Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda is a video game adventure series created by Nintendo and industry legend Shigeru Miyamoto. It is considered one of the most influential video game franchises ever.

The Legend of Zelda games (often shortened to just "Zelda") feature as their central character and protagonist a young Hylian named Link. Link is frequently called upon to rescue Princess Zelda, for whom the games are named. The main villain of the series is known as Ganon. Story-wise the earlier games did not deviate much from the standard "save the princess" theme, but later installments have diversified their themes somewhat. However, at the core of all Zeldas is not the plot, as the stories of the individual games do not always match up, but a successful mixture of complex puzzles, strategic action gameplay and exploration. This formula has remained fairly constant throughout the series, with further refinements and additions featuring in each new game, and it has made the Zelda franchise one of Nintendo's most important assets, along with their Mario Bros, Metroid, and Pokémon series.

Games

The following is a list of the main installments of the series, with the original year of release and the platforms they appeared on.

  1. The Legend of Zelda (1986 - Famicom/NES)
  2. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (1987 - Famicom/NES)
  3. Bandai Satellaview Zelda (1990 - Super Famicom)
  4. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991 - Super Famicom/SNES)
  5. Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (1993 - Game Boy, Game Boy Color)
  6. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998 - N64, GameCube)
  7. Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (2000 - N64, GameCube)
  8. Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (2001 - Game Boy Color)
  9. Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (2001 - Game Boy Color)
  10. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past featuring Four Swords (2002 - Game Boy Advance)
  11. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest (2003 - GameCube)
  12. Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2003 - GameCube)
  13. Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition (2003 - GameCube, by Nintendo of America, never to be sold separately)

Upcoming Games:

  1. Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Plus (2004 - GameCube)
  2. two other GameCube Zelda games and one Gameboy Advance Zelda game

The chronology of the fictional Zelda universe is debated among fans. The publication dates of the games are of little help; when considered in that order, the story jumps about and has seeming inconsistencies. However, as the series' name implies, this lack of continuity is understood and accepted by players and developers alike as a facet or inherent quality of the story's "legend" nature.

No order has been dogmatically specified by the games' publisher until Shigeru Miyamoto said a word about it. In the past, many fans suggested the following chronological order:

  1. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  2. Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
  3. Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
  4. Legend of Zelda: The Four Swords
  5. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  6. Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons
  7. Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
  8. The Legend of Zelda
  9. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

The official word from Shigeru Miyamoto, according to the Nintendo's Japanese site gives this order:

  1. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  2. Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
  3. The Legend of Zelda
  4. Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
  5. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

A suggested order based on the precedent would be:

  1. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  2. Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
  3. Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
  4. Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons
  5. Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
  6. The Legend of Zelda
  7. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
  8. Legend of Zelda: The Four Swords
  9. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was formerly thought to be the prequel to The Legend of Zelda, but Zelda Elements has stated that Shigeru Miyamoto has said that it was chronologically set after Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.

The first Zelda appears relatively crude and simple by today's standards, but it was a very advanced game for its day. Innovations included the ability to use dozens of different items, a vast world full of secrets to explore, and the ability to save progress via battery backup. The game was wildly popular in Japan and America, and many consider it one of the most important videogames ever made. A modified version known as Bandai Satellaview Zelda was released for the SNES's satellite-based expansion in the early 1990s.

The second, also known as Zelda II, was a departure from the concept of the first game as it exchanged the top-down view for a side-scrolling one. Notoriously difficult, Zelda II is most likely the least popular game in the series. The third, initially known as Super Zelda, returned to the top-down view and added the concept of an alternate dimension, the Dark World, to explore. It was re-released for the Game Boy Advance on 9 Dec. 2002 in North America, combined with the multiplayer addition Four Swords. The fourth game was the first not to take place in Hyrule, and it was re-released for the Game Boy Color in 1998 as Link's Awakening DX with some additional features.

After a relatively long hiatus, the series made the transition to 3D with Ocarina of Time. The game, initially known as Zelda 64, retained the core gameplay of the previous games and was very successful both commercially and critically. The popular Japanese magazine Famitsu gave the game its first ever perfect 40/40 score.

Ocarina of Time saw a limited re-release on the GameCube in 2002 when it was combined with the Wind Waker and featured a previously unreleased expansion known as Ura Zelda. The sixth game, Majora's Mask, used the same game engine as the previous Nintendo 64 game, but added a novel time-based concept. The next two games were released simultaneously for the Gameboy Color platform and, by exchanging codes, could be combined to form a single story. They were not developed by Nintendo, but rather by Capcom under the supervision of Miyamoto.

The next Zelda was initially believed to be a development of the more realistically styled N64 games, but Nintendo surprised many when it was revealed that the GameCube game would be cel-shaded, a more cartoon-like style of design first seen in Sega's Jet Set Radio. Initial fears that this would affect the quality of gameplay that many fans had grown accustomed to were eased when the game was released to be critically acclaimed in Japan in 2002 and elsewhere in 2003. It featured a concept based around the wind and sailing. Its sequel will use the same graphics engine. The Zelda that was initially believed to be in realistic computer graphics will be another Zelda game, being in development around the same time as the cartoonish Zelda games and chronologically set after them, possibly after Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.

Beyond the commonly recognised games, there have been three Zelda games made for Philips' CD-i multimedia system under a special license agreement. These were made without any involvement from Nintendo and they deviated significantly from the other games in style and gameplay. Like the system they were created for, these were never very popular and can today be considered obscure. The games released were Faces of Evil, Wand of Gamelon and Zelda's Adventure.

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