Let’s start this off, not with theories or ideas about Breath of the Wild, but by talking about what I have enjoyed about every LoZ game I have played. There have of course been things in each of these games that I have disliked, and even despised at times, but that will come in a later post.
I’ll go ahead and say that out of all the games out there, I have yet to play Link’s Awakening, Oracle of Seasons, Oracle of Ages, Four Swords Adventures, Link Between Worlds or Tri-Force Heroes. Most of these are simply because I never owned the games, but of course with the help of emulation, I do hope to knock a few of these off that list.
That leaves us with 11 games to go through, and since this may get a bit long I am going to split it in two parts… so buckle your seat belts and let’s get started with the first five!
The Legend of Zelda
The game that started it all. It was Open World before we even knew what Open World was, and it made exploration cool. So that has to be the best part, right? Well, while the ability mostly go wherever you wanted from the start of the game was different, what I enjoyed were all the secrets. I remember going back and forth between screens just to burn every single bush or quickly running out of bombs trying to figure out where the hidden caves where. Even to this day I get lost on side quests in almost every game I play, whether it’s a Zelda game, or more recently Assassin’s Creed… but that desire to find all the secrets, collect all the items and become as powerful as I can is something I have enjoyed since I started playing video games, and the Legend of Zelda was no exception.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Zelda II changed things up from the original by switching from an overhead view to combination of an overhead overworld and a sidescroller in towns, dungeons and other areas. It wasn’t really anything new in the world of video games since Super Mario Bros. and many other games by Nintendo were already side scrollers, but it was a drastic change for the Zelda series from the first game. To me the difficulty of this game was also increased greatly from the original, and it is still one of the few I have not been able to actually beat. Still there was at least one thing I really enjoyed about Zelda II, and that was the towns. The first LoZ had plenty of enemies, good dungeons and many many secrets, but it seemed lacking in civilization. Maybe it was because Ganon had destroyed almost everything, but the only people we managed to run into were old men, potion ladies and Zelda. The Adventure of Link introduced many new towns filled will all sorts of interesting people, although some were too busy to talk. These towns were also great places to find many more secrets, advice and even side quests, which gave this game even more depth than the original. Plus there were many town names that now sound familiar, like Saria, Mido, Nabooru, Darunia, Ruto and Rauru because they became names of actual characters in later games.
A Link to the Past
The next game, A Link to the Past, also happens to be the only other Zelda game I have never actually beat. I believe I made it to the water temple in the Dark Realm and the frustrations were just too much for me. I hope that one day I can get past the frustrations and actually complete this game (along with Zelda II), but it may be a while yet. Even still I did immensely enjoy playing A Link to the Past, and even though the storyline really makes it stand above the first two in my opinion, it still isn’t my favorite part. This game was the first that started the technique of making you beat the game twice with a huge “Plot Twist” right in the middle. You start off thinking you have to complete this one set of tasks, and beat a set of dungeons to save Hyrule only to get to the “End” and realize that your efforts so far did not fully accomplish what you set out to do. Then, in the case of A Link to the Past, you are sent to a completely different Realm and you pretty much have to do everything again, it’s just harder this time. Other Zelda games since this one have used this same technique, but this was the first, and when it happens it’s really kind of awesome.
Ocarina of Time
Now let’s move on to what many people view as possibly the best Zelda game ever made. I’m honestly not sure which game I would put at the top of my Triforce, but I do know this game would at least be close to the top. It was the first three dimensional Zelda game, and it did set a new direction for future Zelda games, while still borrowing plenty from the past (i.e. beating the game twice with big plot twist in the middle). Still, as good and groundbreaking as this game was, what I enjoyed the most was the storyline. Being able to run around Hyrule Field was great, but I feel like the storyline in Ocarina really started to flesh out the true story that was the Legend of Zelda. It explained the origin of Ganondorf/Ganon, featured Impa and the Sheika (who was only mentioned in the original two games as Zelda’s nursemaid), and introduced other races in Hyrule that had not been seen before, like the Gerudo and Gorons. Ocarina of time not only transformed the gameplay in the Legend of Zelda series, but it elevated the story telling to an entirely new level.
The second 3d title in the series is yet another that many fans have near the top of their all time favorite lists. There are quite a few things in this title that set it apart from most other Zelda games, like the fact that it is one of the few games that does not take place in Hyrule, it makes use of masks that actually transform Link into different versions of himself, and probably most importantly, the game only lasts three days. Ocarina of time introduced the “Time Travel” mechanic, but Majora’s Mask takes it a step further by making it the top mechanic in the game instead of just a way to move between two separate times. Even so, you know what I’m going to say don’t you? It may be different and cool, but it’s not my favorite part. Actually my favorite part of Majora’s Mask isn’t really a revolutionary game changing thing. It’s hacking at bosses as Fierce Deity Link! Yes it’s really just an extra reward for collecting all the masks, but kicking butt with that sweet sword is just awesome. The biggest problem is that unless you make use of a glitch in the game, you can only use the Fierce Deity mask inside Dungeons. Still, it’s well worth it!
That’s all for today, but I’ll tackle the others soon!