The best Zelda games: Eurogamer editors’ Option

You’ve already had your state on the absolute best Zelda games as we observe the series’ 30th anniversary – and you also did a mighty fine job also, even if I’m fairly certain A Link to the Past belongs in the head of any record – so now it’s our turn. We asked the Eurogamer editorial staff to vote for their favorite Zelda games (though Wes abstained because he doesn’t know exactly what a Nintendo is) and below you’ll discover the whole top ten, together with a number of our own musings. Can we get the matches in their real order? Probably not…

10. A Link Between Worlds

How brightly contradictory that among the finest first games on Nintendo’s 3DS is a 2D adventure sport, and that one of the most adventurous Zelda entrances are the one which so closely aped one of its predecessors.

It helps, of course, that the template has been raised from one of the greatest games in the series also, by extension, one of the finest matches of all time. A Link Between Worlds takes that and even positively sprints together with it, running into the recognizable expanse of Hyrule using a newfound liberty.Read more legend of zelda nds rom At website Articles

In giving you the ability to rent any of Link’s well-established applications in the away, A Link Between Worlds broke with this linear progression that had reverted past Zelda games; that was a Hyrule which was no more defined by an invisible route, but one which provided a feeling of discovery and free will that was beginning to feel absent from prior entries. The feeling of adventure so dear to the show, muted in recent years by 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 players has increased up with Zelda and refused to let go has been an insistence – throughout the series’ mania, at any rate – it grow up with them. That resulted in some interesting places in addition to some silly tussles over the series’ leadership, as we will see later in this listing, but sometimes it threatened to leave Zelda’s unique constituency – you know, children – supporting.

Happily, the mobile games have always been there to look after younger players, along with Spirit Tracks for the DS (currently accessible on Wii U Virtual Console) is Zelda at its maximum chirpy and adorable. Though beautifully designed, it’s not an especially distinguished game, being a relatively hasty and gimmicky follow-up to Phantom Hourglass that copies its construction and flowing stylus controller. However, it has such zest! Link employs just a small train to go around and its own puffing and tooting, along with an inspired folk music soundtrack, place a brisk tempo for the adventure. Then there is the childish, tactile joy of driving that the train: placing the throttle, yanking the whistle and scribbling destinations in your map.

Most importantly is that, for once, Zelda is along for the ride. Connect must save her entire body, but her spirit is with him as a constant companion, occasionally able to possess enemy soldiers and perform the brutal heavy. The two enjoy an innocent childhood love, and you’d be hard pushed to think of another game which has captured the teasing, blushing intensity of a reggae beat so well. Inclusive and sweet, Spirit Tracks remembers that kids have feelings too, and will reveal grownups a thing or two about love. OW

8. Ghost Hourglass

Inside my mind, at least, there has 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 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, where you draw on the trail on your boomerang from the hand. Poking the stylus in the touch display (that, in an equally lovely transfer, is how you command your own sword), you draw a precise flight map for your boomerang and then it just… goes. No faffing about, no more clanging into columns, only easy, simple, improbably responsive boomerang flight. It was when I first used the boomerang in Phantom Hourglass I realised that this game could just be something particular; I immediately fell in love with all the remainder.

Never mind that watching some gameplay 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 that I did need to throttle my DS. The point is that Phantom Hourglass had touches of class that stay – and I’m going to go out on a limb here – totally unrivalled in the rest of the Legend of Zelda series. JC

7. Skyward Sword

It bins the recognizable Zelda overworld and pair of discrete dungeons by hurling three enormous areas at the player which are constantly reworked. It’s a beautiful game – one I am still expecting will be remade in HD – whose watercolour graphics leave a shimmering, dream-like haze within its azure skies and brush-daubed foliage. After the filthy, Lord of this Rings-inspired Twilight Princess, it is the Zelda series re-finding its feet. I am able to defend many of familiar criticisms levelled at Skyward Sword, for example its overly-knowing nods to the remainder of the show or its slightly forced origin narrative that unnecessarily retcons recognizable elements of the franchise. I can also get behind the smaller overall amount of place to research when the match continually revitalises all its three areas so ardently.

I couldn’t, sadly, ever get in addition to the game’s Motion Plus controls, which demanded you to waggle your own Wii Remote to be able to do battle. It turned out into the boss fights against the brilliantly bizarre Ghirahim into infuriating struggles using technology. Into baskets that made me anger stop for the rest of the evening. Sometimes the motion controls functioned – that the flying Beetle item pretty much consistently found its mark – but when Nintendo was forcing players to leave behind the reliability of a well-worn control strategy, its replacement needed to work 100 per cent of the time. TP

6. Twilight Princess

After Ocarina of Time came out in November 1998, I was ten years old. I was also pretty bad in Zelda games.

When Twilight Princess wrapped around, I was at university and something in me most likely a deep romance – was prepared to test again. I recall day-long moves on the couch, huddling beneath a blanket in my chilly flat and only poking out my hands to flap about using the Wii distant during battle. Subsequently 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 Lady is, frankly, captivating. There is a wonderful, brooding feeling; the gameplay is enormously diverse; it has got a beautiful art design, one I wish they had kept for just one more game. That is why I’ll always love Twilight Princess – it’s the game that made me click using Zelda. JC


But some of its greatest moments have come as it stepped outside its framework, left Hyrule and then Zelda herself and inquired what Link may perform next. It took an even more radical tack: bizarre, dark, and structurally experimental.

Even though there’s a lot of humor and experience, Majora’s Mask is suffused with despair, regret, and also an off-kilter eeriness. Some of this stems out of its true awkward timed arrangement: that the moon is falling around the Earth, that the clock is ticking and you also can not stop it, only rewind and start again, somewhat stronger and more threatening each time. Some of it comes in the antagonist, the Skull Kid, who’s no villain but an innocent having a gloomy story who has given into the corrupting impact of their titular mask. A number of this comes from Link himself: a kid again but with the grown man of Ocarina still somewhere within himhe rides rootlessly to the land of Termina like he’s got no greater place to be, far in your hero of legend.

Largely, it comes in the townsfolk of Termina, whose lives Link observes moving helplessly towards the end of earth as well as their appointed paths, over and over again. Regardless of an unforgettable, most surreal conclusion, Majora’s Mask’s key storyline is not among those series’ strongest. However, these bothering Groundhog Day subplots concerning the strain of ordinary life – loss, love, family, work, and passing, constantly death – find the show’ writing at its absolute finest. It’s a depression, compassionate fairytale of the regular that, using its ticking clock, wants to remind you that you simply can’t take it with you. OW

4. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

If you’ve had children, you’ll be aware there’s incredibly unexpected and touching moment when you’re doing laundry – stay with me here – and these small T-shirts and trousers first start to turn up on your washing. Someone else has come to reside with you! Someone implausibly small.

This is among The Wind-Waker’s greatest tips, I believe. Link had been young before, but now, with the toon-shaded change in art management, he really appears youthful: a Schulz toddler, with huge head and small legs, venturing out amongst Moblins and pirates as well as those mad birds that roost round the clifftops. Link is little and vulnerable, and so the experience surrounding him sounds all the more stirring.

The other excellent tip has a great deal to do with those pirates. “What’s the Overworld?” This has become the normal Zelda query since Link to the Past, but with all the Wind-Waker, there didn’t appear to be one: no alternative measurement, no shifting between time-frames. The sea has been contentious: so much racing back and forth across a huge map, so much time spent in crossing. But look at what it brings with it! It attracts pirates and sunken treasures and ghost ships. It attracts underwater grottoes along with a castle awaiting you in a bubble of air down on the seabed.

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

3. Link’s Awakening

Link’s Awakening has been near-enough a excellent Zelda game – it has a vast and secret-laden overworld, sparkling dungeon layout and unforgettable characters. In addition, it is a catalyst dream-set side-story with villages of speaking creatures, side-scrolling places starring Mario enemies and a giant fish who participates the mambo. It was my first Zelda experience, my entry point to the series and the match against which I judge every other Zelda title. I totally love it. Not only was it my first Zelda, its own greyscale planet was among the first adventure games that I played.

No Master Sword. And while it feels like a Zelda, even after playing so many of the other people, its quirks and personalities set it aside. Link’s Awakening packs an astounding amount onto its small Game Boy cartridge (or even Game Boy Color, in case you played its DX re-release). It’s an essential experience for any Zelda fan. TP


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

All of which suggests, as Link, a jar can be a true reward. Real treasure. Something to put your watch by. I think there are four glass bottles in Link to the Past, every one which makes you that little stronger and that bit bolder, buying you assurance in dungeoneering and strike points in the midst of a tingling boss experience. I can’t remember where you get three of those bottles. But I can remember where you get the fourth.

It’s Lake Hylia, and if you’re like me, it’s late in the game, using the big ticket items accumulated, that wonderful, genre-defining moment near the peak of the hill – in which one excursion becomes two – cared for, along with handfuls of compact, inventive, infuriating and educational dungeons raided. Late match Connect to the Past is about sounding out every last inch of the map, so working out the way the two similar-but-different versions of Hyrule fit together.

And there is a gap. An gap in Lake Hylia. An gap hidden by means of a bridge. And beneath it, a guy blowing smoke rings by a campfire. He feels like the greatest key in all of Hyrule, and the prize for uncovering him is a glass boat, perfect for keeping a potion – along with even a fairy.

Connect to the Past feels to be an impossibly smart game, fracturing its map to two measurements and requesting you to flit between them, holding equally landscapes super-positioned in your mind as you resolve a single, vast geographical mystery. In truth, however, someone could probably copy this layout if they had enough pencils, enough quadrille paper, enough time and energy, and if they were smart and determined enough.

The best loss of the electronic era.

But Link to the Past is not just the map – it’s the detailing, as well as the characters. It’s Ganon and his evil plot, but it is also the man camping out under the bridge. Maybe the whole thing’s a bit like a bottle, then: that the container is more important, but what you’re really after is that the stuff that’s inside . CD

1. Ocarina of Time

Maybe with all the Z-Targeting, a remedy to 3D combat so simple you hardly notice it is there. Or perhaps you speak about an open world that’s touched with the light and color cast by an inner clock, where villages dance with activity by day before being captured by an eerie lull through the night. How about the expressiveness of the ocarina itself, a superbly analogue device whose music has been conducted by the control afforded by the N64’s pad, notes flexed wistfully at the push of a stick.

Maybe, though, you simply focus on the moment itself, a perfect photo of video games appearing sharply from their own adolescence as Link is thrust so suddenly into a grownup world. What is most notable about Ocarina of Time is how it came therefore fully-formed, the 2D adventuring of past entrances transitioning into three measurements as gracefully as a pop-up book folding quickly into life.

Because of Grezzo’s unique 3DS remake it’s retained much of its verve and influence, as well as setting aside its technical accomplishments it’s an adventure that ranks among the series’ finest; uplifting and emotional, it has touched with the bittersweet melancholy of climbing up and leaving the youth behind. By the story’s conclusion Link’s youth and innocence – and which of Hyrule – is heroically restored, but after this most revolutionary of reinventions, video games will not ever be the same again.