How To Buy and Play the Legend of Zelda

Properly referred to as The Legend of Zelda (TLoZ), Legend of Zelda is one of the most popular game series of all time.  If you want to play the Legend of Zelda, there are many choices open to you.  With over ten different games on several platforms, you can play however you'd like!

  1. Understand The Legend of Zelda.  The Legend of Zelda is a series of video games published by Nintendo.  They combine elements of the role-playing game, the adventure game, the puzzle game, and the action game.  The protagonist is Link, a blonde male who wears Robin Hood clothing reminiscent of Robin Hood's.  You, as Link, must save the world from evil.  Evil appears in many different incarnations:  Ganondorf, a dark sorcerer; Ganon, a monster who Ganondorf can evolve into; and Vaati, an evil black figure.  Occasionally, Link must save the Princess Zelda -- hence, the series' title.  Often, the Princess Zelda is part of your quest to save the world (for example, in Ocarina of Time, she feeds you royal information and travels with you on part of your quest).  Important also is the concept of the Triforce, a mystical relic forged by three goddesses which is split into sections of courage, power, and wisdom.  The games in the Legend of Zelda series are also known for their enemies (e.g. the Deku Baba, the Like Like) and their complex and exciting side-quests.
  2. Choose which Zelda game you want to play.  The more recent games, The Wind Waker (for the Gamecube) and Ocarina of Time (for the Nintendo 64) are rated as two of the most popular games of all time.  If you're looking for a gateway game to the world of Zelda, they are both wise choices.  The Wind Waker features a highly nautical theme, while Ocarina of Time is more medieval and, at times, silly.  Majora's Mask (also on Nintendo 64) is popular as well, featuring a story that involves time travel, causing you to live the same three days over and over again until you unravel the mysteries of the city of Hyrule.  A full list of the Zelda games follows, with the abbreviation of their appropriate platform in parentheses:
    • The Legend of Zelda (NES)
    • The Legend of Zelda 2:  The Adventure of Link (NES)
    • The Legend of Zelda:  A Link to the Past (SNES)
    • The Legend of Zelda:  Link's Awakening (Game Boy)
    • The Legend of Zelda:  Ocarina of Time (N64)
    • The Legend of Zelda:  Majora's Mask
    • The Legend of Zelda:  Oracle of Seasons (Game Boy Color)
    • The Legend of Zelda:  Oracle of Ages (Game Boy Color)
    • The Legend of Zelda:  Four Swords Adventures (Game Boy Advance)
    • The Legend of Zelda:  The Wind Waker (Gamecube)
    • The Legend of Zelda:  The Minish Cap
  3. Buy the game.  The advice here is rather simple.  If you purchase a newer TLoZ game, it will be more expensive than an older game, unless you're looking for one of the three CD-i games made for the Zelda franchise in the 1990s.  These three games are:
    • Link:  The Faces of Evil
    • Zelda:  The Wand of Gamelon
    • Zelda's Adventure

    They were not designed by Nintendo, but instead by various CD-ROM technologists who were part of a contract with Nintendo that was broken and spawned the Sony Playstation.  By most people, they are not considered part of the Legend of Zelda canon.

    Look for used game shops or use a website like eBay to find the older games.  The Wind Waker is new enough to be found in most locations that carry new video games.  Newer games will probably range in price from $20 to $40, whereas the older Legend of Zelda games will usually cost around $10 to $15.

  4. Understand the gameplay elements.  In every Legend of Zelda game, you control Link.  Older Zelda games rely much on bird's-eye-view maps and basic controls: directional pad to move around, the A and B Buttons to talk to villagers and use weapons, shields and other items.  The more recent TLoZ games rely heavily on a technique called Z-Targeting (which allows Link to keep his sights on his enemy with the press of the Z Button) and the A Button, which takes on the command appropriate to whatever is in Link's close vicinity (for example, when Link is near a door, the A Button will allow him to open it). 

    The Legend of Zelda involves both hack-and-slash defeat of enemies and puzzle solving.  Puzzle solving has been an important element in the Legend of Zelda series from the start, and is part of what made it so revolutionary.  Puzzle examples range from actual verbal clues to pushing blocks around in a large room.

  5. Play the game!  Millions of gamers have had hours of fun playing games from the Legend of Zelda series.  Here's your chance!

 

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