The Legend of Zelda
System: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Release Date: July 1987
Here we are. The game that launched the Legend of Zelda series and told a story about a boy named Link who must rescue Hyrule’s Princess Zelda from the hands of the King of Evil, Ganon. Link must gather the eight pieces of the Triforce that Zelda had scattered throughout Hyrule and defeat the Evil Ganon.
The Legend of Zelda was the first NES title to feature a battery-backed save feature allowing gamers to continue their adventure at a later time. All following Zelda titles would utilize this feature.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
System: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Release Date: December 1988
An Evil Sorcerer has cursed Princess Zelda and she has now drifted into an eternal sleep. Link must find a way to rid the Princess of the curse and he discovers that the only way to break the seal of the palace that guards the Sorcerer, is to collect six shards of the magical crystal.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was the second game to be released on the NES and featured a new side-scrolling view on the action. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link also introduced some RPG elements such as gaining experience per each kill and a level-up feature which could be used to upgrade Link’s maximum magic, life, and attack power.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
System: Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)
Release Date: April 1992
Aeons ago, the deities of power, courage, and wisdom descended to the world of chaos. They created the world of Hyrule and left behind a symbol of their strength, the Triforce, which they hid in a sacred realm within Hyrule. One day, a gate to the realm suddenly opened and men began to battle their way to obtain this golden power. Evil energy became flowing from the realm so the King of Hyrule ordered seven sages to seal the realm and lock the hidden power away forever. Much time has passed since then and the story soon became legend. An evil sorcerer named Agahnim has gained control of Hyrule and uses his power to free Ganon from his confines in the Dark World. Agahnim kidnaps the descendants of the seven sages and uses them to break the seal that the sages themselves have built. One night, a young boy named Link wakes from his sleep as he hears the cries of help from the Princess Zelda who is being held in the castle dungeon. Link must rescue Princess Zelda, recover the legendary master sword, save the kidnaped maidens, and defeat Agahnim and Ganon to restore peace and order to Hyrule.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past would debut the series on the SNES and would see a return to the overhead presentation style of the original Legend of Zelda. This SNES adventure gave Link two worlds to explore by using the power of a mysterious mirror and offered a variety of new weapons and abilities.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening/DX
System: Nintendo Game Boy/Game Boy Color (DX Version)
Release Date: August 1993, December 1998 (DX Version)
After defeating the evil Ganon, Link decided that he must venture outside of Hyrule and seek enlightenment so he can better protect it if it were to again fall into peril. One night, while Link was sailing out at sea, a heavy storm suddenly appeared which caused his boat to get sidetracked. Link finds himself shipwrecked once he awakens on the mysterious Koholint Island. This mysterious island was unique for the gigantic egg which crowned its central mountain. Link was greeted by a young girl named Marin who looks very similar to Princess Zelda. She explained to him what had happened and told him, "Awaken the Wind Fish and all will be answered." Link wonders, "What is the Wind Fish?" and sets off on a journey to recover the eight instruments of the sirens to awaken the Wind Fish and solve the riddle of this mysterious island so that hopefully he can return to Hyrule.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening would debut the series on the Game Boy portable game system. Now gamers could take their adventure wherever they wanted. The re-release of the DX version of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening in 1998 would see a full color face lift, a new dungeon accessible only on the Game Boy Color, and an in-game photoshop with Game Boy Printer compatibility.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
System: Nintendo 64 (N64)
Release Date: November 1998
Early one morning, a young Kokiri boy named Link was having a nightmare, the same nightmare he had every night. During a storm, Link would find himself standing in front of a mysterious castle. A rider on horseback carrying a girl would race by and the girl would look to Link as if to say something. Then another rider would appear. A big man in black would look down menacingly at Link and then Link would awaken. Link was awakened by the voice of a fairy named Navi. Of all the children in the Kokiri Forest, Link was the only child that didn’t have a fairy and he was often looked down upon because of it. Navi said that she was sent to summon Link to the Great Deku Tree. The Great Deku Tree was the guardian of the Kokiri Forest and all the Kokiri who lived within it. The Great Deku Tree asked Link to rid him of the curse put on him by an evil man in black who wanted the spiritual stone of the forest. Link entered the Great Deku Tree and broke the curse. The Great Deku Tree knew that Link was a child of destiny and that he would one day leave the forest. The Great Deku Tree then told Link to go to Hyrule Castle and there he would surely meet the princess of destiny. Before dying, the Great Deku Tree gave Link the spiritual stone of the forest. Link would have to recover all of the spiritual stones and prevent the man in black from possessing the power that was locked away in the Temple of Time.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the first Zelda title on the N64 and it would also be the first Zelda title in full 3D. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time set the standard for action/adventures games that followed it and would use new game mechanics such as the revolutionary Z-Targeting system. In this adventure, players would be able to control Link as a child and as an adult by traveling through time using the power of the Ocarina of Time and the Temple of Time. Link would learn many songs for his Ocarina of Time as the game progressed and his arsenal would consist of a mix of new and old weapons faithfully recreated in 3D and, for the first time, Link now had the ability to travel Hyrule on horseback.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
System: Nintendo 64 (N64)Release Date: October 2000
On a journey to find his missing friend that had departed him at the end of his last adventure, Link accidentally finds himself thrown into a mysterious parallel world called Termina. He soon realizes that the world of Termina is doomed to be crushed by the moon in 72 hours and the person responsible for this and for Link being in this world, is a Skull Kid using the dark power of a relic known as Majora’s Mask. The Skull Kid steals the Ocarina of Time from Link’s possession and transforms him into a Deku child. Link, along with a mysterious fairy named Tatl, must find a way to return to his original form, recover his ocarina, stop the evil of Majora’s Mask, and save Termina from the danger of the descending moon.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask would be the second Zelda title on the N64 and it would use the same setup as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. In this adventure, Link would only be given three days to save Termina but Link could use his Ocarina to alter time and return to the beginning of the 72 hour period. Link would also be able to collect and use magical masks throughout his adventure that could turn him into a Goron, Deku child, and a Zora. During the 72 hour process, Link would be able to manipulate the lives of the villagers living in Clock Town and record his progress in his Bombers Log book. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask required the use of the N64 Expansion Pak which enabled more enemies on screen and a slightly improved graphical presentation.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
System: Game Boy Color
Release Date: May 2001
Link awoke one day to find himself in a strange forest. Link had been summoned to the land of Labrynna by the Triforce. As Link traveled deeper into the forest, he found a young woman singing. Link joined the group of animals that were sitting in a circle and listening to the girl’s song. The song penetrated all their ears and hearts. This was the voice of Nayru, the Oracle of Ages who controlled time in the land of Labrynna. Then a darkness began to surround Nayru. "Nayru! Oracle of Ages! I, Veran, Sorceress of Shadows, shall make you my own!" The shadow that called itself Veran began swooping about the forest before flying straight into the body of the singer, Nayru. A blinding light shone forth from Nayru’s body. When Link’s eyes had recovered focus, he realized that Nayru had lost her bright smile and her face seemed veiled in a shadow. "Ha ha ha ha ha! Now the power of the Oracle of Ages is mine! I can travel through time at will!" And with that, Veran vanished. When the Oracle was kidnaped, the flow of time in Labrynna was distorted, and strange things began to happen. Veran’s plan was to travel to the past and gather power from the sorrows of the people of Labrynna so that she could create her age of shadows. Link must find the Harp of Ages and travel through time, past and present, to recover the Eight Essences of Time so that he can save the Oracle and the land of Labrynna.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages was released simultaneously alongside The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons. Both games offered different adventures and different items. Depending on how a person played, Link could befriend all-new characters like Moosh the winged bear, Ricky the boxing marsupial, and Dimitri the Dodongo. If a player completed his quest in one game, he could resume his adventure in the other using a link/password feature. Also, by using this link/password feature, players would get the chance to transfer items and unlock new, more powerful weapons and only by linking could player’s discover the true evil force behind the chaos.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons
System: Game Boy Color
Release Date: May 2001
One day, a strange force drew Link deep within Hyrule Castle where the Triforce was resting. "Link... Link... Accept this quest of the Triforce!" Suddenly, Link was engulfed in a shaft of light. When Link awoke, he found himself in a forest he had never seen before. He heard pleasant music and laughing voices echoing from deep within the woods. Link followed the inviting voices until he came upon a traveling group of actors. He was immediately struck by the beauty of a young woman who was dancing near him. When the girl noticed Link, she smiled brightly and called to him. "Welcome to the land of Holodrum. I am Din, the dancer. Would you like to dance with me? Don’t be shy. It will be more fun if we dance together." She took Link by the hand, and he reluctantly began to dance. Unfortunately, this blissful moment did not last long. The sky suddenly went dark, and there was a loud crash of thunder, followed by a loud, thunderous voice. "I’ve found you, Din! You can’t deceive me by disguising yourself as a dancer. I am Onox, General of Darkness! Now reveal yourself, Oracle of Seasons!" Then a great tornado dropped from the sky and engulfed Din. "Help me, Link!" she cried. Link was blown back by the force of the tornado as Din was swept away into the wind. And then strange things began to happen throughout the land of Holodrum. Life was slowly being drained from the land, and all living things began to wither as the seasons fell into chaos and the land was deprived of the bountiful gifts of nature. And so Onox set in motion his plan to gather the power from the withering land and create a world of total darkness. Link must find the Rod of Seasons and use it’s power to change the seasons and recover the Eight Essences of Nature to save Oracle and the land of Holodrum.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons was released simultaneously alongside The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages. Both games offered different adventures and different items. Depending on how a person played, Link could befriend all-new characters like Moosh the winged bear, Ricky the boxing marsupial, and Dimitri the Dodongo. If a player completed his quest in one game, he could resume his adventure in the other using a link/password feature. Also, by using this link/password feature, players would get the chance to transfer items and unlock new, more powerful weapons and only by linking could player’s discover the true evil force behind the chaos.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past/Four Swords
System: Game Boy Advance (GBA)
Release Date: December 2002
The Game Boy Advance would see a re-release of the SNES classic The Legend of Zelda: A Link to Past (see The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for full description) along with a new game The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords.
Long ago, in the kingdom of Hyrule, there appeared a Wind Sorcerer name Vaati who could bend the wind to his will and used this awful power to terrorize many villages in Hyrule. In his assaults on the villages, Vaati would kidnap any beautiful girls who caught his fancy. Many knights from the castle and other brave men set out to subdue the sorcerer and rescue the girls, but each one fell in turn to Vaati’s awesome power. Just as the people had begun to lose hope, a lone young boy traveling with little but a sword at his side appeared. When this boy heard what was happening, he said only, "I will defeat this sorcerer." He boldly entered Vaati’s palace, mystically trapped the evil sorcerer inside the blade of his sword, and returned the young girls to their villages. The boy then went deep into the forest and disappeared. The villagers asked the girls how a boy so young could have saved them all and defeated the sorcerer when no one else could. The young girls told a story of how with just a wave of his sword, the boy’s body shattered into four pieces, each of which then formed a complete copy of the boy. These four young boys then worked together to defeat the sorcerer. The people did not believe the story, but they called it the Four Sword nonetheless. As rumors of the blade’s power to divide a person into four entities spread, the people built a shrine to protect it. Princess Zelda of the land of Hyrule was a beautiful young girl born with the mysterious power to sense approaching forces of evil. For this reason, she was assigned with the sacred duty of protecting the shrine of the Four Sword and the blade itself. One day, Zelda was in Hyrule Castle when she sensed that something unusual was occurring at the Four Sword Shrine. She asked a boy named Link, whom she trusted above anyone else, to accompany her to investigate the happenings at the shrine.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past/Four Swords would be the first Zelda title to have a multi-player feature. In Four Swords, by using up to three Game Boy Advance game link cables, up to four players would be able to compete and play cooperatively at the same time to solve puzzles and defeat enemies in this new adventure.