This year marks the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda series, and we could think of no better way to honor this fantastic series of games than by compiling a list of our top 35 favorite things about it! All month long, we’ll be counting down from thirty-five to one the people, places, items, and activities from The Legend of Zelda series that make the games special, memorable, and well-worth playing. Per our usual schedule, watch for new posts on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and share your own thoughts on the series in the comment sections. And so, happy 35th to The Legend of Zelda – let’s keep this party going!
33. The Great Sea in Wind Waker
Jacob: I don’t think I liked the idea of the Great Sea in the days preceding the release of Wind Waker. After all, how much fun could a giant, empty sea be? Well, pretty fun actually since it wasn’t actually empty. Constantly changing the wind’s direction was annoying in the GC version, but stumbling across all the little islands and seeking out their secrets was much more of a blast than wandering around the likes of Hyrule field in past games.
Duck: After exploring locations such as Hyrule and Termina in previous games, the Great Sea made for a very different experience. While it may appear empty at first glance, there is a very real excitement whenever you spot a new and unexplored island poking up over the horizon.
Cary: When one looks at the map of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker’s setting, the Great Sea, it doesn’t look all that big or impressive. But sailing across the Great Sea in the game proved that there was more to it that met the eye! With game after game involving Link walking, running, or riding a horse across grassy plains and snowy hills, having Link (or was that Tetra?) play pirate at the helm of a ship traveling the high seas was so much fun. True that Wind Waker’s map wasn’t that expansive, but the game made it feel wild and open and free. Plus, there was plenty of sunken treasure to discover, enemies to take down by cannon, and so much sailing just for the fun of it. Such good times!
32. The Saga of Yeto and Yeta in Twilight Princess
Jacob: Honestly, I found both of these characters to be kind of annoying. Yeto is 100% the goofy oaf he appears to be, and Yeta is just kinda there (mostly). Even so, their story is sweet enough and it was nice to help resolve a personal story rather than the usual, grand “save the world” thing.
Duck: Snowpeak Ruins was a pretty unique dungeon in the series. Most of them are home to nothing more than monsters, but this time, the ruins are inhabited by the yeti couple of Yeto and Yeta. While I thought Yeto was quite intimidating at first, it wasn’t long before I found myself drawn into helping him heal his sick wife. Seeing Yeto comforting his wife after she is finally free from the corrupting effects of the mirror was heartwarming indeed.
Cary: While the The Legend of Zelda games have the reputation of being just as lighthearted as they are dark, it’s hard to beat the emotional rollercoaster of Yeto and Yeta in Twilight Princess. In the span of just a few moments, players are taken through a literal play in three acts. Act 1: kindly help Yeto cure Yeta; Act 2: defeat the monstrously possessed Yeta in an intense battle; Act 3: watch as Yeto attempts to do right by Yeta. It’s an amazing tale that’s neatly tucked away in an amazing game.
31. Tatl from Majora’s Mask
Jacob: I actually like Tatl more than all the other companion characters, save for Midna. She doesn’t have much of a story, but she at least has a story. She has a personal stake in the story due to her brother Tael’s proximity to the Skull Kid/Majora, and her own history with the imp. Her attitude toward Link changes over time too, going from antagonistic, to tolerant, to loyal friend. It’s subtle, but it’s there, and it makes her more real than many of the other characters.
Duck: Being the first of Link’s companions that I had ever encountered, Tatl always stuck with me because she had personality to contrast her small size. Originally friends with Skull Kid, alongside her brother Tael, Tatl joined Link reluctantly when she got left behind by her friends. Although originally your unwilling companion, Tatl finally grows to be a true friend by the end of the game.
Cary: I don’t recall Tatl’s story in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask very well, but I certainly do remember that she was much more tolerable than her Ocarina of Time counterpart, Navi. Some of this probably had to do with the fact that Tatl was a more active companion who had her own personality, whereas Navi functioned mostly as a notification-giver. Tatl also grows more as a character, from disliking Link at first, to coming to accept that he’s not so bad after all.
Next up, #30-28!