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!
6. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the Game
Jacob: This was both my 2nd Zelda game and my 2nd 3D game after Super Mario 64. So it’s probably the epitome of nostalgia for me. I could go on and on, gushing about this great quality or that great moment, but then so has everyone by this point. Ocarina of Time is the quintessential Zelda game for those who grew up with it, and it likely won’t be replaced until the Breath of the Wild generation comes of age.
Duck: Though certainly not the first game in the series, Ocarina of Time really is THE classic Zelda game. We have a traditional story of Link and Zelda trying to stop Ganondorf from gaining the Triforce and ruling over Hyrule. Plus, we have some really amazing dungeons, memorable bosses, and even time travel allowing us to play as Link as both a child and adult.
Cary: As I mentioned before, Ocarina of Time was the first Zelda game I ever played. At the same time, it wasn’t “love at first play.” It took me a while to fully understand and appreciate it; and once I did, there was no going back to linear games (at least not for some time). Ocarina of Time is a beautiful game, one that bestowed upon us a story for the ages, a simple one of good vs. evil, and a more complex one of Link and Zelda’s relationship. And if nothing else, it set the stage for a vast future of 3D, exploration-based RPGs.
5. The Music of The Legend of Zelda Series
Jacob: No matter the game, no matter the song, Zelda music always has an amazing emotional quality to it. You don’t so much as listen to it as you feel it, and that’s just plain special. It’s probably the single biggest reason so many of this series’ special moments stick around for so long.
Duck: The Zelda series has so many amazing and nostalgic songs, from the Dark World theme to the Song of Storms to the mournful Midna’s Lament. Few soundtracks evoke nostalgia and memories of my childhood like the Zelda series can, though for me, the most iconic would be from the N64 era. Saria’s Song, the Song of Healing, Zelda’s Lullaby, the Song of Time. Is it a coincidence that these are also the songs you can play on your ocarina?
Cary: Every time I complete a Zelda game, I seek out and listen to its soundtrack in the weeks after. The one for the new-ish Link’s Awakening is a favorite at the moment, but you really can’t go wrong with the amazing compositions on any single one. As the Duck said, there’s something extremely nostalgic about the series’ music – listening to them conjures up so many memories and specific gameplay moments. That sense may very well be heightened for some of the game’s sounds, too. I mean, if I say “I just found a rupee!”, can’t you hear it, too? 🙂
4. The Actual Majora’s Mask in Majora’s Mask
Jacob: A malevolent mask from antiquity, one who’s makers were lost to history ages ago. A mask with a spirit so evil sealed inside that it was cast into the darkest shadows in the hopes of never being found again. That’s some grade-A build-up right there. The power of Majora’s Mask is no joke either, seeing as it has the capability to destroy the world! Curiously though, Majora seems to be more interested in entertaining itself than it is in actually destroying things. Why else would it allow Link time enough to challenge it, and why would it even go so far as to potentially give him the power to destroy it. Unless…it was necessary for its escape. The mask itself is cleansed by the end of Majora’s Mask, but are we really sure that the evil spirit was actually destroyed?
Duck: From the game of the same name, Majora’s Mask is a powerful and evil mask that was able to possess Skull Kid, giving him the power to (almost) bring the moon crashing down on the land of Termina. The mask clearly has a mind of its own, as seen when it decides it no longer has any use for its host, and it can even change into monstrous forms. The Happy Mask Salesman claims it was once used by an ancient tribe until it was sealed away when its power became too great. With the tribe long gone, no one truly knows what the mask is capable of. As far as we know, we have only witnessed a fraction of its power. And with an item that seems to desire destruction for destruction’s sake, that is truly a terrifying thought indeed.
Cary: There’s something so fascinatingly strange about a mask that could bring about the downfall of an entire land. Try building a game around that premise, and it sounds even stranger! And yet, there’s no denying that this strange yet simple premise worked. There is no single item in any Zelda game that’s more jaw-droppingly awful than Majora’s Mask. And it almost doesn’t seem that way when we first meet the Skull Kid in the game. He’s crazy, yes, but almost…happy? (Okay, so he’s also a conniving thief.) Dealing and ending(?) the mask’s extreme power takes Link on a journey like no other, which is probably not something anyone expected of a mask…ever.
Up next and last, #3-1, our final post in the series!