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!
27. Ocarina of Time’s Infamous Water Temple
Jacob: I actually don’t mind this one. Sure, raising and lowering the water was annoying, but I really enjoyed how the Water Temple pushed my memory and sense of where things were in the temple. It was a tough puzzle that was definitely frustrating at times, but the feeling of overcoming it just couldn’t be matched at the time!
Duck: Ugh, don’t even get me started on this one. I doubt there’s a single Zelda fan who didn’t struggle with this frustrating temple, what with the changing of water levels and having to frequently equip Link’s cumbersome Iron Boots in order to walk underwater. And once you finally reach the boss, it’s just an amorphous tentacle of water!
Cary: Much like with the Mario games, it feels like it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r for Nintendo to make water travel anything but a chore in the Zelda games. Ocarina of Time’s Water Temple is a great example of this, as the whole thing is just plain awkward. It’s also quite a lot of fun once you find your way, but still. I “quit” the game several times before finally conquering this most maddening stage.
26. Twilight Princess’s Possibly More Infamous Nightmare Sequence
Jacob: This is one of the few moments in games that genuinely freaked me out as a kid. Link’s empty eyes, that hunger-filled smile, and those last, chilling seconds of dozens of Illias laughingly-falling into oblivion…brrrr! I still get chills thinking about it! Link even looks like he’s about to be overcome with darkness just by seeing the vision! It was really striking to see that there was potential for evil even in someone as classically heroic as Link, and it’s stuck with me as a result, I think.
Duck: Though we’ve already seen Dark Link plenty of times in the past, there’s something much creepier about a mostly normal looking Link grinning in an evil fashion. The whole scene implies that anyone can succumb to the darkness, Link included. What a chilling thought indeed if even our brave hero could become corrupted with the desire for power!
Cary: There are plenty of dark and disturbing moments in the Zelda games, and top among those moments is when light spirit Lanaryu reveals to Link just how the Darkness came to be in Twilight Princess. Having finally completed a full playthrough of the game myself just a few years ago, even jaded ol’ me was taken aback by just how truly spine-chilling that sequence was. Still makes me shiver just thinking about it.
25. Becoming Wolf Link in Twilight Princess
Jacob: By the time Twilight Princess rolled around, we’d seen Link’s adventure a few times already so Nintendo needed something to set this one apart. Making Link a wolf was their solution, and I have to say that it was a great one! Running around, leaping to tall ledges and fighting cooperatively with Midna was all great fun, and something I’d like to see more of in the future. I absolutely hated that hawk in the village stealth section, but otherwise it was great!
Duck: Link’s wolf form was a pretty interesting feature in Twilight Princess, and honestly, I’m not sure which is cooler, the fact that Link can turn into a wolf or the sight of Midna riding a wolf like her own personal horse. The only downside is wolf Link’s ability to see ghosts, which were particularly horrifying during our visit to the Arbiter’s Grounds….
Cary: I have to admit that when I first attempted to play Twilight Princess, I wasn’t enamored with Wolf Link. This mostly stemmed from the fact that I didn’t like the game’s motion controls, and I just didn’t have the patience with them in Link’s wolf form. Well, in the years sinceI must have picked up some more tolerance, because when I returned to the game recently, I discovered that Wolf Link wasn’t so bad. In fact, he was pretty darn awesome, and I found myself going into wolf form more often than not. It was a great way to find new secrets and experience the game’s world in a different way.
Up next, #24-22!