SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games - RESULTS

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SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games - RESULTS

Post by samus_killer » Wed Feb 24, 2016 7:04 pm

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To celebrate the release of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for the WiiU on March 4th, and to coincide with this year being the 30th anniversary of the series, OrangeRakoon is hosting another banner competition! So go check that out if you haven't done already. But on top of that, I figured it would be a good idea put a poll together and find out what truly is SONM's favourite Legend of Zelda game of all time.


Rules are simple, really. Post your Top 5 Legend of Zelda games (note: they have to be on a Nintendo system, so no lol CDi Zelda), with the top spot getting 5 points and the 5th spot getting the one point. This will be finishing on Saturday March 5th, but I may extend it further if I feel it needs to.


Now, this is optional, but please feel free to write a short sentence and/or paragraph on each entry, and why you love said Zelda game, as I'll be turning the results of this thread into a feature Top 10 video for the SONM YouTube Channel. I'll be picking the best quotes from each entry that make it on to the Top 10, so good luck, and I look forward to hearing what you all have to say! (:

EDIT:


And here is the final result. Thanks, everyone!

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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by Garf » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:36 pm

1- Spirit Tracks- I don't think i've replayed any zelda as much as this. Train travel was great fun, with the Demon Trains requiring planning and quick thinking to bait and get past. Tons of unlockable rail sections led to tons of optional mini-dungeons as well which were a nice challenge. The mission to transport Dark Ore to Linebeck is one of the tougher challenges in any zelda game, which is great fun, and the other minigames are all really good. Whilst it is lacking in the amount of dungeons, what dungeons are there are well designed, but with not as many memorable moments in Phantom Hourglass, but the boss fights were much better. Also, having to draw lines for Zelda to walk was stupid, having her control like the Goron in Phantom Hourglass would have been better, but minor complaints.

2- Wind Waker- Another great game with a ton of charm and exploration, Wind Waker is bursting with content and side missions. Shame it's so short, really.

3- Skyward Sword- It's a flawed game, but the swordplay is a nice change. The world and sky could have been nicer to explore, but the combat was able to cover all that for me. Great bosses like Ghirahim and Demise were dotted around the game, and the Imprisoned is a nice change for the series, being able to be beaten in multiple ways. Shame that the boss repeats got a bit much sometimes, Fire Sanctuary should have had a boss different to Ghirahim, with maybe his round 2 just after the dungeon and Imprisoned 3 pushed back later.

4- A Link Between Worlds- It's really short and easy, but the dungeon design in this game is top notch, as is the whole 'play in any order' aspect. It's a shame that it makes every dungeon revolve around just one item, though, but exploring Hyrule and Lorule is really good in that game.

5- Twilight Princess- It's Ocarina of Time but better. It's full of great dungeons, and the vast hyrule fields are great. Didn't mind the Twilight Realm segments as much as some, so I didn't really feel a weak link other than how slow the intro is

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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by Met » Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:00 pm

1- Majora's Mask: I much prefer the darker tone of things, the shift in focus to the people and the world rather than the core plot, and reading up on things such as the Ikana tower of Babel theories is almost certainly the reason I'm as into Dark Souls and that form of story-telling as I am. The time-mechanic is also very well done.

2- Link's Awakening: My first LoZ game so a bit unfair, but the world design is great, the dungeons are fun and the overall plot is more interesting than your basic "Ganon stole the princess lol" that everything else descends to.

3- Wind Waker: Nothing but charm from start to end. Nothing particularly special about the gameplay, in fact the boat is trash, but it's easily got the best Link so I'll look past all of that.

4- Twilight Princess:
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5- Ocarina of Time: This is pretty much just here for individual moments of awe from little babby Met-jr, coming off of Link's Awakening and being hit by fabulous 3D models and cutscenes and eton mess like that. The first confrontation between Link and Ganondorf as Zelda runs from the castle is probably the moment I keep thinking back to.
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by Kesskuron » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:39 am

1 - Wind Waker - Still unquestionably my favourite Zelda to date. While mechanically it's rather standard fair, aesthetically it's (as far as I'm concerned) the best looking Zelda, no question about it. I love the overworld (and yes that includes the sailing) for feeling like one cohesive, genuinely interconnected world and the simple sense of exploration and discovery that charting unknown areas of land and sea gives you. No other Zelda has given me that sensation of feeling like a pioneer as much as Wind Waker did; seeing the next island in the distance slowly hove into view before making landfall and finding what was hidden there was a pleasure that's never been replicated elsewhere for me. On top of that there's the excellent music, the more expressive and upbeat version of link, the darker history behind ganondorf and the ocean itself and great boss battles.

2 - Majora's Mask - Did everything Ocarina of Time did but in a far more interesting and distinct tone and style. I love the whole idea behind Majora and just how sinister it is compared to usual Zelda villains. The use of transforming masks was brilliant and really helped to diversify the experience. More than anything though I think what I liked so much about Majora's Mask was that it was so unexpected, especially coming of the back of OoT. I think everyone expected more of the same (they certainly wanted that) but instead they got something that, mechanically, felt similar, but tonally felt far darker. OoT was kind of the big blockbuster of the franchise of the time; Majora's Mask felt like the cult classic.

3 - Link's Awakening - Link's Awakening is a bit of an anomaly in the Zelda franchise given that it doesn't take place in Hyrule and doesn't involve the Triforce, Zelda or Ganon/Ganondorf in anyway. It's it's own little self-contained story and world, and arguably one of the most experimental Zeldas in terms of narrative. It's damn challenging as well; I think I only ever managed to complete it once, but I always find myself wanting to go back to it. Also it has the best credits theme of any Zelda

4 - Twilight Princess - Falls solidly between OoT & MM. Felt like it was somewhat in the spirit of MM but kind of tried too hard with the whole dark/edgy thing whereas MM really hit the sweet spot with its creepiness; TP was a bit to blatant with it I felt. Also it didn't really feel like a Zelda game till a few hours in. Having said that though I liked Zant as a villain, the horseback combat was awesome, had several really good bosses and it had by far the best version of Darknuts (and the best challenge dungeon because of them)

5 - Ocarina of Time - Solid game that hasn't aged all that well, but at the time it was amazing. Established so many of the fundamentals for the series that are now considered standard fixtures. Story-wise it was pretty lame thinking about it, but it had a good share of memorable characters and some really good bosses. Bonus points for the bottom of the well terrifying me as a child
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by OrangeRakoon » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:18 am

1 - Link's Awakening

Easily my favourite Zelda game, I own the game three times over (DX cart, original cart, 3DS VC) and must have completed it at least twice on each. Link's Awakening is one of the most unique Zelda games and it's all the better for it. It's unconventional - there is no Zelda or Ganon in sight and it's not set in Hyrule. It's progressive - Link's Awakening was the first Zelda game to feature a trading quest or to include a fishing mini-game, both now typical Zelda features. It's chock full of references - the trading quest starts with a "Yoshi Doll", you rescue a pet Chain Chomp who accompanies you for a short part of the game, one of the main NPC characters is obviously Mario inspired, there are side-scrolling sections where you squash goombas and fight piranha plants, and there is an NPC called Mr. Write who is suspiciously similar to Dr. Write from the SimCity games (who you deliver a photo of Princess Peach to). There are even more references beyond those, and they never fail to raise a smile. The game is both difficult and well-designed - some of the dungeons are some of the best in the series and offer a genuine challenge. The story is unique and memorable, centred around the mystery of the island the game is set on, and culminating in a genuinely emotional ending that somehow combines both sadness and loss with victory and joy. The characters that you meet throughout the game feel like genuine characters and stay in memory. The art style, despite the graphics being so limited, is wonderfully whimsical, which fits the style of the game perfectly. The music is fantastic, with some of the best compositions from the entire series. All of this comes together to make a near-perfect game.

2 - Ocarina of Time

It's widely considered the best game ever made for very good reason. It's harder to find a more moving and evocative game than Ocarina of Time - an experience that will stay with you forever.

3 - Skyward Sword

A perfect blend of old and new, Skyward Sword takes the classic Zelda formula and mixes it with the modern action adventure, leading to a tighter, more linear and story focused game that simultaneously refreshes the series while reminding you of everything that makes Zelda great. The near-flawless motion plus controls prove once and for all that motion controls can work, and even be integral, to a hardcore gamers game.

4 - Minish Cap

Capcom prove that it's not just Nintendo who can make a Zelda game. Minish Cap might be pint-sized, but it is overwhelmingly charming from start to finish. A pure joy to play.

5 - Four Swords Adventures

Multiplayer might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Zelda, but if you persevere through the convoluted set-up you'll find one of the best co-op experiences to be played in Four Swords Adventures. The competitive battle mode is also fantastic, with the asymmetry of the TV and Game Boy Advance screens making a truly unique experience.

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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by toffeeman30 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:25 pm

1. a link to the past.
2. ocarina of time
3. links awakening
4. windwaker
5. twilight princess

so many good games in the series

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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by mav » Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:35 pm

1. OOT
2. ST
3. ALBW
4. ALTTP
5. LOZ


Really difficult to order them.
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by Ploiper » Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:44 pm

1. Ocarina of Time
2. Wind Waker
3. Minish Cap
4. Link Between Worlds
5. Zelda 2 The Adventure of Link
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by imbusydoctorwho » Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:52 pm

1. Twilight Princess
I absolutely love this game, the dark/ edgy atmosphere the game took with the Twilight world and the absolute freedom the game offered. The game may take a little while to get going, but once it does it unfolds in what I think is the greatest Zelda game ever. Dungeons are some of the best in the franchise, from the iconic Goron Mines temple with it's iron boots puzzles, to the monkey obsessed Forest temple. The 30+ hour story contains some of the best characters in the franchise, and a brilliant villain in Zant. My only fault with the game is the the world is a bit empty.

2.A Link Between Worlds
3.Ocarina of Time
4. Wind Waker
5.Majoras Mask
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by Ape » Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:54 pm

1. Okami - Beautifl aesthetic, great storyline, amazing soundtrack and a constant variety in how it's abilities are employed. It's also very funny in places...

wait, you mean actual Zelda games, not games with Zelda like gameplay. OK then...

1. Wind Waker - I don't think I have replayed a Zelda game as much as I've replayed Wind Waker. It helps that you are encouraged to replay with the changes made in a second playthrough but it has dawned on me overtime how enjoyable the whole thing was. Other games might have been longer, but this one had plenty of memorable moments to play through like the Stealth section in Forsaken Fortress, the dungeons which involves cooperating with a flight capable character to get to places were well designed and it has one of the most extensive maps of any Zelda game, perhaps matching the original for a sense of discovery. I also like the care and attention they gave to the game to ensure that every NPC was unique, that everyone had their own personality and distinctive design.

2. Ocraina Of Time - Helped by this being the second Zelda game I played via the Collectors Edition and it was my introduction to 3D Zelda. The whole experience was great and it's easy to see why it is considered one of the greatest games of all time. However personally it doesn't get into my top 10 and I feel other Zelda games have better soundtracks.

3. Twilight Princees - Possibly the Zelda game that tried the most to be epic. Perhaps the buildup was a bit too long but I can see where they were going with it, trying to give you an idea of what Link's life was like before everything changed. It's not like this mechanic hasn't been used in other games either, both Kingdom Hearts and Xenoblade Chronicles do the exact same thing, and Wind Waker before it does it to some extent. Once it got going though it was one of the most enjoyable games in the series with some good mechanics in the game and an extensive overworld. Criticism comes from the boss battles being too easy, I can understand they were trying to make them feel epic but I don't think the Zelda team has successfully managed to balance difficulty with epicness, going some way towards the latter while offering no challenge.

4. Minish Cap - Goes in on account of it being the first Zelda game I played and one which I feel opened up my horizons. Up until I played this game I had heard of the series but hadn't really grasped how the series played, to me it just looked like Pokemon but with a screened approach and no random battles, with seemingly aimless wondering. It all made sense when I played Minish Cap. This game is perfectly suited to beginners of the series as I was, has one of the best soundtracks in the series and builds up to a challenging final encounter with Vaati. It's a bit short with only six dungeons but at the time I played this game it was the one with the most interesting story I'd played at the time (I had yet to play any of the Final Fantasy games at this point either, I'd played Pokemon but the games are a bit formulaeic on plots). I liked how things built up and how it reveals itself as the precursor of Four Swords with the clone concept that gets introduced. Your goal is to forge the Picori Blade but it eventually is revealed that you are creating the Four Sword. All leads up to a clever final battle with Vaati which uses the game's main mechanics in order to defeat him.

5. Skyward Sword - Sure, it may have a questionable structure and lack of characters on the surface. But I can understand why in some way, it is set as the prequel game and effectively establishes the creation of Hyrule. Everything is so bland because the Kingdom has yet to be created and by the end of the game the residents of Skyloft become the forefathers of the Hylians. The characters were full of personality and like Wind Waker had plenty of uniqueness, the soundtrack is nowhere near as bad as it gets given credit for. Also the only game in the series where there seems to be actual romance between Link and Zelda.

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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by Robbo-92 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:05 pm

1.) Ocarina of Time - Ocarina of Time holds a special place in my heart and mind as being the first Zelda game I played and I'm sure it's one of the three games (alongside Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64) that cemented my love for Nintendo. Ocarina is probably my most played Zelda game, I've completed it a lot of times over the various platforms it's released on and still love it every single time I play it. To me Ocarina of Time is one of the few games I have no problem in describing as timeless.

2.) Wind Waker - Wind Waker was actually the second Zelda game I played (so it's quite fitting it's also second in my list as well), to start with the graphical style they went for was just amazing. It was so easy to show emotions on the characters face (notable mention when Links about to get launched into Forsaken Fortress) that you kind of knew how the various characters felt even if you didn't speak to them. I also loved the sailing to traverse the over-world, for the first time I was in a seamless world where you could go in any direction (once you'd got you boat and sail of course) and start exploring and discovering. I still remember seeing Dragon Roost Islands volcano looming on the horizon, then when getting ready to disembark your boat the amazing music kicks in and just making the experience even more memorable.

3.) Majora's Mask - I actually find Majora's Mask hard to describe to other people, simply because it isn't your typical Zelda game where you save Zelda sealing away evil on your way (although the second part is true). Majoras' Mask does a fantastic job of intertwining various NPC's storylines into a bigger one (Anju/Kafei Couples mask quest for one) where you actually feel like you achieve something when you've completed it, only for it to be forgotten thanks to the games 3 day mechanic. Overall Majora's Mask is a very unique, quirky game.

4.) Twilight Princess - I originally played Twilight Princess on the GC, having made my parents very kindly pre order it as soon I saw it available online, I don't think I've ever been excited for a game as I was for Twilight Princess, ever since that first reveal at E3 (although Zelda Wii U has probably taken over) I was hooked and thankfully (for me at least) it didn't disappoint. Granted the start was a little slow but I thought it helped introduce all the extra characters you'd be helping down the line and once it got going it was a joy to play. I liked the more realistic graphics they opted for (even if some of the character designs were a little odd) and I'm really excited for the HD remaster launching tomorrow. It also had some fantastic dungeons and you could use a sword when riding Epona, it was amazing. Also it made a fantastic use of music to add a real sense of urgency at one point, where you rush back to Hyrule Castle with Midna whilst Midna's Lament plays while the rain lashes down upon you made for a fantastic atmosphere.

5.) A Link Between Worlds - One of the few handheld Zelda games I've played and actually completed. From start to finish I just found ALBW fun, which is what games should be. If anything it was a little easy (except that baseball type mini game in Lorule to get a piece of heart, which I still haven't got and have given up trying to get!) but once completed you could always play it again in Hero mode.

I'd actually just like to add a little comment as well, just tp say how good the music is in the Zelda series across all of the games. I could have easily mentioned the music under each of the games (I did twice) as a reason they better immerse you into the games world but I find this the case for all of the games and just wanted to give it a little mention but I dare say most of us feel the same way about the music in Zelda games.

I will come back and edit some notes as to why before the deadline, mainly 3D games as I generally much prefer them to the 2D games. Really tricky to pick between Majora's Mask and Twilight Princess, as I said in the NintenPolls these two change position quite regularly.
Last edited by Robbo-92 on Thu Mar 03, 2016 8:46 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by H.Kazuhira » Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:08 pm

1) Ocarina of Time
2) Majoras Mask
3) Minish Cap
4) A Link to the Past
5) Wind Waker

I can never pick the games in terms of which one I find better, so this is a based on how influential they have been on me. Will also come back to edit in thoughts.
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by swarf » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:10 pm

1- Twilight Princess
2 - Wind Waker
3 - Phantom Hourglass
4 - Majora's Mask
5 - Minish Cap
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by Cero » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:21 pm

1 - Ocarina of Time
It's just the perfect game. Move nostalgia out of the way and there's no denying that the structure, story, game play, characters and atmosphere don't fit perfectly. Growing up was a great twist, go back in time was better. Seeing friends age and move on, seeing how Ganon has taken over Hyrule. How immersive the dungeons are. A killer soundtrack and the Ocarina melodies are something special. I love everything about this game!

2 - A Link To The Past
Again, a fantastic structure to this game. The story wasn't as immersive as OOT but still a darn tootin good one! I loved how each dungeon was quite large but held it's theme all the way through. I loved the transformation to the Dark World. I love the music, the weapons, the graphic style and game play. Admittedly I think this one is so high partly because of nostalgia, but even if I look beyond that I can't deny that this is an amazing game.

3 - Twilight Princess
As I complete my playthrough of Twilight Princess HD I can say with certainty that this is firmly deserving of the number 3 spot. It holds a similar structure in game play to OOT (which I don't consider a bad thing) and pulls it off magnificently! A recurring theme in Zelda games, but one I love, is the contrast in the world and this time because of Twilight. I know I should keep comparisons off this, but for the record I have absolutely no clue how people rate Skyward Sword higher than this.

4 - Majora's Mask
When I was 10 and first played this I was quite disappointed with the lack of dungeons and how quickly I had finished it. But it's when you look back, play it again and appreciate the story and side stories of this game that can you truly appreciate it. The depth of the story, whether it be the main story line or what happens behind closed doors with everybody's personal stories, it shapes up to be one of the series best. (Not to mention how crazy weird it is).

5 - Wind Waker
A game I so desperately wanted but my mother wouldn't buy me a Gamecube to play it. But once I had the birthday money saved I went and bought this as soon as I could. I was never disappointed with this game. Most people say it's the graphic style of this game that sets it apart but for me, and although I loved the graphics too, it was the vastness that captured me. This game was huge and it truly felt I was exploring! Not to mention a great story line to fit in with my favourite Zelda game. Beautiful game!
Last edited by Cero on Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by Kriken » Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:28 pm

1. Ocarina of Time
2. Majora's Mask
3. Twilight Princess
4. Wind Waker
5. A Link Between Worlds

*Special mentions: A Link to the Past, Minish Cap and Four Swords Adventures (Gamecube)*

Generally I preferred the ones I played earlier on, since the series was fresh to me back then. For the most part the series has fairly rigidly stuck to the same formula so it's gotten a bit stale to me. Recently I had to admit to myself that overall, the Zelda series isn't all that amazing. At least in my opinion.

As you may be able to guess, Ocarina of Time was my first Zelda game and while my view of it may be rose-tinted by nostalgia (which doesn't matter too much in a discussion about which game is your favourite), but it's still particularly strong in the areas I mainly rate Zelda games by: dungeons, epic scope and charm/feel, lack of hand-holding by the companion. It's also fairly decent for sidequests and non-main story stuff, although it's obviously not as good as MM, WW or some of the others in this department. I also like the rawness and the quiet moments in the game.

I posted a somewhat different ordering in the Zelda thread a while ago. My list is liable to change a bit, but usually when I make them, Ocarina of Time comes out on top, and the rest of these usually feature in the top 5.
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by Nintendo Ninja » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:34 am

1. Twillight Princess
2. Wind Waker
3. Majora's Mask

Ordering is hard.

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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by Nintendonator3000 » Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:10 pm

1) Skyward Sword
2) Twilight Princess
3) Ocarina Of Time
4) Majora's Mask
5) A Link Between Worlds
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by komodo joe » Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:37 pm

i think playing Majora's Mask as a child was one of the first times i remember being aware of my own mortality and the inevitability of my own death which made me scared to sleep for ages so I'm repping it
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by Ash » Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:03 am

1. Skyward Sword
2. Majora's Mask
3. Wind Waker
4. A Link Between Worlds
5. A Link to the Past

Might come back with some additional words to this to explain the ordering (I'll defend Skyward Sword until the day I die) or might not.
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by D.J » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:15 pm

1. A Link To The Past
2. Twilight Princess
3. Ocarina of Time
4. The Wind Waker
5. Four Swords Adventures (Gamecube)
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by Scapegoat » Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:30 pm

1: Link's Awakening
2: Phantom Hourglass
3: Majora's Mask
4: A Link Between Worlds
5: Minish Cap
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by Nofes » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:07 pm

1. Majora's Mask
2. Wind Waker
3. Twilight Princess
4. Ocarina of Time
5. Minish Cap

...

16. Skyward Sword
17. Phantom Hourglass
18. Zelda II
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by komodo joe » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:14 pm

Nofes wrote:18. Zelda II
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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by Highlight » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:29 pm

There really are very few bad options here, so I won't criticise anyone for their preferences. A lot of these are so ridiculously close that you couldn't fit a piece of cigarette paper between then. I have reviewed a couple of these games before, so will repost those to save time give you a better idea as to why I love them so much.

2: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Gamecube, 2003)
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This is but one of the legends of which the people speak...

Long ago, there existed a kingdom where a golden power lay hidden. It was a prosperous land filled with green forests, tall mountains, and peace. But one day, a man of great evil found the great power and took it for himself. With its strength at his command, he spread darkness across the kingdom. But then, when all hope had died and the hour at doom seemed at hand, a young boy in green appeared as if from nowhere. Weilding the blade of evil's bane, he sealed the dark one away and gave the land light. This boy, who travelled through time to save the land, was known as the hero of time. The boy's tale was passed down through generations until it became legend. But then... a day came when a fell wind began to blow across the kingdom. The great evil that all thought had been forever sealed away by the hero once again crept forth from the depths of the earth, eager to resume it's dark designs. The people believed that the hero of time would again come to save them. But the hero did not appear. Faced by an onslaught of evil, the people could do nothing but appeal to the gods. In their last hour, as doom drew nigh, they left their future in the hands of the fate.

What became of that kingdom? None remain who know. The memory of the kingdom vanished, but it's legend survived on the wind's breath. On a certain island, it became customary to garb boys in green when they came of age. Clothed in the green of fields, they aspired to find heroic blades and cast down evil. The elders wished only for the youths to know courage like the hero of legend...


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Despite there being the odd dissenter in the ranks (*cough*SamuriFerret*cough*), Ocarina of Time, released on the N64 in 1998, was universally acclaimed as one of the best games ever created. It was utterly breathtaking from my point of view, an all-time classic which I had the pleasure of enjoying 3 times over (once on N64, once on Master Quest, and once on 3DS). After the announcement of a sequel, Majora's Mask, the gaming world went crazy. And when it was released for Christmas 2000, it was as if Ocarina of Time was born again - universally positive reviews, and massive hype from gamers themselves. Within a year though, something strange had happened... a sort of backlash had occured. People started openly criticising Majora's Mask, calling it things like "dissapointing", "terrible", and (I kid you not) "the world game ever". I wish I could link you back to the old Nintendo of Europe forums, because some of the sheer venom which is directed toward Majora's Mask is downright shocking. The biggest criticism, though, seemed to be that "it's not as good as Ocarina of Time".

At Spaceworld 2001 (again, whatever happened to Spaceworld?) Nintendo showed off the Zelda for it's new console. But instead of the high-tec, realistic graphics that they were expecting, consumers were instead faced with a cel-shaded style. Dubbed "Celda", the backlash against this new direction was extreme. But when the eventual product, The Wind Waker, was released on the 1 year anniversary of the Gamecube's release, the complaints were unfounded. The graphical style worked superbly and, as with it's 2 predocessors, the game received critical acclaim from both reviewers and gamers alike. And yet, as before, around 6 months later, another backlash emerged. Suddenly, The Wind Waker was "boring", and, once again, the "worst game ever". Oddly, the once reviled Majora's Mask was now held up as the paragon of what a Zelda game should be, with The Wind Waker paling in comparison.

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It's what I call the "Zelda cycle". For every game since Majora's Mask onwards, it tends to run as thus:

1) New Zelda game is released to critical acclaim and commercial success
2) 6 months pass
3) Forums ring with the complains that the new Zelda is terrible, and in no way a patch on the previous one.

Happens every time without fail. Heck, you can go and see it with Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword on these very forums. There are, however, many who manage to keep a level head about the whole thing, and judge these Zeldas for what they are. So let's try and not let either rose-tinted specs, backlashes, or the name "Zelda" impair our judgement here with this review.

The first thing to mention are obviously the graphics. I will completely admit that when the new graphical style was shown back in 2001, I was one of the people who complained bitterly that it looked far too kiddy. But you know what? The graphics here are gorgeous. Absolutely, boné-fidé beautiful. It's not just the shading, but the way it's animated. The whole world looks like a living painting, with every screenshot a work of art ready to hang in a gallery. The plumes of smoke that bellow when enemies are defeated, the waves breaking against your ship, great columns of fire in volcanoes, it all looks so wonderful that it makes me feel like a cretin for ever criticising it all those years ago.

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The story of The Wind Waker is set many hundreds of years after the events of Ocarina of Time (I don't know how many exactly, as I haven't purchased Hyrule Historia!). A young boy lives with his grandmother on Outset Island, and is given the green clothes of legend on his birthday. His day takes a turn for the worse, however, when a large bird drops a girl at the top of the island. The boy (let's call him Link) rescues her, but the bird flies of with Link's sister instead. Thus Link must set off and get her back, leading into the usual Zelda story of defeating Gandondorf, rescuing Princess Zelda, and obtaining the Triforce.

What marks his apart from other Zelda games, however, is the Great Sea. Instead of having a green and verdant Hyrule (or Termina/Koholint Island/Labrynna) to explore, with mountains, forests and the like, the world of The Wind Waker is a huge ocean dotted with islands. Some islands are big, whilst others are little atolls. You get between them by sailing in your talking boat (you heard me) the King of Red Lions. And make no mistake here, the great sea is big. Really big. Sailing across the whole thing takes a good 20 minutes real time, but to keep you occupied there are lots of things along the way (plus you can warp after a bit too).

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Carrying on from the ocarina from Ocarina of Time, in Wind Waker you get a baton which you can use to aid your quest. By conducting different melodies you can control the direction of the wind, warp around the map, take control of other characters, alter it from day to night, and plenty more besides. Along with his new musical toy, a bunch of old Zelda items re-emerge (such as bombs and the boomerang), whilst also introducing us to some new ones, like the grappling hook and the giant leaf. As a game, Wind Waker plays like many Zeldas before it, with the whole "collect a bunch of items to defeat Ganon/go through temples to collect said items". But this isn't a negative thing - Nintendo have struck upon a winning formula with the Zelda series, and aren't about to change it now. Rather, it's the fun of the quest, and indeed side-quests, which makes the whole experience so fufilling.

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There are some just criticisms of this game, which I will address. The sailing can get a bit tiresome after a bit, although I have to say, in my eyes it wasn't that bad, especially in the face of having such an open and expansive world to explore. One thing that did bug me though was the fact that it was quite short - only 2 main dungeons in the 2nd half of the game. This was apparantly due to the fact Nintendo wanted to rush the game out for the Gamecube's first anniversary, which seems odd to me... after all, this is the same Miyamoto who delayed Ocarina for a year and a half, saying "a delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever". Oh, and don't get me started on Beedle's silver membership.

But believe me when I say, there's very little "bad" here. Next to the pure brilliance The Wind Waker offers, it simply melts away. I love sneaking round Forsaken Fortress feeling helpless, I love the music notes that play when you strike enemies, I love the huge overworld, I love the expression on Link's face, I love Tetra's fiestiness, I love how you can pick up enemies weapons and use them, I love the utterly fabulous musical score... I just love it. It's a dream to play. And no, it's not my favourite Zelda, but it doesn't stop me holding it in huge esteem. If you'd never played a Zelda game before this one, it may very well be your favourite game of all time. For me, it's "merely" pure excellence.



1: THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: MAJORA'S MASK (N64, 2000)

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"You've met with a terrible fate, havn't you?"

Let me make something clear - I don't like scary games. Nor films, nor books, nor any other medium where the aim is to make you frightened. Now this isn't because I'm a wimp who cowers in fear behind the sofa anytime there's a scary noise. Far from it - in fact, the opposite is true. It's precisely because I don't get frightened that I don't like them, because I then find them pointless. To me, zombies and monsters seem a bit neutered in the fear stakes when you have shotguns and flamethrowers to combat them with. And ghosts? Don't make me laugh! You can't scare me if you can't touch me! Just to point out, making you jump isn't the same as being scared. Anything can make you jump if it catches you off guard - I was playing my GameBoy in the kitchen when my mom snuck up behind me, and that made me jump worse than any film or game has ever done!

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The one thing that has always puzzled me is why would anyone want to be scared in the first place? To me, fear is a negative emotion, one that's unpleasant and should be avoided. To actively seek it out seems daft to me. As long as I can remember, boys in my school (and since they've left, too) have participated in this "one upmanship" of who can see the scariest/goriest/bloodiest film. But why would you do it to yourself? A friend of mine, who is really into scary games and films, told me this; "it makes you feel alive. The rush of adrenaline and suspense is a thrilling experience". Which, when you think about it, makes sense. Thing is, fear is a very subjective thing; as previously said, I don't find the usual monsters and zombies thing scary, nor gothic horror or blood and guts. I tend to find things scary in a more psychological way, creepiness and being sinister is what works.

This may seem like a very odd tangent to go on, but trust me, it's got a point!

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After the phenomenal success of Ocarina of Time, everyone was clamouring for a sequel. Problem is, Nintendo have a habit of making people wait for Zelda games; the last console Zelda before Ocarina was A Link to the Past, and that was released 5 years beforehand! But considering Ocarina had sold gangbuster numbers and was touted across the globe as the greatest game of all time, it was a no-brainer that Nintendo should look to be making a sequel. And at Space World 1999 (whatever happened to Space World?) we had screenshots of a young Link walking around a strange land under an angry looking moon. This game had the project title of "Zelda Gaiden", and naturally sent all gaming journalists (not to mention fans!) into a tizzy. And at Christmas 2000, their dreams were made a reality, as Majora's Mask was released. I didn't get this game on a whim like Half Life, or stumble across it in a junk shop like Super Metroid - this was a very deliberate choice. I wanted this game in my stocking more than anything else.

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As a game, Majora's Mask plays a lot like Ocarina, which is a very good thing! The controls are the same, with the c-button item arrangement which worked very well in the last game. This basically means if you've played Ocarina, you'll instantly feel at home. The game looks like Ocarina as well, with most of the characters sprites being identical to that from the previous game, despite being different characters. You might think this is lazy, but you couldn't be more wrong - this is a very clever trick, and works perfectly with the games superb story.

Majora's Mask is a sinister game, there is no question about that. The plot basically goes like this; Link, after defeating Ganon and saving Hyrule in Ocarina of Time, travels away from that land to try and find his lost friend, Navi (although why you would want to is another matter.) Whilst undertaking this task, Link is robbed by a skull kid wearing a strange tribal mask, who lures Link down a dark hole, leading to a strange alternate universe, a universe that is doomed to be crushed by the falling moon in 3 days time. On top of that, the Skull Kid turns Link into a Deku Scrub and steals Epona! Things arn't going well for the young hero of time.

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Your quest, then, is to firstly find a way to turn back into your Hylian self, rescue your horse, and then stop the moon crashing into Termina and save the world. Usual Zelda fare right? Well, not quite. Firstly, these 3 days arn't like stages that you have to work through, nor are they super-slow game time days. Or 3 real time days. They go lighteningly fast. There literally isn't enough time to do everything in the time allotted. So Link, via the Song of Time, can travel back to the beginning of the 1st day, giving him as much time as he wants. But the cruel twist of this is that everything resets; all your hard work saving people counts for nothing. It's a very chilling and sombre experience; throughout your adventure you will reunite 2 lost lovers, save a girl who's lost her memory, help a dead Goron spirit find peace, and in the end, no matter what you do, the moon crashed into the earth and everyone dies regardless.

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The only person who is seemingly aware of events is the Happy Mask Shop salesman, undoubtedly the weirdest character in all of Ocarina of Time, and the only person who seems to be the same person as they were in the previous game. All the other characters use the same sprites as in Ocarina, but like Termina itself, are a strange parody of their Hyrule selves (the begger in Ocarina is the banker in Majora's Mask, for example). The salesman knows what fate befalls Termina and helps Link to escape his Deku Scrub status in return for him getting back his mask (this being the mask the Skull Kid was wearing). And masks have a strange power in Termina; they can give you powers, even alter your appearance. The bunny hood makes you run very fast, the stone golem mask makes you invisible to Gerudo guards. The big ones are the Deku Scrub, Goron and Zora masks, and they actually transform you into those species, allowing you to swim, fly, roll around, etc. Mask collecting is a huge part of the game, as you may expect, and although you don't need them all to complete it, they're very useful.

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oooh err misses....

If you've played Ocarina of Time, you pretty much know what to expect here. Yet what sets is apart from Ocarina I'd say is the creepy tone of the whole thing. If you have played Ocarina of Time, the fact all the characters look familiar yet are complete strangers is very odd to begin with. Some of the fates of the characters are unbearably tragic, and the fact that even if you save them you have to go back to the beginning and undo your work leaves you feeling like your work is for naught. Then there's the moon which leers down at you from the sky, a huge menacing face of destruction hanging in the sky as a constant reminder that you are doomed. The clock at the bottom of your screen, too, moves unrelentingly towards the hour of oblivion, and at the end of every day you get a black screen with white writing on telling you simply how many hours remain. The whole game is just so brilliantly done that it gives you a feeling that no other Zelda does, and very few other games do either - being in a dungeon with only a few minutes remaining before the moon crashes, hearing the rumbling and the chimes of the clock, that's tension which a hundred Resident Evils couldn't match.

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I'll admit that I'm a huge Zelda fan, and I've pretty much had a 15 year long love affair with the series. I've not played one that I havn't loved, and it could very, very easily be The Wind Waker or Twilight Princess sitting in this spot. But Majora's Mask stayed with me slightly more than the others, I think because it has that different feel along with the adventuring and the heart collecting and the side-quests. The final level on the moon, with those skipping children wearing masks, may be one of the most surreal and amazing experiences I've ever had playing a game. The whole thing is just wonderous, and whilst every Zelda is something special to me, it's Majora's Mask which is my favourite.

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Re: SONM's Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

Post by Nofes » Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:53 am

komodo joe wrote:
Nofes wrote:18. Zelda II
remove yourself
it just isn't very good
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