Archive for the ‘Zelda Month’ Category

VR Zelda Month: Closer

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These last 30 days of list writing have been hard work, but I have enjoyed every moment. Hearing feedback from each individual list has been wonderful (as well as a tad overwhelming) and I’d like to thank everyone who took time out of their days to give each list a read. I can now cross off another writing project from my bucket list, but this may not be the last time I visit the Legend of Zelda series for some countdown goodness.

If you missed any one of the fifteen lists I have posted on Vagrant Rant in the last month or so, here are the links to each and every one!

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Top 5 Companions

Top 10 Consumable Items

Top 10 Non-Consumable Items

Top 5 Scenic Locations

Top 10 Enemies

Top 10 Minibosses

Top 10 Bosses

Top 10 Minigames

Top 10 Sidequests

Top 10 Pseudo-Dungeons

Top 15 Dungeons

Top 10 Dungeon Music

Top 15 Non-Dungeon Music

Top 10 Memorable Moments

Top 10 Zelda Games

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That lovely Zelda Month logo you see at the top of every list was designed by my very talented sister and one-time Four Swords Adventures ally Jenna. You can view her collection of artworks, photography and clothing designs on her blog jennamarieanne.com, if that tickles your fancy.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go play some Wind Waker HD.

VR Zelda Month: The Stats

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To those curious as to how all the Legend of Zelda games stacked up against one another on this blog when it came to raw number of list mentions this last month or so, this is the post you have been looking for! How incredibly exciting!

This list does not include honorable mentions, just the main list material. A mention fully counts even if it shares an entry on a particular list with one or more other games. Entries that do not specifically refer to any particular game do not give a mention to any game for the purposes of this list. The last list, my top ten favourite Zelda games, didn’t count towards this tally.

It’s all there real quick-like after the jump.

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VR Zelda Month: Top 10 Memorable Moments

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This is probably the most personal of all the lists I have attempted this past month. Nearly every person who has ever played a Zelda game will have some moment that sticks out in his or her mind from said game. Usually, there are more than one. Here is a list of my top ten personal (key word there) favourites. Well, sort of.

I suppose I should mention that this isn’t technically my absolute all-time list of the ten most memorable moments in Zelda games; rather this list deals with moments that do not overlap with any list I’ve already posted. For example, had I not already featured Midna’s Lament in my overall music list, the corresponding gameplay moment would absolutely appear here. A more accurate title would be “Top 10 Memorable Non-Dungeon, Non-Boss, Non-Sidequest, Non-Music-Related Moments”, but that ain’t quite as snappy. I headed back to Deviantart for the pictures to this one, because just like my sidequests list it’s hard to convey a moment with an official icon.

Finally, this list is probably the most spoiler-laden of them all as it deals heavily with story related content, so be warned.

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VR ZELDA MONTH DISCLAIMER
This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s scary. Respectful disagreement is welcome. MASSIVE spoilers may follow.
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10. The First Three Days – Majora’s Mask

Credit to Ayemae

I cannot hope to describe what makes the first three day cycle of Majora’s Mask, its only scripted gameplay sequence until you enter the moon at game’s end, so memorable without entering into emotional nostalgia. I first played through it at a friend’s house (remember those days when you could take turns playing a single player game at another person’s house and everyone was just cool with it?) and the impact of the whole ordeal just blew me away. From the amazing graphical showcase of the first forest areas to the nightmarish Deku Scrub curse to showing the snarky Bombers who’s boss to the entire Astral Observatory to the epic confrontation with the Skull Kid, it was all magic to me. The sequence was more than enough to convince me to ask for the game for my 12th birthday and the rest, as they say, is history.
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VR Zelda Month: Top 15 Non-Dungeon Music

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It took me a long, long time to decide on what pieces of Zelda music went into this list. Much harder to compile than the dungeon music list, and in fact probably the most difficult list of them all, putting together a collection of the best overall tracks in a series as musically rich as The Legend of Zelda is a truly daunting task. So it’s a good thing people have opinions.

Despite how amazing they tend to be (or, perhaps, because they tend to be so amazing) I have disqualified end credits themes from this list. They tend to just be medleys of tunes from whatever game they happen to hail from, anyway.

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VR ZELDA MONTH DISCLAIMER
This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s scary. Respectful disagreement is welcome. Spoilers may follow.
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15. Outset Island – The Wind Waker


What better way to start this countdown than with the wonderful background track from the very first island in The Wind Waker, a Zelda game many people rank as the best in the series for music? The theme of Outset Island is just so fitting of Link’s initial naivete at the, well, the outset of his journey. The gentle flow of the melody is grounded by that persistent deep and inoffensive brass rhythm, yet matches so well to the ambient sounds of ocean swell against the beach. What’s more, it features a callback to the music of the opening area to Ocarina of Time, the Kokiri Forest, with a delightful flourish at 1:30 in the above video.
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VR Zelda Month: Top 10 Dungeon Music

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Whatever people might think of the games in general, the Legend of Zelda series is just about universally renowned for its excellent music. Famed Nintendo composer Koji Kondo and his cohorts are widely regarded as some of the best composers in the videogame business and it’s not hard to see why. In the first of two music-themed countdowns, I’ll be looking at the top ten pieces of Zelda dungeon music.

The Zelda dungeon track is somewhat of a unique beast. Dungeon music needs to function well on an endless loop and should ideally have elements of tension and danger evident within it. A coherent melody is therefore optional, while an audio tone that matches the unique visuals of any particular dungeon is preferable. These factors and more were what determined the order of this list.

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VR ZELDA MONTH DISCLAIMER
This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s scary. Respectful disagreement is welcome.
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10. Light World Dungeon – A Link to the Past


A Link to the Past ties up its dungeons in two neat sections: pre-Dark World and post-Dark World. It does this through the story and a difficulty curve built into its dungeon design, but also through music. The first three dungeons of the game, also known as the pre-Dark World ones, make excellent use of the SNES’ amazing sound chip to create a sombre track that starts maliciously and then opens up into a piece that applies tinges of hope to the ongoing oppression of the classic dungeon slog. I’m a huge fan of the almost regal-sounding result.
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VR Zelda Month: Top 15 Dungeons

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This is it – the quintessential bread and butter of the Zelda series. Every Zelda game has them and every Zelda game is judged by them. No matter what aspect of the so-called Zelda formula that resonates with you the most – whether it be story, item selection, music, combat, enemy design, sidequests or the like – if you do not enjoy playing through Zelda dungeons then to be honest your gaming time is better spent elsewhere. Dungeons comprise at least 50% of the average playtime of most Zelda games and they very rarely fail to deliver on quality, satisfying puzzle solving and real immersion.

Distilling well over 100 Zelda dungeons into my top fifteen favourites was not easy in the slightest. To help me narrow it down I tried to keep the dungeon qualities that are most important to me at the top of the pile when it came to ordering the list. That means things like difficulty and length are largely inconsequential while factors like uniqueness and atmosphere are king. Bosses are completely out of the picture unless they appear throughout the dungeon before the fight at the end. They have their own list anyway.

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VR ZELDA MONTH DISCLAIMER
This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s scary. Respectful disagreement is welcome.
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15. Skull Woods – A Link to the Past


Structurally speaking, Skull Woods stands out from its A Link to the Past dungeon brethren like a sore thumb. For one, it almost completely takes over what is normally the Lost Woods (in the Light World at least), making it quite possibly the biggest dungeon in the game in terms of pure surface area. Furthermore, the Skull Woods is laid out in such a way that traversing its mostly underground tunnels requires frequent visits to the wooded surface. Running through a ghastly off-colour representation of what is normally an overworld area as part of a dungeon adds a real alien freshness to proceedings.
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VR Zelda Month: Top 10 Pseudo-Dungeons

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The word “dungeon” means something quite different to a Zelda fan than it does to a player of most any other RPG/action adventure franchise. To the latter, a dungeon might consist of any decently sized enclosed area where enemies are fought and/or puzzles are solved. For a Zelda fan though, a “dungeon” is one of a handful of self-contained areas separate from the game overworld with an obtainable navigational device or two hidden within it, as well as an item that directly furthers the progress of whatever Link happens to be exploring it. It finishes with a boss and that boss relinquishes a heart container. Such is the Zelda dungeon equation.

Other decently sized enclosed areas where enemies are fought and/or puzzles are solved do exist in Zelda games as well, though. Some are entirely optional, others required to move along in the story. The word “mini-dungeon” is often thrown around to describe such places, but I’ve gone for the slightly less used “pseudo-dungeon” for the purposes of this list because some of these entries are actually larger/longer than the average regular dungeon. These are my ten most memorable.

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VR ZELDA MONTH DISCLAIMER
This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s scary. Respectful disagreement is welcome.
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10. Cave of Ordeals – Twilight Princess


The Cave of Ordeals is the most regularly used defense against the well worn “Twilight Princess is too easy” argument among Zelda fans. Consisting of 50 floors of increasingly more difficult enemies, the desert-bound pit is certainly not for the faint of heart visually speaking and it isn’t exactly a cakewalk either. The grimy cave, found in the TP version of the Gerudo Desert, throws waves of already encountered enemies at you in groups. Even notoriously tough opponents such as Darknuts, who usually only appear by themselves elsewhere in the game, are allowed to gang up on you here. The cave only grants an opportunity for rest and recovery once every ten floors, so it isn’t a bad idea to bring a few potions with you when you attempt the challenge.
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