Tidman’s Take: Link’s Armament – Part 1

So epic it had to be split into two parts, Tidman’s look at the best and worst piece of equipment that Link has had access to in each of his games. First up, The Legend of Zelda to Majora’s Mask.

By Matthew Tidman. Posted 08/04/2010 14:00 6 Comments     ShareThis

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Screenshot

Link has had access to hundreds of items across the various games he has been in. Master Sword, Hookshot, Bombs, Magic Rod– there are tons of great items to choose from. But for every awesome item that Nintendo adds to the games, there’s always one or two stinkers in the list. Here’s my list of the best and worst item from every Nintendo-produced Zelda game.

The Legend of Zelda

The Best: Bombs

Starting off with a classic, the bombs have made an appearance in almost every Zelda game since the first. While players were limited to 8 in their inventory at a time (this was, thankfully upgradable), bombs served an essential function in the game by allowing players to reveal secret chambers and hidden passageways. They could also be used as one of the most effective weapons in the game. It’s no wonder that bombs are usually a guarantee in every Zelda game, because they were indispensable in the original.

The Worst: Magic Book

Did you ever wish that your magic rod would set anything it hit on fire? Probably not. This minor add-on of functionality did very little to help. True, it could set things on fire, but only if it hit an enemy or the edge of the screen. It doesn’t help that fire is one of the most ineffective weapons against enemies in the later parts of the game. Definitely the worst item in a game full of good ones.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

The Best: Hammer

This is definitely a tough one because while the game featured a number of items to be obtained, the best upgrades were spells and sword techniques. The said, there is one item that becomes essential for anyone who wants to complete the game: The Hammer. Lets face it, you’re going to die repeatedly in this game. Once all your lives are lost, you are returned to the Eastern Palace where Zelda sleeps. This is a huge problem if you don’t have the Hammer, as you will have to trek through a cave and some wilderness just to get out of that first area– unless you have the hammer. The Hammer may be a sidequest item, but it is essential, nonetheless. Just try beating the game without it. I double-dog dare ya!

The Worst: Magical Key

This is also tough because all of the items in Zelda II end up being essential by the end of the game. Some are only used one time (The Raft, The Flute) while others are used frequently. Nonetheless they are essential to the completion of the game. However, the Magical Key is not. It’s almost impossible to beat the Hidden Palace without it, but “almost” is not the same as “impossible.” And thanks to the magic of Fairy, keys become relatively useless since you should already have the Fairy Spell by the time you come across the Magical Key and can bypass any lock with the spell… provided you have the magic to cast it. When all is said and done, the Magical Key is not a bad item, it’s just the least essential in a game where every item is needed.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

The Best: Pegasus Boots

This item wins out solely because of how often players will use it after it is granted by Sahasrahla. After being found, players will run everywhere using the Pegasus Boots. There are even points in the game where the Pegasus Boots are essential to forward progress as running will not avail Link when he tries to cross the bridge while it falls out from under him. Judging an item by how often it’s used, the Pegasus Boots have to be one of the best items in the entire series.

The Worst: Bombos Medallion

Granted, being able to kill all enemies on screen is pretty cool, but this optional item costs too much to use, when you remember to use it at all. Seriously, the last two times I’ve played through the game I’ve not used the item once because it is just not that useful. If the game made you use it to get into a dungeon, (like Ether or Quake) it might not be so bad, but when all is said and done, it’s the most pointless of the three medallions in the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

The Best: Roc’s Feather

While jumping may be commonplace in Link’s adventures now, his ability to jump was first introduced with the Roc’s Feather and it changed the game. It might not be as flashy as some of Link’s other equipment, but it changed the design of Zelda games as we know them now. Also, it’s a feather, which is awesome.

The Worst: Deluxe Shovel

Shovels are nothing new in the Zelda games. Really, the shovel was introduced in A Link to the Past where it played a minor, but important role in helping you find the Ocarina and learn the song that would make the bird take you places. But the shovel in Link’s Awakening didn’t add anything to the mix. Oh, there is that one point in the game where you have to have it, but at 200 Rupies it feels like an overpriced side item that will be traded for the boomerang as soon as you come across it.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The Best: Fairy Bow

As a child you get the slingshot, a basic projectile weapon the can kill minor enemies and harass moderate ones, though not much. However, once you become an adult, you get a real weapon: The Fairy Bow. Used extensively through the rest of the game, the Fairy Bow ends up being one of the best weapons in the game and essential for solving many of the puzzles Link comes across. Add on to that the elemental and Light Arrows and Link’s bow sees its most formidable form yet.

The Worst: Farore’s Wind

This item wouldn’t be so bad, except that it requires you to drain your magic meter to use it. Add in the fact that the majority of the time you’ll come into a dungeon so well stocked that you won’t need to exit to get more supplies. Absolutely one of the most useless items in the entire Zelda series.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

The Best: Blast Mask

It’s simple: free bomb whenever you need it. It seems like it would hurt Link to constantly be exploding his face, but thanks to the magic of his shield his looks are preserved. One of the best, if not the best, non-transforming masks in the game and well worth the effort to get it.

The Worst: Giant’s Mask

You get to use this item once during the whole game. It makes one boss battle slightly easier, but it also drains magic so fast that the only way to complete the entire battle is to drink Chateau Romani milk or bring a few extra magic potions with you to the fight. It’s just not worth it.

That’s a start on looking at the best and worst items that Link has stumbled across, but this is not over yet: we’re only half way there. Be sure to return tomorrow when we journey from the Oracle games all the way to Spirit Tracks.

6 Responses to “Tidman’s Take: Link’s Armament – Part 1”

  • 678 points
    amishpyrate says...

    lol, in link’s awakening I would always just steal the shovel. I didn’t mind being called thief the rest of the game….. that ray gun sure did hurt though. Wish I coulda gotten that in the game

  • 1332 points
    Andrew Hsieh says...

    You guys, you guys, you know what? I totally used Farore’s Wind in King Jabu-Jabu’s belly … and a whole lot of other places. No, really, I played Ocarina of Time when I was too young to solve any of the freakin’ puzzles, and so Farore’s Wind, let me tell you, played a vital role in my beating Ocarina of Time. Seriously.

    This comes from the same guy who had to get that Cucco on the other side of the fence in Kakariko not by doing it the real way, i.e. taking a Cucco to fly you across the fence, but rather by backflipping off the lookout tower. Seriously.

  • 697 points
    Adam Sorice says...

    Awesome article! And not just because it’s amazing written Matt, but also for the fact that it was just narrow enough to fit on my Blackberry screen without me having to scroll left and right to read a sentence.

    I’m looking forward to Part 2, which involves Zelda games I’ve actually played ;)

    Excellent formatting! (And uh… writing :P)

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