The first Legend of Zelda game was released on the NES in 1986. It’s really hard to believe that this much time has passed but the video game franchise is as memorable and enjoyable today as it was back then. Link changed his appearance in numerous ways throughout the years from fully mature to cel-shaded but the character is still the same little guy we know and love.
Because the series is full of great games, it is pretty hard to narrow the list to just ten games. In our opinion, these are the 10 best Legend of Zelda games.
10. The Legend of Zelda (NES)
The first game that started the franchise surely deserves a spot in our countdown. While the game is simplistic by the standards of today, the original Legend of Zelda was amazing. The NES Legend of Zelda is filled with great battles, dungeons and the gameplay is great. And on top of this, the theme in the Legend of Zelda feels right at home on the old console.
The game was pretty enormous for the time and while it’s not as complex or as deep as the rest of the Zelda series, there are some great things about it. The game was also, seriously difficult. It didn’t hold your hand and you had to figure out pretty much everything in it.
Also, the gold cartridge was pretty cool as well.
9. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Game Boy)
The Game Boy was very practical for casual smaller games and gaming on the go. However, no one was expecting Nintendo to make a full Legend of Zelda title for it. But Link’s Awakening is a very fun and enchanting experience. Link has his adventure on a mysterious island filled with monsters. The title made use of all the capabilities of the system and also introduced fishing to the series.
It’s one of the weirdest titles in the series and fishing has now become a constant activity in the franchise.
8. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (Game Boy Advance)
The twist in this game was Link’s ability to wear a hat that made him smaller. He spent a lot of times being the size of an ant and searching for different artifacts as well as fighting some small monsters. The game was the first one on the Game Boy Advance and one of the very few The Legend of Zelda titles not developed by Nintendo. Capcom was the developer of this game and the Oracle series. The Minish Cap features some solid puzzles and is extremely colorful and fun.
However, The Minish Cap is also one of the shortest Zelda titles in the series, which is a shame.
7. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (Nintendo 64, Nintendo 3DS)
This is one of the creepiest games in the popular series. Because Nintendo simply used the engine developed for Ocarina of Time, the developers had a lot of time to come up with a unique and weird world and story. Link is stuck in a parallel dimension and has to fight monsters before an evil looking moon crushes the city he’s in.
Majora’s Mask is definitely different from all the other titles because of the way the gameplay is handled. It features a three-day cycle and time limit, the town people have complex schedules that they follow and the effects of the numerous masks that Link collects are extremely fun and creative. The title still keeps the familiar things about the franchise, such as the complex puzzles and dungeons, the awesome weapons and the very annoying fairies as well as a water temple that’s still pretty much awful.
Majora’s Mask was recently remade for the Nintendo 3DS as well.
6. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (GameCube, Wii U)
Even though everyone was really upset when the Wind Waker made an appearance because of its cartoony, cel-shaded graphics, it’s still a very appreciated and loved game. The story is extremely interesting and there is such an interest in this game that it was even remade for the Nintendo Wii U in HD. Every aspect of the title works incredibly well and pushes the series into an interesting and fun new direction.
If you have an old Game Cube or the Wii U, you should definitely embark on this adventure. It’s an amazing game that should be played by everyone.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (GameCube, Wii)
Twilight Princess is probably the darkest in the series. This is true both figuratively and literally, as the whole game is filled with darkness. It had very realistic graphics and a dark storyline, but the gameplay makes it undoubtedly a Zelda title. Link often turns into a wolf in the game and Midna makes for a great companion as it’s far better than the annoying Navi.
The game was launched for both the Nintendo Wii and the GameCube at the same time. In the GameCube, Link holds his sword in the left hand but the developers had to switch it to the right hand for the Wii, as the majority of people are right handed. However, they decided to flip the entire game. This means that Twilight Princess on Wii is the mirror of the GameCube version. We can’t help but wonder why they went with such a stupid direction, seeing how the franchise is very well known for its very smart puzzle solving.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
This is one of the most recent Zelda titles in the series and was criticized for the annoying Fi companion and the motion controls. The game came out on the 25th anniversary of the franchise and after all these years it’s still pretty amazing that Nintendo launches great games.
The story is amazing in this game and the graphics are gorgeous. It’s also a pretty long game and has received a perfect score from most gaming websites. I really enjoyed playing this game and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it again when I decide it’s time to replay it.
3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds (Nintendo 3DS)
This is the most recent title in the series and has absolutely no problems fitting in. Link gets to battle a sorceress that’s trapping people in paintings. It’s the spiritual successor to A Link to the Past and certainly feels that way. Link has the ability to transform himself into a 2D sticker and travel the walls and between worlds like a living mural. This results in a very deep and smart quest that’s extremely fun and addictive.
While the game isn’t very long, it’s still an amazing title and should be purchased by anyone who owns a Nintendo 3DS.
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
In the opinions of many individuals, this is the best Legend of Zelda title. What’s truly amazing about it is that it set the framework and standard that all the Zelda games follow.
There were only two more Zelda games in the franchise before A Link to the Past: the original Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: Link’s Adventure. The story is incredibly well done and the atmosphere is amazing in this SNES classic. To be completely fair, it’s safe to say that The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is the best 2D Zelda game ever made. However, in terms of 3D Zelda games, the grand prize goes to…
1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64, Nintendo 3DS)
Well this is a no-brainer, isn’t it? Ocarina of Time is the first game to make the transition to a 3D world and it did so in an incredible way. Many games that made the transition from 2D to 3D were terrible (Castlevania, for example) but Ocarina of Time actually excelled.
The gameplay is amazing, riding Epona is fun and the musical score is absolutely incredible in Ocarina of Time. The title creates the best combination between design, music and gameplay. Even after 15 years, the game is still incredible and stands the test of time very well.
Ocarina of Time is the best Legend of Zelda game ever made.
So there you have it. This was our list of the 10 best Legend of Zelda games. We really hope you enjoyed it and that you found it helpful if you want to familiarize yourself with the franchise.
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