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The Top 5 Zelda games
October 17, 2007
By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada
With the release of the latest Legend of Zelda game - Phantom Hourglass for Nintendo DS - I thought it was the perfect time to rate the top Zelda games ever made. I'll tell you right now that you'll notice a glaring omission here, that being Ocarina of Time. I'll tell you now that I never did finish that game, though for what it's worth I have had more fun with a lot of the other titles in the series on my list below. So without further ado:
The Legend of Zelda: This pretty much started a whole new genre of action RPG's when it first came out on the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was extremely refreshing to play a game where the action was always going on, as opposed to the turn based RPGs of the day where action slowed to a crawl every time you fought a battle. Not only that, but all the hallmarks of the Zelda series were here for the first time - the dungeons, the awesome items, the epic boss battles, and Ganon himself. This is where it all began, and the game still holds up well today (just ask all the people who have ROMs for the game on their computer or downloaded the game on the Wii Virtual Console).
The Adventure of Link: Many consider this one of the few 'black sheep' of the series but more than anything, I thought this was a very cool departure (even though at the time it was only the second game in the series). We've never seen a side-scrolling Zelda game since but considering how different it was from the other entries in the series, The Adventures of Link was pretty awesome, considering. You traversed Hyrule from a top-down perspective, and when you walked off a path, enemies would appear and if you touched them, you'd enter a battle world. Though it sounds similar to games in the Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior series, it wasn't a turn-based game at all. Once dungeons were found, you played through them completely from a side-scrolling perspective. The final battle was epic, the difficulty was worthy of a Zelda game, and it was definitely something different. Give it a try if you haven't already - you may just be surprised.
A Link to the Past: From beginning to end, this game sucked me in like it was nobody's business. The jump from the NES to the Super NES was like night and day ... or in the case of ALttP, like light and dark. This game went back to the original Zelda's top-down look, only the world was about a hundred times more vibrant and colourful thanks to those crazy 16-bit graphics the SNES could pump out. Seriously though, this game had a charm like no other at the time and the way the player had to jump between the light and dark world to solve puzzles was absolutely amazing. Just like the two NES Zeldas, this one still holds up to this day.
Twilight Princess: Zelda fans almost had a heart attack when Nintendo delayed this game not once, but twice, announcing the second time that the game would be launching at the same time as the Nintendo Wii. The company danced around whether or not the game would even be coming out on GameCube at all, but in the end it did see a release on both systems. I played, and fell in love, with the Wii version though. Not only did the game introduce a brand new control system that had you swinging the Wii Remote to slash at enemies with your sword and pointing it at the screen to shoot your arrows, but it was an epic adventure all the same, not just some lame GameCube port (as some people were worried it would be). The game had a much more serious tone than its predecessors but was fun all the same. It was absolutely crammed with side quests, mini games (fishing FTW!) and memorable characters. I finished the game after about 65 hours and loaded it right back up again from the start to play again. Some may have said 'been there, done that' after playing Twilight Princess, but I sure didn't. I was too busy wallowing in its near-perfection to worry about nitpicking.
The Wind Waker: No Zelda game stuck with me quite as much as The Wind Waker did. Some people hated it simply because of its 'kiddy'-looking cel-shaded graphics. Those were the same people who either A) played it for about 10 minutes or B) didn't play it at all. To this day, The Wind Waker is one of the best-looking games I've played. No, it doesn't show off the pure graphical horsepower of a game like Gears of War, but its art style is gorgeous. And seeing the emotions that are expressed on Link's face is one of the most memorable aspects of the game. It's a gigantic world that has you sailing on an enchanted boat all over the place. Some people complained the sailing took up too much time, but I didn't mind it at all, especially once I had the ability to warp. The game wasn't the most difficult in the series but it was difficult in more ways than just how-many-enemies-can-you-fit-in-a-room. The Wind Waker still is the highlight of the series for me.
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