YMMV: The Legend of Zelda






Tropes across media

  • Americans Hate Tingle: The Trope Namer, thanks to Tingle's debut in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
  • Awesome Bosses: Has its own page. Some of the best boss battles in video game history come from this series.
  • Awesome Music: Has its own page as well. The series has given some of the most iconic tunes in gaming for good reason.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Link is pretty heavily subject to this, as he's a Heroic Mime that the player is meant to be free to project their own personality onto.
  • Base Breaker: Link has devolved into this - not through his own merits, but mostly through Hype Backlash. He is constantly voted and argued by fans to be the greatest and most popular Nintendo character and occasionally the best video game character in general, frequently receiving nothing but excessive praise and no criticism and making him appear similar to an overhyped Marty Stu to quite a few fansnote . Ocarina of Time itself suffers from a very similar reaction, and is often seen as synonymous with Link's own popularity.
  • Broken Base: The fans are divided on whether Cel Shading or "realism" is better for the series.
    • A smaller faction: which is better, the N64 version of Ocarina of Time or Ocarina of Time 3D?
  • Complete Monster: Zant and Yuga. Ganondorf escapes this due to having his sympathetic qualities exposed in The Wind Waker.
  • Contested Sequel: ANY of the console games that follow up on Ocarina of Time, there's no arguing against it. Skyward Sword has even become this before it was even released!
  • Critical Dissonance:
    • According to critics, the series has stayed very strong throughout its entire lifespan. You wouldn't know this from all the fan complaints about new titles in the series, especially Skyward Sword.
    • Hyrule Warriors has gotten middling reviews akin to a Licensed Game, and nowhere near the stellar reviews of the rest of the series. Zelda fans, however, adore it.
  • Die for Our Ship: Anything that threatens the possibility of a Link/Zelda pairing is violently purged. Zelda herself can suffer this when other choices are available. (Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess)
  • Dork Age: The CD-i games. Their sting wasn't numbed at all by the fact that Nintendo took its sweet time developing Ocarina of Time, so there were five years between 1993 and 1998 when no Zelda games except for those were being released.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Sheik, Tetra, King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, Ezlo, Midna, Linebeck, Byrne, Groose, Ravio, Hilda; basically, any character who a) has a major secret in their backstory that changes the player's perception of them and/or b) experiences Character Development.
    • On the villains' side, we have Dark Link, who has appeared in all of four games and yet is one of the most popular characters. Also, Vaati, villain of all Four Sword-related games. Many fans want him to make an appearance in a main console game. Then there's Ghirahim of Skyward Sword, who's possibly the CAMPIEST Zelda villain in existence. Majora from Majora's Mask is also fondly remembered for being a Nightmare Inducing Knight of Cerebus that took Creepy Awesome Up to Eleven and for being the first villain in the franchise that didn't need Ganon in any way, shape or from whatsoever.
    • I AM ERROR.
    • In Japan, Tingle falls under this, getting no less than two of his own games.
    • Malon has quite a fan following to her name. As far as female Zelda characters go, she was probably second in popularity to Zelda before Twilight Princess came out, and Malon's popularity could be considered more impressive given her much smaller role in Ocarina of Time compared to Midna's role in Twilight Princess. She probably got even more popular after Twilight Princess, in which the game's Link is a rancher, leading to many to theorize that she and the Hero of Time got together.
    • Of the Links, Toon Link has a disproportionate amount of popularity among the fandom due to the perception that he displays more character than any other Link. So much so, that he was a separate character from the primary link in Super Smash Bros Brawl.
    • Cia. None other of the villains has ever been so sympathetic, while looking that good.
  • Epileptic Trees: Oh, boy! The timeline is arguably the biggest piece of fanon madness in the entire video game medium. Before Hyrule Historia came out to explain it, it was pretty much impossible to find a web site or forums of the series (either fan or otherwise) that did NOT have at least one big article and/or open thread discussing this issue at large, with big, crazy theories to boot. And after it came out, it didn't die. It just evolved into discussing the points that were left ambiguous, debating about the contradictions between the artbook, the interviews to Miyamoto and Aonuma and the games themselves, tiding up the remaining loose ends, or trying to give alternate interpretations to the explanations that were deemed unsatisfactory.
    • Specially crazy if we take into account that Nintendo put an explicit MST3K Mantra disclaimer in the very same official timeline, explaining that the development team, for the most part, thinks about gameplay first and story later. But fans still treat this topic as Serious Business.
    • In Trace Memory you can find a book in the mansion's library that explains the entire Zelda timeline. But you can't read it (Keep in mind this game was made long before the Historia was even in concept and the Zelda Timeline was at its most confusing)
  • Escapist Character: Part of Link's popularity as a character stems from this and how players can, in addition to wishing they were him, largely project their own personality (or an otherwise desired, idealized personality) onto him as he's a Heroic Mime.
  • Evil Is Cool: Ganon(dorf) is one of Nintendo's coolest and most well-loved villains in all his forms, and is fondly remembered by fans for his overwhelming power, Machiavellian evil schemes, and excellent boss fights.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: As explained in Hyrule Historia (a guidebook about the franchise by Nintendo), there is a third timeline that also split from Ocarina of Time. The problem is that it is based on an event that didn't happen anywhere in the game: The hero dying. And no, Game Overs do not count.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Wind Waker-style fans vs. Twilight Princess-style fans.
    • Which is the best game in the series? The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time?
      • Every once in a while, Majora's Mask enters in that competition too, although it has more of a "cult" following.
    • Ganondorf fans vs. Classic Ganon fans. These fans often argue which incarnation of Ganon is cooler and more iconic, with the latter arguing that Classic Ganon is more deserving of a playable spot in Super Smash Bros. than Ganondorf.
  • Fanon: Just a little.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Technically the vast majority of them, especially Link/Zelda, though there's been an exception or two over the years.
  • Fan Wank: The endless, endless confusion over "the timeline," something officially confirmed, but NEVER officially explained. Even after Hyrule Historia explained it all, it's still going, even if discussing different points (See Epileptic Trees above).
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Metroid, due to both franchises being Nintendo's most famous "serious" series with games considered among Nintendo's best; there are a ton of fan theories about Samus being descended from Link himself. That said, sometimes the fandoms get into arguments over whether Link or Samus is a cooler protagonist, or whether Nintendo's best game of all time is a Zelda game or a Metroid game (usually Super Metroid or Metroid Prime).
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: While wildly popular elsewhere, the Zelda franchise isn't quite as popular in its native Japan (but still popular).
  • Goddamned Bats: An early example, though Keese and Fire Keese are hardly the only ones.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In Trace Memory as a joke, or even Nintendo outright trolling. This game was made back when the Zelda-Timeline was very confusing and all over the place. The protagonist Ashley can find a book in the library. "The Legend of Zelda Timeline" but you aren't allowed to read it. Cue almost a decade later, the Hyrule Historia is released, which might as well have been that exact book.
  • Hype Backlash: Due to the excessive praise for the series, as well as its games and characters constantly dominating popularity polls, you're bound to find quite a few people who don't find the series and its characters to be as phenomenal as they are reputed to be, often due to overly high expectations. In particular, some fans who didn't grow up with the Zelda games find it a bit harder to develop an affinity for the series because of this. This can get annoying for some fans who observe Nintendo character popularity poll results; Link almost always gets first place, Zelda and Ganon are almost always in the top 20 (sometimes even the top 10), and Ensemble Darkhorses from the franchise such as Midna, Epona, Skull Kid, Tetra and even the Happy Mask Salesman have a very good chance of outranking supporting characters from other Nintendo franchises, no matter how important they are. Furthermore, quite a few fans praise the Zelda games despite any flaws they may suffer from, while bashing other games that suffer from the same flaws. Zelda Informer even has an article on the alleged "overratedness" of the franchise, acknowledging that the excessive hype is unhealthy for the franchise and that it is "simply praised for its name's sake".
  • I Am Not Shazam: The main character is Link. The girl is Zelda. Daring to say otherwise will get you a lot of ire on forums.
  • Iron Woobie: Link. Even when he earns his happy ending, the nature of the cycle he's trapped in means he'll be back for another round with the forces of Evil.
  • It's Easy, so It Sucks: A common complaint about entries after the N64 era among veteran fans, specially those who grew up with the first three games. The Wind Waker is arguably the worst offender (albeit the Hero Mode in the Wii U HD version fixed it in the eyes of many).
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks/They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Every single entry of the series ever since Ocarina of Time (if not even earlier than that) has received both of these at the same time. One second you find a comment trashing the game for not changing the Zelda formula at all, demeaning its new features as "gimmicks", and the next second you find another one that trashes it because those "gimmicks" are new features that totally change (and ruin) the Zelda formula.
    • Yahtzee even managed to do both in one review, bashing Skyward Sword for being formulaic, then for not holding to its own formulas.
  • LGBT Fanbase: In addition to causing Stupid Sexy Flanders moments in straight fans, a gay mag voted Link as the hottest video game character of all time.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Go to ff.net and see how many ship fics you can find that don't involve Link.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Ganondorf is apparently Killed Off for Real once or twice a decade. By this stage, we know better.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Ganondorf has gotten very skilled at making his enemies do all his work for him over his career.
    • Yuga managed to hijack Ganon. Enough said.
  • Magnum Opus: Ocarina of Time is often considered the best game of all time, but other contenders include A Link to the Past, Majora's Mask and rarely Twilight Princess. The latter seems to have been surpassed by The Wind Waker, now seen as one of the greatest Zelda games due to having been largely Vindicated by History with its HD remake receiving much acclaim.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Link, renowned as one of Nintendo's most Badass characters. The guy can throw around stone pillars like they were cardboard at the end of Ocarina of Time!
    • A more straightforward example is Groose, who thinks of himself as this.
  • Memetic Loser: Tingle is a 35 year-old man who dresses in a green onesie and wishes to become a fairy. He's meant to be a Man Child and is loved by the Japanese fanbase... But the Western fanbase love to loathe him. When you have a trope called "Americans Hate Tingle" named after you, you know you're a memetic loser.
  • Memetic Molester:
  • Memetic Mutation: Too many to list.
  • Memetic Sex God:
    • Everyone is Poe Collector for Link. No exceptions!
    • Ganondorf of all characters got this reputation due to his incredibly manly long-haired design in Hyrule Warriors.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Ocarina of Time tends to be used as a measuring stick, by both the fandom and professional critics, to judge the sequels that followed. This led to each game gettin some form of It's the Same / Changed, Now It Sucks criticism. This even extended to its own remake, where most of the negative criticism was due to the lack of new features rather than the nature of the game itself.
  • Older Than They Think: The completed Triforce is actually the emblem of the Japanese Hojo clan, which has been around in various forms since at least the 12th century.
  • One True Pairing: Link and Zelda. This pairing has been since the very beginning and is still on top. The only other pairing that comes even close would be Link/Midna, but has the disadvantage of appearing in only one game that feels more like an exception, rather than a norm. Plus, in recent years Nintendo seems to be playing up the romance angle in their relationship, going as far as heavily inferring a Reincarnation Romance (downright confirming it in Hyrule Warriors. Even if this game is not canon, there are heavy hints in the main series as well, so it fits the meta-narrative).
  • Protagonist Title Fallacy: Poor Link...
  • Scapegoat Creator: A lot of fans blame Eiji Aonuma, the current main producer of the series, of every single thing that is supposedly wrong with the series nowadays. Of course, when they see something that goes right for them, then they praise Miyamoto for it. Classy, isn't it?...
    • It can go both ways. For one thing, co-director Yoshiaki Koizumi was responsible for most of the Darker and Edgier elements in Majora's Mask. Despite them being equals in terms of contribution, Aonuma gets most of the praise for Majora's success, while Koizumi is comparatively little-known.
  • The Scrappy: Navi, Kaepora Gaebora, Fi, Tingle (to Americans fans) and Ralph from the Oracle games.
  • Sequel Displacement: Most of the series' current fans came in after Ocarina of Time and it was surprisingly common to see Majora's Mask referred to as "Zelda 2," even though the real Zelda II was made ten years before Ocarina.
  • Shipping: A rabbit hole that runs too deep to get into right here.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Each game is bound to have at least one sidequest or minigame that completely distracts from the main story. In fact, some games make the story seem like a minor annoyance than a matter of importance in the game.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Some fans feel this way about the series, believing that it needs to be mature and gritty to be any good.
  • That One Level: Arguably every water dungeon in the series.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Inexperienced players have been known to mistake Link for a girl.
  • Vindicated by History: Actually a recurring element. Since Majora's Mask, every time a new console game is released, it's immediately panned by the fans while the previous title is suddenly favored.
  • Writer Cop Out: The addition of the "Link is Defeated" timeline is seen this way by many, since it turns that part of the timeline into a "What If?" scenario instead of having a stronger explanation involving legitimate and certain events that lead up to the defeat. Not to mention that it opens up the question of why there aren't other timelines created by "Game Overs" in games of the series other than Ocarina of Time.