The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda series logo
|Developer(s)||Nintendo (some titles developed by Capcom/Flagship)|
|Original release||February 21, 1986|
|Official website||Zelda Universe|
The Legend of Zelda (ゼルダの伝説 Zeruda no Densetsu) is a high fantasy action-adventure video game series created by Japanese game designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka and developed and published by Nintendo with some portable installments such as The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap developed by Flagship/Capcom. The gameplay consists of a mixture of action, adventure, puzzle solving, and role-playing. The series centers on Link, the main playable character and protagonist. Link is often given the task of rescuing Princess Zelda and the most common setting of the series, Hyrule, from Ganondorf, also known as Ganon who is the primary antagonist of the series. However, other settings and antagonists have appeared throughout the games, with Vaati having recently become the series' secondary antagonist. The story commonly involves a relic known as the Triforce, a set of three golden triangles of omnipotence. The protagonist in each game is usually not the same incarnation of Link, but a few exceptions do exist.
Until July 2007, The Legend of Zelda series has sold over 52 million copies since the release of the first game, The Legend of Zelda, and continues to be successful worldwide. The series consists of 15 official games on all of Nintendo's major consoles, as well as several spin-offs. An American animated series based on the games aired in 1989, and individual manga adaptions which are officially endorsed and commissioned by Nintendo have been produced in Japan since 1997.
The Legend of Zelda games feature a mixture of puzzles, action, adventure/battle gameplay, and exploration. These elements have remained constant throughout the series, but with refinements and additions featured in each new game. The player is frequently rewarded for solving puzzles or exploring areas. Most Zelda games involve locating and exploring dungeons, in which puzzles are solved and enemies fought, then defeating the dungeon's boss. Each dungeon usually has one major item inside, which is usually essential for solving many of the puzzles in that dungeon and often plays a crucial role in defeating that dungeon's boss. Some items are consistent and appear many times throughout the series, while others are unique to a single game. The series also consists of stealth gameplay, where the player must avoid enemies while proceeding through a level, as well as racing elements.
Although the chronology of the Legend of Zelda series is a subject of controversy by its fans due to the fact that there are no solid confirmations from Nintendo, it is generally agreed upon that The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past precedes The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, the first two games released in the series. Ocarina of Time is also a prequel, going even further back and implicitly retelling the backstory of A Link to the Past. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has been cited by Nintendo as the direct sequel to Ocarina of Time. The Wind Waker takes place a hundreds of years after the events of Ocarina of Time, and this game is based on ending of this story where Link as an adult defeats Ganondorf. The game explicitly references the "Hero of Time" from that game, and states that, due to his absence, it was necessary to flood Hyrule to stop Ganon. The Minish Cap, Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures include references to other titles and producer Eiji Aonuma have stated that these games are supposed to be the oldest games in the series, preceding Ocarina of Time.
In an interview conducted by Nintendo Dream with Aonuma in December 2006, it was revealed that there are two parallel universes in the Zelda chronology. The timeline is split at the end of Ocarina of Time, when Link is sent back in time by Princess Zelda to live through his childhood, while the original events of Ocarina of Time continue on a different path. Once returned to his original time, Link leaves the Master Sword in its place, preventing Ganondorf's plan from coming to fruition, and goes to see Zelda again, resulting in the "Child Timeline". The Wind Waker occurs in the "Adult Timeline", after the Hero of Time saved Hyrule in Ocarina of Time, and it is directly followed by Phantom Hourglass. Spirit Tracks takes place one hundred years after Phantom Hourglass.
Some have speculated that each Zelda title is simply a retelling of the Zelda legend, and that differences between settings and characters are not progressions in a timeline but merely different retellings. They typically cite a quote at the beginning of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: "This is but one of the legends of which the people speak."
The Legend of Zelda was principally inspired by Shigeru Miyamoto's explorations as a young boy in the hillsides surrounding his childhood home in Kyoto, Japan where he ventured into forests with secluded lakes, caves, and rural villages. According to Miyamoto, one of his most memorable experiences was the discovery of a cave entrance in the middle of the woods. After some hesitation, he apprehensively entered the cave, and explored its depths with the aid of a lantern. Miyamoto has referred to the creation of the Zelda games as an attempt to bring to life a "miniature garden" for players to play with in each game of the series.
Hearing of American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife Zelda, Miyamoto thought the name sounded "pleasant and significant". Paying tribute, he chose to name the princess after her, and titled his creation The Legend of Zelda.
The Legend of Zelda series has developed a deep story and wide universe over its many releases. Much of the backstory of the creation of Hyrule was revealed in the games A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess.
According to the in-game backstories, long ago, three golden goddesses descended and created the land of Hyrule. Din, the goddess of power, with her powerful, flaming arms, cultivated the empty space, and created the red earth. Nayru, the goddess of wisdom, bestowed her divine wisdom upon the land, and created the world's laws to give a sense of justice and order to the world, and to guide the people in the goddesses' absence. Farore, the goddess of courage, endowed Hyrule with her powers, creating life to follow this justice.
After their work was completed, the goddesses left a sacred artifact called the Triforce, which could grant the wishes of the user. It consisted of three golden triangles (each also called a "Triforce"—one of Wisdom, one of Power and one of Courage). However, because the Triforce was not divine, and could not judge between good and evil, the goddesses placed the Triforce in an alternate world called the "Sacred Realm" or the "Golden Land", hoping that a worthy person would one day seek it.
According to legend, the discoverer of the Triforce will receive the Triforce as a whole - along with the true force to govern all - only if that person has a balance of power, wisdom and courage. If the heart of that person is pure, the Sacred Realm will become a paradise. If the heart of that person is evil, the Sacred Realm will become a nightmarish world of evil. If they are unbalanced, they will only receive the part of the Triforce that represents the characteristic they most demonstrate, with the remaining parts of the whole transferring into the people in Hyrule who most exemplify the other two traits. The Triforce was first distributed as such starting in Ocarina of Time, with the Triforces of Power, Wisdom, and Courage being transferred to Ganondorf, Princess Zelda, and Link, respectively. While the Triforce of Power and Wisdom have been part of the series since the original The Legend of Zelda, it was only in The Adventure of Link that the Triforce of Courage was first introduced, being obtained by Link at the end of his quest.
The fictional universe established by the Zelda games sets the stage for each adventure. Many games take place in lands with their own back-stories. Termina, for example, is a parallel world  while Koholint is an island far away from Hyrule that appears to be part of a dream.
The main protagonist of The Legend of Zelda series, Link, is portrayed as a male child or teen who wears a green tunic and pointed cap for most of each game. He is a member of the Hylian race. Link is described on the series' official website as humble and brave, and therefore appropriate to bear the Triforce of Courage. He sometimes has a special title, such as "Hero of Time","Hero of the Winds" or "Hero of Twilight". All incarnations of Link are left-handed, the only exceptions currently being in the Wii version of Twilight Princess, in which he is right-handed due to "mirroring" used to accommodate the right-handed control scheme, which flips the entire game world's layout from that of its Nintendo GameCube counterpart, and in the manual for the original game, he is depicted as being right-handed. Also in the original game Link is seen as ambidextrous because whether he is facing left or right his sword is in the "down screen side"
Link does not usually speak, and only produces grunts, yells or similar sounds. One exception is The Wind Waker in which he says "Come on!" to make people or objects follow him. When Link is asked questions, the player answers by choosing options from a list, with the exception of a few times in Spirit Tracks, where the microphone is used to speak; Link usually does not give any oral or visual indication that he has answered, however he sometimes nods his head in The Wind Waker. Link does speak in the cartoon series and the CD-i games produced by Philips, though these are not canon materials in the series. However, he does "speak" two lines in The Adventure of Link; when he locates a mirror under a table, the text, "I found a mirror under the table" appears on screen, and later on, if he examines a fireplace that he can enter, "Looks like I can get in the fireplace" is displayed.
In most games, the player can name Link before the start of the adventure, and he will be referred by that given name throughout by the NPCs.
Princess Zelda is the heroine of the series that is named after her, even though players play as Link. She is the princess of Hyrule, as well as the guardian of the Triforce of Wisdom. While most titles require Link to save Zelda from Ganon, she is sometimes shown to be quite capable in battle, using magical powers and weapons to aid Link. With the exception of the CD-i games, she wasn't playable in the main series until Spirit Tracks, where she becomes a spirit and can possess a Phantom Knight that can be controlled by the player.
The Legend of Zelda, the first game of the series, was first released in Japan on February 21, 1986 on the Famicom Disk System. A cartridge version, using battery-backed memory, was released in the United States on August 22, 1987 and Europe on November 27, 1987. The game features a "Second Quest", accessible on completing the game, in which dungeons and item placement are different, and enemies are more difficult for the player to defeat. In 1994, near the end of the Famicom's lifespan, the game was rereleased in cartridge format. A modified version, BS Zelda no Densetsu, was released for the Super Famicom's satellite-based expansion, Satellaview, in the mid-1990s in Japan. BS Zelda was rereleased for the Satellaview a year later, with rearranged dungeons and an altered overworld.
The second game, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, was released for the Famicom Disk System in Japan in January 1987, and for the Nintendo Entertainment System in Europe in November 1988 and North America in December 1988. The game exchanged the top-down perspective for side-scrolling (though the top-down point of view was retained for overworld areas), and introduced RPG elements (such as experience points) not used in The Legend of Zelda. The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II were released in gold-colored game cartridges instead of the console's regular gray cartridges. Both were rereleased in the final years of the Nintendo Entertainment System with gray cartridges.
Four years later, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past returned to the top-down view (under a 3/4 perspective), and added the concept of an alternate dimension, the Dark World. The game was released for the SNES in 1991. It was later rereleased for the Game Boy Advance on December 9, 2002 in North America, on a cartridge with Four Swords, the first multiplayer Zelda, and then through Nintendo's Virtual Console service on January 22, 2007. In addition, both this game (unchanged, except for being converted into a downloadable format) and an exclusive "loosely-based" sequel (which used the same game engine) called BS Zelda no Densetsu Kodai no Sekiban were released on the Satellaview in Japan.
The next game, Link's Awakening, is the first Zelda for Nintendo's Game Boy handheld, and the first set outside Hyrule and to exclude Princess Zelda. It was rereleased, in full colour, as a launch title for the Game Boy Color in 1998 as Link's Awakening DX with some additional features, including an extra color-based dungeon and a photo shop that allows interaction with the Game Boy Printer.
After another hiatus, the series made the transition to 3D with Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64, which was released in November 1998. This game, initially known as Zelda 64, retains the core gameplay of the previous 2D games, and was very successful commercially and critically. It ranks highly on IGN and EGM's "greatest games of all time" lists, and scored perfect scores in several video game publications. In February 2006, it was ranked by Nintendo Power as the best game released for a Nintendo console. The game was originally developed for the poorly-selling, Japanese-only Nintendo 64DD, but was ported to cartridge format when the 64DD hardware was delayed. A new gameplay mechanic, lock-on targeting, is used in the game, which focuses the camera on a nearby target and alters the player's actions relative to that target. Such mechanics allow precise sword fighting in a 3D space. Those who preordered the game received a gold-colored cartridge in a limited edition box with a golden plastic card affixed, reading "Collector's Edition".
Ocarina of Time was rereleased on the Nintendo GameCube in 2002, when it was offered as a pre-order incentive for The Wind Waker in the U.S., Canada and Japan. Europe continues to receive it free in every copy of The Wind Waker, except for the discounted Player's Choice version. It includes a previously unreleased 64DD expansion known as Ura Zelda in Japan and Ocarina of Time Master Quest in North America. Ocarina of Time was included as part of Collector's Edition for the GameCube in 2003. It is now available through the Wii's Virtual Console service.
Ocarina of Time's follow-up, Majora's Mask, was released in November 2000. It uses the same 3D game engine as the previous game, and added a time-based concept, in which Link, the protagonist, relives the events of three days as many times as needed to complete the game's objectives. It was originally called Zelda Gaiden, a Japanese title that translates as Zelda Side story. Gameplay changed significantly; in addition to the time-limit, Link can use masks to transform into creatures with unique abilities. While Majora's Mask retains the graphical style of Ocarina of Time, it is also a departure, particularly in its atmosphere. It also features motion-blur, unlike its predecessor. The game is darker, dealing with death and tragedy in a manner not previously seen in the series, and has a sense of impending doom, as a large moon slowly descends upon the land of Termina. All copies of Majora's Mask are gold cartridges. A "Limited Collector's Edition" lenticular cartridge label was offered as the pre-order incentive. Copies of the game that were not collector's editions featured a regular sticker cartridge label. Majora's Mask is now available on the Virtual Console.
The next two games, Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, were released simultaneously for the Game Boy Color, and interact using passwords or a Game Link Cable. After one game has been completed, the player is given a password that allows the other game to be played as a sequel. They were developed by Flagship in conjunction with Nintendo, with supervision from Miyamoto. After the team experimented with porting the original The Legend of Zelda to the Game Boy Color, they decided to make an original trilogy to be called the "Triforce Series". When the password system linking the three games proved too troublesome, the concept was reduced to two games at Miyamoto's suggestion. These two games became Oracle of Ages, which is more puzzle-based, and Oracle of Seasons, which is more action-oriented.
When Nintendo revealed the Nintendo GameCube on August 24, 2000, the day before Nintendo's SpaceWorld 2000 exposition, a software demonstration showed a realistically-styled real-time duel between Ganondorf and Link. Fans and the media speculated that the battle might be from a Zelda game in development. At Spaceworld 2001 Nintendo showed a cel-shaded Zelda title, later released as The Wind Waker, which Miyamoto felt would "extend Zelda's reach to all ages". The media reported that Zelda was shifting to a younger audience, to Miyamoto's surprise. Nothing further was shown until a playable demonstration was ready. The gameplay centers on controlling wind with a baton called the "Wind Waker" and sailing a small boat around an island-filled ocean, retaining similar gameplay mechanics as the previous 3D games in the series.
The next game released in the series was Four Swords Adventures for the GameCube, which was released in early 2004 in Japan and America, and January 2005 in Europe. Based on the handheld Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures was another deviation from previous Zelda gameplay, focusing on level-based and multiplayer gameplay. The game contains 24 levels and a map screen; there is no connecting overworld. For multiplayer features, each player must use a Game Boy Advance system linked to the Nintendo GameCube via a Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Advance cable. The game also features a single-player campaign, in which using a Game Boy Advance is optional.
Four Swords Adventures includes two gameplay modes: "Hyrulean Adventure", with a plot and gameplay similar to other Zelda games, and "Shadow Battle", in which multiple Links, played by multiple players, battle each other. The Japanese version includes an exclusive third segment, "Navi Trackers" (originally designed as the stand-alone game "Tetra's Trackers"), which contains spoken dialog for most of the characters, unlike other games in The Legend of Zelda series.
In November 2004 in Japan and Europe, and January 2005 in America, Nintendo released The Minish Cap for the Game Boy Advance. In The Minish Cap Link can shrink in size using a mystical, sentient hat named Ezlo. While shrunk, he can see previously-explored parts of a dungeon from a different perspective, and enter areas through otherwise-impassable openings.
In November 2006, Twilight Princess was released as the first Zelda game on the Wii, and later, in December 2006, on the Nintendo GameCube, the console for which it was originally developed. The Wii version features a reversed world; everything that is in the west on the GameCube is in the east on the Wii, and vice versa (The game was mirrored in order to make Link right-handed to make use of the Wii remote feel more natural). The game chronicles the struggle of an older Link to rid Hyrule of the "Twilight Realm", a mysterious force consuming the land. When he enters this realm, he is transformed into a wolf, changing the gameplay. Twilight Princess also features horseback transportation and mounted battle scenarios, including boss battles.
At the 2006 Game Developers Conference, a trailer for Phantom Hourglass for the Nintendo DS was shown. It revealed traditional top-down Zelda gameplay optimized for the DS' features, with a cel-shaded graphical style similar to The Wind Waker. At E3 2006, Nintendo confirmed the game's status as a direct sequel to The Wind Waker, and released an extensive playable demo, including a multiplayer mode with "capture the flag" elements. Phantom Hourglass was released on June 23, 2007 in Japan, October 1, 2007 in North America and October 19, 2007 in Europe.
The next Legend of Zelda for the DS, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, was released December 7, 2009 in North America and December 11, 2009 in the UK. In this game, the 'spirit tracks', railroads which chain an ancient evil, are disappearing from Hyrule. Zelda and Link go to the 'Spirit Tower' (the ethereal point of convergence for the tracks) to find out why. But villains steal Zelda's body for the resurrection of the Demon King. Rendered disembodied, Zelda is left a spirit, and only Link (and a certain few sages) can see her. Together they go on a quest to restore the spirit tracks, defeat the Demon King, and return Zelda to her body.
Using a modified engine of that used in Phantom Hourglass, the notably new feature in this game is that the Phantom Guardians seen in Phantom Hourglass are, through a series of events, periodically controllable.
In April 2008, Miyamoto stated that "the Zelda team is forming again to work on new games". Miyamoto clarified in July that the Zelda team has been working on a new Zelda game for the Wii. In January 2010, Nintendo Executive Satoru Iwata stated that the game would be coming out some time in 2010. The new Zelda game on the Wii will be compatible with the Wii MotionPlus accessory to make sword play more realistic.
The Legend of Zelda series, like many Nintendo games, has been noted for its use of music. Koji Kondo, who has been described as the "greatest legend in the video game audio industry" due to his work for Nintendo, has composed much of the music for the series, although the last game for which he was solely responsible for the composition of the soundtrack was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Games in The Legend of Zelda series frequently feature in-game musical instruments, particularly in musical puzzles, which are widespread. Often, instruments trigger game events: for example, the recorder in The Legend of Zelda can reveal "secret" areas. In Ocarina of Time, playing instruments is a core part of the game, the player needing to play the instrument through the use of the game controller to succeed. Ocarina of Time is "[one of the] first contemporary nondance title[s] to feature music-making as part of its gameplay", using music as a heuristic device and requiring the player to utilize songs to progress in the game—a game mechanic that is also present in Majora's Mask and, in different forms, The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Oracle of Ages and Spirit Tracks.
The Legend of Zelda was made into an animated series as a "show within a show" in the semi-live-action Super Mario Bros. Super Show TV series produced by DiC and distributed by Viacom Enterprises. The animated Zelda shorts were aired each Friday, instead of the usual Super Mario Bros. cartoon that aired during the rest of the week. The series loosely followed the NES Zelda games, mixing settings and characters from those games with original creations. Thirteen animated Zelda shorts were featured within the show's 65-episode run. The show's incarnations of Link and Zelda also appeared in various episodes of Captain N: The Game Master during its second season.
Valiant Comics released a short-lived series of comics featuring characters and settings from the Zelda cartoon as part of their Nintendo Comics System line. In addition, manga have been created based on the many of the series' games, including A Link to the Past, Link's Awakening, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, the Oracle series, The Wind Waker, Four Swords Adventures, The Minish Cap and an upcoming adaptation of Phantom Hourglass. The comics and manga are not considered canonical.
A series of video games were developed and released for the Philips CD-i in the early 1990s as a product of a compromise between Philips and Nintendo, after the companies failed to develop a CD-based peripheral for the Super Nintendo. Created with no influence from Nintendo, the games are Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, and Zelda's Adventure. The "trilogy" is a large departure from the rest of the series, and they are generally considered poor efforts by fans and reviewers alike. Nintendo has erased them from the Zelda canon, evidenced by their absence from any of Nintendo's websites and publications. The character designs and personalities used in the games appear to be based heavily on the cartoon series. The three CD-i games have been dubbed the "Unholy Triforce" by Zelda fans who happen to know of their existence.
Three Zelda-themed LCD games were created between 1989 and 1992. The Zelda version of Nintendo's Game & Watch series was released first in August 1989 as a dual-screen handheld electronic game similar in appearance to today's Nintendo DS. It was re-released in 1998 as a Toymax, Inc. Mini Classic and was later included as an unlockable extra in Game & Watch Gallery 4, a 2002 compilation for the Game Boy Advance. While the Game & Watch Zelda was developed in-house by Nintendo, the subsequent two LCD games were developed by third parties under license by Nintendo. In October 1989, The Legend of Zelda was developed by Nelsonic as part of its Game Watch line. This game was an actual digital watch with primitive gameplay based on the original Legend of Zelda. In 1992, Epoch Co. developed Zelda no Densetsu: Kamigami no Triforce for its Barcode Battler II console. The game employed card-scanning technology similar to the later-released Nintendo e-Reader.
There have been several titles in The Legend of Zelda series that have never been released for various reasons. One such title was The Legend of Zelda: Mystical Seed of Courage for Game Boy Color. When Yoshiki Okamoto worked to develop Zelda titles for the Game Boy Color, his Capcom team decided to create a series of three games. Referred to as the "Triforce Series", the games were known as The Legend of Zelda: The Mysterious Acorn: Chapter of Power, Chapter of Wisdom, and Chapter of Courage in Japan and The Legend of Zelda: Mystical Seed of Power, Mystical Seed of Wisdom, and Mystical Seed of Courage in the US. The games were to interact using a password system, but the limitations of this system and the difficulty of coordinating three games proved too complicated, so the team scaled back to two titles at Miyamoto's suggestion. Oracle of Seasons was adapted from Mystical Seed of Power, Oracle of Ages was adapted from Mystical Seed of Wisdom, and Mystical Seed of Courage was canceled. Another title is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Ura, intended to be an upgraded remake of Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64DD. For a long time the game was not released as the N64DD was never sold outside of Japan due to poor sales. Prior to the release of The Wind Waker, a bonus disc called The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest was released, containing a port of Ocarina of Time and a GameCube-modified version of Ocarina of Time Ura.
There have been several titles released that are set within or star a minor character from the The Legend of Zelda universe but are not directly connected to The Legend of Zelda series. One such title is Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland for the Nintendo DS. Supporting character Tingle stars in this spin-off RPG, released in September 2006 in Japan and in the summer of 2007 in the UK. Another title is Tingle's Balloon Fight DS for the Nintendo DS. Tingle also stars in this spin-off arcade style platformer, released in April 2007 only in Japan and available solely to Platinum Club Nintendo members. The title BS Zelda no Densetsu Kodai no Sekiban (BS The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets) for the Satellaview is also a spin-off. It stars the "Hero of Light" (portrayed by either Satellaview's male or female mascot) as the protagonist of Hyrule. Both map versions of the title BS Zelda no Densetsu (BS The Legend of Zelda) for the Satellaview could also be considered spin-offs. Despite being graphically enhanced remakes of The Legend of Zelda, both versions of this game star the "Hero of Light" (portrayed by the Satellaview mascots as opposed to Link) as the protagonist of Hyrule. There is also the spin-off shooter title Link's Crossbow Training for the Wii, released on November 19, 2007. Bundled with the Wii Zapper, this game has players assume the identity of Link as he progresses through a series of tests to perfect his crossbow marksmanship. Currently this is the only spin-off title made available in North America.
Characters from and references to the The Legend of Zelda series have appeared in a variety of other video games that go beyond what is considered a typical cameo appearance. This may include major story elements, character development, and even affect major game features. Link appears as a fighter in Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64. Link is also a fighter in Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo GameCube, alongside Zelda (also able to transform into Sheik), Ganondorf and Young Link (the child version of Link from Ocarina of Time). In Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii all Zelda characters make a return with the exception of Young Link, who was replaced by Toon Link (Wind Waker's Link). Instead of their Ocarina of Time appearances that have been used in previous Super Smash Bros. games, all but Toon Link are depicted in the style of Twilight Princess. Link appears as an exclusive fighter in the GameCube version of Soul Calibur II, and is also featured prominently in several mini-games from WarioWare: Smooth Moves and WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!. The Game Boy Camera: Gold Version contains Ocarina of Time themed stamps of characters and items for editing photos that are not found in any other color version of the Game Boy Camera. Multiple items from the Zelda series are obtainable in-game in the Satellaview-exclusive SatellaWalker 2. Link also makes a brief appearance in Super Mario RPG where he appears sleeping in an inn, remaining asleep in a bed throughout the game. Examining him will cause a jingle (that which plays when the player completes a puzzle or opens a doorway in The Legend of Zelda games) to play. Also, a text box may appear with only "....." inside, referring to Link's tendency to be silent. In the Super Nintendo game Kirby Superstar (and its Nintendo DS re-make Kirby Superstar Ultra), you can find the Triforce in the game The Great Cave Offensive(Also, when Kirby obtains the Sword ability, he wears a hat highly similar to Link's). In Final Fantasy for the Game Boy Advance, there is a tombstone which reads, "Here lies Link." Okami director Hideki Kamiya states that he has been influenced by The Legend of Zelda series in developing the title. The developers of the game Dark Sector have stated they have been heavily influenced by The Legend of Zelda series, and that the structure of the game is much like a Zelda game. Other games which reference the series are Donkey Kong Country 2, the Animal Crossing series, and World of Warcraft.
The Legend of Zelda series has generated many extremely positive reviews within the gaming industry. GameFAQs has held a contest for the best video game series ever, with The Legend of Zelda claiming the top position. Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker have both received a perfect 40/40 score (10/10 by four reviewers) by Japanese Famitsu magazine, making Zelda the first and currently only series with multiple perfect scores. Computer and Video Games awarded The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess a score of 10/10. A Link to the Past has won Gold Award from Electronic Gaming Monthly. In Nintendo Power's Top 200 countdown in 2004, Ocarina of Time took first place, and seven other Zelda games placed in the top 40. Twilight Princess was named Game of the Year by X-Play, Game Trailers, 1UP, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Spacey Awards, Game Informer, GameSpy, Nintendo Power and many other websites. The editors of review aggregator websites Game Rankings and Metacritic have both given Ocarina of Time their highest aggregate scores. Game Informer awarded both The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess a score of 10/10. They praised The Wind Waker as "an absolute necessity for anyone who considers themselves a gamer.". Twilight Princess received perfect scores of 10/10 from two different editors, who called it a "masterpiece", "genius", "epic", and the "game of the year". Phantom Hourglass was named DS Game of the Year by IGN and GameSpy.
Ocarina of Time and its use of melodic themes to identify different game regions has been called a reverse of Richard Wagner's use of leitmotifs to identify characters and themes. Ocarina of Time was so well received that sales increased for real ocarinas. IGN praised the music of Majora's Mask for its brilliance despite its heavy use of MIDI.
The success of The Legend of Zelda series has resulted in Guinness World Records awarding it five world records in Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include "Highest-Rated Game of All Time", "First Game with a Battery Powered Save Feature" and "Longest Running Action-Adventure Series".
The worldwide success and popularity of The Legend of Zelda series has led to many influences in popular culture. The series has also been parodied, including an episode of The Powerpuff Girls which features the Mayor of Townsville playing a spoof of Ocarina of Time, and a season 3 episode of Robot Chicken, in which a skit based on The Legend of Zelda references aspects of the series, including the existence of multiple Links, Triforce, Rupees and rescuing Princess Zelda. IGN.com made a fanfilm trailer based on the Legend of Zelda as an April fools prank. Additionally, The Legend of Neil is a web-video series that aired on Comedy Central, spoofing the original Legend of Zelda game.
|The Legend of Zelda|
|Japanese title||ゼルダの伝説 or The Hyrule Fantasy: Zeruda no Densetsu|
|System(s)||Famicom Disk System, NES, Game Boy Advance, Wii Virtual Console|
|Followed by||Zelda II: The Adventure of Link|
|Series||The Legend of Zelda|
The Legend of Zelda is a groundbreaking action/adventure game developed by Shigeru Miyamoto and initially released in Japan for the Nintendo Famicom Disk System in 1986 where it propelled sales of the add-on to the core Famicom system. It was the fourth best selling Famicom game released in 1986, selling approximately 1,690,000 copies in it's lifetime. It was translated and brought to America one year later and proceeded to have the same influential effect on sales of the NES. In America, it was released as a cartridge, and was one of the first games ever to employ a battery backed up memory chip inside which allowed players to save their progress, even after power to the system had been turned off. It is the first game in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series, whose games have a tremendous following to this day.
The game has been re-released in several formats over the years. In 1994, Nintendo released the game in cartridge format for the first time in Japan, towards the end of the Famicom's lifetime. In 1999 it was remade by fans to MS-DOS (and later Windows) as Zelda Classic, containing an editor. In 2003 the game was released for the Nintendo GameCube as part of The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition. In 2004 the game was released for the GBA as part of the Classic NES Series. In 2006 the game was announced to be one of the first Wii Virtual Console titles.
Long, long ago… the world was in the age of chaos.
Among this chaos, in the tranquil Kingdom of Hyrule, the legend of the Triforce – golden artifacts possessing untold mystical powers – was handed down over generations.
One day, a dark army attacked the peaceful kingdom and seized the Triforce of Power. This army was led by Ganon, a powerful warlock bent on reigning over a dynasty of fear and darkness. Fearing his nefarious designs on the throne, Zelda, the princess of Hyrule, split the Triforce of Wisdom into eight fragments and scattered them throughout the realm to keep them out of Ganon's reach. She then commanded her trustworthy nursemaid, Impa, to flee the castle and seek a champion with the courage to battle Ganon. Ganon, infuriated by the news of Impa's escape, imprisoned the princess and ordered a horde of henchmen to hunt down the elderly nursemaid.
Desperately running through forests and mountains, Impa eventually found herself surrounded by Ganon's underlings. She was certain all hope was lost, but a young lad appeared and saved her from a fate worse than death. The boy revealed that his name was Link. Grateful for his assistance, Impa told young Link the story of Princess Zelda's predicament and Ganon's vile grip on the kingdom. Upon hearing this heart-wrenching tale, Link vowed to save Zelda—but he knew that as long as Ganon held the Triforce of Power, he was a fearsome foe that would not be easily defeated. In order to vanquish him, Link would have to collect the scattered Triforce fragments and fuse them into the Triforce of Wisdom. Without the Triforce of Wisdom, Link would have no hope of slaying Ganon. Will Link fight his way to Death Mountain, destroy Ganon, and save Princess Zelda? Only you can determine the fate of Hyrule.
Early Japanese flyer
Famicom Disk System box
Famicom cartridge box
GBA Famicom Mini box
GBA Classic NES box
The Legend of Zelda series
The Legend of Zelda · The Adventure of Link · A Link to the Past · Link's Awakening (DX) · Ocarina of Time (Master Quest) · Majora's Mask, Oracle of Ages & Seasons · Four Swords · The Wind Waker · Four Swords Adventures · The Minish Cap · Twilight Princess · Phantom Hourglass · Spirit Tracks
|Portal: Action/Adventure||The Legend of Zelda at
|The Legend of Zelda|
Koji Kondo (composer)
February 21, 1986 (JP)
August 22, 1987 (NA)
November 27, 1987 (EU)
|Age rating(s)||ESRB: E|
|Platform(s)||FDS, NES, GBA, Wii VC|
|Media||1 Megabit Cartridge
Floppy disk (Famicom Disk System)
|System requirements||22 blocks (Wii)|
|Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough|
The Legend of Zelda is the first game created in the much lauded Legend of Zelda series. The game is an Adventure/RPG hybrid created by Shigeru Miyamoto for the Famicom Disk System in Japan and later released on the NES in other areas. The story features a young boy, Link, saving Hyrule and Princess Zelda from the evil Ganon.
As the inaugural game of The Legend of Zelda series, The Legend of Zelda was first released in Japan as a debut title for the Famicom's Disk System peripheral. With its vast world, open-ended gameplay, scrolling capabilities, and save system, The Legend of Zelda featured groundbreaking technological and gameplay advancements. Because the Famicom Disk System was not released outside of Japan, the game was published internationally on the Nintendo Entertainment System's cartridge format in 1987, with an internal battery to facilitate data saving, where it enjoyed even greater critical and financial success. As one of Nintendo's flagship franchises, Zelda is among the most recognized names in video games.
The Legend of Zelda's plot relies heavily on back story given in the short (in-game) prologue and the instruction booklet. Hyrule was engulfed in chaos after an army led by Ganon, the Prince of Darkness, invaded the kingdom and secured the Triforce of Power, a magical artifact bestowing great strength. Hyrule's Princess Zelda split the artifact's counterpart, the Triforce of Wisdom, into eight fragments, hiding them in secret dungeons throughout the land to prevent them from falling into Ganon's hands. She commanded her most trustworthy nursemaid, Impa, to escape and find a man courageous enough to destroy Ganon. Upon hearing this, Ganon grew angry, imprisoned the princess, and sent a party in search of Impa.
According to the manual, Impa fled for her life, but was overtaken by her pursuers. As Ganon's henchmen surrounded her, a youth drove the monsters off. The boy's name was Link, and Impa told him of Hyrule's plight. Link resolved to save Zelda, but to fight Ganon he had to find and reassemble the scattered fragments of the Triforce. Undeterred, Link set off for Hyrule in an epic adventure.
During the course of the game, Link locates the eight underground labyrinths (or, dungeons) and retrieves the Triforce fragments from the clutches of powerful guardian monsters. Along the way, he picks up a variety of useful items and upgrades to aid him in his quest. With the Triforce of Wisdom, Link is able to infiltrate Ganon's fortress high upon Death Mountain. He confronts the Prince of Darkness, destroying him with a Silver Arrow discovered deep within Ganon's dungeons. Link picks up the Triforce of Power from Ganon's ashes and returns both Triforces to Princess Zelda, whom he releases from her nearby cell. According to Zelda's words, peace would then return to Hyrule.
A "symbol of courage, strength and wisdom", Link was designed by Miyamoto as a coming-of-age motif for players to identify with: the silent protagonist begins the game an ordinary boy but grows in strength and fortitude to triumph over the ultimate evil.
The name of the princess was inspired by Zelda Fitzgerald: "Zelda was the name of the wife of the famous novelist Francis Scott Fitzgerald. She was a famous and beautiful woman from all accounts, and I liked the sound of her name. So I took the liberty of using her name for the very first Zelda title," Miyamoto explained.
When The Legend of Zelda was released its gameplay defied categorization, incorporating elements from action games, adventure games, role-playing games, and puzzle games. The game begins with the player controlling Link from an overhead perspective, armed with a small shield. A sword is immediately available in a cave in front of him on the opening screen of the game. To advance, Link must explore the overworld, a large outdoor map with varied environments. Scattered across the overworld (which according to Nintendo Power, was modelled after the state of Washington) and hidden in caves, shrubbery, or behind walls are merchants, gamblers, old ladies, and other people who guide Link with cryptic clues. Barring Link's progress are creatures he must battle to locate the entrances to nine underground dungeons.
Each dungeon is a unique, maze-like collection of rooms connected by doors and secret passages and guarded by monsters different from those found on the overworld. Link must successfully navigate each dungeon to obtain one of the eight pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom. Dungeons also hide useful items, such as a boomerang for retrieving items and stunning enemies, and a recorder with magical properties. The first six dungeons have visible entrances, but the remaining three are hidden. Except for the final dungeon, which cannot be entered until the previous eight have been completed, the order of completing dungeons is somewhat arbitrary, but many dungeons can only be reached using items gained in the previous one.
Nonlinearity, the ability to take different paths to complete the game, separated Zelda from its contemporaries. Link can freely wander the overworld, finding and buying items at any point. This flexibility enables unusual ways of playing the game; for example, it is possible to reach the final boss of the game (but not defeat him) without taking a sword. Nintendo of America's management initially feared that players might become frustrated with the new concept, left wondering what to do next. As a result, the American version of the game's manual contains many hints, tips, and suggestions for players.
After completing the game, the player has access to a more difficult quest, officially referred to as the Second Quest, where dungeons and the placement of items are different and enemies stronger. Although a more difficult "replay" was not unique to Zelda, few games offered a "second quest" with entirely different levels to complete. Entering "ZELDA" as the player's name starts the second quest immediately. The Second Quest can be replayed each time it is completed.
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|The Legend of Zelda series|
|The Legend of Zelda | Adventure of Link | A Link to the Past | Link's Awakening
Ocarina of Time / OOT: Master Quest | Majora's Mask | Oracle of Seasons | Oracle of Ages
The Wind Waker | The Minish Cap | Twilight Princess | Phantom Hourglass | Spirit Tracks
|Four Swords | Four Swords Adventures | Tingle RPG | Tingle's Balloon Fight DS
Link's Crossbow Training
|Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon | Link: The Faces of Evil | Zelda's Adventure|