Friday, 18 November 2011

Feature: My Top Five Personal Favourite Legend of Zelda Games

To celebrate twenty-five years of epic quests of legendary proportions, here's a look at my five favourite adventures from Nintendo's pinnacle franchise...

I've said time and time again in previous posts that The Legend of Zelda is a series of games that I can call, with not a speck of hesitation in my mind, my favourite video game franchise of all time, and I can't see that changing anytime soon. Ever since I first discovered the universe of this epic series in The Wind Waker, my first Zelda purchase to be followed by many others, I've kept it at the top of my list when it comes to gaming. This year clearly marks the 25th anniversary of Link's escapades through Hyrule and other magical locales, and Nintendo have thrown quite the celebration. The brilliant Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony Orchestra did some musical hijinks in London and New York City recently to the amazement of fans of excellent compositions and hardcore lovers of the great series' superb music alike, with these persons reactions consisting of comments such as "The best night of my life" and "The whole room was truly transported into the Zelda universe" among other such positive feedback. These comments are definitely no understatement, as many gamers will most probably be aware that the Zelda soundtracks contain some of the most celebrated tunes of all time, and you could only better them by having them played by a huge symphonic orchestra, as demonstrated at the event. Some surprising faces even turned up alongside the orchestra to the shock of attendees. composer Koji Kondo and Nintendo Prez Eiji Aonuma allegedly dropped by alongside Zelda Williams, who apparently got a bit emotional when talking about her favourite games, and when it's a series of games such as The Legend of Zelda, it's perfectly okay to do so if you ask me.

However, as brilliant as the 80 minute set list of celebratory Zelda tunes seemed to be (nope, I didn't go) the one true celebration of 25 years of adventuring through Hyrule will be found in the form of the next instalment in the series. And if you don't know that the next instalment happens to The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, then there's something going on in that brain of yours. The reviews are in, with the game scoring a whopping 98% from the relatively biased but still believable Official Nintendo Magazine, a perfect 10 from the usually critical publication many know as EDGE and another perfect one-oh from US magazine GameInformer, among many other stellar review scores (and a few hilariously poor ones that were clearly put up for a joke). If you're reading this post on the day it has been published, Skyward Sword will have been released and I'm most certainly playing it right now, unless Amazon have screwed up the delivery or something. At the time of writing I wouldn't know how I personally feel about the game, but Skyward Sword will most certainly be the next truly astonishing game in a truly brilliant series and a fitting celebration of 25 long years of excellence from what I would consider to be Nintendo's greatest franchise.

I'll also be celebrating this landmark year for gaming in the form of today's Feature, in which I'll be discussing my top five games from the Legend of Zelda series. Like a genius, I've named this post 'My Top Five Personal Favourite Legend of Zelda Games' just in case you didn't notice from the title above the paragraph following closely behind the paragraph following the one you're reading now. In this feature, I'll naturally be talking about my favourite titles from the long-running series out of the many I've played, but keep in mind that this list renders a number of games invalid. A Link to the Past, The Minish Cap, Link's Awakening and the Oracles games haven't actually found themselves in my grasp at the time of writing, but every other Zelda game has and this Feature is all about those games. Also, I must add that this post does contain some spoilers past this point. If you haven't finished a game from the series that isn't on this list, I advise that you don't read about it unless you couldn't care less about spoiling some story elements key to the single greatest franchise in gaming (in which case I pity you). Really, you don't want to spoil these amazing games and I wouldn't want you to either. Anyway, with that out of the way and without further celebratory rambling, let's begin this nostalgic journey with a rather unexpected entry...

5. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
[Nintendo DS] [2008] [In a Word: Underrated]
In retrospect, the two Zelda titles that appeared on the DS during the system's run really weren't anywhere near as good as most other instalments in the series. By the time I played through Spirit Tracks, the series' second dual screen release, I knew for a fact that both that game and former release Phantom Hourglass really didn't have anything on the vast majority of other Zelda titles. So, with the fact that I've played well over 5 Legend of Zelda games in mind, why on Earth is Phantom Hourglass, a game that I would easily award a solid but not spectacular 80% to, peaking at my all important number 5 spot that every other game bar my top four have been fighting over to at least make an appearance on this list? Well, I'll tell you. The Wind Waker was my first Zelda game, followed by this handheld title which I received in conjunction with my amazing but now frustratingly broken Gold Zelda Edition DS Lite at a rather young age. Back then I didn't think it was as good as Wind Waker, which you'll find takes a higher position on this list, but it still gave me that warm, nostalgic feeling that few games outside the Zelda series can give you. Many fans decline to say they love Phantom Hourglass as much as the other, 'main', instalments in the series, yet I reckon it's enjoyable enough to warrant a purchase and, as I said, a solid review score. The game itself wasn't bad at all, in fact, it was one of the best games on the DS when it was released. Phantom Hourglass happened to introduce some of the most inventive uses of the touch screen, that so many other titles have desperately attempted to replicate since. The whole Phantom Hourglass experience was played without the use of any buttons - Everything was controlled through the unique features of the DS, from the touch screen to the microphone. Link's movement was carried out through dragging the stylus across the lower screen, as if it was an invisible analogue stick in that the further you pushed down the screen, the fast Link would sprint around the field. All of the items in this title were also given new life through touch controls, as they allowed you to send the trademark boomerang flying in any direction you want, and fire arrows like there's no tomorrow at a simple tap of the screen. What's more, the touch screen mechanic never, ever felt broken which is impressive as the player took control of pretty much everything through it.

As a Zelda story the game held up too, and was one tale told through some pretty brilliant visuals that were surprisingly crisp and very impressive considering Phantom Hourglass was on the DS. As per usual you took the role of Link, this time the same one we saw in The Wind Waker. Not too long after the events of its predecessor, the hero is found travelling once again with the pirate chums he befriended in the previous chronological game, as part of a simple life outside of saving the world and such (and trust me, the only thing Link needed after Wind Waker's epic quest was a good ol' rest) but before long, all Hell breaks loose at the arrival of a ghastly Ghost Ship on the pirates' ship's starboard. Naturally, Link's gal Tetra is kidnapped and taken aboard this huge house of ghosts, with the protagonist's attempt to save her ending in a fall downwards straight into the deep end of the great sea. Link wakes up in a mysterious land to find himself journeying on another epic quest to save the world, with next to no help from his lovable new found ship-owning sidekick, Linebeck, the old geezer that sparked that brilliant character design and remarkable charm found through the faces you see in most home console Zeldas... only this time on a supposedly inferior handheld adventure. With this stuff in mind, I find it difficult to deny that The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is nothing but another core Zelda experience that you can truly enjoy on the move, this time. It may not have been the first great handheld title in this superb series, but hey, it's still an ace one. Some very frustrating flaws aside, such as the annoyingly short length of the game (I clocked the ending at about 10 hours, which isn't too long considering the series' other titles) and that annoying repeated dungeon that everyone hated, myself partially included, Phantom Hourglass is a superb, nostalgic title in my honest opinion that is well worth this spot on my list. Next up, we'll be moving onto even more controversial ground...

4. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
[Nintendo 64, remade for 3DS] [1998/2011] [In a Word: Overrated]
Yes, that's right, the game that so many have given the ridiculous title of the single greatest game of all time... Isn't my favourite Zelda game, nor is it my favourite game altogether. I realise there's been a graphically enhanced remake of the game on Nintendo's latest handheld system, but Ocarina of Time hasn't really stood the test of time in my eyes. Feel free to say I'm crap at games (although I'll whup anyone at a good brawl in Tekken anytime, anywhere) but the amount of times I got stuck in Link's so-called greatest adventure due to the fact there was no incentive of where to go next was absolutely ridiculous when I first played Ocarina of Time a few years ago. So yeah, I'm not part of the popular opinion when it comes to the best Zelda game - And what many consider to be the best game of all time. It ain't even in my top three, as you know, peaking at number 4 in this list. But still, don't let this put you off at all - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the greatest accomplishments in video game history, even more so than my preferred games of the same series that were basically inspired by Link's first ever 3D adventure on the Nintendo 64, and more recently the Hero of Time's first ever 3D adventure on 3DS (see what I did there?). Ocarina of Time is truly an outstanding achievement - It's the Nintendo 64's biggest and best game, just like Skyward Sword is set to be for Wii, and I would agree that at the time it was released it was one of the best games ever made if not the best.

So, what with me praising Ocarina of Time to such an incredible extent, why would I place it 2nd to last in this top five? Well, I'll tell you: the game simply didn't grip me as much as the other titles in the series. I'd already played through The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks before finally and belatedly hopping into the world of Ocarina, and I have a feeling that my experience with the newer and more refined titles brought my enjoyment of the original polygonal masterpiece down a bit, which is a massive shame. Still, I don't want this segment of the post to completely consist of negative notes - Ocarina of Time made it on this list for a reason. I don't have to tell anyone that this is one of the landmark achievements throughout video game historyOcarina, and I have a feeling that my experience with the newer and more refined titles brought my enjoyment of the original polygonal masterpiece down a bit, which is a massive shame. Still, I don't want this segment of the post to completely consist of negative notes - Ocarina of Time made it on this list for a reason. I don't have to tell anyone that this is one of the landmark achievements throughout video game history alongside the likes of Pong and the original Super Mario Bros., defining a genre much like these titles before it to the huge critical acclaim that Ocarina achieved. The game featured a huge quest spanning 50 hours of both fun (if a little clunky) adventuring and some great storytelling, detailing the adventure of a small Kokori boy who grows up to become the legendary Hero of Time, who is celebrated both in the game and in real life quite often. The time-travelling Ocarina that granted its user the ability to travel between a seven-year gap in Hyrule's history was a very interesting and innovative gameplayGanondorf's towering castle.

When it comes down to it, what can you really say about Ocarina of Time? It's the one game that defined Zelda titles for another 13 years following its release, and one that introduced a formula that has never changed too much until the series' next instalment finally hits. It may not be my favourite game out of personal taste, but if I had played it at the time (and with a developed enough brain to understand what was going on) I think Ocarina would've made it a bit higher on this list (although most probably not at the elusive number one spot) but if you ask me about my personal opinion, the game is a little bit overrated. I realise I called a masterpiece a few paragraphs ago, and it is worthy of that title, but really... Ocarina greatly improved on its predecessors just as the sequels improved on it, like a poor parent who tells their child of their past failings so that the child can improve on these errors and become a better person. Ridiculous analogies aside, I think I've perfectly placed Ocarina here at the number 4 spot, even though I know the majority of folks will disagree with me. In the end, there is a reason I stated this as my own personal list in the title of this feature. It's a truly amazing game that everyone who can needs to witness. Now, on to my next controversial pick...

3. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
[Nintendo 64] [2000] [In a Word: Disturbtacular]
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is about as disturbing as it gets when it comes to games published by Nintendo, unless you count the frightfully odd spin-off DS title Freshly Picked: Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland (which shockingly didn't make an appearance on this list, for whatever reason). If you ask me, it's the whole vibe and oddity of Majora's Mask that grants it a shiny bronze medal for reaching the number 4 spot on my top 5 Zelda games. A direct sequel to Ocarina of time, this amazingly niche title is almost as loved as the much-proclaimed greatest game in the series, and in all honesty I actually prefer this game to its over-celebrated predecessor. While Majora didn't make anywhere near as much of an impact as Link's first 3D adventure, it was still a brilliant title that for me personally shines a dark, moody and frighteningly shocking light on the usual cheery vibe that is other Zelda titles, and it's one of the standouts in the series for being such a black sheep in my eyes. In Majora's Mask, Link, in his child form, finds himself travelling the lonely path of a lonely loner who walks down lonely roads after crawling away from the events of Ocarina of Time in which he saved both the world and time itself. When trotting through a mysterious forest on steed Epona, The Skull Kid, a minor character who made an appearance in Ocarina is found sporting the devilish Mask of Majora, which possesses the ability to transform its wearer into an insane psychopath. Alongside his two fairy pals, the Skull Kid turns our lonely protagonist traveller into a Deku Scrub, one of the enemies you previously fought in past Zelda games, as a filthy prank. Let me rephrase that and allow you to sink in the majesty of this moment, a minor character who appears in Ocarina of Time transforms the Hero of Time himself into a Deku Scrub. Just five minutes into Majora's Mask, I was already slightly baffled. But baffled in a good way, nevertheless.

After the Skull Kid plays his ridiculous prank on Link and precedes to MURDER Epona, the hero finds himself in Termina, a parallel universe of sorts to Ocarina of Time's Hyrule. Castle Town is now Clock Town, an established city that, in three days time, is going to be destroyed alongise the rest of all existence by an extremely disturbing moon, which is possessed by Majora's Mask just like the psychopath Skull Kid. This tyrannous moon is set to coincide with the planet's atmosphere and kill everyone after 72 hours of game time, which is about an hour in real life. Oh, and did I mention this moon has a properly weird, smug grin on its face? Did I mention the moon in Majora even has a face? Weird stuff, for sure. And so, Link is found attempting to save Termina, the city that sounds like the creation of someone with a terminal illness, from the moon itself. And honestly, 72 hours, at least in the game's time stream, is clearly not enough time to do so. Not to mention the fact that you not only have to save the world,  Inevitably you realise that, as the Hero of Time, you can travel through time with your precious Ocarina and end up going back three days a large number of times before finally fixing everything and witnessing the end credits. It's sort of like a disturbing version of Groundhog Day set in the Zelda universe. 

The celebrated quote, "I... I shall consume. Consume... consume everything..." perfectly sums up the dark atmosphere of this dark, dark game, and it's the dark vibe of Majora's Mask that for me personally puts it above the vast majority of other instalments in the Zelda series. It's one of the creepiest games Nintendo have ever created, not only because of its dark and poetic vibes, but also because it's a perfect parallel to Ocarina of Time. Minor characters from Link's first Nintendo 64 appearence shine as main stars here, from the aforementioned Majora-possessed Skull Kid to the weirdo that is the Happy Mask Salesman, who is just as psychotic as the game's main antagonist. Majora's Mask isn't an epic quest, it's a dark experience that strays the furthest away from the standard Zelda formula and in turn provides the player with a dark adventure that might just be succeeded in completing for nothing but a lost cause... Oh, before I finish this segment of the feature, I'd like to muscle in the fact that I don't prefer Majora's Mask to Ocarina of Time, or vice-versa. No, I love both of Link's Nintendo 64 equally, and I really couldn't put one above the other if you asked me to. I just felt that the underrated title should take position above the one I consider to be pretty overrated, which is why Majora's Mask takes pride of place as my third favourite Zelda game, even though I find Ocarina just as awesome a title as this one. The day Nintendo decide to make another adventure starring the same Link from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask is the day I decide I'm going to die happy. And now, on to our next game. This title was the first Nintendo game I own, and the title that practically defined games for yours truly. The penultimate Zelda title; The game that made me a gamer; One of the greatest games of all time - It can't be anything other than...

2. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
[GameCube] [2003] [In a Word: Beautiful]
While I wouldn't say it's the game that made my childhood, that would be The Legend of Dragoon on PS1, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is the one game that defined my interest in all things Nintendo. It was my first ever Zelda game which I bought for the first ever Nintendo console I owned, and I still ponder to this day what my view of videogames would be like today if it weren't for this title. The Wind Waker was absolutely incredible when it came to both gameplay and visuals. The cel-shaded approach Nintendo went for may have seemed controversial when this title was first unveiled over a decade ago, but it definitely payed off and is one of the sole reasons that Wind Waker often ends up pretty high on most best Zelda game lists, and best game ever lists for that matter. It wasn't all about the beautiful visual approach Nintendo took with this title that truly defined it as one of the best Zelda games, however, the story was absolutely wonderous too. It followed on, although not directly, from the Hero of Time's larks in both Ocarina and Majora's Mask, this time following the adventure of a different Link. Hyrule has been washed away by a great sea which happens to be filled with a number of islands, one of which holds refuge to a surprisingly unlikely hero, who happens to be celebrating his birthday on the day Wind Waker's epic tale begins. After various escapades and hijinks, Link sets out on an epic quest alongside a crew of pirates lead by the awesome Tetra, who turns out, rather unexpectedly, to be a very familiar face later on. The very young Link's incentive to set out on this journey is due to his little sister Aryll's kidnapping by the ruler of the deadly Forsaken Fortress, the first of many dungeons you visit throughout Wind Waker's epic quest. Who exactly is the ruler of this castle of doom? Well, let's just say it's an evil man we're all familiar with...

The beautiful art and great script isn't the only thing that defines Wind Waker as the second best Zelda in my opinion. The gameplay itself was the same tried and tested formula from Ocarina of Time that, at the time wasn't getting old so it wasn't as big a deal as it would've been if a new instalment didn't revolutionise it. Overworld, dungeon, overworld, dungeon and the occasional side-quest or set-piece basically built up the structure of Wind Waker, and while this may seem a little dull (like I said, it probably would be if the game had been released in this era of fancy new games) it's brought to life by an amazingly creative assortment of characters. Aryll, Link's little sister, is likeable enough for you to have incentive as a player to go and rescue her from the clutches of evil, and the pirates who join you are all quirky and packed with personality traits. The Legend of Zelda has always had likeable characters, but the Twin Peaks-inspired personalities of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask didn't come close to the folks you'll meet in this game. The expansive Great Sea is packed with islands that can be reached on The King of Red Lions, a ship that literally co-operates with Link on his quest by talking to him. The first time I witnessed the scene where the boat turned its 'mane' around and sprawled out dialogue, I must've burst out laughing. Dated hilarity aside, this guy was also a very likeableoccasional side-quest or set-piece basically built up the structure of Wind Waker, and while this may seem a little dull (like I said, it probably would be if the game had been released in this era of fancy new games) it's brought to life by an amazingly creative assortment of characters. Aryll, Link's little sister, is likeable enough for you to have incentive as a player to go and rescue her from the clutches of evil, and the pirates who join you are all quirky and packed with personality traits. The Legend of Zelda has always had likeable characters, but the Twin Peaks-inspired personalities of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask didn't come close to the folks you'll meet in this game. The expansive Great Sea is packed with islands that can be reached on The King of Red Lions, a ship that literally co-operates with Link on his quest by talking to him. The first time I witnessed the scene where the boat turned its 'mane' around and sprawled out dialogue, I must have burst out laughing. Dated hilarity aside, this guy was also a very likeable companion, much more so than Ocarina's annoying Navi. All these folks and more helped make Wind Waker a much less dull experience than it could've been thanks to the tried and tested gameplay formula that the series has finally moved away from with Skyward Sword. This game is worth playing just to experience the personalities of the varying cast, the absolutely wonderful visuals, the superb setting and one of the best scripts in Zelda history, if not the best yet. Sure, the game was immensely let down towards the end by an extremely annoying fetch quest and it certainly isn't the longest Zelda game you can play, but nevertheless it was pure brilliance in its own right.

Going back to play the Wind Waker for this feature was an insanely nostalgic and truly magical trip of soaring proportions. I haven't touched the game in years, and seeing the game's wondrous cel-shaded visuals and witnessing the story unfold once more was mesmerising to say the least. The music in particular was extremely nostalgic, and to this day I happily state that The Wind Waker has the very best Zelda soundtrack to this day, which is a mean feat considering its competition. Naturally Koji Kondo handled the music, and quite frankly the soundtrack of this game ranks up as some of his best work. It's safe to say by now that I absolutely adore this game, and that it's well worth the second best position on the pantheon of Zelda titles in my opinion. If you've not played The Wind Waker yet, I recommend you purchase it as soon as possible if you want to experience one of the finest games ever released. If you have played it but, like myself, haven't touched it for a while then do so for a nostalgic trip down memory lane. So, at that, we're left with one final question that will be answered shortly; What exactly is my number one Legend of Zelda game? I've already included Wind Waker, Majora's Mask and Ocarina of Time, the more obvious choices for the top spot on this list, so what could possibly be the pinnacle Zelda game in my personal opinion? It couldn't be... that instalment, could it? Read on and find out...

1. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
[GameCube, Slightly Ruined on Wii] [2004] [In a Word: Insane]
And so, after many paragraphs of awesomeness detailing some of the greatest games of all time, here we are at number one in which I shall be trying my best to describe what I would consider to be the single greatest game of all time, at least excluding Skyward Sword which I sincerely hope will top this. In past posts and such, I've gone off and on about how The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is not only my favourite Legend of Zelda game but also my favourite game of all time so far. With Skyward Sword out today, this might just change, and you can expect my first impressions of the next big Wii game up tomorrow. Back to Twilight Princess... just... wow. The first time I experienced this dark but delightful quest was the amazing time in which I burst out into an expressive explosion of utter joy; I had just found my favourite game. If Wind Waker was fantastic and beautiful, Twilight Princess was epic, twisted, humane, and indescribably amazing. It featured a great visual approach that gets a lot of stick from Zelda fans, but I personally thought it was superb and fitting for a game as dark as Twilight Princess. The visuals of my favourite Zelda game very much reminded me of the approach to visuals Shadow of the Collossus on PS2 took, and that's definitely no bad thing. The visuals were just a mere slice of the amazingly crafted but oddly moody cake that Twilight Princess offers the player. Twilight Princess was a very dark game that, while not quite on the same level of utter insanity as the previously detailed Majora's Mask, offered up a more epic approach to the previously light hearted quests that various Links, as protagonists, partook in. The heart of darkness in this title was Zant, the total psychotic maniac that was the main cause of all the hullabaloo in the game. He was the twisted ruler of the Twilight Realm, an alternative universe home to the Twili, a race of disturbing beasts that rank up as some of Nintendo's oddest creations. A banished member of this weird tribe, the spunkily likeable Midna, accompanied this game's Link on an adventure to save not only Hyrule from the clutches of Twili king Zant, but also for her own cruel needs. Not that I'm going to spoil said needs, of course.

I simply can't go on about how twisted Twilight Princess is without mentioning the extremely disturbing cutscene that was featured in the game. The cutscene in which Link's former sweetheart who was kidnapped by a terrorist group of bokoblins earlier in the game pulls a knife out on our hopeless protagonist who, in an extremely odd fashion, joins a group of Dark Links that reach out to him and turn him into some kind of weird anti-Link. Loads of duplicates of Link's sweetheart proceed to fall downwards in a dark space, all carrying knives, and laughing their heads off in a twisted and disturbing way. As if this nonsensical cutscene wasn't freaky enough. All while this is happening, a simple yet disturbing tune is playing as if things weren't heavy enough. If you haven't seen this cutscene, play the game now, it's fairly early on in the main quest and it'll basically mess with your head. Who says Nintendo don't do dark games? This baffling plot point made absolutely no sense, but it was certainly a welcome inclusion in an already twisted game. It's a sequence that will always be remembered by those who've seen it, and one of the oddest things Nintendo has ever had the guts to create. Amazing, dark, trippy and undeniably freaky stuff. The boss fight against the aforementioned ruler of all things otherworldly, Zant, was another amazingly dark and trippy moment that will be remembered through the ages. It is, in my eyes, without a shadow of a doubt the best boss fight ever to feature in a Zelda game. There were a ton of 'phases' to be found in this final battle against the completely and utterly insane king of Twilight, each of which were a Zant-ified look at past bosses that you fought earlier on in the game. And the music... It's just a breakcore fan's dream. Absolutely insane drumbeats and trippy sound effects build up to make one of the most awesome songs in the game, and one of the most original to appear in any Zelda game to date. Of course, these darker moments among many others weren't what made Twilight Princess so amazing that I'd consider it to be the series' pinnacle instalment...

Following on from the previous paragraph, it was in fact the gameplay and overall epic feel of the game that was still retained within the charming Legend of Zelda universe. The 40-50 hour plot was very well devised and featured many elements of past Zelda games, with some new quirks in tow. The same basic battle system and dungeon to overworld formula was used in the game, but the overworld segments were actually much more fun in this title. More exciting set-pieces than ever were included in this instalment, with one sticking out in my mind being a section of the game where you invade a Bokoblin-infested base found deep within a vast desert. Fun times. It's true that Twilight Princess didn't quite revolutionise the formula drastically, but it was still an undeniably fun game to play. The atmosphere of running around Hyrule Field was completely electric and the music that played in this centre overworld was stunning. While I'm on about the music, while my favourite Zelda game's soundtrack isn't quite as good as Wind Waker's it's still one of the best in the series, and it perfectly fitted the dark, epic feel of the game. I keep going on about how dark Twilight Princess is, but regardless of this it still managed to stay in the Legend of Zelda realm thanks to the inclusion of characters that were as quirky as ever, adding another layer of charm to the quest you initiated in this game. Everyone from a bug-obsessed brat to a Richard Hammond-esque postman was included, as well as many returning species such as the almighty Gorons. And let's not forget the aforementioned Twili gal Midna. This character was full of personality and can easily be thought of as Link's most likeable companion in any of his many quests. Even Link himself has a much more humane side in this adventure, and unfortunately for him he's been cursed with the occasional transformation into a wolf, of all things.

The sheer humanity and total insanity of Twilight Princess made for one of the more dark and epic Zelda legends. It's not quite on the same level as Majora's Mask in terms of pure oddity, but in the end the gameplay, story, graphics, visual approach, delightful and dark range of characters and an epic adventure spanning over 40 hours of just attempting to beat the main quest; All these things made for the greatest adventure of all time, at least up until now. I absolutely adore Twilight Princess, even more so than one of my favourite childhood games, The Wind Waker, and what is proclaimed by most as the pinnacle of the series, Ocarina of Time. When it comes down to it though, just about every Legend of Zelda game is astonishing, and the series as a whole has my salutations (as long as you exclude the 'Unholy Triforce' on the sickening Phillips CD-I). I can't wait to see what I think of Skyward Sword, the next installment in the long-running legend, released today. You can expect my first impressions of the latest Zelda title up tomorrow and my definitive review posted soon after I finish it. And now, to wrap this post up. Well, I can't. I really can't wrap up this post in the form of words. The sheer amount of praise and affection me and many other fans express when talking about Zelda games is unprecedented, and absolutely indescribable. I wish an extremely joyous 25th birthday to the series, and here's to another 25, as they usually say. I'm now raising my glass of flat, tasteless Pepsi Max as some kind of tribute to this amazing series of magical games. Subtle, I know. Pathetic, I can't deny. But really, until my vocabulary reaches Steven Fry levels of variety, I simply will not be able to express my love of Nintendo's single greatest franchise. The memories of the games you see on this list are seeping through my head at great speeds, and a tear of pure delight just rolled down my cheek. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll just be crying manly tears elsewhere. As usual, I hope you had a good read and I certainly hope you lot will enjoy reading what's to come. Thank you, and goodnight.

Posted without images to coincide with the release of Skyward Sword. Check back in a day or so for the completed post.


Casplen said...

I love how your opinion on Twilight Princess mirrors mine. It really is the greatest Zelda title.

Oh, and the Tekken comment...=D

Noodle said...

Heheh, yup, I love me a bit of Tekken :3

George said...

That was massive, and awesome! I'd probably pick the same top 5 as you, but the reasons for each would be slightly different in some places. I also love the dark style of twilight princess - my favourite art style of all the zelda games. So yeah, nice post!