There is hardly a more beloved franchise in all of video games than The Legend of Zelda, as evidenced by our month-long spotlight of the series. But though so many of its entries are at or near the top of many players’ lists of all-time favorites, how do each of the titles stack up when pitted against each other? After a lengthy voting process involving several on the staff and a complicated point-tallying system, we here at Goomba Stomp have finally come up with a ranking of our favorite Zelda games. These are not be in the order of best to worst but instead they are the ones we love from least to most! Without further Fi-like explanation, here is the list of Our Favorite Zelda Games:
16.) Oracle of Ages
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages is the sister game to Oracle of Seasons, both of which are the portable successors to Link’s Awakening DX. Both games share a lot in common with Link’s Awakening, but each took a different route in how it presented its gameplay, Oracle of Ages focused on puzzles and tried to find interesting ways to get the player to think about their surroundings and their inventory, as well as giving the player a lot of items that interacted with the environment rather than with enemies.
On a personal level, Oracle of Ages resonates with me a lot, as it’s the version I had when the two games originally came out. I remember being thoroughly surprised by the boss of the second dungeon, Head Thwomp, as it was a battle based around timing (something I wasn’t very good at when I was ten years old) and did not require the use of the sword, instead making use of bombs. Many of the boss battles in Oracle of Ages followed this trend of not using the sword as your main damage-dealing item. While today that’s not much of an accomplishment for a Zelda title, when the Oracle games were coming out the series was still establishing its footing in 3D, and many bosses in the top-down games were still focused primarily on sword-based combat. Oracle of Ages also has one of my personal favorite items, the Seed Shooter. Intended to be Ages’ version of the version of the staple bow/slingshot, the Seed Shooter is able to ricochet various types of ammo off walls to hit targets. While this is implemented in some puzzles, it’s not carried throughout the game, and ultimately you can still just stand in front of something and spam seeds like rapid-fire arrows.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages is an interesting example of how to experiment with an IP, even if some of its most interesting ideas are not fully realized. (Taylor Smith)
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