For the most part its hard to put your score on things from so long ago. This is mainly because you already know how the gens after it went, and you keep thinking about its inferiorities in comparison. I will try to be fair to the times of its outing though, and try to keep an unbiased as possible view on things. It can be hard, but meritng games only off their series and nostalgia has been a bad practice that I want to rectify.
So far its really hard to justify Zelda the most. They are all fantastic, but they are all fantastic. Judging one better than the other for the times is tough. Moreso than any other series to me since they all hold something deep in me.
I feel your pain.
For me, I give the most props to Zelda A Link to the Past, followed by Zelda Ocarina of Time. Don't tell everyone at Gamespot.com, they would have my head not automatically loving OoT more than LttP. :P
I can imagine it now :
Hardcore Fan : You like LttP more than Oot?!!!! NO WAY. Not allowed.
Me : Well, Excuuuuuuuse Me, Princess!
Zelda is indeed a Fantastic series, I own them all and I would be hard-pressed to pit them against each other.
I can tell you the the Worst Zeldas though :
That would be the Phillips CDi's Zelda games :
Link: The Faces of Evil,
Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
Not Nintendo developed...'nuff said! :P