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How to start my Zelda experience?


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#1 marella152

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 04:49 AM

I am 22 years old and have never touched a Zelda game.
Start the berating now....
.....
..
ok, now stop, because I want some serious answers.

I know that Zelda is one of the most popular and successful series in gaming history. And I really want to be a part of it, but I have been intimidated by the multitude of games in the Zelda storyline.
I am the type of person who has a hard time jumping into a sequel without playing the first games. I have too many questions, I want to know everything about every character.
So, how do I immerse myself into the Zelda universe?
Any advice is much appreciated.
thanks,
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#2 rumarudrathas

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 04:55 AM

What Nintendo systems do you own?

EDIT: Now, most of the Zelda installments are "stand-alone" products, which doesn't necessitate having played any of the previous games in the series, with a few exceptions.

Think Final Fantasy series; there are some commonalities and themes that's unique to the series, whether chocobos or a guy named Cid, but all in all you don't need to play FF6 in order to fully appreciate the upcoming FFXII.

That being said, if you can, start with the one in the SNES: A Link to the Past. Barring that, a good start point would be the classic Ocarina of Time for the N64 (one of the few games that got a perfect score from Gamespot), and even Twilight Princess for the Cube/Wii.

BTW, this is a great start for those looking into the Lore, and there is an "official" chronological list that Miyamoto helped create that ties all the games together, but I need to find that.

Edited by rumarudrathas, 08 December 2009 - 02:28 PM.


#3 marella152

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 05:09 AM

What Nintendo systems do you own?


All of them
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#4 marella152

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 05:13 AM

All of them


correction - No GameCube
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#5 AFRO insomniac

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 05:14 AM

Zelda games are separate from one another, meaning they don't follow a specific storyline, but run parallel with one another in the same universe. Kind of like Mario games.

I would recommend starting out with the older originals and working your way up. If you have a Wii then this will be easier via virtual console versions, or you could always pick up the Zelda Collector's Edition (GC).

I'll admit I am biased with my favorites, but I prefer:

A Link to the Past
Ocarina of Time
Windwaker

Or you could just start off with Twilight Princess (although I thought it was too much like OOT, you may find it refreshing since you never played OOT).

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#6 Strell

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 05:24 AM

First, let's have the timeline in terms of release and by system, omitting anything not considered directly applicable (in this case, the CD-I games, Link's Crossbow Training, and the Four Swords title on the Gamecube/Gameboy Advance):

Consoles:
NES: The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
SNES: Link to the Past
N64: Ocarina of Time*, Majora's Mask
Gamecube: The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess**
Wii: Twilight Princess**

Handhelds:
Original Gameboy: Link's Awakening
Gameboy Color: Oracle of Seasons, Oracle of Ages
Gameboy Advance: Minish Cap, Link to the Past (port of SNES title)
DS: Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks

(Hope I'm not forgetting any.)

*Note: There is a remix of Ocarina available on the Gamecube called the Master Quest version, but it is largely the same game and can be skipped.
**Note: The Gamecube version is considered more "true" because Link is left handed. The Wii version is a waggle fest but runs in wide screen, but because most people are right handed, everything in the world was mirrored in order to make Link right handed. This is considered travesty in terms of canon by fans, and so most would tell you to stick to the Gamecube version.

Zelda games aren't inherently tied to each other. Miyamoto (in case you don't know, he's the creator of the Zelda series) has said that there's no solid time line. Yes, certain games take place after others, but otherwise you can play them in any order. The only exception to this rule are the first two Zelda games - The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link - which are sequential.

Otherwise, the explanation is that there are different versions of Link and Zelda and - if I remember correctly - Hyrule as well. Sometimes certain games reference others (Phantom Hourglass on the DS alludes to things from The Wind Waker from the Gamecube), but generally you can play them in any order.

If you wanted to start proper, I'd play the original NES Legend of Zelda. Most would tell you to skip the second game since it changes up the formula a lot (it is more of an action side scroller, where you have to jump pits and so forth), but I personally like it a lot. Still, the first one on the NES is very fun and very well designed. Be warned that it might be considered difficult by today's standards, and might be a bit much for a newcomer to try.

After that, you could either go to Link to the Past from the SNES, or The Ocarina of Time from the N64. Both are magnificent games, and each further refine the original formula set by the first NES game. They are essentially bigger, have better stories, more sidequests, a wider variety of enemies and items and NPCs to meet, etc. I'd suggest LttP before OoT.

Majora's Mask - like The Adventure of Link - travels far from the cannon path of a typical Zelda game. It is technically a direct sequel to Ocarina, but it is heavily reliant on its "gimmick" of having a system where you replay the same three days of game-time over and over (think Groundhog's Day if you've ever seen it). It is still an excellent game, but it garners a very love-or-hate relationship.

Moving onto the Gamecube, we have Wind Waker. As a 3D title, it most closely resembles and hearkens back to the original Legend of Zelda, and Miyamoto has said several times he was inspired by his original game when making it. The graphics have also created a love-or-hate thing, but I think they are spectacular and still look vibrant, colorful, and smooth even today. Highly recommended, especially because of the more old school feeling nature of it presented with more modern rendering tech.

Twilight Princess, again, seems to split the fanbase. For a more pure play of it, take the Gamecube version. Otherwise, the Wii version is fine, but it is a waggle fest. To its credit, it does run in wide screen. It is much more atmospheric than previous titles, and tends to be darker. Nintendo experimented with a few different things, and some people hated it and others liked it. Oh well.

As for the handheld titles, I'm of the opinion that they are all largely very good, but not necessary (which tends to be something more people don't agree with). Link's Awakening seems to garner the most praise over the years, while the Oracle games feel radically different given that they were developed by Flagship/Capcom instead of directly by Nintendo (but in a good way). I can't say much about Minish Cap since I haven't actually played it.

Phantom Hourglass brings on the touchscreen only gameplay, but most have said that they thought the game was charming. It is an easier title, and thus might be a good one to start with for someone who has never tried a Zelda title before. It would also be better to play it before Spirit Tracks, since it will introduce the gameplay of A) touch screen and B) Zelda titles, which are puzzle based during dungeons. Further, it's a good opener, since it feels somewhat old school in look and presentation, just dressed up with the cell shading style that Wind Waker began.

SO, in short:

Must plays from the consoles are: The Legend of Zelda, Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess. Zelda II and Majora's Mask have their fans but are generally considered "not as good" as the other titles, and you could always play them later. I personally recommend both nearly as highly as their forerunners, but given how isolated they are from the rest of the series, they can be played later on.

Must plays from the handhelds: Link's Awakening and Phantom Hourglass, and then Spirit Tracks upon completing the latter if you dig the touchscreen controls. The Oracle games can be played later on along with Minish Cap.

In terms of difficulty, I'd say that generally the older the game is, the harder it will be. That might help you decide as well.

As to how to play them, running them on their original hardware is best. If you've got a Wii, you can download several of them from the Wii Shop service, or even play a few directly from Gamecube discs. The emulated Virtual Consoles versions are generally superior, as they run in 480p resolution and don't have near as much slow down that a CD game would have (i.e., running Ocarina from the Gamecube disc it was released on has a delay whenever you access your inventory, which is annoying - it's not game breaking or anything, just very annoying). Further, you can play through all of them from the same system in this manner.

If challenge isn't an issue and you have access to old systems OR have a Wii, then I'd start with The Legend of Zelda and go from there. Otherwise, I'd tell newcomers to go to Phantom Hourglass and play it first. You can work back to other titles from it, because it'll be an easier title while still introducing a lot of the mainstays of the game - the boomerang, hitting color switches in dungeons, etc. If you hate touchscreen play, then just pick either the original LoZ, Link to the Past, or Ocarina of Time.

Be warned that the older N64 titles will look "terrible" in the sense that they are blocky due to polygon limitations of that era, while older titles will not have any flashy effects over their pixelized presentations. So if you're the type to favor tons of graphics, you will be disappointed. But you shouldn't be, because the gameplay is sublime and holds up to this day without issue, especially when you consider just how much of a template games like Ocarina serve for modern day adventure projects.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Edited by Strell, 08 December 2009 - 06:09 AM.


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#7 Hostile

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 05:30 AM

Pick up A Link to the Past on the GBA.

#8 marella152

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 05:46 AM

Thanks for all your input.
Strell - WOW - more info than I could have expected - but somehow, I knew I would get an answer like that. Everything I could have wanted! Awesome,
Per the consensus, I am gonna give the original a shot then go from there, here's the order I think I'm workin with: 1. Legend of Zelda, 2. Link to the Past 3. Ocarina in Time
Again, thanks everyone!
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#9 Strell

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 05:52 AM

Anytime. Let us know how you are enjoying/not enjoying them. The three you've picked are excellent starting points and are probably considered the best games of the series overall.

Have fun!


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#10 kainzero

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 05:55 AM

i think the original LoZ is kinda confusing. they just throw you out in the world and expect you to figure everything out!

depending on what kind of player you are, you could really like it or really hate it.

but everyone loves LttP.
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#11 Collectordragon

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 06:06 AM

I think the easiest thing for you to do is just start with The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks which was released today.

#12 marella152

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 06:07 AM

i think the original LoZ is kinda confusing. they just throw you out in the world and expect you to figure everything out!

depending on what kind of player you are, you could really like it or really hate it.

but everyone loves LttP.



I like to think of myself as a pretty intelligent gamer, so I hope I would be able to hold my own in LoZ. Plus, I wouldnt feel right not playing the first.
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#13 Shockdrop

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 06:08 AM

Nice choices. I would say that after you do play OoT, play Majora's Mask. IMO, MM gives a much better feeling that "Hey, the world is ending, And it's up to me to stop it." It's definetly a much heavier game. The moon is always there, giving you a constant reminder that you need to pick your sh*t up and stop it. Plus some of the characters have nice little stories that are quite interesting when you explore them (Anju and Kafei's lve story, for example). It's confusing at first, but you get the hang of it eventually.

I really like MM, even though it uses the same models from OoT. I think it's better than its predecessor. But that's just my opinion ;)

Also, since your going for 1 & OoT, shoot for the Zelda Collection for GC with LoZ 1, Adventures of Link (Zelda 2), OoT, and MM. Even has a demo for Wind Waker :)

everyone loves LttP.


Totally agree.

#14 lokizz

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 06:45 AM

start with the nes stuff and work your way to the present making sure to skip the 3do games. you can get the n64 and i believe the nes zelda games for the gamecube but theyre hard to find that will save you time and money( thats be 5 or more diff zelda games in all).

#15 KingBroly

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 06:49 AM

The Minish Cap or Ocarina of Time
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#16 kainzero

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 07:18 AM

I like to think of myself as a pretty intelligent gamer, so I hope I would be able to hold my own in LoZ. Plus, I wouldnt feel right not playing the first.

It's not so much an "intelligent" game as it is whether you enjoy exploring or not.

Back in the days we had fun, colorful, visual guides to help us out with everything, plus good ol' word of mouth.

It's hard to remember which trees to burn down and what not, and as a new player, you have to know that you can burn down trees in the first place.
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#17 greyzieoriental

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 07:31 AM

Hey!
Hey!
Hey!

lol, you'll understand that one day.
I feel sorry that you missed out of one of my favorite series. One of the main reasons Nintendo systems & handhelds get my money(the other is Mario).
I say play Zelda 1, A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time. All the others you can play anyway you like. One great thing about Zelda games is that they have nothing to really do with the other games so you do not have to play them in any order. Gameboy Zeldas are also pretty good.

#18 The Crotch

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 08:15 AM

Seriously, I've never understood the Navi hate. Aside from that one wall-climbing tutorial, she's never annoyed me.

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#19 dmaul1114

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 01:57 PM

I'd start with A Link to the Past--still the best in the series. I don't think the NES games held up well, so I wouldn't start there. Maybe go back to them if you really fall in love with the series.

I've enjoyed all the Zelda games (even the NES ones back in the day, just never liked them when I tried to replay them in recent years) other than Phantom Hourglass on the DS. Hated the touch controls and the Ocean King temple that you have to go through several times.

The must plays are:

Link to the Past
Ocarina of Time
Twilight Princess
Link's Awakening

I enjoyed all the rest, but I'd recommend playing those 4, and then moving on to the others if you really love them.

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#20 xilly

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 02:27 PM

It's not so much an "intelligent" game as it is whether you enjoy exploring or not.

Back in the days we had fun, colorful, visual guides to help us out with everything, plus good ol' word of mouth.

It's hard to remember which trees to burn down and what not, and as a new player, you have to know that you can burn down trees in the first place.


That's why they make this wonderful site called Gamefaqs.


Anyways dude.. play the original Legend of Zelda, then play Link's Awakening, then play A Link to the Past, then Ocarina of Time. In that order. After that, you can pretty much play whatever whenever, as none of the Zelda games are nearly as great as those three are.

Majora's Mask gets an honorable mention, but Windwaker is much like Twilight Princess.. they start out strong, but about halfway through, you just wind up bored and wishing you were playing something else.

To each his own, obviously. The Zelda series is much like the Megaman series. 400000 entries in the series, but there are only a few crown jewels (MM2, MM3, MM&B, MMX, MMX2, MMX4, MMZ). Most are good, some are great, few are excellent, and only a rare few are must plays.

#21 Mr. Anderson

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 02:47 PM

You are a lucky man to have never played a Zelda game. Congratulations! :D

My favorite has always been Majora's Mask, but that's just because it was the first console Zelda I ever played. Ocarina of Time is a classic, as is A Link to the Past.

You know what? Just listen to Strell.

#22 aosora13

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 02:47 PM

I was able to catch up and play The Legend of Zelda, Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker, and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Zelda 2 whipped my butt. I almost gave up at the end
Spoiler
I finally beat it in late Summer/early Fall this year and it has made me glad I played it. It was definitely different from the rest of the Zelda games. Well, since I do not want to scare the OP. Some recommendations is The Legend of Zelda, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Zelda Windwaker and Zelda Twilight Princess. I hope this helps.

#23 Ryuukishi

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 04:04 PM

I would recommend starting with A Link to the Past or Ocarina of Time. Both of those are still wonderfully playable today. The original Legend of Zelda, like the original Metroid or Final Fantasy, has not aged quite as well IMO. Still a great game but very much a game of its time.

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#24 kainzero

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 05:04 PM

That's why they make this wonderful site called Gamefaqs.

gamefaqs does not even compare to the magazines of the past.

we're talking full magazine spreads of the overworld, back story regarding certain parts of the map, licensed art just for the guide, stories about random people in the game, illustrations of the items.

and yet despite all that, they never just spelled the game out for you. they always left a lot for you to actually explore. maybe they'd only give you maps for the first 3 dungeons, or leave stuff blank for you to check out, or mention in passing that there are places you could bomb for shortcuts.

it was all convenient too. gamefaqs you have to click several links, download stuff from different authors, there's no coherency, and your computer might not even be next to your NES (or whatever gaming console you used to play).

i think LoZ was a much more enjoyable game to play in its time and lost its luster with the internet.
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#25 lokizz

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 06:47 PM

gamefaqs does not even compare to the magazines of the past.

we're talking full magazine spreads of the overworld, back story regarding certain parts of the map, licensed art just for the guide, stories about random people in the game, illustrations of the items.

and yet despite all that, they never just spelled the game out for you. they always left a lot for you to actually explore. maybe they'd only give you maps for the first 3 dungeons, or leave stuff blank for you to check out, or mention in passing that there are places you could bomb for shortcuts.

it was all convenient too. gamefaqs you have to click several links, download stuff from different authors, there's no coherency, and your computer might not even be next to your NES (or whatever gaming console you used to play).

i think LoZ was a much more enjoyable game to play in its time and lost its luster with the internet.



you cant knock gamefaqs though its cool that you can get info or help on any game you have for free but that said i can see the nostalgia of the way things were. my dad had an nes and my folks were divorced so id play loz on the weekends( well every other weekend) id go to visit him an if i got stuck on something id go to school and ask some gamers i knew for help ( like how to get into the 6th dungeon which i think was up , left, right , left).

gaming back then wasnt something everyone did and if you didnt know someone who had access to nintendo power you had to rely on your fellow gamers for help. even with online gaming where it is now back then it really felt like more of a community. theres still some good people out there but theres so many annoying cocky douchebags too its not what it used to be.

#26 dmaul1114

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 06:52 PM

There are pretty good guides out there even for recent Zelda games. Including a nice hard cover guide for Twilight Princess. So I'm not sure what the complaint is other than having to buy a guide vs. having guides integrated into magazines.

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#27 kainzero

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 07:00 PM

So I'm not sure what the complaint is

This is just saying that playing the original Legend of Zelda back in the day is a completely different experience than picking it up now because of how you found things out and what was in the guides and stuff.

Nothing to do with modern Zeldas or even modern guides.
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#28 Morrigan Lover

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 07:12 PM

Don't forget the second quest in the original LoZ. Completely new dungeons. You may even want to consider it a separate game and come back to it later after you finish the 1st quest.
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#29 Rig

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 07:15 PM

LttP and OoT are great picks. If you enjoy those, then move on to other games in the series.

#30 cochesecochese

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 07:28 PM

First Zelda? Link to the Past, easily.

The game will hand hold you through the core mechanics at the beginning and it's just the right length. If you love it then you'll love the other Zeldas.

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