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Zelda Games: Successes and Failures?

Majora's Cat

How about that
Sep 3, 2010
Zelda may be an amazing franchise, but we certainly can’t call Zelda games the greatest of all time. While games like Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask and A Link to the Past deserve such a title, other installments in the series are far from being the best of the best. To be fair, since this is a Zelda forum, everyone is expected to be at least somewhat biased towards the Zelda series. Honestly, there are several games out there that match the quality of Zelda games and some that can even go beyond.

First of all, I would like those who would like to reply to this thread to make their post by following a rubric of sorts. There’s a lot to be said about each different Zelda game, so I definitely won’t force people to write about every main game (I think three or more will suffice).

The Legend of Zelda - [your thoughts on the game and why you would define the game as either a success or a failure]

Adventure of Link - [your thoughts on the game and why you would define the game as either a success or a failure]

A Link to the Past - [your thoughts on the game and why you would define the game as either a success or a failure]

Link’s Awakening - [your thoughts on the game and why you would define the game as either a success or a failure]

Ocarina of Time - [your thoughts on the game and why you would define the game as either a success or a failure]

Majora’s Mask - [your thoughts on the game and why you would define the game as either a success or a failure]

The Oracle Series - [your thoughts on the game and why you would define the game as either a success or a failure]

ALttP + Four Swords - [your thoughts on the game and why you would define the game as either a success or a failure]

The Wind Waker - [your thoughts on the game and why you would define the game as either a success or a failure]

Four Swords Adventures - [your thoughts on the game and why you would define the game as either a success or a failure]

The Minish Cap - [your thoughts on the game and why you would define the game as either a success or a failure]

Twilight Princess - [your thoughts on the game and why you would define the game as either a success or a failure]

Phantom Hourglass - [your thoughts on the game and why you would define the game as either a success or a failure]

Spirit Tracks - [your thoughts on the game and why you would define the game as either a success or a failure]

Now I’d like to fill out the rubric myself and share my thoughts on each Zelda game (remember, these are just my opinions. You do not have to share the same views, so let’s not take this too seriously).

The Legend of Zelda

We can argue that oldies are always goodies. Some may say that games truly cannot age and that all video games from the past are equal to those of the present. Aspects like visuals, music, gameplay, and presentation say otherwise. All these qualities of a video game that I have just listed improved over time, as video games as a whole are meant to advance and progress. That being said, I should compare the original LoZ to games of all ages and times.


The Legend of Zelda, although an oldie, is a memorable adventure that was way ahead of its time. The Legend of Zelda revolutionized adventure video games, creating a vast and open world that the player had to explore for themselves. As we all know, the game is primitive but still delivers that Zelda charm that we’ve all come to love. Many staples of the franchise derived from the original game, including the bow and arrows, boomerang, shield, bottle, etc. The game does not, however, feature the legendary Master Sword that has become universally known as Link’s weapon of choice. The Legend of Zelda is decidedly old-school, though, no matter how far ahead of its time the game was. The difficulty is sort of like a rollercoaster ride. Dungeons can be ridiculously easy while roaming Hyrule is more of a danger. There are also certain rooms that house eight menacing Darknuts, which definitely isn’t a cakewalk.

As stated before, the gameplay is primitive and leaves something to be desired. Link simply stabs his sword in any direction in which the player desires - up, down, left or right. The reason I said that roaming Hyrule can be more treacherous than conquering a Dungeon is because of the overly powerful enemies. Because of this, gameplay could become both tedious and immensely frustrating at times. After all, the player only has three hearts at the start of the game and he can’t really take a hit from enemies. As the game progresses, Link is able to withstand enemies more easily due to the gaining of Heart Containers and other upgrades, but enemies become more powerful to match Link. Did I mention that more spawn as well?

Yep, it can be pretty frustrating to die and have to work your way to a Dungeon from the spawn point. Without a map in the game itself, trudging all the way back to a location you were previously at was a very irritating and hair-pulling task. To make up for the enemies, though, the Dungeons are very short and easy (thought some rooms can have you stumped for a certain period of time). Hardcore Zelda fans can blow through these Dungeons like popsicle stands, but it requires a certain focus that you may not need when playing other Zelda games. The difficulty level does increase at certain points in the game and can possibly chip away at many minutes or even hours of your time.

The Legend of Zelda is based around the concept of defeating the evil Ganon and saving the beautiful Princess Zelda (who, at the time, was still a brunette). There’s really no story to be told or cutscenes in the original LoZ, since the NES didn’t have such capabilities. Still, the legend of the Hero of Time defeating the great and evil Ganon is one that will occur several times throughout the Zelda timeline. In this particular game, only the silver arrow (an item that is no longer used in the franchise) can penetrate Ganon’s hard exterior. With the aid of the Triforce of Wisdom, Link is able to enter the great Ganon’s lair in Death Mountain and fight the menace.

Now, do I consider The Legend of Zelda an all-time great? A game that blows even modern games out of the water? The answer is, sadly, no. While The Legend of Zelda was the start of a magnificent series, the game itself isn’t one that I would call absolutely stunning and on the same level as ALttP or OoT. If I were to rate LoZ overall, I would consider it a great success, as it laid out the groundwork for the series.

Adventure of Link


With profits still flowing in from the original Legend of Zelda, Nintendo releases its second epic adventure with Adventure of Link. It’s funny how little resemblance AoL bears to the LoZ considering that it is a direct sequel to it. The overworld’s graphics seem to be a step down from the original Zelda. It just looks too chunky and blocky, but the more definitive areas (towns, forests, etc.) that Link enters make up for it. These areas are several paths that lead underground scattered across the overworld that change the format from that of the original Legend of Zelda to 2D side-scrolling platforming. The player will see Link from the perspective of a bird’s eye while you’re in the overworld. However, whenever Link enters a cave or special area, the game will shift gears and the Adventure of Link will become a side-scroller.

The second installment in the Zelda series took a wrong turn early on, which is quite the shame. It’s nothing at all like Zelda games we’ve seen after it, and that makes sense. In the eyes of many, AoL is considered a mild mistake, but serves as an interesting classic game. As we know now, the Zelda franchise was never meant to be hardcore RPG. AoL, however, uses a standard RPG leveling system that includes experience points, magic spells and NPCs. Link can gain experience points to upgrade anything from his attack power to his magic spells and life. Raising a level of life (not hearts) will decrease the damage inflicted to him when hit, decrease the cost of magic spells, etc. For the first time, Link can crouch, jump, and swing his sword in directions that he could not in the previous game (after all, it is a side-scrolling view and not top-down). It’s a simple addition to the Zelda gameplay, but it goes a long way. However, players seem to like the original Zelda’s gameplay better simply because of its more traditional top-down view. AoL is also infamous for its ridiculous difficulty, raising the frustration bar much higher than it was set in LoZ. It is for this very reason many gamers are turned off by Adventure of Link and tend to seek adventure elsewhere. However, despite the game’s problems, it sold over 4 million copies.

The main adversary in Adventure of Link is Dark Link instead of Ganondorf. It’s a welcome change, but makes the game feel less epic. Boss battles are disappointingly quick, but Dark Link does offer something different in the sense that Link must fight “himself”. If you haveen’t guessed already, I’m not too huge a fan of AoL. I don’t think that it’s one of the best games of all time, but it’s still a good game (it’s a Zelda, after all). Therefore, I would have to brand AoL as a failure.

A Link to the Past

A Link to the Past was a ground-breaking game, becoming sort of like an exoskeleton for 2D Zelda games. Released in 1991, the game was a smashing success and made gamers completely forget about Adventure of Link before it. As far as the series goes, ALttP is probably the most memorable 2D installment in the eyes of many fans, and for good reason. The Legend of Zelda was the base, the foundation for the series. But A Link to the Past gave the series a hard exterior and completely polished the first two games’ gameplay and visuals. Well, A Link to the Past finally came along and fleshed out the series, and what a better way to do it but with a return to the classic gameplay style and the return of the original antagonist? I can’t possibly conceive a better decision by Nintendo, since Adventure of Link didn’t live up to expectations.

A Link to the Past has similar gameplay to The Legend of Zelda, but improves on it in a number of ways. I like to think of A Link to the Past as The Legend of Zelda with improved visuals, more solid gameplay, a refined array of items and advancement in story and presentation. The game features the same top-down view as the original (looks like Nintendo learned from its mistakes) and also introduces many staples of the franchise, improving on old items and bringing forth new. Major items such as the bomb and arrows no longer deplete rupees but are actually rely on a more traditional stock system. The graphics are clean, crisp and a smoother 16-bit (definitely an improvement over 8-bit visuals). Swordplay is greatly improved over that of the first game because Link now makes a semi-circle motion when swiping his sword. This covers a greater radius and makes demolishing enemies easier. Even the traditional sword beam got a swirling upgrade, making slaying those nasty enemies a cinch.


The RPG gameplay from AoL was ditched, but the magic meter stayed (becoming another gameplay mechanic in future games up until Twilight Princess). Several staples of the series make their first appearances in ALttP (such as the Master Sword and Link’s trusty Hookshot). Also, the fabled Pegasus Boots made running away from enemies much easier than originally intended (at least that’s what I used the Pegasus Boots for). The Flute from the game would eventually become the Ocarina of Time and Pieces of Heart were first introduced as well, as opposed to the full Heart Containers from the first two games. I love seeing the progression of items in Zelda games, and a lot of it begins with ALttP. The Dark World was also a welcome addition to the game. This alternate world is the dark version of Hyrule, which essentially like the Twilight Realm from Twilight Princess. It’s a brilliant idea that certainly enhances gameplay. Warp spots allow Link to travel back and forth between the two worlds for various reasons (for both sidequests and the main quest).

The burden of saving Hyrule rests on Link’s shoulders, and this time he must fight two nefarious villains. Agahnim is an evil wizard whose purpose is to set free the terrible Ganon. Agahnim is being used as a pawn by Ganon, and serves no purpose greater than that of Zant from Twilight Princess. Agahnim isn’t a very colorful character, and feels very much forced into the game. NPCs are in the game, but feel stale and aren’t brought to life very well due to the technology at the time. The Master Sword can be further upgraded into the Tempered Sword and then finally the Golden Sword. As the game progresses, dungeons become more difficult and even lengthier than before. One of ALttP’s greatest improvements over the first LoZ is toning down the power of enemies. Dungeons in general took complexion to a whole new level, creating a mish-mash of walkways and floor levels. ALttP is one of the more challenging games in the series, and is decidedly a huge advancement in Zelda gaming.

I view A Link to the Past as one of the three big game-changers in the Zelda series: The Legend of Zelda being the first (for laying out the groundwork of the series), A Link to the Past being the second (for fleshing out the 2D games) and Ocarina of Time being the third (for being the first 3D Zelda). So what do I think of ALttP? If you couldn’t tell, I consider ALttP to be one of the greatest Zelda games and one of the greatest games of all time, period. Nintendo delivered another gem with ALttP, so I would consider ALttP to be a smashing success.

Link’s Awakening

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening was ground-breaking because it is the first handheld Zelda game to be released (in the main series). Released in 1993, the game is a direct sequel to A Link to the Past. There are no huge improvements in gameplay, if there were any. Due to the game being released on a primitive handheld device, it could not match the quality of its predecessor. Link’s Awakening would be upgraded in 1998 with color graphics, but it is still essentially the same game. One major uniqueness in LA is its setting. Link must complete this quest on the island of Koholint instead of Hyrule. Unlike in previous Zelda games, Link’s Awakening is a dream. The game was well-received but definitely not the series’ biggest success. LA is, however, recognized as one of the revolutionary handheld games of its time and known for its cutesy, light-hearted graphics and tone.

Eiji Aonuma has claimed that Link’s Awakening could very well have changed the destiny of Zelda games. He says if Link’s Awakening was not developed between A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time, OoT would have been a very different game. Though LA doesn’t seem like such an influential game from the outside, it has certainly had a large impact on the series’ most beloved installment. That being said, I do view LA as a rather influential game, and it does deserve some sort of spot up there with the gaming greats. That being said, LA is (in my opinion) a moderate success.

Ocarina of Time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the climax of all Zelda games; the peak of the series’ success and the game that is widely considered to be the greatest ever. With its extraordinarily vast overworld (that is littered with secrets and quests) and revolutionary gameplay, OoT became a staple of the N64 era and eclipsed any and all games that followed its release. Ocarina of Time has sold the most copies of all the Zelda games (with Twilight Princess following closely as second) and also serves as the series’ most successful game in terms of sales. Nintendo literally pulled out all the stops to release a game five years in the making, a game that would inspire and set the groundwork for many video games to come and become the golden - no, diamond standard that all games wish to exceed.

Link is born into the Kokiri Village, but is really a Hylian. But it becomes increasingly apparent that Link was meant to be more than meets the eye when the Great Deku Tree sends for him. Link must fight his way through nine perplexing main Dungeons with the aid of Navi the Fairy, of course. It’s all up to Link to defeat the evil Ganon, who plans to plunge Hyrule in darkness and despair for the first time in the timeline. Magic, bombs, arrows, the boomerang, the Pegasus Boots and other items make their return Ocarina of Time. However, some new items such as the Lens of Truth, Iron Boots, Mirror Sheid and different tunics make their debut in the game (and in the third dimension, no less!). Link must first retrieve the Spiritual Stones and after traveling seven years in the future, he must conquer several more dungeons to possess the Six Medallions. What I like about this game is that the Seventh Sage remains somewhat of a secret throughout the entire game. There are but Six Medallions, but those six only signify the six major Sages. Princess Zelda is the seventh, a twist that I definitely didn’t predict.

I don’t see how anyone can not love this game. From the frozen domain of the Zoras to the blinding desert, there’s no lack of jaw-dropping scenery and ever-expansive vistas. Throughout the duration of the game, there is not a moment that isn’t enjoyable. The six Dungeons in the Adult Timeline are as follows: the eerie Forest Temple, steamy Fire Temple. hair-pullingly frustrating Water Temple, the frightening and disturbing Shadow Temple, the ancient Spirit Temple and the evil, perilous lair of the great Ganon. The three dungeons in which Link must conquer in order to obtain the three Spiritual Stones reside in the Child Timeline in the beginning half of the game. The plot of the game is rather simplistic, but it is executed far more elegantly than that of its predecessors and woven seamlessly into the gameplay. Ocarina of Time is the very first Zelda game to feature full-length cinematics, therefore enhancing the telling of the story and making the player experience the game in an entirely new and innocative way. The inclusion of cutscenes also means that OoT was the very first Zelda game to feature those heartarming moments that the series is known for.

Ocarina of Time has set down a path that many games walk today. OoT has left a tremendous impact on the gaming industry by not only polishing 3D gameplay, but also by introducing such never-before-seen gameplay functions as the lock-on target. It’s only fair that OoT is generally regarded as the greatest game of all time by critics and gamers alike and has the highest aggregate review score of all time on sites like GameRankings. Whereas Adventure of Link lowered the series’ standard by just a bit, and having flat-lined at Link’s Awakening, Ocarina of Time brought the franchise to the peak of its success; it is a level unrivaled by any Zelda game or any other game in general since its release. Without a doubt, OoT is the series’ greatest triumph (which obviously means that OoT is a success).


Majora’s Mask

Hot off the success of Ocarina of Time, Nintendo decided to use the same engine that they crafted OoT with to create another epic: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. While not praised nearly as much as its predecessor, Majora’s Mask was still critically acclaimed and a worthy entry into the series. While the game wasn’t so appreciated around ten years ago, fans of the series and gamers alike are starting to realize the game’s true worth.

Instead of taking place in Hyrule, Majora’s Mask took place in an alternate world called Termina. The name of the land tells all because the date of Termina is sealed as an evil spirit known as Majora plans to bring the Moon down on the land. “Termina” means “to end”. It fits the theme and dark atmosphere of the game perfectly, right? Majora takes control of the helpless Skull Kid and steals Link’s Ocarina of Time, a precious item from the previous game. Our hero is led into a dark forest and emerges in the land of Termina, where he has a mere three days to stop the Moon from falling down and crushing Termina.


The game is a source of never-ending fun. I found myself coming back to Termina simply to explore the world after I 100% completed it. It wasn’t because I felt that the overworld was particularly beautiful, but the atmosphere was spellbinding. I felt like I could explore the world a hundred times over and not be bored because of the feeling I got from it. It was as if mysteries lay around every corner and you would always discover something new. Now we know that this isn’t true, but that’s the general impression that Termina gave me.

Gameplay is generally the same as in Ocarina of Time. Considering that both were N64 games, the control scheme and assigned buttons for actions were mostly untouched when transitioning between OoT and MM. Link can’t save anytime he wants this time around because the only way is to save and return to the beginning of the three days (where all minor items are wiped out). There are only four main dungeons excluding the final dungeon: the Moon. Although four doesn’t seem like an awful lot, these dungeons are a lot more complex and lengthy than those in Ocarina of Time. While many complained about how short the game was, I felt that the insane amount of sidequests and length of dungeons made MM last just as extensive as OoT.

The game focuses more on sidequests, bringing NPCs into focus. As we follow Link along for this wild adventure, we meet many side characters that have their own individual stories and roles in the game. Watching the Moon begin to fall on these everyday people brings a sense of reality to the game - there are living beings at stake in this game, and Link will get to know some of them quite well (if he decides to aid them during their times of struggle).

We may ask ourselves why Majora's Mask was the worst-selling Zelda game during its time. Why should such a brilliant game suffer slightly disappointing sales? The fact is that the release of the PlayStation 2 on October 26, 2000 (the same day that MM was released) could possibly have directed attention away from the game's release and instead towards the new Sony console. Also, MM sold for a whopping $79.99, quite a few bucks more than gamers were used to paying for standard N64 games. The additional purchase of the $14.99 Expansion Pak made purchasing Majora's Mask ever more inconvenient.

So was Nintendo’s decision to direct its attention to a darker and more story-focused game a good one? Yes. Majora’s Mask is one of the most loved games in the series (if not the most loved). It makes a powerful statement with its darker story and radically different style. It’s everything you want a game to be: bold, dynamic, immersive and even a little strange at times.

I can't really find too much wrong with Majora's Mask. The meat of the game lies more in sidequests, but it really is worth the time you spend playing the game. That being said, Majora's Mask is most definitely a success.

The Oracle Series

Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages were meant to be released on the Game boy Color along with one more game, each representing a piece of the Triforce. Unfortunately the third was cancelled and the names were changed to those seen above. I would have really liked to see the third game in said series, but it’s okay. Ocacle of Ages and Seasons turned out to be marvelous, even if their other sibling was cancelled. As the titles might imply, OoS is centered on the changing of the seasons and Ages around time. The gameplay of both games were very similar to that of Link’s Awakening, meaning that everything from the basic controls to the soundtrack seem taken right out of LA. The visuals are slightly more impressive since they’re in full color, but aside from the not-so-familiar antagonists, OoS and OoX were run-of-the-mill Zeldas (that were compatible, of course).

Onox, the General of Darkness serves as the main antagonist in Oracle of Seasons. Link is called by the Triforce to meet with a strange character named Din (AKA the Oracle of Season). Link must travel to locations in both Holodrum and Subrosia to conquer eight fearsome dungeons. Once he obtains the eight Essences, he is able to enter General Onox’s tower. The plot of Oracle of Ages isn’t so different from its sister/brother game, Oracle of Seasons. Link is instead transported to Labrynna and saved Impa from a horde of grotesque monsters. Veran emerges from Impa’s body and reveals to Link that she is the Sorceress of Shadows. She then takes control of Nayru, the Oracle of Ages’ body and wreaks havoc, distorting the flow of time in Labrynna.

The Oracle games were developed by Flagship, but unfortunately aren’t two of the more memorable games in the series. Many fans view the Oracle games as underrated and underappreciated, and it makes sense. There really isn’t anything particularly eye-catching about OoA and OoS, so I consider the Oracle games to be a mild failure.

ALttP + Four Swords

To be released in 2002 (in North America) was A Link to the Past and Four Swords for the Game Boy Advance. The game contained a modified version of A Link to the Past (see above) and a new multiplayer game titled The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords. The game was the first to feature multiplayer and executed it marvelously. Link carries the Four Sword this time around instead of the Master Sword. This Four Sword Link to split into four, something unheard of previously. This new gameplay mechanic would be used in both Four Swords Adventures and the Minish Cap. Puzzles and such were designed around the capability and gave the Four Swords games a whole other dimension in terms of complexion and combat. These three released for the Game Boy were a welcome addition to the series and further expanded gamers’ interest of the Legend of Zelda, but none were landmark releases or as critically acclaimed as some previous installments. In short, the series flat-lined for a few releases in a row until the release of the most polarizing Zelda game since: the Wind Waker.

While ALttP + Four Swords was just a reboot of A Link to the Past with an add-on game, it actually sold a good amount of copies. I don’t think Nintendo put a lot of effort into this release, and they still made a good amount of dough off it. Just because of that, ALttP + Four Swords was a success. Not because it was necessarily a great installment, more because it was a pretty smart business decision.

The Wind Waker

The Legend of Zelda: the Wind Waker was released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2003 (for North America, Europe and Australia). While the game marked a new low for sales at 2.2 million copies sold, the game itself was stand-out and, as of today, the third highest-rated Zelda game. The low sales were most likely the product of gamers’ skepticism toward the game because of the cel-shaded graphics. Nintendo’s audience probably believed that the game was too childish and would become a complete flop - which it did become. In fact, the Wind Waker plays just like any other 3D Zelda and retains the same addictiveness and brilliant dungeon design as the 3D Zeldas do. What was everyone so worried about?

The Wind Waker stars a very young and cartoonish-looking Link on the day of his birth. He is finally able to wear the garb in honor of the Hero of Time that all children on Outset Island wear when they come of age. What could go wrong on such a magnificent day? Well, everything. His sister Aryll is kidnapped and Link must join up with pirates to help retrieve her. Before he knows it, Link has discovered he is the Hero of the Winds and must defeat the evil Ganon (the very same that terrorized the world of Ocarina of Time hundreds of years before). This leads him to several dungeons: Dragon Roost Cavern, Forbidden Woods, Tower of the Gods, Forsaken Fortress, Earth Temple, Wind Temple and Ganon’s Tower.

The cel-shaded visuals of the game look downright amazing. The Great Sea is vast and gameplay is the most refreshing as it had ever been. In fact, the Wind Waker is so chock-full of sidequests; many seasoned veterans were not able to complete the game 100% because of the sheer size of the ocean and the wide space in which these sidequests and Pieces of Heart were scattered. Sailing could become a bit tedious at times, but there were enough sunken treasure chests in the ocean to keep you busy.


Many new items were introduced (and likely never to be seen again) such as the Deku Leaf, Grandma’s Soup, Wind Waker, Grappling Hook and so on. While not everyone embraced the Wind Waker immediately, gamers eventually began to warm up to the game after they released that it’s just like any other Zelda, or perhaps even better, covered with a thick layer of cel-shading. Overall, WW brought the series up a notch and was definitely a welcome (but not by all) change to the series. While there will be people that have their qualms with the Wind Waker, it still received very high marks from critics and won over the hearts of many gamers. Wind Waker, without a doubt, is a success.

Four Swords Adventures


Four Swords Adventures was developed for the GameCube and published by Nintendo in 2004 for both Japan and North America. This release would turn out to be quite the flop, though the game is still considered a Main Zelda. Sales were at a record low and the game wasn’t very popular. Critics were not too happy about the strange new format in which the game operated, and many wondered why the graphics were so downgraded. While FSA retains that classic A Link to the Past atmosphere (in terms of graphics and the soundtrack), the game is rather short and lacks what makes a Zelda game memorable: the oh-so-familiar but fine-as-it-is classic gameplay.

Instead of taking the tradition route, Nintendo decided to split the game up into levels rather than giving the player an entire overworld in which to complete sidequests and spend leisure time. These episodes make the game seem too straightforward for its own good. The game has multiplayer capabilities in the “Shadow Battle”, but a Game Boy Advance is needed to do so. The GBA could also be used when entering rooms in the game, which then transfers the action to the GBA. This is only optional and the game plays perfectly fine without Nintendo’s dated handheld (although it is needed for multiplayer).

FSA is also a direct continuation of the Four Swords game, and Vaati’s seal is weakening. Eventually Vaati is freed and able to wreak havoc on Hyrule. Ganon also makes an appearance in FSA, revealing to Link and the player that he is the mastermind pulling the strings (as is customary). The visuals are similar to that of Wind Waker’s, almost like a 2D version. Once again there is use of the Four Sword which allows link to split into four warriors. Many changes in gameplay did not receive warm welcomes from gamers. Link could carry but a single item at a time, which made gameplay slightly more tedious and puts a restraint on your freedom to select and choose whichever item applies to the situation. Gameplay is limited and Link... just doesn’t feel like Link now that he can’t travel around and do as he pleases.

As unique and strangely lovable FSA is, it sold very poorly and received the lowest critic scores of any original Zelda game. It wasn’t very well-received by fans of the franchise either, so I have to give Four Swords Adventures the title of a complete failure.

The Minish Cap

The Minish Cap was a much more successful game than Four Swords Adventures that was released in 2005 for the Game Boy Advance. The game is a prequel to both FS and FSA. The game, just like Oracle of Seasons and Ages, was developed by Flagship. And once again, Flagship proved that they could develop Zelda games just as well as Nintendo. Vaati stars as the main antagonist once again and it’s up to Link to stop him. The game bears quite a resemblance to previous 2D Zelda games but is also radically different. Items such as the Gust Jar were unheard of before MC’s release. Although odd the game may have been, gamers were certainly happy to see new races (such as the Minish) and visit wonders such as the Palace of Winds and Temple of Droplets. The Minish Cap receives very high scores from critics and is generally regarded as one of the best handheld Zeldas to date.

Seeing as the Minish Cap is generally regarded as the best original handheld Zelda game to date, I deem MC to be quite the success, though definitely not on the same scale as the 3D Zelda games or A Link to the Past, for that matter.

Twilight Princess

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is nothing short of breathtaking. When the first video footage of the game was released at E3 2004, fans and reports alike were reduced to tears at the sight of Link riding on horseback through the Gerudo Desert. Gamers were immediately taken back to the good times they shared with Ocarina of Time was they viewed the familiarity of OoT in the TP trailer. This single trailer gave all fans of the series great hope and anticipation for the upcoming title: Twilight Princess. Unfortunately, expectations were otherworldly high and fans were just the slightest bit disappointed when Twilight Princess was released for both the GameCube and Wii near the launch of the Wii in December 2006.

Twilight Princess received extremely positive review, becoming the 11th highest-rated game on GameRankings for the GameCube version and around the 40th highest-rated for the Wii version. TP sold over 6.5 million copies, second only to Ocarina of Time. The game was also very critically successful and is also second only to Ocarina of Time when it came to critic ratings. The game was also a smashing success in the eyes of many fans, but The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess would begin to lose its flare when gamers with over-the-top expectations got their hands on the game. Many aspects of the installment were nitpicked on, especially the beautiful but somewhat unclean graphics. Difficulty was also a question that had been raised, and that bit is very true. Though the dungeons looked more intricate and complicated than ever, gamers did have to exert less energy and use less brainpower to solve the puzzles. To make up for that, though, was one hell of a finale, gorgeous music (even though most if it’s MIDI), nine dungeons, several sidequests and an overworld on a scale that blew us away.

Twilight Princess takes the ALttP approach and adds an alternate dimension to the game, otherwise known as the Twilight Realm. The Twilight Realm is shrouded in darkness and ruled by an usurper king named Zant. Zant had usurped the throne from Link’s sidekick, Midna, and taken her rightful place as the ruler of the Twilight Realm. He then wreaks havoc on the unsuspecting citizens of Hyrule, plaguing many provinces with an evil shroud of Twilight. Once again, Link must save Hyrule from this rather hideous antagonist. But wait! Ganondorf is pulling the strings? Of course he is. After conquering eight dungeons, Link comes face-to-face with the big man once again, and this time it’s more epic than ever before.


The game is very story-driven, perhaps even more so than Majora’s Mask. Midna was not completely useless and irrelevant to the plot. Instead, her struggle pushed the game forward and gave Link reasons to trudge through dangerous dungeons and icy mountains. That’s something we like to see.
TP features gameplay unlike any Zelda before. While the GameCube version plays exactly like the Wind Waker, the Wii version added a whole new twist to the experience: the Wii Remote is Link’s sword. This added a level of depth in combat that was not present before. Aside from that, riding Epona is much easier, the controls are a bit different than before (one button controls both the targeting and shield), and there were many new items to be introduced to the series such as the Spinner and the Dominion Rod. Plus, Chu jellies took an a slug-like form.

I know I’m a bit of a Twilight Princess fanboy, but I can’t help but say that Twilight Princess is (technically) the best Zelda game to date. Everything from its stunning visuals, immersive gameplay and epic boss battles had me glued to the TV screen for a mind-boggling total of 90 hours the first time I played it. There was no greatest pleasure in my life from 2008 to early 2010 than playing Twilight Princess, and I mean it. While many don’t like TP and its popularity at the time of its release, I must say one thing: Twilight Princess is one of the greatest gaming experiences to ever grace the industry (it’s a total success in my opinion).

Phantom Hourglass

Link from the Wind Waker was just too cute to forget. That’s exactly why Nintendo decided to let him star in a daring new adventure in 2007: The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Due to the Wind Waker’s satisfactory sales numbers, Nintendo decided to build off the Wind Waker fanbase and please them with another cel-shaded epic. Phantom Hourglass picked up right after the events of Wind Waker, and Link and Tetra are searching for a new Hyrule. The visuals of PH aren’t radically different from Wind Waker, but the gameplay sure is. The game was released for the DS, so the controls in the games had to be completely switched around and flipped upside-down. Link is controlled by the stylus and battle is performance by swiping the stylus every which way. The “a” button on the D-Pad is used to roll, so it’s also very inconvenient to roll with a stylus in one hand and the other holding the DS. Phantom Hourglass takes place on the Great Sea, but a different one than we saw in the Wind Waker. Bellum is the antagonist of this game, not Ganon. Dungeons aren’t too impressive due to the repetitiveness and uninspired soundtrack. Another reason why Dungeons are sort of downgraded is because the game is 2.5D, not completely 3D. Therefore the gameplay needs to be dumbed down.

Though the game still received positive reviews, it just didn’t stack up to previous Zelda games. I personally feel that Phantom Hourglass is not a strong installment in the series. Therefore, I would have to consider it a failure despite its impressive sales.

Spirit Tracks

Spirit Tracks, on the other hand, featured brilliant music and greatly improved on bosses and dungeons. Instead of taking place on the high seas, Spirit Tracks is instead set in a normal-looking Hyrule hundreds of years later, where trains become the main form of transportation. ST is, in my opinion, a much more memorable and original game than PH was (mostly because PH is sort of a rehash of WW). I don’t believe that many will be forgetting the final boss battle theme for the Malladus Beast anytime soon. The game generally received lower scores than Phantom Hourglass and also sold more copies but remains a great improvement from the first DS Zelda. This was probably due to the fact that it is Phantom Hourglass’ successor, and people had already seen the style of gameplay before.

But because Spirit Tracks improved so much on what was lacking in Phantom Hourglass, I have to call the game somewhat of a success.


Final Thoughts: Why Zelda Is Slipping

Well, those were my opinions of which Zelda games were successful and were welcomed with open arms by the general public and those that were frowned upon a bit more. The games I marked as “successes” are the ones that lived up to expectations and continued the great legacy of the Zelda series. Those that I marked as “failures” are Zelda games that did not explore their full potential and weren’t thought of as fondly as other Zelda games. The success of a Zelda game depends on whether it truly has an impact on the industry and makes gamers gasp in amazement at the sight of it. This level of accomplishment can only be achieved by a game that takes your breath away - a game that stands out above all other games released in the year - a game that is, quite frankly, the very pinnacle of quality gameplay and presentation - and last but not least, a game that is acknowledge by the gaming community as a whole to be one of the all-time video game greats. These are the only Zelda games that I consider to be successes, which very much describes how high my expectations are for each and every game in the franchise (past, present and future). Some episodes did not deliver this, which is why I do not prize them on the same scale as I do other Zeldas.

When the bar is set so high, it becomes difficult for Nintendo to continue producing Zelda games of a consistent quality. This is understandable, and we can only hope that when Nintendo does come out with a new Zelda game that they put their best effort into it, rather than slacking off a bit and trying to rake in profits with a lesser release that, through a massive amount of advertising, sells very well and contributes to the ever-growing list of lower-quality Zelda game releases. I do realize that this is completely normal among video game developers. I just don’t want Nintendo to always think it’s okay to release Zelda games that obviously aren’t their best effort, but rather a rather easy-to-produce game that do include classic Zelda gameplay but lack innovation and a true sense of grandeur. When one looks at the Zelda series, one thing sticks out: the early Zelda games are all games that Nintendo invested all their energy into. That’s why the releases were rather slow, but each and every game from the original Legend of Zelda to Majora’s Mask was a work of art. It was a good pay-off and said games sold very well compared to modern Zeldas. But as the series grew, Nintendo focused more on crafting lighthearted handheld Zeldas to connect with younger audiences and show that the series was ready to expand into a broader spectrum of gaming.

Therefore, we have had several released within the past few years. The problem is this: not all of them are spectacular and live up to the quality of older Zelda games. The Legend of Zelda, A Link to the Past, Link’s Awakening, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask are five of the first six releases, and each and these games fared well. Now, three of the first five Zelda games are commonly viewed as the three Zelda games that shaped the series. They were the foundation for Zelda games to come. After Ocarina of Time, there was not a single Zelda game that was hailed as one of the series’ revolutions. However, we were blessed with such brilliant games as the Wind Waker, the Minish Cap and Twilight Princess, but there were many games released in between that were not met with as much appreciation. Not to say that those Zelda games were bad or even average - they were all magnificent - beyond doubt some of the best games to grace their respective consoles. But when compared to the consistency and level of quality that earlier installments presented... well... there’s just nothing to compare. There are a few stand-outs, yes, but just a select few. It all boils down to whether Skyward Sword will be as riveting as Nintendo makes it out to be and whether their developers will decide to up the quality of Zelda games. Until then, I can only hope that they don’t release a letdown of a game.

Note: An old Article of mine was going to waste, so I decided to use it as a source for this post (if anyone hadn’t noticed). I switched a great deal of it around and added several new sections to the thread, so essentially it’s not even the Article anymore. I’ve been working on this since February, and I must say that I’m delighted I was finally able to finish it. XD
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Mad haters lmao
May 26, 2010
Hylian Champion
:clap: [Note: I haven't read the OP fully, so if anything I write down seems to echo, please excuse that.]

Adventure of Link - AoL despite somewhat suffering in sales and having a rather small fanbase for a Zelda game, managed to provide a reward. Yes, the game is incredibly hard (arguably the hardest of the series). Yes, the controls are somewhat 'funky'. Yes, the RPG elements can seem out of place. But, if you can for some sort of contrivance to jaunt through those insane challenges, the sheer ability to say the phrase 'I beat AoL' with utmost confidence is the biggest reward of all. Realistically speaking, AoL wasn't much of a Zelda by today's standards. But it is that same black sheep status it has that can make it shine. Definitely a great game in my book, no matter how much I complain.

Ocarina of Time
- Undoubtedly a failure in and of itself, no exceptions. Absolute worst Zelda game to ever be created. It got a 0/10, that should explain things pretty well. :right: [I won't comment on OoT as I've nothing to say but 'closest to perfection'.]

ALttP + Four Swords - ALttP + FS to me, was just a port of ALttP with some extras here and there. I recall the item interface being slightly different, as well as some secrets in the original being nonexistent in the GBA port. Really, I can't say ALttP GBA was revolutionary or even amazing when compared to LttP, but it proved to be a good game both in major publication reviews and in sales. Still, I'm waiting for someone to happen upon me with a Link Cable and their own cartridge so I can *legally* play Four Swords...

Four Swords Adventures
- The thing about FSA is...well, personally I found it to be quite an amazing game. The game as a whole needs much reformation to be on the scale of even the Oracle Games to become mildly good, but in its oddities I found some sort of happiness. Granted I haven't played the multiplayer portion, but in the single player mode I found that being able to select levels and putting certain restrictions on yourself (such as, go through X level taking no damage) gives a degree of freedom that isn't present in other Zeldas, but still puts a kind of limitation on you as well. If I could play the multiplayer portion of FSA, I'm sure my current fragment of an idea would flesh out to be something much greater.

Twilight Princess - Truthfully speaking, I absolutely hate Twilight Princess. Something about it just irks me. The good majority of characters I found to be annoying. Not dull, just annoying in personality and execution. For example, take that little brat Malo. He's what, four? And runs a whole shopping chain by himself (damn near)? That is neither realistic nor 'cute', despite what many people will say of him. More to the point, the realism that TP tried to pervade into the series turned out to ruin the game. The developers focused too much on the graphics that they forgot to change the story, gameplay, and most of all challenge. Now for the most part, TP's gameplay is refined to the max. Combat is brimmed with life, at least in the hidden skills. The items have a purpose though the number of purposes is a much disputed issue. But in the story and challenge is where I believe TP failed most. The story is far too linear. Follows the same ALttP formula of '3 Gems/items/plot devices + Major Plot Twist + Hero Story'. The last boss of the game was executed horribly, not froma gameplay standpoint but from how he/she was introduced. And the whole idea of 'dark interlopers' is bogus to me. Not to mention that the Twilight Realm was hardly if at all explored, it had no depth to it whatsoever outside of that murky vibe you get from the graphical representation of the area, which is pretty much irrelevant.

In the challenge...there is no challenge EXCEPT in Lakebed Temple, which is solely due to its status of being a Water Temple in structure. The puzzles are incredibly easy throughout the game, oftentimes requiring only a very small amount of cognitive action on the player's part. Things are readily pointed out to the player, which automatically breaks any 'difficulty' that one might expect in the game. Something that was pointed out in a couple of major publication reviews disappointed me heavily, which was the enemy A.I (artificial intelligence). Many a reviewer will point out that the AI can detect you from much farther distances than in previous Zeldas. Now, that sounds thrilling, right? Too bad it isn't, as the AI is so ridiculously easy to loop/avoid that the ability to be detected is of no consequence to the player. Enemies don't do enough damage, they don't block of their own accord, and their attack rate is abysmal. Lastly, and this is more of a fanboy's complaint than anything, but where in the living hell is the Magic Bar? Why would you dare to give us a screenshot of the blasted thing if it is nowhere in the game? /rage

Skyward Sword - Most definitely a success *and* a failure. SS sold and still sales. A lot. But fan reception was extremely mixed -- half and half damn near saying "absolutely amazing" and "absolutely terrible". This obviously cannot be a true success, but it makes a TON of money which sort of does...I don't know.
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Aug 17, 2011
Melbourne, Australia
did you just decide which zelda game is success and failure depending on how many copies it sold?

i dont think any zelda game is a failure(excluding cd-i).

zelda games always bring something new and interesting to the table sure OoT copied alot from aLttP and TP copied alot from Oot but apart from those theres alwys something to look forward to while playing a game.

i mean its not like mario with super mario wii...god that game was awful. cheaply and lazily designed improvements/inovations were few and very far between
Apr 16, 2010
I'll go ahead and comment on the 3D games I have completed:

Ocarina of Time

How is it not a success? Ocarina of Time completely innovated gaming as we know it today.

The controls were great. The capability to add 3 items to the C-buttons was a vast improvement from only having one item and the sword in the previous installments. Z-targetting was and still is one of the greatest creations in 3D video game mechanics.

The plot of Ocarina of Time was excellent. Before it, the plot of Zelda games was sort of "The princess is kidnapped/in other harm, go save her." and only a few characters would be met along the way. The characters of OoT, however, were very well-rounded, well designed, and unique. Sheik is undoubtedly one of the best characters in video game history.

Ocarina of Time was a tremendous success.

Wind Waker

Wind Waker introduced little to the series besides a new graphical style, the open camera, and sailing, so I'll talk about those.

I loved Wind Waker's graphical style. Critics will say "It's so childish," and such, which I have to say I partially agree with. However, the graphical style was necessary. First of all, Wind Waker had some of the most colorful characters I've seen in a game. The cel-shaded style allowed for exaggeration of emotion and body language which very much added to the game. Also, it allowed for the Great Sea to differentiate itself from the Hyrule of Ocarina of Time.

The open camera was a very nice addition. I wish future games would use it. Perhaps we'll see it again on the WiiU because of the dual-analog sticks. But I digress, it priviliged the player with the ability to explore the world in a way unprecedented, which of course was complimented by the cartoon-y graphics. It also helped while sailing to be able to look around.

One other thing I'd like to mention is the music. Everywhere you went in Wind Waker, you were greeted by a fitting theme. The music of Outset Island, Windfall Island, and Dragon Roost Island among many others created a great environment to play in.

And the straw that could've broken the camel's back: sailing. The sailing portions of Wind Waker are very debatable in nature, and as such, receive mixed feelings from me as well. At many times, it felt very boring and tedious. Unless you were looking for sidequests on smaller islands on your way, there was absolutely nothing to do. If not for the Great Sea's fun music and the Ballad of Gales, Wind Waker might have been ruined by the sailing.

I'd consider Wind Waker a moderate success.

Twilight Princess

Did I just mention Wind Waker's sailing being debatable? Multiply that by one hundred, and you should get the answer of Twilight Princess.

Not only is it the darkest Zelda, but one of the darkest games I've played in general. Half of the first half of the game (don't like the wording of that) was spent in pitch-black nothingness searching for small bugs. Not exactly what you look for in a Zelda game, but at least it differentiated from OoT in that way.

Speaking of which, TP was like OoT's long-lost brother. It's considered a "Ocarina of Time fan crowd-pleaser" and rightfully so. The same plot formula and races were used. Many places were revisited with only a few added, and an ungodly large overworld in-between.

Twilight Princess did have a few unique elements, though. Such as, the City in the Sky, Snowpeak, the Twilight Realm, and King Bulblin. However, do you see a common characteristic among all four of those examples? How about the fact that they are all filler so that the game could be longer besides the Twilight Realm which only did this at times. The Twilight Realm was necessary to the plot, but visited too often in this first portion of the game, and not enough in the second portion. I loved the Palace of Twilight though.

Despite the darkness, however, the graphics were epic. A few characters had great personality and stood out from the rest. The Wii controls were great, especially considering it was a launch title.

Overall I would say Twilight Princess was a slight success.


Minish Cap

A perfect mix of the previous Gameboy titles and ALttP with refined graphics is the basis of what you'll see when playing Minish Cap. Despite only containing five temples, it presented several challenges and was arguably more difficult than the 3D titles that sandwich it, WW and TP.

It served as a nice prequel to Four Swords, by explaining the origins of the Four Sword and Vaati. The character of Ezlo was interesting and I enjoyed watching his backstory unravel.

Minish Cap was a moderate success in my books.

Phantom Hourglass

As the first DS Zelda, Phantom Hourglass was a nice 2.5D title. At first I was a bit skeptical about the stylus-exclusive controls, but I have to admit, as I played the game more and more, they became much more fluent and fun.

The sailing in Phantom Hourglass was much more fun than that of Wind Waker. Shorter distances between islands, unlimited cannonballs, and more enemies and boats in the sea added a nice touch.

The main plot was nice and long. My only gripe was Tetra not having a major role.:bleh: Linebeck was one of the best characters the Zelda series has seen.

Phantom Hourglass's one setback would have to be the Temple of the Ocean King. I found it more fun than others do. I loved hiding from the Phantoms and watching my time limit as I descented through it. However, repeating floors wasn't fun at all and should have only been optional.

Phantom Hourglass was a large success as far as handheld Zeldas go.

Spirit Tracks

I enjoyed Spirit Tracks. That's just about the only positive thing I can say about it. The game felt like such a repeat of Phantom Hourglass, and even more-so than the relationship of OoT and TP. The graphics remained the same. The controls had little change. Riding the train was the same as riding the boat but on land. No new mechanics were added. The only character I took even a little interest in was Byrne. The temples were too simple. The Tower of Spirits was decent, and improved upon not having to repeat levels. The game was very short, had minimal sidequests, and was pretty much only a good game because it's in the Zelda series.

Therefore, Spirit Tracks was a slight/moderate failure.
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Jul 22, 2011
Meh, it's late where I live so I'm just going to put one sentence for each game I've played.

Legend of Zelda - A fun game. It's a classic, and manages to put up a challenge.

Adventure of Link - Another fun game, extremely hard yes, but still fun.

A Link to the Past - Probably the most mediocre game in the series. Wasn't extremely fun in my eyes.

Link's Awakening - Really fun, inventive, and portable to boot.

Ocarina of Time - Great game, it's a classic, but a tad overrated.

Majora's Mask - Good Zelda game, fun, original, but not the best Zelda game.

Wind Waker - Phenomenal game, the ocean, gameplay, graphics, music, dungeons, characters, etc. are all fantasitc.

Twilight Princess - A masterpiece, this game probably has the best dungeon design to date and is really fun.

Phantom Hourglass - Good game, probably my least favorite handheld title, but the game is still fun.

Spirit Tracks - Simply amazing. Literally everything was improved from PH and ST added a bit of its own spice into the mix.

So basically, quality-wise, every game but Link to the Past was a success.
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Jan 10, 2011
On the midnight Spirit Train going anywhere
Note: I will be updating this from time to time.

The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda was a game of adventure, action, and imagination. There were seemingly no limits to what the game could do. It revolutionized the whole concept of gaming at the time. It was one the first games that felt like a real adventure. You could go anywhere in the overworld and complete the dungeons in whatever order you felt like (where your items allowed). There were countless secret areas Link could find, some which gave him up to 100 rupees. Others where a cranky old man made him repair the wall he blew up for 20 rupees. Some secret areas even provided a minigame in which Link could risk his money for more money. There was more to it than secrets, though. The main purpose of traveling around the overworld was to find and defeat Levels 1-9. The game's dungeons (for its time) were exceptional, although some of the bosses were kind of lame and repetitive. But this was simple programming back then.

Despite the bosses, most of the enemies in the game posed a decent threat to Link, and a mighty one when surrounded by them. Enemies like the Lynels and the Wizzrobes. And let’s not forget the infamous and highly-hated Like-likes. These enemies have become famous for eating Link’s shields (and for just being beyond ugly). Yes, The Legend of Zelda had a superb mix of puzzles and action, causing many people to fall in love with it. The game was also just a load of fun. People still marvel at it today, even newcomers to the series playing it for the first time. Despite that, it is a bit stale of a game by today’s standards. However, it was beyond perfect for its day and age. I say The Legend of Zelda is a phenomenal success.


Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Zelda II has rightfully earned the title of the "black sheep" of the series. However, there are plenty of reasons why Zelda II is a good, even great game that even revolutionized Zelda. It introduced towns & magic, and the gameplay was ultra-smooth and intense. While the gameplay was quite different from the first one in combat style, that doesn't diminish the quality of it. In fact, it was quite realistic for the time, as the combat was 1:1, giving us more control of Link than in the traditional overhead view. The magic spells also greatly aided us in the game, and of course set the path for magic in Zelda. While Zelda II may not be the best of the Zelda games, it's still a great game in its own right. I wouldn't consider it a failure, but it's probably the farthest from a success in terms of a Zelda game. So it's kind of in-between for me, but I definitely don't consider it an outright failure.

Phantom Hourglass

Phantom Hourglass was a disappointment, yes. There's no denying that. It was expected to be phenomenal and wound up being just pretty good. Due to the high expectations, it seemed like a bad Zelda game. But it isn't. It still held true to the traditions of Zelda while still doing its own thing using the DS's capabilities. The dungeons weren't half bad and the story was great. The story was extremely fluent, it was just clouded by having to chug that boat everywhere in a frustrating sea (along with constantly running into Jolene). It was a bit clunky -- I really hate that word now due to IrateGamer -- in the controls, but that was a bit understandable, seeing as it was an early game on the DS. (The DS's calibration on the touch screen didn't help, either, but that's not the game's fault). All-in-all, Phantom Hourglass is a wonderful game. It just doesn't seem to be that way due to how great the other Zelda games are. That doesn't make it a failure, however. I'd label Phantom Hourglass as a moderate success, as it's nowhere near the caliber of some of the others like Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, The Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess.

Spirit Tracks

People complain all the time about pretty much every aspect of Spirit Tracks. What's ironic is those features are actually what make it a great game. People beat up on things like the train, even though that's half of what made the game what it is. Unlike with the boat Phantom Hourglass, we couldn't go on autopilot mode. We had to focus on where we were going and on the enemies, keeping us on constant alert. The items were also used to their full advantage. Especially the Boomerang and Whip. And the puzzles in the game took full advantage of the touch screen and were implemented exceptionally. They weren't tough, but the DS games were pretty much aimed at the younger fans of the series. The next generation of fans. And then there's the music. Some of the best and most original Zelda music comes from that game.

A lot of people complain about the Spirit Flute, as well, but I disagree with these complaints. It used the DS's microphone and took playing an instrument in Zelda where it had never been before: to where it was actually us playing it. It could get frustrating at times, but it's really not worth complaining about, especially seeing as you could practice it to get better at it (as with all things in Zelda). Overall, Spirit Tracks was a great game and doesn't deserve the criticism it gets. It's not as good as all the other Zelda games, but, just like with Phantom Hourglass, that doesn't make it a bad game. In fact, I'd say it's one of the best games the DS has to offer. I consider it a complete success, especially after Phantom Hourglass.
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Nov 23, 2010
The a-town.
It guess I'm the only one who liked Phantom Hourglass more than Spirit Tracks. I hear a lot of complaints about the Temple of The Ocean King being an overall torturous pain in the butt, but (cwutIdidthar?) actually enjoy a dungeon which I can't blaze through in twenty minutes.


There you are! You monsters!
Forum Volunteer
Feb 8, 2011
Legend of Zelda - Beautiful. Magnificent. Ingenious. Innovative. All words too vague and dim to describe just how great this game really was. It boasted challenge on just about every segment, brimming with enemies who wielded various abilities. Even in it's time the Legend of Zelda proved itself worthy as one of the top games. You were a vagrant boy pulled from the road and assigned by the caretaker Impa to find and rescue Zelda, princess of the land of Hyrule. You had to journey through a realm you'd never stepped foot into. You had to do something, or everything would fall under deep shadow.

LoZ introduced puzzles and areas that were impressive for its age. To my knowledge no other series had ever thought of developing a suchlike formula. Therefore, it shone forth among its rivals and became an instant favorite to many. And now I have come up with a word to describe this title...a legendary success.

Adventure of Link - At this point the franchise took a turn into side-scrolling and level-ups. In my opinion, this ruined the game for many, including myself. Only the overworld bore the least bit of resemblance to the its antecedant, but bore enemies who caught up with Link and got him stuck in areas almost too difficult to escape; more times than not you found yourself back by Zelda's bedside, rather than making any progress. Its Temples featured an overuse of enemies, from charging dog-headed soldiers to the irksome Iron Knuckles. Even the first Boss was nigh impossible to beat...or was that just me?

I blame the fault not on the game itself, but more on the elements that seemed forced into it. The one good thing that came out of it, in my mind was the Magic Meter. Overall I'll not rate it a failure, but less of a success due to the formulas Nintendo tried to mix in with it.

Ocarina of Time - Upon first playing it, I found this title to be unexpressive, at least in Link's house and until I traveled outside. From there the world became a mystical journey for me. I remember when I finally found the Kokiri Sword after buying the shield and first set eyes on Hyrule Field. I was utterly amazed at the detail, how much graphic design Nintendo put behind it. The adventure thereon went like a dream--slowly, fluently, but far too quickly. I recalled every epic Boss battle with the utmost clarity. The memories and joy and "Hey! Listen!"s haunt me still, and I cannot wait until I'm able to purchase my own 3DS and relive the journey, and this epic quest that is in my heart a amongst the hugest successes.

Majora's Mask - Ah, my oldest friend. I recall how you enchanted me when at first I watched my brother play, and finally the day the controller went into my hands. You set me before the task to rescue the land known as Termina from a cataclysmic doom, and I advanced so many times to crush the giants that had imprisoned those who are protectors to you. But do not fear; for though I have already subjugated the one responsible, I have only to play the Song of Time and return to Day 1, where I shall be again lain before the Puppet-Mask's gaze.

There is no need for elucidation on how imperial this game is. A HUGE success.

Twilight Princess - And it was you who brought me back, Champion of Heart, to deliver all victims from foes of terror. Despite my utter anger at seeing the King Bulbin steal away my friends, I accepted my quest to rend the pall of shadow commencing to cover the land. I restored the Light Tears to the Spirits, and still the imp enjoined me to continue on and restore her own rule. So I pressed forth with resolute stamina and boundless Courage. I slew the manic Usurper King Zant and marched up to Hyrule Castle, avoiding all tricks and traps, until reaching the Celestial Hall where once Princess Zelda looked from and saw all. Though in her stead Ganondorf smirked at me with absolute vainglory, I crossed my blade to all his forms, including once the Princess herself, and at last confronted the Twilight King in the fields below, where I overthrew the cad and lunged my Master Blade into his heart, ending all apprehension.

And now I'm most in love with it's desaturated colors. So I most likely will be until the November 20, when SS is due to be released. As for now: most impacting success to my heart. :yes:


Jul 13, 2008
I'll just make some comments on some of my favorite Zelda games and why I think they're successes in my heart ^^

Adventure of Link
I recently only got my hands on this game through the Ambassador Program on the 3DS and so far it's won me over. This game may be frowned upon by many fans as a failure for a few reasons but those reasons actually make it a success to me. One, this game is hard. Your always finding a new harder enemy to battle as the game progresses and you need to learn their moves and practice on them to get better. This game has a different approach to Zelda. Being an RPG style game you always have to upgrade your sword, health and magic. The bosses in this game are actually hard so it's rewarding when you defeat them and the palaces can be very confusing(but fun at the same time). Unlike it's predecessor LoZ, in AoL there's actually towns where people give you hints on how to do things and where to go which makes things way easier. Those are the reasons it's a success to me.

Ocarina of Time
Ahh, sweet nostalgia. First off, OOT was my first game along with Mario 64 immediately making it a favorite of mine. Whats to say about OOT that hasn't already been said? This game was one of the first 3D games out and it defined the art in one game. This game has a beautiful soundtrack, Great characters, A huge overworld, huge Temples, Great memorable bosses and awesome items. I also love OOT so much because it is very closely related to music. All those things clash together to make an amazing, epic game. This game is known by not only fans of Zelda but also by just regular gamers as one of the greatest games of all time. Ocarina of Time is obviously a success.

Majoras Mask
Taking a break from the whole "epic" idea, Nintendo toned it down a little with MM. A lot of things can be said about MM that can be said about OOT. One, in my opinion, they both share amazing Temples, Great items and a great soundtrack, an even better soundtrack in MM imo. Majoras Mask is different though. It's a lot darker, it's solemn and it's miserable. In MM you can interact with characters a lot more than you could in OOT. You can learn their stories, you can learn about them and you can help almost everyone. MM also has so many hidden messages and themes everywhere it just makes it beautiful. MM was different, darker and beautiful and thats why it's a success to me.

Wind Waker
Nintendo took a HUGE leap of faith with WW. They took Link off of land and put him in a boat. A lot of Zelda fans were skeptical about this at first but then it turned out to be an amazing game! WW had the usual Zelda formula. Great temples, great items, awesome bosses and a great story. I particularly Love the story in WW because it brings you back all the way to the time of OOT and you can never get too nostalgic with OOT in my opinion. All that mixed together with a great soundtrack and great game play made WW an immediate success.

Spirit Tracks
One of the newer additions to the Zelda series but a great one at that. ST has a similiar graphic style to that in WW and PH but it takes place on land and in a train. There's Nintendo just trying to be super creative with their Zelda games. I liked a lot of things about ST. The dungeons, the bosses, the story and especially the music. Spirit Tracks has one of my favorite soundtracks throughout the whole series and it is very memorable at that. Spirit tracks was really unique because they introduced a new aspect: Realms. I really like being in a specific environmental area for a while. I especially loved the snow realm. Finally I loved that in ST they introduced Cole, Malladus and Byrne which I think are all very cool antagonists. Even in the brightest of times ST was still a really dark game which in my book made it a success.


Jul 26, 2010
Minish Cap - This is by far my favourite handheld, and I think it goes a little unnoticed. This game, although short, is one of the most colourful, and intriguing games in the series. While it might not boast difficulty, it introduced a new villain, and showed some old and some new characters. It involved a new type of side-kick, although helpful, a little harsh and sarcastic. It is really one of those games that brought some new things to the table.

The whole game, you’d have to admit, is very colourful, while not as 3D as Phantom Hourglass or Spirit Tracks, it has that nice classic feel to it. Everything is very whimsical, and pretty looking, and borrows some elements from previous games, whilst still keeping it’s own unique style. The puzzle portion was brilliant, you used every item in a different way, and the puzzles done with them were interesting. You used every item, right up until the boss, instead of leaving the item with the dungeon.

As for characters, this is one game that has quiet and interesting relationship between Link and Zelda. They are childhood friends and go to a festival together, where the story begins. It’s one of the few, (or first), Zelda games that show a friendly relationship of Link and Zelda right off the bat. Though Zelda is all important, she’s not the only one taking the spotlight in relationships. Links trusty new pal is Elzo, the talking, slightly sarcastic, yet helpful, hat. We’re all experienced with Navi, and her sometimes questionable helpfulness, but even though Elzo’s a guide, he as a very different attitude. He’s a gruff hat he is, but he adds a lot of diversity, and is a change from the regular side kick. Alright, how about Vaati then? He’s no Ganondorf, he’s a bit more graceful? Whatever you would describe him, he is a worthy villain to occupy this game. We get his back story and discover he was only a poor little misunderstood Picori. That back story was very charming, and it added a lot more meaning to the game than just a typical evil villain.

Again as I mentioned, this game is only six dungeons, very small, unless you’re going for all the side quests. I personally think you’re crazy if you go after all those kinstones, that’s a lot. Anyways, besides the things I mentioned above, there’s one key element that I haven’t brought up yet. The main pivotal characters and ability. The ability to shrink and travel in the world of the Picori. As you shrink, puddles become oceans and leaves become a safe path across. The shrinking in this game was implemented perfectly into the story and the Picori. The Picori are cute little creatures, and with Elzo’s power, you can shrink to their size. This ability was brought well into the dungeons, and I felt it was very interesting for the story to revolve around things so tiny when you are un-shrunk.

As for the conclusion to this, I could talk about this game forever. The bosses were creative, the story was awesome. Yet it was short and sweet, and done in a beautiful classic way. Though Capcom is responsible for this, they did pretty good. The game is my favourite pocket Zelda and will always hold a special place. This handheld is very much so a success.

Twilight Princess - One of the most controversial games out there. You either completely love it, or absolutely hate it. I happen to think that it has some great things about with and some weak points. Some people hate the drab colour scheme, some love the gritty darkness. Some people thought the story is plain and drab, others loved the characters, and the classic rid the land of darkness story line. There’s tons of mixed opinions out there, most of them pretty legit, but I am going to go over both the good and the bad of this different game.

Let’s start with our characters, there’s Link of course. Well he has quite the robust personality in this game, and quite a beautiful design to him. His tunic, and gear is really pretty and detailed looking. This is my favourite looking Link in the entire series. Ilia is kind of his stuck up childhood friend, I find her annoying, but it was cute how Link kept looking for her. I especially love the scene when Link saves Colin, that’s one of the best cut scenes in the entire game. Much like Minish Cap, Link has a rather witty and sarcastic side kick this time around too. Midna, is a naked Imp thing that doesn’t really seem to care about Link and all, and is only using him for her doing. As the game progresses you can see them warming up to each other. I absolutely loved this character development. It was one of the most interesting ones in the entire series.

The graphics in this game, are the polar opposite of Wind Waker. Some people loved the realistic feel, and some people thought it was a step down from Wind Waker’s pretty cel-shaded style. The de-saturated colours turned some off, but I actually enjoyed them. I don’t think they are superior to Wind Wakers graphics, but I defiantly like them better. The world was supposed to look dying, and dark, especially in the Twilight covered lands. Even though they weren’t the brightest looking, I still found beauty in many of the scenic places in Hyrule, despite the lack of brightness. It wasn’t plain to me at all, nor dusty. I loved the graphics in this game.

We all know the difficulty in this game was lacking. The puzzles were easy, enemies did no more than one heart damage. Hyrule field was empty and pretty much devoid of any type of npc or enemies. The dungeons, while some were original and interesting, were pretty mundane. Most of the items found were rarely used outside of their appropriate dungeon. This was a major let down with such interesting items such as the Spinner. I could definitely see some sort of mini-game with that, but it wasn’t used much at all out of Arbiters Grounds. The game was linear, I can totally agree with that, but when I first played the game I hardly noticed that at all. One of the things people get riled up about is the tedious Tears of Light. I never found this hard or boring. I loved talking to all the ghosts and exploring the places covered in Twilight. Simply observing my surroundings kept me off getting to annoyed with collecting the Tears of Light. Game-play as a wolf was awesome. That feature was so awesome, you could talk to animals, and sniff out scents. I thought it was implemented in a great way, especially after you could control changing forms.

The story while unoriginal, had a brilliant classic feel to me. You’re freeing the land from evil, it’s as simple as that. One of the major twists is the appearance of Ganondorf. While seeming like a last minute add-on I was always thinking he was lying low, gaining power and manipulating others for his profit. He was a pleasant twist, and an epic boss fight. The boss fight, although easy had a lot of cinematic flair. I was pretty much in awe the first time I played it. I’m going to give this game a success. It has its good and its bad, but overall, I’m going to pass this one.

Spirit Tracks - Some how related to Phantom Hourglass and Wind Waker, this game expanded upon a lot of things Phantom Hourglass lacked. It solved the hideous back tracking in the Temple of the Ocean King, and it had more exciting dungeons and better music. However, I really didn’t like the train in this. I loved exploring on my own, all the train let you do was stop at designated areas. This made the whole game linear beyond belief, and one of the main side quests was collecting bunnies. The bunny collecting was super easy and boring. It wasn’t that great of a side quest. They tried to add diversity to traveling around on your train with the Demon Trains, but all they did was make your journey longer. It was so irritating to have a stupid train all of a sudden take a turn on your direct path. It was challenging I’ll give them that, but it wasn’t very interesting or fun. More like a giant nuisance. The dungeons weren’t memorable at all and Malludus looked like a carbon copy of Ganon. Overall, I did not like this game, and I’d call it a failure.

Ocarina of Time - There’s so much to be said about this game, I almost have nothing to say for it. This game revolutionized so many things. It was the first 3D Zelda game ever, and even though it was the first, they did it perfectly. Breaking out of a 2D world into 3D and a new console, this game was a new era, the first of many, and boy does it stack up. Everything about this game is so memorable. The music is legendary, the story is classic and amazing, the races and characters eco throughout the series.

In the beginning, you are child Link, a small boy growing up with a race called the Kokiri, yes, a forest filled with children who are actually like hundreds of years old. Kind of weird, but you have a bad dream about a ginger bad guy, go meet the giant tree and get a lovely cinematic about how Hyrule was created. It’s that type of story telling that adds so much to the series in general. From the moment Link leaves the forest, it’s the most epic thing ever. Hyrule field is massive, it’s awe to basically look out and stare at it all, so much to see and explore, but it’s your quest to make it to the castle first. Here, we get introduced to child Zelda more cinematics happen, again, amazing.

You meet the most memorable races in here, The Gorons, The Zoras, The Kokiri and the Hylians and Gerudo. Just when you think you’ve beaten the game in the first three dungeons, no, it keeps going. Now, you have to beat even more, explore all of Hyrule, and defeat Ganon and save Zelda. You’re Adult Link now, and it’s time to get down to business. There’s so much going on, every inch of the game is filled with something. Even if you want to take a break from adventuring, it’s never a dull moment. There’s side quests and fishing, just loads of stuff to do. There’s a lot of involvement in the story as well. I think everyone’s heart wrenched a bit when you saw the once happy bustling Hyrule Market now filled with Re-deads. Link even takes time to rescue Lon Lon ranch, and we are introduced to our trusty steed, and riding her, Epona.

The dungeons, although they could be difficult and frustrating, were also clever, had perfect puzzles, and had no end to the use of items. Every single dungeon item was used in and out of their respective dungeons, something Twilight Princess severely lacked. They were so creative, and memorable it was basically never a dull moment. They were also just the right length, not too long, but long enough to spend a decent about of time in. Even the notorious Water Temple has it’s perks, it really challenged you, all the way up to the boss. The final dungeon was even good, and sometimes games kind of lose their spark towards the end, but Ocarina of Time kept going strong right up until Ganondorf and Ganon. The boss fight was epic, just when you think it’s over, BAM, evil trident wielding pig man.

When people refer to this game as, “Overrated” I simply do not agree. A game doesn’t get worse just because tons of people say could things about it, it’s good because it’s good. Ocarina of Time brought so much to the table that many games a like tried to emulate it. Ocarina of Time has a nostalgia, and charm to it. It’s a fantastic game, and it is most certainly without a scrap of doubt, a success.

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