The best Zelda games: Eurogamer editors’ choice_176

You’ve already had your state on the best Zelda games since we observe the series’ 30th anniversary – and you did a mighty fine job also, even though I’m pretty convinced A Link to the Past goes at the head of any list – so now it is our turn. We requested the Eurogamer editorial staff to vote for their favorite Zelda games (though Wes abstained since he doesn’t know exactly what a Nintendo is) and underneath you’ll find the whole top ten, along with some of our very own musings. Could people get the games in their rightful purchase? Likely not…

10. A Link Between Worlds

How brightly contradictory that among the very best original games on Nintendo’s 3DS is a 2D adventure game, which among the most daring Zelda entries are the one which closely aped one of its predecessors.

It helps, of course, the template has been lifted from one of the best games in the show and, by extension, among the best games of all time. There’s an endearing breeziness into A Link to the Past, a fleet-footedness that sees the 16-bit adventure pass as pleasurably and memorably as a perfect late summer day.Join Us phantom hourglass rom website A Link Between Worlds takes all that and even positively sprints with it, running free into the recognizable expanse of Hyrule using a new-found freedom.

In providing you the ability to lease any of Link’s well-established tools from the away, A Link Between Worlds broke free of this linear progress which had shackled previous Zelda games; this has been a Hyrule which was no longer defined by an invisible path, but one which offered a sense of discovery and absolutely free will that was beginning to feel absent from previous entries. The feeling of experience so precious to the show, muted in the past few years from the ritual of repetition, was well and truly revived. MR

9. Spirit Tracks

A unfortunate side-effect of this simple fact that more than one generation of gamers has grown up with Zelda and refused to go has become an insistence – throughout the series’ mania, at any rate – which it develop them. That resulted in some interesting areas as well as some ridiculous tussles over the series’ leadership, as we’ll see later on this list, but sometimes it threatened to depart Zelda’s unique constituency – you know, children – behind.

Happily, the portable games have always been there to take care of younger players, along with Spirit Tracks for its DS (now available on Wii U Virtual Console) is Zelda in its chirpy and adorable. Though beautifully designed, it’s not a particularly distinguished game, being a comparatively laborious and laborious follow-up to Phantom Hourglass that reproduces its own structure and flowing stylus control. But it’s such zest! Connect employs a tiny train to get around and its own puffing and tooting, along with an inspired folk music soundtrack, place a lively pace for your experience. Then there is the childish, heavenly delight of driving that the train: setting the throttle, yanking the whistle and scribbling destinations in your own map.

Link has to rescue her entire body, but her spirit is with him as a companion, occasionally able to own enemy soldiers and perform with the brutal heavy. The two enjoy an innocent childhood love, and you’d be hard pushed to consider another game that has captured the teasing, blushing strength of a preteen crush also. Inclusive and candy, Spirit Tracks recalls that children have feelings too, and also may show grownups a thing or two about love. OW

8. Phantom Hourglass

Inside my mind, at least, there has long been a furious debate going on as to if Link, Hero of Hyrule, is actually any good using a boomerang. He has been wielding the loyal, banana-shaped piece of wood since his very first experience, however in my experience it’s simply been a pain in the arse to use.

The exception which proves the rule, nevertheless, is Phantom Hourglass, in which you draw on the path for your boomerang from the hand. Poking the stylus at the touch screen (which, in an equally beautiful transfer, is how you command your own sword), you draw an exact flight map for the boomerang and it just… goes. No faffing about, no more clanging into pillars, just simple, simple, improbably responsive boomerang trip. It was when I used the boomerang from Phantom Hourglass that I realised that this game might just be something particular; I quickly fell in love with all the remainder.

Never mind that many of the puzzles are derived from setting a change and subsequently getting from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. Never mind that watching a few game back to refresh my memory gave me powerful flashbacks into the hours spent huddling over the display and gripping my DS like I needed to throttle it. Never mind I did need to throttle my DS. The point is that Phantom Hourglass had bits of course that stay – and I will head out on a limb here – completely unrivalled in the remainder of the Legend of Zelda series. JC

7. Skyward Sword

It bins the recognizable Zelda overworld and set of discrete dungeons by hurling three huge areas at the participant which are constantly reworked. It’s a gorgeous game – one I’m still hoping will soon be remade in HD – whose watercolour visuals render a glistening, dream-like haze over its blue heavens and brush-daubed foliage. After the filthy, Lord of the Rings-inspired Twilight Princess, it was the Zelda series re-finding its own feet. I can shield many of recognizable criticisms levelled at Skyward Sword, for example its overly-knowing nods to the remainder of the series or its marginally forced origin narrative that retcons recognizable elements of this franchise. I will even get behind the smaller overall quantity of place to explore when the game continually revitalises each of its three regions so ardently.

I could not, unfortunately, ever get in addition to the game’s Motion Plus controls, which required one to waggle your own Wii Remote to be able to do combat. It turned into the boss battles against the brilliantly eccentric Ghirahim into infuriating fights with technologies. Into baskets that made me anger stop for the rest of the evening. Sometimes the motion controls functioned – that the flying Beetle thing pretty much constantly found its mark – but when Nintendo was forcing players to depart the reliability of a control scheme, its replacement had to work 100 per cent of their moment. TP

6. Twilight Princess

I was also pretty awful at Zelda games. I really could throw my way through the Great Deku Tree and the Fire Temple okay but, by the time Link dove headlong to the Great Jabu Jabu’s belly, my desire to have pleasure with Ocarina of Time easily began outstripping the pleasure I was really having.

When Twilight Princess wrapped around, I was at university and also something in me – most likely a deep love of procrastination – was prepared to test again. I recall day-long moves on the sofa, huddling under a blanket in my cold flat and just poking out my hands to flap around with the Wii distant during combat. Then there was the glorious morning when my then-girlfriend (now fiancée) awakened me with a gentle shake, so asking’can I watch you play Zelda?’

Twilight princess is, honestly, attractive. There’s a wonderful, brooding air; the gameplay is enormously varied; it’s got a beautiful art style, one I wish they had kept for just one more game. That is why I’ll always love Twilight Princess – it is the game that made me click using Zelda. JC


But some of its best moments have come when it stepped out its own framework, left Hyrule along with Zelda herself behind, and asked what Link may perform next. It took a much more radical tack: bizarre, dark, and structurally experimental.

Though there’s tons of humor and adventure, Majora’s Mask is suffused with doom, sorrow, and also an off-kilter eeriness. A number of this comes out of its true awkward timed arrangement: that the moon is falling on the Earth, the clock is ticking and you also can not stop that, only rewind and begin, somewhat stronger and more threatening each time. Some of it stems in the antagonist, the Skull Kid, who’s no villain but an innocent having a sad story who has given into the corrupting impact of their titular mask. Some of this stems from Link himselfa kid again but with the grown man of Ocarina still somewhere inside himhe bends rootlessly into the land of Termina like he has got no greater place to be, far in the hero of legend.

Despite an unforgettable, surreal conclusion, Majora’s Mask’s key storyline is not one of those series’ strongest. However, these poignant Groundhog Day subplots about the stress of ordinary life – reduction, love, family, job, and passing, always death – find the series’ writing at its absolute finest. It’s a depression, compassionate fairytale of this everyday which, with its own ticking clock, needs to remind you that you can not take it with you personally. OW

4. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

If you have had children, you are going to know there’s amazingly unexpected and touching moment when you’re doing laundry – stay with me here – and those small T-shirts and trousers first begin to become in your washingmachine. Someone new has come to dwell with you! A person implausibly small.

This is one of The Wind-Waker’s best tricks, I think. Connect had been young before, but now, with all the toon-shaded shift in art management, he really looks youthful: a Schulz toddler, with enormous head and small legs, venturing out among Moblins and pirates and those mad birds that roost across the clifftops. Connect is tiny and vulnerable, and thus the experience surrounding him sounds all the more stirring.

Another great tip has a lot to do with these pirates. This has been the normal Zelda question since Link to the Past, but with all the Wind-Waker, there didn’t appear to be just one: no alternate dimension, no switching between time-frames. The sea has been controversial: a lot of racing back and forth over a huge map, so much time spent crossing. But consider what it brings with it! It attracts pirates and sunken temples and ghost ships. It attracts underwater grottoes and a castle waiting for you at a bubble of air back on the seabed.

On top of that, it brings unending sense of discovery and renewal, one challenge down along with another anticipating, as you jump from your boat and race the sand up towards the next thing, your tiny legs popping through the surf, your enormous eyes fixed over the horizon. CD


Link’s Awakening is near-enough a excellent Zelda game – it has a huge and secret-laden overworld, sparkling dungeon layout and memorable characters. Additionally, it is a fever dream-set side-story with villages of talking animals, side-scrolling areas starring Mario enemies along with a giant fish who sings the mambo. It was my very first Zelda experience, my entry point into the series and the game where I judge every other Zelda name. I absolutely adore it. Not only was it my first Zelda, its greyscale planet was one of the very first adventure games I truly playedwith.

There is no Zelda, no Ganon. No Guru Sword. And while it still feels like a Zelda, even after playing many of the others, its own quirks and personalities set it apart. Link’s Awakening packs an astonishing amount onto its little Game Boy capsule (or Game Boy Color, if you played its DX re-release). It is an essential experience for any Zelda fan. TP

2. The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past

Bottles are OP in Zelda. These humble glass containers may turn the tide of a conflict if they have a potion or – even better – a fairy. When I had been Ganon, I’d postpone the wicked plotting and the dimension rifting, and I would just set a good fortnight into traveling Hyrule from top to bottom and smashing any glass bottles that I stumbled upon. Following that, my dreadful vengeance would be all the more terrible – and there would be a sporting chance that I might be able to pull off it also.

All of which suggests, as Link, a bottle can be a true benefit. Real treasure. One thing to put your watch by. I believe you will find four glass bottles Link to the Past, each one making you that little more powerful and that bit bolder, buying you assurance from dungeoneering and struck points in the middle of a tingling boss encounter. I can’t recall where you receive three of those bottles. But I can recall where you receive the fourth.

It’s Lake Hylia, and when you are like me, it’s late in the match, with all the large ticket items collected, that wonderful, genre-defining minute at the top of the hill – in which one map becomes two – taken care of, and handfuls of streamlined, ingenious, infuriating and enlightening dungeons raided. Late match Link to the Past is about looking out every last inch of this map, so working out how both similar-but-different versions of Hyrule fit together.

And there’s a difference. An gap from Lake Hylia. An gap hidden by a bridge. And under it, a guy blowing smoke rings by a campfire. He feels like the best key in all Hyrule, along with the prize for uncovering him is a glass boat, ideal for storing a potion – or a fairy.

Connect to the Past feels like an impossibly clever game, fracturing its map into two measurements and asking you to distinguish between them, holding both landscapes super-positioned in mind as you solve one, enormous geographical mystery. In truth, however, someone could probably copy this layout if they had enough pencils, enough quadrille paper, sufficient time and energy, and when they were smart and determined enough.

The greatest loss of the electronic era.

But Link to the Past is not simply the map – it is the detailing, and the figures. It’s Ganon and his evil plot, but it is also the guy camping out beneath the bridge. Maybe the entire thing is a bit like a jar, then: that the container is vital, but what you’re really after is that the stuff that is inside it. CD


Perhaps with the Z-Targeting, a solution to 3D battle so effortless you barely notice it is there. Or perhaps you speak about an open world that is touched by the light and color cast by an internal clock, where villages dancing with action by day before being captured by an eerie lull through the nighttime. Think about the expressiveness of that ocarina itself, an superbly analogue instrument whose music has been conducted with the control afforded by the N64’s pad, notes flexed wistfully at the push of a stick.

Maybe, however, you just focus on the second itself, a perfect picture of video games appearing aggressively from their own adolescence just as Link is throw so suddenly in an adult world. What’s most notable about Ocarina of Time is how it arrived accordingly fully-formed, the 2D adventuring of previous entries transitioning into three measurements as gracefully as a pop-up book folding swiftly into existence.

Because of Grezzo’s unique 3DS remake it has kept much of its verve and effect, and even putting aside its technical accomplishments it is an experience that still ranks among the series’ finest; uplifting and emotional, it has touched with the bittersweet melancholy of climbing up and leaving the childhood behind. From the story’s end Connect’s childhood and innocence – and this of Hyrule – is heroically restored, but once that most radical of reinventions, video games will not ever be the same again.

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