Graphics of The Legend of Zelda

Timeline created by sanachanto
  • The Legend of Zelda

    The Legend of Zelda
    (Released in the US on Aug 22, 1987) The Legend of Zelda launched the action-adventure genre on the NES, creating a unique blend of exploration, action, and puzzle solving that made it a best seller. Rendered in all its 8-bit glory, this first outing to save Hyrule, set the foundation for every Legend of Zelda game to come. It established such iconic images as Link's green tunic, mainstay enemies including Ganon, and an overworld with visually distinct regions.
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

    Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
    (1988 in the US) The sequal to the the best selling original took the series in a radical new direction. Taking on a slightly darker feel, the game introduced new side-scrolling arcade-style action, and even RPG and platforming elements. While on the same platform as the first, the sprites and side-scrolling backgrounds became noticeably more complex. The first and only game of its kind in the series, Nintendo decided to never to depart too far from the original formula after its release.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

    The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
    After a long 5 years fans could return to the familiar landscape of Hyrule, this time more expansive and beautiful than ever thanks to the 16-bit SNES. Back to the original formula, a new green-clad hero rose up against Ganon in this adventure, unfolding with a much deeper, complex story within a more vibrant world with detailed environments.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

    The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
    The first Legend of Zelda title for a handheld, Link's Awakening masterfuly transfered the series to the small screen on the original Game Boy. It was one of the few titles in the series not set in the land of Hyrule, occuring instead on the mysterious Koholint Island. Nor does it actually feature the titular Princess Zelda. Originally only rendered in the Game Boy's signiture green color, in 1998 it gets remastered in color for the Game Boy Color with the release of Link's Awakening DX.
  • CD-i Games

    CD-i Games
    Technically, they are Zelda games. Developed outside of Nintendo for the Philips CD-i system, they are pitifully mashed together games, containing almost no connection to the actual series through either story or gameplay. They are almost exclusively ignored (most notably by Nintendo) within the Zelda pantheon. Although the animated cut scenes do provide good Youtube fun.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

    The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
    With the N64, the series was given a massive overhaul with its landmark entry into the world of 3D, and this entry is often named as one of the greatest games evern made. Taking a full 5 years to complete, Ocarina of Time brought the exploration, puzzle solving and action aspect of Zelda to new levels in a sprawling world more vividly colorful, textured,and more polygons than ever. It also introduced a revamped item and new, dynamic target-lock based combat systems.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

    The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
    (Oct 26, 2000 in US) Much like the other direct sequal in the series, this title made some dramatic changes to the Zelda formula. Another title set in a seperate land from Hyrule, it introduced the use of masks, endowing Link with different powers and forms while wearing them, and a unique time loop mechanic. While graphically almost identical to its predecessor, the game took a darker art style, and the graphics were slightly enhanced thanks to the Expansion Pack accessory.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons

    The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons
    Link returns to the handheld market on the Game Boy Color with the simultaneous release of two games. The companion game for Seasons is Oracle fo Ages. The two games connect to each other in the way of a password given at the completion of one game, affecting the world in the other. Each game focuses on a different gameplay mechanic. For Seasons it is the ability to change the seasons, which is greatly aided by the addition of color to the screen.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages

    The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
    Simultaneously released with Oracle of Ages, the full story is only realized when the two games are both completed. Each game focuses on a different gameplay mechanic, with time travel in Ages. Originally a trilogy was planned, however, the interaction of three games proved to be too difficult and one was dropped as a result. It retains the same top-down play and look of its handheld predecessors, but now in a few more glorious colors.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

    The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
    (March 24, 2003 in US) For Nintendos powerful new GameCube system the series once again took a bold move, introducing a cel shaded art style, baffeling many long time fans. Instead of striving for realism as in Ocarina and Majora's Mask, the more cartoony style harkened back to A Link to the Past. Pre-oreders were rewarded with a version of Ocarina of Time with slightly boosted graphics along with a more difficult Master Quest.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

    The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
    (June 7, 2004 in US) Released along with A Link to the Past on the GameBoy Advanced in 2002, Adventures was rereleased on the GameCube. The only multiplayer Zelda game, up to four players could play their way together through the story controling different color clad Links, which were now rendered in a full, beautiful 32 bits in the palm of your hand.
  • The Legend of Zelda:The Minish Cap

    The Legend of Zelda:The Minish Cap
    (Jan 10, 2005 in US) The only original GBA title in the series, The Minish Cap kept the familiar top-down play and also took the cel shaded Wind Waker style to heart. The sprites and environments are as vivid as The bigger console title, and have just as much character. Endowed with the Minish Cap, Link is given the power to shrink down to tiny size, allowing him to explore puzzles and the environment from a different perspective.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

    The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
    A return to darker, more realistic visuals, this title was the first to jump to the motion controled Wii console. Although it was originally planned as a GameCube only title. Reminiscent of Majora's Mask, the story adds more dark fantasy elements, the overall color pallet is more subdued, and Link's transformation mechanic returns.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

    The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
    (Oct 1, 2007 in US) Link's first adventure on the Nintendo DS and a direct sequel of The Wind Waker. The graphics keep the same cel shaded style and are rendered in a fully 3D world, instead of the familira 2D sprites on the rest of the handheld games. Giving a nod back to the Zelda days of old, the majority of the action takes takes place from a top-down view. This also helps to accomodate the entirely new touchscreen control sheme.
  • Link's Crossbow Traning

    Link's Crossbow Traning
    Bundled with the Wii Zapper, the game was developed specifically to introduce the new peripheral. A spin off of Twilight Princess, it reuses the graphics and environments with no real overarching story. Link shoots stuff for points.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

    The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
    The second installment for the DS. The graphics are much the same as in Phantom Hourglass before it, and the gameplay builds on the concepts from the privious game.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

    The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
    (June 19, 2011 in US) Celebrating the series' 25th anniversary, Nintendo revamped the beloved classic with beautiful newly rendered and updated HD visuals, not to mention in full steroescopic 3D.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

    The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
    The future of the Zelda franchise, Skyward Sword is the fully realized Wii Zelda experience. Separtating it from the darker Twilight Princess, the art style takes on an almost impressionistic watercolor feel, making it one of the most visually stunning installments and the most visually advanced so far.