Has there ever been a better video game series than the Zelda video game series? Maybe the Super Mario, Castlevania, Metroid and Mega Man series, but after those, Zelda has no competition.
The single factor that contributes towards a great gaming series is the amount of great games in the series. The same cannot be said for the Double Dragon series, for example, where it fell drastically in quality after Double Dragon 2.
In the Zelda series though, the games seemed to get better with each subsequent addition. This is rare for a video game series, and the Zelda series has been able to accomplish this with flying colors. Controversy will be heard in the sequencing of this list, but that only goes to show how strong each game in the series was.
5. Link's Awakening
Who thought that Link's Awakening would be as good as it was on the Gameboy? This game packed in as much information and detailed story line as any of the Zeldas for any of the other systems. The map was just as large, you had as many tasks to accomplish, and the bosses matched the mettle of the bosses of Link to the Past.
The only downside of this game was the black and white background, which would soon be overcome once one was immersed in the journey given to them in the dream-like sequence of Link awakening on a beach. Don't let the mere black and white background of the Gameboy fool you.
The graphics were as detailed as Link to the Past and made with the care known only to the Zelda series. Link's Awakening was the same format as Zelda 1 and this was fine considering how entertaining of a game Zelda 1 was. Gameboy's best game? This will be answered in one of our future lists.
4. Zelda 2
The often overlooked Zelda 2 was an astonishing game when looking back at it. It was clever, entertaining, and subtly morbid in it's content. The music was some of the best in the 8 bit Nintendo medium. Townspeople talked a diction that perfectly epitomized indigenous caricatures, and even sometimes turned into bats in a Dudleytownesque town in the bottom of the map.
The down-thrust was one technique that would be used over and over again with how fun and pragmatic it was in many situations throughout the game. The bosses of Zelda 2 were also something to write home about. They were not easy, and required precision timing, like the boss in the water town who threw a ball and chain that took an excessive amount of damage from Link.
There was something very mysterious about this game and sometimes misleading to the regular Zelda gamer, but this unique quality is championed by Old-Wizard because of the severity of its memorability.
3. Twilight Princess
When the Zelda series first went to the 3D medium, the avid Zelda fan questioned whether Zelda could make a successful transition into this new-age platform. While Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask were good games, its not until the release of Twilight Princess for the Gamecube and Nintendo Wii that there is a truly great Zelda game set in in three dimensional space.
The map is large like every Zelda game before, and the storyline is far superior to most games to be released in the modern era. Solving expertly designed puzzles and traversing a wildly variable topography gives Twilight Princess it's rightful place on this list. With Twilight Princess the Zelda series proves that it will be successful no matter which system it's played on.
2. Zelda 1
Zelda 1 started the whole series. You were on a "flat screen" (or as some call it a "birds eye view") platform walking on an absolutely massive world. This was the first of its kind. The amount of places you could visit in the game gave the gamer a freedom he never understood before.
On top of this, you were given the freedom of not having to just play level-by-level in a sidescroller, but could choose where you wanted to go at any time, even into dungeons that would pulverize you because you were not ready for them.
Having to conquer dungeons and the outside world to find the nefarious Ganon made for one of the greatest themes in video game history. The greatness of the Zelda series starts here.
1. Link to the Past
You know a video game series is great when one of it's sequels games was as good as Link to the Past. As many Old-Wizard readers know, Link to the Past was deemed the greatest game of all time in our "Top 100 greatest games of all time list".
The reasons why are numerous. Where to start? How about the whole light/dark world shifting that made you have to do something in one world to effect the other. How about the massive map that encompassed illustrious water worlds to radiant sand dunes. Let's not forget the top left portion of the map where you were in the best and most mystical forest environment in the video game medium.
The cloudy haze over the forest before Link captured his sword created one of the most distinct moods for any game before or after. There's also the intricate and perfectly thought-out dungeons that required, mental skill along with sheer power.
It's hard to imagine a game better than Link to the Past. It's amazing to think that it was a game that was far down the line in an already massively successful series. More PlayStation 3 News...