The Legend of Zelda! A guide for the indifferent
Unless you’ve been living in a cave on Mars for the last three decades, I’m sure you’re aware of the franchise in some shape or form. If not, let me clue you in in the fasted way possible. “Rogue hero sets out to save the princess and the Kingdom of Hyrule from certain doom”. For the most part, anyway. I’ll split the hairs down the line, rest assured.
As a long-term fan of the series, first playing A Link to the Past on the Super Nintendo at the knee-high age of 5, all the way up to the release of the game changing Breath of the Wild in 2017. With the release of the sequel to Breath of the Wild looming, I’ve decided to look back on the series as a whole. Because of the wide variety in the catalogue, I’m going to look back and put the games into various groups best suited to different types of gamers. ‘Newbie’, ‘Casual’ and ‘Hardcore’. Three vast but to the point types of groups. I have no time for sub-genres, I’m afraid. I’m far too lazy to delve that deep.
To clarify, this is how I’m defining the three types of gamer previously mentioned.
- Newbie Gamer: A person that’s new to the electronic arts.
- Casual Gamer: An individual that plays games casually (Duh)
- Hardcore Gamer: Someone who likes a challenge.
(Side note. I’m not going to be covering every single game in the franchise because that’s down right madness. If anyone has a problem with this, you can call me personally to complain. You can find me in the yellow pages under the name “Deal with it”.) Now we have that out the way, lets push on!
Zelda for noobs
Let’s not pretend. We’ve all been one. I probably still am but that’s beyond the point. What game(s) are best to bring you into the franchise that is on the same level as the holy light of infinity? (I’m not bias at all, by the way).
OCARINA OF TIME (Nintendo 64 and Nintendo 3DS)
Who saw this coming? But in my defence, it’s a fantastic game to start off with. I started playing this game on Christmas day, 1998 at 10 years old. Sure, I’d use a guide every now and then, but as a kid I managed to complete it. Great story and great freedom for the time. The updated version on the 3DS is even better. In all honesty and it’s one I play to this day.
LINK’S AWAKENING (Gameboy and Nintendo Switch)
Revamped on the Nintendo switch, bringing a wonderful diorama art style and fantastic playability. I cannot stress enough how charming the art style is in this game. Originally on the first GameBoy, then updated for the GameBoy Colour in the suit of “Links Awakening DX”, and even re-released on the “Legend of Zelda Game & Watch” system. No matter what platform this game has always been a huge staple in the series. An amazing but tragic tale that really strayed away the classic Zelda story.
A LINK BETWEEN WORLDS (Nintendo 3DS)
So I tried this game when it released in 2013. At the time, I wasn’t a fan. Because of “Ocarina of Time” being out on the system, I was oddly angry that they made a top-down Zelda game, instead of an over the shoulder 3rd person game. I wanted the extended view and the freedom! However, after playing it more recently I TAKE IT ALL BACK. Jebus! How I’ve enjoyed that game. Being a somewhat sequel of “A Link To The Past”, it takes you back to the Hyrule that some of us know very well. Even if you don’t know it, it’s a stunner of a game with great story, and it’s easy to pick up play anywhere.
Zelda for the casual
A LINK TO THE PAST (Super Nintendo, Wii, Wii U, 3DS & Switch)
My first taste of the franchise. Quick backstory into my pint size days… My uncle had a Super Nintendo back in the early 90’s. I could never play the darn thing because either my uncle would be playing it, or my sister and my cousin would be playing it. I couldn’t get a play in edgeways! So I used to wake up before any of them and play Zelda at 5am. Cementing my love for the series (obviously…)
Anyway! This game is well rounded, difficult at times but all together a good challenge. I replayed it after downloading it to my 3DS. It was a step up for the new system at the time and has an epic storyline. Very classic in the way of saving the seven maidens and beating the life out of big pig Ganon. This game truly stands the test of time, in my humble and very important opinion.
TWILIGHT PRINCESS (Wii, Gamecube and Wii U)
Here we are. Ocarina of Time’s darker cousin. After all the backlash from “The Wind Waker” Nintendo were pushed to make a more “realistic” Zelda game. Personally, I like to call it, “Zelda’s Emo phase”. With moody colours and a story filled with longing, memory loss and a really funny cat, it certainly did it’s job to be a more “mature” Zelda game. The Wii version of the game utilising the Wii remote to use as a sword, it gave a real nice connection to the game. (Sometimes stressful because of the Wii remote but otherwise golden). Great dungeons and off the page characters really make it something. I started to really care about the characters in the game with the amount of personality put into them. Also, Link could now pick up dogs and cats. The look on his face when he does so is heart-warming. For that reason alone, I recommend this game.
MAJORAS MASK (Nintendo 64 and Nintendo 3DS)
Where to begin. From the start I’m going to call this game a masterpiece. The 3-day cycle, time travelling and shape shifting masks!! Its right out of the conspiracy hot pot! After Ocarina of Time Nintendo were pressed to bring out a sequel of sorts. Using the same engine and characters (with a few more thrown in) they really hit the nail on the head. It can be a bit difficult, but the idea of time travel, masks and somewhat heart aching back stories really gave this game a cult style identity. The menacing and nightmarish moon bearing down on you day by day certainly gave this game a sense of urgency. A scary urgency, for sure…. Truly sad stories of characters and being able to pose as them really made me feel a moral dilemma. It really cemented my views that the franchise was unpredictable and isn’t afraid of pushing the envelope. The game frightened me but not in your classic jump scare horror. The idea that doom was coming and there’s little you can do about it is scary enough for me. Plus, the new character named “Tingle” was just unsettling. Enjoy!
Zelda for the hardcore
Here we are, folks! I’m putting in games here that I find maaaaad difficult, but I could just be a super idiot. Do with that what you will. These are the hardest games in my lovely and caring opinion. Hopefully you beautiful readers will like what your equally (if not more so) beautiful scribe has to say. If you made it this far, I commend you and if we ever meet, you can of course, buy me a coffee. Thanks in (GameBoy) advance.
ZELDA 2 (Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS)
I have to admit, I’ve never completed this game. It hurts my fragile heart bone. The only game in the franchise that is a side scroller. I’ve gotten pretty far, for sure! However never got to the end. It is truly a massive challenge and I commend anyone who has finished it without crying. It’s certainly a different take from Zelda 1 and I do believe it’s up there with the greats. All I can say is, good luck. If you’re going to take on the challenge that is Zelda 2, just remember, I’ll be there with you… Crying.
ORACLE OF SEASONS (GameBoy Colour and Nintendo 3DS)
Unfortunately, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons came out miles away from my birthday, so I was never able to obtain them around launch. Now however, I’ve played both games and Oracle of Seasons takes the cake! It really is a hard coconut to crack. It has a classic top-down view, reminiscent of Links Awakening and was developed by Capcom. It certainly is a game that takes brain power, patience and brain power. Yes, you read correctly. Despite its difficulty, it’s a charming game filled with larger-than-life characters. I truly recommend it if you’d like a challenge. Plus, there’s a Kangaroo with boxing gloves. Need I say more?
ZELDA 1 (Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS)
The game that started it all. When I first got my copy from eBay in 2005, it didn’t come with the map that it was supposed to. The secrets in that game and the over world are cruel, but truly amazing. The attitude of just sending you out in the wilderness is reminiscent of Breath of the Wild for sure. Just be careful and explore. What more can I say? The game has heart and really changed the video game industry, in my wonderful and un-bias opinion. The fact is, that there’s nothing else to say about this game. Just play it, you dogs.
BREATH OF THE WILD
This like many Zelda games, was a game changer. Watching E3 with my best mate Joe, in 2016. I almost and certainly cried. Looking forward to the paradigm shift in the franchise. AND BOY! Did it deliver. Going to a midnight opening in Salisbury to collect my Switch along with the Holy Grail of Zelda games. Got a keyring to prove it. Stayed up all night playing it like a crazy Zelda ninja. The wonderful thing was that this game gave it’s pull towards newbies, casual and hardcore gamers. I feel it was accommodating to all kinds of gamers. Not to mention it was visually beautiful. The way that it took the ideals of Zelda 1 were amazing. Lost in the wilderness, being free and doing what you wanted gave an amazing freedom for the player. It was an unforgettable experience.
And that brings us to the end… The Legend of Zelda if by far one of Nintendo’s best IP. To read our article on the top 5 Nintendo IP, follow this link.