I figured I should really do something to celebrate Zelda week, especially considering it is one of my favourite video game series. Since I didn’t have a lot of time, I thought I could quickly list every Zelda game I’ve beaten while counting them down to my absolute favourite and offering a short explanation of why each game is where it is.
So, here it is. My top 7 Zelda games I’ve beaten.
#7 – The Legend of Zelda
This was the first Zelda I played. I was probably 5 or 6 at the time. I enjoyed it, I guess. It didn’t really grab me though and I mostly forgot about it until about a decade later, when I finally took the time to beat it. I still just thought it was alright. It felt more like Dragon Warrior than Final Fantasy, if you know what I mean. Like it was an important game for the genre and series, but they were still just figuring stuff out, so while they did a lot of things right, there was still a lot they did wrong or could’ve done better.
That’s not to say it was a bad game though. I love Dragon Warrior and I think this game is absolutely a classic, just like this game. Still, the world seems really dead, mostly empty, save the same constantly recurring enemies, which got a little boring with time. The dungeons were fun and well done though, as were the boss battles.
Overall, I consider it the worst Zelda game I’ve played, but that doesn’t mean much. One of them has to be the worst, but in this case, it definitely doesn’t mean the game is bad.
#6 – The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons
I never remember if it was Ages or Seasons I beat, which isn’t a good sign. I don’t have much to say about it, since I don’t remember much about it. It was fun. Changing the season was fun at first, but then got a little boring, but not too bad. I remember virtually nothing about the story, but I don’t usually play a Zelda game for its story. It was fun. Again considering that this is the most recent Zelda game I’ve beaten, the fact that I can’t recall much about it but am left with a general sense of “it was fun” is not a very positive thing, but it was fun.
#5 – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Let me start by saying that this game, along with the next three, could switch places from one day to the next. In a sense, you could consider them all 2-a, 2-b, 2-c, and 2-d. If decide my bias tilts towards story, rather than retro or historical importance, the ordwer changes. If I decide I prefer 2D zelda games right now, as opposed to 3D Zelda games, it changes again. In essence, none have real flaws other than not being the game listed in the top spot. Anyway…
When some series made the jump to 3D, it wasn’t pretty. Sure, those graphics look kinda shoddy now, almost 20 years later, but at the time, this game was themost beautiful video game I’d ever seen. The game felt huge and I still vow to find all those Gold Skulltulas some day. My one criticism is how empty and compartmentalised the world was, but both, especially the latter, are likely due to hardware limitations.
Other than that, I’d scrap Navi and the Water Temple. I still remember when I first played this, right when it came out. I believe it took all of 10 minutes after I took control of Link that I started wondering why the fuck Navi was in the game. I’m a guy who likes to do what he’s not supposed to in these kinds of games. If I’m told I need to go right next, I immediately wonder what is left and go there first. Having Navi constantly tell me where I needed to go and what to do next was unfuriating. One of my friends called it “Press A to win,” as it essentially removed the “I don’t know where to go or what to do, so let’s go explore” element I’d grown to love in the series. We weren’t conscious of it yet, but we’d just had our first post-Mortal Kombat without blood “Nintendo is for little kids” moment.
I have nothing else negative to add. The game is a classic. Wonderful.
#4 – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
This is the third Zelda game I played and the 2nd I beat. Not much to say that hasn’t been said a thousand times. The music, graphics, gameplay, all of it is great. The game is pure fun. When I called the original Zelda the Dragon Warrior of Zelda games, as they are both genre defining games that still had lots of flaws, well then this is the Final Fantasy counterpart in the analogy. Link to the Past was where Nintendo perfected what they had started with the first Zelda game. It is probably the best 16-bit action-adventure game.
#3 – The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
I often joke that this is my favourite Wii game, because I don’t own a Gamecube and regret getting the Wii more than any other console. In fact, it’s the only console I regret buying. Joking aside though, regardless of console or generation, this game ranks high in my list of all time favourite games.
First of all, the game is gorgeous. The music is moving. The story is probably my favourite of any Zelda game. Meanwhile, the typically empty world all 3D Zelda games suffer from, while still present here, is alleviated by just how much I enjoyed sailing around in my boat and searching for new islands. More Zelda games with boats, please!
#2 – The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
I REALLY like this game. It somehow managed to feel just like a 2D Zelda game without feeling just like all the other 2D Zelda games. Now, maybe I put it this high because it doesn’t often get mentioned at all or at least this high in top Zelda lists and I totally have a thing for underdogs, but I really do think it is a great game. I like Ezlo and the Minish. I have nothing bad to say about this game. It is so pretty. I want to go play it again right now.
#1 – Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
There has never been a time in my life when this wasn’t my favourite game in the world. Before I played Zelda II, there were video games I liked, but it was only once I played this one that I became a gamer and loved video games.
I owned an Atari 2600 for years before I got an NES. I kind of wanted one, but didn’t care very much. I had a cousin with an NES where I played Super Mario Bros and some shitty baseball game (don’t try to guess, I think all baseball games are shitty, except for Base Wars). I thought SMB was ok, I guess. I also had an aunt with an NES who would babysit my brother and I and would rent a game when she did. This is how I first played LoZ. I don’t remember any other game we rented until Zelda II. I loved it immediately. I loved it so much that from that point on, my brother and I saved up all our money until we could afford an NES and this game.
I could go on and on about when I got it and how much I played, but I’ll get a chance to do a more in depth review of it, along with many other Zelda games, in Game Overkill eventually. However, I will leave with this: pretty much every critique of the game I’ve ever heard are all things I consider positives, ESPECIALLY the difficulty. I was 8 years old when I got the game. I beat it within the first year I had it. The game was in English and I was only starting to learn how to read French. I wouldn’t have a formal English class for another 3 years. So, if an 8 year old playing the game in a foreign language could beat it, the game cannot be too difficult. Ya’ll must just suck at video games. 😛
So there they are, my top 7 Zelda games I’ve beaten. I have played Twilight Princess, Oracle of Ages, Link’s Awakening and Four Swords Adventure, but I haven’t beaten them. I have never played Majora’s Mask or any of the more recent handheld and console games.
Surely your own lists would be different, so I’m curious. How would your top Zelda games list look? What do you think of my list?