Link's Crossbow Training is the best $19.99 you'll ever spend on the Wii. Not only do you get a chintzy plastic shell in which you'll hold your Wii remote and Nunchuk that you can eventually offload on eBay, you'll get the best shooter pack-in since Duck Hunt. Despite the "training" moniker, Link's Crossbow Training isn't going to be confused with Nintendo's series of brain and vision strengthening software titles. It will, however, bring out the high score thirsty fiend in you.
Link's Crossbow Training is broken up into 9 levels, each with three stages. These stages are one of three types: Target Shooting, Defender or Ranger.
Target Shooting levels consists of a series of bull's-eyes that pop up on screen, including proper wooden bull's-eyes on posts or held by Goron, or in the style of skeet shooting, with a series of cow skulls catapulted into the air.
Defender sees an on screen Link in an over-the-shoulder camera style, remaining stationary. Players can pan the camera left or right with the direction of the Wii remote to look around. In one stage, a horde of Stalfos bears down on him, while in another Link floats down a river, facing Tektikes and other water creatures.
Ranger gameplay uses the analogue stick to move Link around a level, with the Wii remote again used to look around. In one stage, Link must eliminate 25 Moblins with the crossbow with a strict time limit. Far more awkward than the other two game types and decidedly less enjoyable in its control complexity.
The challenge in Link's Crossbow Training comes from its combo system. Simply put, the more shots you string together, the better your score multiplier. There is some strategy involved here, as you'll want to save targets that net more points for later on in your combo sequence. Add a host of interactive objects in each level—barrels, scarecrows, clay pots, all of which can be shot for more points and a higher multiplier—and you'll be going in for just one more attempt at your high score and a better end of level medal.
Link's Crossbow Training was the biggest surprise for me at Nintendo's recent media event. While I'll regularly scoff at the Wii Zapper and the majority of the software that supports it, I'll gladly play plenty of Link's Crossbow Training. For a budget title, it has made its Zapper peers look like a bunch of amateurs.