years) with the Four Sword sealing away the evil Vaati. The issue here is that at the end of Minish Cap, when Vaati was defeated, there was nothing showing him being sealed away with the sword. Perhaps it happened off-camera; the reasoning here is that in the beginning of Minish Cap, we know that the evil of the world was in a bound chest that was sealed with the original Picori blade. So it could be that with Zelda’s wish to restore order and balance to Hyrule, Vaati’s essence was sealed away with the legendary sword… and they just chose not to show it. Alternatively, it’s possible that the timeline now has space for another adventure between the two!
This is the first game where the four different Links can be controlled by multiple players. The Links, as in the previous titles, are distinguished by their tunics. We can assume that Link has a close relationship to the Princess again, as she has brought him to the Elemental Sanctuary to check on the Four Sword.
Once again reincarnated as a member of the royal family, Zelda is a guardian to the Four Sword, but this Zelda is rather helpless when compared to her pass incarnations. She does appear to once again have mysterious powers, as she is able to sense that the seal keeping Vaati at bay is beginning to weaken. She has barely any screen time — just enough to explain to our hero about the legendary Four Sword and then get captured. Once the Links defeat Vaati, she notes that there are multiple Links and explains that the Four Sword is the only sword that can contain the evil wind mage.
Vaati seems to have taken on his final form, Vaati’s Wrath (the large floating eye), from Minish Cap. He appears to have no memory of his former life as a Picori (in fact, the Picori are not really mentioned in this game — but more on that later) and as soon as he escapes his captivity, he goes on a rampage. He kidnaps Princess Zelda and takes her to the Palace of the Winds (which is similar to the palace from the previous title).
In your final encounter with Vaati, he seems to remember the sword itself but not the hero that defeated him. Once again, he cannot believe that his defeat is brought about by a child and his essence is once again sucked into the Four Sword.
As noted above, the eponymous sword is the same sword that we used (and went through the trouble of infusing with magic) in the previous title The Minish Cap. The sword is pretty much the only thing that really connects this game to the rest of the storyline, as this particular game is not story heavy. There are some differences between the two versions of the Four Sword; for example, the blade seems to have become more powerful, as it has the power of four as soon as Link touches it rather than needing to stand in a special spot and charge it, as in the previous title.
The Minish Cap was the last time for us to see the Gust Jar (or Gust Bellows), as it is not mentioned in any of the other games. It, like the fifth glass bottle, must have been lost to the ages.
The Gnat Hat is an interesting item and really the only thing that connects the Picori/Minish to this game. Much like Ezlo in the previous game, this hat will shrink a Link down to Picori size to aid him in the level and it is able to do so without a portal or snarky comments.
There is no mention of the Triforce or the Light Force in this title aside from the Triforce medals you win at the end of each level.
Overall, this title really doesn’t have much to do with the timeline as it is a fairly short storyline and the game itself doesn’t add much to the series; however, if our goal is to fit all of the Zelda titles (well, almost all — there are certain CDi games that we just don’t talk about) into a master timeline, Four Sword does have its place.
The next game in our series will be another major plot point in the timeline: the Nintendo64 classic Ocarina of Time.