The best Zelda games: Eurogamer editors’ choice_140

You’ve already had your say on the best Zelda games since we celebrate the series’ 30th anniversary — and you also did a mighty good job too, even if I’m pretty certain A Link to the Past belongs at the head of any record — so now it is our turn. We asked the Eurogamer editorial staff to vote for their favorite Zelda games (although Wes abstained since he doesn’t know exactly what a Nintendo is) and underneath you will discover the whole top ten, together with some of our very own musings. Can people get the matches in their real order? Probably not…

10. A Link Between Worlds

How brilliantly contradictory that among the very best first games on Nintendo’s 3DS is a 2D adventure sport, and that one of the most adventurous Zelda entrances are the one which so closely aped one of its predecessors.

It helps, of course, that the template has been lifted from one of the best games in the series also, by extension, among the finest games of all time. A Link Between Worlds takes that and also positively sprints with it, running into the recognizable expanse of Hyrule with a newfound liberty.At site phantom hourglass rom from Our Articles

In giving you the capacity to lease any one of Link’s well-established tools from the away, A Link Between Worlds broke with this linear progress that had shackled previous Zelda games; it is a Hyrule that was no longer characterized by an invisible course, but one which offered a feeling of discovery and completely free will that was beginning to feel absent from prior entries. The feeling of experience so precious to the show, muffled in the past several years from the ritual of repetition, was well and truly restored. MR

9. Spirit Tracks

A unfortunate side-effect of this simple fact that more than one generation of gamers has increased up with Zelda and refused to let go has become an insistence — through the show’ sin, at any rate — that it develop them. That resulted in some interesting areas as well as some silly tussles over the series’ direction, as we’ll see later in this listing, but at times it threatened to leave Zelda’s authentic constituency — you know, children — behind.

Happily, the mobile games are there to look after younger players, along with Spirit Tracks for its DS (currently accessible on Wii U Virtual Console) is Zelda in its chirpy and adorable. Though superbly designed, it is not an especially distinguished game, being a relatively hasty and gimmicky follow-up to Phantom Hourglass that reproduces its structure and flowing stylus controller. But it’s such zest! Connect utilizes just a tiny train to get around and its own puffing and tooting, together with an inspired folk music soundtrack, set a lively tempo for the experience. Then there’s the childish, tactile pleasure of driving that the train: setting the adjuster, yanking the whistle and scribbling destinations in your own map.

Best of all is that, for once, Zelda is in addition to the ride. Connect must rescue her body, but her spirit is with him as a constant companion, occasionally able to own enemy soldiers and perform the barbarous heavy. The two even enjoy an innocent childhood love, and you would be hard pressed to consider another game that has captured the teasing, blushing strength of a reggae beat so well. Inclusive and sweet, Spirit Tracks remembers that kids have feelings too, and also can show grownups something or two about love. OW

8. Phantom Hourglass

In my head, at least, there’s long been a furious debate going on regarding whether Link, Hero of Hyrule, is actually any good using a boomerang. He has been wielding the faithful, banana-shaped bit of wood because his first adventure, however in my experience it’s merely been a pain in the arse to work with.

The exception which proves the rule, nevertheless, is Phantom Hourglass, where you draw on the trail on your boomerang by hand. Poking the stylus in the touch display (which, at an equally lovely move, is the way you control your own sword), you draw a precise flight map to the boomerang and it just… goes. No more faffing about, no more clanging into columns, only simple, simple, improbably responsive boomerang trip. It had been when I first used the boomerang at Phantom Hourglass I realised that this game might just be something particular; I immediately fell in love with the remainder.

Never mind that many of the puzzles are based on setting off a switch and then getting from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. Never mind that watching a few game back to refresh my memory gave me powerful flashbacks into the hours spent huddling over the screen and grasping my DS like I needed to throttle it. Never mind that I did need to throttle my DS. The purpose is that Phantom Hourglass had bits of course that remain — and I will go out on a limb here — totally unrivalled in the rest of the Legend of Zelda series. JC

7. Skyward Sword

Skyward Sword is maddeningly close to becoming great. It bins the familiar Zelda overworld and set of distinct dungeons by hurling three enormous areas in the participant which are continuously rearranged. It is a beautiful game — one I am still hoping will probably soon be remade in HD — whose watercolour graphics render a shimmering, dream-like haze within its azure skies and brush-daubed foliage. After the grimy, Lord of this Rings-inspired Twilight Princess, it is the Zelda series re-finding its feet. I can defend many of recognizable criticisms levelled at Skyward Sword, such as its overly-knowing nods to the remainder of the show or its slightly forced origin story that unnecessarily retcons familiar elements of the franchise. I will also get behind the smaller general quantity of area to research when the match continually revitalises each of its three areas so successfully.

I could not, sadly, ever get along with the match’s Motion Plus controllers, which demanded you to waggle your Wii Remote to be able to do battle. It turned the boss fights against the brilliantly bizarre Ghirahim into infuriating struggles with technologies. Into baskets which made me rage quit for the rest of the evening. Sometimes the movement controls functioned — that the flying Beetle item pretty much constantly found its mark — but when Nintendo was forcing players to depart the reliability of a well-worn control strategy, its replacement needed to work 100 percent of their moment. TP

6. Twilight Princess

After Ocarina of Time came out in November 1998, I had been ten years of age. I was pretty awful in Zelda games. I really could throw my way through the Great Deku Tree and the Fire Temple fine but, from the time Connect dove headlong into the fantastic Jabu Jabu’s belly, my want to have fun together with Ocarina of Time easily began outstripping the pleasure I was actually having.

When Twilight Princess rolled around, I was at university and also something in me — most likely a profound romance — was prepared to try again. This time, it was worked. I recall day-long moves on the sofa, huddling under a blanket in my chilly apartment and just poking my hands out to flap around with the Wii distant during combat. Subsequently there was the magnificent dawn when my then-girlfriend (now fiancée) woke me up with a gentle shake, asking’can I see you play Zelda?’

Twilight Lady is, honestly, captivating. There is a fantastic, brooding air; yet the gameplay is hugely varied; it’s got a lovely art design, one that I wish they’d kept for only one more game. It’s also got a number of the best dungeons in the series — I know this because since then I’ve been able to go back and mop up the current titles I missed — Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask and Wind Waker — and also love myself doing it. That is why I’ll always adore Twilight Princess — it is the game that made me click with Zelda. JC

5. Majora’s Mask

Zelda is a series defined by repetition: the narrative of this long-eared hero and the queen is handed down from generation to generation, a self-fulfilling prophecy. However, some of its greatest moments have come when it stepped out its own framework, left Hyrule along with Zelda herself behind, and asked what Link might perform next. Even the self-referential Link’s Awakening was just one, and this N64 sequel to Ocarina of Time another. It required an even more revolutionary tack: bizarre, dark, and experimental.

Although there’s plenty of comedy and experience, Majora’s Mask is suffused with doom, sorrow, and an off-kilter eeriness. A number of this stems from its admittedly awkward timed arrangement: the moon is falling around the Earth, the clock is ticking and you can’t stop that, just reposition and start again, a little stronger and wiser each moment. Some of it stems in the antagonist, the Skull Kid, who is no villain but an innocent with a sad story who has contributed into the corrupting effect of their titular mask. A number of this comes from Link himself: a kid again but with the increased man of Ocarina still somewhere within himhe bends rootlessly into the land of Termina like he has got no greater place to be, far in the hero of legend.

Mostly, it comes in the townsfolk of Termina, whose lifestyles Connect observes moving helplessly towards the close of earth in addition to their appointed paths, over and over again. Regardless of an unforgettable, surreal finish, Majora’s Mask’s most important narrative is not among the series’ strongest. However, these bothering Groundhog Day subplots about the strain of ordinary life — loss, love, family, job, and passing, constantly passing — find the series’ writing at its absolute finest. It’s a depression, compassionate fairytale of the everyday which, using its own ticking clock, wants to remind you that you can not take it with you personally. OW

4. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

If you have had kids, you are going to know that there’s unbelievably strange and touching moment if you are doing laundry — stay with me — and these very small T-shirts and trousers first begin to become on your washingmachine. Someone new has come to dwell with you! Someone implausibly small.

This is among The Wind-Waker’s best tricks, I think. Link had been young before, but now, with the gloriously toon-shaded shift in art direction, he really looks young: a Schulz toddler, with huge head and little legs, venturing out among Moblins and pirates as well as those mad birds that roost around the clifftops. Link is little and vulnerable, and so the adventure surrounding him seems all the more stirring.

The other great trick has a great deal to do with these pirates. «What’s the Overworld?» This has become the standard Zelda question since Link to the Past, but with the Wind-Waker, there did not appear to be just one: no alternate measurement, no shifting between time-frames. The sea was controversial: a lot of hurrying back and forth over a massive map, so much time spent in crossing. But look at what it brings along with it! It attracts pirates and sunken treasures and ghost ships. It attracts underwater grottoes along with a castle waiting for you in a bubble of air back on the seabed.

Best of all, it brings unending sense of discovery and renewal, one challenge down and another awaiting, as you jump from your boat and race up the sand towards another thing, your tiny legs glancing through the surf, and your huge eyes fixed on the horizon. CD


Link’s Awakening is near-enough that a excellent Zelda game — it has a huge and secret-laden overworld, sparkling dungeon layout and memorable characters. In addition, it is a catalyst dream-set side-story with villages of talking animals, side-scrolling regions starring Mario enemies along with a giant fish who sings the mambo. This was my first Zelda experience, my entry point into the series and the match against which I judge each other Zelda title. I totally adore it. Not only was it my very first Zelda, its own greyscale world was one of the first adventure games I playedwith. I can still visualise a lot of it now — the cracked flooring from that cave from the Lost Woods, the stirring music because you input the Tal Tal Mountains, the shopkeeper electrocuting into an instant death in the event you dared return to his store after slipping.

There is no Zelda, no Ganon. No Master Sword. And while it still feels like a Zelda, even after enjoying so many of the others, its own quirks and characters set it aside. Link’s Awakening packs an astonishing amount onto its little Game Boy cartridge (or Game Boy Color, in the event you played with its DX re-release). TP

2. The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past

Bottles are OP at Zelda. These little glass containers can reverse the tide of a battle if they have a potion or even better — a fairy. If I had been Ganon, I would postpone the evil plotting and the dimension rifting, and I would just set a good fortnight into travelling Hyrule from top to base and hammering any glass bottles that I came across. Following that, my horrible vengeance would be even more dreadful — and there’d be a sporting chance that I may be able to pull it off also.

All of which means that, as Link, a jar can be a true benefit. Real treasure. One thing to put in your watch by. I believe you will find four glass bottles Link to the Past, each one making you that little more powerful and that little bolder, purchasing you confidence in dungeoneering and strike points at the center of a tingling manager experience. I can not remember where you get three of those bottles. But I can recall where you receive the fourth.

It’s Lake Hylia, and when you are like me, it is late in the match, with all the large ticket items collected, that lovely, genre-defining minute near the peak of the hill — in which a single map becomes two — taken care of, along with handfuls of compact, ingenious, infuriating and enlightening dungeons raided. Late match Link to the Past is all about looking out every last inch of the map, so working out the way both similar-but-different versions of Hyrule fit together.

And there is a difference. A gap from Lake Hylia. An gap hidden by a bridge. And underneath it, a man blowing smoke rings by a campfire. He feels as though the best key in all Hyrule, and the prize for discovering him would be a glass container, ideal for storing a potion — along with a fairy.

Link to the Past feels to be an impossibly clever game, fracturing its map to two dimensions and asking you to flit between them, holding both arenas super-positioned in your mind as you resolve a single, vast geographical mystery. In fact, though, someone could probably replicate this design if they had enough pens, sufficient quadrille paper, sufficient time and energy, and if they were smart and determined enough.

The greatest loss of the digital age.

However, Link to the Past isn’t just the map — it is the detailing, and the characters. It’s Ganon and his evil plot, but it’s also the man camping out under the bridge. Perhaps the entire thing is a bit like a jar, then: that the container is equally important, but what you’re really after is the stuff that is inside it. CD


Perhaps with the Z-Targeting, a solution to 3D combat so simple you hardly notice it is there. Or perhaps you speak about an open world that is touched by the light and shade cast by an inner clock, where villages dance with action by day before being seized by an eerie lull at night. How about the expressiveness of the ocarina itself, an superbly analogue instrument whose music has been conducted by the new control afforded by the N64’s pad, notes bent wistfully at the push of a stick.

Maybe, though, you simply focus on the second itself, a perfect photo of video games emerging sharply from their own adolescence as Link is throw so abruptly in a grownup world. What is most noteworthy about Ocarina of Time is the way it came therefore fully-formed, the 2D adventuring of past entries transitioning into three dimensions as gracefully as a pop-up book folding quickly into life.

Because of Grezzo’s unique 3DS remake it has retained much of its verve and impact, and even putting aside its technical accomplishments it is an adventure that ranks among the series’ best; psychological and uplifting, it is touched with all the bittersweet melancholy of growing up and leaving your youth behind. From the story’s conclusion Connect’s childhood and innocence — and which of Hyrule — is heroically restored, but after that most revolutionary of reinventions, video games will not ever be the same again.