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What's the Greatest Legend of Zelda Game Ever? We Ranked Them All (Number 25-18)

We ranked every single Legend of Zelda game to date, from the biggest adventures to the most obscure spinoffs. Here are the results.

This article first appeared on USgamer, a partner publication of VG247. Some content, such as this article, has been migrated to VG247 for posterity after USgamer's closure - but it has not been edited or further vetted by the VG247 team.

It's been 30 years since the original Legend of Zelda, and in that time its grown into one of the most popular and significant franchises in gaming history, encompassing a huge number of sequels and spinoffs. The question is: what's the best of the bunch?

We decided to follow last year's Mario rankings with similar rankings for The Legend of Zelda. The staff ranked the games from best to worst, with the final list being determined by each game's average ranking. You probably won't be shocked to find that the infamous CDi games sit at the bottom of the list; but rest assured, there are a few surprises in here, particularly at the top.

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We'll start with the bottom tier today, continue with mid-tier games tomorrow, and finish with the Top 10 on Wednesday. Naturally, we want to hear your thoughts too! Follow along and post your thoughts in the comments as we progress through our definitive ranking of The Legend of Zelda and its spinoffs.

The Bottom Tier

The games in this section aren't necessarily bad (well, okay, some of them are pretty bad), but they lack that certain je ne sais quoi that has made Zelda so enduringly popular. And yes, these are all spinoffs. Zelda's mainline adventures have varied in quality over the years, but they've all kept to a relatively high standard. These are the games that have struggled to keep up.

25. Zelda: Wand of Gamelon/Link: Faces of Evil (CDi)

[Philips CDi]

What, you expected anything else? Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: Wand of Gamelon are linked here because they are essentially the same game, having been developed together to save money. Both are consistently ranked among the worst games of all time for their stilted platforming, wretched controls, and astonishingly bad cutscenes - the last of which continue to live in infamy on Youtube and elsewhere. Seanbaby put it best: "The gameplay is almost as deep and engaging as flipping from one option to the next on a DVD menu."—Kat

24. Zelda's Adventure

[Philips CDi]

We all knew the CDi Zelda games would end up at the bottom, but there's still justice in the world despite the existence of these externally developed games: We broke Zelda's Adventure apart from Wand of Gamelon and Faces of Evil because it's merely terrible as opposed to being so atrocious it tears a hole in the fabric of reality. A well-meaning attempt to reproduce the screen-by-screen quest design of the original NES Zelda, and one of only a tiny handful of games to put the eponymous princess in the lead role, Zelda's Adventure trips up over the CDi's tech limitations (it takes longer to load each new screen of the overworld than it does to traverse it) and its creators' general inexperience. It's dreadful, but not entirely without merit.—Jeremy

23. Freshly-picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland

[Nintendo DS]

Okay, maybe it's a tiny bit unfair to rate Tingle's Rosy Rupee Land so low. It's even received relatively decent reviews! As you might expect, it's about getting as many rupees as possible by complete a variety of dungeons. It's not terrible; but seriously, what possessed Nintendo to give the worst character in the Zelda pantheon his own game? That boxart alone... gah.—Kat

22. The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes

[Nintendo 3DS]

We'll let our review of Tri Force Heroes do the talking: "Nintendo had a fantastic idea with Tri Force Heroes, but the premise is underserved and undermined by some fundamental design issues and shaky online infrastructure. It's nothing short of a tragedy to wait a whole decade for another multiplayer Zelda and receive what feels like a largely unfinished idea with great potential." That pretty much says it all, unfortunately. It was nice seeing the Four Swords multiplayer concept return for another round, but it ultimately didn't work out. Hopefully this isn't the death knell for an otherwise worthy concept.—Kat

21. Tetra's Trackers/Navi Trackers


This import-only component of Four Swords Adventure remained stranded in Japan due to giving fans what they always demanded: Voice-acting in a Zelda game. Tetra's Trackers was a sort of scavenger hunt adventure in which the tanned-and-sassy alter-ego of Princess Zelda would bark orders aloud to players, calling them by their own custom-defined names… something possible due to the nature of Japanese language, but too difficult for Nintendo to reprogram to work in English. (They eventually sorted it out 10 years later with Tomodachi Life.) Not necessarily the most amazing game ever, but definitely worthy of an asterisk in the history books.—Jeremy

20. The Legend of Zelda

[Game & Watch]

I had to do without an NES for a long time, so my Nintendo-crazy hands grasped onto whatever substitute I could find. I thought The Legend of Zelda Game & Watch adventure might be a good, affordable replacement for the real thing. Spoilers: It’s not. But what’s here is still pretty admirable for a handheld liquid crystal beep-beep game. Link beats Stalfols to collect parts of the Triforce, which he wins by defeating dragons (Gleeok, is that you?). If you’re lucky enough to find a lonely Zelda Game & Watch in a bin at some Goodwill somewhere, act fast and grab it young hero. -- Nadia

19. Hyrule Warriors

[Nintendo Wii U]

If you're Koei Tecmo subsidiary Omega Force, you have only one job: bring the Musou/Warriors gameplay to every property imaginable. Hyrule Warriors was a collaboration between Omega Force, Nintendo, and Team Ninja. Ganondorf is gathering Zelda villains across various worlds together in order to restore the pieces of his fractured soul. Link, Zelda, and friends from across the Zelda timeline comes together to destroy thousands upon thousands of no-name enemies on the battlefields of Hyrule in order to stop him. If you love Zelda and are willing to rock a Musou game, you'll get a kick out of this multiversal adventure. —Mike

18. BS Zelda no Densetsu


There were actually two BS Zelda games (BS meaning "Broadcast Satellaview," not… something else), designed for a Japan-only Super NES add-on that allowed players to download digital-only games (like this one!). We only included one on the list, because the other — while incredibly cool — actually involved live satellite transmissions of people giving player guidance in real-time. That's nearly impossible to emulate (though people are trying!), so unless you happened to play those episodes when they broadcast, you can't have experienced it in its proper form. This one, though, was less unconventional and has been, uh, preserved for the ages online. It's essentially a 16-bit remake of the original Zelda, with Link replaced by a school kid. Neat, but a bit esoteric to have a place in our North American hearts.—Jeremy

Tomorrow: We cover the mid-tier Zeldas from 17-11!

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