Remember the special limited edition tin case and character figurines offered in the United Kingdom for The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks that we saw last week? Kombo has word that it's the real deal, although still no word on if we'll see anything similar in North America. That's alright for now though, as the report also has some information on the Nintendo DS game's plot and where it falls into the convoluted ever-branching Zelda timeline.
Nintendo's Kit Ellis tells us that Spirit Tracks takes place 100 years after Phantom Hourglass, so you know what that means: new Link! Or so he says; Nintendo seems to be rather back-and-forth on the concept, but for all intents and purposes, this guy is different.
Despite this, however, it is set in the same world, with homages to the past title appearing throughout the story. One such returning element, of course, is the Phantom, who aids Link in his journey. Regarding the train, Ellis says "As with any Zelda game, exploration is a big part of it. And you're not just going from A to B on the train; you're uncovering secrets, finding new places, and the train, you can upgrade as you go along." He adds that you will be able to lay your own track, and do a bit of exploration that way as well.
I keep forgetting that Spirit Tracks is due out in early December. With so many major franchises making a semi-annual appearance this quarter (Uncharted, Ratchet & Clank, Mario & Luigi, New Super Mario Bros., etc.) this game has a habit of dropping off of my list of games to pick up. Somehow I think that an offering of a limited edition set in North America would fix that little problem.
By the way, the Kombo article also has what is labeled as the European version's box art. Compare this to the currently listed North American box art that Nintendo of America has made available on its press site.
So while the European version of the game is all about exploring the world aboard a lively train alongside a perky princess, the American version is all about slaying monsters alongside a warrior knight with a big-ass sword while a dark locomotive of the soul looms large over events. American Link is hardcore. Some things never change.