A personal view of the series by Merman
I played them in the wrong order. Sorry.
My first encounter with The Legend of Zelda was in 1994. Living in a university city, there were many students into gaming. And so when one wanted to import a new Sony PlayStation, he decided to sell his Super Nintendo with over 20 games – including A Link To The Past.
I loved the SNES, and that game in particular was amazing. After the clever opening, the way more of Hyrule opened up to you was fascinating. Then you enter the Dark World… The quality of the graphics impressed me, coming from an 8-bit computer (the Commodore 64). And the music was great too. But it was the controller and the sheer number of items that really sealed it for me. When you worked out how to beat a puzzle, it felt like an achievement. And there was nothing like it on the C64. The closest in recent years has been 2012’s Wonderland, entered into the RGCD 16K Cartridge Competition and shown below.
I did not get an N64. My next Nintendo console was the GameCube, a Christmas present from my brother. In the next two years I picked up two key Zelda titles. First was The Wind Waker. It was a Zelda game, but I was not convinced (at first) by the graphic style. After a couple of sessions I started to appreciate it more. While I did not get far into the quest, the world and the sea made it feel very different. And then of course I met Tingle.
Next up was the 2-disc Zelda Collection. At last I could play the original, the much maligned sequel and the two amazing N64 incarnations. Ocarina of Time felt so dramatic, from the open plains to the crowded castle. The controls were fantastic, especially the Z-targeting. It felt like the series really did make the move into 3D well. Majora’s Mask was another I did not get far into, partly put off by the warning in the manual that the emulation was not perfect.
With more than one Gameboy in the house it was only natural to pick up the portable incarnations. The remastered Link To The Past came with the bonus Four Swords adventure – but I’ve never played it. (I did see an amazing setup at a retro event though – the GameCube Four Swords with four GameCubes linked up).
The next game in the series to really make an impact on me was Link’s Awakening DX. Although it is a side-story, there is so much to recommend it. There is a soulful, melancholy atmosphere and the small screen does not mean that things are scaled down. I also picked up the NES Classics editions of the original Legend of Zelda and Zelda II.
And so onto a confession. I enjoyed Zelda’s Crossbow Training on Wii.
There, I said it.
It’s polished, it has a nice variety of stages and there are some impressive moments (the coach ride and the water level among my favourites). Compared to the other Wii lightgun games there is not as much depth, but it does make good use of the enemies. And there are the medals to give you a reason to play and play again.
Which brings us up to date with all the games I’ve played. Will I be buying the Nintendo NX to experience the next instalment? Will I be digging deep to fill the gaps in my Zelda collection? And will I ever find everything in A Link To The Past?