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So I bet you're asking: What should I play as my first Zelda game? Well, I will tell you what I think the 3 Zelda games I recommend as your first Zelda game should be and why, as well as the 3 Zelda games I WOULD NEVER recommend as your first Zelda game, and why!
The 3 Zelda games I would recommend for newcomers:
1. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC) (My most recommended, it was the first one I played!):
The game just sets you straight out into the adventure, no hassle! All the basic elements that make up a Zelda game are there: Rupees, items and weapons, dungeons, and much more! It's not the easiest Zelda game, but the difficulty is just enough to get a very clean idea what a Zelda game feels like, sounds like, plays like, and looks like, and it NAILS IT! I couldn't recommend Awakening as your first Zelda game enough because of how many elements that make a Zelda game a Zelda game are present in there!
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES):
A bit harder than Awakening and MUCH MUCH longer as well, but I would recommend this Zelda game as one of your first, because it has so much love put into it: The graphics are amazing, the soundtrack is the BEST in the franchise, and the presentation is perfect! It is quite a bit more challenging than others, but the thing that's got going for it that Awakening doesn't have is that it's story driven! Most Zelda games are like this, so if you are looking for the OTHER aspect that makes a Zelda game a Zelda game as your first Zelda game, this is the one! Be warned: It is LONG! It has the most dungeons of any Zelda game that uses this formula, and it is quite tough (About an 8 out of 10 (6 is average) in difficulty), ESPECIALLY if you're going for a 000 death 100% run of the game, which can ONLY be achieved by playing through the game from start to end getting ABSOLUTELY everything while not dying and not turning the game off a single time (No save and quit!)!
3. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64):
Widely considered one of the greatest games of all time, Ocarina of Time is the first 3D Zelda game! If you want to skip the 2D Zelda games and get straight into that lovely Z-axis, this is the game you start with! Much easier and simpler than A Link to the Past or Awakening, it is VERY easy to pick up and play right off the bat! This is another story oriented Zelda game, and it's presented identically to A Link to the Past (even some of the tracks from that game made it into here!), so basically the choice is up to you for the story driven games: If you want 2D, then choose A Link to the Past, and if you want to go 3D, then go with Ocarina of Time! If you want a pure and simple Zelda experience with little to no emphasis on story, then play Awakening!
So, now that we've established the 3 Zelda games you should start with, what are the 3 Zelda game you should NEVER start with?
The 3 Zelda games I would NEVER recommend as your first Zelda game:
1. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64):
This game is built off of Ocarina of Time, so it looks, feels, and plays just like it, BUT! This game has a strict time limit that when expired, you lose the game, as well as all unsaved progress, known as the 3-Day Cycle! Very shortly after starting, you are thrown into this 3-Day Cycle where you must complete several tasks before these first 3 days are up with no way to save! I'm not going to go over what happens during this time, but just the beginning of the game is enough to off put any players new to the Zelda series since it doesn't represent what a Zelda game should be for anyone who is still new to the series! The WHOLE game is heavily revolved around this 3-Day Cycle, and the only way to save is by resetting this cycle, where everything in the world gets reset to the point as you were playing the game from the beginning over again! This is actually a VERY unique mechanic unique to this game that allows you to reply almost everything without having to start a new file! It's a GREAT game, but I would wait until you have at least played through Ocarina of Time before you play this one!
2. The Legend of Zelda (NES):
Ahh... the game that started it all... this game is as basic as basic can be, but by comparison to A Link to the Past or Awakening, this game does not have much going for it nowadays! It has not aged very well by today's standards, and it is VERY VERY DIFFICULT!!!! At the beginning, you will get a sword that will shoot beams at full health, and while that's all good, IT IS A VERY TRICKY GAME TO FIGURE OUT! You WILL be dying over and over again trying to figure out where the HECK you are supposed to go and restarting right back to where you open up the game, though in a labyrinth (dungeon), you will start at the beginning of the labyrinth you are in instead! Given that, and then some, it is too confusing and difficult to recommend as your first, or even your fifth Zelda game, and this doesn't even BEGIN TO COMPARE with the NEXT game I'm going to talk about...
3. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES) (MY ABSOLUTELY LEAST RECOMMENDED ZELDA GAME TO START WITH!!!!):
Yep! This one! That one Zelda game that no one seems to like except for only the most SEASONED of Zelda fans, this game is really something else! Take everything you learned about the Zelda series, and throw them out the window! This game is UNIMAGINABLY DIFFICULT, AND CRYPTIC, you'll probably NEVER want to have anything to do with the Zelda series again if you decided to start with this one! It is by no means a bad game, but it is so hard that I wouldn't blame you actually hated this game! So, the game is side scrolling rather than top down (aside from the overworld), and all the palaces (dungeons) and combat is done in this fashion! The game also features RPG elements which I won't discuss here, and a lives system of all things! The most frustrating thing about this is that when you lose all your lives (and it's VERY difficult to get extra lives) and get a game over, you will start BACK IN THE PALACE YOU START YOUR GAME ON, NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE, EVEN IN A PALACE (WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE VERY LAST PALACE, IN THAT CASE, YOU START BACK IN THE BEGINNING OF THAT PALACE)!!! The game has very cryptic moments that are required for progression, and the enemies are the toughest they've ever been, especially in the later parts of the game! The palaces are sprawling mazes that can be very difficult to navigate and can often require lots of back-tracking if you don't have any keys! It is the hardest and most confusing Zelda game in existence that no newcomer should ever TOUCH until they are familiar with the Zelda series in a whole, and are SEASONED players! It is a good game, but a newcomer should stay away from this game at all costs until they are ready for the biggest challenge they'll face in a Zelda game! Feel free to try it out if you're curious about it, but don't go any farther than that for the time being!
So there you go! My 3 best and worst Zelda games to start with! Did you agree, or disagree with this list? Or do you have anything to add? Leave a reply, and happy adventuring!
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