Tidman’s Take: Link’s Armament – Part 2

And now, the second half of Tidman’s look at the best and worst items in Link’s adventures, from the Oracle games to Spirit Tracks.

By Matthew Tidman. Posted 08/05/2010 12:30 2 Comments     ShareThis

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Artwork

Link has had access to hundreds of items across the various games he has been in. Last time we explored Link’s first six games, but the past is prologue. So join me now as I look at the rest of Link’s adventures to discern the best and worst items he found in each.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons

The Best: Seed Shooter

Really, the Oracle games are actually one story split across two different games, and there is a lot of overlap between the two games in what items Link finds. So for the purposes of this column, both item sets are on the docket. Don’t look too closely at the Seed Shooter. If you overthink it, this weapon might start looking like something not very Nintendo-friendly. But Link never inhaled, even when using Mystery and Ember seeds. The Seed Shooter stand as one of the best items that Link acquired between both games as not only was it an effective weapon, it was a blast to use thanks to being able to shoot in eight directions.

The Worst: Rings

In theory this seems like a great idea. Being able to equip various rings in order to augment Link’s abilities is an interesting idea for the series. Unfortunately you’re limited to only being able to equip one at a time, and unless you upgrade your ring box, you can only carry one with you at a time. It just gets annoying having to run back to Vasu every time you want to swap out for a different set of rings. These items aren’t bad, but they do go to show that bad implementation of a good item can really hurt the desirability of those items.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

The Best: Grappling Hook

This choice might split a lot of people as the Grappling Hook is generally regarded as one of the worst items in in The Wind Waker. However, the Grappling Hook provides two essential functions. The first is to help Link get across gaps. The second, less used function is to steal items from enemies. Even enemies that rarely drop their items, such as Bokoblins can have their joy pendants removed without much difficulty. It might not be a Hyrule-shattering addition, but it’s a lot of fun to use.

The Worst: Telescope

Sure, Aryl lends this item to Link at the beginning of the game, and it has plenty of sentimental value but it’s really useless. Think of it, how many times did you use the Telescope over the course of Link’s adventure. Even the Pictograph Box is more useful as not only can you zoom in on stuff you can take its picture. The Telescope adds nothing to the game and just takes up one more slot in the inventory that could have been used for something worthwhile.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

The Best: Cane of Pacci

The various canes that Link comes across in his adventures usually have great effects. Invulnerability and creating blocks is all well and good, but the Cane of Pacci took it up a notch by allowing Link to flip things, including himself. One of the better uses for the item is allowing Link to jump into a hole and be shot up to a previously inaccessible ledge. One of the most fun new additions to Link’s Armament, hopefully this one makes a return.

The Worst: Kinstones

When Kinstones were first announced they were the Pokémon addition to The Minish Cap. They were going to be used to get gamers to seek out other Zelda fans and match up Kinstones to activate sidequests and reveal hidden items. And this functionality was still present in the game, but Nintendo completely removed the social aspect. While it’s not clear exactly why the system was entirely self-contained in each game, it ended up making the system feel like an endless series of fetch quests that added nothing to the game itself. Which is sad, because Kinstones could have been the coolest addition to The Minish Cap.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

The Best: Double Clawshots

The Hookshot is always a cool addition to Zelda games. Since A Link to the Past, the Hookshot has made an appearance in many of Link’s adventures in one form or another. But it took Twilight Princess to bring the best functionality of the Hookshot in the form of the Double Clawshot. One Clawshot was cool enough, as Link could not only use it like a Hookshot, but he could also adjust height on the fly. But add in a second Clawshot and all of a sudden Link went from being a Hylian Hero to Hyrule’s own version of Spiderman. You have to love that.

The Worst: Spinner

It’s a giant top that Link rides on. It’s somewhat useful for getting over quicksand or other hazardous floors, but it quickly runs out of steam. Don’t even try using it as a weapon. The damage output is just to low. This item was doomed to being a failure the second it was okayed, and hopefully Nintendo forgets it ever existed.

The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass

The Best: Bombchus

In Ocarina of Time Bombchus were kind of a stupid optional weapon. There was a pretty fun minigame that used them in Castle Town, but they were rarely used outside of that. The Phantom Hourglass completely changed that thanks to the touch-screen controls. Link’s first DS outing didn’t have many items, but it used the ones it had to great effect.

The Worst: Fishing Rod

Fishing is usually a fun minigame in the Legend of Zelda series and that’s true for The Phantom Hourglass as well. But with such well implemented uses of all the other items in the game, the Fishing Rod loses out because it’s just the most pointless of all the items in the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

The Best: Whip

It’s a frickin’ whip! The Double Clawshots may have turned Link into Spider Man, but the whip turned him into Indiana Jones. It’s no wonder that Nintendo is bringing it around for another go in Skyward Sword. The addition of the whip to Link’s armament goes to show that there’s still plenty of new weapons for Link to discover.

The Worst: Sand Wand

On the flip side, the sand wand is the worst of the best introduced in Spirit Tracks. Again, it’s not a bad item, it’s just not at the caliber of the other items in the game. Being able to solidify sand leads to some fun puzzles, but in the grand scheme of things, The Sand Wand is just forgettable, and that is something that a great item cannot be.


So there you go: my picks for the best and worst items in the Zelda series. Astute readers will note that I have ignored Four Swords Adventure, and I apologize for this as my lack of playtime with the game keeps me from making an informed decision about the best and worst items from that game. I also left out Skyward Sword since Aonuma recently said that we may not have seen all the new items in the E3 build of the game, meaning there might be something even better revealed when the game is released. If you have an opinion on that topic or if I’m flat-out wrong with any of my picks, be sure to leave a comment. I’d love to hear what your favorite addition to Link’s Armament is.

2 Responses to “Tidman’s Take: Link’s Armament – Part 2”

  • 697 points
    Adam Sorice says...

    Not Kinstones :O You’ve triggered an evil flashback. I had about 30.

    Did any match? Of coooouuuurse not.

    The telescope was sentimentally adorable and I used to stare at things now and again. Do you know what was useless in Wind Waker? The bomb cannon on your ship. You switched over to the Bombs and your sail disappeared.

    No sail = sitting duck.

    Cool article again :)

    Thumb up 0

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