Truth be told, I’ve stayed away from a lot of the news on the next Zelda. For me, the series hit its high point with The Ocarina of Time, and while the other games were enjoyable, that was my high point of the series, and the biggest evolution in the franchise.

People have a lot of expectation for the next Zelda, and so do I. I’m hoping it will do for Link what Super Mario Galaxy did for Mario: Refine an already great game series, and push some serious Wii horsepower.

If I had my way, I’d want a Zelda game to look like the classic NES instruction manual illustrations. You know, these pictures:

Even though the original graphics didn’t look like that, when I first played the game, they may as well have been. In my mind, they were.

But I guess Wind Waker will remain the official “cartoon Link” for the foreseeable future.

As for the new Zelda, there are things I want to see.

I’ll go down my personal checklist:

* Orchestrated music: Just like Mario Galaxy. Again, I found the “Zelda theme” from the NES intro to be one of the more haunting renditions. I’d like something to really evoke that sense of mood.

* Full voice acting. Except for Link. Metroid Prime 3 did that right. Everyone save for Samus spoke, and Nintendo proved that they can pull together a really professional sounding voice cast. Let Link emote through his eyes and facial expressions, while remaining the strong, silent protagonist.

* Link no longer fights alone. This idea came from Kingdom Hearts. Let Link have a party fight alongside him controlled by computer AI. Not multi-player. And the main person to include? Zelda. None of the “rescue” aspect this time. Let her cast spells and use a bow or a staff. The latest DS game started integrating Zelda into gameplay. I think that concept needs to continue. Other party members? Leave that up to Nintendo’s creativity, but a Goron, Zora, or Fairy would be ideal race choices.

* War needs to come to Hyrule. None of this tiny 3-5 enemy nonsense. Let Link lead or taking part in an army, riding Epona Lord of the Rings style, slashing through Moblins on their steeds, as a great Hylian army backs up Link’s attack during the final siege against Ganon. I want stuff to really go down in this game, leading up to a climatic end battle. Again, Ocarina of Time had a fantastic closing battle. Hyrule knows it’s in danger. Shouldn’t they try to at least help their one and last great hope against its oppressor?

* New weapons. Sure, there are expected mainstays: Bombs, boomerangs, bow and arrows, but isn’t it time for some new gadgets?

* Intelligent motion control. There’s motion control, but how many Wii games honestly attempt to do something genuinely creative with the Wii Remote as opposed to just flailing around, or using imprecise actions? even Nintendo hasn’t put out that many games where the motion control in really that mandatory, and could have technically done without? I want the Wii remote to finally, actually be an extension of Link’s sword and bow.

Again, I’ve been trying to wait until they show some screens. I really want to be “Wowed” by this title as I was with Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, and even Smash Bros. Brawl. Time will tell, but they need to shake up a few things as while the formula is still good, it hasn’t broken amazing new ground in a while.

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