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Old Man Gets Nostalgic: The Legend of Zelda Series

The Legend of Zelda is widely considered one of the greatest video game franchises around, and I’ve been playing it since the beginning. I don’t remember the exact year I first played it, but it was definitely in the 80s.

Sadly, there are still some games in the series I don’t have much experience with. Link’s Awakening being one of them, as well as the Oracle series and the DS games. But I’ve played and beaten every mainline console Zelda game (excluding Four Swords Adventures, and I’ve never beaten Zelda 2 because I’m a pleb.)

 

 

The Legend of Zelda 

Back when I first played this game, it was hard as hell lol. It’s a lot easier now, since I know the map and the dungeons. I don’t actually remember exactly when I first played it, I either rented it or borrowed it from a friend, which was done a lot back then. I think I may have managed to beat it at some point, but my memory is failing me worse than the Bucs in a must-win late-season game.

Much more recently having played through it several times, my quickest time now is about 2 hours 22 minutes. I really love this game, and especially love all the callbacks and references to it they’re putting in Breath of the Wild.

The feeling of just going around and exploring, bombing walls, burning bushes, nothing else felt quite like it at the time. Back then, you didn’t have the internet to get maps and walkthroughs on.  You had to find it all yourself or hope the stuff your friends told you wasn’t made up.

But it was so much fun exploring the world, that finding everything yourself wasn’t a bad thing. You wanted to ex

It was super satisfying finding a hidden entrance to a dungeon, like the lake where level-7 is hidden or the bush you need to burn to get into level-8.

This really was a landmark game for the industry, there’s a reason so many people consider it one of the greatest games ever made.

This game set a new standard for the genre, and created a series that is widely loved around the world.

 

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Oh man, this game is EVIL. I rented it a bunch of times in the late 80s but I think the farthest I ever got was the second or third palace. I’ve never beaten it, and probably never will. The farthest I’ve ever gotten was the Valley of Death, which is the area right before the Grand Palace. I have “beaten” the game, using save-states on an emulator. But that doesn’t count.

Some people consider this their favorite Zelda game, I like that it’s different but it’s far from my favorite. It’s too damn hard for a pleb like me lol. I wouldn’t mind getting a new game in this style one day, I’m always up for gorgeous 2D art in games. A new side-scrolling Zelda game would be perfect for that. Maybe even a complete remake of this game, REmake style.

 

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

I love this game.

It’s so good, even today. After I got my Super Nintendo I remember renting this game, and it was so awesome I had to have it as soon as possible. Everything about this game is perfect. The art style, the music, the controls. It’s one of those games I’ll never get tired of.

It might seem silly now, but the first time I walked out of Link’s house into the rain it blew my mind. I know I’m not the only one that’s said that either. This game took the 2D overhead style that was started in the original game and brought it to a whole new level.

I remember reading the comic series that was published in Nintendo Power, I was never really into comics but I loved that series.

This is the first appearance of the Master Sword, which has appeared in many games since. It was an amazing feeling of accomplishment after you’ve collected the three pendants and were finally able to pull the Master Sword. That feeling was even greater when you finally destroyed Ganon at the end of the game, and the music in all three parts of the ending was so well done.

I loved that they went back to this style and world in A Link Between Worlds, which is another amazing game.

One of those weird things I always do when I play it, is whenever I get one of the pendants or a crystal I do the spin attack. I don’t know why, I’ve just always done it. I’m also 100% with Dan Ryckert, the sound that bosses make when you beat them is awesome.

This is the game that made me a Zelda fan for life, it’s the reason I was so excited for Ocarina of Time.

And as soon as I get an SVideo cable that isn’t busted, I’ll do another full playthrough of it.

You might as well call me LTTPFreak.

 

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

This game was one of the few good memories I have of the late 90s, as I lived in California at the time and was pretty miserable. I got this game along with my N64 for my birthday in 1998.

It’s still not only one of the best Zeldas I’ve ever played, but also simply one of the greatest games ever made. Yeah the frame rate is awful, but at least it’s consistent. Besides, that issue is fixed with the 3DS version. As well as making the Water Temple less of a pain.

My absolute favorite dungeon in this game is the Spirit Temple. I love the music and the design of it, and the way they integrated the game’s use of time travel into it.

Speaking of music, this game has incredible music. From the opening title to the credits, the soundtrack is great. I always loved how Ganondorf is playing his own theme in his tower, and as you climb the last set of stairs it gets louder and louder.

Ocarina of Time really nailed it as the first Zelda game in 3D, creating so many mechanics still used today. The Z-Targeting system is brilliant.

The world seemed so big the first time you stepped out into Hyrule Field, obviously it’s pretty small now but back then that wasn’t the case.

One thing that drives me crazy, is that I seem to remember ordering a collector’s edition gold cart version of the game, but didn’t get it. Dammit FunCoLand! Maybe one day I’ll blow some money on a gold cart.

 

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

A game that’s either loved or hated, depending on whether you like being right or not. It took the time-travel mechanic from Ocarina of Time and expanded on it. The characters are mostly “alternate reality” versions of the ones found in Ocarina. The story involves stopping the moon from crashing into the world, and you only have three days to do it. That’s where the time travel part comes in, as you once again have the Ocarina of Time.

But the best part of this game is the incredible amount of sidequests you can do. Some are simple, and some are incredibly detailed. Also, what other Zelda game has you fighting off aliens that are coming to steal the cows?

I loved being able to play as other characters via the masks, rolling around the world as Goron Link is always fun.

I bought myself this game for my 19th birthday (because no one else would), and didn’t regret it for a second.

Like with Ocarina of Time, the 3DS version (which despite some people claiming there was  “no need” for it, was definitely needed) fixed some of the annoyances. Adding a much better notebook for tracking quests, as well as improving the frame rate and graphics.

This game was made in just a year, which is the reason it reuses so many models from Ocarina of Time. But even so, it looks better than Ocarina did due to using (and requiring) the RAM expansion.

 

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

The game that caused an uproar from insecure “gamers” that couldn’t handle the art style (and now they’re doing the same with Breath of the Wild.) But despite it’s cartoon looks, it’s actually a fairly dark game at times. You have Hyrule being flooded completely after Ganon breaks free, to stop him from taking over. And speaking of him, he knocks the hell out of Link and Zelda in this game. They’re both kids.

How is that “kiddie” again?

Again proving that all the “kiddie” stuff is just BS.

The characters and so expressive and animated, something that would have been a lot more difficult if they had used the OoT style (as proven by Twilight Princess.)

The world is gigantic, though it is a lot of small islands surrounded by ocean. There is plenty of stuff to find hidden in the ocean, and there are sidequests found throughout the world. Though not quite as crazy as Majora’s Mask got.

The music is once again, fantastic. The main ocean theme fits perfectly as you’re sailing around, and some older themes return from A Link To The Past as well.

The single most annoying part of the game, the Triforce hunt, is fixed in the HD version on Wii U. It also adds the Swift Sail, so you no longer have to change the wind direction every time you want to sail in a different direction.

This game also gives us a little more insight into Ganondorf as a character, showing why he hated Hyrule and wanted to conquer it.

This game has some issues, like any game, but people that dismiss it because of the art style should never be taken seriously.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

I remember watching the first trailer for this game (no I didn’t cry, I was excited as hell for it though) in 2004. When I finally got it in 2006 on the GameCube (Wii was impossible to find), I think I played it every second I was awake and not at work. Though it does have a pretty slow start, the game IS really good. Midna is an awesome character, and her story throughout the game is really good.

The game has some really cool dungeons, like the City in the Sky and the Snowpeak Ruins. There’s also the Lakebed Temple, but that place sucks and should feel bad about itself.

Graphically,  it has some pretty good lighting effects. The textures can be pretty blurry in spots, and some of the character designs are hilarious. I’ll say this, if you cried about Wind Waker’s art style, then when this game was released said it looks awful. You have no room to complain about anything ever again. The whining about TWW was a big reason we didn’t get another game in that style, it’s the reason they made this one instead. I prefer the look that Breath of the Wild is going for, it fits this series perfectly.

I remember people complaining that the Wii version wasn’t a large jump in graphics from the GC version, but they didn’t seem to understand what the Wii hardware was so I didn’t take them seriously (and despite the claims of some people on NeoGAF, I never said the Wii would be a “360 in SD.” I wasn’t even on that site when they claimed I said it.)

The music is good, like usual. Though people like to complain about it not having orchestrated music. There are some really good tunes like Midna’s Lament.

The game might drag a little bit at times, but it’s still a really good game overall. A worthy entry in the series, no doubt.

 

This series has been a huge part of my gaming life for a long time, it’s easily my favorite gaming series and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I can’t wait to play Breath of the Wild, it looks incredible and really seems like it could have the same impact on the series that Ocarina of Time did.

These aren’t the only games I’ve played of course, I’ve played and beaten both Skyward Sword and A Link Between Worlds.  But they’re both still a little too new, I’ve also played The Minish Cap but I don’t remember it very well because I never actually owned it on GBA when it came out.

Breath of the Wild is going to be amazing, and I can’t wait for what’s next after it as well.

 

snesfreak
He's been playing video games his entire life, and has gotten progressively worse at them as he's gotten older and more decrepit. He's been running this place (into the ground) since 2013. He's old. Keeps writing about Nintendo despite mountains of evidence proving he should never write anything. Very old. Lifelong Nintendo fan, doesn't care what you think about that. Did I mention how old he is? Because he's very old.
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