People often ask me what I do with my spare time outside of making news posts at this lovely site. To be honest, I am usually hammered and can’t find my way back home. The last month, when I wasn’t busy replaying Twilight Princess to create new content for ZI (yes, believe it or not I am actually adding game content to the site, woo!), and when I was not drug down by massive hangovers, I have been busy reading a novel like top 100 list. I am not kidding here when I say this is the biggest Top 100 Games of All Time list ever compiled. I must say, it’s longer then some novels, but it was worth every minute. It’s put together really well, and frankly it was one of the best gaming related reads I have had in a long time.
This being the case, I am going to do something different here, especially for those of you that only care about the Zelda love. Instead of just telling you what Zelda games finished where (which I will do, of course), I will quote the entire reasoning for each in the series being where it is. In this sense, this may be the longest news post in the history of ZeldaInformer. What it also does, is make it so you as the reader not have to sift through that novel to find your favorite franchise. Come inside for one of the best reads relating to Zelda in recent memory.
First things first, for those who could seemingly care less why the games are where they are, here are the listings by position on the list:
77. Twilight Princess
71. Phantom Hourglass
70. The Wind Waker
26. Four Swords Adventures
03. Ocarina of time
Surprised? I was too a little, that is until I read his reasoning. Prepare now for one of the longest, and most interesting, reads pertaining to Zelda in the last month. It will be well worth your time to get to the end. Quoted Directly from Jet Fire’s Top 100 Games of All Time article.
77. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Released on: Wii/GC
Release Date: Nov 19, 2006
This here is pretty much the reason that all of us that bought a Wii, waited in a line for 4 or 5 damn hours until midnight for it’s launch, and it was worth it. While there is debate going around about whether Twilight Princess or Ocarina of Time is the better game, since they’re made in a similar style, it doesn’t change the fact that both of them are very well made. Twilight Princess remains a worthy to Ocarina of Time, despite this game being the lowest Zelda on my Top 100 List (yes, I will admit that there are a few more of them). Even so, it’s still a stellar game that’s worthy of praise. I don’t care if it’s a Wii title that’s based off a Gamecube game, since I’m not some kind of lunatic that refuses to play or rate anything fairly that’s not next-gen. Twilight Princess may not revolutionize the Zelda franchise or have taken it in any new direction, but that doesn’t make it any less classic than say, Super Mario World is to Super Mario Bros 3, by popular opinion.
It’s a little hard to point out about what makes one Zelda game so much better than another. While all of the games are similar in nature (you go from temple to temple, solving puzzles, fighting bad guys, gaining new items, getting relics, roaming the overworld, sidequesting, and using your new items to get to new temples), they each have their own styles, creative dungeon layouts, unique sidequests, items and overworlds, and their own features that set them apart.
For one thing, I’ll get to the dungeon designs. While the first three dungeons may seem typical for a Zelda game (a forest one, fire one and water one), they have their own unique takes on them. The forest temple basically takes place in the treetops, which feels more organic and not much like a temple at all. The fire temple has amazing heat shimmering effects, goes between mountain and volcano locations, and has awesome upside-down/wall walking segments with metal boots. The water temple takes place in what seems to be some giant eroded mansion filled with water, by no surprise, involves controlling the water levels. Later temples though, involve finding your way through a Yeti’s icy mansion, the Temple of Time (a nice throwback to the Ocarina of Time), a desert temple that involves surfing on a cog that can click in and out of grooves on the walls, an island in the sky (which kind of reminds me of the Sky Sanctuary stage from Sonic & Knuckles) that involves the use of your double hookshots to get around, and a dark temple filled with emerging hands coming out of the walls, trying to make your life miserable. The themes for some of these dungeons are very refreshing (since I haven’t seen designs like them in any Zelda game) and the ones that aren’t as original, are still very well constructed and thought out like all of the other dungeons in the game.
For me, the dungeon designs can be a huge contributing factor in the overall success of a Zelda game to me, but so are the items and bosses. If they can’t all coexist and work together naturally in the same universe, the whole experience falls apart. And I love Twilight Princess’ items and bosses, which bring something new to the table almost every time. The Gale Boomerang is a different take on the old kind, as it now can suck up enemies into one tornado, and activate windmills/switches from a distance. The Iron Boots are no longer only iron, but magnetic, as I’ve mentioned before. Of course you still have the classics like the bombs and bow, but other items added into the fray are a giant ball on a chain (for smashing barriers), a rod that controls the movement of statues, the cog that I mentioned earlier, as well as the double hookshots that allow you to climb from wall to wall, making you feel like Spiderman.
I’ve also found that Twilight Princess has the most amount of memorable boss fights that I’ve seen in a Zelda game. Whether it’s the tactics you use to take down the crazed Goron in the fire temple, acting out a shadow of the colossus-like scenario under the sea in the water temple as well as in the sky temple, or my personal favourite, using the mechanical cog to grind upwards a giant pillar (in which the track you can connect to will spiral upwards), jumping from between the pillar and the wall of the circular room housing that pillar (both the pillar and wall are close together), while fighting the epic boss at the same time. The fights are simply more massive than any other Zelda game I’ve seen, and while they weren’t incredibly hard to figure out, I already had some previous experience from the Zelda series, giving me a bit of a clue of what to expect.
And what about the rest of the game, you ask? It’s absolutely huge with a large sprawling world filled with plenty of sidequests to engage in (just try to find all of the tiny bugs for one quest). The only thing that I wasn’t quite sold on was the addition of the Twilight Realm and Wolf Link…well, I do like the concept, and the Twilight Realm/Wolf Link for the most part, but killing those bugs to get to a new area is tedious and is just a form of busy work to make the game longer, as well as those certain enemies that keep respawning unless you kill all of them at once with Wolf Link’s homing attack. Other than those parts, I did like the whole theme of the Twilight Realm, and how much darker it made the series (complete with a great ending). Midna was also a great supporting character, although I’m going to be in the minority when I say that Navi never bothered me once. I never heard that whole “hey listen!” annoyance over the internet until I saw it as a joke on vgcats. Either that, or I tuned Navi out completely, so it never bothered me. Ranting aside, I like them both. One other annoyance is the damn fishing game. The instruction booklet did such a poor job of explaining how to fish, that I was stuck in the first village for two to three hours when I started. It almost made me give up on the whole game if I didn’t get lucky right when I was about to break.
To conclude, like most other Zelda games to me, Twilight Princess is still an amazing entry even though it’s the bottom tier Zelda on my Top 100 list. I’m not the kind of blind fool who will love every Zelda game that comes my way (I’m looking at you Majora’s Mask, and I don’t care about what others say. I went into that one with an open mind, but it ended up as one of the most tedious endeavors that I’ve ever pursued). I also know that this particular Zelda isn’t even that innovative. But it’s still an incredibly fun experience that I’m glad I stuck around for.
71. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Released on: DS
Release Date: Oct 1, 2007
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is one of the best DS games I’ve played to date. In fact, it’s probably the most complete adventures that exists in my DS library. It almost has the same wow factor on the DS that the Wind Waker gave me on the Gamecube, with it’s wonderful, colourful cel-shaded graphics and cutscenes. While not as good as the Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass does have it’s own unique charm to it, even if it is an easier game than it’s predecessor.
The game starts off after Wind Waker, with Link and Tetra on the high seas, sailing on her pirate ship. A ghost ship attacks them, Tetra gets kidnapped, Link falls overboard and ends up drifting to an island where he begins his adventure to find Tetra. Along the way, he meets another fairy, as well as a captain of a ship named Linebeck (who I find to be one of the most entertaining characters in a Zelda game so far), in which you sail on his ship to find Tetra. It’s all pretty basic stuff, but the cutscenes are remarkable on the DS. Screenshots just do not do the game any justice, as these scenes are filled with so much expression and animation, that they look a lot like the Wind Waker, except with less detail on the character models, which is to be expected. The cutscenes also have a great sense of humour to them, and is the first Zelda game to actually make me laugh a little.
Phantom Hourglass is your typical Zelda fare, but has a few changes that make it stand out on it’s own. The first is that the control is all touch-based, and for the most part it really works. The only move I had trouble executing was the roll, since you have to quickly draw in a “V” pattern while Link is moving, sometimes sending you in an opposite direction. It isn’t critical to survival though. You can also draw on your map to make notes of where to go and what to do, as well as plotting the course on the map for your ship to sail. You can make slashing movements for your sword, obviously, but you can also do things like plotting out the path that your boomerang will fly in, to drawing ropes from one end of a gap to another to make a makeshift bridge.
While the temple design in Phantom Hourglass can be really fun (although pretty easy), it’s the bosses that really stood out in this version. Wind Waker had better temples, but Phantom Hourglass simply had better bosses. From the two tiered (filling two DS screens) golem, to the Hydra-like boss, this game didn’t only have it’s own creative ways to defeat bosses with your items, but the simple act of using them on the bosses felt more fun and interactive than most Zelda titles. While the bosses can be easy once you figure out the strategy to take them down, they’re better than almost all of the 2D Zelda boss battles that I’ve played so far, and even some of the 3D ones.
I think that anyone who has played Phantom Hourglass may have been enraged when they heard me say that the temple design is really fun. Okay, so there’s one horrible temple, The Temple of the Ocean King. This temple requires you to play it in between other temples, getting a little further each time as you gain new items. The thing is, you have to start the temple pretty far back each time (somewhere around 5 or so floors back from where you started on your last visit I believe) and get past the old sections as well as the new section of temple before the time runs out in your Phantom Hourglass. If the time runs out, your protection from the poison in the temple is gone, and you’ll die very quickly. You can gain items that increase your time, but the temple requires a lot of memorization and fast acting to get through. Tedious is the word I can use to describe it. However, if it’s any consolidation, the Wind Waker had it’s own very annoying Triforce pieces fetch quest, so both games will rank fairly low on my Top 100 List because of these aspects (yes, I will be adding the Wind Waker soon). They just use tedious quests to expand an otherwise, nearly perfect experience.
Aside from that bit of tedium, Phantom Hourglass provides a lot of adventure and exploration, which is typical of the Zelda franchise, and is basically a version of Wind Waker in your pocket. It isn’t the most original Zelda title, but it really works and contains all sorts of puzzles and challenges to keep you occupied for some time. To me, it actually has my favourite ending for any Zelda game as well (even though Zelda games don’t usually contain spectacular endings, this is the best it’s gotten for me). Fans of the Wind Waker will probably love this title. It doesn’t deviate from Wind Waker’s concept, but I was more than eager to explore this version of Hyrule some more. It also may not be the powerhouse that it’s predecessor was, but for a current handheld game, it’s stellar.
70. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Released on: GC
Release Date: March 24, 2003
Speaking of the Wind Waker in my last entry, it comes up next on my list just before Phantom Hourglass. It just simply had more of an impact on me, but it’s so similar to Phantom Hourglass, that I had to put both games side by side. Now, when two games in a same franchise are too similar to me, I will usually put them in the same spot on my list as a tie. However, while both titles share extremely similar themes, they’re both very different in the way they are played and presented.
First of all, the easiest thing to recognize right off the bat, are Wind Waker’s visuals. The graphical style is absolutely phenomenal for a Gamecube game, giving off the same vibe as a hand drawn Disney movie. It’s simply one of the most eye-catching, colourful, smoothly animated games that I’ve ever played in my entire life. Everything from the environments to the enemies, to even Link and the other characters themselves, convey so much expression, that it really sets the bar for how games can be conveyed as an art form just as much as simply being a game. I actually appreciate The Wind Waker’s style much more than Twilight Princess’ style because of how different and beautiful it is. It showed me that while Ocarina of Time is a legendary game in it’s own right, it didn’t need it’s next-gen sequel to be a carbon copy of it. It makes me wonder as to why many fans couldn’t accept the change. In fact, the closest thing it resembled at it’s point of release was a 3D “Link To The Past” style of art.
To go along with the graphical style, Wind Waker had a large, expansive environment to explore, that took place over the great, open sea (peppered with many islands of course). Trekking by foot for long segments or riding on your horse was replaced by sailing, and while I didn’t enjoy the sailing as much as the means of travel provided in other Zelda games, it was a very nice change of pace which made it original and gave it it’s own identity. I really felt like part of a much bigger world, and the whimsical music that accompanied me, gave myself an exciting feeling of being an adventurer on the open seas.
Like other Zelda games I’ve mentioned, I have to talk about the dungeons/bosses/items of the game. I’ve always considered these parts to be the meat and potatoes of the series, since they usually contain the most thought provoking/mind bending challenges within the games. The Wind Waker doesn’t seem to have as many dungeons as most Zelda games and are basically easier than most as well. This doesn’t stop them from being really fun though, as each dungeon contains plenty of diversity, and some ones in particular, such as the Earth and Wind Temples, have some absolutely genius level design. In fact, I would consider Wind Waker’s Earth Temple to be my favourite dungeon in a Zelda game so far. This temple (as well as the Wind one), encourages you to work together with another story-related character to clear the challenges, and you can take control of these characters along with Link in order to get through the temple using teamwork-related techniques/strategies.
The bosses are pretty easy to figure out but like Phantom Hourglass, are just really fun to fight, and Ganon is downright frustrating due to Zelda being a teamkiller, but defeating him gives off a huge sense of satisfaction as you deal out the best finishing blow to him ever dealt within a Zelda game. The items are pretty varied, and although you have the usual stuff in this game such as a bow, boomerang, bombs, etc…you do gain a Deku leaf to use as a parachute/fan for making gusts of wind, a grappling hook, mirror shield, and a cannon for your ship (by setting the bombs to your menu while on your ship). The item selection isn’t the most complex, but it does work, and the Deku Leaf was a great addition that I wish would return in future Zelda titles.
Finally, I have to note that there are a lot of interesting sidequests, which gives the player a lot of room for extra exploration, but as I’ve noted, halfway through the game, there’s a near-game-breaking Triforce piece fetch quest that involves a really tedious method of obtaining eight Triforce pieces to advance. It’s nothing more than an excuse to lengthen the game, and when you finally obtain the whole Triforce, you’re not even granted with any new powers. You’re simply told that you’re now strong enough to face Ganon. Plus, this whole bit introduces Tingle, which is one of the most horrible character abominations of all time in a videogame. If you can get by this lone aspect though, the Wind Waker is an absolutely memorable gaming experience.
So what sets the Wind Waker apart from the last two Zelda games I’ve mentioned? It’s style impacts the game so heavily, that it’s akin to playing through an animated feature film. It’s the same old Zelda that we know, but with it’s own little twists, such as the more open world, great sea setting, bigger emphasis on plot/characters, graphic style, and unique dungeon designs (with some focusing more on teamwork). Am I an absolute Zelda fanboy for already mentioning three Zelda games on my Top 100 List? Not really. For one, the three games I’ve mentioned haven’t gotten past #70. For another aspect, I’ve only completed six out of the thirteen Zelda games released, and have tried eight of the games in total (of which two entries I wasn’t that fond of to make the list). Finally, I’m aware that all of the Zelda games play similar to each other, but the world/dungeon designs and interactivity/sidequesting is some of the best I’ve seen in games to date. All in all though, the Wind Waker is an enchanting experience that had a magical feeling that the other Zelda titles so far just didn’t have. It all just came off as being more epic than it’s sequel (which I can’t really blame it on, since it’s on a handheld), giving it the #70 spot on my list.
26. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Released on: GC
Release Date: June 7, 2004
I’ve already noted that I’m not a fan of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I played the game until it’s full completion, but all it turned out for me, was just “okay”. There was nothing that really captivated me about it, and while I’m all up for non-linear gameplay and roaming around and all, it wouldn’t have hurt the game if it just dropped a hint or two (even if it were extremely subtle) about what you may need to acquire to get into certain areas, or even just where to go in general sometimes. Regardless, I found that nothing in that game screamed with sheer brilliance, but I can respect the gameplay foundation it set up for future Zelda titles to come. What came after it, many, many years down the road, was the perfect evolution to the Link to the Past formula for me: The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures for the Nintendo Gamecube.
Even though it couldn’t be helped back in the SNES ages due to hardware limitations, which I cannot blame, Four Swords Adventures takes the concept of a Link to the Past, and makes it four times better (sorry, I really had to. Get it? Four Links makes it…eh, whatever). By adding multiplayer into the mix, and with it being the first true multiplayer Zelda out there (excluding the ultra short add-on that game in the Link to the Past GBA remake), Four Swords Adventures built on Zelda’s classic puzzles by often requiring the input of all four coloured Links to solve them, as well as to work together to beat foes. I have to start off by noting that this game is meant to be played with two or more people. For those who have only played this game in single player, they can’t realize the sheer genius that went into this game towards the multiplayer support, and have only experienced half of the game. That’s like buying a MMORPG for the single player portion alone and not taking it online. There’s just no point in doing so. The only downside about the multiplayer in this game, is that depending on how many people you want to play with, you need to have a Game Boy Advance and a Game Boy Advance-to Gamecube link cable for each player. It’s a pain in the ass, since it would require one person to own four handheld systems and four link cables if none of their friends do. Luckily, GBAs can be bought on the cheap (around $20) at this point in time but GBA-to-GC connectors are harder to find. If you do have all of the components though, it’s absolutely worth it.
Now I know what you’re thinking. “How could a game that rips people off to the extreme make it so high on your list?” Well, that all depends on your point of view. Today, the components are easier to acquire, and the use of the GBAs really do make sense and provide so much more depth to the game in terms of exploration. While you can play the single player mode with a Gamecube controller, it’s not as fun as having friends with GBAs. The point of the GBAs, is that all of the players can go their own separate ways at many points in the game. While you can’t go across the entire level separately from each other, there are areas apart from the main map that players can enter, while some players stay where they are. For example, all four Links are running around on the main map, battling foes, when the person playing as the Red Link spots a cave to the side. The player rushes over to the cave and enters it. Now, if the GBAs didn’t exist, Red Link wouldn’t be able to go to a separate screen area while the other Links are outside. He would probably have to wait for them all to run up to the door at once. However, due to the GBA, once Red Link enters the cave, he will appear on that player’s GBA screen, where he can run around, battle the enemies inside, collect the loot, and possibly exit out a different doorway, which could lead back to the map where all the Links are fighting, but Red Link will be on top of a structure that the others can’t reach unless they enter the cave.
There are so many opportunities in Four Swords Adventure that rely on at least two different Links to solve puzzles, whether it’s cooperating to complete multiple tasks at the same time in different areas, or employing multiple strategies in the same place to get a boss to expose it’s weakness. This whole setup creates a great sense of teamwork (and sometimes competitiveness if it comes to stealing rupees/items and just plain hogging everything) that not only makes this a completely different type of Zelda games than all of the others, but one of the best cooperative games that I’ve ever played that truly emphasizes on working together. In case you’re wondering how you play the game if you have less than four players, it’s simple. For single player, just tagging a coloured Link on the field will allow them to automatically follow you. By the press of a button, you can choose to control one of the other Links that are following you while the rest of the team remains still (in which you can break apart another one from the team, over and over again until all the Links are separated. This way, you can take each Link to an individual area to complete a task, such as all four Links stepping on four switches for example. With two players, it works the same way, so each player can have another coloured Link following them if they like, or one player can just take all three while the other player goes solo. By having multiple Links following you, you can change their formation with the press of a button (for example, you can line them up horizontally so that they all shoot a line of arrows in the same direction, or you can line them up vertically to traverse narrow walkways).
There’s not much to note about the dungeons or story, other than the fact that they rely heavily on cooperation. In a way, the dungeons do resemble A Link to the Past, but now that there’s multiplayer involved, the players have to take a different approach to how they do everything, which makes even the simplest of premises seem more interesting for me. What I can say though, is that Four Swords Adventures has one of my favourite weapon systems/lineups in any Zelda game. Each Link can hold their sword along with one other item (to switch items you just pick up a new one, and your old one will be swapped in it’s place). Because of this, is gives each individual Link their own importance, and while in some instances, everyone can wind up with the same item, there are many times where you’ll have to rely on each other’s individual skill sets to progress further in the game. Whether it’s the bow, boomerang, fire rod, jump feather, pegasus boots (for your dash attack), bombs, magic hammer, fire lamp, shovel, and slingshot, you’ll need to play off each other’s strengths in order to succeed. Also important are the heart containers and bracelets that boost attack power and defense, which will seem to create many arguments even amongst some of the most cooperative players (although most of the time, we really tried to balance our team out). Also, the visuals are extremely bright and colourful, as they take most of the charming art style from A Link to the Past (one thing I actually did really like from it), only making it more vibrant.
That’s pretty much all I can say about The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures. It’s your classic overhead Zelda game, but with multiplayer that is absolutely anything but tacked-on. The whole game is built around it, and succeeds in just about every way. The only complaint that may arise is that the game is somewhat linear, as it progresses in a level-to-level approach instead of one giant open world, but the addition of multiplayer makes up for it, and there’s always room for a sequel for that, right? I also think that the reason that Four Swords Adventures never seems to get mentioned is because the Zelda franchise is mainly a single player one where players prefer to take their time and explore at their own pace, and for that, I can come to an understanding. Despite what the majority thinks though, Four Swords Adventures is still one of the most different, unique Zelda games out there, and I would encourage anyone who enjoys Zelda to give it a try, as long as they have friends to play it with, and if not…then get out of the house and meet people!
3. The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Released on: N64, GC (Master Quest)
Release Date: Nov 21, 1998 (N64), Nov 17, 2003 (GC)
Oh boy, here we go. I’m expecting to hear the saying “Oh my god! I’ve seen Ocarina of Time ranks near the top of peoples’ list hundreds of times! Just stop it already! It’s overrated!” To that, I just have to say that I’m not ashamed to be predictable. Why? Because I’ve loved this game long before all of these lists had started appearing. I’ve enjoyed it ever since it’s release, and I’m not going to just deny or swear off something that I enjoy, just because it’s getting too popular. I can’t change what I like, and I can’t change where I rank Ocarina of Time, because I’m being absolutely honest with myself and this list. Look on the bright side though. At least I didn’t put it as my #1 pick of all time, right (and I’m not giving two other games the honor of that title just to avoid the eye rolls of tons of gamers over the internet. I really do actually like them more than this game). With that out of the way, The Legend of Zelda: OoT is my favourite Zelda within the franchise, and naturally it was the one that introduced me to it. Even though it’s my first Zelda game, I’m not blinded by nostalgia-fogged goggles, because I’m open minded to every Zelda that I come across. I’ve just happened to enjoy OoT’s world, characters, music, quests and sense of balance far more than the other games. It had nothing about it that I hated. From the other Zeldas I have played, they have all at least had one really annoying element to them. Wind Waker had the annoying Triforce quest, Phantom Hourglass had the Temple of the Ocean King, Twilight Princess had the boring segments where you kill bugs as a wolf as well as the Dark Temple at the end, Four Swords Adventures even had one particular level that was impossible to complete while playing as four players (as all four Links had to be in formation to cross through a portal at the same time), I found that A Link To The Past was a little to bland for me (and I hated it’s map-travelling system), and last but not least, I couldn’t get into Majora’s Mask’s Groundhog Day-like symptom of having to play the same parts over and over (for the record I haven’t played much of the other Zelda games). However, the closest thing that Ocarina of Time had for me was the Water Temple, and even I completed that fairly easy (I also think I’m in the minority that actually enjoys that temple).
So what is there to say about Ocarina of Time that hasn’t been said before? Pretty much nothing, really, as I’m sure that you’ve all been beaten over the head with info about it mercilessly. If you would like to know what I personally liked about it, I’ll still explain. For one, like many others, I loved it’s atmosphere. It’s true that the N64 hasn’t aged the best, and Ocarina of Time isn’t a graphical masterpiece anymore, but I still love the look and feel of every area in the game (yes, I know that Twilight Princess is more detailed and larger, but that doesn’t exactly make the areas more fun and memorable as this game. Every area was vastly different from the next, such as Kokiri Forest’s grassy and tree filled landscape, and the inside of the Great Deku Tree’s dark and lonely interior, and the Forest Temple’s ancient ruins that are covered with vines. The Goron Mountain was rocky and dry, the Fire Temple was hot and full of lava and the Goron Cave Dungeon was a cross between both. Zora’s Domain was a peaceful, ambient cave with waterfalls, the Fish Temple was…well, inside of a big fish (with organs and all), Lake Hyrule had a fishing area as well as a very deep lake, which housed the Water Temple which was confusing, wet (well, of course water is wet!), and had varying levels of height that you could change the water level at. There was a graveyard area behind Kakariko village that was a precursor to the dark shadow temple, complete with many hidden traps, pitfalls and a spooky atmosphere. The Spirit Temple existed behind Gerudo Valley (complete with a large gorge) and the Gerudo Fortress (which is a stealth-based area, guarded by tons of thieves), as the well as a vast desert that was overrun by Sandstorms (the temple was a maze-like area with a higher emphasis on puzzle solving). Connecting all of these places was the large Hyrule Field in the middle, complete with Hyrule Castle and Hyrule Market, The Temple of Time, Lon Lon Ranch, and various other little secret areas throughout Hyrule. Ganon’s Castle was also tall, menacing, and just plain evil. There was a lot of variety between venturing throughout all of the areas in Ocarina of Time, since all of the town and dungeons had amazing level designs and themed (and those dungeons were incredibly well set up, being just difficult enough to propose a challenge, but never frustrating enough to give up on the game with).
Tying together all of these amazing areas to explore was the ability to travel through time (and eventually being able to do it at will), to become Young Link or Adult Link. I loved the amount of new problem solving that the time travel proposed, since you could often affect the future by altering the past, as well as by taking songs that you’ve learned in the future, to be able to use in the past with your ocarina to make key events happen. Plus, the way that the game starts off by having you play as Young Link (who uses weaker items) really makes for an appropriate introductory portion to the game, before you turn into an adult and are granted with the more powerful items. The weapons and items though, are all of the classic Zelda staples of course (yes, I realize that it may not have as many as some other Zelda games, but it really isn’t a make-or-break element to me), and they are all useful, balanced, and fun to use. Last but not least, about the gameplay, is that I found all of it’s side-quests (such as the skulltulas, poes, heart containers and biggoron’s sword for example) and puzzle solving to be non-stop fun, interesting, and addicting to complete and solve. I can’t give a hundred examples of different moments, but I can say that I’ve enjoyed everything about Ocarina of Time, at least a little bit more than every Zelda game I’ve played. The story was just a little more interesting (I also enjoyed the bittersweet ending), the world design/towns/dungeons were just a bit more compelling, I liked the overall puzzles better than any other entry, I found the side-questing portion to be more rewarding than any other Zelda I’ve played, I’ll admit that the graphics and style aren’t as good as Wind Waker though (bit I still really enjoy them), the controls are the most fluid and responsive (mostly due to the N64 pad. I love that thing), and the soundtrack is fantastic (containing some of my favourite music in any game, like the Hyrule Field theme). Oh, and the bosses…I absolutely adore every single boss within the game, as they ooze with style, character and fun strategies to take down. Also, I don’t see what’s so annoying about Navi. I never hear her shout out “listen!” every 2 seconds, as I’m sure if she actually did in reality, non-stop throughout the entire game, no one would have liked it, and it would have scored much lower in reviews.
Overall, I’m making this entry short, as I’m sure that you’ve all heard this before. I can’t exactly explain why I love The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time so much. It’s a game that I can appreciate on a moment-to-moment basis. It’s filled up with great area after area…amazing puzzle after puzzle. Every moment has something magical and timeless within it for me, and while new titles have come and gone, they haven’t affected they way I see this game in the future. I still always see it as the same game that I played when I was younger, and I can appreciate what it is without getting too picky about it. I try and maintain this type of mentality when I play all games, that just because future releases of a franchise may be better than a past one, that there is no way that it makes the previous entry that I’ve already enjoyed, any worse. Games will be games. Usually, if I loved something then, I’ll love it now to the exact same amount, because nothing about the game ever changes. That’s what gives a timeless feel to many of my favourite games on my list, and Ocarina of Time was already so good for me in the first place, that it’s been guarding this spot very fiercely for years…because I’ve never found it any less fun now than it was back then. I’m not expecting anyone here to agree with my own, predictable, personal choice. Everyone has their own favourite Zelda games, and that’s what makes us all interesting. Who knows? Maybe by talking about our favourite Zelda games to each other, we may be able to see each other’s games in a different light, and appreciate them a bit more for aspects that we may have not seen previously when playing another person’s favourite. Regardless of comparisons and who likes what, I don’t think that an awfully designed Zelda game really exists out there (besides the CD-i ones). I may not like the design and gameplay of Majora’s Mask at all, but even I can appreciate the amount of complexity, creativity and passion that was put into creating a game like that. The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time may be one of the most loved and one of the most *shudders at the word* overrated games in videogame history, but I stand by my word, as I think that’s it’s one of the best designed games that I have ever played, and cheesiness aside, it’s absolutely timeless for me.
There you have it folks! Did you make it to the end here? I hope you found the quoted material above well worth your time. To see who topped the list, as well as to see where some of your other favorite games finished and what he said, check out the rest of Jet Fire’s Top 100 Games of All Time. Disagree with the Zelda placements and what he had to say about them? Feel free to voice your thoughts in our lovely comment system, or feel free to head over to our recently upgraded Forums and discuss away!