The Legend of Zelda

From Ultimatewiki

The official sword and shield logo of The Legend of Zelda introduced during the release of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

The Legend of Zelda (ゼルダの伝説 Zeruda no Densetsu) is a fantasy video game series produced by Nintendo, and created by the celebrated game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. The gameplay consists of a mixture of action, adventure, role-playing, puzzle-solving, and occasional platforming and racing elements. The series is known for its beautiful and inspiring settings, creative gameplay, interesting characters, stirring original music, and high overall production values. It is widely considered one of the most influential video game franchises ever created, and has earned a spot as one of the company's flagship franchises alongside such notable series as Mario and Metroid. As of February 2007, The Legend of Zelda series has 13 official games released which have sold 47 million units.



Most games in The Legend of Zelda series feature a boy named Link as the central playable character and hero. Link is frequently called upon to rescue Princess Zelda, after whom the series is named. The main antagonist in the series is a powerful creature known as Ganon, sometimes appearing as Ganondorf (the more recent villain Vaati has appeared in multiple Zelda games as well). The action usually occurs in the land of Hyrule and involves a divine relic known as the Triforce, a set of three magically bound golden triangles of great power. In story terms, the earlier games did not deviate much from the standard "save the princess" theme, but later installments have diversified their plot and added twists and turns to the tale. One Zelda game, Link’s Awakening, did not feature Zelda at all (although she was briefly mentioned when Link mistook Marin for Zelda), and in Majora’s Mask, she was only seen in a flashback. The protagonist in each game is not always the same boy named Link, although occasionally the same Link is controlled across multiple games (see nature of the protagonist).Other times the Link from one game could be the Link from a previous game.

The games' fantasy world of Hyrule includes many different climates and terrains, and is home to many different races and tribes of monsters and sentient beings. There are significant geographical differences from game to game, but several distinctive features recur, such as the Lost Woods, Lake Hylia, and Death Mountain (including Spectacle Rock near the summit).

The Zelda games feature a mixture of complex puzzles, strategic action gameplay, and exploration. These elements have remained fairly constant throughout the series, but with refinements and additions featured in each new game. This successful formula has been a primary factor in making the Zelda franchise one of Nintendo's most successful game series. The player is frequently rewarded for solving complex puzzles or exhaustively exploring areas. The musical cue when finding a hidden treasure (or other secret) has become one of video gaming's most memorable themes.

Nearly every Zelda game involves locating and exploring dungeons while solving a variety of puzzles until reaching the dungeon's boss. Each dungeon usually has one special item hidden inside which will be required later in the game. Some items are found in almost every game, while others are exclusive to a single game (see weapons and items from The Legend of Zelda series). In the later games in the series, the item(s) found in each dungeon are usually used in some way to fight that dungeon's boss.

The Legend of Zelda was principally inspired by Miyamoto's explorations as a young boy in the hillsides surrounding his childhood home in Kyoto, where he ventured into forests with secluded lakes, caves, and rural villages. According to Miyamoto, one of his most memorable experiences was the discovery of a cave entrance in the middle of the woods. After some hesitation, he apprehensively entered the cave and explored its depths with the aid of a lantern. This memory has clearly influenced Miyamoto's work, as cave exploration is a major element of most Zelda games. Other than Miyamoto's childhood, Norse and Japanese mythologies have played a large role influencing the series, as well as Medieval European culture. Miyamoto has referred to the creation of the Zelda games as an attempt to bring to life a "miniature garden" for players to play with in each game of the series.

Hearing of F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife Zelda, Mr. Miyamoto thought the name sounded "pleasant and significant." Paying tribute, he chose to name the Princess after her, and titled his creation The Legend of Zelda.


The Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo Entertainment System console.

The first game, The Legend of Zelda, was first released in Japan in 1986, and in the United States and Europe in 1987. Though relatively simple by today's standards, it was quite advanced for its time. Innovations include the ability to use dozens of different items, a vast world full of secrets to explore, and the cartridge's ability to save progress via battery-backed memory. The game also features a "Second Quest", accessible upon completing the game, where the adventure can be replayed with a very slightly altered overworld and new, more challenging dungeons. Besides the game's technical innovations, the gameplay (finding items and using them to solve puzzles, battling monsters in real-time, and exploring a vast environment) was a successful formula and became widely copied. The game was wildly popular in Japan and North America, and many consider it one of the most important video games ever made. A modified version known as BS Zelda was released for the Super Famicom's satellite-based expansion, Satellaview, in the mid-1990s in Japan.

The second game, known as Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was released in July 1988, and was a departure from the concept of the first game. It exchanged the top-down perspective for side-scrolling and introduced RPG elements (e.g., experience points) not found in other Zelda installments. It is also the only Zelda title until Four Swords Adventures in which Link does not collect rupees. Because of these fundamental changes, many consider it the "black sheep" of the series. Both this and its predecessor were notable for their gold-colored game cartridges, which stood out amongst the system's usual gray cartridges.

Four years later, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, returned to the top-down view (under a 3/4 perspective) and added the concept of an alternate dimension to explore, a land known as the Dark World. The game was released for the SNES in April of 1992. It was later re-released for the Game Boy Advance on December 9, 2002 in North America, on a cartridge with Four Swords, the first multiplayer Zelda, and then on the Wii's Virtual Console on January 22, 2007. This game also had a Satellaview version that was later released in Japan, called The Legend of Zelda: Kodai no Sekiban.

The next game, Link's Awakening, was the first Zelda for Nintendo's Game Boy handheld, and the first to take place outside of Hyrule. It was re-released for the Game Boy Color in 1998 as Link's Awakening DX with some additional features, including an extra color-based dungeon and a photo shop that allowed interaction with the Game Boy Printer.

After another hiatus, the series made the transition to 3D with the installment Ocarina of Time which was released in November 1998. This game, initially known as Zelda 64, retained the core gameplay of the previous 2D games and became one of the most successful games of all time in both commercial and critical terms. It is considered by some to be one of the best video games ever made, and scored perfect scores in several video game publications, including the first 40/40 score in Famitsu (a prestigious Japanese gaming magazine). It recently ranked by Nintendo Power as the best Nintendo game ever created. The title was originally slated for the ill-fated, Japanese-only Nintendo 64DD, but was ported to a cartridge with the advancements in memory compression technology. Innovations include the use of lock-on targeting, a new gameplay mechanic that focuses the camera on a nearby target and alters the player's actions to be relative to that target. Such mechanics allow precision-based swordfighting in a 3D space and were a revolutionary development for the time.

Ocarina of Time saw a limited re-release on the GameCube in 2002 when it was offered as a pre-order incentive for The Wind Waker in the US. However, Europe continues to receive it free in every copy of The Wind Waker, except for the discounted Player's Choice version. Also included were parts of a previously unreleased 64DD expansion known as Ura Zelda. The disc was titled Ocarina of Time Master Quest. Ocarina of Time was ported again in a Collector's Edition Zelda compilation in 2003.

The follow-up title, Majora's Mask which was released in November 2000, used the same 3D game engine as the previous Nintendo 64 game (dropping the 3D elements), but added a novel time-based concept, leading to somewhat mixed reactions from series fans. It was originally called Zelda Gaiden, a Japanese title loosely translating to Zelda, Another Story. Gameplay changed significantly; in addition to a form of time limit, Link could use masks to transform into different creatures with unique skills. While Majora's Mask retained the graphical style of the landmark Ocarina of Time, it was also a departure, particularly in atmosphere. The game is much darker, dealing with death and tragedy in a manner not previously seen in the series, and has a sense of impending doom as a large moon slowly descends upon the land of Termina.

The next two games, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons, were released simultaneously for the Game Boy Color. The games were loosely connected, and by various means they could be combined to form a single extended story. They were developed in conjunction with Flagship under Capcom, with supervision from Mr. Miyamoto. The games were originally intended to be a trilogy known as The Triforce Trilogy, consisting of updated remakes of The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link, plus an original third installment. After consulting with Shigeru Miyamoto, however, the studio decided to make an all-new trilogy. When the password system linking three games proved too troublesome, the concept was reduced to just two titles. Fans initially criticized the Oracle series for "selling out" by copying the Pokémon strategy (two similar versions of a game coming out simultaneously to increase profits). Such claims faded when the games were released and their radical differences were noted. Oracle of Ages is often seen as a puzzle-based adventure while Oracle of Seasons is more action-oriented. ‎

The cartoon art-style of The Wind Waker.

The next Zelda, for the GameCube, was initially believed to be a realistically styled adventure because of a technology demo shown at Nintendo's SpaceWorld expo in 2000. However, Nintendo later surprised many fans with the revelation that the new game, The Wind Waker, would be fully cel-shaded (a cartoon-like style of color design first seen in games such as Sega's Jet Set Radio). Initial fears that this would affect the quality of gaming experience were eased when the game was released to critical acclaim in Japan in 2002 and elsewhere in 2003. It features gameplay centered on controlling wind and sailing a small boat around a massive, island-filled ocean, and inventive puzzles requiring the use of NPCs.

Next in the series came Four Swords Adventures for the GameCube, which was released in the first half of 2004 in Japan and America, and in January 2005 in Europe. Based on the handheld Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures was another deviation from previous Zelda gameplay, focusing on multiplayer gameplay and "level-based" action (like many Super Mario Bros. titles). The game contains 24 individual stages and a map screen; there is no connecting overworld. For the multiplayer features of the game, each player is required to use a Game Boy Advance system linked to the Nintendo GameCube via a GBA-GC cable. Although it focuses on multiplayer, the game also features a single player campaign in which using a Game Boy Advance is optional.

Four Swords Adventures is really two games in one: Hyrulean Adventure (with a storyline and action somewhat similar to a traditional Zelda adventure) and Shadow Battle (a free-for-all melee "battle mode" which pits Links against each other as the players struggle for dominance in Hyrulean arenas). The Japanese version includes a third segment, known as Navi Trackers (originally designed as the stand-alone game Tetra's Trackers), which is not included in any other incarnation of the title. Navi Trackers contains an important first for Zelda, as the game has spoken dialog for most of the characters.

In November 2004 in Japan and Europe, and in January 2005 in America, Nintendo released a new game for the Game Boy Advance, The Minish Cap. The central concept of The Minish Cap is Link's ability to shrink in size with the aid of a mystical sentient hat named Ezlo. While tiny, Link can see previously-explored parts of a dungeon from a new perspective, and enter new areas through otherwise impassable openings. Link is able to switch from big to small at special portals throughout the land, once again giving Link two "worlds" to play in.

In November 2006, Twilight Princess arrived as the first Zelda game on the Wii. During the following month, December 2006, it was released on the Nintendo GameCube as well. The new game once again strives for a realistic look, improved even beyond the aforementioned SpaceWorld demo. This game chronicles the struggle of a more mature Link to rid Hyrule of the "Twilight Realm", a mysterious force plaguing the land. When Link enters this realm, he transforms into a wolf and the gameplay shifts radically. Twilight Princess also relies heavily on horseback transportation and mounted battle scenarios (including boss battles).

Zelda DS was once rumored to be a new Four Swords game, but Nintendo later retracted those statements. Instead, at the 2006 Game Developers Conference a trailer for Phantom Hourglass for the Nintendo DS was shown. The trailer revealed traditional top-down Zelda gameplay optimized for the DS’s features, a cel-shaded graphical style directly recalling The Wind Waker, and a Majora's Mask-style feature which allows Link to turn back time with the use of the titular hourglass. At E3 2006, Nintendo confirmed its status as a direct sequel to The Wind Waker, and debuted an extensive playable demo including a multiplayer mode reminiscent of Pac-Man Vs. with "capture the flag" elements. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is scheduled to be released in 2007.

Fictional universe

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The Zelda series has developed a deep story and wide universe over its many releases. Much of the backstory of the creation of Hyrule was revealed in the games A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, and Twilight Princess.


According to the in-game stories, long ago three goddesses descended and created the world of Hyrule. Din, the fiery red goddess, with her powerful, flaming arms, cultivated the empty space, and created the red earth. Nayru, the beautiful blue goddess, bestowed her divine wisdom upon the land and created the skies to give a sense of justice and order to the world and to guide the people in the goddesses' absence. Farore, the gentle green goddess, endowed Hyrule with her powers so that courageous living beings would follow this justice.

After their work was completed, the goddesses left a magical artifact called the Triforce which could grant the wishes of the user. It consisted of three golden triangles (each also called a "Triforce" — one of Wisdom, one of Power, and one of Courage), held in proximity by a magic force. However, because the Triforce was inanimate and did not judge between good and evil, the goddesses placed the Triforce in an alternate world called the "Sacred Realm", hoping that a worthy person would one day seek it.

According to legend, if the discoverer of the Triforce has a balance of power, wisdom, and courage, they will receive the Triforce as a whole. If they are unbalanced, they will receive the part of the Triforce that represents the characteristic they most demonstrate, with the remaining parts of the whole transferring into the people in Hyrule who most exemplify the other two traits. The Triforce was first distributed as such starting in Ocarina of Time, as the Triforces of Power, Wisdom and Courage were each held by Ganondorf and Princess Zelda and Link, respectively. While the Triforce of Power and Wisdom have been part of the series since the original Legend of Zelda, it was only in The Adventure of Link that the Triforce of Courage was first introduced, being obtained by Link at the end of his quest. A Link to the Past, released after The Adventure of Link but before Ocarina of Time, featured the Triforce, but made no mention of its three qualities or distribution beyond Ganon obtaining it.

Eventually, dark interlopers ,soon to be called the Twili and become cursed forevermore, attempted to steal the Triforce and establish dominion over the Sacred Realm. In response, the goddesses sent the light spirits Eldin, Lanayru, Ordona, and Faron to seal away their dark magic in the Fused Shadows, which are ancient artifacts. The interlopers themselves were banished to the shadowy world of the Twilight Realm (with only the Mirror of Twilight linking the two worlds) where they would become the Twili race. The Mirror was left in the hands of ancient sages to protect.

The fictional universe established by the Zelda games sets the stage for each adventure. Many games take place in lands with their own backstories. Termina, for example, is a parallel world accidentally formed as a side effect of the goddesses' creation of Hyrule.

The Rupee

Rupees are the unit of currency within most of the Zelda universe, within circulation in the lands of Hyrule, Ordon, Koholint Island, Termina, Labrynna, and Holodrum. Rupees are acquired primarily by defeating enemies, by cutting tall grasses or bushes, or by opening treasure chests, and used primarily to purchase items in shops.


With the exception of The Adventure of Link and Four Swords Adventures, Rupees are included in all Zelda titles. The value of a Rupee is denoted by its color. In Four Swords and The Minish Cap, both size and color denote value. Link's Awakening, Oracle of Seasons, and Oracle of Ages specify the Rupee value through text rather than color, because the Game Boy pallette was limited. The following lists the values of each Rupee color. Because the value of each color is inconsistent throughout the games, they are not listed in order of value. The list begins with the colors that appeared in the most Zelda titles.

Green Rupee
Small green Rupees are worth one, and large green Rupees are worth fifty. The green Rupee appears in seven games.

  • 1, small. (A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Four Swords, The Wind Waker, The Minish Cap, Twilight Princess.)
  • 50, large. (Four Swords and The Minish Cap.)

Blue Rupee
Small blue Rupees are worth five, and large blue Rupees are worth one hundred. The blue Rupee appears in eight games.

  • 5, small. (The Legend of Zelda, A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Four Swords, The Wind Waker, The Minish Cap, Twilight Princess.)
  • 100, large. (Four Swords and The Minish Cap.)

Red Rupee
Small red Rupees are worth twenty, and large red Rupees are worth two hundred. The red Rupee appears in seven games.

  • 20, small. (A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Four Swords, The Wind Waker, The Minish Cap, Twilight Princess.)
  • 200, large. (Four Swords and The Minish Cap.)

Purple Rupee
The purple Rupee exists in all four 3D Zelda games.

  • 50 (Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess.)

Silver Rupee
Debuting in Ocarina of Time, where collecting all five silver Rupees solved a puzzle in a particular room, the silver Rupee exists in all four 3D Zelda titles.

  • 5 (Ocarina of Time)
  • 100 (Majora's Mask)
  • 200 (Wind Waker, Twilight Princess)

Yellow Rupee
Debuting in the original title, the yellow Rupee has appeared in three games.

  • 1 (The Legend of Zelda)
  • 10 (The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess.)

Orange Rupee
The orange Rupee exists in the three of the four 3D Zelda titles.

  • 100 (The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess)
  • 200 (Ocarina of Time), Large Orange Rupee appears if you kill Skull Kid in the Lost Woods as adult Link.

Huge Rupee
Appearing either gold or dark orange, this Rupee's color is not specified textually and is simply called "huge." It exists only in the two N64 games.

  • 200 (Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask.)

Other Rupee Types

  • Black: In Four Swords, the black Rupee removes a random, negative amount of Rupees from the team wallet.
  • Rupee Shard: In Four Swords, Rupee shards are individually worthless but collecting eight creates a gem worth 500 Rupees.

Wallet size

Link can carry a maximum amount of Rupees which varies among titles. In The Legend of Zelda, players are limited to carrying 255 Rupees, which is the maximum value an unsigned 8-bit integer can hold. In A Link to the Past, Link's Awakening, Oracle of Seasons, and Oracle of Ages the Rupee limit is 999. Four Swords allows a maximum of 9999 Rupees shared among all players.

In five Zelda titles, the wallet size can be expanded, which increases the maximum amount of Rupees the player can carry. Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask first implemented this feature, where the initial maximum is 99 Rupees. Upgrading to the adult's wallet or to the giant's wallet increases the limit to 200 or 500 Rupees, respectively. In Majora's Mask, Rupees are one of the items that cannot be taken back in time with Link. However, there is a bank which retains deposited Rupees despite Link's time travel. The bank will not accept deposits if the balance meets or exceeds 5000 Rupees. Therefore, the maximum balance of 5499 Rupees occurs when the balance begins at 4999 and the player deposits an additional 500 Rupees.

The Wind Waker starts the capacity at 200, with wallet upgrades to 1000 and 5000. In The Minish Cap, capacity begins at 100, and increases to 300, 500, and finally 999. Twilight Princess begins Rupee capacity at 300, which can be upgraded to 600 and finally 1000 if you help out "Princess" Agitha in Castle Town by collecting Golden Bugs.

BS The Legend of Zelda: Stone Tablets of Antiquity featured a maximum of 99,999 Rupees, more than any other Zelda game, but strict time limits reduced the chances of reaching this maximum.


Although Rupees are used most often to buy items in shops, occasionally they have other uses. In the original Legend of Zelda, one rupee is used up every time Link shoots an arrow. In A Link to the Past, if a set amount (100) of Rupees were thrown into a certain fairy fountain, a fairy would appear and increase Link's carrying capacity for bombs or arrows, at the player's choice. In Ocarina of Time, collecting all the Silver Rupees in a particular dungeon room unlocks the locked doors. Rupees are also central to the gameplay in the multiplayer Four Swords. As such, this game adds Black Rupees, which causes rupees to scatter across the ground; and Rupee Shards, which when collected eight of can add up to a Rupee of great value. In Twilight Princess, the optional Magic Armor is powered by Rupees, and when Link is hit, he loses Rupees instead of hearts. If Link runs out of Rupees while wearing the armor, his mobility is greatly reduced.

The only titles to feature monetary systems other than Rupees are Oracle of Seasons, where the Subrosians would accept Ore Chunks as currency, as well as ruppees, and Four Swords Adventures, where the player(s) collects Force Gems rather than Rupees and although not an official currency in Hyrule, they are sometimes spent in exchange for something (such as a divination in Kakariko). Rupees were also absent in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, which had no currency system.

Appearances in non-Zelda games

  • Ingots, from Clu Clu Land, highly resemble Rupees from the original game. However, Clu Clu Land came first, meaning it is most likely intended as a cameo, much like the Book of Magic originating from Devil World.
  • Sometimes when looking through drawers in Animal Crossing, a message will say "You found 100 rupees! Too bad you can't use them here."
  • In Donkey Kong Country 3, after the refusal to buy a shell from Bazaar Bear, he claims that some guy named Link didn't have enough Bear Coins but wanted to pay in Rupees instead. After that he left, muttering about his shell being the wrong shape or something, which also references the shells Link collects in Link's Awakening.


The precise chronology of the Zelda universe is hotly debated among fans, although just as many fans do not feel the games are definitively connected. As the series progressed and more games were released, the exact order of the games in an overall timeline became complex and heavily disputed. It is often concluded by many fans that no specific timeline is necessary, and that each game is simply a new retelling of one core "Legend of Zelda" thesis. Bits and pieces of definitive information connect some games to each other, but there is no official explanation on how all games fit within a standardized timeline of events, and therefore it is impossible to be certain in which order the games are to be placed within The Legend of Zelda's chronology.

The following is a list of the Nintendo-published games in order of their first release, with their release years (in brackets), along with any additional information about their placement in the timeline.

This was the first game released in the series, though most of the games released since then seem to take place in earlier time periods. In this game, Ganon is already in his pig-like beast form. According to the instruction manual and the official website (though the reliability of the official website is in question), shortly before the beginning of the game, Ganon broke free from the Dark World and his army attacked Hyrule, stole the Triforce of Power and captured the ruling Princess Zelda, but not before she had time to break up and hide the Triforce of Wisdom.
The second Zelda game is a clear sequel to the first one. According to its instruction manual, it takes place "several seasons" after the first game and features the same Link but a different Zelda (This Zelda is most likely older than he one we encounter in the orignal Legend of Zelda.). Moreover, the story references Link's defeat of Ganon in the first game. The game's backstory also references an old legend of Hyrule. According to it, long ago, a prince of Hyrule should have inherited the Triforce after the king's death, but he only obtained part of it. Indeed, his sister, Princess Zelda, let him keep the Triforce of Power and the Triforce of Wisdom, but the late King hid the Triforce of Courage. The prince and a magician questioned Zelda, but she refused to reveal the location of the last piece of the Triforce. In anger, the magician cast an eternal sleeping spell on Zelda, before dying himself. In grief, the prince ordered that all future girls of the royal family be named Zelda. This Zelda is still asleep at the beginning of the game and is awakened by Link after he retrieves the Triforce of Courage at the end of the game. The events of this legend were never witnessed or mentioned in another game, but this legend must be early in the timeline.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES, GBA, Virtual Console) (1991)
This is the first of many Zelda games to have Hyrule's history told within the game. It is also the first game in which Ganon is referred to as "Ganondorf". By the time of this game, Ganon is in his pig-like form and sealed in the Golden Land with the Triforce. The game's instruction manual tells how the Triforce (all three pieces of it) was originally hidden in the Golden Land. One day long ago, it was found by Ganondorf the Thief, and it granted his evil wish for a monstrous army to attack Hyrule. While the Knights of Hyrule defended the land, the Seven Sages created a magic seal to lock off the Golden Land. The game itself revolves around Ganon's ultimately successful attempt to break the Sages' seal. Princess Zelda alerts Link to this and Link goes on to find the Master Sword (its first named appearance in the series), then to defeat Ganon and reclaim the Triforce.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (GB, GBC) (1993)
This game occurs soon after the events of A Link to the Past, according to the game's instruction manual. It states that Link left Hyrule on a journey of enlightenment after defeating Ganon. Most fans think this game does not count because it was a dream, but most fans still consider it a part of the game's chronology.
After its release, this game was confirmed by Shigeru Miyamoto as the first in the series' continuity. At the beginning of the game, Ganondorf is the Gerudo king and has not gained the Triforce. As the game progresses, Ganondorf finds his way into the Sacred Realm and finds the Triforce, but because his heart is not balanced, he causes the Triforce to become divided in three pieces - the Triforce of Power, the Triforce of Wisdom, and the Triforce of Courage. Ganondorf uses the Triforce of Power to lead an invasion of Hyrule, but Link stops him and the Seven Sages seal him in the Sacred Realm. But not before he, in a fit of rage, transforms into the monstrous Ganon for the first time. This game started what is called by fans, the Split Timeline Theory.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64, GC) (2000)
This game takes place months after the events of Ocarina of Time, and stars the same Link after returning to his youth, according to the in-game story. While traveling through the Lost Woods, he is attacked by the Skull Kid wearing a sinister mask, and while trying to get his stolen horse and ocarina back, accidentally falls into a parallel world called Termina, which is going to be destroyed by a falling moon in three days. Link must relive the same three days over and over again while trying to undo the chaos created by the Skull Kid through the power of Majora's Mask, and find a way to stop the impending apocalypse.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC) (2001)
These games are connected via a password system and one takes place immediately after the other. They can be played and regarded in either order. Dialogue suggests that this particular Link and Princess Zelda featured in these games meet for the first time during the adventure. The Twinrova sisters from Ocarina of Time appear in these games and plot to resurrect Ganon.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords (GBA) (2002)
The versions of Link and Princess Zelda featured in this game are childhood friends. This is the first game in which Vaati and the Four Sword appear.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GC) (2003)
This game takes place hundreds of years after Ocarina of Time. Hyrule has been lost for hundreds of years and now all that remains of its civilization are a few scattered islands on the Great Sea. Half way through The Wind Waker, the Link and Zelda from this game discover they are the reincarnations of their counterparts in the old kingdom. It is revealed in dialogue between survivors of Hyrule that the Link of The Wind Waker is related to the Hero of Time, who is the Link from Ocarina of Time.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (GC) (2004)
This game takes place about one hundred years after the events of Four Swords. It includes some background information about Ganon. Early in the game, he is called Ganondorf (and has his human form) before obtaining his trident and becoming the pig-like beast Ganon. Zelda calls Ganon an "ancient demon reborn."
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (GBA) (2004)
This game takes place long before Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures. It involves the origins of the namesake weapon of the aforementioned games, the Four Sword, as well as Vaati, their primary antagonist. No mention of Ganon is made but Link and Zelda are childhood friends as well. This game is considered first chronologically by many fans because of Link not having his trademark hat and the only game other than Majora's Mask to not mention Ganon.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii, GC) (2006)
This game takes place about one hundred years after Ocarina of Time but before A Link to the Past due to the ruins of the Temple of Time. In an interview with Japan's Nindori Magazine, Aonuma states that it takes place "parallel" to Wind Waker. After becoming the dark beast Ganon, Ganondorf returns to his Gerudo form.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS) (2007)
This game has yet to be released, but Nintendo has confirmed that it takes place directly after The Wind Waker and will star the same Link.
  • The Legend of Zelda (Wii) (TBA)
This is the tentative name for the upcoming entry in the series, developed exclusively for the Wii. In an interview at E3 2005, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess director Eiji Aonuma stated that he was assigned by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata to create a Zelda game for the new platform. It was later reported in the "Loose Talk" gossip column in the December 2006 issue of Game Informer that the next installment after Twilight Princess had been in deep development for approximately a year.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords (DS) (TBA)
Almost nothing has been announced about this game except for the fact that it is coming for the Nintendo DS and will feature multiplayer. Nintendo has also hinted that it will have online play. No announcement has yet been made about the stage of development that this game currently in.

The creators maintain that the series has a set timeline, but due to the poor translation protocols in the 1990s and debate over what counts as "canonical" material, the available information continues to be disputed. Eiji Aonuma has since promised he will do his best to patch it all up and reveal the timeline someday and Miyamoto stated in a 2003 interview that there is a master document containing the timeline, but this document has not been seen publicly and there is little other proof of its existence.

Nature of the protagonist

According to the official website, Link is described as humble but brave, attributes appropriate for the bearer of the Triforce of Courage. Sometimes Link will bear a special title, such as "Hero of Time" or "Hero of Winds". A long-eared Hylian that resembles an elf, Link is usually a boy of 12 years (though he has also been portrayed as an adolescent and a young man). Link always wears a green tunic, an undershirt and a long, floppy green cap, for at least part of each adventure. All incarnations of Link are ambidextrous, and most are left-handed; however, in the Wii version of Twilight Princess, Link is right-handed to better match the Wii's control scheme.

Although some fans believe all Zelda games feature the same characters, others adhere to a quote suggesting that every single game features different characters. The official line is that there are numerous heroes named Link throughout Hyrule's history, and unless otherwise indicated, each adventure is that of a new protagonist. Some of the games are linked chronologically and take place in a clear continuity, while others do not. For example, the Link in A Link to the Past is clearly not the same Link who donned The Minish Cap. On the other hand, Majora's Mask directly states that the Link character is the same one from Ocarina of Time. According to the manual, the Link in Link's Awakening was the same Link who defeated Ganon in A Link to the Past. The Link from Adventure of Link is the same as the original Legend of Zelda, although somewhat confusingly, a different Princess Zelda is involved. While evidence in The Wind Waker suggests that its storyline is distantly related to that of Ocarina of Time, it features a different Link, though it shows the same Ganondorf. Eiji Aonuma has confirmed that every time a new evil plagues the land of a Hyrule, a new hero must rise up to confront it. Link usually doesn't "speak" in Zelda games, producing instead grunts, yells, and other such sounds. The one exception to this (so far) was 2002's The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. When it was released in the English-speaking world, the phrase “Come on!” was clearly audible (used in a dungeon to call another character, Medli or Makar, to follow the player). Prior to this, in Zelda II players chose how to answer a question with a choice from a list: no voice acting accompanied Link's answers. More usually the character uses facial expressions to show mood - particular emphasis was place on this in The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess.

Although the character's accepted name is Link, the player can name the hero in each game and characters will address him by that name in the text.

Side quests

In addition to the primary quest of saving the land from destruction or domination by an evil force, Zelda games often feature lesser quests upon which Link can embark at the discretion of the player. These "side quests" usually reward the player with items that make the primary quest easier to complete (such as Heart Containers, new weapons, etc.), and are occasionally necessary to complete the game. This gameplay device is not unique to The Legend of Zelda, but it is fairly consistent in the series.

The longest of these side quests, present in several games, is the "trading sequence". In such a sequence, Link first obtains an item from either a store or an in-game friend. He then takes that item to a character in the game who needs it, and trades it for something else. This otherwise unhelpful item is then traded to another character for something equally useless, and so on. The trading sequence may consist of as many as fifteen separate items, and usually ends with the player finally trading for a powerful new weapon or a critical item. The most famous example of this is the trading sequence in Ocarina of Time required to receive the Biggoron Sword.

Other side quests include races, a search for hidden items or characters, or extra puzzles. Majora's Mask in particular relied heavily on side quests, ranging from short quests for a Piece of Heart to a long, arduous side quest to collect numerous face masks (and complete several challenging dungeons) needed to obtain the powerful Fierce Deity Mask.

The Minish Cap had a large number of minuscule sidequests in the form of searching for "Kinstone pieces", medallion fragments which could be fused with those owned by in-game characters to magically trigger various events (opening a hole in a tree, providing a new path, making a beanstalk grow, making new characters appear, etc.). Usually these events allowed the player to obtain secret items, but it was sometimes necessary to collect Kinstones to advance the game further.

Both The Wind Waker and the The Minish Cap featured figurine collecting as a side quest. The Minish Cap's figurines could be bought with seashells, whereas the The Wind Waker required the player to take a photo of the subject upon which the figurine would be based.

Critical reception

The Legend of Zelda series has generated many highly positive reviews within the gaming industry. Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker have both received a perfect score by Japanese Famitsu magazine, making Zelda the first and only series with multiple perfect scores. In addition, A Link to the Past received an almost-perfect score of 39 out of 40. The website also awarded Ocarina of Time, Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons and Link's Awakening a score of 10/10. GameFAQs has also held a contest for the best video game series ever, with The Legend of Zelda claiming the top position; along with Nintendo Power's Top 200 countdown, in which Ocarina of Time took first place, and a few other Zelda games placed in the top 20. Moreover, the editors of Game Rankings have declared Ocarina of Time the highest-ranking game of all time by compiling every major numeric review given to the game upon its release.

Other incarnations

There are a number of Zelda video games and other media creations that have been officially licensed by Nintendo but not acknowledged by fans as part of the series.

LCD games

Two Zelda-themed LCD games were created in the late 1980's. The "Zelda Game & Watch" was released first, and was an actual digital watch with primitive gameplay based on the original Legend of Zelda. The similarly titled "Zelda Game & Watch" was a dual-screen handheld electronic game similar in appearance to today's Nintendo DS. It featured gameplay based on The Adventure of Link, and has also reappeared as an unlockable extra in Game & Watch Gallery 4, a 2002 compilation for the Game Boy Advance.

Unreleased games

In the lifetime of the Zelda series, several video games have been in development that, for various reasons, were ultimately abandoned. Such titles include The Triforce Trilogy (Game Boy Color), and Mystical Seed of Courage (Game Boy Color).


Link appeared in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 64. Link, Young Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf apeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee (Ganondorf and Young Link were unlockable. Zelda could turn into Sheik) for the Nintendo Game Cube. Link is in the soon to be released Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii.

Zelda Music CDs

Many Zelda music Cd's have been released, including a Ocarina of Time CD, a Wind Waker CD, a Legend of Zelda CD (featuring music from all games up to Wind Waker), and a Twilight Princess CD released by Nintendo Power as a free promotion for getting a subscription to the video gaming magazine.

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