The best Zelda games: Eurogamer editors’ choice


You have already had your state on the absolute best Zelda games since we celebrate the series’ 30th anniversary – and you did a mighty good job also, even though I’m pretty certain A Link to the Past goes in the head of any list – so now it is our turn. We requested the Eurogamer editorial team to vote for their favorite Zelda games (although Wes abstained because he still doesn’t understand what a Nintendo is) and below you will discover the whole top ten, along with some of our very own musings. Can people get the games in their rightful order? Probably not…

10. A Link Between Worlds

How brightly contradictory that one of the greatest first games on Nintendo’s 3DS is a 2D adventure game, which one of the most daring Zelda entrances are the one which closely aped one of its predecessors.

It really helps, of course, that the template has been raised from a number of the best games in the series also, by extension, one of the best matches of all time. There is an endearing breeziness to A Link to the Past, a fleet-footedness that sees the 16-bit adventure pass as pleasurably and memorably as a great late summer about it legend of zelda ds roms from Our Articles A Link Between Worlds takes all that and even positively sprints together with it, running free into the familiar expanse of Hyrule using a newfound liberty.

In providing you the ability to lease any one of Link’s well-established applications in the away, A Link Between Worlds broke free of the linear progression which had reverted past Zelda games; that has been a Hyrule which was no longer defined by an invisible path, but one that offered a sense of discovery and completely free will that was beginning to feel absent from previous entries. The sense of experience so dear to the show, muted in the past several years from the ritual of repetition, was well and truly revived. MR

9. Spirit Tracks

An unfortunate side-effect of the simple fact that more than 1 generation of players has grown up with Zelda and refused to let go has become an insistence – throughout the series’ adolescence, at any rate – which it grow up with them. That led to some interesting areas as well as some absurd tussles within the series’ direction, as we’ll see later on this listing, but sometimes it threatened to leave Zelda’s authentic constituency – that you know, children – behind.

Happily, the mobile games happen to be there to take care of younger gamers, along with Spirit Tracks for its DS (currently accessible on Wii U Virtual Console) is now Zelda at its maximum chirpy and adorable. Though beautifully designed, it is not a particularly distinguished game, being a comparatively hasty and gimmicky followup to Phantom Hourglass that copies its structure and flowing stylus control. But it’s such zest! Connect employs a little train to go around and its own puffing and tooting, together with an inspired folk music soundtrack, place a brisk pace for your experience. Then there is the childish, heavenly joy of driving the train: setting the adjuster, yanking the whistle and scribbling destinations in your map.

Most importantly is that, for once, Zelda is in addition to the ride. Connect must rescue her body, but her spirit is with him as a companion, occasionally able to own enemy soldiers and perform with the brutal heavy. The two enjoy an innocent childhood romance, and you’d be hard pressed to think of another game that has captured the teasing, blushing intensity of a preteen crush also. Inclusive and sweet, Spirit Tracks recalls that children have feelings too, and also will reveal grownups a thing or two about love. OW

8. Phantom Hourglass

In my head, at least, there’s long been a furious debate going on as to whether Link, Hero of Hyrule, is actually any good with a boomerang. He’s been wielding the faithful, banana-shaped bit of timber since his very first experience, but in my experience it’s merely been a pain in the arse to use.

The exception that proves the rule, nevertheless, is Phantom Hourglass, in which you draw on the path for your boomerang by hand. Poking the stylus at the touch screen (that, in an equally lovely move, is the way you command your own sword), you draw a precise flight map to your boomerang and then it just… goes. No faffing about, no clanging into pillars, just easy, simple, improbably responsive boomerang trip. It was when I first used the boomerang from Phantom Hourglass that I realised that this game could just be something particular; I quickly fell in love with the remainder.

Never mind that many of the puzzles are based on setting a change and then getting from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. Never mind that watching a few game back to refresh my memory gave me strong flashbacks into the hours spent huddling on the screen and grasping my DS like that I wanted to throttle it. Never mind I did want to throttle my DS. JC

7. Skyward Sword

It bins the recognizable Zelda overworld and collection of distinct dungeons by hurling three huge areas in the player which are constantly reworked. It is a gorgeous game – one I’m still hoping will probably be remade in HD – whose watercolour graphics render a glistening, dream-like haze within its azure skies and brush-daubed foliage. After the grimy, Lord of this Rings-inspired Twilight Princess, this was the Zelda series confidently re-finding its feet. I am able to defend many of recognizable criticisms levelled at Skyward Sword, such as its overly-knowing nods to the remainder of the series or its marginally forced origin narrative that unnecessarily retcons familiar elements of the franchise. I can even get behind the bigger overall quantity of place to research when the sport always revitalises each of its three areas so successfully.

I couldn’t, unfortunately, ever get in addition to the game’s Motion Plus controllers, which required one to waggle your own Wii Remote in order to do combat. It turned out into the boss battles against the brilliantly bizarre Ghirahim into infuriating fights with technology. I recall one mini-game at the Knight Academy in which you had to throw something (pumpkins?) Into baskets that made me rage quit for the rest of the evening. On occasion the motion controls functioned – that the flying Beetle item pretty much always found its mark – but if Nintendo was forcing players to depart the reliability of a control strategy, its replacement needed to work 100 percent of the moment. TP

6. Twilight Princess

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

When Twilight Princess rolled around, I was at college and also something in me – most likely a profound romance – was prepared to try again. This time, it was worked. I recall day-long stretches on the couch, huddling beneath a blanket in my chilly flat and just poking out my hands to flap around using the Wii remote during battle. Resentful looks were thrown in the pile of books I knew I needed to at least skim over the next week. Then there was the glorious morning if my then-girlfriend (now fiancée) awakened me with a gentle shake, so asking’can I watch you play with Zelda?’

Twilight Lady is, frankly, attractive. There’s a wonderful, brooding feeling; yet the gameplay is enormously varied; it has got a lovely art design, one I wish they’d kept for only one more game. That is why I’ll always adore Twilight Princess – it is the game that made me click with Zelda. JC


Zelda is a succession characterized by repetition: the narrative of the long-eared hero and the Lady is passed down from generation to generation, a self-fulfilling prophecy. However, some of its best moments have come as it stepped out its framework, left Hyrule and then Zelda herself behind, and asked what Link could do next. It required a much more revolutionary tack: weird, dark, and structurally experimental.

Though there’s lots of comedy and experience, Majora’s Mask is suffused with doom, sorrow, and an off-kilter eeriness. Some of this comes out of its admittedly awkward timed structure: that the moon is falling around the world, the clock is ticking and you can not stop it, only rewind and begin, somewhat stronger and more threatening each moment. Some of it stems in the antagonist, the Skull Kid, who is no villain however an innocent having a sad story who has contributed in to the corrupting effect of the titular mask. Some of this comes from Link himself: a kid again but with the grown man of Ocarina still somewhere inside himhe rides rootlessly to the land of Termina like he has got no better place to be, so far in the hero of legend.

Mostly, it comes from the townsfolk of Termina, whose lifestyles Connect observes moving helplessly towards the close of earth together their appointed paths, over and over again. Despite an unforgettable, most surreal decision, Majora’s Mask’s primary narrative is not among the series’ strongest. However, these bothering Groundhog Day subplots concerning the strain of ordinary life – loss, love, family, job, and death, always passing – locate the series’ writing at its absolute finest. It is a melancholy, compassionate fairytale of this regular which, with its own ticking clock, wants to remind one that you can not take it with you personally. OW


If you’ve had kids, you will know there’s unbelievably unexpected and touching moment if you are doing laundry – stay with me – and these small T-shirts and pants first begin to become on your washing. Someone else has come to live with you! A person implausibly small.

This is among The Wind-Waker’s greatest tips, I think. Link was young before, but now, with the gloriously toon-shaded shift in art direction, he really looks young: a Schulz toddler, enormous head and tiny legs, venturing out amongst Moblins and pirates as well as those mad birds that roost across the clifftops. Link is tiny and vulnerable, and thus the adventure surrounding him sounds all the more stirring.

The other great tip has a good deal to do with those pirates. This has become the standard Zelda query because Link to the Past, but with all the Wind-Waker, there did not seem to be just one: no alternate measurement, no shifting between time-frames. Rather you had a crazy and briney sea, reaching out in all directions, an infinite blue, flecked with abstracted breakers. The sea was contentious: a lot of racing back and forth throughout a enormous map, so much time spent in crossing. But consider what it brings along with it! It brings pirates and sunken temples and ghost ships. It attracts underwater grottoes along with a castle waiting for you at a bubble of air down on the seabed.

Best of all, it attracts that unending sense of discovery and renewal, 1 challenge down along with another awaiting, as you hop from your ship and race up the sand towards the next thing, your tiny legs glancing through the surf, and your eyes already fixed over the horizon. CD


Link’s Awakening is near-enough that a great Zelda game – it’s a vast and secret-laden overworld, sparkling dungeon layout and memorable characters. Additionally, it is a fever dream-set side-story with villages of speaking creatures, side-scrolling regions starring Mario enemies and a giant fish who sings the mambo. It was my first Zelda adventure, my entry point into the show and the game against which I judge each other Zelda title. I absolutely love it. Not only was it my very first Zelda, its own greyscale world was among the first adventure games I played. I can still visualise much of it today – the cracked floor from that cave from the Lost Woods, the stirring music because you enter the Tal Tal Mountains, the shopkeeper electrocuting into an instant death in case you dared return into his store after slipping.

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


Bottles are OP in Zelda. Those little glass containers may turn the tide of a conflict if they contain a potion or even better – a fairy. If I was Ganon, I would postpone the evil plotting and the measurement rifting, and I would just set a good fortnight into travelling Hyrule from top to bottom and hammering any glass bottles I’ve stumbled upon. Following that, my terrible vengeance are all the more dreadful – and there’d be a sporting chance that I may have the ability to pull it off too.

All of that means that, as Link, a jar may be true benefit. Real treasure. Some thing to put in your watch by. I think there are four glass bottles in Link to the Past, every one making you that bit more powerful and that bit bolder, purchasing you confidence in dungeoneering and struck points at the center of a tingling manager encounter. I can’t recall where you receive three of the bottles. But I can recall where you get the fourth.

It is Lake Hylia, and when you are like me, it is late in the game, with all the major ticket items collected, that wonderful, genre-defining moment near the peak of the mountain – in which a single map becomes two – taken care of, along with handfuls of streamlined, inventive, infuriating and enlightening dungeons raided. Late match Link to the Past is about sounding out every last inch of this map, so working out how both similar-but-different versions of Hyrule fit together.

And there is a difference. A gap from Lake Hylia. An gap hidden by means of a bridge. And under it, a man blowing smoke rings with a campfire. He feels just like the greatest key in all of Hyrule, and the prize for discovering him would be a glass vessel, perfect for storing a potion – or a fairy.

Link to the Past feels like an impossibly smart game, fracturing its map to two measurements and asking you to distinguish between them, holding equally landscapes super-positioned on mind as you resolve a single, vast geographical mystery. In fact, however, somebody could probably replicate this design when they had enough pens, enough quadrille paper, sufficient time and energy, and when they had been smart and determined enough.

The greatest loss of the electronic age.

But Link to the Past isn’t only the map – it is the detailing, as well as the figures. It’s Ganon and his wicked plot, but it’s also the guy camping out beneath the bridge. Perhaps the whole thing’s a bit like a bottle, then: the container is very crucial, but what you are really after is the stuff that’s inside it. CD


Where would you begin with a game as momentous as Ocarina of Time? Maybe with all the Z-Targeting, a remedy to 3D battle so simple you hardly notice it is there. Or maybe you speak about a open world that is touched by the light and shade cast by an internal clock, where villages dance with action by day prior to being seized by an eerie lull through the night. How about the expressiveness of that ocarina itself, a delightfully analogue instrument whose music was conducted with the control afforded by the N64’s pad, notes bent wistfully at the push of a stick.

Maybe, though, you just focus in on the minute itself, a great photo of video games appearing aggressively from their own adolescence just as Link is thrust so abruptly in an adult world. What is most remarkable about Ocarina of Time is the way it came accordingly fully-formed, the 2D adventuring of previous entrances transitioning into three dimensions as gracefully as a pop-up publication folding swiftly into life.

Additional Zeldas may make for a better play now – there’s something about the 16-bit adventuring of A Link to the Past that remains forever impervious to period – although none could ever claim to be important as Ocarina. As a result of Grezzo’s exceptional 3DS remake it’s kept much of its verve and impact, as well as putting aside its technical accomplishments it is an adventure that still ranks among the series’ best; emotional and uplifting, it’s touched with the bittersweet melancholy of climbing up and leaving your youth behind. By the story’s end Link’s youth and innocence – and which of Hyrule – is heroically revived, but after this most radical of reinventions, video games could not ever be the same again.