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The Minish Cap retains the general gameplay features that were present in previous Zelda installments. The main protagonist, Link, must navigate several dungeons to obtain an item or enhancement at the end of each dungeon that is pivotal towards the quest. Each of the game's "bosses" are defeated using the item acquired in the boss's dungeon. The game also includes multiple "side quests"—optional tasks that are not part of the main quest but rewards for completion are beneficial to the gamer. Recurring characters in the Zelda series make appearances and some form part of side quests; for example, Tingle and his brothers must all be contacted by the player to earn a reward. The Minish Cap features a number of enhancements that benefit from the more powerful Game Boy Advance platform. The game's camera angle is much closer to the ground, allowing more detail. In the overworld and in dungeons, the game replaces the traditional item interface of the handheld Zelda games with pictures associating items or actions with buttons, similar to the item interface in 3D titles like Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker. Enemies include familiar creatures from the Zelda universe. Link can also perform special actions present in the 3D Zelda games, such as rolling while running. Along with returning items such as Bombs, Arrows and Pegasus Boots, The Minish Cap introduces three new items: the Mole Mitts, the Gust Jar, and the Cane of Pacci. The Mole Mitts allow Link to dig through dirt barriers to explore new areas, the Gust Jar can suck in nearby items and substances and can be used to suck up certain enemies and fire them as projectiles, and the Cane of Pacci can flip certain objects over and allow Link to launch himself out of holes in the ground. The game advances the combat system from previous handheld installments by allowing Link to learn new sword techniques throughout the game, some of which are techniques from previous games and some of which are new. As the game progresses, Link will collect Elements that fuse with his sword, allowing him make copies of himself using glowing floor panels, used to solve puzzles such as pushing large blocks or hitting multiple switches simultaneously.
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