Published on November 21st, 2013 | by Jeff Derrickson2
Three for Thursday: Best Zelda Games of All Time
On the eve of a brand new Zelda–a sequel to Link to the Past, no less–my unbridled hype and joy has reached ridiculous heights. Zelda is on the brain, so I thought I’d take a look at my three favorite Zelda games and try to explain why they are the best. Sorry, Ocarina of Time. At least you will never make a “Three Worst Zelda Games” list.
Although short on temples, there is no shortage of atmosphere and sense of wonder in the Gamecube entry of the series. There is nothing quite like sailing on the ocean and exploring its overworld, wondering what you will find on the next island. The cel-shaded art style may have been controversial at the time of its reveal, but it has withstood the test of time, lending this entry a unique charm that captures the spirit of adventure unlike any Zelda game since the original. Fans and Wii U owners in general owe it to themselves to revisit Wind Waker’s high seas in the HD remake.
Darker and certainly divisive, Majora’s Mask is a bit of an oddball in the series that dares to try something different with great results. I have always thought it is better than Ocarina of Time, whose greatest feat was simply figuring out how to do a very traditional Zelda in 3D. Majora’s Mask takes the foundation laid by Ocarina and goes wild. People tend to hate time limits in games, but the time mechanics in Majora’s Mask made me fall in love. They gave the game a real sense of time and place. Before long, I knew that at 2 p.m. on the second day, it would start raining. The Kafei and Anju sidequest that runs throughout the entire game is the greatest sidequest in the whole series and perhaps all of video games. It was also fun collecting mask that transform Link and grant him different abilities, especially the Fierce Deity mask that transforms him into the ultra-badass Oni Link. But it was that clock constantly ticking in the background as the moon and certain destruction loomed closer that made Majora’s Mask truly special. On a personal note, what made it even more special for me is I didn’t even know of its existence until my mom sent me it in the mail during my freshman year of college. It is the only game I have ever 100% completed.
A Link to the Past
Only little punks who were in grade school when Ocarina of Time came out consider Ocarina the best of the series. Real men know the top-down 2D magic of A Link to the Past, the greatest game of all time. It took the promise of the original Legend of Zelda and realized its potential. And it comes from a time when Nintendo didn’t think there needed to be some new twist or gimmick to keep it fresh. It was fresh; it just had to be the best Zelda it could be. I still remember beating the third dungeon and thinking I was at the end of the game (and I probably would have been satisfied) only to find out there were seven more and another world! This is the game of my youth, before I knew what a gamer was, or that I was one. At most, I owned probably a dozen games on my SNES, but Link to the Past is the one I turned to after I got bored with the likes of NBA Jam and Mortal Kombat. It was the one that called to me, that made me realize I loved video games and that they could be more than just mere distractions and bursts of joy. They could be an adventure worth remembering.