Nintendo Switch Online

Good Link. Best gender. The pink hair is iconic. Dungeons get a little same-y and long towards the end. I sure did abuse the hell out of the rewind feature on the emulator.

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Switch Remake (2019)

This is the cutest and saddest one. Great dungeons. Great overworld. Fantastic music. Easily the best topdown Zelda.

I’ve also played the first dungeon of the DX version for Game Boy Color. Basically, almost nothing from the original game was changed other than some quality of life improvements. Most notably is the button mapping. Shield and sword are permanently mapped to R and B respectively, while items are customized and mapped to X and Y. Since the game was rebuilt from the ground up, the feel of the modern engine has a different feel to the Game Boy versions.

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It’s... *okay*.

Some of the actions required to progress are not intuitive. The switching between child and adult is tedious since this can only be done at one location. Overworld is really good, although Hyrule field leave something to be desired. Water temple is not as bad as people said it would be. Beat it without a guide babyyyyyy

By coincidence, I read Berserk (1988) shortly after finishing OoT. It’s pretty well understood the OoT does take some inspiration from this manga. The game was in development at the height and end of the Golden Age arc, which, if you've read Berserk, really explains a lot. Ganondorf’s armour, the Bigoron sword, the timeskip from an era of prosperity to an era of destitution, everything about the Shadow Temple, all of these elements seem like they were lifted straight from Berserk. Don’t misunderstand, I do not think this is a bad thing.

The core message of Berserk is that it’s better to heal and live for tomorrow, rather than wallow in the past and seek revenge. The dev team at Nintendo seems to understand this message, and managed to incorporate some elements of it nicely into OoT. This type of storytelling is part of what made OoT so iconic in it’s own right. So much so that many of the elements introduced in OoT will be carried forward into future games.

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Game Boy Color

Fantastic. Nayru's theme is the best part of the game. Items and dungeons feel really good. The overworld navigation feels a little tedious and overlong at times, but gets better after getting fast travel. This game takes more after the style of Link’s Awakening. It has a similar charm.

My favourite bit of flavour text is a zora NPC commenting that river zora are more violent compared to the more peaceful ocean zora. I suspect it was a line that was supposed to address the different appearance of zora between ALttP and OoT. Both types of zora show up in this game which is neat.

Tingle is here also.

The box/cover art can or could be obtained from Nintendo., Fair use, Link


Easily has the most interesting Ganondorf by leagues and bounds. He is fairly sympathetic. His end goal is to restore the old Hyrule, which is pretty divorced from his usual goal of destroying Hyrule lmao. This Ganondorf seems less interested in power and is entirely motivated by sentimentality. He still has an obvious disregard for the lives he has to trample in order to achieve his goal, but he doesn’t seem to have any specific malice towards Link or Zelda unless/until they try to stop him. Doubly tragic in that the version of Hyrule in WW is hollow. There’s nothing left of value. It only exists as a symbol of what Hyrule used to be in the glory days, and this is only true for the last two people who remember it.

Wind Waker is an unfinished game, which is a shame. It’s clear the dev team invested most of their limited time on dungeons. This was a sensible choice, and I’m glad they did focus their time on dungeons. Dungeons are the bread and butter of the Zelda series, and it’s content everyone must experience as they play through the game. The dungeons are some of the strongest content as a result.

The flip side of this is that there seems to be some content that was cut. The Great Sea feels pretty empty at times. A good chunk of side quests are recycled. By coincidence, I ended up playing three gauntlet side quests back to back. Not fun. I can only forgive so many room-full-of-enemies. It’s clear this was filler. Even the main dungeons seem to suffer from this. WW only has seven main dungeons (the Forsaken Fortress is visited twice). By contrast, OoT and TP have nine dungeons each.

Puppet Ganon was a serious struggle. It’s already hard enough that my disability prevents me from Z-targeting effectively. (I developed a bruise from where I pressed my controller into my leg in order to press the shoulder buttons. The sharp edges on those buttons are really what did me in.) For Puppet Ganon, Z-target would lock onto the head, and not any of the weak points that the player must hit in order to do damage. This is true for all of Puppet Ganon’s forms. There was one point in the fight when I was hanging out on one of the balconies. No magic. No arrows. Just watching Ganon do his thing wondering if I was about to revert 2 hours of gameplay just to try again. I figured it out eventually.

Uuuuuhhhhhh this is a good game. The music slaps. WW has the audacity to tell the player the fish people turned into bird people with a straight face and you’re really supposed to take that seriously. LOVE that shit.

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Game Boy Advance

Seems like a short game, only having 6 dungeons but it's dense with side quests and overworld content. One of the more visually stunning games.

The game pulls away from the typical Triforce/Master Sword/Ganon plot, which is something I appreciate.

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ICONIC. Best companion. Good dungeons. Takes too long to open up the overworld. People who say this is the best one are wrong but have great taste. Kid friendly dark and edgy.

Fans had been asking for a followup on OoT, wanting a more serious dark fantasy with graphics to match. The GameCube had already proven powerful enough to handle something of that calibre. (You could imagine the disappointment from fans when the next Zelda console release turned out to be WW. It took a few years for people to warm up to WW since that title was such a severe break from the series aesthetically and tonally.) TP became one of the most hype Zelda titles when it was announced, and boy, did it deliver.

The game’s opening is on the slow side. The game proper doesn’t start for a good hour or two into gameplay. This is decently curbed since most of that time is in the player’s control. This consensus is that Midna is the best companion of the series. One of the better companion NPCs of any game, really. Midna is voiced, but she only speaks in nonsense words to go along with whatever dialogue text is happening on screen. A good chunk of her voice clips are paired with her idle animations when she’s riding around on wolf Link. It’s some of the most expressive characterization on any NPC. A few minutes of riding with her as wolf Link and you get exactly what kind of character Midna is supposed to be.

This is also the game with the most inactive Zelda of the series. She’s not even kidnapped or trapped in a crystal for her power. Extra funny in that the cutscene of Zant’s takeover of Hyrule is supposed to take place during Zelda’s coronation. She also has jack-all to do with Link. Link meets her a total of three times through the whole game, he basically has no idea who this woman is.

The controls feel much more polished. The Z-targeting is fundamentally the same as WW, but it’s been tweaked with some minor improvements. Z-targeting works on all bosses properly this time. None of them were needlessly frustrating from controls.

Speaking of needlessly frustrating. Fighting Ganon on horseback suuuuuuuuuuuuucks. I figured out how to cheese him after about half an hour of struggling. (I also rage quit and left the game running for like two hours lol) There seems to be a boundary close to the cliffs that Ganon can’t enter. If you’re in that zone near the cliffs edge, Ganon won’t approach you and stare you down from a distance. This is really useful if you need to reset your position during the horseback phase, and especially when you want to shake Ganon off your tail.

Conversely, the finals sword fight phase feels. SO GOOD.

All in all, a fantastic title.

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Nintendo DS

People who complain about the Ocean King Temple are wrong. Killing all phantoms in final run is cathartic. Interesting islands. Great companion. Touchscreen only controls are solid.

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Cute arcade style game. Its intention is to be bundled with the wii zapper, and showcasing the new style of gameplay. It does the job and is a neat, inoffensive game. I am Not Good at the on-a-rail levels. The levels that are supposed to be the most difficult, the ones where you have to move through a course yourself, are the easiest ones for me. I have way more experience taking my time to line up shots from other games, so these types of levels end up feeling really good.

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Nintendo DS

Only positive is that Zelda is playable. Kinda. Overworld traversal is not great which is a shame because trains. Trains are so good. Trains deserve better. The Zelda in this game is a good companion. There’s a weirdly sharp difficulty curve in late game. The dungeons are good but I don’t really remember them. The spirit tower is usually fun but there are some sequences that drag out just a little too long.

A lot of the side quests are fetch quests. A lot of side quests are escort missions, which function almost identically to fetch quests. As a result, a lot of the game feels needlessly padded. Doubly sucks when the game is so easy to 100%.

This should have been a good game, but it fell short.

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Switch Remaster (2021)

Visually pleasing. Fantastic music. Button only controls are solid. Memorable and fun NPCs. Since overworld is divided into sections, revisiting areas feel more repetitive than they actually are. Great dungeons. Good companion. Iconic villain. Zelda's story arc makes me angry on Zelda's behalf.

I have a lot of opinions on religion used as a narrative device to justify personal sacrifice. I won’t get into it now.

I feel like the initial reception of this game was heavily coloured by people’s disdain for the motion controls. This is pretty understandable, since the motion controls are an intrinsic mechanic of the game. There are many points in the game that feel more like a showcase for the motion controls, rather than a dungeon puzzle. That said, now that we have a port that removes the motion controls, it’s clear now that there was a great game buried under all that motion controls nonsense.

I remember feeling incredibly left behind when SS first came out for the Wii. I had a copy on my shelf for years, but my disability prevented me from even attempting to try the game. I had already learned from an earlier attempt at playing the Wii version of TP that I cannot handle anything with really demanding motion controls. Being able to watch my brother play through the game made things better and worse. I got to see a really beautiful game, but I also felt really bitter because I couldn’t have that for myself.

My longstanding wish for years had been that Nintendo put out a port with no motion controls, and I genuinely believed it would never happen because it would be such a logistical nightmare to remove the motion controls from the game. When the Switch port was announced, I was so excited I texted all my friends right that minute about how excited I was.

SS easily has some of the best dungeons in the series. Just about everything feels intuitive. Love the aesthetic. The game has an overall cozy feel. I’m glad I got to play this game.

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Nintendo 3DS


Great concept. Dungeons don’t overstay their welcome. Dungeons also don’t scale difficulty since you can tackle them in any order. Shift between two worlds is very fluid. Using 2D mechanic felt intuitive.

I think this game is underrated. My impression is that the people who take this game seriously are in the gen Z age bracket. People who likely got this game as kids. Older fans seem to pass this one up which is a crying shame because this is a solid game.

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BotW doesn’t introduce anything new, but it’s such a breakaway from the Zelda format it’s no longer in the same genre. Dungeons are weak, but that’s compensated with the introduction of shrines. Great side quests. Great characters. Like SS, I am upset on Zelda's behalf. Removal of dungeon items/abilities is sad.

The long standing issue with Zelda titles is that items often have limited usefulness outside of the dungeon that was designed for their use. Or, an item is rendered useless after the player acquires an upgraded version (eg. The bow replaces the slingshot).

BotW solves this design issue by removing the mechanic altogether. That’s not great.

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Honourable Mentions

Game Boy

Great story. Great characters. Very cute style and writing. The friendship between the protag and prince Richard made me tear up. You really do get the impression that these are two friends that have known each other their entire lives. Rivalry be damned, they're more important to each other than some silly quest for glory. This was very fun to play thorugh. Auto combat is a little frustrating at times. Dungeons got long towards the end. Save often. Stock up on items frequently.

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Switch HD Edition (2018)

Great companion. Great NPCs. Good dungeons. Abilities gained early on remain relevant in late game dungeons (a problem Zelda doesn’t solve until BotW [which solved this problem by removing the mechanic altogether]). Travelling feels good. Backtracking is handled really well. Bosses feel so good. Some bosses can be repetitive. Best plot. Visually stunning. The bait-and-switch with Orochimaru is *chef kiss* SO good. Downside is game is better experienced with a background knowledge in Japanese folklore. New game + feature is pretty nice.

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