The Legend of Zelda earns a spot as one of the most iconic game series of all time with no questions asked. Every Zelda title has found a perfect formula for creating a well thought out world that expertly draws out the adventurous child in every one of its players.
Like many of you, I grew up playing the hell out of every Zelda title since the first. Now it is time to go down memory lane and see which games in the series deserve a place in The Legend of Zelda top 10 list.
[NOTICE] This list is based on my own personal opinions of the games and I can assure you that people are going to explode with QQ’s after seeing my choices. If you do not agree with the order of the this top 10 list than please post your own in the comments below. Now let’s get this rage list going!
Zelda II has to be one of the most commonly argued over Zelda titles, and for good reason. The game strayed so far from the original Zelda formula that it is almost unrecognizable. With the side-scrolling dungeons, random overworld map encounters, a large number of castable spells, and a near impossible difficulty, Zelda II really stands out from the pack.
However, it is these qualities that really attract people to the game. These differences that separate it from the flock really appeal to me for some odd reason. I’ve found myself coming back to it again and again since I first grabbed it way back on the NES. Zelda II really does not deserve the amount of hate it has received from fans of the series.
Plus the Japanese version is insanely more irritating than anything the western version can muster. So be happy with your slightly simplified version of this black sheep.
I have to be honest with everyone here. I really had a huge dislike for Twilight Princess when it was first released. It just felt like it was being dark just for the sake of being dark and Link’s oddly designed face creeped me right the hell out. Although, I have slowly gained a grudging respect for the game since then.
Nintendo really tried their best to appeal to the Zelda gamers who have aged since they got their first copy of Zelda in the 80’s, and that really shows that they haven’t forgotten about us in place for the new generation. The horse combat was something every gamer had wanted in their Zelda since they first road Epona in Ocarina of Time and they managed to really show Princess Zelda as a stern ruler that should be definitely be referred to as “Queen Zelda”.
The boss battles are pretty darn good as well!
The Legend of Zelda, the game that started it all. This was actually the first video game that I had the pleasure of playing and it just blew my mind. The world felt so massive for the time and it was filled with so many secrets that you really had to wrap your brain around to understand. I can’t remember how many hours I wasted running around in circles with a satisfied, yet frustrated, look on my face.
The one thing that really stuck out about The Legend of Zelda at the time of its release was the fact that you could really explore Link’s world. This was basically unheard of at the time and it is the key reason why this game deserves a spot on this list. Well that and the fact that it is fun as all hell.
Skyward Sword did an amazing job of filling in the missing pieces of the Zelda universe puzzle. While the water-color art style of the game has been overused in a number of games, it was still very pretty. The game’s dungeons were amazingly fun and the childlike love story going on between Link and Zelda was interesting to see even if it didn’t really go anywhere.
A huge complaint that popped up about Skyward Sword over and over again was the lack of voice acting. While I understand that many people nowadays expect it to be in every major title that is released, Zelda is not a game that needs voice acting. The world of Zelda is and always has been built around the silent Link and his adventures. The game is meant to draw out your own inner-child and have it fill out Link’s personality and voice. Giving Link, Zelda, or any other beloved character a voice will take more away from the game than it will give.
Also the motion controls were beyond amazing! You have to love feeling like your swinging the Master Sword.
Released together for the Game Boy by Capcom rather than Nintendo, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Season stand out quite a bit. The two games follow their own stories but are connected through a password system that allows you to continue your game through the other and you need to beat them back to back to see the true ending. I have yet to see another pair of games do what the Oracle games managed.
Alongside the games’ being interestingly connected, fans also discovered just how awesome old-school Capcom was at making Zelda games (Minish Cap was another stellar piece of work from them). The amount of exploration and amazing puzzles stuffed into these two simple Game Boy cartridges was just surreal. The Oracle games really are a portable masterpiece.
Before we were wowed by Oracle of Ages and Seasons, Link’s Awakening appeared and caused many gamers’ jaws to drop from its sheer handheld awesomeness. This game had it all and more! Stuffed into our tiny little Game Boy game were amazing puzzles, a massive overworld to explore, an interesting plot, and even a giant flying hippy whale that could speak! While these were all crazy great in their own right, what really blew me away was the Roc’s Feather item that allowed Link to jump! Giving him the ability to jump made this game quickly become one of my favorite Zelda titles of all time. The hippy whale had a hand in that decision as well.
The amount of whiny drama that the cell shaded Wind Waker caused after its announcement was just plain insane. It seemed as if every Zelda fanboy/fangirl in the world quickly began making their own plans for getting revenge on Nintendo. That was until the game was actually released and every single person quickly fell to their knees and begged the big N for forgiveness, which the mighty Nintendo granted them.
The Wind Waker is a beautiful game even by today’s standards. The bright and colorful cartoony look gave the title a personality that really made gamers fall in love with it. Not to mention the amazing feeling you get from sailing through the game’s massive ocean on your little red boat.
The story had some great twists and the character designs were really charming. However, the ending is one aspect of the game that is completely unforgettable. [Spoiler] The amount of epicness from Link when he literally shoves the Master Sword straight into Ganon’s skull is crazy. Nobody could have imagined that a game that looks so innocent and cartoony would have such an awesomely dark death blow for its final confrontation. The Wind Waker definitely has the most Metal ending of any Zelda game!
I can already hear the outrage, “What! OoT isn’t in the #1 spot! This is utter BS!!!!” Well sorry but it is most definitely getting the bronze medal in this list. I definitely agree that Ocarina of Time is an amazing game and I have played through it more times than I can count. Just about everything in OoT was groundbreaking for the time and it really does deserve all the praise it gets, but there are still better Zelda games out there.
One thing we can all agree on is that the Ocarina of Time is epic beyond measure. The story is epic, the items are epic, the bosses and dungeons are epic, and especially the time travel ability is epic. But I have one word for you on why this game is so high on my top 10 list. That word is ‘Gorons’. I cannot get enough of those rock eating badasses, and it is this game that introduced them to the world. Thank you Ocarina of Time!
This game…. this game is nothing more than a masterpiece forged by the mighty Miyamoto on his godly mushroom encrusted forge! A Link to the Past has and will always be my comfort game. It’s the type of game you can play no matter how horrible your day has been, and that day becomes nothing more than a boring memory when you take control of Link.
The key selling point in A Link to the Past isn’t in its graphics or gameplay gimmicks, but instead in the game’s plot buildup. It has you rushing through the beginning dungeons so you can find the Master Sword and destroy the evil wizard Agahnim before he can sacrifice Princess Zelda. So you get the fabled blade and become nothing short of godlike. LttP quickly flips this feeling of power to a feeling a weakness in a matter of seconds as your transported to the Dark World after defeating the evil wizard. You quickly realize that you are no better off now than you were when you started the game once you battle the first few enemies that block your path. Now that is some good 16-bit storytelling.
Having a game from the SNES era that could cause such a rollercoaster of emotion was extremely rare and is still rare in games today. That is the reason for A Link to the Past getting this much deserved spot in second place.
Majora’s Mask is hands down the greatest game in the Zelda series. The amount of tension and emotion this game creates with just its atmosphere alone is almost unreal. Nobody ever expected Nintendo to place Link in his own version of an apocalyptic Groundhog Day, and that is another reason that it works so well. Link just does not seem to belong in this nightmarish world that seems to be derived from the mind of a schizophrenic game developer. He is just an average kid stuck in a doomed world.
I’ve never had a game cause me to panic more than when the clock in Majora’s Mask announces “The Dawn of a New Day” followed by how long we all have left to live. It is all so surreal and it really causes you to enter philosophical mode. This goes for the game’s iconic songs as well. Each one, specifically the Song of Healing, seem to hit a chord with specific emotions.
While I know many people have complained time and again about how they either hate the three-day countdown or the fact that you have to reset time to save, I have never had any issues with either of these. They seem to be implemented this way to increase the amount of anxiety the countdown is causing you, which is what the game wants. Majora’s Mask is really just one big dive into your psyche by Nintendo and I love every bit of it. The use of masks in the game is also just one big mind fuck.
[Spoilers] As if the impending Armageddon wasn’t enough, the game often focuses on certain characters and their suffering. It is nearly impossible to watch the crying Darunia’s cutscene as he fades away into nothingness without shedding a tear yourself. Don’t even let me get started with the amount of emotion you feel as you watch Kafei and Anju get married in the remaining minutes of their life… Majora’s Mask really opens up your eyes to how the world is not all bubblegum and sunshine, and it really messes with your head if your still a kid. [Spoilers End]
While everything listed above explains why this game deserves such praise, I completely forgot to mention the best part of the game. You can become frikkin’ Goron! That is more than enough to give this game the #1 spot!
I really wish this had been a top 10+ list. No Zelda title deserves to be left out of a list of the greatest games in its series, but it had to be done. The following are Zelda titles that could not find a spot in the list but are all amazing games that deserve at least one or more playthroughs (especially Minish Cap).
- Minish Cap
- Four Swords Adventure
- The Wand of Gamelon (I’ll let you decide if I’m serious)